“We will celebrate a new world”

They built our hopes up with their peace and fellowship messages at a time when our morale was shattered by the sudden outbreak of a snowballing tension, when the world media was airing pessimistic images of our country 24/7, and when we were longing for even the slightest good news. The languages, faiths, colors, countries or flags of the two thousand Turkish Olympiads participant students who hyped up millions in 55 cities and on tens of TV channels were different. Yet, they shared the common mission to build a new world filled with love. They were practically the realized vision of "the man of cause" who had said, "Alas, I was hasty, I came in winter. But you will come in a paradise-like spring. The luminous seeds sown today will blossom in your time." They were the colorful bunches of those who went around the world with mission of "living to let the others live" in their hearts and "peace" on their lips, in the manner of Yunus Emre. Everyone-from average person, the president, artists, and intellectuals to leftists or rightists- liked them a lot. And here's what they shared about their ambitions and impressions of us in their letters written in a fresh Turkish to Aksiyon magazine: "My name is Abdullah and last name is Bakari. I'm from Tanzania. I competed in speech category of the 11th Turkish Olympiads and won silver medal. First of all, the event was a great success but I was curious to know about it in advance. I was asking to myself "What is it going to be like?" Sometimes, I couldn't go to sleep. I was astonished when it was time, as it was even better than what I had thought. We, two thousands students from six continents and 140 countries, were speaking the same language. We stayed together. We forgot about...

Before the Lights are Out…

You know how the poet that says, "Bleeding a thin line, my chest/Watched in wonder, amazed!" This was the exact situation I found myself in. It was a sorrowful moment, one that weighs you down, when the tears that have welled up in your eyes push themselves down your cheeks... It was as full of hope as it was baffling. And that was precisely our consolation, indeed it was. "We are in a forest full of monsters" is the way Cemil Meriç chooses to describe it; "Ghosts cut our tracks at every corner!" he says. An elusive and darkened world adorned with imported concepts is drawing us further and further into it. It is a vacuum so powerful and worldly that those who strive to stay clear of it are ridiculed and condescended and are beckoned with cries of, "where are you, why don't you just come on over". The place to which we turn and beg is nothing but a pit of fire. It has, unfortunately, come to a point where we struggle in finding one part of it that has not been blemished with blood. As time progresses, pain is penetrated to its every corner. We wake up to a new suffering every morning. On one Sunday evening at the Olympic Stadium, though, we were met with a completely different picture. The mangle of madness the country was currently in had loosened up a bit and it was as if an atmosphere that did not belong to this world had formed in that stadium. So much so that it seemed as though the premiere of a fifth season, in which the climate was dominated by compassion and smiles, was being held. Songs were sung, and hope rose overhead the stadium like a colorful rainbow. Unfortunately, the days and hours that were only so many had passed and...

Before the Lights are Out…

You know how the poet that says, "Bleeding a thin line, my chest/Watched in wonder, amazed!" This was the exact situation I found myself in. It was a sorrowful moment, one that weighs you down, when the tears that have welled up in your eyes push themselves down your cheeks... It was as full of hope as it was baffling. And that was precisely our consolation, indeed it was. "We are in a forest full of monsters" is the way Cemil Meriç chooses to describe it; "Ghosts cut our tracks at every corner!" he says. An elusive and darkened world adorned with imported concepts is drawing us further and further into it. It is a vacuum so powerful and worldly that those who strive to stay clear of it are ridiculed and condescended and are beckoned with cries of, "where are you, why don't you just come on over". The place to which we turn and beg is nothing but a pit of fire. It has, unfortunately, come to a point where we struggle in finding one part of it that has not been blemished with blood. As time progresses, pain is penetrated to its every corner. We wake up to a new suffering every morning. On one Sunday evening at the Olympic Stadium, though, we were met with a completely different picture. The mangle of madness the country was currently in had loosened up a bit and it was as if an atmosphere that did not belong to this world had formed in that stadium. So much so that it seemed as though the premiere of a fifth season, in which the climate was dominated by compassion and smiles, was being held. Songs were sung, and hope rose overhead the stadium like a colorful rainbow. Unfortunately, the days and hours that were only so many had passed and...

Future’s continent and African renaissance

Over the last three days since Friday, the issues and the glamorous developments of the African continent have been discussed in a hotel along the magnificent Abant Lake. In addition to experts on Africa from Turkey, academics, journalists and statesmen from different countries on this continent have made presentations and discussed a number of issues relevant to Africa. The Abant Platform, affiliated with the Journalists and Writers Foundation, has once again reminded all of the need for Turkey to stay focused on developments in the near and remote abroad despite unpleasant developments in respect to the settlement process of the Kurdish issue and to Gezi Park. Africa, the largest and the second most populous continent in the world, makes up 6 percent of the total surface area of the planet and 24.4 percent of the total land with its area of 32.2-million-square-kilometers. The continent, which also has 15 percent of the world's population (1 billion people), has 54 independent states. Despite huge socio-cultural and economic differences and remarkable demographic diversity, Africa is viewed by some who take a simplistic approach as if it is a single political entity, and African intellectuals now object to this. Displaying huge differences from the north to the south and from the east to the west, Africa needs to be properly understood and recognized by countries like Turkey, which are trying to enhance their relations with the countries of the continent. The African countries that were colonialized by the European colonialist powers in the 19th century are now trying to deal with the impacts of this traumatic invasion that lasted 100-150 years. Knowing that there were only two independent states, Ethiopia and Liberia, on this huge continent during those dark and unfortunate years indicates the inhumane acts by European powers in Africa. At the 1884-1885 Berlin Conference convened with the participation of the dominant...

No place for excuses!

EKREM DUMANLI Mr. Fethullah Gülen, a well-respected Turkish Islamic scholar, has made a very important statement. He says when we consider that people are endowed with rights and freedoms indiscriminately by God, we understand that no one has the right to introduce prohibitions against certain groups. This principle should be applied to the Kurdish issue. Mr. Gülen's remarks on education in one's mother tongue is a high-level democratic move. Mr. Gülen suggests that "some private schools can provide education in Kurdish for a while until proficient teachers who are capable of teaching in Kurdish are trained, and then the number of schools providing education in Kurdish will increase." While saying this, Mr. Gülen also underlines the importance of Turkish as it is a part of Turkey's reality. Many Kurdish politicians including Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies Sırrı Sakık and Esad Canan and Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Diyarbakır deputy Galip Ensarioğlu support Mr. Gülen's remarks and this situation indicates the democratic expectations of Kurdish people. There is another side of the coin: Media outlets affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) are insistently targeting the Gülen movement and spreading black propaganda against it. If you look at the websites of these outlets, one would get be misled to think that the settlement process is proceeding flawlessly while the Gülen movement keeps obstructing it. These outlets that act as the PKK mouthpiece resort to every sort of lie and slander. Unfortunately, there are some setbacks in the settlement process. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently said that only 15 percent of PKK terrorists have withdrawn from Turkish soil. Fikret Bila, a Milliyet columnist, says the withdrawal has hardly begun. According to a newspaper report, the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) reports also confirm that the withdrawal of PKK terrorists is not happening. In addition to this, a military helicopter...

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