Posted 21.06.2012 07:05:15 UTC
Updated 07.08.2012 14:25:20 UTC
Professor Dr. Ramazan Gözen of Yıldırım Beyazıd University
Among the activities were singing Turkish songs, reciting poems and performing folk dances. With the participation of 1500 young people from 135 countries, the events took place in 35 football stadiums and on 65 stages. Those activities acquainted Turkish society with different cultures from all over the world. The guest groups met local administrators, political party representatives, media people, deputies, ministers and even the President at the Çankaya presidential palace in Ankara. People from a variety of countries mingled in jubilation with people from all corners of Turkey, setting up social and humanitarian ties. We can say that the series of events had a special meaning and importance not only for the 1500 participants but also the Turkish people. That meeting was a cultural and folkloric entertainment but more importantly it was an international phenomenon with wide ramifications.
There are two international platforms that Turkey has presented to world children. One of them is April 23rd National Sovereignty and Children's Day and the other is the International Turkish Olympics held in June every year. Although with different purposes, they both have a common characteristic in terms of the composition of participants and the results they spawn. This characteristic is the formation in a socio-cultural climate provided by Turkey of a miniature family of humanity by people from distinctly different origins and cultures.
The meeting of thousands of international young people with a population of 75 million in Turkey generates serious effects for both sides. As was expressed in this year's slogan “Humanity hand in hand " activities of that kind encourage the strengthening of international unity, cooperation and solidarity. The young people of the countries hostile to one another because of wars and other reasons can meet in a medium of peace and love. These activities, though giving a picture of festivity in form, show that a family of humanity steeped in tolerance can be created.
These activities can be seen as the manifestation by some of a naive, imaginary and overtly idealistic intention. The realists, in particular, who say that man is in a constant struggle of power and dominance, may easily find that perception utopic and far-fetched. Some others claim that Turkish Olympics boost Turkish nationalism. It is indeed true that those events and activities provide certain advantages to the Turkish language and Turkey, bringing the country's image, prestige and importance in the world to the forefront. With that dimension in mind, no one can deny that they serve the Turkey's national, cultural and foreign policy interests.
However, it should not be ignored that activities of that kind also have a dimension serving essentially the common values of humanity. They open up the Turkish nation to the multi-cultured family of humanity on the one hand and bring that family closer together with Turkish society. Turkey and humanity,, despite the fact that they are multi-coloured and heterogeneous, Express in this way that it is possible for them all to co-habit. These inter-actions have the high potential of paving the way in the world to a new understanding in Turkey and the rest of the world.
Viewed from Turkey's perspective, those activities demonstrate the success of Turkish schools spread all over the world and their teachers in disseminating the Turkish language over vast geographies. On the other hand, they contribute to the Turkish people's globalization by ensuring their mingling with different cultures. Turkish people hosting diverse cultures and displaying their hospitality not only boost their image but also strengthen their perception of the world.
Viewed from the angle of the young participants from around the world, the activities in question provide for the international community to know Turkish society from close and the laying of the foundations of a multi-cultured micro community of humanity based on friendship, dialogue and cooperation.
The reflections on to international politics of those activities, besides their educational, psychological, linguistic and sociological dimensions, should also be taken into consideration. Most important of them all is the contribution made to world peace and stability. Their implication is that diverse nations can meet at a common denominator to find common solution. It is true that there is the UN General Assembly as an important example in this context but because the UN functions with an inter-state understanding, it brings political struggle rather than cultural partnership to the fore. The political passions of the states outdoing the universality of common values have dwindled the effectiveness of the UN and other international bodies.
The most typical example of that has been seen in the developments in the Middle East. We have observed how the faulty policies of rulers poisoned human relations in Turkey-Syria relations. Turkey and Syria who have brought their peoples closer together by lifting the visa requirements have burned all bridges during the Arab Spring.
Viewed in the light of these facts, it is imperative that the spirit of youth be reflected on to the world of politicians for April 23 and Turkish Olympics to yield fruitful results. First and foremost we have to separate our social life requirements from the struggle to gain political power and have them fed by universal values. Political aspirations and interest-oriented calculations must be abandoned and humanitarian values be taken as basis for inspiration. Additionally, those programmes must be conducted continuously, sincerely, inclusively and transparently so that everyone's support may be garnered. And last but not least, it must be proven both at home and abroad that Turkey's cultural codes are based on the principle "Love for the Creator and love for the created beings " and not on the argument of the " clash of civilizations ."