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Turkish Society in the US

By Mehmet UCA

Points:

In this and hopefuly following issues we will try to write our impressions of the developing Turkish Society in the USA with respect to its own growth and its interaction with the large society back in Turkey.


Two roles of the educated Turkish Citizens Abroad:

1. For all the obvious reasons; to represent him/herself properly in a way that a positive image of a Turkish-American is created and or maintaned.

2. The second role has to do with interaction with the Turkish Society in large, when you write an article or an essay, you usually have a purpose, and this purpose may be personal or societal the societal purpose is usually loaded with assumptions with respect to the "For the Goodness" of the society, and the value system that is assumed as valid.

Upholding one system of values against another is subjective. And if and only if a consensus is achieved at a particular time in history, for the ideas that constitute the subject matter of that consensus, one can relatively free himself and discuss certain "value system" as desirable.

The value system that we assume as desireable by the Turkish Society at large is, that of "Respect to Human Rights and Democracy". Is this the right assumption? We are not quite sure. I think it was never tested. According to our obvervation Turkey has never had a political party that uphold human rights and democracy over and above all other political values and institutions (except may be bor the shortlived "Yeni Demokrasi Hareketi (New Democracy Movement).

Occasional adherence by certain political parties to the above, has been observed mostly when it served, their occasional goals. Examples are many. However, we think these are quite redundant to the students of Turkish Society.

THEREFORE, REGARDLESS OF ITS SUBJECTIVITY AT THIS CONJUCTURE, WE WILL

ASSUME THAT, THE PEOPLE OF TURKEY AIM AT LIVING IN A SOCIETY THAT

RESPECTS HUMAN RIGHTS AND HAS DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS.

Therefore, regardless of its subjectivity as this conjucture, we will assume that, the people of Turkey aim at living in a society that respects human rights and has democratic political institutions.

The Turkish System viewed from here seems to lack some important elements of the above uphold values. It is our subjective preference that, the educated Turkish citizens, openly and constructively critisize the political apparatus as it stands and continuously indicate various ways of improvement.

They cannot get involved in the daily political discussions the way individuals from within the country do (and should do), however, when an opportunity arises that is symbolic of the non-humane, or less democratic actions or policies, I think, that, they should openly discuss and explain their thoughts. And to me this is the second important task of educated Turks living abroad.

The fact that we are out of the country and that this publication is put on the Internet for every indivudual to read does not make critisizing "subversive".

Remember the famous Turkish saying on the "broken arm and the sleeve". The sleeve is much wider now than it used to be, and as long as you think you are part of the body, you should have the right to indicate the status of the arm.

 

New York, September 12, 2000

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