I agree 100 percent. After the recent Paris tragedy, a different reality has emerged.
When bombs explode in Paris and people die, all institutions on earth take action, launch campaigns, offer condemnations and start to “Pray for Paris.” But when it is Diyarbakır, Ankara, Suruç, Beirut and Syria in question, somehow we can’t see the same reaction, the same condemnation, or the same protests.
Although the Ankara disaster was as huge as the Paris one, Turkey saw little more than the “dry” condolences of heads of states or governments.
Don’t misunderstand me; I am not writing this to minimize the Paris massacre. On the contrary, I was horrified.
I was also horrified over the Ankara massacre.
When something happens in Turkey, the world is not alarmed; when it happens in Paris, the entire world protests.
Sadly, when it is East and West in question, there is a double standard in terms of consciences.
Enough to make a saint swear
Last March, I joined a group led by Selman Okumuş Hodja to go on an Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca. Most of us were doing this visit for the first time. I went because I was curious, but I did not write about the trip for Hürriyet. I simply went there for myself and later I wrote it in my blog.
I did not know how I would feel, but what I felt on the pilgrimage surprised me.
When I went to Mecca I had never had a religious education. I only knew a few prayers that my grandmother taught me. I wasn’t so interested in religion and I had never performed my daily prayers. Still, I considered myself a believer.
In Mecca, a very strange thing happened to me. I don’t want to write it at length now, but I can say I felt like a mirror was held to my soul. I performed my five daily prayers in the open air. I enjoyed doing them together with everyone else; I became a part of a whole. I was everything and at the same time I was nothing.
When I came home I bought a prayer rug for myself. But then another strange thing happened…
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorism erupted in Turkey... We saw such cruelty… We were so close to murder… Bombs exploded... People were shattered to pieces… There was no mercy for the victims…
These ISIL killers use religion as an excuse. They exploit religion to distance us from our beliefs and religion.
They have this effect on many people. I’d wish that no religion was ever mentioned in connection to them.
Thank you, Family Minister Ayşen Gürcan
I have criticized the Family and Social Policies Ministry many times over the unbelievable sentence reductions given to criminals were in cases into sexual abuse, rape, and violence against women.
The ministry has been extremely passive in this field, but now it seems to have adopted a different stance - at least in one case.
In 2013 in the southeastern province Diyarbakır, a 22-year-old man knocked a 14-year-old girl unconscious by hitting her head with a stone, before raping her and impregnating her. In his sentencing he was granted a generous reduction because of his respectful attitude in court; he was sentenced to just 11 years and eight months in jail for the murder.
The ministry has appealed the lightness of the sentence, arguing that the reduction was unjust and the defendant was almost rewarded after the crime.
I thank and applaud the ministry for its appeal.