In opposition to this century being turned into a blood lake as we saw in the latest examples of religious and ethnic conflict in Bosnia and Kosova, the formula of living together in harmony has gained even greater importance in the eyes of governments and nations. A new formula for living together while maintaining differences has begun to become a more urgent matter than ever in the field of international relations.
Within this framework it shouldn't seem strange for the Ottoman State to leap out of our subconsciousness. This state successfully held together different ethnic and religious groups in some regions for four, five and even six centuries. Upon which universal principles did it rely? Which skilled hands made and applied the mortar of this interesting and rich mosaic that embraced a range from the Greek to the Arab, from the Syriac Christian to the Jew and from the Germans in Kars to the Orthodox Turks in Karaman?
In the international symposium held on September 21-22, 1999 at the Cemal Resit Rey Concert Hall and the concert program that followed it which was comprised of choruses from. The three monotheistic religions, both our minds and our hearts were cleansed of rust. The bridge tying the Ottoman State to the Republic was remembered even if for a few days and lessons were taken for the future.
Close to 20 scholars and researchers attended the symposium, including Prof. Kemal Karpat from the University of Wisconsin, Prof. Ilber Ortayli, Prof. Mehmet S. Aydin, Jewish researcher Yusuf Altintas, Prof. Toktamis Ates and Prof. Mete Tuncay.
Colorful figures watched the symposium's opening session. In the opening session in which Phanariot Greek Patriarch Bartholomeos, Kirkor Damatyan in the name of the Armenian Patriarch, Ancient-Syriac Bishop Yusuf Haleva and Lui Pelatre for the Catholic Community made individual speeches, addresses were also given by Virtue Party General Chairman Recai Kutan, Social Security Minister Yasar Okuyan and Metropolitan Istanbul Mayor Ali Mufit Gurtuna.
The symposium papers were printed in book form by the Journalists and Writers Foundation.