Turkish Legislators Seeking To Create Islamic Constitution Balk At References To Oscar Wilde

220px-Erdogan_croppedOscar_Wilde_SaronyJust when you thought that Turkey could not get more frightening under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamic parties, you get a story like this one. Turkish lawmakers were debating Erdogan’s effort to adopt an Islamic constitution and further increase his authoritarian powers. A member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) sought to quote Oscar Wilde when members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) objected that they had no idea who Wilde is and thought he was quoting from the Oscar movie awards. When the meaning was made clear, these Erdogan drones objected that it was a reference from a Western source. Of course, as Wilde noted, “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.”

HDP deputy Mithat Sancar was met by confusion from AKP deputies who fulfilled every stereotype of Erdogan’s supporters as religious conservatives with little knowledge of the world or influences outside of Islam. AKP deputy Zeyid Aslan demanded to know “Who is he?” while others tried to figure out about the Oscars have to do with becoming an Islamic state. HDP deputy Burcu Çelik Özkan tried to help out by explaining “It’s Oscar Wilde. He is not an award, he is a man called ‘Oscar Wilde.”

The most chilling comments came from deputies like AKP deputy Halis Dalkılıç who asked “Do you not have any examples from this culture, this civilization?” Of course, “this civilization” is meant to refer to Turkey and Islam to the exclusion of the West. It is the inevitable result of Erdogan’s attack on secular principles and the embrace of Islamic political parties.

It was a telling moment that captured the ignorance and intolerance of these religious parties. After all, you would think that Erdogan would identify with Oscar Wilde’s most famous statement given Erdogan’s gathering of authoritarian powers: “I can resist everything except temptation.”

14 thoughts on “Turkish Legislators Seeking To Create Islamic Constitution Balk At References To Oscar Wilde

  1. Yes Josh, that’s what I thought the article was about.
    But I don’t think this article is fair at all. In fact it reflects our egocentrism. to be “open” is to quote western and preferably english speaking sources….
    If someone in the senate quoted Abu Nuwas, al Mutanabbi or Al Maari, it would not be surprising if another member of congress would joke “can you get us a source we’re a little more familiar with?”. of course it might not be an “enlightened” thing to say, but I hardly would see it as controversial.
    By the way Abu Nuwas is a very famous GAY poet from the 9th century, Al Maari is the most Atheist poet and thinker in human history from about the 10th century, who’s very revered in most arab societies for his poetry, and al mutanabbi is someone who went around joking about revelation by joking that even he was a messenger of god hence his name, which means “the one who claims to be a prophet”. This third one is without a doubt the biggest poet in the arabic language and everyone knows him the way people would know Shakespeare.
    All this to say that this blog tends to exaggerate when it comes to “Islam”. Not always, but very often. As if Mr. Turley had a particular bitterness toward islamic societies. By the way many of the things about Saudi Arabia are true. But one day, I will invite you Mr. Turley, all expenses covered, to Morocco. I’m serious.
    You’ll see things that might surprise you. And I don’t mean, the spicy food, and the “culture”…
    you’ll see that people are normal, and reasonable, and quite open to difference.
    Oh well!

  2. Turkey is a member of NATO. It is depressing and disturbing that we are obligated to defend this theocracy in all but name. And the EU is considering admitting Turkey. The worrld has gone mad. And why is that because no one is ready to make judgments any more, no one. Every view of the world is not equally good for humans. That doesn’t mean we kill everyone we disagree with but we don’t give them arms and weapons and agree to defend them.

    We should support only secular societies an even then we should make judgements as to whom we give weapons and money.

    As to our own theocrats…..they are a nightmare. Pushing us back in time and laughing all the way to the dark ages. Theocrats have never been big on education for the masses.

  3. If Turkey comes into the EU then Britain will come out. Rooms cheap, you come, you go. But if you come then clean up afterward.

  4. The 18th century culture that gave us our Declaration of Independence and Constitution were far more religious than today’s culture and yet we are seeing this “secular” government growing increasingly totalitarian and our culture is following in lockstep. Why is that? As Justice Holmes and others would have you believe it is all the fault of religion. Become more secular and our problems will be solved. Yeah right, horseshit!

    Any society that believes and protects the principle that all are created equal and that each individual is endowed with unalienable rights that exist merely because that person exists is one that won’t tolerate oppression of any kind. You can be secular or religious as long as the above principle is supreme. It’s not about being Republican or Democrat either. It’s not about being liberal or conservative. It’s not about being east coast or west. It’s in our human nature to fit within a particular group but ANY group that does not respect the above principle is a threat to everyone.

  5. Justice Holmes,
    The reason that Turkey was allowed to join NATO was because of its usefulness during the Cold War, due to its proximity to the USSR!

  6. Wait until those Turkish barbarians find out that Wilde was as gay as a Christmas goose. I wouldn’t want to be the member of the HDP who wanted to use Wilde as a reference.

  7. Olly. There are plenty of reasons from the colonial period why the framers of the USA wanted a fully secular Government. The Massachusetts Bay Colony had a Puritan background. Pennsylvania was Quaker. Rhode Island accepted all. Virginia did not care. Maryland was Catholic. These people would not ever live peacefully together unless there was a firm separation of church and state imposed on them. Not everyone agreed but in the end Hamilton and Madison persisted.

  8. Turkey must be expelled from NATO and must never be admitted into the EU.

    Of course the EU should itself be dissolved as an antidemocratic tool of casino-capitalist exploitation of the European peoples.

    Who was responsible for the EU in the first place? Europeans, or American plotters?

    So really it’s no surprise at how awful the EU is for Europeans.

    And let’s be honest. NATO is an occupation force keeping European politicians under lock and key, of American interests.

    As an American, I am ashamed of this.

  9. Smith …be ashamed. Our military for what was good reason builds relationships with these foreign militaries…then “pretends” they are incharge of their homelands. Yet from turkey we see the military can’t keep them secular. In egypt that didn’t happen either as it could have. But what’s our other options?
    The military can’t solve everything. Yet it sure looks like ttip is a surrender. As well as ttp. We just need to step back, reasses, decide our priorities and demands. But from a stance of confidence not weakness. If we do ttip turkey will get in in short order (bought a rug recently)…and so will ukraine….because then the eu has leverage to shut us up versus visa versa. And we go like dominoes from there. To global governance. We don’t have to. We can remain the beacon on the hill. But that means ruthlessly making america great again. But long term…the world will be better off.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s