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Seven Episodes from our
Turkey Mission and Trip
Episode 6
by Joseph Patrick Meissner

This was my second trip to Turkey, a country and people I very much admire and appreciate. Of course, on my second trip I learn how much I have not learned about Istanbul and Ephesus and Mary's place and Ottoman history.

It is impossible to relate all that happened on this trip. So I have picked out seven specific episodes and hope these may be thought-provoking as well as encourage you to plan a trip to Turkey, the home of Fethullah Gulen and Hizmet.

Episode 6

Three brave journalists and a courageous newspaper makes up another memorable episode.

We take for granted freedom of the press in the U.S. We may face criticisms here but no threats of violence or legal oppression. This is not true in Turkey. We visited with three very brave journalists and writers who work on behalf of some courageous agencies in Turkey. We spent a day with all of them at various locations.

We also discussed many topics and gained their wisdom on many issues confronting both Turkey and the world. Here are some general conclusions they discussed.

  1. The army in Turkey changed. The former 'guardians of the Republic' no longer seem to threaten coups if things do not seem to be going their way. President Menzies who was executed in 1960 for his democratic ideals is now a national hero, complete with a monument in Istanbul much like our Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln. The soldiers themselves have changed and increasing professionalization mark the officer corps.
  2. The soft coup of 1997 may have been a sign of these changes. It is no longer tanks and guns, but hard persuasive tactics by military leaders that provide some check on the civilian goivernments.
  3. Very sadly, the present government leaders seemed so promising for democracy when they assumed power in 2002. That has changed as charges of corruption surfaced, involving the families of government leaders. But the recent elections may reflect a maturing Turkish electorate who want openness, government transparency, democracy, and freedom which includes safeguarding the rights of minority groups, particularly the Kurds.

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