Essay / Politics

WSJ.com – The Sick Man of Europe — Again

WSJ.com – The Sick Man of Europe — Again: “Turkey could easily become just another second-rate country: small-minded, paranoid, marginal and — how could it be otherwise? — friendless in America and unwelcome in Europe.”I cannot understand the anti-Turk bias in some of our media. I hardly ever read a good story about Turkey. Americans are right to condemn things in Turkish culture and politics we dislike, but there is hardly ever balance. As one of the few fairly functional republics in the area and a faithful friend of the USA, Turkey should be given help in addition to condemnation. Turkey is not heaven on earth. Heaven knows I belong to a Church with no reason to be sanguine about Turkey. I am well aware of religious persecution there. The public approval of horrific anti-Semite material is disgusting. Until the Ecumenical Patriarch can function in the city that his office helped build, then relations with Turkey are bound to be strained. Tough talk and even action amongst friends is fine. However, the Turks are a Republic. They are struggling with deciding a direction and that is messy. Turkey remains a member of NATO who wishes to be part of the European Union. The Turks allow a fairly free press which is messy. They also allow people to vote and Americans will not always like the persons that this ancient and great people choose. That is the right of the sovereign Turkish nation. We must speak up against religious persecution and anti-Semite behavior. Persecution of minorities cannot be tolerated. Still, we must also allow the Turks to find their own way. If I were able to control everything, Constantinople would still be a Christian city and the Turks would be Christian. The good news for everyone is that I am not king of the world! God in His wisdom has not given me my wish that the Turkish people be saved and so I must accept His righteous judgment to allow freedom of choice. The first lesson of the Garden is that God allows people to choose, even choose badly. Sometimes secular Americans sound as if they cannot respect the freedom of the Turks to find their own way. In this sense, conservative religious people of both faiths, who think the other wrong, must allow for religious freedom. We must respect the fact that God has allowed people to be wrong. My Islamic neighbor does me the honor of wishing me to be Moslem and so long as he allows me to return the favor, and everyone is allowed basic human rights and the right to vote, then all will be well. Until the Turks are Christian, we should pray that they are the sort of thoughtful Moslem who allowed Christians to live in peace for centuries in their lands. We must not impose an American solution on the Turkish Republic so long as they forsake genocide and allow minorities rights. At least officially, Turkey is committed to such a good path. We should work with the folk committed to such a republic. Turkey wishes, rightly I think, to integrate religion into life. They know that secularism is a false god that has failed Western Europe. Islam needs a reformation and I have Islamic collegues who claim this is possible. They should be encouraged and believed until we are sure they are wrong. We will not help Turkey by urging them to become France. Instead, we should begin to promote sensible Islamic persons who can lead Islam into a better political course than the heretics and madmen who lead the terrorist groups. Turkey has been a faithful ally to the U.S. They are trying to decide what path to follow. Let’s encourage Turkey, and her new neighbor Iraq, to become free, religious, pluralistic states.

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