The Search for Turkey’s Identity and Real Soul Jan 29, 2010 0:56:06 GMT -5
Post by Bozur on Jan 29, 2010 0:56:06 GMT -5
The Search for Turkey’s Identity and Real Soul
Turkey crosses the most severe moments of its 9-decade long History. Events that may occur in Turkey in the next few weeks will influence developments and issues in dozens of countries from China and Kazakhstan to Albania and Saudi Arabia. From a simulative retrograde path to the Islamic extremism, as attested in so many numerous Middle Eastern tyrannies, to the reinvigoration and re-assertion of the great Principles of Kemal Ataturk and the Secular Modern Democracy, all options are open for today’s Turkey. It is clear that for Turkey to possibly play a positive role in the Middle East, Central Asia, Caucasus, the Balkans and the Mediterranean, the Islamist danger must be eliminated and the correct choices must be made in this regard by Turkey’s secular democratic establishment.
As Turkey has to face a severe betrayal from the part of several countries considered as allies and to confront the perfidy of ominous centers of power that disseminate discord and disaster, it is essential for today’s Turks to clarify and address questions of identity and cultural – national – historical individuality. Only this will put the final, irreversible stamp on the outcome of the predicament between Secular Turkey and Islamist Turkey.
In three earlier articles, we presented a basic frame of a Master Plan that should be set up by means of synergy among the various components of Turkey’s secular establishment, the academia and the intellectuals, the world of finance, the military, the diplomats, the politicians and the statesmen, the activists and the administrative elite. Coordination will be the turnkey solution for the Secular Democratic Establishment, and it must take the form of a Consultative Committee with many sections.
In a first article, entitled "A Secular Democratic Master Plan to oust Islamist Simulator Erdogan" (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/secular-democratic-master-plan-to-oust-islamist-simulator-erdogan.html), we identified the topics to debate and the issues to tackle. To get Turkey rid of Erdogan’s pestilence, the Turkish Secular Establishment’s representatives should reach common conclusions as regards 1) across-the-board political considerations, 2) cultural – national – historical considerations, 3) the formation of the necessary tools, and 4) the elaboration of a list of target and activity priorities, and then embark on a thunderous campaign to bring the disastrous Islamist simulator down.
In the two subsequent articles, entitled "A Master Plan to force Islamist Erdogan out – Orhan Pamuk for President" (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/master-plan-to-force-islamist-erdogan-out-orhan-pamuk-for-president.html) and "The Master Plan to terminate the Perilous Erdogan Predicament" (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/master-plan-to-terminate-the-perilous-erdogan-predicament.html), we underscored the importance of a final unification of all the conservative and nationalist parties, the need of the CHP Center Left main opposition party to undergo self-criticism and renovation, and the significance of establishing a common approach to the Kurdish issue, the basic Foreign Policy directives, and the Turkish economy’s further liberalization. We added that Turkey’s Secular Establishment should opt now for Nobel Prize Orhan Pamuk as Common Candidate for President, while preparing for common lists in the next parliamentary elections that can – and should – occur much before 5 years pass. In addition, they should help launch an Islamic Party that would make Erdogan face two fronts at the same time, while mercilessly discrediting him in the eyes of Islamic electorate as a silly puppet of the voraciously anti-Islamic, Apostate Freemasonic Lodge of France.
In this article, we will focus on the critical issue of the Cultural – National – Historical considerations that will help the Turkish Secular – Democratic establishment get Turkey rid of the Erdogan pestilence.
Axes of Cultural – National – Historical Identity
It has long been debated about their importance as regards the efficient and effective nation building. It is beyond any doubt that the National – Historical Identity plays an absolutely determinant role in the nation building process.
The national portrait of a people’s path within millennia or centuries of History is not only relevant to Modern Sciences of Humanities, and more particularly the Disciplines of History, Literature, History of Religions, Archeology, Philosophy, Art History, etc.
It also hinges on the use, cultural – educational – political, of the academic knowledge that a political – academic- financial – military – intellectual – religious elite may wish to make.
Because of this, a great number of subjective perceptions are involved, which is already true at the primeval level, namely that of the study of a people’s past.
It has to do with the representation of the historical reality that one scholar (and ultimately a class of scholars) is able or predisposed to make; to what extent they are ready to see the historical reality face to face or to keep living on their dreams and falsehoods that they later project within their studies, their studies’ conclusions, and the part of their conclusions that they want to instill within the level of education, culture and politics.
At times, the national portrait can be an absolute forgery, a plain myth. Examples we have plenty; Modern Egypt is not an ‘Arab’ state as its official name suggests, and Greece is a South Balkan amalgamation of peoples of Slav, Albanian, Romanian, Latin and other backgrounds that got an injection of Greek blood after the 1924 exchange of populations between Turkey and Greece, and the arrival in ‘Greece’ of numerous Greek populations from Istanbul, Izmir, Cappadocia and the Pontus province of Anatolia.
What can the national portrait of Turkey possibly be? From the aforementioned, we can understand that it can be absolutely anything. Calling an Algerian, an Iraqi or a Yemenite "Arab" is equivalent of considering a Black American as ‘Anglo-Saxon’. Similarly, a Modern Turk can be ‘Greek’, ‘Mongol’ or ‘Iranian’.
The ultimate question is whether the Search for a National Soul, for a Historical Portrait of the Diachronic Existence of a People, can be effective, productive and successful.
Lies and myths, exaggerations, embellishments, amplifications, and misinterpretations are omnipresent. The only criterion for the correctness of a National Portrait is the after effect, the results, the final outcome. Did the nation that adopted the figurative National Portrait achieve to over-perform, to outperform its rivals and adversaries, its demons and nightmares? Or not?
Four Models of National Portraits for comparison
The National Portraits of France, Greece, Egypt and Turkey are all an amalgamation of truth and lies, alterations, and inaccuracies (stated either consciously or unconsciously).
France consists in the extermination of Gallic culture, but this helped the elite of that country to expand its influence in Europe and in several other continents (colonialism).
Greece consists in the total misinterpretation of the Mediterranean Antiquity, and it was plunged in civil wars, racist ideas, social disorder, and pathetic self-satisfaction ‘due to the achievements of the Ancient Greeks’; this was the result of imposing Thucydides and Herodotus, Aeschylus and Demosthenes in the Greek education. It ended up making of the Greeks the unconscious puppets of the French, the English and the Russians in their efforts against the Ottoman Empire – which was the country of the Greek speaking populations as late as 1800. By betraying their country and letting discord infiltrate between them and the Turks, the Greeks lost an incredible chance of sharing power with the Turks in a powerful and extremely wealthy - as resourceful - Ottoman Empire that would start in Corfu and end up in Oman and Yemen. With all the Oil income of fabricated pseudo-states like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Emirates, Kuwait, etc. in Turkish and Greek hands….
Egypt preferred to betray the Ottoman Empire, and instead of improving their own land, they turned out to be the shoeshine boys of their French and English masters, who diffused in Egypt the prefabricated theoretical systems of Islamism and Pan-Arabism, plunging the country in strife, misery, poverty, starvation, and pestilence. How much ‘Egyptian’ are the tools of modern National Identity Search in Egypt? The Egyptian Museum and the Islamic Museum were both established by Europeans who stipulated what the Egyptian past has been! The first Modern Egyptian who studied and learnt Hieroglyphics did so almost 100 years after the Egyptian Hieroglyphics had been deciphered by the Champollion! The only honorable exception are the Copts who managed to set up the Coptic Museum by themselves, clearly understanding the malignant Freemasonic purpose of Colonial France and England to eradicate Oriental Christianity. With the falsehood of Pan-Arabism, Egypt was definitely and permanently plunged among the Third World undeveloped countries.
Turkey’s Search for a National Portrait and Soul came last, due to the fact that the country consisted in the central part of the Ottoman Empire, a 7-century old, imperial state with very marked identity. Contrarily to what happened in Greece and in Egypt, the effort was not prefabricated abroad and projected to the new nation (by means of ‘students’ studying abroad ! – what a ridiculous story), but thoroughly and pertinently undertaken locally – by Kemal Ataturk. It heralded a certain turcization of the various indigenous peoples of Anatolia, but it was not either impulsive or prefabricated. The effort was devoid of excesses that one could have expected, due to the earlier Pan-Turanist movement. In this regard, it is essential to notice that Turkish scholars participated in the earlier efforts of decipherment of the Hittite, the Hatti, and the Luwian writings of the 2nd BCE millennium Anatolia, since the 1920s.
The Search for the Turkish Soul at the days of Kemal Ataturk
What we have to maintain from the fundamental and pioneering, nation building effort of Kemal Ataturk consists I mainly two points:
1. It was not an all-out attempt to make of non Turks ‘Turks’, although some viewed it like that, because it brought about too much of an innovation in a nation-less empire. There were may hints at the Mesopotamian Sumerians, the Anatolian Hittites and Hatti, the Zagros people of Kassites, and others. It certainly evolved around the emigration of a number of peoples from an outer space into permanently present Anatolia.
2. At those days the Search for the National Soul used to mostly turn around a people’s movements and destiny within History. One must not forget that at those days the nationalisms were at their extreme high, and the Search for National Soul was an exclusive reference to a national nucleus around which additional populations, various newcomers, and minor groups could eventually be accepted.
This cannot be the case today, as we live almost 90 years after the time of the earliest efforts of Kemal Ataturk. Due to a multitude of reasons, we live in significantly different societies than the European societies of the early 1920s. Political environment assessment is key to correct understanding of Kemal Ataturk’s original and colossal work. Consequently, today, closer to Kemal Ataturk’s ideas and practice is not the nonsensical imitator who tries to repeat out-of-the-context policies and options implemented before 90 years, but the comprehensive assessor of the position and political choice that best corresponds to Kemal Ataturk’s principles within the present environment.
Modern multicultural societies and the Search for National – Cultural Identity
The present environment relates to multicultural societies where the concept of the Nation and the Search for the National Soul and the Cultural – Historical Identity – to be successful – involves great synthesis made out of numerous equitable elements that help compose a great historical entity.
To effectively drive today’s multicultural societies to concord, confidence, progress and knowledge – and we live in the Societies of Knowledge –, one has to incorporate in the Search for the National Soul and the Cultural – Historical Identity as many traditions and cultural entities as one can, suffice it that the interpretational diagram and thesis will make them evolve around a homogeneous axis.
This drives us from a people-centered to a land-centered concept of National – Cultural – Historical Identity, whereby various extinct peoples have left their stamp, contribution, and Heritage to the extant ones.
Of course, this makes certain land more privileged than other peripheries where only one people existed and developed diachronic, cultural values. This is certainly relative; it hinges on the ability of the intellectual elite of a country to early understand and deliver a historical interpretational thesis. As we examine various examples in this regard, we have to admit that the US, the European Union, and India have understood these realities far better than Russia and China have. Within European Union, Spain has advanced far more than France, and Italy has progressed far more than Greece or Poland in this regard.
The aforementioned point, namely that some countries are more privileged than others, has led some countries – along with other reasons as well (or reflecting other reasons) – to willingly merge with others in great, multinational entities.
This is the unnoticed reason for which the ideal of an Islamic state stretched from Morocco to Indonesia, as preached by some many Islamic terrorists and extremists, is so appealing to numerous populations in all these Muslim countries. It appears more convincing and more attractive because it is more modern and closer to the multicultural realities of our days. Opposite to it, one can find only pathetic and anachronistic tyrannies of national exclusivity that represent nothing, unrepresentative and dysfunctional systems that have monstrously disfigured the cultural – historical face of the indigenous peoples, uncultured and uneducated, and illegitimate plutocracies that alienated local populations from their natural cultural – historical backgrounds. As a matter of fact, the Islamic extremists are bound to success in convincing masses not because of their ideological strength or right but simply due to the fact that they reflect better our times’ conditions and situations.
By this, I do not imply even for a moment that the Islamic extremist ideal, multinational, Islamic state is justified through a correct interpretation of the History of the Islamic Caliphates; on the contrary, it can be refuted with relative theoretical easiness. But certainly not by the corrupt, besotted and miserably poor ‘intellectual’ elites of Lebanon, Tunisia, Emirates and Egypt.
This last point casts some light on Erdogan’s appeal over the past few years; due to his fear of a military ousting of his lewd and subversive team, he may not have revealed his targets, but through his stance, attitude, bahaviour, and policies, it becomes clear that his vision and perception of the Turkish Soul and Cultural – National Identity is very close to that of the Islamists and the extremists he has been left to calmly identify as his possible interlocutors.
The Search for the Turkish Original today
Like this, we enter into the subject that will be an inevitable predicament for the Turks in the years ahead. In fact, all the different pieces of the Erdogan puzzle that the pathetic European liberals so shamelessly exalt, if adequately reconstituted, will show precisely this: the face of Turkey Erdogan wants to reveal when it suits him best is a bogus-Islamic monster that assimilates Turks, Kurds, Iranian peoples, Indian Muslim peoples, Arabic speaking people, and Central Asiatic Turkic peoples, by eradicating all the different peoples’ pre-Islamic past and non Islamic cultures, and soaking them all into the pseudo-Islamic Barbary they have as main, yet hidden, target in their uneducated mind.
With this said, if Erdogan’s targeted Turkish Soul and Cultural – National Identity is for any reason attained, we should expect a complete barbarization of Turkey according to the well-known, colonial example of the so-called Arabic speaking uncivilized peripheries. If this comes to happen, Turkey will almost cease to exist as Turkey, and will start acting as farcical revival of the Ottoman Empire. Although internally collapsed, islamically defunct, and morally corrupt, the Ottoman Empire was still real in the early 20th century. However, Erdogan’s secret target in the early 21st century will be a culturally – mentally – intellectually dead circumference, a morbid and decomposed body without the slightest sign of life, a nauseating abode of inhuman Hatred and uncivil Hysteria.
Yet, the Erdogan’s model is stronger than Turkey’s extant National Portrait and Cultural – Historical Identity; this is not due to ideological comparison at real-time validity. In fact, the extant National Portrait dates back to the early and middle Ataturk years, having not been adequately updated. This creates a problem, as that model emanates out of a completely different environment that does not exist anymore. And this is the danger of ideological debates in today’s Turkey. The pro-democratic and pro-secular circles in today’s Turkey would not easily prevail in a debate, and would not easily convince large masses with a correct yet obsolete model. For this reason, the suggested considerations must become an urgent priority among the Secular – Democratic establishment of Turkey. At the end of this article, we will feature the basic axes on which we strongly believe that the Secular Democratic Establishment of Turkey must soon conclude to found a new Search for the National – Cultural – Historical Identity of Turkey.
Today’s Turkish citizen, and his National Heritage and Cultural Background
Who is today’s Turk? To this question only the land where modern Turks are born can give an accurate and pertinent answer: Anatolia has been the land of numerous peoples, civilizations, cultures, arts, religions, theologies, philosophies and political formations. The amalgamation of all the peoples who passed from and settled here, this is the modern Turk.
1. The One out of Many: the Hittite empire as the Archetypal Anatolian
Inside this great variety of peoples and cultures, we encounter the local Hatti and the Luwians of the Cappadocian plateau who date back to the times of Sumer and Akkad. Further on, we come across the Assyrian merchants of Kanish, the Indo-European people of Nesa who became known as Hittites, the Wilusa (Filion or Troy) of the Northwestern confines, and the menacing Lukka of the Southwestern coast. The entire Anatolian world about which we are extensively documented lasted more than 15 centuries until the Sea Peoples put an end to it, as they did in the Southern Balkans to the Achaean, Mycenaean state, because it consisted in a trusted ally of the Hittite Empire.
2. The Multicultural Anatolian times of the 1st half of the 1st Millennium BCE
The collapse did not last much; the imperial capital Hattushas may have been permanently forgotten until the moment it was unearthed last century (starting by 1906 – Deutsche Orientgesellschaft), but civilization sprung allover Anatolia. In the east the Urartu, centered around Van, grew under Mesopotamian and Antolian influences. Neo-Hittite Kingdoms were formed in the south-easternmost confines of Anatolia, where they amalgamated with the Aramaeans of the north-westernmost confines of Mesopotamia, before being absorbed within the immense Neo-Assyrian Empire already before the Sargonids. In Central and Western Anatolia political multi-division let the Assyrians become Anatolia’s predominant power, especially after the demise of the Urartu (Ararat) kingdom. Phrygians, Lydians, Aeolians, Ionians, Carians, Dorians, Lycians and Cilicians reflected Mesopotamian influences as the main centers of Knowledge and Wisdom attracted the free thinkers who challenged local priesthoods, and established the first philosophical systems. It is clear that the most authentic representative of the Pre-Socratic philosophers is Turkey, not Greece, And this
sould be stressed at the educational level.
3. Medes, Persians, Cappadocians, Macedonians, Armenians, Pontus, Commagene, Pergamus, and Aramaeans: the Multicultural Anatolia down to the Roman times
With the Achaemenidian Persians establishing the first systems of secured communication and transportation network, Anatolia enters an advanced level of multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic, multi-religious and multicultural interactions.
With the Aramaeans establishing links throughout the Iranian Empire and beyond to India, Central Asia and China, another lingua franca – after the Assyrian which was the first International Language in the History of the Mankind – helped people to communicate and faiths and ideas to travel: Aramaic was attested in Anatolia as early as the 6th century BCE in the Lydian Aramaic bilingual inscription from Sardes. And like this, the Iranian Mithra travels to Anatolia, and beyond, in the Conquest of the West. Who else could be Mithra’s best servant except Alexander of Macedonia who, merging the various Greek states under the Macedonian scepter, re-unified the vast Iranian Empire and helped the Great Iranian God of Trinity be diffused among the Greeks? The interaction among the Attalids of Pergamus, the Seleucids of Antioch, the Parthians and the Cappadocians, the Armenians and the Commagenes was due mainly to the fact that in Anatolia ‘border’ meant always nothing.
4. Late Antiquity Anatolia: a High Place for the Nascent Christianity
Many seem to forget that, if John wrote his Revelation when isolated at the island of Patmos, he probably did it looking at the Anatolian coast during his free hours. And all the Seven churches of the Revelation are located in Western Turkey. In addition, Chalcedony, Nicaea, Constantinople / Istanbul, Caesarea of Cappadocia (Kayseri), the Underground cities of Cappadocia, Nyssa and Nazianzos are unsurpassed sources of Christian inspiration and theology that consist in integral part of today’s Turk’s identity, despite official Christianity is not anymore part their beliefs. The deeper character and stamp of Cappadocia remains intact within the Anatolian Muslim mind and heart. One has to go beyond the limits put by official religious approaches to understand it.
5. Christian, Sabian, Gnostic, and Manichaean Aramaean North-western Mesopotamia: an early Anatolian Cosmopolitanism
Centered around Edessa of Osrhoene (Urfa), Nisibis (Nusaybin), Margdis (Mardin), Antioch (Antakya), and the entire Tur Abdin, a mountainous area at the confines between SE Anatolia and N Mesopotamia, the Aramaeans attributed to Anatolia a cosmopolitan touch due to their masterful involvement in the Land and Desert Routes of Silk Trade. From places like Urfa, Nusaybin and Mardin, caravans of traders for many long pre-Islamic centuries left cross Mesopotamia, enter the Sassanid Empire of Iran, and then proceed through Bactriana (today’s Afghanistan), Sogdiana, Transoxiana and the Central Asiatic kingdoms to China. These parts of today’s Turkey have been noticed as referred to by Chinese chronicles, and to their markets arrived the flow of Arachosian, Pentapotamian (Punjab) and Indian trade. From here one could take the road to Constantinople and Europe or Arabia and Yemen or Egypt and Libya. And on these roads, Gnostics, Manichaeans and Oriental Christians prospered diffusing their ideas, faiths, arts, and customs.
6. The best preserved Roman tradition: the Constantinopolitan Empire
This is another part of the so far disregarded in Turkey Heritage of Anatolia. Yet, even at this point Kemal Ataturk was an innovator whose followers had difficulty to accurately identify the meaning of his deeds. The fact itself of turning the Great Mosque of Mehmet II to a Museum signified that the founder of Modern Turkey wanted his country to actively represent the Eastern Roman Christian Heritage. With all the changes Kemal Ataturk stipulated, he had already turned the decomposed Islamic Caliphate to a Modern Democratic Secular state. The Great Mosque of Mehmet II (formerly Church of the Saint Sophia) could have been left – like so many other mosques – to function in the same way it had continuously since 29 May 1453, when the original church was converted to mosque. However, by turning the mosque to a museum and by unveiling the covered Christian mosaics (that had been covered for centuries by another layer of wall painting), Kemal Ataturk expressed the political willingness to see Modern Turkey as the best Heir of the non Muslim, Roman Imperial tradition. For a Modern Turk, the monument is more valid as a museum than as a mosque. It is up to the Secular Democrats of today to reveal to Turks in Turkey why.
7. The Selcuk and Ottoman Islamic tradition of Knowledge, Science and Art
In revealing and claiming this part of rather obvious Turkish Cultural and Historical Heritage, Turkey’s Modern Secular and Democratic establishment will have to clash with Erdogan’s Islamists, who absolutely want to claim themselves as the most genuine descendants. In reality, this debate would be of global, not only Turkish interest. The reason is the fact that the secular and democratic Turks will have to discredit at this point Erdogan’s Islamists, unveiling the plain truth: real Islam is knowledge, science, research, experiment and lights, not the pathetic insistence in prohibition of premarital sex and imposition of the purely and totally anti-Islamic veil.
In this regard, the story of Taqieddin Efendi and the Ottoman empire’s last Observatory would be a critical point to remind to anyone interested in the outcome of the War against Islamic Terrorism. We will refer to this story in a next article where we will discuss the necessary tools of political action that Turkey’s secular establishment must produce in order to eradicate the perilous Erdogan pestilence.
Yazilikaya, the Hittite religious capital, is of tremendous importance for today's Turks as an element helping identify perceptions and characters that lasted throughout millennia.
By Prof. Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis