MY TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
Prof. Dr. M. Es'ad COSAN
During the second half of February, 1989, I had the opportunity to take a pleasant and enlightening trip from Istanbul to Sweden. On my trip back to Turkey, I had a chance to go through the Balkans Peninsula, Yugoslavia, Austria, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden. Once one of our poets travelling from the Aegean sea to the Mediterranean wrote:
We turned our misty eyes inward
As we passed by Rhodes like strangers.
These lines always touched me deeply. This time I experienced the same feelings.
Magnificent snow-capped Balkan mountains; long, green, bountiful valleys, sharp cliffs; the roads in Nish with many tunnels; Belgrade, the place in which branches of the Danube River meet. As I passed by these places, I thought of our glorious past which is seven centuries old. In the places in which we passed, in the north and south, there were many devout Muslim groups of various races: Bulgarians, Romanians, Albanians, Turks, Macedonians, Serbs, Bosnians, Croats, and so on.
Simply because they are Muslims, they have been pushed aside; they have been oppressed and treated unjustly. They are innocent victims. What is it that is plaguing Muslims especially in this last century? There are organized forces that are working to eliminate Muslims from the world. Who are they? Where are they located? How can they create so much enmity and confusion? How can we fight against them? Generally speaking, nowadays Muslims are unaware of the gravity and calamity of this situation. They still fall prey to the games of their enemies and argue with their Muslim brothers. They make their friends cry and their enemies laugh.
Many places that were once under the Islamic rule are not any longer, for instance, Andalucia, the Balkans, the Moray Peninsula, the banks of the Aegean and Mediterranean islands, the Danube, Rumania, Crimea, Kazan, Caucasia, the surroundings of the Caspian sea, Eastern and Western Turkistan, the Siberian steppes, the Indian continent, the Southeastern Asian region and many African nations. They have fallen under the control of the enemy. Many of the Muslims in these places have either been killed or lost their freedom. The worst of all is that they have forgotten their ideals, purpose, sense of direction, history, friends and enemies. They have neither tried to find the reasons for their regression nor taken precaution against it.
Aren't there any sincere, independent, financially strong, influential and qualified institutions in this world that understand the problems of Muslims and are trying to find solutions to them? Who will restore the rights of Muslims? Who will protect those who are oppressed? Who will save the history, culture and folklore of Muslims?
European people are extremely concerned with the preservation of the individual, historical, cultural, national and religious matters of their people. They carefully guard their historical works and customs. Even the private letters of famous scholars are indexed and kept in museums. They know that the survival of their nation depends on scholars and philosophers. Their governments support their culture with the help of the radio, television and educational institutions.
Turkish people are indifferent to their environment, forgetful, disloyal and passive. This attitude does not suit the image of a country which was the leader of the Islamic world for many centuries. I am critical of those Turkish who have immigrated from other countries. I hope they forgive me, but sometimes friends must say the truth. How did they so quickly forget heir homeland and ancestors? How did they so quickly forget their families, relatives, memories, sorrow, and even their malice and revenge? I know that many have become rich in Turkey. There are many rich factory owners among them. The President of Turkey (Kenan Evren) himself has roots in the Balkans.
Why haven't they worked towards the promotion of strong cultural and friendship organizations, research institutes, educational institutions, and institutions for freedom and independence? Why haven't they tried to help those who were left behind? Why haven't they kept their customs, culture, ideals and faith alive? Why don't they publish books, newspapers and magazines, open schools, and schedule meetings to celebrate important dates? Why do they want to remain unnoticed? Why don't they remind us of their lost battles, pain, efforts, problems, desires and emotions? Why don't they shake us up, wake us up and make us cry? Maybe their losses are not important.
If this attitude does not change, Turkey will be taken away from us.
(Islam April 1989)