U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a summit on Countering Violent Extremism for Feb. 18 in view of the dramatic incidents in Paris, as well as recent events in Ottawa and Sydney. The White House will host the summit that will also be attended by Turkey.
Turkey is not only one of the countries that has suffered from terrorist attacks, and terrorism in general, but it is also situated in a region that is riddled with violence and terrorism, and where radicals use the good name of Islam as a justification for their crimes against humanity.
The latest victim of violent acts is Paris. However, the events that took place in France are just some of the incidents that occur around the world on a daily basis, with at least 1,000 people losing their lives on the same day as the Paris attacks.
The fact that 17 people died in the Paris events caught the world's attention, but the problem is much more complicated and widespread than meets the eye.
The head of Turkey's Presidency of Religious Affairs (DİB) met with British Ambassador Richard Moore and, while strongly condemning the events in Paris, made an important statement saying "a very sorrowful event occurred in Paris the other day. There can be no justification for this attack, no excuse is acceptable.
However, I would like to draw your attention to another issue. I researched how many people died in the world in attacks on the same day. In Nigeria alone, 400 people were killed on a day when more than 1,000 people died all over the world in equally barbaric attacks. Deaths in one place of the globe should not be a source of attention for the whole world." The world has to wake up to the fact that radicals are on the rampage all over the world and it is high time the international community took swift and strong action.
Iraq and Syria, both neighbors of Turkey with long borders, are the breeding grounds for the numerous terrorist groups that have become a menace to the world. Extremists trained or recruited by radical Islamic imams in Europe are being systematically sent to Iraq and Syria to join the ranks of the radical. Turkey has unfortunately and unwillingly become the transit route for most of them. This puts Turkey at the center of the fight against these radicals.
However, it is no use trying to kill the gnats, when you have to drain the swamp.
The breeding ground for extremists is the Western countries where morals and rules of coexistence have not been properly defined or are seriously defective. Turkey has told both friends and foes alike, that dialogue between religions is meaningless. We have to create the criteria to establish the rules and morals for coexistence of Muslims, Christians and the Jews, as well as people from other religions. The Islamic civilization has done this in the past.
The Ottomans were successful in creating these conditions for several centuries. So while the U.S. leads the field in gathering world leaders in order to seek ways to combat extremism, the world also has to concentrate on creating conditions where Muslims can fit into Western societies without being alienated or becoming victims of Islamophobia.
Turkey can spearhead this effort as the emerging leader of the Muslim world.