Why are Ottomans the future of humanity? - YUSUF KAPLAN

Why are Ottomans the future of humanity?

We are at a breaking point in history. The world is pregnant with new outcomes. In the next half century, we are going to encounter a completely different world.

For almost a century, the "kings of the world" have been Americans: the modern basic concepts and institutions the world has been using were devised by Americans.

What Ottomans could not see…

The Ottoman dynasty collapsed because they could not predict the "advance" of America. Even though it was the only actor on the earth"s surface to understand the power and dynamics of America, the Ottomans could not predict the advance of the Americans nor the collapse of Europe to avoid them from vanishing into history.

The deviance of nationalism, which developed in Europe increasingly and partially, with the internal reinforcement of secularism /westernization in the state borders with the external fostering (especially by the British) split Ottomans asunder. Moreover, the deviance of nationalism that caused the collapse of the Ottomans also caused Europe to collapse.

Edgar Morin mentions that the modern secular paradigms, which the nation-state is based on, are subjected to a transformation into a religion with the ideology of nationalism. The ideology of nationalism, which consecrates the ethno-centrically national, political, cultural and mental establishments, brought the end to the age of empires in Europe.

If the United States had not been established, the western civilization would have disappeared through the holes which colonialism, racism, self-interested and antagonistic dynamics had opened, just like the old Rome.

The relationship between the United States and Ottomans

What actually saved the western civilization was the American experience. The American experience is not an experience of a cultural organization. It"s rather reminiscent of an empire as a trans-national experience which, even though melts various ethnicities in the same pot, can host them. The most similar example and model of it is the Ottoman millet sistemi or the "nation system" in modern history.

The reason why Americans have been deeply interested in Ottomans for the last 50 years and opening a countless number of sprouting chairs of Ottoman studies is hidden in this fact.

The fundamental difference of the American experience from the European nation-states is that instead of a nation-centric or ethno-centric model, Americans developed a larger scale, which is also an ethnically-based (WASP: White, Anglo Saxon and Protestant) model that is trans-national and they democratized the industry.

Now, these two factors enabled the US to become the single and most powerful factor of the world.

The ethno-centric political paradigm in Europe and the trans-national political paradigm in the US as well are derived from the same root-paradigm: secularism.

Therefore, the ideology of nationalism is a secular one that caused the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. In other words, Ottomans lost the spirit of internalizing the secular paradigm effort and, finally, I don"t think they would even care anyway. Likewise, Ottomans could not avoid the collapse.

However, the American experience did not offer to the world anything other than a project of colonization by secularizing the world and secularism. It did not have the multi-dimensional aspect for the co-existence of diverse cultures and religions. It was merely based on consecrating this world and hence it was a single-minded, shallow, superficial, selfish, reactionary and assimilative perception and manner of existence. Therefore, it made our world an unbearable place to live.

"Ottomans: the future of humanity"

The Ottoman project, on the other hand, is both trans-national and has the ability for the co-existence of diverse religions and forms of societies belonging to various cultures. It was, in fact, the most powerful and "modern" experience in that regard. That"s why Americans depleted the spirit of the Ottoman experience (castrating it) or are trying to put us and the whole world in order with the Ottoman model.

And what are we doing? We never hesitate one moment to efface the ideas of the Ottoman Empire, uproot its ground and destroy its spirit. We do this in such a horrific way that we are outdoing westerners in cruelty.

The future will be the Ottoman model, though. Arnold Toynbee summarized this fact with his saying "Ottomans are the future of humanity."

The ethno-centric secular projects caused the collapse of the Ottomans. Turkey has to understand that by promoting secularism to a level of religion through provoking ethnic identities and sensitivities and consecrating secularism it undermines the foundation of itself and destroys its own future with its own hands.

At a period of time when the world is globalized, it has to be realized that secular-ethno-centric projects are turning the world into an unbearable place while it urgently needs "projects" such as the Ottoman model, which recognizes the right of other cultures, religions and civilizations to live and co-exist. While Americans can see it, we cannot see it because we are insisting not to see it. This proves that we have been mentally blinded and enslaved.

If Turkey cannot develop a civilization idea and a spirit, which will open the way for humanity and cannot internalize it enough to be able to present it to the whole world, it will not be able to avoid the preparation and expedition of its own collapse because of nationalist secular projects, which caused the collapse of the Ottomans, too.

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