Revision, Denial, and Wishful Thinking

Dyspeptic commenters here at Gates of Vienna have occasionally pointed out that Dymphna and I are “preaching to the choir” — that is, we are addressing an audience that is already aware of the danger posed by Islam. Although there are occasional exceptions (I have received more than one email saying. “Your site opened my eyes!” or expressing similar sentiments), this is mostly true. New readers who find their way here are usually already aware of the nature of Islam.

In order to expand the pool of people who “get it”, it’s necessary to stick your neck out and talk to people who are not only ignorant about Islam, but may also be predisposed to resist anything you have to say. Since I live in a remote rural area, I rarely get the chance to do that sort of thing.

Yesterday was one of those rare occasions.

I have a like-minded friend, a conservative to whom it is safe to forward occasional “Islamophobic” emails. She has a daughter named Anna about the same age as the future Baron, who lives in Izmir with her Turkish husband and their small child. The husband is from a secular/atheist Turkish family, and has converted to Christianity. I’ve met them both; they’re decent people.

Her daughter’s residence in Turkey is a source of continuous worry for my friend — she knows the general trend of events in the region, and has urged Anna to get out of Turkey and come back to the USA before it becomes dangerous there. Her motherly concern has turned into a bone of contention between the two.

Yesterday I received an Armenian email newsletter detailing the recent expropriation by the Turkish government of private plots of land in eastern Turkey, including Armenian Catholic churches, Chaldean churches, and Assyrian churches. I knew this would be of interest to my friend, who is a staunch Christian. What happens in eastern Turkey today may well happen on the Mediterranean coast tomorrow or next week.

The newsletter added to her already high level of concern, and she forwarded my email to her daughter. Much to my surprise, I received this direct communication from Anna:


Mother forwarded me your e-mail. I appreciate your concern, but Turkey is a wonderful, secular, modern country and we are very happy here. The government is tolerant of all religions. I feel much safer and happier here than I did in the U.S., because people are more loving and hospitable. I have never felt religious pressure here. People don’t even talk about religion, it’s a very private, personal thing. Very few women wear the veil; most dress just like Europeans. There is complete equality between men and women. You should visit before you believe poorly informed propaganda written by people who have never even visited Turkey and are uneducated. Then you would see how it really is. I wouldn’t leave this wonderful place if you paid me.

By the way, is an Armenian-American website highly prejudiced against Turks. It’s not an objective news source. While conducting research, you should really investigate the reliability of your sources.

I could have just shrugged my shoulders and not bothered to reply. But this young lady may be in danger before too long, and her apostate husband even more so. I felt it was my duty to do the best I could, so I spent a long time composing this measured reply:

With all due respect, the material that crosses my desk is not “poorly informed propaganda”. It is made up of news stories from multiple sources in all parts of Turkey. The prospects for non-Muslims in Turkey over the medium-to-long term are not auspicious. For secular Muslims, they may be even worse — during the recurring bouts of Islamic fundamentalism that have swept the region over the past thousand years, the greatest anger of the zealots is usually reserved for Muslims who are insufficiently Islamic. In fact, those who fare the worst are apostates, i.e. people who have left Islam. Their crime is known as kufr, or unbelief, and they are called gavur in Turkish. During the massacre of September 1922, in Smyrna (Izmir), when the Armenians and the Assyrian Christians were killed en masse, the cry of “Gavur!” was often heard as the soldiers and mobs carried out the slaughter. In other words, the massacre was religious in nature, motivated by Islam.

The burning of Smyrna, September 1922, taken from the forebridge of HMS King George V

I do not say these things idly, or without having studied them. I have been doing this work for twelve years now, and have been studying Islamic law and theology intensively for the past seven years. I’ve worked closely with Major Stephen Coughlin, the foremost non-Muslim expert on Islamic law in the United States. Until Muslims forced his removal, he worked in the Pentagon for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, briefing the generals on Islamic law. This was something that the Muslim Brotherhood — whose operatives also work in the Defense Department — did not want the Joint Chiefs to know. So Major Coughlin had to go.

His book is out now, and I highly recommend it: Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad:

I helped him write the first draft back in 2010, based on a nine-hour video of his full Pentagon briefing. Since then he has expanded it greatly. He understands what Islam is up to in the United States better than anyone else I know.

I have made the Islamization of Europe my area of specialty. What has happened recently in Brussels, Paris, Copenhagen, and Cologne is the beginning of the “kinetic phase” of the Islamic hijra into Europe.

Turkey is pivotal in this process, since most of the Muslims entering Europe pass through Turkey as “refugees”. And now Turkey is also being attacked by the Islamic State, due to its secularity — which, despite President Erdogan’s efforts, is still largely in place in the major cities, including Ankara and Istanbul, and of course your own city Izmir.

The political situation in the region is complex. Fundamentalist Islam — both Sunni and Shi’ite — is in the ascendant at the moment. To simplify matters a bit, Mr. Erdogan and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the caliph of the Islamic State, are rivals for the title of Caliph of the Muslims. The Ottoman Sultan had held that office for almost a millennium until it was abolished by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1924, when Turkey was forcibly secularized. Recep Tayyip Erdogan obviously longs to recreate the Caliphate of the Ottomans, with himself or his son as Caliph. From his point of view al-Baghdadi is an upstart, a usurper.

However, he has found it expedient to work with the Islamic State, allowing material support to pass through Turkey to IS in Syria (and taking a cut of the profits). His family benefits from the black market oil trade that passes from IS’ refineries in Syria through Turkey to Mediterranean ports. The younger Erdogan runs the business that transships the oil.

Revelations about the corrupt relationship between the Erdogans and the Islamic State have been published in Turkey by, among others, the courageous editors of Cumhuriyet. As a result journalists have been arrested and imprisoned, and some have been killed under mysterious circumstances.

Despite their recent cooperation, in the long run there will be conflict between Erdogan and the Islamic State. IS has already launched the first skirmishes, at first just across the border from Syria, and then later in Istanbul.

Meanwhile, there is a Kurdish insurgency in the southeast, which is moving towards a full-blown war. As the economic situation continues to deteriorate (exacerbated by Russian sanctions), a three-way civil war in multiple areas is likely to emerge in the next two to five years.

You are fortunate to live where you do. The Mediterranean coast of Anatolia and Turkish Thrace are, despite the massacres of the 1920s, still the most Europeanized regions of Turkey, where Christians can live more or less normal lives. The most dangerous and brutal events are occurring far to the east and north of you.

However, the signs for the long term are not good. The reason I forwarded that Armenian newsletter to your mother is that it is quite ominous for the future of Christians in Turkey. If the AKP government can expropriate church property in the eastern provinces, it can do so elsewhere — when the time is auspicious, and the revenue needed. Churches do not enjoy any permanent protection from such practices under Islamic law, which is what Mr. Erdogan intends to fully implement throughout Turkey as soon as he can manage it.

What happened to those Armenian and Assyrian churches is significant — not even the Ottoman Sultans attempted that kind of wholesale expropriation. As long as the Christians paid the jizyah — the annual poll tax that guaranteed them protection under the dhimma, or “pact” — they were allowed to practice their religion, provided they obeyed the strictures imposed by the sharia (they could not build new churches, they could not ring the bells, their houses must not be taller than Muslims’ houses, they were not allowed to be ostentatious in their display of wealth, they must wear distinctive clothing identifying them as gavur, etc.).

Yes, I understand that the Armenians are “prejudiced” against the Turks. They have every reason to be — between 800,000 and 1.5 million of them were murdered during the genocide of 1915. Their “prejudice” against the Turks is therefore very similar to the “prejudice” of the Jews against the Nazis.

Over the long term, Erdogan and the AKP plan to fully Islamize Turkey. Mr. Erdogan does not believe in “moderate” Islam. As he famously said, “There is no ‘moderate’ Islam — Islam is Islam, that’s it.”

President Erdogan’s moves against Christians are harsher than those of the Sultans — this does not bode well for Christians in Turkey.

The secular, liberal Turks are concentrated mainly in the urban areas and their adjacent suburbs. In the rural hinterlands, the fundamentalists are in the majority. And their numbers are growing all the time — they have more children than the city dwellers and suburbanites, so the future belongs to them. According to some surveys, they are now in the majority in the country as a whole. They are what keeps President Erdogan in power.

I understand that you love where you live, and would not lightly advise you to move. I suggest that you watch very carefully as events unfold over the next few years — with luck, you will get some advance warning of what is to come. Some of the earliest signs will be bombings or arson attacks against churches. Harassment of Christians on the street, especially women, is another sign. These will likely be accompanied by government pronouncements and propaganda about the necessity to observe Islamic law more strictly.

As a guide to what may lie ahead for Turkey, study up on Lebanon. Fifty years ago it was a secular, modern, tolerant multi-religious state. Now it is an Islamic pest-hole dominated by Hezbollah and subject to chronic, severe violence. This occurred because the Muslim population grew while the Christian population stagnated or declined.

When things really deteriorate, Christians and lapsed Muslims will be targeted. And the latter will be subject to the more severe penalties. This has always occurred throughout history whenever waves of Islamic fundamentalism become dominant in Muslim countries.

None of this is ill-informed propaganda. These are simple historical facts.


P.S. This news story hit the headlines while I was composing this email:

“US orders diplomatic, military families out of south Turkey”

Her response arrived quickly — too quickly for her to have read more than a paragraph or two of what I wrote:

You are highly prejudiced against Islam, as Hitler was against Judaism. I have many Muslim friends. Hitler was a terrorist that happened to commit genocide in the name of Christianity. That doesn’t make Christianity evil. Islam is not evil, either. I have lived in Turkey for five years. I know much more than you do. I never felt more love or less judgement than from Turks. I’m sorry you’ll never know the truth. You’re too set in your prejudices.

We are all about love, not rejection. But when you insult Islam, you insult my dear friends. None of my Muslim friends would ever, ever talk badly of another religion or race the way you are, no matter what. They are too tolerant, loving and educated for that. Perhaps you’ve never been out of the country and experienced other cultures. It’s really not your fault though. You just didn’t have the fortune to be brought up in a secular tolerant culture like Turkey.

I drafted this reply:


I think it would be unwise for me to react to the ad-hominem parts of your email. I’ll just say this: What the Turks did to Christians in Smyrna in September 1922 is part of the historical record, well-attested by multiple sources. Photographs — and even rare film footage — of those events exist. And it all happened less than a century ago.

I’ll give a brief selection of writings on the atrocities, and then leave it at that.

First, an historical overview of the burning of Smyrna and the massacre of 1922, written by a Turkish scholar:

Biray Kolluoglu Kırlı


This article is on the role of collective memory in the construction of a nationalist narrative in Turkey. Through an analysis of how the Great Fire of Izmir that took place at the end of the Anatolian war in 1922 is remembered and/or forgotten, it attempts to understand the spatial and temporal rupture between what belonged to the Empire and what is imagined to be belonging to the nation. It is argued that this fire was not an accidental calamity, but a symbolic act of punishment, an act of chastising the ‘infidel Izmir’. The destruction of the city through fire is presented as an act of creative destruction, an attempt to build places of (counter)memory, to open up a hollow landscape upon which the new nation’s imprint, its Muslim and Turkish identity, could be carved. This analysis aims to fill a significant gap in terms of understanding the social and cultural consequences of this neglected event in Turkey’s history.

American missionaries and other non-Turks gave contemporary accounts of the burning of Smyrna. Some excerpts:

IT WAS after this complete gutting of the Armenian portion of the town that the Turkish soldiers applied the torch to numerous houses simultaneously. As has already been mentioned, they chose a moment when a strong wind was blowing directly away from the Mohammedan settlement. They started the conflagration directly behind the Intercollegiate Institute, one of the oldest and most thorough American schools in Turkey, in such a way that the building would be sure to fall an early prey to the flames. The pupils of that school have always been largely Armenian girls, and its buildings were, at that time, crowded with refugees. Miss Minnie Mills, its dean, a brave, competent and admirable lady, saw Turkish soldiers go into various Armenian houses with petroleum tins and in each instance after they came out, flames burst forth. In a conversation held with me on the thirtieth of January, 1925, on the occasion of the Missionary Convention that took place in the City of Washington, Miss Mills confirmed the above statements and added the following details:

“I could plainly see the Turks carrying the tins of petroleum into the houses, from which, in each instance, fire burst forth immediately afterward. There was not an Armenian in sight, the only persons visible being Turkish soldiers of the regular army in smart uniforms.”

On the same occasion Mrs. King Birge, wife of an American missionary to Turkey, made the following statement:

“I went up into the tower of the American College at Paradise, and, with a pair of field-glasses, could plainly see Turkish soldiers setting fire to houses. I could see Turks lurking in the fields, shooting at Christians. When I drove down to Smyrna from Paradise to Athens, there were dead bodies all along the road.”

During the same conversation Miss Mills told me of a great throng of Christians crowded into a street the head of which was guarded by Turkish soldiers. The flames were approaching and the soldiers were forcing these people to go into the houses. An American automobile passed and the poor wretches stretched out their hands, crying: “Save us! The Turks are going to burn us alive.” Nothing could be done, of course, and the car passed on. Later two Catholic priests came up and said to the Turks, “This is a fiendish thing you are doing,” and they allowed an old woman to come out of one of the houses.

It will be seen that the situation was such that only the Turks were in position to light the flames. Now we have the testimony of eye-witnesses of the highest credibility, who actually saw them commit the act. I remember on various occasions in the past talking with Miss Mills concerning Turkish atrocities, which were continually occurring and the missionary policy of remaining silent for fear of endangering the lives of colleagues working in the interior of Asia Minor. “I believe,” said she, “that the time for that policy has passed and not even regard for the safety of our workers should prevent us from telling the truth.” She was right, of course, for a full understanding of what has been going on in Turkey by the civilized world might have caused such a development of Christian sentiment as might have led to the taking of measures to prevent the wholesale horrors that have been perpetrated.

That’s all I really have to say on the topic. It’s unfortunate if this offends you; it’s simple historical fact.


Her reply once again came very quickly — almost instantaneously:

I’m sorry Ned, my email was harsh and unwarranted. Your kind email didn’t deserve my sharp words. I’m just a bit sensitive about this subject. You are not prejudiced, I’m sorry I said that. You are informed and read a lot, I can tell. Many Turks including my friends are also critical of Erdogan. But things aren’t so bad as they seem in the press, I think.

You are very kind to be concerned. A million apologies and all my love. Sorry sorry sorry

I could tell she had not really read anything substantive that I had written or quoted; she had simply realized how rude she had been in her previous email.

I wrote her a brief note in response telling her that it was no problem, not to worry about it, and then dropped the subject. There was no point in continuing — I had done all I could.

The best we can hope for is that she will notice the advance signs of the coming troubles and get out before they hit.

And now I’ll continue preaching to the choir.

The fire and massacres in Smyrna were part of what is nowadays called “ethnic cleansing”. They were the prelude to a formal “population exchange” between Greece and Turkey. Such measures would be unthinkable here in the Modern Multicultural 21st Century.

Send Turks back to Turkey? What are you talking about?! You WAYCIST!!

Exchanging populations between Greece and Turkey was at least possible in 1923. It was not so simple with the Armenians — there was no Armenian nation then; no Armenia to send them to. Armenians were spread through eastern Turkey and Soviet Russia. Genocide was the only option open: somewhere between 800,000 and 1.5 million Armenians had been massacred during the Genocide of 1915, and many thousands more were massacred in 1922.

For the Turks, it was not quite a “final solution” to the Armenian problem. But then, they had not refined their techniques to the industrial level practiced by the Nazis two decades later. Nevertheless, with their own crude methods they managed to devastate the Armenian population of Anatolia.

These events occurred less than 94 years ago. There are almost certainly a few very old people who were small children at the time, and who remember what happened.

This is not ancient history. There is even contemporaneous newsreel footage of the burning of Smyrna and the fleeing of Christian survivors.

The Wikipedia entry on the burning of Smyrna is balanced, well-sourced, and accurate. Before 1922, Smyrna was truly multicultural, and a majority Christian city:

The Ottomans of that era referred to the city as Infidel Smyrna (Gavur Izmir) due to the numerous Greeks and the large non-Muslim population

After the massacres and the population exchanges, Smyrna became Izmir, an Islamic city:

İzmir once had large Greek and Armenian community, but after the end of the Greco-Turkish War, most of the Christians remaining in the city were transferred to Greece under the terms of the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey.

Based on the photos Anna’s mother showed me, Izmir is indeed a beautiful and delightful place. If you had to live in Turkey, this is where you would want to be.

But it’s still Turkey. And it’s a Muslim country, with a fundamentalist Islamic government.

And the storm clouds are gathering.

The sunlight on the garden
Hardens and grows cold,
We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold;
When all is told
We cannot beg for pardon.

— Louis MacNeice

109 thoughts on “Revision, Denial, and Wishful Thinking

  1. “By the way, is an Armenian-American website highly prejudiced against Turks. It’s not an objective news source. While conducting research, you should really investigate the reliability of your sources.”

    That could be someone in North Korea talking about South Koreans. Or someone in 1930s Germany talking about Jews… or someone in any totalitarian regime talking about the “enemies” of that regime. They’re almost certainly not the words of someone objective and rational… would they dismiss something just because it came from an “Armenian website”? And how would this lady feel if someone were to tell her that what she knows about Turkey is not important, because it comes from Turks themselves, in whose interest it is to paint a rosy picture of their country and culture?

    And with such an attitude, can one really be sure that her husband is an “apostate” and not, in fact, another Taqiyya-mongering propagandist for Islam and Sharia, who her mother desperately wants to believe is a Christian?

    • Try to find and read the book “The Blight of Asia” by George Horton Consul General of USA for 30 years in Near East.

      The killing started in 1822 with the Greeks and continued with Assyrians,Lebanese,Maronites,Bulgarians,Armenians,Greeks of the Black Sea(Pontians),Gezindis and God knows how many other christian groups,
      not to mention the Cypriots in 1974.

      I started reading the book but i felt i could not finished it,because i had relatives who most of them were lost in Vourla(a village in the area of Smyrna),in 1922 ,and only three of them made it to Athens.

      I wish ,some day God will punish this country.

      • I’ve noticed that on websites like youtube, Turks are often very proud of all their conquests (eg Constantinople), and also very hateful of the groups which their ancestors slaughtered – eg Greeks and Armenians. Although I’m not sure if that’s due to “nationalism”, or religious reasons… it seems more and more difficult to tell the difference.

  2. Dear Baron,
    I wish you had contested Anna’s claim that Hitler did what he did in the name of Christianity.Quite simply he did not .He never said he was killing Jews for Jesus,unlike the Islamic terrorists who shout Allu Ackbar at the commencement of each atrocity.
    I also wish you had pointed out that the alliance in the second world war was between Hitler and Islam.The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was an admirer of Hitler.He read Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” -a book which denigrated Jews on every page and claimed that they were the source of all Germany’s and indeed the world’s problems.
    And he bonded with Hitler over their common hatred of the Jews.He sent whole Muslim battalions to support Hitler’s war effort .They were absorbed into the S.S(Schutzstaffel)
    I find it quite ironic that Europe in general and Germany in particular think they can wipe out the guilt of the holocaust by importing the very Muslims who were Hitler’s spiritual soulmates ,to persecute Jews and other non-Muslims
    (including Christians )all over again. .

    • Yes, I thought of those things. There were many other things I could have said, points I could have made. I could have continued for another 10,000 words and still not have covered it all.

      But you have to remember what my goal was. It was not to point out her errors, or to show her that she was wrong about any particular belief that she held. My goal was to induce a small glimmer of understanding of what Christians and apostates in Turkey may face before too many years have gone by, so that she might, just might decide to come home.

      I failed to reach that goal, obviously. But that was the important task I needed to accomplish — not to convince her that she was wrong, and I was right.

      • I don’t think you failed in your goal, Baron. I remember Pamela Geller quite recently describing being treated abysmally at a university by muslims and their supporters who criticized her lecture, but she seemed convinced that underneath the outrage many were actually listening and seeds of understanding were being sown.

        Also, though Anna sounds like she’s angrily defending her ‘child’ (Turkey), her husband, if really a Christian from an atheist background can’t be so naive.

        • He is young, and Turks are even more amnesiac about their past than the Japanese. They do not teach the truth of the Armenian Genocide or the Burning of Smyrna to their children. The latter is said by the Turks to have been caused by the Armenians and the Greeks, who set fire to their own quarters!

          So he may truly have no idea of what happened in the past, and also have a deep need to maintain his denial.

          • Baron, Muslims in general, not just the Turks are far more amnesiac than the Japanese, who only seem to have ‘forgotten’ the last 100 years.

            The most obnoxious apologists for Islam are often Western academics who really don’t realise their own ignorance about Islam’s history. Due to their arrogance and ignorance they’re easily manipulated.

          • Another point to make is that jihad and genocide make Islam the religion of Amalek, the biblical enemy with whom God and His Christ will be at war with from generation to generation (Exodus 17:16).

          • I can attest to the denial. Contrary to any information presented, my husband (born in Konya, raised in Istanbul) staunchly denies this genocide occurred!

  3. People like Anna can’t be helped. They won’t see the light until they are directly affected, and even then they will probably say it was their own fault. I say “Let them burn”

    • Actually, at that point she will most likely blame me. Or, more accurately: people like me, those who are openly hostile towards Islam and provoke it. It it weren’t for people like me, Muslims would behave in a peaceful, tolerant fashion.

      • I must sadly agree with ‘mexicano’ on this one, Baron. Poor, hapless girl still has a very opaque bag over her head, and all her mother can do now is pray for her soul and her safety. (And maybe her stupidity. Yes, that was probably an ad-hominem attack, but so be it. I’m tired of this excrement.)

        I was recently called WAYCISSS because I clearly expressed my hatred of Islam to an American friend who currently lives in Switzerland.

        She is, probably like Anna is, very intelligent. But her bag is also opaque.

        In the meantime, I wear my “St. James Matamoros” (St. James the Moor Slayer) cross around my neck and enjoy the multiple daily compliments I receive about it… from my elementary students!

        • Everything that you say is true. But this poor, hapless girl has a mother who loves her dearly, despite her cluelessness. And this poor, hapless girl also has a little child.

          Ah, well. I did what I could. It wasn’t enough, but I had to try.

          • You did what you could. Sadly she is part of the problem and must suffer the consequences.

          • Baron this Anna character is clearly a left wing “Guttmensch”, a liberal.
            Like all lefties she lives purely on an emotional level.
            Her responses to your mails are very clear about that.
            Reason, logic, common sense are alien concepts to her.
            That’s why lefties and muslims get along so well, they both are living on an emotional level and are impuls driven.
            You could have saved yourselve the effort, your emails were based on logic and people like her don’t respond to logic and therefore rejected your arguments.
            Poor and hapless? Up to a point. She always has the opportunity to re-educate herself if she wants to.
            But she doesn’t want to!
            The real culprits are her parents who gave their daughter a liberal upbringing.
            In my country we have a folk wisdom that say’s “if you burn your bum you have to sit on the blisters”
            That’s pretty much all there’s to it.

          • Your assumptions about her upbringing are impertinent and offensive. I know the family well. Her mother is not at all a liberal, never has been. Her father died when she was small. That may be part of the problem, of course. It’s hard to tell.

            In any case, don’t bruise yourself jumping to conclusions.

          • I don’t think your efforts will be in vain. Sooner or later, events close to her in Turkey will wake her up and then, and only then, will she think seriously about what you have so kindly and considerately and lovingly written to her. Mark my words, she will say “Thank you” to you one of these days.

            Let me add, that the information provided in your text is very interesting. Thank you for sharing this with us.

          • Baron I realize this family are good friends of yours so I understand you becoming defensive.
            You may chastize me for my comment but if you read her two emails and let them soak in and read between the lines it’s clear to see.
            She hardly read let alone study the material you send her.
            She simply rejected it firsthand, it did not fit her comfort zone.
            Not anywhere did she counter your arguments

            Her first mail was full of fuzzy words like tolerance, loving, educated.
            It also shows some revealing tidbits about her mindset.

            “Hitler was a terrorist that happened to commit genocide in the name of Christianity.”
            This shows she has no knowledge, not to say no clue about the history of WWII.
            How much knowledge does she have about the history of Turkey and the Ottoman Empire?

            “I know much more than you do.”
            That’s what people say, without substantiating it, if they cannot come up with a valid argument.

            “But when you insult Islam, you insult my dear friends.”
            So you insult her friends but not her? She creates a distance between herself and her friends.
            Why did she not say “But when you insult Islam, you insult me and my dear friends.”?

            “…a secular tolerant culture like Turkey.”
            First she acknowledges that Turkey is a muslim country and talks about islam and muslims then she calls the place “secular”
            Does she even know what the word “secular” means?

            Her second mail is of a more conciliatory nature.
            She is realizing the good relations between your two families and does not want to jeopardize it.
            But this mail is also very revealing.

            “But things aren’t so bad as they seem in the press, I think.”
            They are not so bad? In other words they are bad, but only “not so”
            She is admitting that things in Turkey are not as hunky dory as she would like them to be.
            And the end of the sentence “…,I think” is clearly an expression of doubt.

            Baron I have lived in Europe most of my life and I am more than familiar with the typical liberal mindset.
            And this young woman has a liberal mindset and nothing you or anybody will say can change that.
            As I said in the beginning I am aware those people are close friends of yours and I’m sorry if you find my posting offensive.
            But I also believe sometimes things must be said even if they are unpleasant.
            Having said all this I will leave it at that.

  4. Baron, your effort to educate Anna was heroic but she has no desire to be educated, much preferring, apparently, to remain in her comfort bubble. She is wrong in several of her assertions about Turkey and it’s obvious that her experience has been limited to a circle of like-minded people. “A secular, tolerant culture like Turkey” – really? Perhaps she should travel more (as she advised you to do) and visit the Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator in Kayseri and ask herself why Christians abandoned this large and beautiful church. Perhaps she could also visit Malatya where Christians running a publishing house were tortured and murdered not so long ago. She could also ask herself why the number of mosques has surged under the rule of the supposedly secular Erdogan government; why domestic violence is also rising; why child marriages are still common; why polygamy is still tolerated; why Islam is stressed in public schools; why forced suicides are a not-infrequent way of dealing with disgraced young women; and, why a divorced woman I know cannot remove her headscarf in public there. The country Anna describes is not the real Turkey.

    • As I said to Shelagh, my goal was not to educate her. Not at all. My goal was to provide pieces of information that might induce a glimmer of understanding of the sort of danger she could be in before too long.

      My goal was not to help anyone learn anything. My goal was to help my friend get her daughter and grandchild back safe and sound.

      Teaching people facts, and convincing them that they’re mistaken — those are secondary at best. No time for that.

      • Isn’t providing information that leads to understanding a form of educating? We have different ways of looking at your efforts, I guess. But I understand your goal fully.

        • Ideology has to take a back seat here. My only ideology is: “Take care of your own.”

          That means nuclear family first, extended family next, and then my neighbors and close friends.

          After that can come concerns about who understands which facts, and who is right and who is wrong.

          • Baron,

            I applaud your efforts to reach the young lady.

            Was wondering though, if she felt that her emails might have been or are often intercepted by some authorities? I have read, in the Russian press that the Turks do a lot of spying on their own citizens and foreigners living in the country.

            So, bearing that spying in mind, I spoke with my son who is retired USArmy and had done some work, for a few years, in counter intelligence.
            Asked him to read her first response and then her second .. the apologetic one.

            My son said, that I might be on to something regarding her first response. IT was FAR TO HARSH a rebuke of you than it needed to be since you are a family friend. She was NOT having any discussion of ANYTHING wrong in Turkey. NOT a word!!

            He says it was TOO defensive for the TURKS.

            She and her little family may very well be aware of the dangers in Turkey and may even be making quiet plans to go on a “holiday” to Greece or the USA.

            Just a few thoughts… may be right maybe not.

            PRAYERS for the little family in Turkey and her family and friends in the USA.

  5. May I politely remind everybody here that Turkey occupies an EU member state for almost 42 years? North Cyprus was occupied by Turkey in 1974 and converted into a satellite state (only acknowledged by Turkey). Turkey has no intentions of ever leaving it.

    • Yes, thank you for the reminder. Cyprus wished to join Greece and as a result Turkey invaded while NATO looked the other way, keen to keep its ally against the USSR in the fold.
      What can you say? We live in a world where the West is brow beaten on a daily basis about the rights of one indigenous group after another, while otherwise ignoring the largest stateless indigenous group which is the Kurds.
      I hope to live to see Kurdistan rise up from the ruins of post-Ottoman colonial policy.
      West and central asian policy should be easy at this point, do whatever Turkey and Saudi Arabia are against, the world will be better for it.

      • But always keep in mind that the valiant Kurds are also Muslims and honor kill their women and girls just as other Muslim groups do.

  6. Here’s the thing: her street-level perception, while I suspect partially coloured by rose-tinted glasses of love and so on, is probably not altogether incorrect.

    Her STREET-LEVEL PERCEPTION of that exact time and place.

    Likewise, despite what you say, there are currently areas in Lebanon where Christians live reasonably normal lives.

    Will this be true in 5 years? Quite possibly no more than it will be true in Belgium in 25. But life often goes on “as normal” until very near to the breaking point.

    • And often people get little or no advanced warning of the breaking point. That is my central concern.

      Think of all the Jews who did not get out of Germany in 1938, despite the signs of what lay ahead.

      • People can see these things.My English grandfather ‘left for a day trip’ on a Saturday in August 1939 from Blohm and Voss shipyard in Hamburg.He had been in Germany since 1935.His Jewish doctor disappeared after Kristallnacht. My grandfather sent my Mum and the rest of the family home the previous month.he walked over the border to Denmark near Flensburg and escaped.
        For years he had returned to Britain and explained NAZism to his church friend Lord Reith of the BBC who ignored him like so many until it was too late.
        With knowledge of welding he worked for years in Richmond California building Liberty and Victory ships.
        Because of his lessons to me as a child I am aware, awake and reading this site and others.

      • Slight correction, Baron.

        By 1938, many or most Jews were anxious to leave Germany. The situation was, almost no countries would admit them. The events are described in

        The exclusion of Jewish immigrants during World War II is a major source of angst for Jewish organizations, and is used as a driver for their support of any and all immigration, including that of Muslims.

        The only land willing to take unlimited Jews was Jewish-settled Palestine, and the British administrators bowed to Arab pressure to prevent Jewish immigration, thus dooming the German and other European Jews.

        A country may decide that in its own interests, it will limit or prevent immigration altogether…but that will quite possibly mean the deaths of the population under fire.

        • Jews are difficult. but they are not toxic like Muslims and Islam. When societies are closed to Jews (and now Christians) but open to Muslims then we know that someone, somewhere is out to poison society.

          Merkel, Pope Francis, Obama, just who are these guys working for?

          I got out of UK some years ago because the writing is on the wall, Muslims plant bombs, kill and maim, but the British authorities are more concerned with mounting guard on twitter and Facebook in case they are defiled by ‘hate’ speech. This too is indicative of a malignant undertow; this curbing of free speech and ‘no platforming’ of dissent.

          Hate actions speak louder than hate words.

          Just who is Cameron really working for?

          • This is the thing, really. The facts are beyond dispute, the intentional destruction of our countries and cultures, the oppression, the absolute betrayal of liberty in the name of ‘liberalism’ etc.

            So why do these people do this?

            Is it possible that some kind of mass insanity has infected all these people at the same time?

            Or are there really hidden agendas at play here?

          • Or it could be both. Don’t overlook that possibility.

            Deliberately induced mass psychosis, or a spontaneously occurring but officially encouraged mass psychosis, can be of use to ruthless people who want to maintain and enhance their power.

  7. Valiant effort Baron..You tried. Wonder if she can vote (for American or Turk pols)..hmmm

  8. Her thinking is based on local optimization of social approval. In other words, she’s living in a social world that’s very locally defined and you’re talking about social phenomena that are too large scale for her to comprehend using the parts of the brain that work well for small scale immediate social interactions.

    Basically it’s “everything is great with me optimizing for approval with the people I interact with so everything is fine”. Furthermore it’s also “if I believe X that will make it harder for me to feel comfortable with those around me as the optimization will be more difficult with such beliefs”.

    She will not question anything unless her personal interactions start to break down due to, for example, increasing religious/political hostility of some sort. It will have to come to her directly for her to go “what’s changed all of the sudden?” and start looking for answers.

    I’ve had this problem just trying to discuss issues with someone who’s been living in another country for years, even when I wasn’t trying to argue. They don’t even want to talk because they’re afraid of what the implications are for social approval.

    • At the beginning of the ‘World at War’ series produced by ITV (I believe) back in the 70s (?) there is an English women who was living in Germany. She said that the Nazis took over little by little …and people only really took notice of it once it started to affect them.

      A common phenomenon, it would appear.

      • I recently heard (online) something very similar from an elderly lady who was a schoolgirl in Austria at the time of the anschluss.

        • That’s interesting, as Austria was conquered and taken over by the German army. They cooperated enthusiastically with the German Nazis, as typified by Kurt Waldheim, but then again, so did the occupied French.

          My father was a pre-World War II Jewish Austrian refugee, which actually doesn’t give me any expertise in the area. He managed to get out of Austria, but would have been sent back by the French except he had Czechoslovakian papers.

          The lesson to me is, nobody is going to watch your a** like you are, so don’t let anyone put you in a situation where your survival is in danger, and don’t assume anyone is a friend unless you have no other choice.

    • Yes, exactly. The implications of acknowledging the truth are too potentially disruptive.

      By the way, there are many people in my political liberal/leftist area who will vote for Trump if even the chance but will not say so publicly.

  9. Book:

    Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story. By Henry Morgenthau, U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. Published in 1918.

    I had been able to read it on the internet but cannot find it now. I see that Amazon carries it. This may be why I can no longer find it on the web.

    I do not think that people in GoV world need safe spaces or sensitivity alerts of whatever, but much of this book is horrifying. It includes photos taken by accompanying German officers who were NOT sympathetic to what the Turks were doing. Looks like the Islamic State.

    Morgenthau believed that the horrors in Smyrna could have been stopped by the western warships in the harbor who only watched.

    Please do not take my word for this. Read the book.

    • I read parts of it but the story was so dreadful it triggered my PTSD; I had to stop. The ‘trigger’, once fired, sets off a cascade – oh such a well-worn neural path by now – that I’m incapacitated for days afterwards.

      But you’re right about how horrific it was. What sent me into the depths was not so much the unspeakable cruelties as it was the awful realization that western ships in the harbor watched this evil and did nothing.

      I had the same reaction when I found out about the events of the Holocaust, and for the same reason…

      • watched this evil and did nothing
        In just the same way that they are watching and doing nothing as now Islam flexes its muscles in their own lands.

        Snag is there is nowhere to go. Our political elites have burned our boats for us.

      • I agree, the whole “watched and did nothing” is the worst part of things like this.

  10. Confucius said :
    ” Do not enter a state in peril; do not inhabitate a country in chaos.”

  11. Thanks, Ned. This is why I read you and your wife, and the threads generated, and increasingly just skim the aggregated list. Keep up the [Sisyphean] labors!

  12. Could it be that your Turkish friend replied in such a hasty and determined fashion because she fears to display her true feelings about Turkey, Erdogan and muslims?

    After all, she lives in a dictatorship whose ruler has clearly stated, time and again, his intentions to wipe out any traces of secularism in Turkey and has unashamedly called for the totalitarian state of islam to take hold of Turkey once again, obliterating one century of advancement that Ataturk’s reforms brought to modern Turkey.

    There’s truly not much difference between Erdogan and the Iranian mullahs. One wears Western suits, the others crawl about in their pesty muslim pajamas. Other than that, they are all intransigent muslim autocrats sick with the islam virus, wishing to impose this hateful ideology disguised as religion upon the whole world.

    So anybody living under the rule of such dictators had better beware of what they write, what they say and what they think. That’s what life is about in the muslim hell-holes in the 21-st century.

    • Bingo, Daniel Rubio.

      She is terrified and is unsure if this message is secure. And she may suspect taquiya in her friends and husband.

      You did good, Baron.

      She’ll arrive her in a few months or years and hug you
      and cry.

      • You guys are dreaming. She has swallowed the whole thing. She is young, in love, and ignorant. Eventually she will start questioning herself but that’s a long way off. And may come too late.

        I suffer for her mother.

        • Dymphna, I know this sounds callous but because the same thing happens over here in England, I can’t help wondering why these girls cannot find a nice local boy to marry. A friend of one of my nephews has an English mother and a Turkish father. The mother lives here in England with the boy but two years ago the father insisted he go to live with him in Turkey; taken out of school mid-way through his education. He asked my nephew to visit him for the Summer and I effectively forbade him from going for all the reasons that you have summarised. However, I can only repeat my question; which I know you are not able to answer any more that I can; why could this girl not find a nice American boy to marry?

          • They met in college. The heart has its reasons the reason knows not of…ask Phyllis Chesler – or better yet read her book and understand how a young woman can delude herself.

            Phyllis was fortunate to escape eventually because she was very ill and her father-in-law intervened to send her back to the states…

            This is complicated by her youth, her university mis-education…as was the case with Phyllis.

  13. Not enough attention is being paid to Turkey’s role in the invasion surge, though Erdogan’s fingerprints are all over it, not least among the evidence being the discomfort being given Greece and the rest of the highway to Vienna.

    Often the best one can do with the willfully ignorant is merely to suggest they allow for the possibility that they are ‘whistling past the graveyard,’ i.e., ‘wrong.’

    In that respect, Ned, I think you largely accomplished this, though it may be some period of time before any difference becomes manifest. Who knows? It possible your effort might tip the balance at some as-yet-unseen critical point, in the not-too-distant future, and save lives otherwise lost.

  14. Your concern for Anna is laudable, yet fruitless. She is either already been islamized by the “secular/atheist” husband, or just a silly liberal who has latched on to islam as a hedge against Christianity.

    Either way, I hope she doesn’t find herself in trouble(see Malmö, Cologne or Copenhagen) on the streets or forced to compete with a wife number 2 or 3..

    Islam is scourge not unlike the events of 1348 in Britain..

  15. As the saying goes: You ignore reality at your own peril. We can call it willful blindness.

    I think the Mohammedans have already gotten to her. She almost sounds like them.

    Concerning the Turks’ final solution for the Armenians, industrial slaughter may not have been appealing to the Mohammedans even if it was available to them for they prefer to inflict as much suffering, such as torture, crucifixion, and so forth, on the unfortunate souls assigned for death. Meeting death must be painful for the unbelievers.

  16. One of the things that you could perhaps expand on is that, for centuries, Armenians were not just some non-entity in The Big Game, and Jerusalem was divided into Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and Armenian [Orthodox] Quarters.

  17. Anna reminds me of every single western female who has married a moslem, (OK, I know, he converted to Christianity!) and has written to tell friends back home:
    “But he’s different!” Yeah, right. If I needed anything else to tell me that Anna–who lives there–just does NOT get it, it’s her claim that Turkey is a “wonderful, secular, modern country, and we are very happy here!” Not the Turkey I saw!

    Anna might live there, but she’s quite blind. Coming back to Canada a few years ago I sat beside a young couple who informed me they had travelled in Turkey, and the woman said to me she was so glad she had her 6 ft 4 inch boy friend with her constantly–she would NEVER go back to Turkey, or any other moslem country.

    Anna should get out while she is able. Kemal Ataturk’s Turkey has gone.

    • Years ago I watched a series that was on the Discovery Channel. It was called ‘On The Road Again’ and the presenter was Simon Dring. This fellow retraced ‘the hippy trail’ which took him from the UK overland to India. Naturally there were Islamic countries in between. Way back then, the way that women were treated was quite shocking! Accosted in the street, can’t get a moment’s peace for big hairy Turks trying to shag them, etc etc. Like I said, I was a young whippersnapper back then, and seeing that on ‘telly’ was quite shocking.

      Not so much now though …

      • Good grief, “If you trust people they won’t betray that trust….”
        The naivete of some people is jaw-dropping!
        Interesting clip, thanks!

  18. I fear for your friend’s daughter in Izmir.
    Once Sharia is established–as they truly intend, no wife can go ANYWHERE (such as outside the house) without a husband’s permission.
    Who is to say this man is truly Christian? Even if so, how does he survive as an apostate as things fall?
    Will the poor deluded soul ever get an OPPERTUNITY to leave Islamic Turkey at all?

    Bad times ahead–for us all.

  19. People have made their beds and will always defend their choices. They feel attacked by anyone who points out the cracks in their foundation. You can’t even explain that to them, because they will throw it right back at you saying you must be under the same fallacy then. Human perception of reality is filtered, and the filter is tinted by confirmation bias.

    Your effort was heroic, but it had to fall on deaf ears. At first, that is. In time, when even they can’t deny anymore that storm clouds are gathering, something will eventually poke their bubble. There is a probability that your piece has lent a little bit of thrust to the final blow, and this is what we’re doing all this for. It is very unlikely that such an effort has a direct, immediate effect. Human nature stands against it.

    Maybe this is a good thing. Imagine, if we had a propensity to trash our life decisions and uproot ourselves upon a single trigger, we would be even more gullible beings than we already are. After all it is a big thing to ask of someone to abandon all the plans they had and what they built so far. Things will have to get worse before they can see that you were right and they were wrong. One can only hope that it happens in due time for them to still be able to pack and leave.

    To make them know, even if just below the threshold of consciousness for the time being, that there is a sanctuary they can turn to should the elements turn against them, is an act of love and you can safely say you’ve done your good deed for the day. They will remember it when needed.

    It is an uphill battle. And being the bearer of bad news… After all, the world would be a better place if it was us who were wrong. Right?

  20. While it is true you’re preaching to the choir, that we “get it,” the breadth and depth of knowledge that can be gained at GoV imparts a deeper, more fulsome understanding of Islam’s threat to the free world and better equips us with the necessary intellectual accoutrements in spreading that awareness and furthering the resistance of the counterjihad.

  21. So Jesus’ letter to Smyrna in Rev. 2:8-11 is still applicable. The church in Smyrna (bitter) was commended for their faithful devotion in the face of intense persecution that sought their extermination. I never knew about what the Turks did to the city in 1922. That episode was never part of the historical narrative that I was taught in school. Thanks for the history lesson. As for Hitler, he told Pope Pius XII that he was only finishing what the Catholic Church had started but never got around to properly completing. There was nothing Christian about it. Besides, the Jews didn’t kill Jesus, He laid His life down for all of us, which is why He came here. Hallelujah, He is Risen, indeed

  22. From what I know, Izmir is the base for the millions of “refugees” trying to head to Europe… is it so safe, when smuggling gangs and masses of Afghans stuck in the Dark Ages are roaming the streets, and women likely to be heavily outnumbered? Or is Anne just a bit blinkered?

    I’ve noticed this a lot. People for whom an issue is so “personal” that they won’t tolerate any opposing opinion. The issues of Islam and “refugees” being two prime examples… should we try to educate? Seeing as the likelihood of those people receiving that information elsewhere (eg through the media, movies or “mainstream” friends) is close to being a big fat zero, I say we should. Well done Baron for reaching out and feeding to her crucial information. That email will probably sit in her inbox for a while to come. Who knows – maybe she’ll open it up when she’s in a different mood, read it again and recognise some of those facts…

  23. “As a guide to what may lie ahead for Turkey, study up on Lebanon. Fifty years ago it was a secular, modern, tolerant multi-religious state. Now it is an Islamic pest-hole dominated by Hezbollah and subject to chronic, severe violence. This occurred because the Muslim population grew while the Christian population stagnated or declined.”

    That’s a clear warning for all of Europe as well. Do you want this future?

    • There were also massacres of Christians by Muslims in the 1970’s. These were prominently reported in the New York Times. However, the writer of the story assured his readers the “it’s all right, because the Christians are more prosperous than the Muslims.” I was so shocked at the time, by the sentiment, by the editorializing in the middle of a supposed news story. I simply had no conception of the depth of the corruption of the main stream media, even though I had been made aware of some disquieting indications. I can testify that it can take a lot to wake someone up. This shock was only part of the process.

  24. This post remins me of a conversation I had a few days ago. I was on the street campaigning for Brexit (see here if you’re not familiar with the term: and met an elderly chap who was obviously not a native Englishman. It turned out he was a Turk from somewhere on the Aegean coast, who was strongly opposed to Turkey’s planned accession to the European Union (a highly contentious issue in Britain). Turkey, he said (he still has family and a home there and goes there often and reads Turkish newspapers) is “not ready”. Apropos of this particular post, he also said that most Englishmen are ignorant of Turkey, especially those who have been there on holiday, who have visited this chap’s home town and other tourist resorts on the Aegean littoral. “That’s not Turkey”, he said. “Go 50 miles inland and you’ll find the real Turkey”.

  25. This article is very informative to me, about a situation of which I had my suspicions but no particularly deep knowledge, just general indications and foreboding. Thanks to the author for the more detailed explanations and warnings.

    “It can’t happen here”. If Islam is on the ascendancy – and it seems that it is – it is because of those who believe it can’t happen here. Those people are largely liberal, and they specialize in ignoring reality and preferring fantasy, their whole lives.

    Some will eventually wake up – others never will. A side effect of civilization is that they are protected and sheltered by people who are realists and who do the heavy lifting of maintaining civilization against the barbarians. But more and more, incidents are occurring that make it clear that Western civilization is under assault, and not just around the edges. Some just refuse to see.

    • Unfortunately there are also many who are actively working to bring down western civilization and its roots in post reformation Christianity. These people, for whom “the ends justify the means” WANT to bring back the barbarity of paganism and feudalism, they envision themselves as feudal barons with their private armies and ‘droits de seigneur’ privileges.

  26. Letters like yours were no doubt burned among the possessions left by Jews all over Germany who loved their country and could not imagine how ordinary, decent people could let their neighbors and fellow-citizens be taken away in cattle trucks.

    My daughter, thank goodness, saw the light recently after being offered a fully funded PhD in Amsterdam, with paid accommodation and the works – kind of a dream offer for her. Like a lot of Millennials, she lives in a bubble surrounded by earnest “global citizens” who try not to let reality interfere with their fantasies. She very much wanted to accept the offer and spend the next three years studying her dream topic and exploring Europe.

    Like you, I fought the good fight. I hope your efforts at least cast seeds of doubt that could prey on her unwilling mind.

    • Jennifer, I’m astounded you got through to your daughter. Must have taken a lot of work to burst that bubble. How did you finally sway her from going to Europe? I’m a Millennial myself and I’m facing a steep battle against my contemporaries trying to get through to them. “Brussels wasn’t a fluke, it was just the beginning!” Any advice you have helps!

      • You do indeed face a steep battle and it’s really important not to give up. The key to moving my daughter’s thinking was to disarm her by showing empathy. I created an opportunity to deliver facts in the context of a problem-solving discussion about a (made-up) situation that tugged at her heart strings:

        Instead of telling her what to think and doing an information dump on her, I innocently asked for her advice and suggestions about a refugee family that just arrived in my town. I said one of the organizations I volunteer for is trying to help them, but Charlie Hebdo has caused a real problem. Support is being withdrawn.

        I told her I was depressed and worried about this family’s prospects now that the horrific behavior of these extremists had poisoned people against them. I told her I had to prepare a talk about the topic, explaining why these refugees are not a threat.

        My beautiful daughter is a sensitive vegan idealist who shares her faculty office with two Iranian post-grad students – women who have been incredibly kind to her. You can imagine the rosy-tinted prism through which she filtered the discourse on immigration.

        Being in problem-solving mode, she entered into a series of intellectual discussions with me. Instead of having a debate as if we were on opposing sides, we looked at the facts together – she imagined she would be able to provide me with facts that would support helping the refugees. The more she learned the more horrified she became and the harder she found it to remain in total denial. Over two months her thinking started to shift.

        The Cologne groping jihad was the icing on the cake for her. I said ..well this is all we need…a few bad apples doing THIS…etc She said “I don’t understand why all the good Muslims are not starting patrols to address this behavior in their community.”

        I innocently suggested that maybe the poor dears are over a barrel. I told her I don’t know enough about Islam to have an opinion but it certainly seems like devout Muslims can’t easily oppose the goals of jihadists…

        Well, she went on an all out learning binge to try to prove that Islam is the religion of peace. She even talked to her Iranian friends – that’s another story.

        Shortly after that, she turned down the Amsterdam offer – and stopped looking at Sweden as an option – the other place she had always wanted to study (she even learned the language).

        I still guard my rhetoric around her. I always ask her opinion and do not tell her what to think. I try to keep doors open.

    • “Like a lot of Millennials, she lives in a bubble surrounded by earnest “global citizens” who try not to let reality interfere with their fantasies.”

      Why we on the left made an epic mistake on immigration, by D. Goodhart.

      People like that. Paul Weston first brought that essay to our attention here @ GoV, I believe. It’s one of those articles that are worth bookmarking & printing out. Perhaps it may help on occasion, if one is trying to convince someone else that all is not well. As in: It’s not me that’s saying it, it’s one of your own … you never know, it might register. One can only try.

      • Thank you, Nick. That’s a helpful essay. When people like my daughter start to open their eyes, they find themselves in lonely country. Their peer group gets angry with anyone who goes off the reservation. It could help her to read something like this and realize there are other progressives who have had the courage to examine uncomfortable facts and reach difficult conclusions.

  27. People are very sheltered in the Turkish resort towns but it seems obvious that they will be targeted and probably soon. I backpacked around about a decade ago and I saw the real Turkey. From Konya east to Kaysiri and Sivas and then directly back through to Ankara was highly unpleasant and dangerous at times (eg. I’m not getting off this bus so can we please get going). Although of course I met lovely people as well and of course they were worried about my safety, full of warnings and wanting to get me off the streets. I purposely went northeast thinking it would be fun but it wasn’t.

    • Dymphna may be correct in her assesment of Anna’s naivete. But I have been in both Turkey and Russia (in ’67) and immediately felt the fear of tryranny upon leaving the plane–in Russia but not Turkey (which felt free.) But much has happened to Turkey since Erdogan and the fall-back military secular Kemalists are being removed. The military was Ataturk’s stabile secular legacy.

      I just have a hunch that Anna is guarding her communications from prying ears and maybe from her husband. How long does it take to soak in a culture and begin to get hints from everyone you talk to as to the nature of the controlling legal and religious doctrines?…about a day? Her last missive was quite supportive of Ned’s notes as if she knew much more to the story.

  28. “…a like-minded friend, a conservative to whom it is safe to forward occasional “Islamophobic” emails. She has a daughter named Anna about the same age as the future Baron, who lives in Izmir with her Turkish husband and their small child. The husband is from a secular/atheist Turkish family, and has converted to Christianity. I’ve met them both; they’re decent people.”

    And what does the conservative Islamophobia-friendly mother think of her daughter Anna’s Stockholm Syndrome? And what does the Turkish husband who has converted to Christianity think of his wife’s Stockholm Syndrome? One wonders if they are not somehow co-dependent enablers of this familial welter of PC MC…

    • Hesperado: Her mother is in great distress about her daughter, and has been for several years. She’s at her wits’ end and doesn’t know what to do. I help her as best I can.

      I find the callous and antagonistic tone of your comment to be inappropriate and offensive. These are real people, and the woman is in desperate straits. They are not little ideological dolls for you to stick your self-righteous pins into.

      You’d better watch your step, buster. You’re moving close to the limit of what I’m willing to tolerate in these comments. One more like this, and I may just make this a Hesperado-free zone.

    • Hesperado, you’re a puzzle…wrapped in an enigma and smothered by an overwhelming and misplaced high regard for your own opinions. You come ’round here on occasion to shoot down what you don’t like and then you disappear again – most of the time without bothering to respond to whomever raises questions about your assertions.

      In this case, the questions you pose are appalling, intrusive and rude. I wouldn’t violate the boundaries of decency by daring to ask this mother what she “thinks” about her daughter’s mental state. Your attitude brings to mind one of those shrill female TV interviewers who descend on the aftermath of a tragedy determined to further wound the victims of a tragedy for the sake of their “story”. To them, to you, those who find themselves caught in a nightmare they never expected to happen are simply objects to be examined and then discarded.The kind who moves right in with microphone while people are in shock and grieving, with no thought beyond getting the story by tearing into the wounds of the injured.

      However, you have so frequently violated the boundaries of human feeling and decency that I will ask *you* if you’ve ever considered seeing a professional to address the problem of your own obvious lack of boundaries.

      Whatever. That’s your problem. My problem is having to slog through your unyielding dysphoric commitment to find the speck in the other fellow’s eye while ignoring the plank in your own. The repetition has plucked my final nerve.

      This isn’t the first website that has declared you persona non grata; I doubt it will be the last. You’re welcome to return when you can find a way to share something, anything at all, with us that offers some spark of hope or faith or regard for your fellow man.

      Vaya con Dios…

  29. Baron, more about Turkey’s “simmering war between Turkish academics and their increasingly repressive government” in Science 25 March, 2016, p1381. “Turkish scholar who eluded arrest describes ‘witch hunt’.” by John Bohannon.

  30. It is not only the young who are naive. I have a 60 year old friend to whom I gave a CD of Mark Durie speaking about Islam & quoting from the Koran. It was put back in my mail box with a hand written note: “What makes you think I would be interested in that kind of hate speech?” To which I replied “Mark is an Anglican human rights advocate and I thou.ght you might be interested in what he had to say”. It is really tough but she is starting to see the light. I think Cologne forced her to think rather than emote.

  31. Anna: Hitler was a terrorist that happened to commit genocide in the name of Christianity.

    That’s equivalent to asserting that he did it in the name of Jesus Christ, or motivated by same.

  32. Izmir/Smyna just seems to me to be a uniquely bad place to have a good time or to just be happy.

    I would not go to Gettysburg, Arlington Cemetary, Cold Harbor or Sand Creek to be happy with friends. At all of these places and many others I would be respectful of all those who had died. While I may have had a good experience by it, I would not have had a good or happy time by it.

    The Turks may be more selective than anyone in what they will remember. A Christian husband should know what happened to Christians there, and why NOT tell his wife?

    Sometimes I am just always lost.

  33. Baron, your story of trying to talk some sense to Anna reminds me of an episode I had with a boyhood friend of mine (let’s just say we are now middle aged). We talk frequently enough, haven’t seen each other in years, and he is only partly on the grid – that is no internet.

    I found out from speaking with him that he had become enamored with the Abraham-Hicks movement. The more he started describing the things he had “learned” through what could only be described as Large Group Awareness Training (red flag!) struck me as the worst stench of pseudo-science I had ever heard. Maybe you know of these folks, they preach that we are all ‘vibrational beings’ and that our behavior is described at the cellular level by quantum mechanics.

    Ok, I took physics, studied some REAL quantum mechanics, filled out spin charts, studied covalent bonding and I even know that a quantum of energy is released when the electron in a hydrogen atom falls from the 2S to the 1S orbital. If memory serves is 313kev, but memory is a funny thing.

    Soo, I spent an entire day studying the Abraham-Hicks movement to determine what my friend had gotten tangled up with. I decided after my research that they are only cult-light and probably not too harmful. Still, if you want to understand quantum physics read Max Plank – good grief! I put together a bundle of good articles I downloaded and mailed them to my friend.

    As with Anna, I think he only read a portion of what I sent before he decided to stay with his special understanding of matters and reject points of view from anyone who challenged that. Luckily he’s not going to give those folks a lot of his money because he doesn’t have a lot and spends most of it on updating his mobile home.

    It was noble of you to try, perhaps in a while you will take another run at this. Also I think the comments that suggest she thinks her mails will be read may not be off the mark. Perhaps her best way to respond to you is snail mail with no return or identifying info, if you can even mail an international letter from Turkey.

    • Actually, her mother has been to Turkey to talk to her three or four times in the past year, the most recent one just a few weeks ago. She had a chance to talk to Mom about the true situation then, but didn’t. So we may safely assume she believes what she says.

    • And I meant to add that this story reminded me of the movie “Not Without My Daughter” with Sally Field. Great movie!

      I found it on Netflix. Very telling and great for people who think everything is hunk-dory for women in the ME. Another film that I found quite moving was “The Stoning of Soraya M”, the ending was not as bright by a long shot.

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