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Quran row and a lack of Turkish studies in France behind move to stop admissions to French studies, official says
Umut Uras

Turkish universities will no longer admit new students to French language departments, Turkey's Higher Education Board has ruled, the latest development in the strained ties between Turkey and France. The decision came in response to a manifesto signed by prominent French figures, calling for the removal of certain passages from the Quran, and as a reciprocal measure over the "lack of Turkish studies departments in the European country," a Turkish official told Al Jazeera.

"We have condemned the controversial statements on the Quran coming from France. And the Higher Education Board, which is an autonomous institution, made this move as a response to those statements," said Emrullah Isler, chairman of the Committee on National Education, Culture, Youth and Sport in the Turkish parliament. Isler added that universities in France do not have enough departments teaching Turkish, that there is an imbalance between the two countries in that area.
"Lack of university departments in France that teach in Turkish is another factor behind the decision. They need to form decent Turkology departments there. "Plus, there have been too many departments teaching in the French language in Turkish universities," he told Al Jazeera from the capital, Ankara.

He added that the Higher Education Board took the decision in such a manner that currently enrolled students would not suffer from the measure. "The existing departments with active students are going to continue teaching in French as usual, but will not admit new ones," Isler said.

The Board had cited "reciprocity" and "graduate-employment links" on Thursday as the reasons for its decision. Turkish officials reacted with anger to a French manifesto calling on Islamic authorities to strike certain parts of the Quran. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan even likened the signatories of the text to members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.
The open letter, published on April 22 in French newspaper Le Parisien, and signed by nearly 300 prominent French figures, said that verses of the Quran calling for the "murder and punishment of Jews, Christians and disbelievers" should be removed from the book, arguing they were "obsolete".

Erdogan slams French intellectuals: You're no different than ISIL
The Turkish government's first reaction came in early May, ahead of June parliamentary and presidential polls, despite the letter being published last month. Signatories included former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Prime Minister Manuel Valls, as well as former ministers, deputies from the National Assembly and other public figures.
"Who are you to attack our scriptures? We know how vile you are … You are no different than ISIL," Erdogan retorted on Tuesday in a speech in the capital, Ankara.
"Have they ever read their books, the Bible? Or the Torah?" Erdogan asked, referring to the Christian and Jewish holy books, adding: "If they had read them, they probably would want to ban the Bible."

French-Turkish relations have been tense for a number of reasons.
Turkey slammed a recent proposal by French President Emmanuel Macron to mediate between Ankara and outlawed Kurdish fighters in Turkey. Paris has been highly critical of Ankara's military incursions in northern Syria against the Kurdish fighters, which Turkey considers "terrorists". In late January, Turkish forces and Free Syrian Army fighters started a military operation into Syria's Afrin to remove a US-backed Kurdish militia - known as the YPG, or the People's Protection Units.
Ankara considers the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria and its armed wing, the YPG, to be "terrorist groups" with ties to the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).


Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced an anti-Islam manifesto published last month by 300 French figures calling for parts of the Qur’an, the holy book of Muslims, to be removed.

"Who are you to attack our scriptures? We know how vile you are," Erdogan said in a speech in the capital Ankara on Tuesday.

“Have they ever read their books, the Bible? Or the Torah?" Erdogan asked, referring to the Christian and Jewish holy books, adding, "If they had read them, they probably would want to ban the Bible."

"You are no different than ISIL (Daesh)," he added.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ® receives a copy of the Qur’an at an international students’ meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, on May 16, 2015.  AP)

The request by the figures was made in an open letter, published last month in French daily Le Parisien. The signatories, including former president Nicolas Sarkozy, three former premiers, and several MPs, equated Islam with “anti-Semitism” and demanded that “Muslim authorities … strike with obsolescence” verses in the Qur'an, which they said, were calling for “the murder and punishment of Jews, Christians, and non-believers.”

In response, 30 French Muslim clerics published a letter in the French paper Le Monde, condemning anti-Semitism and warned that the manifesto could strain relations between religious communities in the European nation.

They also denied that Qur’anic verses could be used to justify “violence,” quoting a famous passage, which equates murder to the killing of the entire humanity.
Anti-Islam 'manifesto' sparks outrage in France

"Some have already seen [in this manifesto] a long-awaited opportunity to incriminate an entire religion. They no longer hesitate to publicly propagate, including in the media, that the Qur’an itself calls for murder. This pernicious idea is incredibly violent,” they wrote.

In reaction to the manifesto, Turkey's Europe Minister Omer Celik said on Sunday it was "the most striking example of intellectual violence and barbarity."

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also said: "No one can dare to touch even a single letter of Qur'an; it is under God's protection." 


The leader of France’s far-right National Front party, Marine Le Pen, is put on trial for hate speech after making derogatory statements about Muslims and their religious rituals. The French politician arrived in court on Tuesday in the city of Lyon. She faces charges of “incitement to discrimination, violence or hatred towards a group of people on the basis of their religion,” leveled against her by four anti-racism and human rights groups.

"I have the right, as a political leader, to evoke a crucial issue and it's even a duty for me to do it,” Le Pen told reporters, while describing herself as a victim of "judicial persecution.”

French far-right leader and National Front party president Marine Le Pen arrives at the Lyon's courthouse, central France, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP photo)


While addressing a party rally in Lyon in 2010, Le Pen had, in offensive remarks, compared to the occupation by the Nazis Muslim worshippers praying in the streets in three French cities due to a lack of mosques or a lack of space in local prayer rooms. “I’m sorry, but for those who really like to talk about the Second World War, if we’re talking about occupation, we can also talk about this while we’re at it, because this is an occupation of territory,” she said.

Le Pen lost her European Parliament immunity over the comments in 2013.  If found guilty, she would face up to a year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros (USD 51,000). In the run-up to regional elections in December, she is trying to garner more votes by taking advantage of the influx of refugees and asylum seekers to Europe, which has created a crisis for the continent. She has called the crisis a "migratory submersion."


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RE: HOW WESTERN ANTI-MUSLIM BIGOTRY BECAME ACCEPTABLE - by globalvision2000administrator - 05-09-2018, 07:06 AM

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