| 13806 - Réponse de ali137 (turkey) - 2013-05-19 |
What you ask belongs to very touchy questions.
If you ask Turks if they feel being Europeans, they will say: Of course.
(I cannot agree to much of it but it's a basic thing to hear.
It belongs to our national values.
Despite the fact only 3% of Turkey is located in Europe, Turks see themselves as a European country, exactly as France or Great Britain).
Turkey switched to using a Latin alphabete only in 1928. It's not an ancient tradition at all.
It was a part of controversial reforms developed by Turkish leader Ataturk.
My personal conviction is that we've both European and Asian elements in our mentality and life, so we're Eurasian people, not Asian or European.
Coming back to the issue of religious tolerance, i need to stress frankly (i tried to do before but it was a long comment) that, unfortunately, we cannot say this principle is ALWAYS respected in Turkey, because some people are ignorant, some are suspicious, as well as some are political extremists.
It also relies highly on current political situation.
I hope this problem will be regulated in the recent future.
Non-Muslims can serve as state officials, for example.
I'd compare situation in Turkey to that of France, in some way.
Both Turkey and France are officially secular countries.
In France, you cannot be a high state official and preach about your religion, attend public prayer and express your religious feelings in such a way, right. Neither you can teach religion in public school.
And if you're ordinary person who talks openly about religion and faith and tell people you believe in god and so on - many French people won't like it or will argue. Anti-religious attitudes are rather popular in France since the times of the French Revolution - that's what many people (both believers and non-believers) say.
(Some French people even say they can understand those who belong to less traditional religions - Bhuddism, Induiism, or esoteric groups. Probably you've heard that 3d largest religious groups in France are Bhuddists. But as for traditional French Catholic Church, many have hostile feelings to it. Or are close to that.)
And in this viewpoint, France seems to be extra-secular, where traditional religion is socially neglected or even opressed, despite all constitutional freedoms.
In Turkey, of course, secularization is not same as in West. Many people have a free approach to religion but feel attached to it.
But there're traditionalists and modernists, and the society is not as strictly conservative as in Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc.
Plus, hard-line islamists are unlikely to have a mass popularity and the state makes a strict policy towards them.
I mean that, though we've difficulties with human rights in a certain meaning, certain freedom is existing as well, just we cannot compare directly East and West, because both history, mentality and laws are too different.