Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hybrid regimes

Some Turkish people think that the world turns around Turkey. That it is in the spotlight each and every day. I have to disappoint them: you can find small articles about Turkey and the PKK so now and then in European newspapers. That's all.
But it would be wise as the Turkish government spent some more money for the education of their kids. Like what the Europeans are doing by the agreement of Lisbon in 2000. Prfmairly focussed on education (each EU citizen has to learn English and a second European language by choice).

Amsterdam made an example: with its world famous International institute for Social History, its world famous Art schools and two well noted Universities, among 48 colleges, on a population of 750.000 people, it shows that the Dutch takes education serious. There are people from 172 nations living in Amsterdam!
In other parts of the Netherlands the University of Utrecht ranks world wide no. 40. (like all the Dutch Universities they are in the top 200 world wide).
The think tanks like Clingendael, the educational food industry, TNO for scientific work, shows why the Netherlands is country no. 1 for investments, even for Turkey with a total FDI of 3 billion: the Netherlands ranks one.

But back to Turkey as the centre of the world: I am sorry, but no news about Turkey and especially Turkey-EU relations. Not the European elite signed the Treaty of Lisbon, it was and are their voters who pursued them to do so.

And the USA?

As the USA produce daily thousands newspapers, for sure you will find some news about Turkey somewhere. Or protesting a Turkish consul a news outlet. Or another group of Turks are insulted.

The tragic story of Turkey continues to be one of corrupt regimes using religious extremists and external support to keep the secular democratic forces at bay; and when these forces do assert themselves, to tie them down in legal constraints that are designed to ensure their failure.
It is the story of a society that has been going round in circles for the last 80 years.


Not Ataturk dream I guess.

And that is all the result of being a hybrid regime.

17 comments:

Valerie said...

Holy cow, in a nutshell you put some people on their place.
When will Turkey change its attitude towards their friends, patronizing them who are weaker and bullying them who are stronger than Turkey?

Bulent Murtezaoglu said...

I'm having trouble understanding what exactly it is that prompted you to post this. Is it because a Turkish blogger would link to Zizek's piece? Or is it because Zizek talks about the 'Turkish' part of Beethoven's 9th? (Do you think that terminology is made up? It isn't, here's a link.)

As for the asserion that the country has been going around in circles for 80 years, you might want to look up the numbers on urbanization, industrial output, literacy, female literacy etc. Keep in mind we also went from 10-15 to 70+ million people and had to expend the resources to feed those kids. (Actually the baby boom seems to have stopped. If the US Census Bureau is to be believed, the fertility rate has dropped below the replacement rate. I'm skeptical, but now that urbanization is almost where it should be, perhaps that figure shouldn't be suprising.)

I can nitpick on the rest, but first I'd like to see what kind of response this generates (if any) so I'll shut up.

Bulent Murtezaoglu said...

Hah I screwed up the the music link, sorry about that.

Hans A.H.C. de Wit said...

Bulent,
My point is that so many people in Turkey are misinformed, desinformed, that any fool can write with a superior attitude, withhout knowing what's really going on.
By saying that the 'West' is racist and facistoide without looking in your own kitchen irritates me. We are here to get connected and understand each other without the bully words 'Racism and Facism'.
I've been to these countries, not for sight seeing, but for living and work.
20% of the Turkish population lives below poverty line, Some around 1 million are starving to death. And in the meanwhile, 100.000 soldiers are ready to combat 3.000 terrorists.
This was is going on for 30 years...and who won?

Other countries grown as well, its only Turkey which doesnt face the realitity.
Regards

Anonymous said...

Turkey screwed up a long time ago.
Its time that they pay the price!

Sean Jeating said...

Reading your post I remember that in one of my September posts I focused on the phenomenon when googling the word "Turkishness": The first two pages would be dominated by denigration of, insulting, belittling and degrading Turkishness.

As for your "favourite blogger" :), though, in this very case I do plea "not guilty", Hans :)

And now leaning back, while listening to Mozart's "Türkischer Marsch" and drinking a cup of Türk kahvesi, I am waiting for Bulent's nitpicking. :)

mirdifderya said...

Bulent, the music link that you have gave very informative, Thank you.

I am also waiting what Bulent going to say; what he wrote in his last comment, he pointed out very right things.

Hans Racism has been always exist in Turkey, but not that much as Europe I can say, we shouldn't forget the Nazi's, bold heads, Halogens in Europe.

As I mention to you before, you have been living in Turkey too long and listening people don't even carry out most of the Turks opinion.

Why there should be any news about EU-Turkey relations, Turkey knows; its difficult to join EU, why do we have to try to join EU? We don't even have the foundation of it. They are changing all those laws according to EU laws, but we need minimum 30 years to settle those laws in the country, like education system. They have just change schooling age to 5 years old. Do we have enough schools? Do we have enough educated teachers or do we have to use those university graduate students to make them teachers, give them 6 months pedagogy lessons off they go they are teachers. We have generations coming empty, we wonder why do we have this government on our head.

Sorry I have talked to much this morning:)

Hans A.H.C. de Wit said...

Derya, racism is everywhere, but it looks like that it's institutionalized in TR.
Yes, we are thinking to move to another country..))

Geert Jan Keutelaer said...

Dear Derya,
As I understand from Hans, you have never been in Europe, only the UK.
How can you say that racism is that big in Europe?
Yes, you can refer to the Nazi's, which I shouldn't have write with a capital 'N'..))But that is a long time agao, the same as the progroms against the Greeks in 1955.

I know what Hans is telling here: why can a country not evolve into a country where wealth, prosperity, happiness etc. is there for everybody. Simple because it still has a hybrid regime.
Dear Bulent, yes, you make sense, but do you know in what kind of conditions the Netherlands was until the mid fifties? And now 44.000 USD by C. While Turkey, with once a great leader is still struggling to survive...
Don't blame us the Europeans. Blame the Turkish governments.
He, I am a lucky guy. I am here working between Christmas and the weekend with 3 co workers. While normally we are here with 120 employees.....so silent..)))
Cheers

Bulent Murtezaoglu said...

Sean,

And now leaning back, while listening to Mozart's "Türkischer Marsch" and drinking a cup of Türk kahvesi, I am waiting for Bulent's nitpicking. :)

Oh sure, you just want to enjoy your coffee while 'the Turk' does all the work to entertain you. How typical of a Westerner. Letters to your papers are forthcoming (I'll write them after I'm done gathering up the disaffected youth to wave flags and chant slogans).

Hans,

My point is that so many people in Turkey are misinformed, desinformed, that any fool can write with a superior attitude, withhout knowing what's really going on.

You are right, there's a huge amount of disinformation out there (much of it is probably well-intentioned, though some is definitely propaganda). On the other hand I'd be very cautious about the statistics being thrown around. Do you genuinely believe a million people are starving to death here? I believe there probably is some uncomfortably high number of malnourished people due to poverty, but starving to death? No. How's this any different than misusing 'racism' and 'fascism'? Perhaps reading websites of excited Turkish youth is affecting your abilities also?

I can remember as early as 1970 or so, and there was some sort of political violence here in pretty much all of those 37 years except maybe for a couple of years around 73-74 and 81-82 (for obvious reasons). I don't count the inactive period of the PKK after '99 as peaceful, because it was obvious they were still there. Organized/sustained violence here always has some kind of social context (poverty, inequality, repression, whatever), a geo-political context (cold war, whatever the hell is up with Iraq) and comes with a plausible story that ties it to internal power-struggles (the army shifts left/right, the populace/parliament leans left/right or gets religious etc.). Simplistic analyses that attribute strife/violence solely to one of those factors are not only likely to be false but are also likely to be the product of the same kind of disinformation you are complaining about. So I'd be cautious about jumping to conclusions. This is not an easy country to figure out get properly informed about. I was born and raised here but I probably couldn't tell you much more than what you can already see (though perhaps I'd be skeptical of more theories than you would be).

Geert,

I know what Hans is telling here: why can a country not evolve into a country where wealth, prosperity, happiness etc. is there for everybody. Simple because it still has a hybrid regime.

Perhaps the causation goes the other way? Perhaps it is not as simple as you seem to be convinced it is?

Dear Bulent, yes, you make sense, but do you know in what kind of conditions the Netherlands was until the mid fifties? And now 44.000 USD by C. While Turkey, with once a great leader is still struggling to survive...

Yeah but the Dutch had the institutions of modern capitalism already established and had the kind of populace/culture to use them effectively. It would be a gross mistake to take post WW-II poverty in Western European nation-states and compare it to the conditions in post WW-I Turkey. The treaty of Westphalia didn't happen here, nor did it really affect us to any large extent. Ditto for the industrial revolution and the kind of structures (including educational institutions) that arised from/supported it. We entered the 20th century as a multi-ethnic land empire that didn't quite know which way to swing to save itself. The crude nationalism everybody is uneasy about is one of the results of the effort to crate a cohesive nation-state. This is obvious, no?

I was going to nitpick, wasn't I? This is already long enough, so I'll be brief. Both the diplomat example and the Alevi example are flawed. If Turkish diplomats could appear in the headlines of the local papers in the US like the American ones can do here in Turkey they probably wouldn't resort to writing letters to various editors. This is what we are paying the diplomatic corps to do, and it appears they did their job in that case. As for the Alevis I can understand why they are sensitive. Do you guys know what kind of historic experience they have had in Turkey? Here are a few hints both from the Ottoman times, and recent history. (You might also want to ask the Turks around you about the despicable propaganda against Alevi customs in Turkey, I will not repeat it here.) I'll point out that the (Jewish) Anti Defamation League is just as vigilant in the US but they manage suppress the broadcast of material they deem offensive w/o it becoming news.

These are not minor details. In every over-reaction there's a bit of respectable reason that needs to be understood. If you wish to understand this country it is absolutely essential that you drop any cultural conviction about the 'right' way of governance (ie what's popular in W. Europe now), the 'right' social organization (ie what's going on in W. Europe now) and the 'right' balance between individual liberty and collective coercion (ie, oh never mind).

If people claim they experience 'racism' in Europe, instead of denying it it might be a good idea to ask them just what it is they experience. I don't have much experience in continental Europe but just as an anecdote I can tell you that I loved the Danes while spending time in Copenhagen alone, and disliked them while I repeated the experience while speaking Turkish with a bunch of people (they even made us get off at the wrong bus stop and laughed at us!). So it isn't race, obviously, because I am not a chameleon but it isn't like folks were neutral toward Turks either.

Hans A.H.C. de Wit said...

Bulent,
If there are only 10 people out there, whom doesn't have the energy, motivation, or ability to get a job, we have to take care about them. Or not?
Like what we are doing with the 400.000 Turkish society in the Netherlands. We dont give up.
Telling me that. Turkey is not an easy country, I fully agree. Therefore more and more foreigners are leaving.
Turkey is the most xenophobe country I llived in.
Waiting on some mote nitpicks..))
Regards

Bulent Murtezaoglu said...

Hans,

This was your assertion:

20% of the Turkish population lives below poverty line, Some around 1 million are starving to death.

To which I said:

Do you genuinely believe a million people are starving to death here? I believe there probably is some uncomfortably high number of malnourished people due to poverty, but starving to death? No.

Only to see the goalposts get moved on me:

If there are only 10 people out there, whom doesn't have the energy, motivation, or ability to get a job, we have to take care about them. Or not?

So what do you expect me to say? Am I expected to say that we should just let the less fortunate starve, or perhaps we should hasten their demise? Huh? Is there a point to all this? If so, what is it?

I don't know about the specifics of the Dutch programs for helping the Turks, but the vague general thinking here is that you go to Western Europe to sit on your behind and get paid by the government and the US to work your ass off. Just be careful that you don't pay the people to just live in their closed ghettoized sub-societies and get radicalized.

Somebody ought to do a study on how much funding from Western European welfare states is indirectly behind the resurgence of political Islam in Turkey. Even the Caliph of Colonge was receiving social benefits in Germany. (See the end of the article I linked.)

I'm genuinely curious about the specifics of the xenophobia you have personally experienced here. Are people bothering you in your workplace? On the street? When you are socializing? Is it something you personally feel in your daily life or is it just the increasingly nationalistic atmosphere and rhetoric that's bothering you?

Bulent Murtezaoglu said...

Might as well add this. I said:

Is it something you personally feel in your daily life or is it just the increasingly nationalistic atmosphere and rhetoric that's bothering you?

Here's another blogger who's relatively new to the country and who seems to have a different take about the flag-waving nationalism on the streets here (at least as far as the general feeling goes). Maybe it is because she's an American? I chatted about this a tiny bit with the Carpetblogger also.

Sean Jeating said...

Now this is / could become a good discussion, Hans.
Wish we could sit together and delve into this complex matter.

Bulent,
to cut a long com(pli)ment short: Inanilmaz. Chapeau!

And now for something completely different. :)

Hans,
I am very curious to learn about your Christmas dinner with Fethullah Gülen's best TDN- mouthpiece. :)

The Peace of the Night!

Hans A.H.C. de Wit said...

Bulent, will reat later, I am ill.
No SEan, had to postphone it due to that reason...

Bulent Murtezaoglu said...

Heh, I dunno if I should call it a 'lucky' guess because the underlying story and history is revolting, but I was right about the Alevi sensitivities. I quote here:

Some 20,000 members of a Muslim branch have demonstrated in the German city of Cologne against an episode of a popular television series linking the group to incest. Last week's episode of the "Tatort" detective series showed the father of an Alevi family committing incest.

The moderate Alevi Muslim community says the episode perpetuates old prejudices. Over the centuries Sunny[sic] Muslims have accused Alevis of incest because they include women and children in their religious rituals.


Now you know what kind of stuff I meant when I said "despicable propaganda against Alevi customs in Turkey."

And, oh, Hans, we can bicker some other time so no worries. Hope you feel better soon.

Hans A.H.C. de Wit said...

Dear Bulent,
One of the advantages of being sick is that you are able of reading a lot..))
yes, maybe 'starving to death' is an over reaction but it doesn't take away that there is a lot of poverty in Turkey.
About Dutch programs: these includes extra money for children, language and culture courses for free, social assistance on each level, interpreters etc.
The perception to sit on your 'behind' as you stated is indeed the common perception and therefore we have now to deal in West Europe with an inblanced situation. Regarding Turkish people in the Netherlands: I know quite some people there who 'made it'. And choose the netherlands as theirr home country. But the first immigrants who helped building the welfare state still feel not at home.
Yes Sean, when are you coming to Turkey?..))
regards