Episode Information

Looking at Turkey
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
Share this Content

In this episode:

Discussing the politics and economy of the nation


Episode Audio

52:00 minutes (24.96 MB)
Download this Episode

Marcie J. Patton, Associate Professor of Politics at Fairfield University: Photo by Melissa BlanksteenMarcie J. Patton, Associate Professor of Politics at Fairfield University: Photo by Melissa Blanksteen
With it's military incursions into Iraq to battle Kurdish forces - and it's controversial bid to join the European Union, Turkey is at the center of many foreign-policy discussions here in the US. It's a country that struggles internally with it's ethnic divides - and one whose people are the subject of ethnic frictions elsewhere in Europe.

It features complicated politics - as it simultaneously looks to adjust it's image to Western tastes - while worrying about a population has has it's own strong identity of Turkishness.

Earlier this year - a US congressional declaration about Turkey and the Armenian genocide chilled relations between the countries - who straddle another fence between ally and adversary.

Today, where we live, an exploration of Turkey - it's history and current place in the world. Turkey's been in the news a lot recently: they're bombing Iraq, struggling to join the European Union, and working on relations with the U.S. We're continuing our occasional series looking at foreign nations in the news today with a discussion about Turkey with Fairfield University Professor Marcie Patton and NPR's Istanbul correspondent Ivan Watson.

To see pictures of Where We Live's in-studio guests, please go to ourFlickr

If you have questions or comments for us, send us an email at wherewelive@wnpr.org.

Suggestions, questions or comments? Add them below!

Related Content:
Links for this Episode:

turkish secularism

I am a Connecticut native who lives in Turkey.

I think it's helpful to make some clarifications about the nature of Turkish secularism, which is very different from its western counterparts.

In Turkey, secularism isn't about separation of the spheres of religion and government. Rather, it refers to the government's control of all aspects of religious life in Turkey. Islam still is, in effect, the state religion. National identity cards carry "Islam" as the religion of every Turkish citizen not born to an ethnic minority. The religious functionaries in every mosque in Turkey are employees of the state; the government pays their salaries and the government writes the weekly sermon to be preached on Friday's in Turkish mosques. Turkish public schools are required to offer "religion" classes, which are classes on Islam. Public schools are forbidden from offering classes on Christianity to Christian students.

This makes a difference in the way that the west interacts with Turkey. I don't think that Turkey simply needs to continue on its road of democratic reform. In order to be a truly democratic country, it will have to embark on an entirely new and different road, one which can guarantee human rights, especially to Turkish Christians.

Sibel Edmonds

I called into the show today and talked a bit about Sibel Edmonds and the Turkish link to an enormous spy ring to smuggle US nuclear secrets out of the US over the past decade. While NPR posted the link to Sibel Edmond's 2004 interview with 60 minutes, it misses the boat by not also linking to the recent (this month) articles in the UK Sunday Times and UK Media Guardian revealing the extent of the plot. Names have also been revealed to include former top US government officials. Please google to the articles (although I've noticed they have disappeared for a general new search on Sibel Edmonds):

"For Sale:West's deadly nuclear secrets" 1/6/08 http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article3137695.e...

"FBI denies file exposing nuclear secrets theft" 1/20/08

"US journalists ignore Sunday Times scoop on FBI nuclear scandal" 1/22/08

"Of Turkish Spies and Other Moles..." 1/22/08

Also see www.bradblog.com