Tuesday, February 08, 2005

More about headgear

Tuesday (1 Feb): on French TV, Fadéla Amara leader of the movement Ni putes, ni soumises (neither whoredom, nor submission). More here in French. The remarks of Pierre Tévanian in lmsi seem a little unfair.
Note: le beur = young man born in France, of North African immigrant parents; la beurrette is the same in the feminine.

Excited debate in the French National Assembly about Poland. I didn't quite grasp what it was all about and I have not seen any more since.

Wednesday (2 Feb): I started watching a CNN interview with Victor Yuschenko, but switched over in their interval to something on French TV and stayed with that. This was a programme about Turkey, Islam and Europe. This is the sort of discussion programme we don't get much of in the UK. Apart from Michel Rocard, they had several people who had written books in some ways related to the subject - in fact, including Michel Rocard who's also got a book out. Alongside Rocard, speaking in favour of Turkey's accession to the EU, was a 'Franco-Turk'.

Those against were the familiar combination of feminists and secularists with conservatives and 'isolationists' (for want of a better word). Does Europe want a border with Iran, Iraq etc.? Wouldn't Turkey be a Trojan horse for Britain & America? And so on. Alain Minc has warned against the EU expanding so far that it becomes a 'regional subsidiary of UN' (Le Monde, 1-2 Feb). The obvious difference is that the EU demands certain standards of democracy and human rights.

One woman spoke about Turkey having an Islamist government, citing the FT from early December. If this was referring to a long article by Vincent Boland, 'Eastern Premise', in the Magazine of 4 Dec, I thought that was quite favourable towards Turkey and Erdogan. Another point brought up was that Turkey's Prime Minister sends his daughters abroad so that they can do their studies veiled (see my post from October for this and other issues that keep being brought up). What does this in fact reveal? That Turkey has a secular state where, like in France, there are bans on the wearing of headscarves, but that as a matter of personal choice Erdogan prefers to send his daughters where they can wear headscarves. Of the girls' preference in the matter we are not told.

The core issue in my opinion is, what would Turkey do, if denied entry to the EU?  I suspect that, for many people, the answer is, we don't care.

Since I last wrote about Turkey, there has been a bit of serious notice taken in the UK (see here), in response to an article by Prof. Hans-Ulrich Wehler. This 'has some unfortunate historical echoes: “Das Türkenproblem” '.

Going back to France, politicians there fall into a grid of all the possible combinations from 'oui-oui' (yes to the constitution, yes to Turkey) to 'non-non' (Le Monde, 1-2 Feb, again).

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