Just so we’re clear…

The Guardian has an interesting article about Turkey’s bid to join the European Union. It notes that over half (54%) of the EU in total and 73% of Austrians in particular are opposed to Turkey achieving full membership in the EU.

Granted, Austria remains one of the most horribly bigoted countries in the world (following closely behind my own dear home, the United States). Simon Wiesenthal was regularly savaged in the media for daring to suggest, ::gasp:: that Nazi murderers be brought to trial and executed. So, Austrian public sentiment rightly should not be the basis of a decision even so trivial as what kind of mustard to have with your bratwürst.

But.

But, let’s not forget what Turkey is. I’m not talking about the fact that it’s Muslim. The government there is so secular that even if the majority of the population were Islamofascist (like the Christofascists that run the US), even the biggest islamophobes would have little reason to worry.

I’m talking about the fact that it’s a country where, 80 years later, debate about the murder of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in a systematic manner is not only socially frowned upon, but suffocated by the Ankara government.

Yes, I’m aware a lot of Muslims died during that particular period of the Ottoman Empire, which became Turkey after it was bitch-slapped in World War I. However, the death of Muslims was not nearly so systematic or overwhelming as the Armenian genocide was. And hey, if the gov’mint was systematically murdering your friends, your family, your culture, you’d probably get a little militant about shooting those you associated with the murder on sight.

That doesn’t excuse the murder of Muslims during that period. It just provides the context for the situation. Would the murder of random German citizens during World War II have been justified? No. But it would have been, uh, a little understandable if some Jews or gays or Roma (gypsies) had found a way to pick off a few of the people who were systematically murdering them.

So yeah. Despite the fact that Austria’s opposition to Turkey joining the EU is probably for the wrong reasons, let’s not be ignoring the fact that a state that denies its citizens the most basic right of free press and debate doesn’t even deserve to be in talks to join the EU. It should be in talks with the EU, the UN and NATO to avoid sanctions and military action over its staunch support of censorship and ethnic cleansing.

Thank you, that is all.

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