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Thread: Is Turkey a Western country ?

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    ''Are Coptic Egyptian or Christian Syrian, Iraqi or Armenian Westerners because they share all the history, values, moral than Europeans ? Anyway, culturally, there a Syrian is probably as near of a Greek than a Greek from an Irish or Finn. Greeks share so much with Turkish that only the religion and language separate them. Greeks are the historical pillar of Western values (democracy, philosophy, reason, sciences...).''


    I beg to differ here. You obviously know very little about Greece. Although it might be true that a few Greeks and Turks living on each side of the the Aegean share some common elements of the mediterranean culture, (and may I include the Italians here as well), it is false to imply that generally speaking, Greeks and Turks share basically the same culture( as you imply). Turkey is mainly a middle eastern country that has far more in common with Syria and Iraq than it has with Greece. The impact of the middle eastern culture in Turkey is obvious -arranged marriages, honor killings, emphasis on pride/honor are still the norm and prevelant cultural traits in the turkish society. Greece does not have any of the above characteristics. Just because Greece and Turkey share some common culinary recipe doesnt mean that they share the same culture!

    Yes, some Turks in western Turkey lead western/Greek lifestyles but those are very few. After all, Turkey is a huge country and only 3 % of its land area lies in Europe. Big families and covered women is still the norm in Turkey, I definately wouldn't go to the extremes to say that ''Greeks share so much with Turkish that only the religion and language separate them''. Btw, since your nick imply you are Italian, how much in common do the Italians have with the Irish or Finns really? Click here to find out:

    http://www.carugati.net/bozzetto/bozzetto_stereo.swf

    Not much it seems.

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    Originally posted by Reflected
    ''Are Coptic Egyptian or Christian Syrian, Iraqi or Armenian Westerners because they share all the history, values, moral than Europeans ? Anyway, culturally, there a Syrian is probably as near of a Greek than a Greek from an Irish or Finn. Greeks share so much with Turkish that only the religion and language separate them. Greeks are the historical pillar of Western values (democracy, philosophy, reason, sciences...).''


    I beg to differ here. You obviously know very little about Greece. Although it might be true that a few Greeks and Turks living on each side of the the Aegean share some common elements of the mediterranean culture, (and may I include the Italians here as well), it is false to imply that generally speaking, Greeks and Turks share basically the same culture( as you imply).
    Well, I do't know how much you know about Greece and Turkey. Historically, the Western part of present-day Turkey belongs to Ancient Greece. In the 4th century BC, Alexander annexed Anatolia (what is now Turkey) to the Greek sphere of influence, as well as the whole middle east. Then came the Romans. In the 4th century AD, Constantinople become the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, later to become the Orthodox Christian Byzantine Empire, which official language was Greek. So up to the 15th century when the Muslim Turks from Central Asia (Turkmenistan !) invaded the Byzantine Empire and created the Muslim Ottoman empire (renaming Byzantium/Constantinople "Istanbul"), what is now Greece and Turkey were the same country, with the same culture, language, religion and history. So what is it that the Turks have change, if not the official language and religion, and bringing some Asian blood (but, as you probably know, there are still blue-eyed Turks of European ancestry) ?

    Turkey is mainly a middle eastern country that has far more in common with Syria and Iraq than it has with Greece. The impact of the middle eastern culture in Turkey is obvious -arranged marriages, honor killings, emphasis on pride/honor are still the norm and prevelant cultural traits in the turkish society. Greece does not have any of the above characteristics. Just because Greece and Turkey share some common culinary recipe doesnt mean that they share the same culture!
    I think you are doing the common mistake to confuse Islamic countries with Arabic ones. Turkey is not an Arabic/Semitic country at all. People are of European (Aryan) and Central Asian (related to Mongols) descent. The language itself is closer to Mongol and cental Asian languages than any others. I am not a specialist of the Turkish language, but from what I know, it has lots of words of European origin (esp. Greek and Italian). Culturally, if it's true the Islamic influence differentiate it from Europe (though not Albania or Bosnia or parts of Yugoslavia and Bulgaria in this respect), Turkey aspire to be European. It feels so much closer to Europe that it has trying very hard to join the EU, for much longer than Eastern European countries. Religion, poor economic performances, the petty disputes with Greece and human rights abuses against the Kurds, have prevented it to be officially part of Europe so far.

    If you check the official Turkish tourism website, you'll see that they boast about their European and especialy Greek heritage. A Turk would also probably be more offended to be called an Arab than a European, from what some Turkish friends told me (though they'd be angry at being called Greek because of the current problems between the 2 countries ).

    I would see Turkey as a hybrid country, half European, half Central Asian. The cultural differences you cited are not very deep - they certainly aren't more substantial than the differences between North and South Koreans, and would disappear in a generation if the political and educational system were to change.

    Yes, some Turks in western Turkey lead western/Greek lifestyles but those are very few. After all, Turkey is a huge country and only 3 % of its land area lies in Europe. Big families and covered women is still the norm in Turkey, I definately wouldn't go to the extremes to say that ''Greeks share so much with Turkish that only the religion and language separate them''.
    - Religion/culture : see above. Covered women are not so much a norm as a fashion in Turkey (like in Malaysia). You'll rarely see entirely veiled women all dressed in black. They usually just wear a headscarf, and it's more common nowadays than 20 years ago. There is no obligation whatsoever, it's just a personnal choice and trend. That is completely different of how they see it in most Arabic countries.

    - Turkey's geographical location has little to do with the ethnic, historical or cultural aspects.

    - Big families are just a result of poorer economies. Seeing how fast this has changed in Italy and Spain, I expect that Turkey could be in the EU average in less than 15 years. After all, Italians, who used to have very big families traditionally and till the 1950's or 60's, now have the lowest birth rate in Europe with a decreasing population. But has it changed their culture ? I don't think so.

    Btw, since your nick imply you are Italian, how much in common do the Italians have with the Irish or Finns really?
    Exactly ! I am happy you point that out. You are demonstating yourself that Turks are in fact much closer in lifestyle to Greeks, Bulgarians or Yugosavs than to Finns, Irish or even English.
    That doesn't help us define what is "Westerness", does it ? Thanks for your contribution anyway.
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    Originally posted by Reflected
    The cultural gap between the japanese and their asian neighbours is greater than between them and the West. Most Japanese have grown up with American pop culture alongside the japanese.
    Yes, but if you make exceptions of neighbours like South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and... why not Thailand as we are at it. :)

    American influence is at least as strong, if not more, in South Korea or Taiwan than in Japan. HK, Singapore and Malaysia are English-speaking countries, with more Westernised education systems than Japan. Japanese education system sucks... except for making people responsable, polite and well-behaved citizens, but full of fake ideas, stereotypes and ignorance about the rest of the world.

    Many Japanese, especially the younger generations embrace more and more Western values, many even give their children western names.
    NO ! You are definitely confusing HK or Singapore with Japan. I have NEVER met or heard of anybody in Japan with a non Japanese name. What's more, the majority of children of international marriages (half-Japanese) still have Japanese names.

    The older generation is more traditional.
    Like in most places in the world, innit ?

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    '''''''what is now Greece and Turkey were the same country, with the same culture, language, religion and history.''''''''''

    You couldn't be more wrong on this one. First of all, that ''same country'' you refer to = the Ottoman Empire did not only consist of Turkey and Greece. The Ottoman Empire included ALL of Southeast Europe,....Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, as well as most of the middle East and North Africa. Greeks were just one of the many ethnic groups to have been occupied by the Ottoman Turks. Not all of Greece actually, because Western Greece (Ionian islands) never became part of the Ottoman Empire. It belonged to Venetians.

    As I explained, in that huge area known as the Ottoman Empire, lived ethnic groups with different culture, language, customs and religion. Just because they were occupied by the Ottoman Turks and were *forced* to become parts of the Ottoman Empire does't mean that they became suddenly one and the same i.e. 'one country' with the same culture, language, and religion!!! What an absurd claim to make!

    On the contrary, it was precisely because they had a different culture, ethnic backround, language and religion that these ethnic groups, regularly revolted against the Ottoman empire!! Turks, throughout the Ottoman occupation were considered as arch enemies by the Greeks and the other ethnic groups. They were constntly revolting against the Turks, until they gained their much wanted Independence. Bear in mind also, that Greece was the first country to liberate itself from the Ottoman yoke-( Albania being the last), because Greeks had a strong sense of identity.

    You write:
    ''''''''''So what is it that the Turks have change, if not the official language and religion, and bringing some Asian blood (but, as you probably know, there are still blue-eyed Turks of European ancestry) ? ''''''''''

    If you are assuming that the Turks after occupiying Greece and the other Balkan countries, intermixed with the local populations you are wrong.This is not the case. When the turks occupied the Balkan they were consider enemies and invadors. You dont mate with your enemy.

    In fact there was a segragation between the Christian populations and the Muslim populations in the Ottoman Empire. Intermarriage between Christians and Muslims at that time was stricktly forbidden. In fact conversion from Islam to Christianity was punishable with death.
    To imply that the ethnic populations in the Ottoman empire, after their occupation become ' one country' 'one culture' is simply ludicrous. Cultures tend to stick together - and even today- rightly or wrongly you don't see many mixed race marriages. Although in the west this is becoming more common as people are becoming more tolerant, it is still an exception rather than the rule.

    On the other side, Ottoman Turks freely intermixed with the other different populations occupied by the Ottoman Empire. ie Kurds, Syrians, Arabs because they shared the same religion and intermixing was permissible by their religion. Some Europeans even converted to Islam to escape the heavy tax burden and inhuman treatment they had to suffer from the Ottomans, and became 'Turks' albeit a very small number. Hence we have today some European looking Turks.

    The opposite did not happen though..no Turk converted to Christianity and became 'Greek' , because convesion from Islam to Christianity was punishable with death. (a Christian who converted from Christianity to Islam were ostracised by its ethnic group and was no longer considered part of that ethnic group).

    You write:

    ''''''''''''''If you check the official Turkish tourism website, you'll see that they boast about their European and especialy Greek heritage. A Turk would also probably be more offended to be called an Arab than a European, from what some Turkish friends told me'''''''''''''''''''''''''''

    Turks of course want to be considered Europeans, after all the EU is a European Union. The reason they want to be part of it is because their participation would greatly increase the Turkish influence in Europe, Balkans and the Middle east and not because they feel they share the same European values as their fellow Europeans. It is understandable that they want to join the EU, becase the EU (being the democratic entity it is) will be forced to give Turkey (in case it joins) equal power and seats to the Europarliament as countries as Germany, while at the same time contributing nothing to the EU budget. Turkey is extremely large, think that is so big in size as twice the Germany and more! and her population is a big as that of all the 10 EU candidate countries together! At the same time its a very poor and nationalistic country. A recipe for disaster for the EU!

    It is understandable that they boast about the Greek heritage, its their only link with Europe. The problem is that they cut that link long time ago, when they ethnically cleansed the Christian minorities (included the Greek) that lived in the country. Today they can no longer of any Greek or European heritage, no more than Tunisia or Jordan can claim European heritage (there are loads of ancient greek heritage in these countries.

    You write
    ''''''Exactly ! I am happy you point that out. You are demonstating yourself that Turks are in fact much closer in lifestyle to Greeks, Bulgarians or Yugosavs than to Finns, Irish or even English.
    That doesn't help us define what is "Westerness", does it ? Thanks for your contribution anyway.'''''''''''''

    You miss completely the point. The point I was trying to make was that Greeks really aren't that much different from the Finns and the Italians not much different than Italians. By European culture we mean the vague average that is represented by the culture of modern central Europe, with extremes ranging from the Russians and Finns to the Portuguese and Greeks. However, this model certainly does not include Turks, whether some people like it or not.

    ''''''''Exactly ! I am happy you point that out. You are demonstating yourself that Turks are in fact much closer in lifestyle to Greeks, Bulgarians or Yugosavs than to Finns, Irish or even English.'''''''''''''

    I am not saying they aren't. What I am saying is that the *vast majority* of them aren't. Like it or not Turkey is an incredibly big country stretching from Greece all the way to Iran and Iraq. The great majority of them have little in common with Greeks and other South Europeans. A visit to any Turkish town east of Istanbul will be enough to convince you that the local populations there have much more in common with Iranians, Syrians and Iraqis than with Greeks, Italians or Spaniards.

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    ''''''''''''Western countries are those with common historical and cultural roots springing from Roman civilization. Christianity, the Roman alphabet, our languages, our scientific and philosophical traditions all spring from that one source.
    With Japan and many other Asian countries, the root of their culture, religion, science, philosophy and language is in China. They are completely seperate ''''''''''''''''

    Yes I totally agree with you. Let's just not confuse 'Western' with being advanced. Just because Japan is equally advanced in all fields, to the countries of the Western world i.e. influenced by the Greek Roman civilization and Christianity (but also from Enlightment) doesn't mean it is a Western country.

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    Maciamo writes:
    @religion
    '''''''''You are right about Christianity, but I am not Christian and most younger Europeans cannot really claim being "real" Christians anymore (the situation is very different in the US, except for 5% of Atheist, a few Muslim, Buddhist, etc.). If Westerness starts with Ancient Greece and Rome, than Christianity is not important. It's maybe more the systematical use "reason" (in philosophy, sciences, theology, etc.) that caracterise best Western civilization. In any case, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Celts, till Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and a lot of modern Europeans aren't/weren't Christian, but surely were Western. ''''''''''

    The fact that Westerners are not religious is beside the point. A Westerner may never go to church, yet most aspects of his life are influenced directly or interectly by Christianity. (although Christianity alone does not define 'Westerness').

    How?

    Well most Western principles in our laws, is/was founded on
    Judeo/Christian ethics. Good-faith, for an example, is a religious concept (Judaism). For example, all courts in the US are and have functioned by the good-faith principle.

    The vocalized word of agreement being an oral contract - legally
    binding. Again, a religious concept (Judaism, Christianity).

    Murder, rape, incest, perjury (lying, especially while under oath)
    a religious concept (Judaism,Christianity).

    No debtors prison in America (again, a religious concept, Judaism.)

    Autonomy, freedom to practice anything honourable (Judaism
    Christianity).

    Western civilization is said to be an amalgam of Athens, Rome,
    and Jerusalem--Greek scientific rationalism, Roman organization, Judeo-Christian ethics.

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    One more thing....

    You write:
    ''''''The cultural differences you cited are not very deep - they certainly aren't more substantial than the differences between North and South Koreans, and would disappear in a generation if the political and educational system were to change.''''''

    If that is the case then how is that, third generation Turkish immigrants in Europe are unable to integrate to the societies of their host countries? Islamic sentiment is on the rise in Turkey. More and more educated young women wear the veil, more than ever. Uneducated and educated Turks alike follow the ethics and morals of their religion. Turks are not a western people and their mind-set is different. This mindset cannot perform deeds neither for the sake of democracy, nor for human rights or some other values alien to Turkish ideology. So I disagree when you say the cultural differences are not very deep.

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    '''''''So are Turkey, Israel or Syria Western countries because they were part of the Roman Empire, have a long Christian history (and still some Christians amomg the Muslim and Jewish now), have inherited Greek science and philosophy with the rest of the Arabic world, etc.'''''''

    I think you have mixed up history a little bit here. At the time of the Roman Empire, there was not such thing as 'Turkey'. Turks came into the picture relatively late. Instead, in the area that we call today Turkey, used to live many different ethnicities, such as the Greeks (on the western part), Armenians, Persians, Kurds(in the east), Assyrians (not to be confused with Syrians), and others. Some of those ethnicities had small kingdoms.

    What happened to all those ethnicities? *Well, Turkey ethnically cleansed the Greek ethnic minority (some 1, 000,000) from western Turkey, and exterminated as many Armenians. I'm sure you must have heard of the Armenian genocide...

    Those minorities that Turkey ethnically cleansed or exterminated were the true heirs of the Roman Empire and the only connection that could link Turkey with the west. Turkey, by destroying its European/Christian minorities, it automatically cut any link it might had with Europe or 'Westerness'..

    *(The other minorities Kurds, Persians embraced Islam and intermixed with the Turks. Despite that, and the fact that they share the shame religion with the Turks, the Kurds, even today, do not feel 'Turks' and have not completely integrated with the Turks.)

    The Turks are definately not western, because they never embraced Western ideals and values like, the Hungarians, say. In fact until the beginning of the 20th century, Turks were using the Arab alphabet and polygamy were common practice. So I really don't understand how the Roman Empire and Westerness have anything to do with the Turks. The Ottoman Turks were the champions of Islam and a huge big manace to the 'Holy' Christian Europe.

    If Turks had embraced the Western values they would have allowed some space for self reflection and thinking. Just like the arabs they do not encourage free thinking.

    Regarding Israel, well most of its inhabintants come from all over the world- mainly US and Europe, that is why today it is included in the Western countries.

    As for the Arabs, their cosmo theory of the world is completely different to that of the West, science is discouraged in their universities, actually in many Islamic countries Islam is the beginning and the end, and that's just too sad.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Originally posted by Reflected
    [B]'''''''what is now Greece and Turkey were the same country, with the same culture, language, religion and history.''''''''''

    You couldn't be more wrong on this one. First of all, that ''same country'' you refer to = the Ottoman Empire did not only consist of Turkey and Greece. The Ottoman Empire included ALL of Southeast Europe,....Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, as well as most of the middle East and North Africa. Greeks were just one of the many ethnic groups to have been occupied by the Ottoman Turks. Not all of Greece actually, because Western Greece (Ionian islands) never became part of the Ottoman Empire. It belonged to Venetians.
    I was talking about the Byzantine Empire, which official language was Greek. Historically, the West of what is now Turkey belongs to Greece, with Ancient cities such as Troy, Miletus or Ephesus - even Byzantium, Turkey's largest city and ex-capital of the Ottoman, was originally a Greek city !

    As I explained, in that huge area known as the Ottoman Empire, lived ethnic groups with different culture, language, customs and religion. Just because they were occupied by the Ottoman Turks and were *forced* to become parts of the Ottoman Empire does't mean that they became suddenly one and the same i.e. 'one country' with the same culture, language, and religion!!! What an absurd claim to make!
    As for the Roman Empire, every region had its own ethicity, language, even religion, but Latin was the official language and had a determinant influence at least on the nearest countries from Rome, i.e. Italy, France and the Hispanic peninsula (Greece was culturally superior to Rome from the beginning and rich Romans went to study in Greece).

    But Greece and Turkey as we know them now are confusing, as the core of the Ottoman Empire in Istanbul lies just in between, and as you said, Western Greece was Venitian, and Greece actually got its independance from the Muslim invader in the war of 1821-32. That would have been unthinkable had it remained the Greek-speaking Christian Byzantine Empire.

    You write:
    ''''''''''So what is it that the Turks have change, if not the official language and religion, and bringing some Asian blood (but, as you probably know, there are still blue-eyed Turks of European ancestry) ? ''''''''''

    If you are assuming that the Turks after occupiying Greece and the other Balkan countries, intermixed with the local populations you are wrong.This is not the case. When the turks occupied the Balkan they were consider enemies and invadors. You dont mate with your enemy.
    You misunderstood me. I was talking only about Turkey itself. Turkish people nowadays are of mixed Asian and European origin. There were millions of people living in Anatolia before 1453 and it's not an army of a few thousands Turkish invadors that has changed the original ethny. They obviously didn't exterminate all the people living there. As for other countries, there has been interbreeding as with any conquering army. There might have been rapes, courtisanes or even brides taken from the local population. In 500 years of history, that leaves traces, believe me.

    In fact there was a segragation between the Christian populations and the Muslim populations in the Ottoman Empire. Intermarriage between Christians and Muslims at that time was stricktly forbidden. In fact conversion from Islam to Christianity was punishable with death.
    So, why do you think there are fractions of Muslims in the Balkans or Bulgaria now ? There are remnants of the Turks. There were no Muslim in Europe before them.


    I am not saying they aren't. What I am saying is that the *vast majority* of them aren't. Like it or not Turkey is an incredibly big country stretching from Greece all the way to Iran and Iraq. The great majority of them have little in common with Greeks and other South Europeans. A visit to any Turkish town east of Istanbul will be enough to convince you that the local populations there have much more in common with Iranians, Syrians and Iraqis than with Greeks, Italians or Spaniards.
    I don't know if you've seen my topic on the 4 cultural dimensions of the world-famous psychologist Geert Hofstede. He analysed the cultural differences in 56 countries in the world and categorised them under the variants : power distance (PDI), individualism (IDV), masculinity (MAS) and uncertainty avoidance (UAI).

    Have a look at the score for Greece and Turkey, and compare them with the European average. The connexion is striking ! Greece and Turkey are not only the most similar, but as I said, Spain is even more similar to Turkey than to Greece, and Portugal is also clearly in the same group. Apart from Individualism, France and Turkey also have very similar scores.

    Country : PDI - IDV - MAS - UAI

    Greece : 60 - 35 - 57 - 112
    Turkey : 66 - 37 - 45 - 85

    Spain : 57 - 51 - 42 - 86
    Portugal : 63 - 27 - 31 - 104

    Denmark : 18 - 74 - 16 - 23
    UK : 35 - 89 - 66 - 35
    Germany : 35 - 67 - 66 - 65
    France : 68 - 71 - 43 - 86
    Italy : 50 - 76 - 70 - 75
    Arab World 80 - 38 - 52 - 68
    China : 80 - 15 - 55 - 40
    Japan : 54 - 46 - 95 - 92

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    Hi again Maciamo

    You replied:

    ''So, why do you think there are fractions of Muslims in the Balkans or Bulgaria now ? There are remnants of the Turks. There were no Muslim in Europe before them.''

    but here's what I wrote actually:

    '''''In fact there was a segragation between the Christian populations and the Muslim populations in the Ottoman Empire. Intermarriage between Christians and Muslims at that time was stricktly forbidden. In fact conversion from Islam to Christianity was punishable with death. '''''

    You only prove my point that there *was* segragation between Christians and Muslims, in the Ottoman Empire. You write that Muslim Bosnians, Albanians, Bulgarians, Greeks and so on, are ''remnads of the Turks''.

    (Actually, the great majority of the Muslims in Balkans are Europeans, and not ''Turkish remnants''. Racially, they are Europeans that converted to Islam to avoid the heavy taxes and other disadvantages that Christians were forced to endure at the hands of the Ottomans. The rest, are ethnically Turks and gypsies).

    The Christian Greeks and Bulgarians that converted to Islam were ostracised from their respective Greek/Bulgarian/Slavic ethnic groups and were segregated from the rest.

    ................

    Regarding individualism, it really doesn't surprise me that Northern Europe and America (Japan included) scored higher than the less-wealthy European south. The rich advanced countries have a tradition of welfare state where the need to act ''collectivelly' has traditionally been less strong than in South Europe, where people for generations were forced to ''stick together'' in order to survive. In the Balkans for examples, families, and whole villages sometimes had to stick together or face extinction from the Turks.

    ''My Big Greek Fat Wedding'' in no way is typical of the typical Greek family. The family described was the typical Greek family of the 50's and definately outmoded. I have been in the most remote of remoted villages in Greece and I can assure you that the family described in the movie is in exctintion really. Simply you won't find any such family.

    Here's what people in Greece had to say for the movie:
    ''"Those who have seen the movie might not be all that
    happy with its surprising success abroad," the
    conservative daily Kathimerini noted in an editorial.''

    '''At a cinema in central Athens this week, Iannis
    Nakapoulos, who went through three family weddings last
    year, including his own, said the film showed how far
    native Greeks and Greek-Americans have grown apart. "I
    think Greek-Americans have become very distanced from
    what Greece is really like," he said, dismayed.

    "A generation or two after leaving they look back fondly
    on what they think they remember, but it is only their
    fantasy really."


    Believe me, Greeks, (Portuguese too) are far, far more indivialists than the Japanese. I have never noticed any Greek religiously follow their groups, like the Japanese always seem to do. And I am sure that family plays much bigger role in Japan than it nowdays play in Greece.

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    '''Nowadays, lots of Japanese don't keep regular contact with their extended families (cousins, uncles, aunts, let alone second cousins). I've asked lots of people about that and 2/3 very rarely or never meet their cousins, some keep contact with a few cousins and I am yet to meet someone who regularily meets most of them. That contrast a lot with Latin/Catholic countries (including French-speaking ones) where family gatherings are usually numerous (for Christmas, New Year, Easter, at marriages, communions, baptisms, birthdays, etc.). A typical (a bit extreme) example can be seen in the movie "My big fat Greek wedding" (though Greek are neither Latin, nor Catholic, so it's maybe more a matter of climate, but Catholic Belgians act almost as such). Japanese rarely have big family gathering and rarely invite people at home.'''

    A lot of things have changed in Greece and Latin countries, that you are obviously not aware of. I can assure you that nowadays the Greeks, Italians and Spaniards don't keep that much contact with their relatives, aunts, uncles either. That has to do a lot with the fact that their lifestyles have changed a lot in the last decades. Now most of them avoid large gatherings because they don't have the time or the mood. I know that many Greeks nowadays won't even open you the door, if a relative, friends etc, drop by unespected, because the majority of women nowadays work and dont have the time, or mood to invite friends at home. In the countryside things are more relaxed of course but still very different than it used to be in the past where contact with friends and relatives were important, and even used to help each other at times of difficulties. Back then, there were many housewives, some people didn't even have telephone lines-if you understand what I mean, and therefore contact was necessary.

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    ''If you ask them, Japanese people will usually tell you that their society is a very collectivist one. They are very group-minded, sociable, care enormously about what others think about them, and often do things only because other people do it too ("if everyone jumps in the river, they let's do it too !"). In companies, they tend to seek everyone's opinion before taking a decision (so as to preserve the harmony). Traditionally, families accommodate 3, 4 or even 5 generations under the same roof. Nowadays, it's still common for grand-parents, parents and children to live in the same house.''

    That's funny. The exact opposite of Greeks.

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    ''large gatherings ''

    it should read 'large family gatherings'

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    ''because the majority of women nowadays work and dont have the time, or mood to invite friends at home''

    Note for example, that nowadays South Europe has one of the highest number of women univercity graduates in the EU, and one of the lowest birth rates worldwide. Contrast that with the situation a few decades ago when the majority of women were housewifes.

    ''A nation's culture doesn't normally changes in just a few decades, but in Japan it is obvious that society has gone a long way since then''

    The same goes for South Europe.

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    And before you tell me that the situation in Turkey might as well change and approach the European norm, let me tell you that I speak of *now*. I stand by what I said elsewhere, i.e that Turkey has far more in common with Syria, Iraq and Iran than it has with South Europe.

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    '''Greece actually got its independance from the Muslim invader in the war of 1821-32. That would have been unthinkable had it remained the Greek-speaking Christian Byzantine Empire.''

    That wouldn't be unthinkable at all. Why? Because, simply, there wouldn't be any Turkey to ethnically cleanse the Greek minority from Turkey. What would have happened is that the Greek minority would still be there, and modern Greece would include chunks of Turkey (wherever Greek minority). The other minorities: Kurds, Persians, Assyrians etc would eventually seek independence from the Byzantine Empire and there would be different countries instead of one. There would probably be a Kurdistan and an Assyria perhaps, and Armenia and Iran would have dominated the eastern parts of Turkey.

    ''''There were millions of people living in Anatolia before 1453 and it's not an army of a few thousands Turkish invadors that has changed the original ethny. They obviously didn't exterminate all the people living there.'''''

    Where did you get that from? And if they indeed were ''only a few thousands'' as opposed to millions of native inhabitants, how come they came to dominate the ''millions''? That's a little absurd isn't it? Anyway, who said that the native inhabitants of Byzantine Turkey were Europeans? (with the exception of the Greeks who were ethnically cleansed)

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    ''They obviously didn't exterminate all the people living there''

    and who said they did? I said that they extreminated the European (Greek) minority, and Armenian. Turkey has been found fuilty of the Armenian genocide as well as the genocide of the Greeks of Pontus. The other minorities are not exterminated so I basically agree with you that they didnt exterminate all. In fact the Kurdish minority (1/3 of Turkish population, as well as some remnants of the Assyrian community) are still there. (By the way: these minorities are not european-)

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    Originally posted by Reflected

    A lot of things have changed in Greece and Latin countries, that you are obviously not aware of. I can assure you that nowadays the Greeks, Italians and Spaniards don't keep that much contact with their relatives, aunts, uncles either. [/B]
    How comes an apparently Swede (from your flag) like you pretend always knowing everything better about first Turkey and Greece (in another topic), then now about Italians and Spaniards as well. How would you know so much better than me who has growned up in the Latin culture and lived some time in Italy and Spain (though I am not Italian, to answer your previous question). Have you ever heard of modesty or ever tried to double check what you so boldly put forward ?

    You can also edit your messages if you have after-thoughts. No need to post 4 messages one after the other, and please keep the discussion about Turkey in the right topic.

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    ''Have you ever heard of modesty or ever tried to double check what you so boldly put forward ?''

    Maciamo, I simply stated that lifestyles in South Europe have changed a lot in the past decades. They've become much more individualistic with passing years. I disagree that Japanese are more individualists than South Europeans.

    By the way I came across this interesting report on Happiness.

    {An analysis of levels of happiness in more than 65 countries by the World Values Survey shows Nigeria has the highest percentage of happy people followed by Mexico, Venezuela, El Salvador and Puerto Rico, while Russia, Armenia and Romania have the fewest.

    “NEW ZEALAND ranked 15 for overall satisfaction, the U.S. 16th, Australia 20th and Britain 24th — though Australia beats the other three for day-to-day happiness,” New Scientist magazine, which published the results, said on Wednesday.
    But the weekly magazine said that factors that make people happy vary. Personal success, self-expression, pride, and a high sense of self-esteem are important in the United States.

    “In Japan, on the other hand, it comes from fulfilling the expectations of your family, meeting your social responsibilities, self-discipline, cooperation and friendliness,” according to the magazine.

    The survey is a worldwide investigation of sociocultural and political change conducted about every four years by an international network of social scientists. It includes questions about how happy people are and how satisfied they are with their lives....}

    http://www.msnbc.com/news/974827.asp?0cv=CB20

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    Originally posted by Reflected

    Maciamo, I simply stated that lifestyles in South Europe have changed a lot in the past decades. They've become much more individualistic with passing years. I disagree that Japanese are more individualists than South Europeans.


    Well, free to you to disagree with Professor Hofsede's study. Nevertheless, I support that Spaniards, Portuguese or Greeks (and maybe still Southern Italians) are less individualistic than Japanese. This is based on my experience in Italy, Spain and Japan. I have also been to Portugal and Greece and know a few people there, though contrarily to the other 3 countries, I don't speak Greek or Portuguese. I've also travelled extensively around the world (esp. Europe, Asia and Australia) and most travellers I've come upon were British, Dutch, Scandinavian, Japanese or sometimes, to a lesser extend, German or French. I've met very few Southern Europeans, just a few Italians in India (usually in groups, like the French). However, all the (young) Japanese I met were travelling on their own, as backpackers, exactly the the most individualistic Northern Europeans. Eldrerly people, however, more often than not travel in group (maybe because they can't speak a word of English ).

    I am living in Japan and my wife is Japanese. I can tell you that Japanese very often travel by themselves (or 2 people together, esp. women). What's more, there are more long-term Japanese exchange students on their own in the UK, Australia or Canada than students from any other nationality. I had some Italians friends in London, but they came in couple (to study) and the girl's mother even came to live with them a few months. The months she wasn't there, they'd call home every day ! When my wife was studying in London, or whenever we go travelling somewhere, her family hardly cares to get news from her and even to ask how it was when she sees them again. My parents want to keep as much contact with me and always assail me with questions whenever I go back home or have me on the phone. I went back home a week in September and my whole family (cousins, uncles, aunts, grandmothers) wanted to see me. That's a very sharp contrast with Japan.

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    Originally posted by Reflected
    And before you tell me that the situation in Turkey might as well change and approach the European norm, let me tell you that I speak of *now*. I stand by what I said elsewhere, i.e that Turkey has far more in common with Syria, Iraq and Iran than it has with South Europe.
    I think you are looking at the superficial differences due to economical or political divergences. You are overlooking the deep culture that doesn't change in just a generation. I have never said that Syria or Iran didn't share similarities with Turkey (I don't know why you want me to say that), but from a global point of view, you can't deny that Greece and Turkey do have things in common, beyond religious differences. It is also my opinion that Greece and Turkey are more similar than Greece and any Northern European country.

    I find it pointless to separate countries in exclusive group such as "European" or "Middle-Eastern". Most countries in the world share quite a lot with their neighbours (except results of mass colonialism across oceans like the case of the US and Mexico or Australia and Indonesia, of course).

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    Originally posted by Reflected
    ''If you ask them, Japanese people will usually tell you that their society is a very collectivist one. They are very group-minded, sociable, care enormously about what others think about them, and often do things only because other people do it too ("if everyone jumps in the river, they let's do it too !"). In companies, they tend to seek everyone's opinion before taking a decision (so as to preserve the harmony). Traditionally, families accommodate 3, 4 or even 5 generations under the same roof. Nowadays, it's still common for grand-parents, parents and children to live in the same house.''

    That's funny. The exact opposite of Greeks.
    Have you ever seen the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" ?

  23. #23
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    Originally posted by Reflected
    [B]
    I think you have mixed up history a little bit here. At the time of the Roman Empire, there was not such thing as 'Turkey'. Turks came into the picture relatively late. Instead, in the area that we call today Turkey, used to live many different ethnicities, such as the Greeks (on the western part), Armenians, Persians, Kurds(in the east), Assyrians (not to be confused with Syrians), and others. Some of those ethnicities had small kingdoms.
    I know but I am talking of present countru name to make it easier, as otherwise I would have to name the dozens of names each part of this region has had in its long history (and some people on the forum would be quite confused).

    What happened to all those ethnicities? *Well, Turkey ethnically cleansed the Greek ethnic minority (some 1, 000,000) from western Turkey, and exterminated as many Armenians. I'm sure you must have heard of the Armenian genocide...

    Those minorities that Turkey ethnically cleansed or exterminated were the true heirs of the Roman Empire and the only connection that could link Turkey with the west. Turkey, by destroying its European/Christian minorities, it automatically cut any link it might had with Europe or 'Westerness'..
    You don't believe that only 1 million Greeks/Byzantines lived in what is now Turkey and were all pushed out or exterminated by invading Turks, do you ? You also don't believe that Turks, coming from an arid and scarcely populated region outnumbered the original Byzantines in such a rich and fertile place as Anatolia. You'd disappoint me for someone I thought had some interest in history and demography.


    The Ottoman Turks were the champions of Islam and a huge big manace to the 'Holy' Christian Europe.
    That is why the Ottoman were allied to the Germans and Austrians during WWI, is it ? I know that they first made war with the Austrians in the previous centuries, but how do you explin this sudden good relationship that has brought hundreds of thousands of Turks to Germany ?

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    that movie made some money
    but i haven't seen it yet
    soon as bb run a 2 for 10 with it, i'm in
    ttp://www.tcvb.or.jp/

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    ''That is why the Ottoman were allied to the Germans and Austrians during WWI, is it ? I know that they first made war with the Austrians in the previous centuries, but how do you explin this sudden good relationship that has brought hundreds of thousands of Turks to Germany ?''

    Maciamo, I don't understand your point. Germans needed working force in the 60's, and 70's and invited to their country people from many countries. It was thought that the Turks would stay in Germany on a temporary basis. These Turks failed to integrate into the German society and relations between these two ethnic groups aren't particularly good.
    After the Turks, many other ethnicicties came to Germany, like Africans, Arabs, and now many Indians. so what? Turkey is still percieved by the EU as a ''menace'' that is why she is denied EU membership. Many German politicians like Stoiber say they will never allow Turkey to join the EU, because culturally and politically does not fit in the EU.

    ''''You don't believe that only 1 million Greeks/Byzantines lived in what is now Turkey and were all pushed out or exterminated by invading Turks, do you ? You also don't believe that Turks, coming from an arid and scarcely populated region outnumbered the original Byzantines in such a rich and fertile place as Anatolia. You'd disappoint me for someone I thought had some interest in history and demography.'''

    I was just trying to point out that in the Byzantine empire lived different ethnicities- they may had Greek and Latin as official languages, but they were different ethnic groups: Greeks, Armenians, Persians, Kurds, and many others. You write:

    ''You also don't believe that Turks, coming from an arid and scarcely populated region outnumbered the original Byzantines in such a rich and fertile place as Anatolia.''

    Where I disagree with you is that The ''Byzantines'' were not all and the same as you imply in your sentence. The Byzantines who lived in that area were not some European ethnic group. There were many ethnic groups of which Greeks were on of them.

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