There is no such ‘Islamic spirit’

There is no such ‘Islamic spirit’

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev have just issued a joint declaration on “Islamic convergence.” While I was reading it, I thought about what kind of dream world our political Islamists in Turkey are living in.

The second decade of the 21st century is nearing its end but our dreamers are still in search of a single political platform for the Islamic community. Thus, they assume they can solve global issues with an “Islamic solidarity spirit,” particularly issues in Islamic countries.   

How much do the realities of our time match up with such an expectation? 

The history of Islam has witnessed that the biggest murders were easily committed when power struggles were in question. What happened after the death of Prophet Muhammad? Is it not in the curriculum of our İmam Hatip religious vocational schools? 

Those who are strangling each other in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain are all Muslims. There is no such thing as “Muslim fraternity.”

In international relations, similarly, there are different interests and targets. States cannot just be brothers only because they belong to the same religion. 

In fact, our Islamists also know this. But because they are living in a dream world, they still assume they will be able to solve complicated political and economic issues of today with this concept. The main reason is that they are not equipped with the body of knowledge to understand the world or see the source of today’s problems. 

The PM’s instructions 

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu convened with mayors from across the country the other day and told them that the Turkish Housing Development Administration (TOKİ) would build buildings in harmony with the cities’ historic architecture. “I’ve told the head of TOKİ clearly: I will personally see all TOKİ projects and there will be no TOKİ constructions that are not in harmony with the authentic architecture of the city,” he said. 

Davutoğlu has a Ph.D. in political science and international relations. He is a professor and he has written books. But he is not an architect or a city planner. 

Is it a prime minister’s job to supervise architectural projects? No, it is not. If the prime minister wants such an approach to be taken to urbanization, then he should give appropriate instructions and leave the rest to the experts. 

Or does he doubt that his orders will not quite be followed? 

The state and Islam 

During his speech at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Istanbul, Prime Minister Davutoğlu said we needed to do some soul-searching: “The strongest state traditions were born in Islamic lands, but now we are known for civil wars.”

Meanwhile, researcher and journalist Uğur Gürses questioned in daily Hürriyet earlier this week which subject the new president of the Central Bank, Murat Çetinkaya, did his graduate studies in. When he could not find it in the Higher Education Council (YÖK) database, he asked the university and the Central Bank. 

The university did not give details because it was private information. The Central Bank responded by changing Çetinkaya’s C.V. on the Bank’s official website. 

Maybe the information provided by Çetinkaya on his graduate degrees was not quite true. 

The reason I’m saying this is that Davutoğlu referred to Islamic lands as the places where the strongest state traditions were born, but he does not refer to the reason why none of these traditions have persisted until today. 

The reason is these kinds of practices. When rules and institutions have been turned into such “empty” concepts, then you can only talk about clan management, not state administration. And this is the outcome…