Friday, October 26, 2007

Public Interest Notice

Can I suggest that you do not go to St Joost or Schaerbeek tomorrow? This is for the simple reason that, from information I have received from local shopkeepers and cafe owners there is a major demonstration planned for the morning. Not only is the Turkish community planning to put upwards of 10,000 people on the streets, but so is the local Kurdish community. Both of these planned demonstrations have been banned by the police, but in the light of the rioting here over the last week, I wouldn't put much confidence in the manifestation not going ahead.

This picture should give you an idea of how the area is getting pretty tense. The flags are not for fun, and the streets are oddly quiet.

What is not completely apparent is that many of the Turkish flags being flown (this photograph was taken this morning at the end of my street) have the head of Kemal Attaturk superimposed upon the crescent and star.

In this quarter one often sees Turkish flags flying, particularly when Galatasaray or Besitkas are playing but these are new. I have never seen these flags before, they are all the same and brand new. They of course show show support for the Kemalist constitution and are nationalist rather than Islamist.

There are strong suggestions that the Turkish community are in part being directed by the Turkish authorities, who are displaying a show of force at the heart of the EU. They are not happy about the way in which the EU has been stringing them along over accession, they are not happy about suggestions that the EU might recognise the Armenian massacres as a genocide and they are not happy about the response of the EU to the PKK incursions into Turkish territory in the last weeks.

Brussels, the rumours are saying, is to learn about the power and discipline of the Turkish people.


ELF said...

Now imagine a Turkish component in Eurogenfor. With the inevitable argument that there should be some ethnically muslin presence in policing this or other disturbances involving mulsim minorities.


The Aunt said...

Good luck with that.

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

As I only saw your warning this afternoon (Sunday) I blithely wandered right through the very district yesterday. I did notice the abundance of flags and pictures of Ataturk, but it was perfectly quiet and business as usual.

But you've scuppered my idea for my next post.

Anonymous said...

The photo used is not neutral. It shows Atatürk wearing a brimless hat. The point of brimless hats (like the Fez) was that the wearer could pray without taking them off.

All political tendencies in Turkey demonstrate patriotism by displaying pictures of Atatürk, but the photo used varies. Atatürk without a hat, in western dress (dinner jacket): secular people. Atatürk in Ottoman military uniform: islamists (including AKP).

You might enjoy "A Fez of the Heart", by Jeremy Seal.

Elaib Harvey said...

As it happened things were indeed quite quiet. Only ten arrests