Thursday, December 13, 2007

Turkey’s Transformation Inevitable, but Anti-Christian and Ultranationalist Mood Gain Force.

13 Dec 2007
International Analyst Network, NY
Source: PanARMENIAN.Net, 29.11.2007
Prof.Dr. Ruben Safrastyan

Turkey’s transformation inevitable, but Anti-Christian and ultranationalist mood gain force.

“As result of European integration process, Kemalism stopped being perceived as the official ideology of the Turkish state,” Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the RA Academy of Sciences, Professor Ruben Safrastyan said during round-table discussions titled “Turkey after presidential elections: constitutional changes and internal transformations.” He reminded that Kemalism used to base on solidity of the Turkish state. But recently, according to him, a European survey showed that 37-38% of Turkish population believes not to be Turks. “Presently, old and new elites (Kemalists and AKP) put up struggle. The main factor of this opposition is the revised Constitution that will be for the first time publicly discussed after official promulgation December 15,” prof. Safrastyan said.

Since 1999, Turkey has been experiencing transformation of public, political and social life of the population, Professor Ruben Safrastyan said. These changes are inevitable, according to him. “Civil society is being formed in Turkey. Independent NGOs are established as result of close cooperation with European organizations. A non-governmental organization is an absolutely new phenomenon for Turkey. Private capital finds place in science and education. Women’s movement, which unites dozens of thousand of women who suffered from Islamic family laws, is gaining force. And the most important factor is the restriction of the military power. The national security council had to restrain activities and this is an advance for Turkey. Ranking the 17th with the GDP index, the state becomes more economically open,” he said.

Prof. Safrastyan noted that all this became possible due to activities of the new middle class, which formed the Justice and Development Party (AKP). “Appearance of AKP is a natural phenomenon of political history of Turkey, which combines the concept of ‘mild’ Islam and market economy. Certainly, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the symbol of this transformation,” he stressed.

In the same time, Anti-Christian and ultranationalist mood gain force in Turkey. This showed up in the killing of Hrant Dink and Catholic priests. It’s not accidental that nationalist NMP came third at the 2007 parliamentary elections,” prof. Ruben Safrastyan said.

“The Armenian issue has again caused Turkey’s headache, for the Armenian Genocide recognition affects the core of Turkish identity. Turkey eyes Armenia’s renunciation of the Genocide recognition as the only way to normalize relations. The rest is a political game. If Armenia makes concessions on the issue, Turkey can even arrive at a favorable decision on the Karabakh conflict,” Professor Ruben Safrastyan said during discussions, touching the problem of Turkish-Armenian relations.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.



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