I was pretty appalled by this news and wanted to post it. Please, no EU for Turkey. Ever.
No EU for Turkey means that things are bound to continue from bad to worse for what's left of the Christian minority in that country. Besides, lots of Turks have already moved to Europe.
If they are doing well economically and agree to amend their ways with minorities, why not? It's not like Europe were a Christian polity any longer... Muslim communities are already flowering in Western European countries.
I've heard this argument before, and it is intriguing but I kind of wonder how it works, given the reality that Europe is not a Christian polity. In today's political and religious climate in the West (meaning, in Europe and increasingly in the United States), in which Christians and Christianity are increasingly disrespected and the public profession and expression of Christianity is increasingly legislated out of existence/made legally irrelevant, how is it that incorporation of Turkey into the EU should make things better for Christians in Turkey? Because all of these people who hate Christianity in the EU will suddenly care so much about it in Turkey? Seems unrealistic to me. I have seen maybe half a dozen examples of Western European politicians truly standing up for Christians in Turkey (like YouTube sensation Austrian MP Ewald Stadler), but they are often treated as extremists and paranoid people for expressing their anger at Turkey's two-faced hypocrisy.
So, yeah...I don't really see how this is supposed to work. Are you European? Can you help me understand this?
I'd only add that to say that "Muslim communities are already flowering in Western European countries." makes it sound so incredibly benign, and I suppose that, on the surface it may well be. But with static or falling birth rates for non-Muslims in Europe and much higher birth rates for Muslims, well...it don't take no genius t'figger out how dat'll end up . (I can see this thread getting moved to "Politics", eh .)
Indeed, there have already been multiple attempts to blow up the magnificent Duomo of Bologna because it contains a fresco by Giotto that depicts Muhammad in hell. Eventually it will be destroyed. The other great cathedrals may end up like Hagia Sophia and turned into mosques if Muslims reach a critical mass of population in Europe later this century.
I've felt the tragedy of the loss of the great Hagia Sophia ever since I first read about it in this novel when I was 10:
In the book, a history professor and his two young friends in 1950s Massachusetts discover a time machine and travel back to Constantinople in 1453 in an attempt to save the city and Hagia Sophia by scaring off the Turks with various 20th-century fireworks.
I remember shedding tears over the massacre and desecration of the great church, and the book led me to read up everything I could about Byzantium, a passion that has continued for years and at one point almost brought me into the Orthodox Church. There are old pictures of me as an 11- or 12-year-old at family gatherings with a book by John Julius Norwich or Stephen Runciman in my arms.
I've dreamed of visiting Hagia Sophia and Constantinople ever since.
So the loss of Hagia Sophia, and the possibility of the Turks re-desecrating it, is personally painful to me, and thus I understand the anguish of the Orthodox over it. I try to explain to my fellow Catholics that it would be like St. Peter's Basilica or Notre-Dame-de-Chartres (!!!) getting turned into mosques, with all of their magnificent sculptures, holy images and stained glass windows smashed or covered up, with vulgar minarets erected around them and blasphemous Arabic phrases hung above where the altar used to be.
If the hard-liners in Turkey succeed in turning Hagia Sophia back into a mosque, you know what will happen to those surviving mosaics. Except this time they may not be merely whitewashed over.