TEHRAN, YJC. – Turkish MP Osman Faruk Logoglu says President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is pushing Turkey to the past rather than the future by making the learning of the Ottoman era language obligatory.
"President Erdogan wants to move Turkey not into the future but into the past, believing that glory lies in the Ottoman past,” the opposition lawmaker said.
Logoglu told the Mehr news that "making the learning of Ottoman compulsory in the secondary schools is a political act.”
Following is the text of the interview:
Why does Erdogan insist on teaching the Ottoman era language?
President Erdogan wants to move Turkey not into the future but into the past, believing that glory lies in the Ottoman past. The Ottoman language debate is his latest gimmick in this drive to reincarnate the Imperial past. Actually there is no problem with the teaching of Ottoman - something that is already being done at the university level. However, making the learning of Ottoman compulsory in the secondary schools is a political act, not one based on educational considerations. Mr. Erdogan wants to redesign Turkey, but he will not succeed. The people of Turkey will stand resolutely to preserve and protect our democracy and our basic orientation in line with the universal values of contemporary civilization, namely, the rule of law, respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights, gender equality and education based on knowledge.
In his visit to Turkey on December 1 Russian President Vladimir Putin stopped the South Stream gas pipe line to Europe and declared that he is going to increase energy cooperation with Turkey. This will turn Turkey into an energy hub and will affect Ukraine's role in supplying energy to EU by Russia. Does this indicate that Turkey is looking to the East and that Kemal Ataturk’s approach toward the West no longer has any place in the
Turkish government’s new policy?
The initial deal between Turkey and Russia on the South Stream does not necessarily signal a shift by Turkey toward the East at the expense of the West. Turkey aims at being an energy hub for oil and gas from the East to the West and acts accordingly. South Stream through Turkey will be reliable and secure route for gas to Europe. That said, it is also true that under the leadership of President Erdogan and Prime Minister Davutoglu the country has been steering away from the Euro-Atlantic community and navigating in unchartered waters. Nonetheless, it is unlikely and not quite possible for Turkey to rupture its ties with NATO, the EU and other Western institutions in order to effect a complete reversal of foreign policy orientation.
The Western outlook of Ataturk is still the basic inspiration for Turkey’s over-all direction as a society despite Mr. Erdogan’s efforts to challenge and to undermine Ataturk’s legacy, particularly its secular democracy. While it is true that Mr. Erdogan no longer has any use for EU membership, that does not change the fact that the majority of the Turkish people still support Turkey’s EU accession. That is why the Turkish government continues to pay lip service to the accession negotiations with the EU.