Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Turkey and Pork

As Her Majesty the Queen lays a wreath at at the tomb of Kemal Attaturk, the founder of modern ‘secular’ Turkey, she could be forgiven for failing to notice that there is something of a constitutional crisis going on.

The Turkish constitution separates religion from party politics in order to preserve democracy. But Prime Minister Erdoğan has abused this separation, evidenced primarily in the erosion of the distinction between religious and secular public education. He has also embarked on a programme of obligatory retirement of thousands of secular judges - which amounts to those who dared to question his interpretation of the constitution - and replaced them with AKP apparatchiks. He also has instituted an interview process - controlled by party loyalists - designed to evaluate government technocrats on the basis of religiosity rather than merit. Turkish Air employees, for example, have even been questioned on their belief in the Qur’an.

Prime Minister Erdoğan also displays unprecedented (in Turkey) hostility towards the press. He has sued dozens of journalists and editors, and has confiscated whole newspapers - such as Sabah, the national daily - which he deemed too critical or independent, and transferred their control to political allies. Journalists such as Vatan's Can Ataklı and Reha Muhtar, television commentator Nihat Genç, Sky Turk's Serdar Akinan, and Kanal Türk's Tuncay Özkan are now under fire either for their own criticism or, in the case of the television announcers, for their guests' criticism of the ruling party.

Prime Minister Erdoğan has treated courts, both international and domestic, with disdain. After the European Court of Human Rights decided against permitting headscarves in Turkish universities, he declared that ‘only ulama (Islamic religious scholars) could’ issue such a judgment. In several instances, Erdoğan has refused to uphold the Supreme Court's decisions when it ruled against the AKP's confiscation of political opponents' property. In a moment reminiscent of Henry II, a follower gunned down a justice after the prime minister launched a fusillade against the Court.

If all this were deemed insufficient evidence of a distinct agenda, it is reported that the nation’s pork farmers and butchers are being singled out for special treatment, all in the name of EU harmonisation.

Eating pork, which is of course forbidden in Islam, became very popular in secular high society. But ‘religious dictates have begun creeping into their lives since a government led by devout Muslims took power’. Turkey's pork industry is now ‘on the brink of extinction’ as Christians ‘have long since left or been forced out’.

Butchers are being prevented from slaughtering pigs by the Agriculture Ministry, which is simply refusing to renew abattoir licences because they ‘do not meet strict new regulations’. And curiously, it is only the slaughter houses that deal with pork which are failing: those that deal with beef, chicken or lamb are passing with flying colours.

And one butcher confides that ‘none of us dares speak out’ because ‘it's all about Islam’.

He says: ‘Most people are more religious these days. They don't want to eat pork, and they don't let others produce it either.’ And another reveals: ‘The government doesn't announce out loud that it has banned the pig farms, but at the end of the day, that's what's happened here. They're trying to send a message to their religious constituents.’

Ironically, this is all ‘to bring Turkey up to European standards’ of Enlightenment.

And the affirmation of Her Majesty is just the sort of high-level and prestigious support Prime Minister Erdoğan has sought for his quest to join the EU.

Cranmer hopes they enjoy their state banquet. Doubtless pork chops shall not be on the menu.


Blogger The Heresiarch said...

Strange how none of these facts have troubled the BBC's coverage of Turkish politics of late, isn't it? We have all been given to understand that the AKP is a moderate, progressive force completely in tune with the best European liberal traditions, and it's the evil secularists who stand in the way of Turkish modernisation. The business about Turkish Airlines is particularly strange.

The BBC is today reporting that the Queen will be showing her solidarity with the Islamists by wearing a headscarf - in violation of Turkish law! - thus showing how keen the British government is on Turkey joining the EU. I never thought I'd say it, but thank God for the French.

13 May 2008 at 10:39  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Heresiarch,

Credit where it is due.

His Grace links to his news source:

..it is *reported* that the nation’s pork farmers and butchers...

and this source is indeed the BBC.

13 May 2008 at 10:46  
Blogger The Heresiarch said...

L'exception qui confirme la règle, no doubt.

13 May 2008 at 11:08  
Anonymous some bloke said...

Your Grace

"Ironically, this is all ‘to bring Turkey up to European standards’ of Enlightenment.

Is not the Turkish Administration doing exactly what ours do in the interests of European Harmony thereby blaming the EU for unpopular measures ?

Overseas Students from various Moslem countries ( studying here ) frequent my local snooker hall; one expressed his outrage and disgust at being served pork in the 'beefburger ' that he had ordered.
Upon being offered compensation for this insult to his faith he asked for 2 pints of lager. Surely some mistake.

More seriously I am broadly in favour of Turkey joining the EU ( since we seem stuck with it ) but would not be if it became a fully Islamic State.

13 May 2008 at 12:09  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

"More seriously I am broadly in favour of Turkey joining the EU ( since we seem stuck with it ) but would not be if it became a fully Islamic State."

Oh I think there may be a distinct trend in that direction..

"Prime Minister Erdoğan also displays unprecedented (in Turkey) hostility towards the press. He has sued dozens of journalists and editors, and has confiscated whole newspapers"

The so-called progressivists would love that kind of power. No wonder they want Turkey in the "EU".

Turkish membership of the EU has got to be one of the worst, most masochistically stupid things the EU has ever tried to do. And that's up against stiff competition.

13 May 2008 at 12:39  
Anonymous mickey said...

Ataturk may have been a secularist, but he was also an ultra-nationalist who believed in the absolute 'Turkification' of his homeland. And he could be ruthless in pursuit of this goal, as the 200,000 Christians at Smyrna found to their cost.

Am I alone in finding it pretty distasteful that our Queen should be imposed upon (probably by the scheming Mileband) to lay a wreath on his tomb?

Incidentally, the trial of the Christian missionary murderers continues in Malatya. However, as it is all but invisible in the media, don't be too surprised if the killers get off with the bare minimum tariff.

13 May 2008 at 12:48  
Anonymous Rosemary said...

We are reaping the results of decades of blindly pro-Greek bias: Turks both want to get into the EU and feel furious at the unfair way they were treated by the EU all those years before they reverted to Islamism.

13 May 2008 at 13:06  
Anonymous yorkshireman said...

O/T, I am planning to resume Turkish evening classes this autumn.

Can Your Grace put me wise on how to produce soft g (as in Erdogan) on a Western keyboard? I can get most of the Turkish font via alt+ but not this one (or sedillated s).

Much obliged.

By way of a substantive contribution, I agree that La Belle France will make sure Turkish accession goes firmly on the spike, not just because their Muslim population has reached saturation point but because they are rather assiduous at defending the jobs of les citoyens.

13 May 2008 at 13:33  
Anonymous yorkshireman said...

mickey: "...as the 200,000 Christians at Smyrna found to their cost..."

I don't normally like to wield the "tu quoque" fallacy, but this was something of a two-way street. See Bruce Clark, "Twice a Stranger".

13 May 2008 at 13:58  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...


The accented g (ĝ or ğ )is available through MS Word Insert- Symbol. You can copy and paste it into other documents.

Will this help?

On the more general issue of Turkey and Ataturk, I was moved by Ataturk's tribute to British, Australian and New Zealand Forces at Gallipoli

"Those heroes that shed their blood
and lost their lives... You are
now lying in the soil of a friendly
country. Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the
Johnnies and Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in
this country of ours... You, the
mothers, who sent their sons from
faraway countries wipe away your
tears; Your sons are now lying in
our bosom and are in peace. After
having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.
Kemal Atatürk"

The Turkish Army are the guardians of Ataturk's legacy. So they will be watching the progress of islamisation with a critical eye...

13 May 2008 at 17:18  
Anonymous mickey said...

Yorkshireman & Rosemary,

Don't you ever wonder why there are so few Christians in Turkey?

If Turkey has been a 'secular' country since its post Ottoman formation, then how come it has virtually no religious minorities?

This link may tell you more about the reality of what drives 'secular' turkey and its 'guardians' in the army - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_state

13 May 2008 at 20:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the current vogue for anti-colonialism and returning cultural artifacts to their creators; might Her Majesty make representations to the Turks for the return of Hagia Sofia to Christendom ?


After all, it was a Christian edifice for a thousand years before the colonialist Turks overan it as recently as 1453.

Indeed, since the Turkish state no longer requires it as their Capital, may we not also expect the return of Byzantium/Constantinople itself ?

13 May 2008 at 23:43  

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