06/04/2011, 00.00
TURKEY
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The murder of Mgr. Padovese and the birth of a new Turkey

by NAT da Polis
One year after the murder of the bishop, Murat Altum, the murderer has been judges sane and will be put on trial. The hand of ultra-nationalists behind the murder to discredit Prime Minister Erdogan and the future coexistence between Christians and Muslims. The elections of June 12 may prepare a new chapter for the country and coexistence.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - The Health Department of Istanbul has declared Murat Altun, who murdered Msgr. Padovese sane. The report now opens the way for Altun to be put on trial and refutes previous analysis that had initially defined him incapable of consent. The doctors annlounced their findings only nine days before an election that will determine the political future of Turkey and Prime Minister Erdogan.

Until now all murders committed against members of religious minorities, put down to being the isolated actions of mentally unstable Muslims. Including the cases of Don Andrea Santoro, who was killed in 2006 in Trabzon, the three Protestant Christians who had their throats slit in Malatya in 2007, of journalist Hrant Dink, of Armenian origin, who was killed in 2007 in Istanbul.

As has often been said in the press, these murders are really political in nature and not linked to Islamic extremism, which is alien to the Turkish tradition. The killers belong to ultra-nationalist elements related to what is known as the "deep state". It consists of a network of state and parastatal structures, created within Kemalist ideology, which in the name of the Turkish nation and its integrity, trample any concept of freedom and rule of law, not skimping relationships with organized crime.

The murder of Mgr. Padovese, which occurred June 3, 2010 in Iskenderun, falls within this context. Unlike other cases, it shows some important connotations.

1 - For the first time ultranationalists targeted a high-ranking Catholic Church figure. 2 - His murder took place at the height of the clash between the old establishment and Erdogan, government dormant since 2002, with the first election won by the leader of the Party for Justice and Development Party (AKP). The conflict between the two sides culminated in 2007 with the election of Abdullah Gül, a leading exponent of the AKP, as president of the Turkish Republic. To counter Erdogan the Constitutional Court, linked to the nationalists, in 2008 proposed the closure of the AKP, on charges of trying to introduce an Islamic confessional state. Erdogan responded to the accusations against the government by revealing the plot organized by Ergenekon, a secret ultra nationalistic organization tied to the military, which had planned the murder of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and other personalities.

3 - The political situation is compounded by the extraordinary and important work of Mgr. Padovese, who had begun to take the approach of dialogue with Islam in the context of mutual respect, overcoming the doubts of the Catholic world and the prejudices of an ultra-nationalistic nature.

This caused strong concern among the fringes of the "deep state". The Nationalists hit on the eve of the Synod of Cyprus for the Middle East chaired by Pope Benedict XVI, to discredit the Islamic world and its representatives, currently in power: Erdogan and his AKP party. In case of victory in the elections of June 12, it will fall  to the Turkish prime minister to respond through democratic reforms, realising the dream of Mgr. Padovese for a common peaceful coexistence between Christianity and Islam is possible in Turkey.
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