For the past several years, whenever one has written about the piteous condition of the Islamic world in terms of politics and international relations, it has been inescapable to speak of an ever-repeating story about occupation, exploitation, immigration, deprivation, poverty and cruelty. In the initial period of colonization in the Islamic world, colonialist states versus those that were colonized and the occupier versus occupied, were loud and clear. Eventually, the working mechanism of Western colonialism, which was pioneered by the United Kingdom, succeeded in colonizing the whole Islamic world from Kolkata, India to Istanbul.
After World War I, no single piece of land was left unoccupied in the Muslim world except for Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan. In the 1950s, the occupied states in the Middle East and North Africa declared independence one by one. Thanks to the fragile balance of power during the Cold War, the independence of these newly established states was respected to a certain degree. From the 1970s onward, the political ideal of Islamism began to develop in the Muslim world until the 2000s when the idea that radiates hope for Islamic countries turned into reality in countries like Turkey and Malaysia.
In those days, Arabic youth that looked toward Turkey plainly saw the realization of that hope through the perspective that after religious people in a Muslim country came to power through democratic elections, serious developments occurred in terms of fundamental rights and liberties, including freedom of thought and faith, which were immediately followed by a considerable success in economic growth. So Turkey emerged as a true role model for Middle Eastern and North African countries while following its Western orientation through its candidacy for the European Union. Moreover, stories of economic success in countries such as Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria and the eruption of democratic revolutions in the region through the abrupt Arab Spring were promising developments for all pro-democratic forces in the world. The democratic culture that remained incomplete in the West due to the colonialist culture and cooperation with
dictatorships in the region had almost begun to turn into a reality in countries like Egypt and Turkey. Western powers that have been exploiting the world for three centuries intervened in that course of events through openly provoking civil wars and internal dissension.
The overthrow of the democratically elected government in Egypt in a military intervention; the disintegration of governments in Libya established after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi; the involvement of many countries like Turkey, Iran, the United States and Russia and of various terrorist organizations in the Syrian civil war; the withdrawal of the democratically elected government in Tunisia where the Arab Spring started, and finally the emergence of an extremely malignant terrorist organization, the residual of various activities of Western intelligence organizations, all contributed to the completion of chaos in the Muslim world. Thus, it is more than necessary to remind the governments of Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iraq that they should immediately adopt a constructive, assuring, prudential and leading attitude for the Muslim world as they did in the initial stage of the Arab Spring.
We have seen many religious feasts without news of occupation and cruelty since our childhood. To see days of freedom and peace in the Muslim world, it is inescapable for each and every Muslim and Muslim state to get rid of their individual bigotries and adopt a holistic perspective encompassing the future of all Muslims. Therefore, we need to take the ongoing feast as a time of self-evaluation and self-critique both at the individual and state levels.
About the author
İhsan Aktaş is Chairman of the Board of GENAR Research Company. He is an academic at the Department of Communication at Istanbul Medipol University.