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Presentation on “Turkey Today” at Apna Watan

Presentation on “Turkey Today” at Apna Watan

By Nurdin Kaparov,

HYDERABAD: On 13th April 2010, Indialogue Foundation and Apna Watan (An NGO working for national reconciliation and dialogue) organized a presentation on “Turkey Today” in the residency of Prof. Fatima Alikhan who is same time President of Apna Watan. This event took place in an evening with pleasant atmosphere with Apna Watan members and Turkish community living in Hyderabad city.  This gathering aimed understanding Turkey, its foreign policy, economy, demography, women role in society and other aspects.

Public Relations Officer of Indialogue Foundation Mr. Nurdin Kaparov tried to explain said topic with a use of Power Point presentation. The first slight contained Geographical aspects and location of Turkey, and displayed its neighboring countries. And next slights contained History of Turkey and Anatolian region to better understand present with knowledge of past. Civilizations as Trojans, Byzantines, Seljuk Turks and Ottoman Empire were briefed. It was highlighted that Ottoman Empire history is one the most biased, as many people claim that Ottoman Turks were intolerant towards ethnic and religious minorities under Empire, but there are also fact that no historian is able to deny which are: Ottoman Empire lasted for 6 centuries, the Turks constituted only small portion of entire population, Empire adopted Millet System (Millet means nation) where each ethnicity encouraged to preserve their identity, culture and traditions, and most important there were special courts for protection of rights of religious minorities which, all these details gave an eye opening fact that Ottoman Empire had Tolerant, Multicultural and Pluralistic nature of governing system.

Next slights contained information on well-known personalities like Mimar Sinan a prominent architect whose account there are more than 300 historical structures, Mawlana Jalāl ad-Dīn Rūmī a theologian and Sufi poet, Nasrettin Hoca a wise man who remembered for his funny same time educative anecdotes, Orhan Pamuk a Nobel Laureate in literature, and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk a reformer and founder of Republic of Turkey who led the fight for Freedom.  And also light was given on current problems of Turkey such as Ergenekon a clandestine group which were developing projects to overthrow and destabilize government, Cyprus problem that holding back EU accession, and relations with Armenia, PKK separatist group in Turkey etc.

Next slights projected that currently Turkey started to play important role in regional and international policy making process. In presentation wide details were given on Turkey’s relations with Central-Asia and Russia particularly Azerbaijan that holds Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipline, relations with Far East and an important fact that during FIFA World Cup 2002 there were thousands Korean fans dressed in Red and White (Colors of Turkish Flag) which appeared as many Turks flown to stadium, EU accession process and status, relations with Middle East, and relations with Africa which could rise with assistance of Turkish schools run in African nations. And it was also briefed about Turkey’s being part of G20 and E7, being non-permanent member of UN Security Council, Turkey’s political and governing system, President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan who is famous for “One Minute” statement, demography, women role in society and particularly a controversies on ban of headscarf in government offices, economy of nation etc. The last slights included book suggestions; two books title “Ottoman Women” by Asli Sancar and “New Turkish Republic” by Graham Fuller were referred for future reading.

Director of Learnium School Mr. Yasin Yakut told about Fethullah Gulen in his presentation. Fethullah Gulen is an Islamic Scholar and Peace Activist from Turkey, with whose ideals hundreds of schools and charitable foundation have been established in more than 120 countries. When magazines Foreign Policy and Prospect had announced the poll “Top Public Intellectual” the Fethullah Gulen was selected No. 1. He has authored over 60 books and translated into many languages. He has been subject to many academic studies as “International Conference on Peaceful Coexistence: F. Gulen’s initiatives for peace in the contemporary world” at Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherland, November 2007, “Muslim World in Transition: Contribution of the Gulen Movement” at London School of Economics and House of Lords in October 2007, “East and West: Encounters The Gulen Movement” at University of Southern California in November 2009, etc.   

The gathering continued with interaction and many questions were asked as: the contribution of agriculture into GDP, percentage of employment in agriculture sector, universities in Turkey, etc.

The book titled “Ottoman Women” authored by Asli Sancar was gifted to host Prof. Fatima Alikhan.