Why do the Saudis have a bone to pick with me?27 July 2020, 12.46
Saudi Arabia, which has been utilizing my writings for years as a resource in its academies, has now launched a campaign against me. When I saw the first title of the series of articles by author Talal al-Tureyfi, I was excited, thinking that I was going to have a debate about history on equal terms. But then, when I read the delusions that even a second-year high school student could not have written, my enthusiasm waned. The fact that articles were simultaneously published in Arabic by Asharq Al-Awsat, a famous Saudi pro-government newspaper; in Turkish on Şarku’l Avsat; and in English on “Arabnews”, and I was blasted through social media accounts and Saudi televisions all week long show that the job is part of an organized campaign.
In his articles, aiming to respond to the columns I wrote under the title "Rebuttals to the Saudis", he once again confirmed the aphorism, "The more he talks, the less he knows." Those who compare these delusions to the columns I shared with my readers will be able to grasp this truth once again.
Not only are these rebuttals directed at me not representative of Arab historiography, they are also below the level of Saudi historiography, which has gained momentum in Ottoman research in recent years. As a matter of fact, it is obvious that these writings, or dictations, could not have been penned by any other historian in their right mind.
The timing of the allegations levelled against me, claiming that I politicized history, is also very interesting. Although I wrote them a while ago, it is very telling that they launched this campaign now. Continuing the campaign against my texts throughout the week when the Hagia Sophia, which became the focus of interational media, was slated to reopen as a mosque for worship again, has helped catch this author and those endorsing him red-handed. Instead of addressing my writing, it’s evident that their goals were to turn the attention of public opinion in Saudi Araba away from the developments taking place in Turkey.
The answers to the arguments put forward are already present in my columns. There’s no need to repeat these. However, it is useful to remind you once again where the issue originated. In the campaigns previously launched against Ottoman History in Saudi Arabia, the Ottomans' services to Haramayn (Mecca and Madina) were denied. They claimed that the porticoes of the Kaaba were not made by the Ottomans but by Uthman (Radiallahuanhu).
A few years ago, at the request of their official institutions, I summarized the information on the "activities of the Ottomans in the Haramayn" in a 40-page Arabic Encyclopedia that was approved by its judges. I offered to read both Turkish and Arab history jointly on the services of the Ottoman sultans to Haremeyn. But in vain.
Dozens of theses regarding the services that the Ottomans performed were written at Saudis' own universities. Many articles have also been published in their official magazines. In other words, it is not possible for them to deny this truth with a few newspaper articles. Even if they have eliminated all the work so far and wiped the memories of all the Saudis, the works are forever.
Throughout history, all Muslim rulers and dynasties, including the Sahaaba, have competed to serve the Haramayn. The Ottoman Empire was also one of these entities. I am asking that poor author who mixes up his sources: Can that great man, who doubtless made countless contributions to the holy Kaaba and is a pioneer of tradition, please show me just one place belonging to Uthman that remains standing (including the porticoes that were dedicated to him) today?
However, who built the 150 domes underneath which every day thousands and millions of pilgrims during Hajj circumambulate the Kaaba? The Ottomans do not boast of this service today; they did it as a duty of their religion that says there’s "no superiority between races except than in piety." If they had that tribal, racist understanding of this author that even dissed the Umayyads, their names would have already been erased from history.
Now, I am asking once again: While denying the Ottoman Sultans whose served the Holy Sanctuary since the time of Suleyman the Magnificent, don’t you feel any shame denying Murad IV this claim? Isn't he the last one to build the Holy Kaaba, which you still circle today?
While trying to cover up these truths, Mr. Tureyfi, who is swimming in unfamiliar waters, denied the entirety of Turkish history and the foundation story of the Ottomans. He even developed a paradigm based on the Qurayshism claim attributed to the descendents of Ottomans. The best answer you can give someone who is unable to interpret history and who is not even familiar with the methodology is:
Although the history of the Ottoman dynasty, which saved Seljuks, who protected the Abbasid caliphate, and the Two Holy Sites from the Portuguese invasion, dates back to the 10th century, they are somehow always in need of edits and amendments. But neither you nor those who use you have the power to do it. Because as you discuss the 13th and 14th centuries, you forget about the much more recent history of the Sauds. If you want a quick trip down memory lane: Wasn’t it so carefully crafted that the Saud family, which was known as a branch of the Anazzah tribe until the 2000s, would become related to the Banou Hanifa branch of Banu Tamim, which was related to Qurieshis through a written article? Even official publications that had before linked the Saud family to the Anazzah tribe have been destroyed, have they not?
As long as history allows for this sudden change, I have nothing to say on this. But if you make mountains out of the molehills of others and fail to mention your own mountains, then of course I will always have a lot to say on the matter.
For now, let me just remind you that those who have made you write these reports are the same people who made Saudi historians write reports for my book, Ottomans and the House of Saud in Ottoman Archives. At the end of a joint meeting with King Salman (during his last days as a crown prince), he told me the following regarding these reports; "These have no scientific value, they are purely sentimental evaluations." Mr. Tureyfi, a word to the wise; one day the same will be said about your articles.
- Saudi Arabia
- King Salman