THE SEARCH FOR TURKEY’S IDENTITY AND REAL SOUL
Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
Aug 1 2007
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" 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" and "The Master
Plan to terminate the Perilous Erdogan Predicament" 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.