Flight of the Turk
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan left Denmark in a huff on Tuesday. He had differences with Prime Minister Rasmussen of that country on the issues of press freedom and terrorism. Erdogan complained that a member of the PKK was to be allowed access to his press conference as a reporter. Rasmussen responded that he was unable to do anything because the matter was now before the court.
Then, adding umbrage to his huff, Erdogan took a swipe at the Jyllands-Postern newspaper on the famous cartoon issue.
Rasmussen: Freedom of expression in Denmark is at an advanced level. If you are uncomfortable, take the issue before the courts.
Erdogan: Muslims do not insult any of the prophets; we do not tolerate any insults by others in this regard either. We demand equal respect for our prophets and holy figures.
I'm not sure about the word "equal" on Erdogan's part. Do the Danes demand respect for the prophets? Are Muslim prophets, aside from Mohammed and Jesus, different than those in the Old Testament? Do Muslims, on the whole, really respect Jesus? Do Muslims punish or restrain those Muslims who offer insults to Jesus or the "holy figures" honored by the Danes? Such a short phrase to leave me so puzzled.
It seems to me that the present administration of Turkey will be unable to attain any kind of rapprochement with the EU if it continues to put pride before diplomacy. It's too easy to make him look silly. I guess he's playing to the home crowd. I'm also a little puzzled that the Turks are so vehemently opposed to terrorism, yet they took steps to protect the state terrorism in Iraq, blocking the US from a vital path of access.
11/26/2005 12:59 AM