What Form Should the Turkish-Islamic Union Take?
By the will and blessing of Allah, the Union of the Turkish-Islamic world will be one that brings about the peace and security so longed for. The aim of this union, to be founded on the basis of love, brotherhood, affection, tolerance, cooperation and dialogue, will be to bring economic well-being, a democratic way of life and justice to its region. It will aim to elevate spiritual values and enable art, technology and science to ascend to the highest levels.
The Turkish-Islamic Union will also enjoy warm relations with the Western world. This union, founded on the basis of friendship and justice, will guarantee the parties' rights and ensure the protection of mutual interests. In this way, levels of well-being of all states will rise alongside those of members of the union.
The fact that in the present day no agreement has been able to be established among the different views, interpretations and models prevailing in the Turkish-Islamic world is an obstacle to Muslims' being able to act in consort. This call to union and unity will not be issued along the lines of ethnic origin, economic circumstances or geographical location; under the umbrella of brotherhood all forms of disagreement that might stem from racial, linguistic or cultural differences will be eliminated. The conception of unity and union in question will be based not on one society, culture or group being superior to another, but on a spirit of solidarity based on understanding, love and friendship in which all are equal.
The Turkish-Islamic Union Must Be a Solution Producing Body
The Turkish-Islamic Union must possess the flexibility to permit easy adaptation to changing political circumstances and the forward thinking capable of generating the necessary strategies. There is a clear need for an active center capable of using its initiative rather than one that makes do with issuing condemnations or merely setting out its views in the face of world events. This center needs to assume the functions of constant monitoring and coordination and for its activities to embrace the interests of all its members. This organization must take into account the demands of the Turkish-Islamic world by evaluating world developments by means of an objective approach. The Turkish-Islamic Union will serve as a mechanism that resolves problems among member countries, eliminates conflicts of interests and defends Muslims in their relations with other societies, and will enhance the cultural, economic and social effectiveness of the Turkish-Islamic world.
The European Union Can Represent a Role Model
The two world wars, the millions of people who lost their lives in these, the cities that were devastated, the settlements raised to the ground, and the concentration camps in which savagery was regarded as perfectly normal, all had a deterrent effect on mankind. The Western world, which was actively involved in these conflicts, learned important lessons from this historic drama in the post-war order established.
Heading the list of these was the view that alliances to be established were one of the most effective means of overcoming disputes that might arise in the future more easily and speedily. Various European countries had attempted to set up alliances amongst themselves before that, but these were short-lived, for reasons of self-interest or ideology. This time, however, the Western world was aware that the alliance to be established had to go beyond just economic cooperation or defense pacts, and that Europe had to integrate within the framework of shared cultural values.
In the light of these ideas, the European Coal and Steel Community, the first step in this initiative, was formed in 1951 with the aim of ensuring industrial regeneration. This subsequently evolved into the European Economic Community, the European Community, and finally the European Union, assuming the form of a powerful union that ensures the free movement of products, services, capital and labor, a single currency unit, a common legal conception and even compatible institutional bodies among member countries. Today the European Union is one of the elements that shape world politics.
The basic feature of the European Union is that member countries engage in political, economic and cultural cooperation with one another while still maintaining their national independence and frontiers, and the way that they possess the central legislative and administrative organs to carry out that cooperation and act in the name of Europe as a whole. The Turkish-Islamic Union must also have a structure in which member countries maintain their national independence and frontiers, and in which each member can protect its own national rights and interests. The objective is for states to combine together not in structural terms, but in a framework of shared policies and interests, and for the union to possess the power to enforce the realization of these policies.
The Views of Our Great Leader, Ataturk, Contain an Important Message
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who made the Republic of Turkey the most stable democracy among Muslim countries with his modern state conception, also produced significant analyses regarding the kind of structure with which the Turkish-Islamic world could ensure union and unity. The accuracy of Ataturk's analyses, which stated that one of the most important elements of a state was the right to exist within its own national borders, has been proven over the course of time.
It is a known fact that during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire some of the peoples living in its territories were misled into aligning themselves with external powers rather than alongside the Ottomans. However, those who chose that path in the hope of gaining various privileges fell under the hegemony of and were exploited by the countries they collaborated with. Some of these peoples sent representatives to Mustafa Kemal in the early years of the Republic, complaining of the imprudence of the leaders who had caused them to be exploited, and some even expressed the wish to unite with the Turkish Republic. Ataturk's response to these suggestions was significant in describing the basis of a Turkish-Islamic Union:
"We shall feel nothing but joy at the entire Islamic world becoming united and allied materially as much as spiritually. To that end, in the same way that we are independent within our own frontiers, so the Syrians and Iraqis must be able to emerge as independent powers based on national sovereignty."
Mustafa Kemal, 24 April 1920. 4th (closed) sitting
The priority set out by Ataturk was for these countries to gain their independence. Aware of the importance of the Turkish-Islamic union, Ataturk emphasized the need for the member states to have gained their independence in their national frontiers, be based on national will and capable of standing on their own feet in order for that union to enjoy the effectiveness expected of it. It is therefore also of the greatest importance today for the members of this union to be established to maintain their territorial integrity and independence.
Turkey Will Serve as a Bridge between the European Union and the Islamic World
The new course embarked on in terms of relations between the European Union and Turkey clearly reveals that Turkey will play an active role in the drawing together of Eastern and Western civilizations. EU membership for Turkey, which is at the same time a member of NATO, will enable the formation of a bridge between the Western world and Turkish and Islamic states. Serving as a bridge between civilizations, Turkey will act as an intermediary in the resolution of disputes, and open the way to great wealth and well-being by virtue of the development of mutual relations.
European Union member countries enjoying good relations with a Muslim country such as Turkey will have a positive effect on the Turkish-Islamic world's view of the European Union and permit the establishment of warm, friendly relations between the two sides. Bearing in mind that the Ottomans constructed an environment of warm dialogue and cooperation among different cultures that lasted for centuries, it is clearly seen that this dialogue can be rebuilt by Turkey - the inheritor of the Ottoman legacy - which is closely acquainted with Western civilization and has also adopted Islamic culture and its spiritual values.
The establishment of a union by the Turkish-Islamic world will make it an influential organization like the European Union. Member countries of the Turkish-Islamic Union will act as a major economic, political and cultural power. The opening up to the world of this major potential will bring with it developments that also provide enormous openings for the Turkish-Islamic world.
The Turkish-Islamic Union that will be realized under Turkish leadership will soon enter into intense cooperation with the European Union due to the close relations that Turkey has for years enjoyed with the European Union. In particular, this mutual cooperation will be of great benefit in raising levels of economic development and well-being.
First of all, Turkey will permit easy and reliable transportation from the European Union to the Turkish-Islamic world. This, in turn, will lead to an increase in trade volume between the two sides and the development of mutual relations. In this way, the rich resources in the Turkish-Islamic region will be made use of in a just manner for the benefit of all mankind, and the region's revenues will rise. Due to these mutually improving relations, Europe's developed industry will make major investments in the Turkish-Islamic region. This, in turn, will be a means whereby advanced European technology enters the region and improves standards of living there. In this way, while the European Union acquires new markets and cooperates with a young, dynamic population, with its young population the Turkish-Islamic Union will make the most effective use of its raw materials and energy resources.
In conclusion, the bridge that Turkey will build between the European Union and the Turkish-Islamic Union will be a means whereby people in this wide region can live in peace and security and raise their standards of living and well-being.
THE COMMON CULTURE OF THE TURKISH-ISLAMIC UNION: ISLAMIC MORAL VALUES
Ever since the time of Prophet Muhammad (saas), Muslims have led the way in such fields as reason, science, thought, art, culture and civilization, and have produced major works "for the benefit of all mankind." While Europe was plunged into darkness during the Middle Ages, it was Muslims who taught the world science, rationality, medicine, art, hygiene and much else of importance. In order to restart this Islamic rise that stems from the light and wisdom of the Qur'an, Muslims today, as in the past, need a guide based upon Islamic moral values and the Sunnah of our Prophet (saas).
Unification in Islamic Culture
Today one of the world's most important economic and political forces is the European Union. The European Union has succeeded in bringing together 25 different countries with different languages, political views and societal structures, and in causing them to act in unison. The most important feature of this structure is that all the member cultures accept a system of values built on "European culture." Within this system of values, they cooperate with one another politically, economically and culturally. This participatory union structure will be an excellent role model for Muslim countries. The Turkish-Islamic Union will bring member countries together in a common "Islamic culture."
Thanks to this union, which takes Islamic moral values as its foundation, all Muslims will enjoy direct relations with one another, become closely acquainted with one another's problems, enter into solidarity and take the principle of "all Muslims are brothers" as their bedrock. Thus as the Turkish-Islamic world fuses together based on love, brotherhood and solidarity, member countries will increase the level of dialogue and cooperation among them. Provisions regarding solidarity among Muslims, a requirement of Qur'anic moral values, will be borne in mind by all Muslims. In the Qur'an, Allah has commanded people to avoid greed and to assist and watch over the needy.
Allah is most compassionate and forgiving towards believers. Since believers want Allah to forgive, love and protect them, they must be forgiving and protective towards, and tolerant of others. In one verse of the Qur'an our Lord reveals:
Those of you possessing affluence and ample wealth should not make oaths that they will not give to their relatives and the very poor and those who have migrated in the way of Allah. They should rather pardon and overlook. Wouldn't you love Allah to forgive you? Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Qur'an, 24:22)
In addition, our Almighty Lord has revealed that the faithful are one another's protecting friends and guardians (Qur'an, 9:71). This emphasizes the importance of solidarity and support among Muslim communities.
The basis of Islamic moral values are peace, love, affection, brotherhood and altruism
The Turkish-Islamic Union must adopt peace for all mankind, not just for Muslims, as its objective, and must exhibit peaceable and reconciliatory attitudes in its decisions and practices. The essence of Islam is the proper moral values revealed by Allah in the Qur'an. Those values require the faithful to be loving, gentle, compassionate, tolerant, just, understanding, patient and altruistic, and call people to a world filled with peace and security.
A Muslim is someone who fears and respects Allah and abides by His commandments, who scrupulously practices the moral values of the Qur'an, who makes the world a more beautiful place, and who brings peace and security to bear. His aim is to treat people well and with goodness.
Therefore, the devotion, brotherhood, friendship, honesty, justice, loyalty and conception of service that Islamic moral values impart must be represented in the finest possible manner in the Turkish-Islamic Union.
The Islamic moral values that guarantee people's freedom of thought and life also prohibit tension, disagreements, backbiting and even harboring negative thoughts about others (suspicion). A union made up of Muslims needs to be active, based on these principles, for the sake of world peace.
It is a defining characteristic of Muslim societies that they are moderate and balanced, and command people to do what is lawful and avoid what is not. In verse 143 of Surat al-Baqara, our Lord has revealed that Muslims are a "middlemost community" so they may act as witnesses against mankind.
In another verse, it is revealed that Muslims must constitute an auspicious society for mankind:
You are the best nation ever to be produced for [the benefit of] mankind. You enjoin the right, forbid the wrong and believe in Allah. (Qur'an, 3:110)
It is evident that a union established by Muslims who live by the attributes revealed by Allah in the Qur'an must be the protector and finest representative of all these moral values.
Enjoying the Beauties of the Islamic Moral Values
There is an important correlation between the resolution of economic and social problems and societal moral values. For example, social injustice, one of the most important economic problems, is in essence a moral problem. There can be no social injustice in a society that has adopted Islamic moral values. In the Qur'an, Allah recommends that once they have met their own needs people share what remains with those in need. In addition, waste is an activity condemned by Allah. It is a requirement of Qur'anic moral values that material means should not be an element benefiting only certain people, an advantage enjoyed only by one particular group.
The moral values of the Qur'an require social solidarity and command people to bear in mind one another's needs. Muslims are so altruistic as to offer food to the hungry even if they need it themselves. Furthermore, they do this not for the happiness of the other party but in order to attain the approval of Allah. This is revealed in the Qur'an:
They give food, despite their love for it, to the poor and orphans and captives: "We feed you only out of desire for the Face of Allah. We do not want any repayment from you or any thanks." (Qur'an, 76:8-9)
The solidarity and mutual assistance between individuals can easily be established among nations. Here, too, Islamic moral values will act as a guide for member countries of the Turkish-Islamic Union.
The existence of one country that engages in excessive and luxurious consumption on the one hand, and of thousands of newborn babies starving to death on the other is unacceptable. Any person of good conscience will be distressed by this.
When waste is prevented, as a requirement of the moral values commanded by Allah in the Qur'an, when a spirit of solidarity is developed, when people are encouraged to share, and when, in particular, people learn to use their consciences, then it will be possible to totally eliminate economic imbalances.
WHAT BENEFITS WILL THE TURKISH-ISLAMIC UNION BRING TO MUSLIMS?
Present-day world politics make it absolutely essential, in terms of national security and economic interests, for there to be an international union among nations. Underground resources, trade spheres and even cultural values play an important role in such international cooperation, which is generally based on geographical location. A great many countries in the same regions combine their resources, sign joint defense pacts and enter into cooperation in various areas under the auspices of such international organizations. In these institutions among nations the objectives are the maintenance of peace, the resolution of disagreements by diplomatic means, the establishment of economic and social development, and the protection of universal values such as human rights and democracy.
It is clear that a similar union in the Turkish-Islamic world will also bring with it major benefits. The most important step to be taken for the establishment of peace, security and well-being in the Turkish-Islamic world will be a coming together under the Turkish-Islamic Union.
The Turkish-Islamic Union Will Provide Peace and Security
Any problem in any part of the Turkish-Islamic world has a direct effect on the entire region. Any tension arising in the Middle East can be felt on the shores of North Africa. Events around the Caspian Sea affect the future of the Middle East region. Developments in the Persian Gulf are of direct concern to Southeast Asia.
This means that if there is any conflict, problem or tension in any part of the Turkish-Islamic world, the unease caused by this will be felt in all countries. Moreover, the consequences of such tension will be felt politically and economically. The same thing of course applies to the peace and security environment. The peaceful resolution of long-term tensions, such as the Arab-Israeli question, will evidently have a positive effect on the Turkish-Islamic world and the planet as a whole. Throughout the 20th century a large part of the Turkish-Islamic world suffered from long-term war, conflict and instability. This period led to the waste of resources, an almost complete standstill in economic progress, standards of living falling to very low levels and, most important of all, millions of Muslims losing their lives.
Disagreements between some Muslim countries are still continuing today, and tensions escalate from time to time. Wars and conflicts between Muslim and non-Muslim countries are another cause of unease and instability.
With the establishment of the Turkish-Islamic Union, to be constructed on a basis of love and brotherhood, the Turkish-Islamic world will put an end to tensions and unease within it. Muslims will realize that they are one another's brothers and will deal with any difficulties they encounter in a spirit of togetherness and oneness. By means of the sincere relations and close ties they establish among themselves they will refuse to allow any difficulty to become irresoluble. The central decision-making organs that will be set up with joint participation will ensure swift and permanent resolution of problems while observing the rights of all parties.
In this way, disagreements and conflicts that have persisted for decades will come to a swift end and an environment of peace and security will be brought to the region. Naturally, an environment of peace and security brought about in the Turkish-Islamic world will have very positive consequences for the region and the world as a whole. These positive effects will in turn bring with them, by Allah's leave, economic and social developments in countless spheres in the Turkish-Islamic world.
Different Cultures Will Transform into Cultural Wealth in the Turkish-Islamic World
In an environment of peace the different cultures and ethnic origins in the Turkish-Islamic world will turn into wealth. In an environment of dialogue and toleration, people will be more open-minded and productive, and with the harvesting of different cultures a very rich civilization will emerge. This great civilization will be a means whereby major advances are made in science and art, and will once again make the region a beacon that sheds its light over the entire world.
Thanks to this climate of peace, it will be possible for the Turkish-Islamic world to benefit from exchanges of information and experience. Peace will cause Muslims to join forces in all fields, compensate for each other's shortcomings, and thus be more influential.
Peace will allow all countries to reduce their arms budgets and for that money to be spent on welfare instead. Since all member countries will be members of the joint defense pact, powerful defense and protection will be ensured with a smaller budget. Thanks to this, the investments made in the defense industry and technology will be able to be diverted to areas such as health, education and scientific and cultural advances.
The current instability and conflict in some regions of the Turkish-Islamic world give rise to migration to other countries. A great many doctors, engineers, academics, scientists, thinkers and writers are migrating to the West and continuing their work there since they do not feel secure in their own countries.
A climate of peace will not only eliminate the internal tensions in the Turkish-Islamic world, but will also prevent the migration of the well-educated and enable these individuals to meet the need in their own countries.
The peace to be constructed in the Turkish-Islamic world will represent a role model for other countries of the world. Thus problems being experienced in various regions of the world will be resolved in peace by taking the Muslim world as a role model. With Muslims as living examples of the peace and security that can be attained when people live by the moral values of the Qur'an, people will witness that Islam is a religion of peace and tranquility.
The Turkish-Islamic Union Will Also Bring with It Economic Development
With a climate of unity, togetherness and brotherhood, the pace of economic development will accelerate. There are currently a number of problems in the Turkish-Islamic world, especially border ones. These bring economic instability in their wake. For example, the extraction and transportation of underground resources, and the routes by which they are exported to the world, all have to be secure. The fact is, however, that the environment of chaos and political instability in the region at present prevents the Turkish-Islamic world from making sufficient use of its rich resources. The same thing applies to water resources. Water heads the list of sources of disagreement in the Turkish-Islamic world. Yet with the mutual support of the Turkish-Islamic world and the resolution of disagreements by means of compromise, these problems can be entirely eliminated.
Economic cooperation is important in terms of both the establishment of stability and of regeneration. In particular, economic union will constitute an economic force in the elimination of the poverty, lack of education, income imbalances and other economic and social difficulties currently being experienced in Muslim countries. There are very different conditions within the Turkish-Islamic world. The economies of some countries are based on underground wealth (such as in oil-rich countries), while the economies of others (since the geographical nature of the regions concerned is appropriate) are based on agriculture. This difference also applies, albeit in part, to societal structures. In some countries the majority of the population live in rural areas, while urban culture predominates in others. However, these differences can be transformed into an important source of wealth if one country supports another in such a way as to make good its shortcomings and meet the other's needs, and if everyone helps everyone else in areas where they possess expertise. This can be ensured by the Turkish-Islamic Union.
The joint investments and common initiatives to be taken will be an important step at this point. Thanks to shared initiatives, countries will be able to make use of their mutual experience, and the fields of investment established will be an important source of revenue for the sides' economies. As we have already stated, it is a requirement of Islamic moral values that the members of the Turkish-Islamic world provide each other with economic support. Helping the needy and social solidarity are among the important characteristics of Muslims. The social solidarity in societies also has to be reflected out at the inter-society level. In this way employment opportunities will rise and income levels in both societies will start to increase.
With joint initiatives that permit the combining of the means and strength of the Turkish-Islamic world, a great many high-tech products will also be able to be manufactured in Muslim countries. Thanks to a common market that will be formed, products manufactured in one country will easily be able to be marketed in another without being caught up in frontier obstacles such as Customs dues and quotas. The trade sphere will widen, the market share of all member countries will go up, exports will grow, and this will accelerate the industrialization process in these countries, and the regeneration experienced in the economy will also be reflected in technological advances. In this way the Turkish-Islamic world will be able to act as a common force and become a major part of the global economy. The economic regeneration and environment of well-being that will be established in the Turkish-Islamic world will naturally have a very positive effect on the region and the world.
WHY IS THE TURKISH-ISLAMIC UNION A MATTER OF URGENCY?
Most of the Muslim countries under colonial administration up until the Second World War achieved independence after it, and this led to major changes in world politics. The fundamental change in the Turkish-Islamic world came with the end of the Cold War. After that time the Turkish-Islamic world became a Eurasian territory, stretching from Albania and Bosnia to Chechnya and Tajikistan. Within this process, the change in Muslims' settlement structures also had an effect on the Turkish-Islamic region.
Until the early 20 th century, Muslims generally lived in Turkish-Islamic lands, under Turkish-Islamic rule, apart from short-term occupations. As of the early 20th century, however, they began migrating to European countries and America and established large populations there.
Islam has today become the fastest growing religion in America and many European countries. The rise in the number of Muslims has led to their assuming an influential role in social and political life. Thus the Turkish-Islamic sphere has ceased to be a geographical region confined to countries with a Muslim majority or under Muslim administration. As well as providing significant advantages for the Turkish-Islamic world, this also brings with it problems to which a solution needs to be found forthwith.
There Is No Center Representing the Turkish-Islamic World
In analyzing the current situation of the Turkish-Islamic world, one of the first features to strike the attention is the fragmented nature of communication between Muslims. Wars between Muslim countries were experienced in the recent past, such as those between Iran and Iraq, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, and the Pakistan-Bangladesh War. The civil wars and conflict generally caused by ethnic and political problems in Muslim countries, such as those in Afghanistan, Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq and Algeria, show that unity among Muslims is far from being at the desired level.
The fact that the Turkish-Islamic world has been unable to establish unity within itself has led many Muslim countries to lag behind. Despite its considerable material resources and human potential, the Turkish-Islamic world has been unable to achieve the desired level in science, technology, art and education.
For that reason, there is an urgent need for a center that will overcome the fragmentation among the countries in the Turkish-Islamic world, resolve disputes, and ensure social, political and economic cooperation.
Very different religious interpretations, opinions and models prevail all over the Turkish-Islamic world. There is no center to determine what is in fact appropriate to Islam and what is not, to direct the Muslims of the world in this regard and to reconcile them. For example, Catholics have the Vatican, and Orthodox Christians their Patriarchates, but there is no center in the Turkish-Islamic world to bring about unity on social and religious matters.
Yet there is unity at the essence of Islamic moral values. Following the death of our Prophet (saas), the Islamic world was always shaped by the position of the Caliph, which represented a guide for Muslims on social and religious issues.
Today, too, there is an urgent need for a contemporary center that will be effective in the resolution of daily problems and guide the Turkish-Islamic world. It only appears possible for decision-making mechanisms based on democratic values and principle of the superiority of the law to be established through the establishment of a Turkish-Islamic Union.
Such a union will assume an important responsibility in eliminating disagreements and conflict, the development of cooperation among member countries, and in Muslims acting in consort.
Today the Organization of the Islamic Conference, with 56 Muslim countries as members, and which meets under a Muslim umbrella, is the largest Muslim organization in terms of member numbers and members' geographical distribution. Outside that organization there are various trade and military unions among Muslim countries in common areas, and regional alliances are being established. Each one of these is an important step in terms of the development of a spirit of unity and solidarity. However, the Turkish-Islamic world still stands in need of a wider-ranging union with permanent institutions that will have the authority to make binding decisions, develop common policies and be able to implement these, be the common voice of all Muslims, and take an interest in and produce solutions to problems facing not just particular regions but the Turkish-Islamic world as a whole.
Attempts Are Being Made to Form an Artificial "Clash of Civilizations"
The Turkish-Islamic world has to become a single bloc in military, political and economic terms. A Turkish-Islamic world that established unity within itself will be a guarantee of world peace, and certain radical elements and the proponents of a "clash of civilizations" will be unable to find an environment to put forward in justification of their views. In particular, it needs to be made clear that it is essential that solutions be put into operation as a matter of urgency. That is because efforts are being made every day to form an artificial "clash of civilizations" between the Turkish-Islamic and Western worlds. That danger will be completely eliminated with the establishment of a Turkish-Islamic Union.
Historical experience clearly shows that different civilizations living together is no reason for tension and conflict. Nonetheless, there are still those today, in both the Western and Islamic worlds, who prefer enmity and conflict to tolerance and reconciliation.
The present-day killings of one another by people from different religions, and their exiling each other from their homelands, is nothing but an error of radicalism. At heart, all three religions have been revealed by Allah, and these religions all command peace, love and brotherhood. Therefore, causing chaos and conflict in the name of religion is completely incompatible with the essence of religious moral values. Inflicting harm on other people through various erroneous beliefs that are not to be found in any sacred book but that were added on in later times, has nothing to do with true religious devotion.
Allah has not commanded people to engage in evil and corruption. He has stated that He holds no society superior to any other, and that superiority lies in taqwa (true sincerity and devotion to Allah). In the Qur'an Allah states:
O humanity! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you might come to know each other. The noblest among you in Allah's sight is the one with the most taqwa. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Qur'an, 49:13)
When chaos erupts in the world, the duty of sincere believers is to extinguish that fire and protect people's goods and lives. When the Messiah awaited by the members of all three divine religions arrives in the age we are living in, he will bring peace, love and brotherhood to the world.
That being the case, sincere believers have a responsibility to fulfill the stipulations regarding peace and love set out in Allah's holy books and by His messengers. There can be no clash between the civilizations produced by sincere believers, only cooperation and solidarity. In order for this climate of peace and security to be ushered in without delay, the establishment of a Turkish-Islamic Union harboring the moral values at the heart of Islam must take place right away.
"THE IMPORTANCE OF TURKISH LEADERSHIP TO THE TURKISH-ISLAMIC WORLD" with the Ottoman Vision
- Turkey possesses experience of state passed down from history, a democratic structure, and a modern, young, dynamic and well-educated population.
- Turkey is the heir to the Ottoman Empire, which for centuries harbored different races, religions and languages.
- Turkish culture contains a love of people, compassion, altruism, a love of service and a love of peace.
- Turkey has been the spiritual leader of the Turkish-Islamic world in the past, and possesses common cultural values with the region.
- Turkey is regarded as a pioneer in the construction of bridges between civilizations, as much by the West as by the East.
- Turkey occupies a key position, as a country with a sound knowledge of the problems of the region, in terms of an end being put to the wars, chaos and suffering currently being experienced in the Caucasus, Balkans, Central Asia and especially the Middle East.
This glorious inheritance of Turkey's makes it responsible to the Turkish-Islamic world and to all mankind for the world once again being filled with peace, love and brotherhood.
The "Power Vacuum" That Emerged after the Ottoman Empire
There are now dozens of independent states within the political borders of what was once the Ottoman Empire. Each one of these contains a powerful culture and hundreds of works bearing the traces of Ottoman civilization. The Ottoman state, which spread over three continents, was politically eradicated in the 20th century by means of a number of external interventions. Yet although a century has passed since the emergence of the "power vacuum" caused by the erasure of the Ottoman Empire, no other power has been able to fill it.
A great many overt and covert measures were taken in order to wipe out all traces of the Ottoman and its hegemony in this region. Yet it was impossible for elements foreign to the region to bring peace and security to the former Ottoman lands or to establish a powerful center of attraction.
The confusion and chaos that erupted with the erasure of the Ottoman Empire from the political arena have been continuing for around a century. The whole area has been wracked by war and conflict for many years. The people of the region have seen two world wars. They were exposed to hard times full of hunger, migration and epidemic diseases. The great majority of these peoples were oppressed by the repressive and violent administrations that were established in the wake of the wars. The ethnic conflicts that broke out with the end of the Cold War gave rise to even worse and deeper suffering. Since the early 1990s innocent people in the Balkans and the Caucasus, especially women, children and the elderly, have suffered through wars and fighting. In the Middle East, occupation and cruelty still prevail after more than 50 years. It is therefore essential that the "power vacuum" that developed after the Ottoman Empire be filled at once, so that the chaos that currently reigns can be ended.
In the filling of this "power vacuum," the establishment of a Turkish-Islamic Union in which Turkey will assume a leading role is of the greatest importance. Only in this way can the Turkish-Islamic world once more attain the environment of peace, love and brotherhood for which it longs.
The Turkish Republic is the Historic Heir to the Ottoman Empire
The Turkish nation possesses a most sound and deep-rooted inheritance. What matters is to properly understand the importance and responsibility of this legacy and to turn towards the future by attaching due weight to our history and culture. The best example of this approach can be seen in the policy adopted by Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic.
In the years that followed the struggle for independence, Ataturk determined a most important course for the Turkish nation. The policy followed by Ataturk, who was both an Ottoman general and the founder of the young Republic, was "to take on board the legacy of our culture and civilization and carry it forward to the 20th century by modernizing the Ottoman tradition." Ataturk did indeed take on board the Ottoman legacy to the full extent permitted by the circumstances of the time.
The way that the youthful Turkish Republic founded by Ataturk undertook to repay the debts of the Ottoman Empire down to the last penny, and kept up these repayments despite all its own economic difficulties, was an indication of the desire to remain loyal to its Ottoman legacy.
Maintaining the Ottoman tradition, Ataturk also gave a positive response to non-Turkish Muslims (from Albania and Bosnia, for instance) who sought shelter on Turkish territory. He regarded these Muslims from various different ethnic origins as having a single religious identity, and duly welcomed them.
On the other hand, Ataturk sought to preserve Turkish pre-eminence in former Ottoman lands with such measures as the Balkan and Sadabad pacts. The Balkan pact was intended to bring certain Balkan states into strategic cooperation under Turkish leadership, and the Sadabad pact to do the same with various Middle Eastern states.
This was a most correct and appropriate strategy. As we have already stated, the history of the society is one of the most important elements constituting the "state tradition." History is the memory of societies, and every society evaluates its friends and enemies through their histories. In the same way the history endows states with prestige and authority, it is also an important vehicle whereby nations have the right to speak in lands that were once theirs.
There can be no doubt that the way history forms such an influential strategic backdrop also brings with it a great responsibility with regard to Turkey. As the heir to an empire that ruled a wide area, of which it is today the center, containing many countries and societies, in peace and security, Turkey has to undertake and succeed in its role as leader.
The Role of the Vanguard Falls to Turkey
It is for these reasons that the tasks Turkey has to discharge in order for the suffering and chaos in the region we live in to come to an immediate end need to be listed:
- An environment that enhances our national unity and unison on a nationwide scale needs to be created with the encouragement of our intellectuals, politicians, military, statesmen, academics, civil society organizations, writers and the press.
- In this environment of union, unity and brotherhood, Turkey must once again assume its historic mission for stability in the Caucasus, the Balkans, the Middle East and Central Asia, and for world peace.
- An important leadership role in the Turkish-Islamic world falls to Turkey, because of its historical and cultural features, in the foundation of a Turkish-Islamic Union.
- This vanguard role stems not from any arrogance or claim regarding any superiority of the Turkish nation, but from the service it has rendered for hundreds of years to the Turkish-Islamic world in the name of Allah.
- In conclusion, everyone of common sense in Turkey must unite around this idea and make their voices heard.