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Subject: Turkey: Battleground for the soul of the Islam
ilpars    6/24/2004 5:51:35 AM
Another article about Turkey's role in the war against terrorism. You can find the answers of following questions in the article: Why has Turkey become the target for Islamist fanatics? Why Turkey is the primal war winning asset in the West's arsenal as being an example for Muslim countries? Why Arab countries entered a dark age at 13th century? Why Ottoman Empire did not? Why Islamist extremists hate Turkey and want it destroyed? Why should West support Turkey? Turkey: Battleground for the Soul of Islam By Lowell Ponte | November 25, 2003 PONTEFICATIONS “THIS IS A BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF ISLAM ,” wrote London Telegraph columnist Barbara Amiel, in which “Muslims….have as much to fear from militant Islam and its Islamist dictators and strongmen as does the West – if not more.” Terrorist car bombs during the past two weeks in predominantly Muslim Turkey have killed 58 people and injured at least 750. Boasting of their role in these horrors are Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda and a Turkish terror group linked to it. These bombs killed Jews at two synagogues, two Americans and several Europeans including the British Counsul General in Istanbul Roger Short, but most of the victims of these bombs were Turkish Muslims. The larger target of these attacks was clearly Turkey itself. “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict may be fruit on the tree of hate,” wrote Amiel, “but it is not its trunk, nor its branches nor that ‘root’ so often invoked…Militant Islam has a number of strands, but it has a straightforward ideology. First, to turn all Muslim societies into Islamic theocracies and then to conquer the world…For the Islamists, world domination is a perfectly real goal.” Why has Turkey become the new target for Islamist fanatics and what President George W. Bush rightly called the “new front” in today’s World War against Terrorism? “Western societies can only protect themselves against militant Islam,” wrote Amiel. “They cannot provide a remedy for it.” “’If the problem is militant Islam,’” she admiringly quotes scholar Daniel Pipes, “’the solution is moderate Islam.’” Turkey is the foremost embodiment of moderate Islam. It is America’s only formal Muslim military ally, a key part of the allied peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan, a loyal member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a longtime friend and ally of Israel, and the most democratic and pro-Western of Islamic nations. Turkey, in the eyes of Islamist terrorists, is therefore their worst nightmare. It stands as an alternative for every young Muslim to see that Islam can be compatible with modernity, freedom, progress and success in the world. If Turkey continues to succeed, then Osama bin Laden and his theocratic fanatics will almost certainly fail to win the hearts and minds of the Muslim world. The Islamists cannot advance much farther on their road to world domination without destroying modern-day Turkey. As we shall see, some Europeans are eager to help bin Laden achieve this objective. But first, with most other Muslim nations ruled by strongmen and oppressed by narrow medieval cultures, why and how did Turkey turn toward the West? Could Islamist terrorism or Muslim fundamentalism turn Turkey into another Iran? Or could Turkey triumph and become the shining city on a hill that other Muslim nations will want to imitate, as Pakistan’s leader already in some ways does? The West and Turkey have been intertwined for many centuries in a host of ways. To appreciate where this remarkable nation could be headed, let’s consider where Turkey and the lands bordering it historically have been. In Baghdad this coming week our soldiers will celebrate Thanksgiving while battling terrorists. Few will know that the turkey on which they feast was named for the vanished Turkish empire whose merchants supplied similar “Turkey birds” to Europe centuries ago. As they drink coffee to keep alert, few of our soldiers will know that coffee became popular in the West as another item obtained from Turkey. Whatever peaceful democratic future we hope to see in the Middle East must be built on the foundations that history and culture have produced there as building material. The one nation bordering Iraq today that is solidly pro-Western and merits being called democratic is Turkey. Twelve centuries ago Baghdad was the center of world civilization, home to the greatest scholars, universities and libraries then on the planet. As Syrian-born Betty Balsam relates in her powerful 2003 book Veil of Terror: The Secret Roots of Terrorism it was in the Golden Age of Baghdad (the age we associate with onion-domed palaces, flying carpets and The Arabian Nights) that scholars preserved the ancient Greek writings of Aristotle, Pythagoras and Euripides. In this magical moment in Baghdad, mathematicians transmitt
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SGTObvious    RE:Turkey: Battleground for the soul of the Islam   6/24/2004 8:56:19 AM
Ilpars, your patriotism is admirable, but the Ottoman Sultans had some flaws as well. When they accepted the Jews from Spain, a few of the Jews brought the first Printing Press ever seen in the middle east. They set up shop in Istanbul. The Sultan immediately outlawed all printing in Arabic or Turkish- printing in Hebrew was OK. This stayed as Ottoman law until the 18th century. During that time, the printing press exploded across Europe, and into North America. In 1700, the tiny colonial settlement that would be New York City had more newspapers than Istanbul. The printing press was to the 17th and 18th centuries what the internet is today, and brought scientific and philosophical revolution. It is possible that the entire middle east missed 3 centuries of development (3 vital centuries) because of this error. The telescope, also, was illegal under the Ottomans at this time. A later Sultan tried to correct the error and catch up, but it was really too late. Too much time had passed, and so the Ottomans allowed scientific leadership to pass to the West:
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ilpars    Ahi organization, Labor Union of the Ottoman Empire - SGTObvious   6/24/2004 9:39:03 AM
There is a very interesting reason why printing in Arabic or Ottoman or Persian was forbidden in the Empire. Ottoman Empire had the World's strongest labor union in the entire history. The Ahi, Labor Union organisation helped greatly Ottoman dynasty great in their initial expanding period. The Ahi organization founded at Anatolian Seljuk Dynasty times. It was much older than Ottoman dynasty but until they supported Ottomans they were no t polittically strong. Because of their support, Ottomans let them organise in every labor field in every city of the empire. The result is the Ahi organization gained great strength. They had the power of organising Empire-wide strikes. They never did one. No Sultan was foolish enough to force them to do. Scribing is one of the most prestigious labor jobs. They were considered as one of the groups of the elite of the labor union. When Spanish Jews brought Printing Press with them, scribers rightfully saw their line of job's end in this invention. They used their influence in the high council of the Ahi organization. Ahi's threaten to make an Empire-wide Strike if the invention was not forbidden. As always Sultan did not see their threat. A side note: Although members of High Council of Ahi organisation was all Muslims (organization had Alevi religious roots), every labor from every religion was a member. Alevi sect is the most Unorthodox of all Muslim sects and had close historical connections with the Bogomil sect of Christianity. So, Ahi organization was also popular among Christian labors. Interestingly Alevi sect have also some of the traditions of Mithras religion.
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