Discussing nationalism and particularly the fascist Turkish group known as the Grey Wolves, Mental Notes from a Feisty Turkish Girl, a blog I wrote about a few days ago, concludes that denial of minority rights in Turkey and the persecution of those who publicly acknowledge the Armenian genocide is the continuation of the latter. 

The blogger also raises the question of Turkish-European identity stating that she herself is very confused:


Well, 99% of Turkish people claim to be Muslim. Most of these people cannot recite anything from the Koran, explain Islamic history or advances in technology nor can they truly explain what secularism is, or even democracy for that matter. I have asked. Secularism in Turkey means there can be no other religion except Islam, but it should be kept to oneself. Completely confusing. Turkish Democracy means secularism.

Authors and journalists like, Orhan Pamuk and Elif Shafak, have been systematically targeted in Turkey simply for speaking their truths. The genocide continues, my friends. Turkey’s only hope for an honest EU membership, is acceptance of the past and the rebuilding of the many burnt bridges. Turkey at this juncture is not ready for the EU. Turkey first needs to accept and protect its own diversity, as the Copenhagen Criteria calls for, before it can even dream of calling itself European, if indeed that is who she really is.

I don’t know about everybody else, but I can say for myself, I am tired of pretending to be European. I don’t even know who I am anymore.

I can relate to the issue of European identity especially when some Armenians militantly proclaim themselves Europeans and other claim the exact opposite. But it becomes more frustrating when “real Europeans” ask you whether you consider yourself European.

Past summer, for example, I met two Dutch visitors in Armenia who asked me whether I considered Armenia part of Europe or Asia. I told them that I refused to answer that question because of its Eurocentric connotation. “European” is unreservedly thought to be “progressive” and “positive” something that reflects the actual cultural oppression of the rest of the world by Europe. The latter often forgets that many of its “inventions” didn’t start in Europe – including much of women’s rights, which started – or were first institutionalized – in some of the Native American communities.

Had the Turkish blogger from Seattle been a nationalist, she would feel better about being European since as Native Americans are Turks, women’s rights come from Turkey! OK just kidding 🙂