Though I am currently in the United States in just a few days I’ll be returning to Turkey. The political climate in Turkey now is extremely interesting. It presents a whole host of competing ideas and philosophies. For anyone interested in political science (which I am admittedly quite an amateur in the field) Turkey has just about anything you could look for. It is a country with an incredibly long history (read Ottoman Empire + thousands of years before that) but yet is still a relatively young republic (1923) that is really just now coming of age in its own policies and freedoms for all of its citizens. I’m sure I’ll write more on this in weeks to come but this morning read an interesting article that demonstrates at least one way that this is taking place.
Just yesterday the Turkish EU Minister, Egemen Bağış, met with Kemal Burkay a Kurdish leader who had been living in exile in Sweden for the past 31 years. Among the reasons he fled his homeland were threats such as “if you publish that newspaper your heads will be cut off.” The conflict was one of ideas but the solution offered was one of physical violence. A society that follows that principle will never be able to provide long-lasting freedoms for its citizens.
It was encouraging to read that Burkay feels the climate is changing for the better for him as a minority. Minister Bağış does not call on people to silence their opposing views but to express them in Parliament and then get involved in the peace process.
Freedoms are not secured by silencing opposing viewpoints. Give them a voice and let the ideas speak for themselves. Let them stand (or fall) on their own weight rather than trying to remove them by force.
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