The Turkish-African Economy and Business Forum held in Istanbul on Nov. 2-3, was an important summit where a new developmental approach was discussed. Delivering an opening speech, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized the understanding of development that developing countries have maintained as the only alternative so far.
Erdoğan mentioned a bad tendency that explains globalization as standardization, ignores local differences and regional dynamics and even regards them as a threat. Indeed, this tendency can be considered an ideological obsession today. The economic policies of growth, which are based on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank's prescriptions alone, have failed, with developing countries beginning to question them. These conventional and uniform monetary and financial policies, which ignore the social and economic differences of countries and are based on transferring funds abroad, have collapsed. Now, developing countries have learned that these policies are a new kind of colonialism.
Indeed, the new colonial approach, which Erdoğan highlighted by touching on Africa, is the third and final phase of the bad development paradigm that has been imposed on eastern and southern parts of the world, including Africa, since the Industrial Revolution. The West approached it in three phases: "We are the founder of the current civilization and we tell others what to do."
The profile of Cecil Rhodes illustrates the first colonial phase very well. Rhodes rolled his sleeves up in the 1880s to colonize the whole of Africa and proposed the idea of constructing an uninterrupted railway from Cape Town to Cairo. He was one of the major colonialists that the British Empire exported to Africa to colonize the continent. Rhodes, who managed to be a colonial "businessman" and "statesman" by establishing the De Beers diamond company in Africa, expressed himself, saying, "To save the 40 million inhabitants of the United Kingdom from a bloody civil war, our colonial statesmen must acquire new lands for settling the surplus population of this country, to provide new markets." As can be seen, Rhodes was very sincere in his colonial attitudes. As Rhodes' Cape to Cairo Railway project, which aimed to connect adjacent African possessions of Great Britain through a continuous line from Cape Town to Cairo, progressed, the civil war escalated on the continent at the same speed. When Rhodes passed away in Cape Town in 1902, he did most of what he had wanted to do. Since the African territory, from Cape Town to Cairo, was colonized in the early 20th century, civil wars and the plunder of underground resources have continued until today. This was the first phase of colonization.
Following World War II, however, foreign businessmen and politicians like Rhodes were replaced by local dictators both in the Middle East and North Africa. This period can be defined as the second phase of colonization when indirect colonial efforts came into play. For Great Britain, the period of direct colonialization ended, while the period of independent nation states that were led by the U.S. started. For instance, Iraq's Saddam Hussein, Syria's Assad Family, Libya's Moammar Gadhafi and Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser were the typical political figures of this period. Baath regimes built the social and economic foundations of current civil wars in the Middle East.
Turkey experienced this period with unique but similar dynamics starting with the Treaty of Lausanne and continuing with military coups that were staged on May 27, 1960, Sept. 12, 1980 and Feb. 28, 1997. Starting with the 21st century, the period of local dictators in the Middle East and the period of coups and weak coalition governments (military tutelage) in countries like Turkey started to be shaken.
Then, we encountered the third colonial period. Local dictators and military tutelage regimes were replaced by gangs and local terrorist organizations that strove to seize the state. This was the period when Daesh emerged in Iraq and Syria after the U.S. invasion.
As Erdoğan emphasized, this period was characterized by an ideological distortion that explains globalization as taking Western civilization as an absolute truth. It is an understanding that regards the West-imposed economic policies as the only scientific development approach. Francis Fukuyama's thesis of "the end of history" and Samuel P. Huntington's thesis of the clash of civilizations foreshadowed the current developments. Huntington explained the Islamic world through territories spanning from Eastern Europe to Southern and Central Asia. According to him, this vast geography that also included Turkey was one of the key areas of conflict.
Although it seems that Huntington turns out to be right in the Middle East, this is not completely true. As opposed to the perception that Islamophobia tries to create, Islam is not a religion of war, but a religion of peace and integrity. The Islamic world, including Turkey, does not want to accept the impositions that have been continuing for two centuries, but wants peace, welfare and stability. The refugee crisis can be resolved only if old colonialist policies are eliminated.
The Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which attempted to stage a coup in Turkey on July 15, was structured to maintain the old colonialism. In this regard, FETÖ and the PKK emerged with the same motivation and are masterminded by the same powers.
Indeed, FETÖ's deceptive thesis of "dialogue between religions" paradoxically supports Huntington's thesis of clash of civilizations. FETÖ prescribes giving in to colonialism, dictatorships and poverty and considers this to be dialogue.
There is dialectics of clash and alliance between FETÖ and Huntington's theses. In this regard, there is no difference between the theses of the clash of civilizations and the alliance of civilizations or the interfaith dialogue. From this point of view, FETÖ and Daesh, as well as the happenings in Iraq and the current discussions of economic policies in the whole world, are the are the outcomes of such theses.
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