The Kuala Lumpur Summit revealed great tensions in the Islamic world. Though the conservative opposition and other groups interpret this tension through the Islamic world’s internal dynamics in attempts to determine a position for themselves, the severity of these tensions prevents the matter from being tirivialized. For a long time, they had legitimized Turkey’s relations with imperial powers, veiling its reality. However, the July 15, 2016 invasion and occupation attempt exposed the deep conflict between nationalists and globalists. Events that we consider to be quite stimulating for those who produce ideas in various branches of social sciences stand out with their local qualities, while they also present surprising resemblance to events happening across a more vast region. The affiliated elements, referred to in Turkey as the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), revealing themselves at the Kuala Lumpur Summit in the form of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), render the local-foreign dynamic debate unnecessary. The efforts of those who wanted to take over Turkey on July 15 from within the country, and those trying to prevent the Kuala Lumpur Summit, uniting in 2013 to bring Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi to power in Egypt, gives a general idea about the problems the region is struggling with.
It would be wrong to say that Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt are legitimate parties in the Islamic world. The last time Saudis tried to become a party was half a century ago, during the oil crisis. However, heavy intervention by Western imperialism resulted with the king’s earthly demise. This murder led to a re-organization of the political arena, and despite it happening half a century ago, the new order is still ongoing. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed operate on behalf of the U.S. and U.K.
As Turkey continued to take transformative steps on its new path, particularly after the 2008 economic crisis, it continued to encounter interventions similar to those in the 1990s. The fact that those who shape intellectual life in Turkey limit the FETÖ issue to liberal criteria is, by no means, indicative of an ideological perspective. Like in the example of bin Salman and bin Zayed, this matter is also interlinked with the elements grounded faith in the West. They know that being national and local has a price and thus, act in accordance with the theories of the centers they are affiliated.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan managed to thwart every attack Turkey has been subjected to since 2013, because he was literally “united” with the people. This union is a distinguishing characteristic of Turkey. The abrasive language used by the conservative opposition and other affiliated groups against the local and national concepts, and, in particular, signals efforts to destroy both Erdoğan and Turkey’s transformative power. Erdoğan keeping to schedule with his North Africa trip in 2013, a time when attacks against Turkey and his person were at their pinnacle, provides very important clues about the boundaries of Turkey’s national and local axis. The speeches Erdoğan made at this time through various channels are extremely significant in terms of their historical value, while they also say much about the new politics produced in Turkey.
Analyzing the speech he gave at the Kuala Lumpur Summit together with his 2013 speech in Cairo, leads us to observe a new approach. While these speeches highlight the changes in approach concerning Turkey’s surrounding region, a new approach with respect to relations with the West is also striking. Similarly, we cannot consider the prayers in the streets of Khartoum on July 15 that went on until morning independently from the issues mentioned during the speech at Khartoum University.
Turkey’s leaders were given the chance to voice their opinions at the UN platform in the past as well. Yet, none of these speeches were authentic and, naturally, they failed to go beyond expressing loyalty to the West. We cannot talk about any historic speech by Turkey’s previous leaders at the UN General Assembly. This is also true for matters directly concerning us. The theories developed and supported by Turkey, primarily “The World is Bigger than Five” rhetoric cannot be confined to Turkey’s domestic conditions. These speeches, primarily those on the issues of the Turkic and Islamic world, concern our region and the world at large. Turkey represents a new approach and this approach needs to be explained to the whole world.
At least the last decade holds some historical value. Publishing the speeches made by Erdoğan at every turning point, in a certain order, and as a book will be beneficial in multiple aspects. Turkey is doing grand things, but it is clear that these cannot be explained to vast masses. That the necessary steps are yet to be taken, despite being aware of the fact that Turkey’s struggle is not limited to Turkey alone, should be considered a grave problem.