Dr Azmi Ozcan SPEAKS AT IOS (Dec. 9, 2006)
New Delhi, Dec. 9: Dr Azmi Ozcan, professor of History at Turkey’s Sakarya University, delivered a lecture on contemporary Turkey at the headquarters of the Institute of Objective Studies (IOS). The lecture was presided over by Dr A K Pasha, Director Gulf Studies Programme at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Specialised in the studies of the Ottomans and Indian Muslims, Prof Ozcan rubbished the popular idea that the founders of modern Turkey were opposed to the Islam.
He said Necmatin Erbakan was not the sole representative of Turkish Muslims. His ideology was "a breakaway from the Turkish traditions" while a new Turkey was emerging under the stewardship of "pragmatic" and "charismatic" Recip Tayyip Erdogan.
Responding to the remarks by Dr Ausaf Ahmad, who has also a deep insight into the Turkish history, the visiting historian from Turkey said Arabic script was never banned there and this language was still read and spoken there. Supplementing him, Dr A K Pasha averred that when he was in Konya a few years ago, he found this language the only source of communication as neither people present there knew English, nor were we conversant in Turkish language.
Dr Ozcan said Turkey was the name of a unitary political entity wherein people belonging to 15 different communities, religions and ideologies were residing and there were found no groups based on religious schools of thought. The misunderstanding was created due to the distortion of history in Turkey and the clash between the Turks and Arabs was presented in a wrong way.
He said the present Turkish government’s willingness to enter into the European Union (EU) was due to political, social and geographical reasons. Although Turkey had so far maintained relations with both America and Europe, there were many similarities in the closeness and several issues with the European Union. That’s why Turkey was now willing to be a member of the EU. He said so far as the relations with America was concerned, it was reflected clearly in Turkey’s refusal to the American troops to use its land during the Iraq crisis.
Prof. Ausaf Ahmad, economist and editor Mutalle’at compered the programme.