Saturday, 18 November 2017

Turkish writer: EU as Christian club will never admit Turks

ČTK |
14 November 2017

Prague, Nov 13 (CTK) - Turkey will never become a member of the EU because of its different religion, Ayse Kulin, a Turkish writer whose novels depict social and political problems of contemporary Turkey, has told CTK in Prague where she is attending the Festival of Writers.

She expressed apprehensions of a strict religious education at Turkish schools and of authoritarian steps of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Kulin said in her opinion the EU is a Christian club that will never admit Turkey as a member, not even if Turkey became the most democratic country in the world.

According to her, the Muslim Turkey's EU accession cannot be expected after the end of the Erdogan period either.

Turkey's EU accession talks started in 2005 but have made almost no progress since. Brussels criticises the violation of human rights and of the freedom of speech by Ankara.

Kulin pointed out that people, including writers and journalists, continue being arrested in Turkey for their criticism of Erdogan.

She said Erdogan used the mid-2016 unsuccessful coup attempt as a chance for himself.

She alluded to the state of emergency that has been valid in Turkey, enabling the president to rule through decrees, based on which the government launched extensive purges in the state as well as private sectors, sacking 160,000 people, including judges, police and teachers, from work, and jailing about 50,000.

Apart from her 30 books, Kulin has written two open letters to Erdogan.

In one of them, she criticised the religious education at Turkish schools, calling for it to become voluntary.

In the other letter, she complained about Erdogan fans' intolerance of women who do not wear a Muslim scarf.

Kulin mentioned homosexuality and the Kurdish question among other sensitive issues, both of which she addressed in her novels.

If homosexuals are rich and famous, people love and worship them and attend their concerts. If they are poor, people can even kill them, Kulin she told CTK.

As for the relation between the Turks and the Kurds, they cannot reach conciliation due to mistakes made on both sides, she said.

Kulin focused on the Kurdish issue in her book Bir Gun (Face to Face). Originally, she wanted to write about Leyla Zana, who in 1991 became the first female Kurdish deputy to Turkish parliament, where she started speaking Kurdish, which was illegal until 2002. In 1994, she was sentenced to 15 years in prison for alleged cooperation with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Kulin told CTK that she had contacted Zana, who, however, did not want [a book on her to be written], or possible did not want to speak about her life, which is why Kulin created a Leyla of her own, with a different surname and a different life story.

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