The Moro expedition… - YUSUF KAPLAN

The Moro expedition…

MANILA / Philippines

I have been together with the IHH, or the Humanitarian Relief Foundation, team for about a week in order to make concrete steps to solve the question of Manila. 

Our team comprises four people. The other three friends of ours are PMs. In our team, there is Israfil Kışla, who is the current Istanbul MP and the heart of the İlim Yayma Cemiyeti, the Dissemination of 

Knowledge Society, and Ardahan AK Party MP, Prof. Orhan Atalay (who is also the grandson of the CHP MP Sırrı Atalay).  Mr. Hüsnü Tuna who made many contributions to solving the question of Moro will also join us in a next few days. 

The organizer of the negotiations in the name of IHH is Mr. Hüseyin Oruç who frequently visits here. My note of him should be seen as an appreciation.

Of course, Ömer Kesken, who was intimately dealing with the problems of Muslims in particular in Moro and in Philippines for the last 15 years, will guide us in the name of IHH. 

Let THY fly to Manila! 

We are currently in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Before our arrival in Manila, we went to Dubai and then passed to Manila. After a 17-hour flight, we arrived in Manila during the evening. 

There are 5 hours between the Philippines and Turkey.  Thus, we spent a day without seeing the sun while we were on board. 

Of course, we were so tired. I am noting this here in particular, because there is no direct flight from Istanbul to Manila. There were no direct flights from Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, nor Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, about 4-5 years ago. Today, THY provides direct flights to these two important destinations.  In my first trip to Malaysia and Indonesia 6 years ago, I also got extremely tired. At that time, I raised the question as to why THY would not send any flights to these lands where one seventh of the population is Muslim. Afterwards, THY began the flights in the upcoming period. 

The relationships between Turkey and the Philippines must be strengthened!

THY must run flights to Manila as soon as possible because these lands are waiting for us. 

In the evening, we gathered with Filipino MPs on the invitation of our Manila Ambassador, Miss Esra Cankorur.  They told us that they are expecting Turkey to develop its economic and cultural relationships with the Philippines, as much as with Indonesia and Malaysia. 

The gist of the point is that Filipinos are expecting Turkey. In fact, Turkey has already made some steps here. Tomorrow a TIKA team will attend to the inauguration of certain schools and hospitals in Manila. Therefore, THY should make the first step and must prioritize organizing direct flights to Manila. 

I want to share interesting information with you. While Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu was still the Minister of Foreign Affairs, he was the person who played the determining role in the growth of THY.  When Turkey was making expansions to Africa, Asia and doing investments, Davutoğlu was trying to get THY to enter every place and organize flights everywhere. I am expecting from Davutoğlu to do the same thing concerning Manila, when he is in the Prime Ministry position.

Here is the new Turkish Ambassador!

When we landed on Manila, our Manila ambassador, Miss Esra Cankorur, greeted us almost at the stairs of the plane. She showed us a beautiful example of hospitality with all her team.  My dear brother Ömer, who was the IHH representative of Philippines, was there with our ambassador.  He took great care of us. He will take on our entire burden from tomorrow on. 

To be honest, I have always run away from Turkish ambassadors abroad. I made excuses not to accept their invitations. I am the kind of person looking for genuine and honest feelings. I’ve run into strange ambassadors who were always trying to brag about themselves. 

However, given my trips abroad, I can count Miss Esra as the third person, along with the Iran and Yemen ambassadors, whose name I would gladly mention with candor feelings. 

She is an Anatolian person. She has a deep background and one who learnt the diplomacy culture and its etiquette, but at the same time, she is someone who grasped the spirit of new Turkey. She is such a passionate ambassador to represent this new identity with all her enthusiasm. 

I send my special thanks to Miss Era for her care, hospitality and also for her genuine, sincere support to IHH and our other associations. 

Philippines: the only Muslim country, which lost its aspect of being the majority population. 

The Philippines is almost the only significant country where once the majority was Muslim, but then Christianized from scratch. 

When Spain invaded the Philippines in the 16th century, they committed to unbelievable persecutions, tortures and genocides in the Philippines. Most Muslims lost their lives in these persecutions. Some of them migrated South (the region of Moro) and the remaining majority was Christianized by force by the catholic Spanish imperialists. 

Of course, Muslims showed resilience first. However, they were all alone in this region and far from the central Muslim geography. Therefore, their resistance lasted only to a certain period. The famous traveler Magellan died in battle here. 

A new period is beginning in the Philippines. Muslims have come to the edge of acquiring all their rights in Moro where they are the nucleus of the majority population.  

We, as the IHH team, are here to help as an extra in this process. IHH contributes to the negotiations with its observer status as being one of the four partners of the negotiations concerning Moro. 

Starting tomorrow, I will share the negotiations with you. Please do not forget your prayers for us! 

ykaplan@yenisafak.com.tr
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