The world as seen from Washington, DC - LEYLA İPEKÇI

The world as seen from Washington, DC

Just when I had let go of my youthful dreams of rediscovering America, I stepped foot on American soil at the age of 50. Besides, this visit was with the occasion of the President's critical Washington trip. Travelling on the President's plane with journalists, bureaucrats, and businessmen alone, meant impression, interpretation and observation within itself.

My observations will of course be put down on paper, as I am one who focuses on the reflection of politics on society and immaterial dimensions. Today in this column I will share my primary observations with you.
Meeting world leaders at the occasion of the Nuclear Safety Summit, Erdoğan had an intense program including his meeting with Obama on the Syria crisis and terror issues. However, instead of extensively elaborating on the content, our agenda was once again occupied with the operations of those full of deceit and distortion.

Leaders of more than 50 countries came together at the Summit, despite the activities of the local and international lobbyists to prevent Obama from meeting Erdoğan, and while suicide bombers (without borders) detonate themselves in both the East and the West. Those who organized these meetings on nuclear safety measures in Seoul and The Hague since 2009 are now troubled with something else.

In a period in which the sanctions have been lifted from Iran since the nuclear agreement was signed, the global actors have a new problem: What if terrorist organizations like Daesh get hold of these nuclear weapons? Therefore, the main purpose wasn't to end the Syrian civil war that affects the conscience of all humanity, but to make global deals on the security sector.

For example, one of the topics in the UN action plan was: how to safeguard radioactive substances. A new world in which this happens to be a much more important topic than issues like lifeless bodies of babies washing onto shores.

Those who cannot sacrifice from their comfortable lives will not find mercy's address, as Emine Erdoğan too said during her speech at a SETA organization on Syrian refugees, reiterating that Turkey was proud to host close to 3 million Syrian refugees.

Hence, there are dozens of think tanks established to create the intellectual market of the nuclear summit type meetings. However no one seems to look at the issue from a perspective in which they stop to think “what are we doing here?” Instead their discussion includes: gun negotiations, moves to expand reasons for Islamophobia that would be useful for conflict moderators, sending up trial balloons, temporary interest alliances, folders, analyses, reports...

Moving from summit to summit with the presupposition that the upcoming US elections are of more importance than the tragic plight of humanity... Those who can't open their hearts cannot open their borders. Global summits only benefit dead civilizations deprived of love and understanding.

For this very reason, President Erdoğan going to the official opening of the Maryland mosque and complex (he was also present when the foundation was laid) is far more important than the new world's nuclear negotiations.

There is an Ottoman-style mosque with two minarets and a Seljuk-style culture center on the expansive grounds of the complex. The complex includes a conference hall, expedition halls, a management section, sports centers, a swimming pool, Turkish bath (hamam), sauna, guest rooms, a shopping center, classrooms, and counseling for students.

There are also ten Turkish houses that exhibit family values, life culture and traditions. Because the area is inhabited by a vast Muslim population, they complex is designed to fulfill their needs as a society. Eighty percent of the visitors are Muslims from many different places.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and an intelligence agency are in the vicinity of the mosque complex. However, when you enter the area you are welcomed by an Anatolian breeze. We find out that the architect of the mosque complex is Muharrem Hilmi Şenalp and the complex was built by American engineers. Up to 1,000 people can pray inside the mosque while 500 people can pray inside the yard of the mosque, adorned with doors made of mother-of-pearl, with Hüseyin Kutlu calligraphy, with columns made from marble brought from cities like Afyon, Tokat, Yalova, with tiles specially made in Iznik, mother-of-pearl Quran cases, colored windows, chandeliers with Allah's 99 names engraved, the minder and mihrab. According to the mosque's management, 2,500 people prayed in the mosque last Eid.

You can breathe in the plain beauty of Islam's spiritual side when you enter the complex. The municipality granted the complex certain exceptions in order for it to create this feeling. Other than that, the complex complies with the municipality's rules and regulations. The call for prayer (adhan) is not recited from the minarets as yet. The religious affairs director, Mehmet Görmez, gave an impressive sermon (khutbah) before the official opening of the mosque. The sermon was delivered in Turkish, English and Arabic. The miniature, calligraphy and Piri Reis exhibitions are open to the public.

Sharing the reality of 'oneness' with a global tone and feeling it deep down is not just possible with religious rituals.


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