marți, 4 august 2009

Dimitri Kitsikis: The idea of a Greek-Turkish Confederation

According to Dimitri Kitsikis: USA is creating new modern Ottoman Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Dimitri Kitsikis, since the 1960s, has been the recognised theorist, first in Greece and then in Turkey, of the idea of a Greek-Turkish Confederation, which he has promoted by influencing statesmen, politicians, journalists, artists and thinkers in both countries. His books in Turkish became best sellers in Turkey and were praised by the Prime Minister of Turkey. He kept close ties with Prime Ministers Konstantinos Karamanlis senior of Greece and Turgut Özal of Turkey as well as the Chinese leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. His books in Greek created one of the greatest controversies ever encountered in Greek historiography. He has also opened the way to the study of technocracy in international politics. He has insisted that religion is an essential component of international politics and strove by conferences and other means to facilitate the collaboration between the four main religions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. He organised Orthodox dialogues with Iranian Shiites and Indian Hindus. He worked with Israeli Jews and fundamentalist Catholics from Quebec. He is the founder of the branch of study known as Photohistory. He is also a recognised poet with six collections of poetry published by Kedros (Κέδρος), Hestia (Ἑστία) and Akritas (Ἀκρίτας.) In 1991 he was honored with the first Greek-Turkish prize for poetry Abdi İpekçi, a Turkish journalist who had been shot dead by terrorists. In 2007, his 34th book was published under the title, "A Comparative History of Greece and China from Antiquity to the Present" (Athens, Herodotos, 345 pages). His books have been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Serbian, Bulgarian, Russian, Turkish and Greek. Founder and editor of Endiamese Perioche (Intermediate Region), Greek quarterly of Geopolitics, since 1996. Public Foundation and Library under the name “ Dimitri Kitsikis” set up and financed in Athens, by the Greek State, in 2006. He has many interesting books including Aspects of Ottoman History; Orthodoxy and Islam; Dialogue among Civilizations; Woman and Family in Islam; Multiculturalism; Geopolitics and Greece; Comparative History of Greece and Turkey; Greek-Turkish Area; L'Empire ottoman;The Third Ideology; Turkish Greek Empire.Kitsikis was our guest speaker at Mevlana Rumi Conference that held in Toronto on November 3, 2007. He answered our questions related to Greek-Turkish dialogue and Ottoman’s multiculturalism compare to Canadian. [Photo] By Faruk Arslan Your book called Turkish Greek Empire was published in Turkish, thought that the Ottoman Empire was, in a sense, a Turkish-Greek co-dominion. What are your historical facts that support your thesis? Dimitri Kitsikis: History teaches us that the Ottoman Empire was the last manifestation of the Empire of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC which evolved into the Roman pagan Empire, then into the Christian Orthodox Roman Empire (called also Byzantine) and finally into the Bektashi Roman Empire (called also Ottoman) up to 1923. Why did Greeks live over 400 years under the Ottoman, and waited that long to declare independency? Dimitri Kitsikis : Before the appearance of a Western ideology called nationalism, at the end of the 18th century, the Empire was multireligious and multinational. Respect of differences was vital to the survival of the Empire this necessity had nothing to do with sentimentality, which contrary to the West had never been imperialistic. Nevertheless, the Ottoman period, i.e. the last phase of this 2500 long Empire, was the most tolerant and the most respectful of equality. Greek was voluntarily involved with Ottoman where multiculturalism exist. The Greeks were living under the Byzantine Empire as the Greek religion and culture while Turks captured Istanbul. What did change after Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquer to Istanbul? Was it invasion or invitation? Dimitri Kitsikis: From the 11th to the 18th century, Greeks and Turks had fought side by side to liberate their common fatherland (the Empire) against the imperialist West and the Ottoman King Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1453 had been the most glorious liberator of these two people. This is very radical answer. Most Greek won’t like it. What was the Multiculturalism model in the Ottoman Empire? Were the Ottoman policies too soft to prevent nationalistic propagandas? Dimitri Kitsikis: Two of the four basic millets (the four pillars of the Empire were the Greek, the Turkish, the Armenian and the Jewish millets)) were in fact the most important: The Sunni (or "Turkish") millet and the Orthodox (or "Greek") millet. At the beginning of the 19th century the importance of the Greek millet had increased to the detriment of the Turkish millet, while the Empire began falling into decadence within an intense social crisis. Then, who did separated Turks from Greek, why it was happened, and when this process has been started? This was the time when the imperialist West, wanting to colonize the Empire, introduced the microbe of nationalism and while the Orthodox Church was imploring the Greeks to continue to be faithful to their sultan, Greek traders and intellectuals of the Diaspora inspired by the West and freemasonry provoked a separatist insurrection in 1821 which started the long process of dismantlement of the Empire which came to an end only a century later, in 1923. This is what I have called the Greek-Turkish one hundred year civil war. Wow! How interesting facts are. Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyanni expressed surprise at a poll showing that 73 percent of the Turks like Greeks. Greek probably likes Turks. What was two nations political problem, then? Dimitri Kitsikis: Because of the above circumstances, the Greeks were taught by the Westerners to hate the Turks, while the Turks who woke up a hundred years later and were the last of all the peoples of the Empire to catch the microbe of nationalism, continued to love their Greek brothers and had difficulty in understanding why the Greeks hated them, not knowing that the origin of this hate was inspired by the West. This is the reason why, still today, most Turks like their Greek brothers, while less Greeks like the Turks. In fact, Greeks are no less likely to be nationalists than Turks, but rather more. To quite some degree it depends on school historical education. We couldn’t correct the remnants of historic nationalist propagandas on books. How do we influence to remove that official hatred contained history books? Dimitri Kitsikis: In the last twenty years huge progress was made towards overcoming nationalism on the two sides of the Aegean Sea. History school books have been purged from the myths which inspired hatred, traders and intellectuals have come together and the perspective of a Turkish-Greek Confederation, which I was alone to defend in my books in 1978, is know vindicated by both governments. The most pro-Turkish Greek politicians are nowadays Dora Bakoyanni and Giorgos Papandreou. After joining European Union, Greeks own nation and culture gone beyond borders. Why people are not speaking loudly after giving up their independency? Are they happy now? Dimitri Kitsikis: The European Union is a golden prison for Greece. Like the Holy Alliance of 1815, it prevents any social revolt against capitalism. The solution is not that Turkey enters this prison but that Greece loosens its ties with the EU, confederates with Turkey and, as Sarkozy rightly suggested, form around these two countries a Mediterranean union (including Israel). This confederation would be linked to the EU by a special agreement. Ataturk founded Turkey as a nation country. Could we be going to lose Turkish identity under EU? Dimitri Kitsikis: The purpose of the EU is not only to assure capitalist stability to its member states but with time to dismantle them and transform them from nation-states to European provinces (like Catalonia and Padania). Well! I agree with you. Do you think joining to EU is not a good idea for Turkey? Dimitri Kitsikis: In any case, nation-states having become obsolete, Turkey would certainly be dismantled if she enters the EU (as Greece will also be in time). As both countries cannot escape dismantlement, a solution would be to follow the plan of the USA to transform the Greek Turkish whole into a large confederation which would counterbalance the influence of the European Union, while at the same time being linked to it by loosened ties. What do you mean by that. Are you suggesting that US is establishing new modern Ottoman? Dimitri Kitsikis: This US inspired broadened confederation would consist of a hardcore (a reduced Greece and Turkey), joined by a Kurdish State, Georgia, Armenia, Syria and Israel in the East and by a Thracian State, Albania and Macedonia in the West. Thus the Ottoman Empire would be revived in a modern form; Istanbul would become the capital of the Confederation like Ottawa for Canada. Himm! Go on please… Dimitri Kitsikis: The two official languages of the Confederation would be Greek and Turkish, while the other languages of the peripheral states (Albania, Macedonia, Kurdistan, Armenia, Georgia, Syria, Israel) would also have their place. What do you think for sub communities such as Alevism, Orthodoxy, and other cultural community in your idea of Confederation? Dimitri Kitsikis: The two main religions would be Alevism (as heir of Bektashism) and Orthodoxy, which would be insured by the nominal head of the Confederation, having his seat in Istanbul, the Sultan. The only prince, who could, because of his past, be the sultan and at the same time be Bektashi-Alevi and Greek Orthodox, is a member of the Turkish-Greek dynasty of the Osmanlis (Ottoman), as this dynasty has not yet disappeared. Do you see any similarities between Canadian and Ottoman multiculturalism models? Dimitri Kitsikis: It is evident that the best example of such a Turkish-Greek confederation is the one that has proven its success up to now, i.e. the Canadian Confederation. By the way, where have Sunnis gone who are majority of population in Turkey now? How can Greece and Turkey expect to be union again when they still think and act like they are under influence of nationalism? Dimitri Kitsikis: All the above has been analyzed and proved by tens of my books, hundreds of my scientific articles and public conferences, by 47 years of University teaching, by influencing statesmen like Turgut Özal or Giorgos Papandreou, all along of my professional career as History professor, researcher and public figure, since 1960. You should keep in mind that if the Turkish and Greek public opinions are still kept in ignorance of the facts and plans put forward in my interview, the centers of political decision -and especially Washington- are not only perfectly aware of them since many decades (as proven in particular by the archives of the US State Department) but are pursuing the realization of such plans. It is just a question of time.
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