Thursday, October 12, 2006


Baseball Bat
Originally uploaded by Meighan.
I took some lessons in management studies during my time at university. On the course on negotiation skills they stressed the importance of trying to build a common ground if you are about to suggest tough measures. I also remember from my studies on rhetorics that if you wish to persuade someone to join your side, you should stress the similarities.

Well, it seems clear that a lot of French politicians did not attend the same lessons. Today's decision to introduce a law banning the rejection of the Armenian massacre is a scary and irresponsible example of how another country in a delicate position is used as a tool for domestic politics. Without victimising Turkey, it also shows how difficult the so-called European project is especially when national politicians escape responsibility for difficult European decisions. I have a terrible feeling that once again someone innocent gets killed for something someone said and the bullshitty notion of a clash of civilisations gets more supporters.

We organised a few weeks back a journalistic conference in Istanbul and a lot of people commented afterwards that even if they only saw the Golden Horn and the European side of Istanbul, their view on Turkey is now far more multi-dimensional. At the same time my parents were for the first time in Turkey and told me that they loved it and their view on the country changed tremendously. I recognise that there are problems and a substantial need for progress but I fear that these kind of incidents are once again used for strengthening the idea that the entire country lives in a parallel universe to ours.

I am disappointed in the lack of responsibility and leadership. I feel bad for my friends in Turkey. It makes me angry how spineless opportunists succeed and how little most leaders trust the judgement of their people. What should one do? I am quite sure that legislating opinions is not the right way. It definitely does not encourage change for the better. Especially if it is on something in another country.

No comments: