Those who do not believe that views and opinions do not only require an interaction with 'the other' but it is the very interaction itself are not able to see its enlivening and prolonging nature. It follows that when there is no healthy communication views, politics and individuals with personality will also diminish. Arrogance makes views authoritative and exclusionary and the only platform where taking may be considered superior to giving is medium of dialogue where views meet the others. Abant is the very soul that forms this dialogue.
Soul is what grants life and meaning. Therefore, its dynamism will make way to the harmony that concept driven systems wish to reach as well as it is enlivening. Moreover, it draws attention to the unity behind this harmony. Abant brings different ones and us as part of the factors of difference with the other and unites us. This teaches us that we should not undermine and try to appreciate the other's quality and personality while we present our style with character. This changes the content of tolerance from "I can bear him as long as he is not harmful" to a responsibility which is cautious as much as it is distant to its position.
It is with no doubt that another important characteristic of Abant meetings is the capability of reaching the final declarations which focus on Turkey's and the world's issues and are produced with utmost care and awareness. However, these declarations are neither mere combinations of different views nor common grounds which are reached by participants sacrificing their views. These are proposals presented to the public which have been formulated with the confidence of having a sound and correct understanding of the actual underlying issues and having reached a unified set of conceptions. They have more value as visions that can be enriched toward the future rather than definite synthesis.
Abant Soul is western in the sense that the fundamental issues are identified and scrutinized with courage; and it is eastern in the sense that it provides a medium where people who are not only satisfied with mere intellectual discussion but feel them with an existential pain in the deepest sides of their spirit meet and converse. On the other hand Abant is western in the sense that differences are discovered and an invitation is made to an internal questioning with these differences; and it is eastern (although it does not always know what to do) in the sense that these differences are loved and even considered sacred. It is western while it is understood that it is reasonable and necessary to form links among differences; an eastern while it makes the participants feel that these differences should be viewed without loosing them. Eastern or Western, Abant is our Soul! Because, we are Harmony in Childhood and Childhood in Harmony that we observe with excitement (Singularity in Diversity; Diversity in Singularity).
Prof. Dr. Kenan Gursoy
Academic Coordinator Abant Platform