The collapse of European peace and Muslims - ERGÜN YILDIRIM

The collapse of European peace and Muslims

By temporarily freezing negotiations, the European Parliament has made a decision to the detriment of Turkey. The relation between Turkey and the European Union has been rather fragile in recent years. Because, at a time in which Turkey is suffering from terror attacks, Europe is supporting the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Moreover, they have not fulfilled any of the promises they made in regards to the refugees. Europe refuses to support Turkey's resistance against the July 15coup attempt aimed at harming Turkey's democracy. Despite all this negativity, Europe is trying to admonish and advise Turkey. There have been different things happening in Europe too. Nationalism is on a rise, xenophobia and Islamophobia have escalated. Perhaps, these are the points we have to focus on.

European peace, which makes up the essence of the EU, is an apprehension that comes from the past. This can go all the way to Erasmus's efforts. Kant, tries to contribute with his permanent peace theory. Saint Simon talks about reorganizing the European society through a sociological perspective. Modern Europe is also a search for a mutual peace project. But this comes out as a continental peace perspective after World War II. It rises from the ashes of war, destruction, massacres and harsh ideologies. Therefore, many humanitarian, liberal, peace-loving and democrat intellectuals run toward this with admiration. This project is shelved with the start of the Cold War. Stefan Zwieag witnesses this, therefore is disappointed. Disappointment is followed with suicide. This is actually a reaction against the ruined peace spirit. Or maybe it is the nobleness of disappearing when the absence of the peace dream is realized.

After the end of the Cold War global peace surrounded the world. It is no coincidence that the EU was named in 1992. Europe had come to a point in which it could live in unity and peace. All European philosophers from Alain Tourain to Habermas are close to this perspective. At one stage they were asking questions like, “How is a European law possible? How can multiculturalism work?” Articles and books were written in this respect. Democracy, human rights, state of law, fair economic distribution and mutual security umbrella were the EU's main parameters. Turkey runs toward this, after suffocating from a regime (Kemalism) that does not approve of differences.

The liberals turn to this for welfare and freedom. The Kurds say “Brussels” for their free identities. The conservatives, who generally perceive that side as the crusaders, transform themselves after the Feb. 28 coup. As the girls wearing headscarves are abused in front of their schools they run to the European Court of Human Rights. When the Welfare Party (RP) is closed down and its government is toppled, they apply to the EU. RP founder Necmettin Erbakan, who said “the crusaders” for many years, turns to the EU.

More than 4 million Turks live in Europe. The National Vision Movement (MGH) – which the RP was a part of – is one of the main groups. The group that was abused by Kemalists during the Feb. 28 period, Islamists and conservatives moved to European cities. When the girls wearing headscarves were kicked out of their universities, they went to go to Europe to study. No one thought of going to Saudi Arabia or Iran!

Sociologist Nilüfer Göle conducted a four-year study based on different European countries. She tried to understand the daily lives of Muslims who lived in nine different European cities. After surveying and interviewing Turks, Arabs, Moroccans, Kurds, German and French Muslims she concluded her sociological work. She analyzed things like everyday life, minarets, halal-haram, mosques and the headscarf. In completing her study, she came to the conclusion that Muslims were part of the public life in Europe. Meaning, Islam was a part of Europe's daily life. I am mentioning all this for the following reason: The EU or Europe might renounce the peace project today. They might become nationalist and xenophobic. Islamophobia might be on a rise. In short, Europe's peace project might be in distress. There are signs that suggest this. This means a worse Europe. This means that Turks living in Europe can expect to live worse days. This means that the important number of Muslims living in Europe will be suffering. The collapse of Europe's peace project means both Europe and everyone else will be suffering.

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