Why is Turkey considered part of Europe?

Dec 3rd, 2008, 08:28 AM
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Why is Turkey considered part of Europe?

This isn't really a travel question but as my husband and I are planning a trip to Turkey we've had this conversation several times.

It seems to me like most of Turkey lies in Asia, not Europe. However, when you go to the bookstore, or click on destinations on this website, Turkey is always listed in the "Europe" section.

Just curious!
tcreath is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2008, 08:33 AM
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Istanbul is in Europe and probably because many tourists only go there?

Plus Turkey is involved in several pan-european organizations and would love getting in the EU - has applied several times - so Turkey considers itself more european than Asian or Middle Eastern. Plus turks i believe are not Arabs.

But i note you flummoxing question is hard to answer
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2008, 09:29 AM
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Istanbul in Turkey is considered the joining point of Europe and Asia so part of the country is geographically Europe and part Asia.
I guess they know who their friends are!
unclegus is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2008, 10:01 AM
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Thanks for your replies. I know that Turkey would like to join the EU. I assumed that perhaps it had less to do with geography, as most of Turkey is in Asia/Middle East.

I'm not entirely sure why I care, but since it was on my mind and I couldn't come up with a logical answer I thought I would ask.

tcreath is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2008, 10:05 AM
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- plays in the European Cup
- contributes to the Eurovision Song Contest
- houses the spiritual centre of Europe's second-largest Christian denomination
- has better access to European markets than Mexico has to the US or Canada (no nonsense about not letting Turkish truck drivers operate in Britain or Germany)
- housed the capital of the Roman Empire for centuries, and was the administrative centre
for much of the European territories of the later Roman Empire
- was the birthplace of "European" authors such as Herodotus, and was the dominant source of funds (and a significant supplier of manpower) in Greece's fights against Persian invasions
- was seen by the Greeks and Romans as part of their world centuries before anyone dreamt up the weird (and nonsensical) idea that Europe was somehow separate from the countries on the Mediterranean's east and south coasts.

For the past two and a half thousand years, modern Turkey has been far more a part of Europe than Russia.
flanneruk is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2008, 10:05 AM
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Geographically, the Bosphorus divides Europe from Asia. Hence, Istanbul has a "European" and an "Asian" part. And most of Turkey belongs to Asia.

Culturally and politically, things are more complicated.

During the Ottoman Empire, Turkey did certainly not belong to Europe. In fact, Turkey was a threat for Europe.

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk brought Turkey closer to Europe.

Today, parts of the secular Turkish intelligentsia are pro-European and they want membership in the European Union, but the islamic fundamentalists are gaining influence.

Because political and cultural differences remain and even grow stronger, I doubt if the European Union will grant Turkey full membership.

However, there are some international organizations where Turkey indeed belongs to Europe, e.g. the international football asscociation UEFA. However, this not the only exception: Israel, Kazakhstan, Georgia and some other countries are members of the UEFA although they do not belong to Europe geographically. Europe is obviously very attractive to these countries (although it would be much easier for them to become champion if they would belong to the Asian Football Federation).

Conclusion: I would consider Turkey an Asian, not European country.
traveller1959 is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2008, 01:00 PM
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The farther east you go in Turkey the more Asian or really fundamentally Moslem the country becomes.

Long ago i traveled by buses from India thru Pakistan and Afghanistan and Iran to eastern Turkey - and the anti-Westernism that was prevalent in all these countries was by far the worst in eastern Turkey - kids constantly throwing small stones at Westerners, etc. I surprised me as i suspected Turkey was far more enlightened that those other religiously primitive countries.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2008, 07:05 PM
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There was a similar question posted about a year ago, maybe more. If you use the search box, you'll find further insights there.
tomboy is offline  
Dec 4th, 2008, 07:13 AM
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Hi tc,

Once upon a time, before 1919, the Ottoman Empire controlled a large swath of the Balkans.

Early 20th C political thought considered Turkey "the sick man of Europe".

ira is offline  
Dec 4th, 2008, 07:35 AM
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Turkey wants into the European Union not any Asian Union

Enough said
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 4th, 2008, 11:38 AM
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Yes, but the European Union refuses to grant Turkey membership.

Enough said.
traveller1959 is offline  
Dec 4th, 2008, 11:42 AM
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It is no stranger Turkey being in the Eurovision song contest and playing football in Europe than it is Israel. At least a little bit of Turkey is in Europe.
hetismij is offline  
Dec 4th, 2008, 11:42 AM
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does not mean the EU considers them Asian, do it?

Is half of Cyrprus Asian or European - Cyprus is in the EU ain't it? (not sure)

In Vienna they drink Turkish coffee, don't they?

The croissants in Paris originated from the shape of the turkish crescent (from Vienna however)

Turks use the same alphabet Europeans do

Actually of course Turkey is part European and part Asian but would like to be european more than asian.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 4th, 2008, 12:28 PM
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Hey PQ --

"Long ago i traveled by buses from India thru Pakistan and Afghanistan and Iran to eastern Turkey . . . "

How about a trip report? Most of that trip would be impossible today.
Fra_Diavolo is offline  
Dec 4th, 2008, 12:32 PM
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Well obviously it was a long time ago and obviously an incredible experience - Iran before the Shah fell, Afghan before the Soviet invasion, etc. Took public buses and, in Iran, trains. Kathmandu to Istanbul and on.

Thanks for the interest and maybe some day i will wax nostalgic.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 4th, 2008, 01:43 PM
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>>those other religiously primitive countries.

thus spoke the enlightened traveller.

wonder why there was anti-westernism? hmmm, could it be ambassadors such as these?
ssachida is offline  
Dec 4th, 2008, 01:59 PM
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when kids are throwing stones at you because their religion says you are an infidel then that religion is primitive IMO
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 4th, 2008, 06:10 PM
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PalenQ , Surely you could not be including India in your generic classification of 'those other religiously primitive countries'. India stands out as perhaps the best example of religious tolerance anywhere in the world. The world's largest democracy is predominantly hindu but has the second largest muslim population the world, a considerably large sikh, christian, jewish and parsi population.
DeepaSingapore is offline  
Dec 4th, 2008, 10:43 PM
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"India stands out as perhaps the best example of religious tolerance anywhere in the world."

Ah. That's why three million people were slaughtered for being Hindu, Muslim or Sikh in 1947.

That's why thousands have been killed in the Ayodhya Mosque/Temple riots since 1992 - and the violence has been going on

That's why the main opposition party is a Hindu nationalist party, allied to Fascist terrorist groups whose objective is to expel Muslims

That's why Muslim and Hindu extremists have been blowing up Christian churches since 2000, and thousands of Christians in the state of Orissa alone have fled violent persecution this year.

And that's why Muslim terrorists have caused carnage in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Ahmedabad this year.

India carries religious intolerance to a higher level than anywhere else on the planet. And does so with greater, and more lethal, violence than anywhere else.
flanneruk is offline  
Dec 5th, 2008, 01:27 AM
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I think it is important to address the meaning of religious intolerance. When I say that India is perhaps one of the most tolerant countries in this regard, I mean that it is considered mainstay and completely normal to expect the person next to you in a train, your neighbour, your class mate, your colleague to be a person of a religion different from yours and it is not something that you would bat an eyelid about or be mindful of when dealing with that person. That to my mind is religious tolerance. A far cry from what PalenQ quoted as children throwing stones at a person of a different religion or calling him an infidel. Could this have happened in India even in the seventies in the normal course of every day life? Absolutely unthinkable.

In fact, it is something so normal for the ordinary man in India that it is taken advantage of especially by politicians who love any small incident to be blown up, pay the different poor sections of religious groups to instigate matters further and then get their vote banks from the groups they foster.

Yes, there are some incidents that take place (do not forget India is more than one billion people), but they are not representative of the average Indian and the numbers are negligible when percentages are applied.

Next to address your examples -

The time of partition of India in 1947 is hardly a representative time to judge religious tolerance in India. It was a pure fall out of the divide and rule policy that the British followed in India and succeeded (as the current politicians do at times) in dividing it on the basis of religion.

Yes, the main opposition party may be largely hindu dominated but it is clearly sitting as the opposition and is not the governing party. In any case, as I said, politics and politicians, unfortunately do not represent the real India. And if this party were to come into power, it will no doubt change its tune and start appeasing muslims - again for the votes. Like terrorists, politicians in India only use religion to their own gain

About burning churches, unfortunately most christian missionaries make a mockery of their own religion by literally buying poor Hindus, as was the case in Orissa. The impoverished hindus are paid money to change their religion to Christianity. In the process the missionaries piss off the locals. Agreed that the reaction to burn churches and kill priests is completely wrong. But it does not stem from religious intolerance towards the Christians in general. Christians are very well tolerated and accepted in India. They are well represented in all walks of life and all strata of society.

On the terrorist killings, I firmly believe that terrorists are not religious and in most cases in India not even from India. Their intention is to do as much damage to India and not to any one particular religion. The recent attack in Mumbai is in no way an example of religious intolerance by Indians. After the current Mumbai shootouts, hindus and muslims have together held banners and carried out peace marches.

Please note, India's last president was muslim, Bollywood's most popular and loved actors are muslim, the captain of Inida cricket team for the longest time was muslim, the current team has at least 40% players who are muslim, India's defence secretary and the father of India's nuclear program was muslim. Indians do not segregate on the basis of religion. They cannot afford to. If they did, the democracy would have fallen to bits decades ago. Please give me an example similar to this in any of the other countries being discussed by PalenQ - Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey.

The Dalai Lama calls India home.
DeepaSingapore is offline  

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