"I am an old historian who saw the caliphate in my life -- which is edging toward a century -- who was born in the Ottoman era, who saw [Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk and who witnessed the revolutions. Only during the time of Kanuni [Süleyman the Magnificent] can we see that Turkey went out of its shell and energetically faced the world," said world-renowned Ottoman historian Halil İnalcık in an interview with Sabah on Thursday.
İnalcık is not a person who views Turkey and the world from the perspective of daily politics or makes the usual assessments. The evaluations made by İnalcık, a scholar who has studied all of Turkish and Ottoman history so comprehensively that he can easily draw comparisons with world history, should have special value and weight. If this is the case, then there must be messages that Turkish politicians should draw from his assessments.
Anyone who knows some history and examines the geopolitics of the region where Turkey is located can easily see that for the first time in two centuries, Turkey is faced with a potentially prosperous geopolitical situation. As the country having the most established history, the biggest economy and most developed democracy in the region, Turkey is now faced with a historic opportunity brought on by both internal and external factors. Centuries later, the domestic and international conjecture is providing Turkey with a suitable environment for becoming a leading free and powerful welfare society.
A historic opportunity implies a historic responsibility also. And that responsibility falls primarily on the shoulders of Turkish politicians, irrespective of their political affiliation.
It would be pure naivety to expect the Republican People's Party (CHP) to perceive this historic opportunity and lend their support to it. The CHP is a dying patient whose body is rife with tumors. It would be unfair to expect it to assume responsibility of the whole country. Now that this patient is no longer responding to treatment, we should leave it to its own devices.
The main contribution of the CHP could have been with respect to overcoming the secularism crisis in Turkey. But it decided to fade away to obscurity without making this contribution. That is too bad.
The main contribution the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) may make to this country is related to its role in the settlement of the Kurdish issue. Will Turkey receive this contribution from the MHP which it could not from the CHP? The first signs are not promising. That is unfortunate.
While its electoral support may seem lower than that of the CHP, it has greater social appeal and legitimacy than the CHP. The genes of the MHP do not contain discord with the fabric of society or any strife with the history of the country. It has great energy that could be of great service to the country if it is correctly channeled. But if the party's management pursues the wrong mentality, this energy might well lead to the destruction of the country.
Does the MHP not see the price Turkey has paid and is paying for the Kurdish issue? Can it not see the price it may pay in the future? Does it think that we will have settled the issue when we kill another 30,000 Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants for another 25 years? Can it not understand that Turkey will have great potential if it can settle this issue?
Since answers to these questions can be reliably guessed, then one has to arrive at this conclusion: either the MHP does not love Turkey or there is a serious leadership problem in the party.
Which one is true?