Do you have any anxiety about China? What do you think about China's position in the world?
No cultural war or clash of civilizations
What do you say about the thesis Huntington put forth in his article "Clash of Civilizations"?
I don't believe there's going to be a clash between cultures or civilizations. If some pepole are planning such a thing based on their current dreams and making claims on this subject, and if such a wave has risen and is on its way, then before we live such a clash, let's put a bigger wave in front of it and break their wave.
Relations with the Muslim world and Europe
What do you say about the attitude: "Forget about Europe, and become the leader of the Muslim world in the East. You're not European anyhow."
We have one side in common with Europe and one side in common with the Muslim world. Our integration with Europe necessarily will bring the other. [Nevval Sevindi, Yeni Yuzyil daily, August, 1997]
The European Union (EU) and Turkey
I guess you're not worried that Turkey's entering the EU will open the way to assimilation.
I don't approach this matter from the viewpoint of assimilation. Economists and politicians should examine this matter carefully from the perspective of our economy and political issues. [Nuriye Akman, Sabah daily, 1/23-30/95]
Turkey and the Customs Union
What do you say about Turkey's entering the Customs Union?
I've presented my views on this subject on various occasions. This matter's economic side should be discussed and debated thoroughly by experts in this field. If the Customs Union is going to tie our hands, obstruct our trade outside of Europe and in other places, and cause a snag in our imports and exports, then we must consider these issues and decide accordingly. I don't believe it's right to oppose the Customs Union because it might lead to our assimilation. For whatever reason we might enter the Customs Union, assimilation in our name is out of question. [Oral Calislar, Cumhuriyet daily, 8/20-26/95]
Relations with the West
How do you see our relations with the West?
I don't see any harm in joining the West and Western thought on points where it's necessary and where there's no danger. It's inescapable... God created humanity as an honored creature with intelligence and conscience. Those who do not know Islam are also human beings with intelligence and a conscience. There are things that intelligence, conscience, and being human promise to humanity. As one sage said: "God created humanity as an honorable creature who always looks for goodness and beauty. But sometimes falsehood can be pulled over its head like a cap..." This means that there is an inclination in human nature to seek goodness and beauty. If we have found our essence, we can get only beautiful things from it. There are many beautiful things to borrow from the West.
But there is hostility toward the West, especially in Islamic circles, in the form of slogans.
In the absolute sense, an unquestionable hostility toward the West is an anachronism. Such people will be eliminated by time. Europeans didn't hesitate to borrow from us what they thought they needeed. Those who read a little history of science know that before Europe's Renaissance, a true renaissance took place in the fifth century AH in the Muslim world. Scholars like Biruni, Harizmi, Avicenna, and many others were translated into European languages. European students poured into Andalusia, a center of learning, for centuries. As acknowledged by many historians of science, the foundation of Europe's Renaissance was laid in the Muslim world. Some European zealots changed the names of our scholars. For example, Ibn-i Sina was "latinized" into Avicenna, and Ibn-i Rushd became Averroës. Fair Western writers admit this. I don't see any harm in taking things the West has developed. We can get them and make further advancements. [Eyup Can, Zaman daily, August, 1995]
Relations with Central Asia, the Islamic World, and the West
Is the Central Asian corridor going to carry Turkey to the West, the Middle East, and the Pacific?
Right. You expressed it very well. The important thing is for that corridor to open, and, with God's will, a corridor free of time and space will open. As stated in the old expression, "A road will open from heart to heart," this will be realized on the planes of feeling, thought, and faith. At the same time, it will allow Turkish society to become integrated with the West in a harmless way. In this sense, we should discuss the possible harm from such integration. For example, we should dwell on the possible economic harm of entering the Customs Union. But we also will benefit in other ways from integration.
Close Relations with the Pacific region
It's very important that we join Europe. However, Central Asia is going to be a bridge for Turkish businessmen and entrepreneurs, and this will make our competition with the world easier. Maybe some joint things will be done, thus providing an opportunity to evaluate our relationship with Europe. The same thing is possible with the Pacific region. We're not bound to anyone; we can use the Pacific region, Central Asia, and Europe. Separate alternatives will give us a broader base for bargaining. [Eyup Can, Zaman daily, August, 1995]
America at the world's rudder
You've been in the US for a while. How do you describe it? What is its role in the world?
Democracy and certain national traditions are well established in the US. The social mosaic perhaps necessitates this. the US is like ancient Babylon. If there weren't a democracy in the sense that Americans understand, establish, and sanctify, its national unity could not be protected. Many things can be done in the US. Many things on behalf of our way of thinking can be done. In the current global framework, the US, with its present position and power, can control the whole world.
All the work to be done in the world can be managed from here. In fact, not getting along with the US, not necessarily getting its support but not getting along with it as a friend, would make it difficult to do anything anywhere. the US still controls the rudder of the world's ship.
Sociologists say that every nation and civilization, just as every individual, has a life span. the US has also a life span. the US is a democratic country, and democracies fall very slowly, like feathers. The disintegration of despotic regimes, like the Soviet Union, takes place suddenly like a gas explosion. [Nevval Sevindi, Yeni Yuzyil daily, August, 1997]