About two weeks ago, after the election in Turkey, there were some news articles in local Israeli papers about it, and about the responses by the Jewish community in Turkey.
I found a particular article (Hebrew only, sorry) by Ynet especially amusing, though I’m not sure whether the credit belongs to bad reporting, or an actual interviewee who doesn’t pay attention to what comes out of her mouth.
Large parts of the article contain some statements by someone identified as “Rachel” from the Jewish community in Istanbul. The article doesn’t explicitly say it, but the overall impression is that she is supposed to be representative of the opinions of the Jewish community.
She is not happy with the results of the election, and is concerned about the growing power of the Islamic party, AKP (Justice and Development Party).
There are many interesting, and problematical, things in her statements. But the one that really got my attention was the complaint that the power of the Islamic party rises because of the failure of the secular school education.
Specifically (rough translation by me):
After many years of secular education in schools, if these are the results – it’s not certain it succeeded. Apparently the education the youth get at home is stronger than the secular education system.
Think about that for a moment, considering the source.
This is amusing on two fronts.
The lesser one is that, well, the AKP party isn’t a strictly hard-religious party. A large amount of their voters chose it for other reasons entirely.
The main was is, well, that this statement was made by someone from the Jewish community is a non-Jewish country. The mere fact that there is a Jewish community there, that the young adults in their community are Jewish, is a clear indication that the secular public eduction did not entirely overcome the religious home education.
And she complains about it. She says that she wants good secular education that will rid the pupils of any religious ideas they had from home.
Anyone wants to guess what will happen to her own community if that happens? Do you think she’ll be happy about it?
Some other minor nitpicking of the article:
The AKP has done a pretty good job for Turkey, both economically and diplomatically, so far. Most of the articles I saw here tend to gloss over that fact, and to overemphasize the Islamic parts of its agenda.
As a sign of how the AKP really does push the Islamic agenda, Rachel tells us she read that in recent years the number of mosques in Turkey has grown and is now maybe larger than the number of schools. She is concerned. Nobody mentions that a mosque serves a lot less people than a school. Or that, for example, Israel has a lot more Temples than schools as well. Or, well, where exactly she read that and what are the real numbers.
Rachel is also concerned because she noticed in recent years that many more business are buying products from local Muslim sellers. Obviously there is no mention of things like maybe the lower cost of local products, possibly the increasing quality of local products that makes them relatively more attractive than they were in the past, or that maybe the point is that people are buying local and not that they’re buying Muslim. All over the world you hear of people complaining about imports and saying that other people should buy more local products, but here, on the cases it’s noticeable, we’re suddenly supposed to see it as a problematic indication of the rise of Islamic tendencies?
There is also no big change here. The AKP has been growing steadily for the past few elections. This is not a surprise, or extreme (at least so far), Islamic wave which is taking the country by a storm. Yet the article explicitly refers to “An Islamic Revolution”.
Rachel also believes that the work by the AKP to improve relations between Turkey and the EU, or attempts to join the EU, are done only for “political reasons” and nobody else cares about it. According to her most people think it won’t noticeably improve the people’s quality of life. No explanation on why she claims they think it will have no socio-economic impact. No explanation on what the hidden agenda of the AKP is supposed to be here if they don’t really think it will benefit Turkey.
And so on and so forth. Fun reading.---
- Heck, considering the full things they, and the other parties there, stand for, I think that if I lived in Turkey I’d have voted for them myself. And I’m not exactly a huge fan of how Islam looks like these days.[back]
- Which I guess means Turkey is still way ahead of us in being a secular country.[back]
- Yes, for some reason a lot of the article focuses on what Rachel has to say.[back]
- instead of importing them is implied, especially as the example is seeing a lot of “Cola Turka” instead of “Coca Cola”. Personally I fail to believe soft-drinks are a religious experience, but that may just be me.[back]