VI. Abant Platform "War and Democracy"
Within the framework of the 6 th Abant Platform, 52 scientists and thinkers came together between the dates of July 11-13, 2003 , at Bolu/Abant and discussed two current topics, "War and Democracy."
After participants took up the topic from various perspectives, they succeeded in arriving at a common result. They decided to share the views following below with the public.
The definition and implementation of democracy and war show differences in various countries. For this reason, rather than giving a definition, the platform saw benefit in listing the following articles that were agreed upon.
1) With its potential power, historical depth and young and dynamic population, Turkey has the potential to become the region's leader. Defining its international interests in a true and realistic manner, Turkey needs to decide where it will take its place. Without neglecting our relations with other power centers in addition to our close Turkish-American relationship, Turkey needs to adopt a new policy that will defend on the highest level our internal dynamics and international interests.
2) The real reasons for war are the poor distribution of income, economic inequalities, economic extremes among countries, the lack of increase in world resources, the rise in the world population and the accumulation of capital in a particular, narrow circle. While very few countries have a large share in the world's prosperity, unfortunately Turkey 's share in the world's wealth among countries is at the lowest level. Generally Muslim countries are at the top of the poverty list.
3) Democracy is the only political system that is acceptable in our age. All countries should make an effort to become democratized. With the help and support of all countries, all necessary social, economic and political reforms towards this goal should be implemented. Democracy should be interpreted in light of contemporary values, and even oppressive regimes should not use the export of democracy as a reason for war.
4) There is no conflict between Islam and democracy. We believe in the necessity of democratization of Islamic countries in order to consolidate global security. Islamic countries like Turkey should continue their efforts on the topics of democracy, the supremacy of the law and human rights, and this should be done for the respect and happiness of their people, not because of any kind of pressure.
5) In a single-pole world where the USA has become an uncontrollable power, in order for questions of legitimacy regarding perception of threat and usage of power to be made non-debatable, the authority, function and methods of the UN Security Council and other related international organizations should be restructured, and Turkey should be influential on the subject of respect for international law.
6) At the head of the basic causes of war is the aim of regional and global expansion and interests. In order to prevent this and to contribute to the global development of democracy, all weapons of mass destruction should be decreased and at the final step intense effort should be made to completely eliminate them.
7) Peace should reign in the contemporary world. War cannot be legitimatized even for the purpose of exporting democracy. On the subject of the establishment of security and the prevention of asymmetrical (from unequal powers) and terrorist threats, the democratic security mechanism should be developed and the use of force should be used only as a last resort. Inequality and power imbalance in every area should be resolved by democratic methods.
8) Attacks against civil targets in today's wars and the power of some technologically advanced weapons used eliminate not only military targets, but historical and cultural heritages as well. Without discrimination, innocent civilians – the elderly, women and children – are being killed. Turkey should take an active role in creating public opinion against this.
9) The severing of ties among the human, the natural and the sacred and the usage of factors such as science, technology and the media in an unethical way are creating chaos and preparing a foundation for wars.
10) A peace-loving mentality should be put in place in regard to the prevention of war and establishing peace, and people should be educated towards peace. Because reason cannot determine a goal by itself, this education should be a moral one. In order to consolidate the culture of democracy and peace, the public arena should be made more independent and there should be a structure that allows different sensitivities, beliefs and cultures to express themselves. An appropriate foundation should be prepared for the expansion of the public arena and the development of civil social organizations, and the communication problems between the elite and society should be resolved.
11) The atmosphere of uncertainty permeating the world today is preparing a foundation for new wars. In the process of abandoning this atmosphere and the establishment of peace, Islamic thought, which doesn't see members of other faiths as the "other," and the practicality of its civilization should be benefited from to the extreme degree.
12) Generally, international orders are established after wars and are events where the victor sets the rules. This time the order to be established after the war is finished should be based on principles that won't lead to new conflicts.
13) The media is not only trying to shape society in the areas of language, ideas and even lifestyles, but on the subjects of democracy and war as well. The media's efforts to fool society by such methods as distorting and hiding the news according to the wishes of those in power must be stopped. Thus, for the sake of peace and democracy, the artificial truths created by the media should be prevented from replacing the truths of society.
Ali Nihat Ozcan
Ali Yasar Saribay
Hasan Tahsin Fendoglu
Ozcan Kemal Davaz
Suleyman Hayri Bolay
Suleyman Seyfi Ogun
Yusuf Kaplan 11-13 July 2003
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