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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Explaining anti-Turkish attitudes in the EU - book excerpt

I just re-read an old post and saw that I promised to post excerpts from my book, Turkey and the European Union: Christian and Secular Images of Islam. That promise has fallen by the wayside but here is a short passage from the conclusion to the penultimate chapter, in which I have looked at depressing poll data regarding attitudes within the EU toward Turkey's EU bid and towards Turks in general. My explanation for the hostility is based on the historical examination in previous chapters:
Negative stereotypes of Turkey and Turks, of Muslims and Islam have a long history among Christians and in Europe, and have been repeatedly invoked in the ongoing attempts to create common Christian or European identities out of the diverse social fabric of the continent. The discursive and affective powers of this imagery were amplified by its inclusion in larger narratives that enabled their audiences to identify with a broader community, and to find a compelling moral purpose in its struggles against a typically inferior and/or dangerous Other. For these reasons, said images and the attitudes they evoked have become deeply embedded in European collective memory, understood not as the static recollection of a true past but as an evolving struggle to define this past, conditioned as much by contemporary realities as by the intersubjective meaning structures and categories left us by past generations.
The good news is that, while contemporary prejudice may be widespread on the aggregate European level of analysis, it is not ubiquitous. Although we have not had the space to illustrate this, the figures vary considerably between and within countries, with Austrians standing out as most skeptical in the 2006 Eurobarometer (81 percent of Austrians would say no to Turkey even if it complied with all the membership criteria), followed by Germans and Luxembourgers (69 percent). Swedes are the most supportive, followed by the Dutch and Slovenians (60, 55, and 53 percent in favor, respectively). 

UPDATE 2012-01-28: I changed the title of the post from "anti-Turkish stereotypes" to "anti-Turkish attitudes" because I realized that the latter is a better description of the argument. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Boycotting Lowe's

The Lowe's saga continues. Here's a great YouTube clip made by family of a friend of mine.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

FFA: Don't mess with our stereotypes of Muslims! (Video)

Oh boy. Apparently, an organization called the Florida Family Association is upset with the reality show "All-American Muslim" for not showing Muslims who conform to the organization's stereotype of Muslims. What is worse, they have pressured a few large corporations, including Lowe's (and Home Depot?) to pull all advertising from the show.

For what?!? Apparently for treading on the FFA's prejudices by not depicting all Muslims as crazed terrorists!

Well, while the FFA is getting the attention it sought (and apparently needed), other - more significant - Christian groups, such as the National Council of Churches, have fortunately come out against the FFA and against Lowe's for heeding the group's call for a boycott.

As usual, the Daily Show provides the best response to this kind of craziness:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook


The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Kabulvision - A New Lowe
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Sunday, December 11, 2011

EU leaders tell Turkey to 'respect' Cyprus | EUobserver

After Turkey's threat to boycot meetings when The Republic of Cyprus takes over the EU's rotating presidency next year, the EU council is planning to warn Turkey to "respect" Cyprus and the EU's presidency.

From the EUobserver:
"The EU council calls on EU partners to fully respect the role of the rotating presidency of the council, which is a fundamental institutional feature of the Union provided for in the treaty," the 27 countries are planning to say, according to draft summit conclusions circulated in Brussels on Thursay (8 December).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Corruption creeping up in Bulgaria, Greece, Romania: TI | EurActiv

According to, the latest report from Transparency International gives poor grades to several EU countries and points to increasing corruption in Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania. In contrast, some candidate countries are doing better. Iceland, for example, ranks very well. And:
Turkey's performance is also relatively good, although slightly worse than last year (4.2, down from 4.4). However, it still did better than EU-member Slovakia and ranked higher than Croatia, which is set to join the EU soon.
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