If love institutionalizes instead of hate... - LEYLA İPEKÇI

If love institutionalizes instead of hate...

Last week we were in the Balkans, far from Turkey, where the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu encouraged the people to stage a bloody riot against the presidential system. We visited dervish lodges and friends and attended seminars organized by TİKA and the Yunus Emre Institute in Pristina, Prizren, Yakova, Ohri, Truga, Skopje, Kosovo and Macedonia. Two years ago, we hit the roads with the same intentions and visited a similar region.

I would like to leave discussing my observations and interpretations for later articles, and instead talk about the heart, which is the most important part of cultural gatherings. I will do this in spite of those who are interested in violence, who only depend on legal data and who weaken the ties of love. In spite of those who appeal to bloodshed to stop the constitutional process, I would like to talk about love and how it unites.


The Balkans is a region which never settles down, as stated by its own people. It enjoys a period of calm and then dreads a period of bloodshed. It is a region where people who are neighbors, colleagues, who live and work side by side, are suddenly at each other's throats.

I have written many articles on the Balkans in recent years and in the days of the Communist regime. However, this time I felt a different emotion. Love and will are needed to live together in harmony. Legal statutes are only good for cease-fires, not for peace and brotherhood.

We have seen many times that the so-called unity which has been postulated in the Balkans too, has not contributed to peace. The reason for people becoming enemies and “others” pushing them toward conflict is because this original togetherness is not appreciated.

For many years I too thought that living together was established through law instead of love. While the constitutional drafts were being put together and meetings were in progress, we had many discussions on the legal side of things. Just like everyone else who thinks and writes.

Yes, what we needed for a civil and pluralist, a libertarian constitution was not what we were essentially. It was our word. Agreement was enough for mutual understanding. What one felt and thought was a person's private life. It was of no importance for legal and social statutes. The important thing when describing the term “citizenship” in the constitution, whether we highlight our ethnic roots or treat our dispositions and sects as enemies, is, that we agree on a law (on paper) that is based on equal rights. The rest will practically come after this subtle acknowledgement. Our social peace agreements could be based on the constitution just as long as our hostility is not based on guns and conflict. This was true in the Balkans as well as in Anatolia.

But the situation is not like this at all. An enemy is needed to use the latest tech bombs produced, therefore animosity and hate ideologies are also generated. You can add the motivation of suicide bombers who belong to leftist terror organizations. Hate is an incitement that is in every person. For instance a man in a suit who is cheery and diplomatic on the outside can suddenly lean toward resorting to guns and conflict after a little incitement.


Sowing the seeds of hate into people's spirituality (in the Balkans and Anatolia) through terror organizations or structures like the Gülen Movement should not be a method to demand rights. Those who hate are always open to being used. No rightful resistance can achieve victory through a hate ideology.

However, there are institutions like TİKA that have devoted themselves to humanity's values both morally and materially, despite the seeds of hate that have been sown, the temporary political alliances, benefits and interests. This is reassurance created by real peace not cease-fires.

On the path to establishing the unity of hearts of those who lift barriers, eliminate “otherness” and feel that the blood shed is their own blood, we are coming all this way, to the Balkans, to other territories with this motive. Not to teach what we know, but to learn together, to enlighten our hearts together. If love institutionalizes instead of hate, all the borders and barricades of the heart will be destroyed. And thus love will not fit into politics.


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