One of the main obstacles to Turkey’s longstanding ambitions to join the European Union is the bigoted mindset that influences a particular segment of the Muslim world. However, a distinction needs to be made; Turkish people have a modern and democratic nature that proceeds down the path drawn by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of secular Turkey, and that is opposed to fundamentalist and backward ideas. Turks love modern life, make use of all the delights provided by art and science, and are exceedingly open-minded. It is therefore a serious mistake to think of and classify Turks as bigots.
Bigotry is an outdated philosophy of life that rejects the novelties bestowed by modern life and indoctrinates people with a dark and primitive lifestyle. Bigots are opposed to art, science, beauty and technology. All forms of pleasure, such as laughter, having fun, listening to music, singing, eating delicious food and drink and dressing well are unacceptable to them. It is, of course, out of the question to expect the EU to admit people with such a mindset and allow them to move around freely on European soil because Europeans value the very things that the bigots prohibit and they are delighted to make them part of their lives. And after all, it is these values that make them Europeans in the first place.
European nations attach great importance to science, beauty and art. Branches of art such as opera, dance, music, sculpture and painting are very popular in Europe. Almost all European cities have concert halls, art galleries, cultural and artistic centers, statues in public squares and paintings in different styles in homes and workplaces. In short, Europeans are very keen on, and delight in, all spheres of art.
According to the bigots, however, almost all branches of art are evil and must therefore be banned. They reject not just art, but almost all the beauties bestowed by modern life, so much so that they regard a great many customs and elements of life in European culture, such as using toothbrushes, sitting on chairs to eat, using perfume, ladies wearing make-up and dressing nicely and men wearing ties and shaving, as repellent and forbidden.
In fact, their fanatical outlook is not only hostile to Europe, but to the entire modern world; America or Japan, it makes no difference to them. Their outmoded and oppressive philosophy of life has made them loveless and twisted people, who have little to share with others, and with little social understanding. They live devoid of any kindness, charm or grace. They take no pleasure in most of the joys of this world.
They regard women as totally second-class citizens and put enormous pressure on them. They therefore attempt to make them cover themselves up as much as possible, even their faces. The real reason why they do this is that they regard women as agents of the devil. For that reason, they think that women must be constantly repressed. The bigot regards women as very dangerous beings that are always trying to lead men astray. The underlying reason for this is that they have no will-power of their own. Instead of enjoying the sight of an elegant and attractive lady, they stare at her in a wild and animalistic fashion and harass her. The underlying problem is that they simply do not know how to enjoy beauty; since they are ignorant of this, they never hesitate to regard everything outside their own nostrums as ugly and forbidden.
There are many sources of happiness and pleasure in life. People want to be joyful and to smile and have fun. Artistic activities, good food, pleasant conversation and everything that looks beautiful delight people and make them happy. It is pointless, irrational and illogical to ban such delights. A life devoid of art, beauty, songs, paintings or dance is colorless and depressing. People want to live in bright, well-maintained places where they can have fun, not in depressing ones. In the same way that civilized people attach importance to their own personal cleanliness, so they also want people around them to be clean and well-groomed. But the life proposed by the bigots is the exact opposite of that. They prefer to live in poorly maintained homes, wear dirty clothes, take no care about their personal hygiene, enjoy no social activities and dwell in an environment filled with other introverted types.
Of course this bigoted mindset has no place in the EU. It has no place among people anywhere who live in a civilized manner and enjoy doing so. However, Europeans must not fall into the error of thinking that the entire Muslim world is somehow monolithic. In Turkey, for example, most people live very civilized and modern lives. Most ladies do not cover their heads. There are any numbers of cinemas, concert halls, fine restaurants, museums of art and science and other such social spaces. Tens of thousands of tourists flock to Turkey every year and enjoy their holidays free of any such prohibitions. In other words, it is wrong to regard Turkey as a place full of bigots. Indeed, there are many Europeans who come here harboring prejudices, but who then come to realize that these are unfounded and end up liking Turkey a great deal.
To summarize, it is true that there are bigots in Turkey who sometimes raise their voices but the Turkish people in general are opposed to that perspective, and the number of people thinking along those lines is decreasing by the day. The bigoted mindset will lose all influence in Turkey, and even in the rest of the world, in the next five to ten years because when all is said and done, people will always choose to live with reason, logic, art, beauty and happiness.2013-04-17 21:06:13