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    Mehmet Y. Yilmaz Seriousness and Turkish politicians

    Hürriyet Haber
    17.10.2005 - 13:23 | Son Güncelleme:

    When I read what Onur Oymen, the deputy leader of the opposition CHP Party, had questioned critically about Prime Minister Erdogan (he asked "Would Erdogan be able to ask a woman to dance?"), I wondered to myself how other politicians would respond.

    I got my answer on CNN Turk, from CHP leader Deniz Baykal.

    Baykal, it would appear, is one of the leaders that 'is unable to dance.'

    Our state and political traditions seem to favor the serious mullahs.
    When these politicians are invited somewhere, they sit for hours without dancing, if they go to a concert, they won't stand up and wave the arms, and if there is a dancer on stage, they pretend not to see. Even when they go to football matches, they never jump out of their seats when there is a goal.
    Because in the back of their minds, they believe that this is somehow "light" or non-serious behavior.

    They act as though they have been condemned to some sort of life long stress, sitting there in their tightly wound ties and their suits.

    You will only ever see them dancing the "halay" or other regional dances, because looking like, even if not actually being, "a villager" has always been the preferred situation for our country's politicians.

    This is such a deeply ensconsed tradition that it is not limited only to prime ministers, but can also be found among governors, local district officials, even police chiefs. Whomever is the highest ranked official at an event, it is traditional that that person stayed glued to his or her seat.  This never changes.

    Anyway, none of this has to do with leftism or rightism, or with Islam-Western tensions.
    It has to do with the fact that, in Turkey, "true seriousness" is equated with "being about to die from stress."





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