Two new Turkey articles…back after four days in Bursa…a wind-seeking village…
Istanbul-I’m back home after four days working on an alternative energy story in Turkey’s western province of Bursa. That story is forthcoming.
While I was there, EurasiaNet.org and business new europe published stories by me:
Not too long ago, when the military acted as the enforcer of a rigidly secular system, a politician in Turkey could be punished merely for reciting religious poetry. Now, with the military’s influence waning and moderate Islamists firmly in charge of the machinery of state, government agencies are trying to punish a cartoonist, Bahadir Baruter, for blasphemy.
While this piece focused on the strange case of cartoonist Bahdir Baruter, I also wanted to make the point that the West, in particular, needs to focus on how it views Muslim countries.
This is made all the more important as many countries overturning dictatorships as part of the Arab Spring are viewing Turkey as a kind of model for Muslim democracy. Islam is a force that the world needs to become more familiar with and view less as a threat and more of culture that will need to be recognized further and learned about.
The EU’s 2011 progress report on Turkey highlighted concerns over a growing energy dispute with Greek Cyprus and comes at a low-point for Turkey-EU relations. Riding a wave of popularity as the Arab Spring struggles on, Turkey is increasingly throwing its weight around the region – a hero to some, but a bully to others.