From new Crusades to revival: a new era is dawning in the region30 July 2020, 11.46
The innovations that emerged in different fields in the 19th century do not indicate collapse in terms of our civilization history. On the contrary, it may be considered a shell-breaking success that encompasses the entire Ottoman region. The shell-breaking success applies to the Turkic world as well. Despite living as stateless communities prior to the Russian invasion, the Caucasus Turks taking a step towards becoming a state in the atmosphere of the 1917 Revolution, should be seen as the result of their efforts to renew. For example, as a result of the new education administration, the literacy rate increased, with national magazines and newspapers contributing to the rise of an intellectual class. A similar situation was in question for the Ottoman region as well. As our ties weakened following the establishment of the Republic, we started to draw away from the fundamental issues of the 19th century, which eventually led to the loss of certain wealth. Our history became a means to fight.
We need to know about the ideas brought up by intellectuals such as Şehbenderzade Filibeli Ahmet Hilmi, who lived in Libya for a long period of time and has substantial knowledge about North Africa, the Arab region, the Balkans and Anatolia. The fact that these are forgotten is a result of our drawing away from our history. Yet, a concept like “social union” may shed light on current issues. It is clear that remaining obsessively attached to certain institutions is senseless. While our whole region is showing signs of revival, it will be meaningless to surrender to an imaginary world we formed in our minds. As in the 19th century, our region is striving to break its shell again, and this effort will transform us all.
We will not be mistaken by seeing the start of a close cooperation process between Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Qatar and Turkey as the result of necessities. If Turkey had not been rid of its dependencies on July 15, 2016, we would have been discussing our region’s occupation now. The calls made from Yemen and the negotiations about establishing a base in Oman show that the cooperation will expand. Even in times when Arab nationalism was on a rise there was no such effective closeness and cooperation. The cooperation that is expanding today cannot be presented as the result of an institutional or ideological perspective. A cooperation that is taking shape on its own dynamics, is giving rise to hope concerning the region’s future. The social union mentioned by Şehbenderzade must also be something like this. This process should be considered as the popularization of solidarist socialization. We cannot explain the transformation of the region by the ideas that were revealed on July 15 with ideological unions or institutional ties.
It was only until recently that the propaganda activities of countries such as Italy would come to the fore in articles written about Albania. Yet today, the naval agreement between Italy and Greece is capable of eliminating Albania’s rights in the Adriatic Sea. This thus makes it obligatory for the Albanians to set out on new pursuits. Oman and Yemen are in a similar situation. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia are applying pressure on the countries in the region as a result of their relations with the U.S. and Israel. As these two countries have drawn away from the region, they are acting in accordance with external dependencies. Their adventure in Qatar has started to threaten their countries’ existence. Oman and Yemen’s cooperation process with Turkey shows that their existence is under threat. We are not romanticizing by mentioning the region’s dynamics. After World War II, the order in international relations collapsed, and countries became concerned about carrying on their existence to the future with mandatory preferences. The concepts of being local and national, which settled in our vocabulary after July 15, apply to the fights for existence across the region as well.
Shell-breaking efforts should be emphasized. If countries located in a vast area from the Balkans to the Caucasus, from North Africa to the Persian Gulf want to cooperate among themselves and eliminate the threats targeting their existence through solidarity, we can talk about a new era. This shows that the “New Crusades,” which started in the 1990s have been stopped, and that the dependent structures which developed in our region after World War I and II are being eliminated. Following the organized dependent structures, the exposure of state-level dependent structures’ relations with non-regional powers should be considered an achievement of the local and national stance.