Will our ancestral maps help break prejudices?

Will our ancestral maps help break prejudices?

I have heard many interesting stories since the launch of Turkey’s state genealogy service. Many ordinary citizens have been surprised by what they found after enquiring about their ancestral records on the free-of-charge official genealogy portal.

One friend of mine, who comes from a conservative family, has just found out that her father is an Orthodox Gagauzian Turk. Another family has found out that it has a great grandmother who migrated to Turkey from Ukraine.

An Alevi friend of mine looked into his roots after finding out via the portal that his grandfather’s grandfather was given a unique name. He learned in this way that the man was actually a very devout Sunni Muslim.

Similarly, many so-called “hometown fanatics” have also been surprised. People who are obsessed with their hometowns and who assumed that their ancestors had been living on the same soil for centuries found out that actually their grandparents were from elsewhere.

What about those who liked to brag about their light-colored eyes and blond hair? Many were revealed to have roots in the southern city of Adana or the Central Anatolian city of Kayseri.

Ladies with new-age names turned out to have grandmothers who have ancient names.

Families who have been claiming that their roots go back deep in Istanbul have learned that they are in fact from the remote northeastern city of Bayburt?

The stories go on. But in fact none of these discoveries makes anyone more or less valuable. It is what we do in this life, what we believe in and the value we add to our community, that makes us matter. Not our roots.

If this new online service has helped break some barriers, if it has shown us how meaningless these obsessive fixations are, if it has helped us look at each other with more understanding and love, then it will have performed a valuable service.

Women and children first!

We should think carefully about why Turkey has become a more dangerous place for women and children in recent years.

After reading the tragic news stories of abuse and exploitation, I can hardly bring myself to utter what has happened to the children in the past weeks.

But it is not up to us punish those perverts ourselves. It is the state’s duty to apply the law in line with the civilization that our times require.

While on the subject, please explain to me what it means for a judge to reduce a convict’s sentence due to “possible impacts on the suspect” or “good behavior at court.”

The crime of theft may be able to see a reduced sentence. But sexual harassment against a minor or a woman?

Is it not better to focus on the victim rather than discussing the impact of the sentence on the suspect?

A debate on chemical castration being applied to those found guilty of sexual abuse of minors. Some say such an application would be against human rights, but I disagree.

Reduced sentences should be revoked and chemical castration should be on the table. I am in favor of all kinds of punishments until every woman in this country can wear whatever she wants, until she can walk alone safely, and until children can freely play on the streets.

Gülse Birsel, hdn, Opinion