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Ottoman Empire, please come back!

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    Ottoman Empire, please come back! (published in the Turkish weekly Yarin) Israel Shamir http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shamireaders/messages On Mt Carmel, there
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 4, 2005
      Ottoman Empire, please come back!
      (published in the Turkish weekly Yarin)
      Israel Shamir

      On Mt Carmel, there is a pleasant townlet, slightly more than a
      village, called Zichron Yaakov. Now known for its robust wine and
      Frenchy restaurants, in the days of World War One it was a home for
      the Zionist pro-British espionage ring, NILI. Its members, prominent
      Zionist settlers and citizens of Turkey, communicated with the
      British troops in Egypt, delivered to them news of the Turkish
      forces' disposition and contributed to the Empire's defeat. They were
      connected with Haim Weitzman, who squeezed the Balfour declaration
      from unwilling Brits and became the first president of the Jewish
      state. To this day, the NILI is greatly venerated in Israel, and
      schoolchildren are often taken to the museum where they are
      indoctrinated in Jewish loyalty to the Jews only, and in their duty
      to betray any other power if it is called for by their loyalty as

      They had a good reason to betray their country, the Ottoman Empire,
      for if the Empire were still intact, the Jewish State with its
      millions deprived natives immured beyond the high wall, its millions
      of equally deprived guest workers locked in shantytowns would have
      never come into existence. Incidentally, the US attack on defenceless
      Iraq with its hundreds of thousands dead and ensuing civil strife
      would have never materialised, either, for Iraq was a part of that
      powerful Empire.

      And not only has the Middle East suffered from the Empire's demise,
      but NATO planes would have never had the fun of bombing Belgrade, if
      the Empire were still with us. Even Greece, the first break-away
      province, now devastated by the introduction of the Euro, and reduced
      to the status of an hotelier for wealthy Northerners, has a good
      reason to regret the days when Greeks formed the elite of the Empire
      from Alexandria to Constantinople. The Turks, the Empire-building
      nation, were admired and feared in Europe, while now they are treated
      as unwanted competitors for dish-washing jobs in Frankfurt and London.

      We, the heirs to the Byzantines and the Ottomans, have now to deal
      with a great new challenge, the American colonisation project. The
      Mammonite forces now at the helm of the US are using the
      dismantlement of the great continental Empires to build their world-
      embracing neo-liberal one. In this new Empire, Western Europe will
      be `the old country', Greece to Rome, an impotent object of imperial
      benevolence and guidance; while the rest of the world will be re-
      colonised. Instead of trying to fit into this plan by trying to join
      the EU, as some Turkish leaders hope to do, a better response would
      be to re-establish a big civilisation-based framework. Mankind is
      ripe for a new stage in its development, the re-formation of
      civilisation blocks. By the end of this stage, there will be five
      super-states, five civilisations: the US, Europe, China, Latin
      America and ours, the Commonwealth of the East. The alternative is a
      world colonised by Mammonite America.

      Indeed, it is the right time to give a thought to bringing the
      Ottoman Empire back. The Empire did not fail because it was too big
      and unwieldy: in its heyday it was smaller than Brazil or Russia. It
      failed because inexperienced local elites grasped the poisoned fruit
      of nationalism, offered by the western Masters of Discourse.

      Nationalism, this European invention, has probably killed more people
      than the Black Plague of old. Worse, it has not offered a plausible
      alternative to the unity of the Empire, where dozens of tribes and
      ethnic groups felt at home, in peace with each other. None of the
      break-away countries has succeeded in creating a viable state, and
      the Western predators continue to spread strife among smaller and
      smaller groups, as the Kurdish rebellion in Turkey and Iraq reminds
      us. The Pan-Arabism of Nasser and the Ba'ath Party, the Islamism of
      Osama, the Pan-Turkism of Ziya Gökalp and Halide Edib Adivar have all
      failed to propose a viable ideology to counteract the continuing
      onslaught of the Mammonite forces.

      We should take a leaf from the book of our brothers in the EU. Europe
      has succeeded in bringing back the Empire of Charlemagne, which
      collapsed a millennium ago; our Empire is still alive in the memories
      of people, and in the glorious palaces, fortresses, mosques and
      churches. Our reconstituted Empire may and should embrace the entire
      post-Byzantine expanse: the bright future of Turkey, the Middle East,
      and the Balkans lays in joining in with Russia, Ukraine, and the
      Turkic republics of Central Asia.

      These two heirs to the glory of Byzantium, the Russian and the
      Ottoman Empires, fought each other for centuries; but the same can be
      said of the French and the Germans, the heirs to the Western Roman
      Empire. If these eternal enemies in the West could succeed in
      uniting, it can be done in the East, too.

      This summer as I travelled in Russia and Ukraine, I noticed much in
      common between the Russians and the Turks (or Tatars, in Russian
      usage). "Scratch a Russian and you will find a Turk", fumed
      Churchill, his cigar in full blast. "And the other way around",
      quipped Leon Gumilev, a great and late Russian historian, the guru of
      the Russian pro-Eastern tendency. Indeed, Russia as a state came into
      being as the union of the steppe-dwelling Muslim Turks and the forest-
      based Orthodox Slavs. Gumilev demolished the Western myth of
      the `Tatar (Turk) Yoke' and correctly described the Moscow Rus as the
      successor state to the Golden Horde founded by the Turkic Genghisid
      princes. "Russia is unbeatable in its union with the brave Turks",
      said Gumilev who identified the West as the greatest source of danger
      for Russian identity.

      The National Bolshevik leader and a prominent writer, Edward Limonov,
      wrote recently of Russia being `a Turkey with German coating'.
      Russians still prefer `sharovary', baggy trousers popular among
      Anatolian peasants and the Ottoman nobility of old. They squat like
      the Turks do, noticed Limonov. This positive feeling of Russians
      towards the Turks is so different from the European mistrust of them.
      It finds its way into the cinema: the new Russian blockbuster called
      The Turkish Gambit describes the Russo-Turkish war for Plevna without
      the usual, for Hollywood, racist overtones and presents Osman Nuri
      Pasha as a hero.

      The commonality of Turks and Slavs goes back a long way. In northern
      Ukraine, I visited the erstwhile capitals of Russian princedoms,
      Novgorod, Chernigov and Kiev. Their princes married Turkic
      princesses, daughters of the steppe, and Turkic warriors formed an
      integral part of their retinue. The Russian epic lay of the 12th
      century depicts a Novgorod Prince Igor war raid into Turkic steppe;
      the prince was defeated, but his captor Konchak Khan gave him his
      daughter in marriage, and he returned home to Novgorod. A sizable
      part of Russian nobility still has Turkic names, be it Nabokov, the
      author of Lolita, or Usupov, the wealthiest Russian prince at the
      court of Nicolas II.

      In a recent book, The Eurasian Symphony by St Petersburg writer van
      Zaichik, an alternative history of our part of the world is proposed.
      What would have happened if the Turkic Golden Horde's enlightened
      ruler Sartak Khan, a friend of St Alexander Nevsky, had survived an
      assassination attempt and, as a consequence, the Russians and the
      Turks had remained in one prosperous state? Van Zaichik calls this
      resulting empire `Ordus', an amalgam of Horde and Rus, embracing the
      bulk of the Eurasian landmass. Ordus is a land where modernity has
      incorporated tradition and religion; the family has remained intact;
      and even though there are wealthy men, the unbridled pursuit of
      wealth is frowned upon.

      "We work together and contain our egoism", this is the credo of
      Ordus, a model suitable for the East. Mosques and churches are
      plentiful; however, all the citizens are united in harmony. This
      image of an alternative universe was so attractive to the Russians
      that I spotted a few cars carrying stickers "I want to live in
      Ordus". By the way, Ordus includes a Jerusalem Vilayet, where many of
      the descendents of Jews found refuge from Hitler's rise in Germany
      (yes, there was a Hitler and a Germany even in the alternative
      universe), but live as equals with the native inhabitants.

      A fascinating new Russian historian, Fomenko, has proposed a
      heretical model of history: in his eyes, there was always an Empire,
      or rather, The Empire; and the city on the Bosporus is the natural
      capital of Eurasia. Whether or not it was ever the case in the past,
      it can certainly be the case in the future.

      Instead of fighting for leadership in Eurasia, the Turks, Slavs,
      Arabs (and their smaller neighbours) can unite their forces and make
      Constantinople (`Istanbul' is just a corrupt reading of
      Constantinople) their joint capital and the seat of the Imperial
      government. Constantinople can be our answer to Brussels, New York
      and Beijing. While the centuries-long quest for hegemony in Eurasia
      has caused many wars, a union would satisfy all desires: the Russians
      will have Constantinople as their capital, without dislodging the
      Turks; the Turks will have lifelines to the Crimea and Tashkent, even
      to the far-away diamond reserves of Yakutia, the land of the
      Pravoslav Turks, restored without fighting a single Russian. The
      Middle East will once again be incorporated in Eurasia as it was; and
      it won't have to listen to orders from Washington, London or
      Brussels. Instead of being a far-away place, Turkey will become the
      meeting place for the people of Baghdad and Kiev, Belgrade and Cairo,
      Vladivostok and Ankara.

      Let us raise the twin-headed eagle of Byzantium once again as the
      symbol of our Eastern Civilisation's unity of the Orthodox and the
      Muslims, invest our ruler with the twin crown of Caliph of Islam and
      Emperor of the Orthodox, bury petty nationalisms of the recent past
      and begin an exciting new page in our history and the history of the
      world. The reconstituted Commonwealth of the East, the rightful
      successor to the Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Russian and Ottoman
      Empires, will possess vast material and spiritual resources, making
      it a world superpower, next to a united Europe, to the US and to

      This Commonwealth will be united by an idea, as well as by material
      considerations. For East and West are different, split by a
      metaphysical cleavage. In the West, the Mammonite heresy brought in
      the American troop carriers of the World War, had won the day. They
      accepted a brutal faith of greed, of unbridled desire for individual
      success, of the right and duty to grab and consume as much as
      possible. They rejected solidarity in the name egoism they
      call "absolute freedom of man". They destroyed Woman by turning her
      into an imitation of man; they destroyed Man by making him compete
      with women. Having rejected God, their churches are empty, their
      cities are centred on the business quarters, while ours are centred
      on learning, art and prayer.

      The East has retained its Christian identity, for Islam is just a
      form of Christianity, though as distanced from the Nicene Orthodoxy
      as is the Calvinism of the Swiss. The East denies Mammon for we have
      not rejected God; we put spirit above material considerations as we
      have not rejected Christ al Mesih, we adore Woman for we have not
      rejected His Mother, Sitt Maryam. The East still loves nature,
      despises the dishonest rich, believes in the value of work, and
      prefers harmony to success. We like manly men and womanly women. We
      respect tradition and family. The US-led West creates a nomad
      civilisation out of an open society of atomised individuals
      disconnected from family and soil. In the Commonwealth of the East,
      we shall proceed in the opposite direction. We will discourage
      immigration and encourage capital transfer. We shall be in favour of
      the autochthon, for the autochthon knows the needs and desires of his
      locality better.

      The West has proclaimed the sanctity of private property. We respect
      it so long as it is small, but reject its excesses. We shall rule
      against greed by taxing the super-rich, confiscating their property
      and sending them for re-education and `de-greeding' to a friendly
      Anatolian or Siberian village. There will be no privatisation of
      resources, no sale of lands to foreigners, no dispossession of
      peasants. We shall discourage the growth of cities and promote the
      countryside. The West over-regulates private life; we shall uphold
      the eternal liberties of the East. We shall be good friends to our
      neighbours, or terrible enemies, if they so choose.

      This fantasy is actually the only plausible alternative to having our
      lands colonised by the US or by the rising superpowers of Europe and



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