Sunday, April 22, 2007

Turkey at a Crossroads, as Always

From Znet:

“Turkey is always at a crossroads,” I said. “That’s what we have been reading in the newspapers in Turkey and in the West for years now. It seems it is convenient to stay at a crossroads.”

There is no choice but to take the road to EU integration, he insisted. It is the only way to bring freedom of expression, minority rights and democracy to Turkey. For Turkish-Armenians, too, it is crucial. “There are people in this country who—if given the chance—would slaughter us again,” he told me.

This was in June 2005 in Istanbul.

On Jan. 19, 2007, I woke up from a phone call from Turkey. “It is all over Turkish TV,” I was told. “They killed him.”
Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was slaughtered in front of the editorial offices of his newspaper Agos. He had met one of the people who was “given the chance” and acted upon it.

Three months have passed since Dink’s murder, and—you guessed it—the country is still at a crossroads. I talked about today’s Turkey with Amberin Zaman, Turkey correspondent for The Economist.

“Even I, as a journalist, have to measure my words very very carefully, because I don’t know when some extremist will consider what I said to be ‘insulting Turkishness’ and take me to court on that,” Zaman says in this interview. “ It’s a very nefarious, poisonous atmosphere that we live in today,
and all the more so because we really can’t pinpoint where the danger is coming from. And what’s really obscene about it is that these people use Turkish law to attack intellectuals,” she adds.

Full story

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