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t o w a r d s u n i v e r s a l p e a c e

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Journalists Journalistsand andWriters WritersFoundation Foundation


Journalısts And Wrıters Foundatıon



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Journalists and Writers Foundation


M. Fethullah Gülen

Love and Dialogue

Honorary Presıdent


he most urgent problems facing humankind today are characterized by their spiritual, humanistic aspects, rather than their economic and material properties. Today’s generations are anxious because they have not fully developed their human faculties. Of necessity, they have not been able to share their spiritual gifts with one another, and have become uneasy due to this poverty of love. If contemporary architects of knowledge intend to establish a new world, love must be the principle of this world. The human inhabitants of this new world must approach every living and material being with love. They must embrace everyone and everything with love, and examine the world through eyes cleansed by love. A person of love is above all a real individual, who begins by ordering and purifying himself without expectation of any external benefit. In doing so, he believes that he has taken a crucial step for universal harmony. Such a path of love is both difficult and remarkably simple. It is difficult because it requires human consistency; it is easy because the ability to believe that everything contributes to one’s realization and the capacity to embrace everything with compassion is already existent in humankind. In this respect, the spiritual profundity of Islam is an inexhaustible treasure for us. By evaluating this treasure correctly, we can establish a new world based upon dialogue and love above all. Because love is already the most ineluctable aspect of our society. . . If, every day, we are able to increase our love for our surroundings, and, as much as possible, for all of existence, if we are able to minimize our hatred, we will be able to attain a world of human warmth and sympathy that has not yet been realized.

Journalists and Writers Foundation


Dialogue is Necessary


Mustafa Yeşil Chaırman of the Board

e are on the verge of a new millenia, which is ending the age of monologue, where everyone speaks of their own culture versus “the other.”

The world is getting smaller, and we are now able to communicate with eachother with ease. This is the reality of the world we are living in; therefore it is our duty, in the name of human happiness, to sit down at a table of equality and discuss what we have to offer in regards to religion, nationality, and cultural values. Dialogue is a way of life for the majority and those who represent power; it is not meant to defend the rights, culture and beliefs of the minority against the majority, but to sustain justice and peace in a humane world. In a world of obvious distance, our dialogue depicts “Understanding and accepting one another’s differences.” When we look back at what was once our judgmental nature regarding “the other,” we see that a transformation has taken place; our new approach is to accept everyone for who they are... The Journalists and Writers Foundation, since the beginning of its establishment, continues to make this their goal!.. Just as they have not experienced any bit of doubt in what they do, they will not subjugate their friends to any bit of doubt either. In the foundation of a democratic lifestyle, acknowledging beauty in what is different is the most fundamental groundwork... Always thinking, “My way is the right way,” and closing ourselves off to other ideas and wonders, rather than taking part in dialogue only creates monologue... And monologue creates discrimination!... For this reason, dialogue is both an incentive and a goal. In order to maintain this positive atmosphere, there must be more dialogue in the name of tolerance, recognition and love.

Journalists Journalistsand andWriters WritersFoundation Foundation


Journalists T and Writers Foundation

he foundation was established by a group of journalists and writers on June 29, 1994. The purpose of the foundation, first and foremost, for journalists and writers, is to actualize Turkey’s active position in dialogues between different individuals and to share in debate and ideas on an intellectual level. After approximately two years of preparation, activities began that were oriented toward other nations. The principles of the foundation are to bring together all segments of society from different ideological and religious backgrounds to debate on any and all issues pertaining to nation and society. Here, regardless of what ethnicity, religion, social or cultural background one is from, the aim is to expose Turkey’s current situation. Platforms and activities were formed with the intention to implement this goal. The Platforms, which were previously chosen to be held in Turkey, established presence in the international arena, and are now active in Washington D.C., Brussels, Paris, Cairo, Moscow, Iraq and various Central Asian countries.

Founded: 1994 Chairman of the Board: Mustafa YEŞİL


Culture & Art Platform

Abant Platform

Women’s Platform

Intercultural Dialogue Platform

Research Center

Medialog Platform

Journalists Journalistsand andWriters WritersFoundation Foundation


Journalists and Writers Foundation


First Steps in Dialogue

Honorary President of the Journalists and Writers Foundation, M. Fethullah Gülen, and Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomeos I. gave warm messages at the conference. (Sept. 30, 1996)

Fethullah Gülen - Patriarch Bartholomeos I Meeting’ 1996 Paying tribute to world peace and dialogue, important steps were taken by the Journalists and Writers Foundation Honorary President, M. Fethullah Gülen, as he engaged in interreligious dialogue with many religious leaders, such as Pope John Paul II, Patriarch Bartholomeos I of the Greek Orthodox Church in Istanbul and Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel Eliyahu Bakshi Doron.

Foundations of the interreligious dialogue in Turkey were laid in 1996, led by Fethullah Gülen. The first meeting took place in the Polat Renaissance Hotel between Fethullah Gülen and Patriarch Bartholomeos I of the Greek Orthodox Church. This step taken in the name of interreligious dialogue, in a period when the phobia of “Islamic threat”, which developed after the “September 11” attacks, was fully widespread and the thesis of “clash of civilizations” was in great request, was carrying a universal meaning for the future of our world.

Fethullah Gülen - Pope John Paul II Meeting’ 1998 The interreligious dialogue efforts initiated in Turkey by Fethullah Gülen were carried to a peak level through the meeting with Pope John Paul II, leader of the Catholic world. Vatican Embassy Representative to Istanbul, Monseigneur Georges Marovitch, was also present at the meeting. This historic meeting took place within the framework of dialogue and mutual friendship and both sides made certain proposals. Departing from these proposals, an international symposium with the theme “Common Ancestor Abraham” witnessing the meeting of the three monotheistic religions, was organized in Harran in 2000.

Journalists and Writers Foundation


The historical Vatican meeting created Among the proposals made during the Fethullah G端len-Pope John Paul II meeting was the idea of organizing conferences in various capitals of the world, primarily in the USA, again with the cooperation of the leaders of the three monotheistic religions. The Fethullah G端len-Pope John Paul II meeting was a most concrete reflection of the interreligious dialogue talks to the public, which had been talked about for years. The historic Vatican meeting widely echoed both in the Turkish and foreign press. Newspapers with high circulation rates in Turkey announced this meeting on their front pages.

broad reverberations in the Turkish and world press. Turkish newspapers with high circulations gave firstpage coverage to the meeting.

Journalists and Writers Foundation


Firstly programs was starting with a great hope

All For the Children of Bosnia 19.09.1995 / The Ali Sami Yen Stadium, Istanbul In the year 1995 the whole world watched the war in Bosnia, in the middle of Europe, with sadness. Everyone did something to end the war. Despite that, the war lasted long. Each day hundreds of people either died or got lost in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Images left behind by the bombs dropped onto the marketplace, children crying in blood… A war watched in complete horror... When the moral and material destructions were at an irreparable level, the Journalists and Writers Foundation, main supporter of the IDP, undersigned an important project which would have a long-lasting effect and significantly contribute to peace. Within this project, world’s football giants met together in Istanbul for the children of Bosnia. In the Ali Sami Yen Stadium, Turkish National Team Stars and the World Stars took part in a match for Bosnian children. Hearts of the ten thousands at the stadium as well as of the millions watching the game live were rooting for Bosnian children and saying “All For The Children Of Bosnia.” Among those who came to watch the game were also Fethullah Gülen, organizing the event, and Maradona, indisputably one of the greatest stars of world football. With the revenue obtained through the match, two colleges equipped with all the requirements of modern education were given as a gift to the children of Sarajevo.

The world was sadly following the

Fethullah Gülen, Prime Minister at the time Tansu Çiller, Minister Hasan Ekinci, Minister Hikmet Çetin, Minister of Health of that period Yildirim Aktuna, Legendary Leader of Bosnia-Herzegovina Aliya Izzet Begovitch’s wife Halide Begovitch also watched the game at the protocol gallery.

merciless war in Bosnia. Actually everyone was doing something, but time was passing and taking Bosnia to a bloodbath. At the football match watched by Fethullah Gülen and Maradona, the hearts of tens of thousands of fans that filled the stadium and millions who watched on TV were beating for the Bosnian children, and they said, “Everything Is for the Bosnian Children.”

Journalists and Writers Foundation


The speeches that brought about a very colorful mosaic found great approval due to their being full of tolerance.

“Hand-in-Hand for a Happier Future” 30.09.1996 / Istanbul Lutfi Kirdar Congress Center In the Opening part of the program titled “Hand-in-Hand For Happy Tomorrows,” attended by many distinguished guests, Fethullah Gülen had stated the following: “What is being spoken is surely important, yet implementing them is even more important. His Holiness the Patriarch has showed this gentlemanliness. Although there are many things fundamental to the establishment of the Journalists and Writers Foundation, they have generally emphasized tolerance. This is what was needed; Turkey needed it, the world needed it. For over two centuries, our people have been pulled in different directions with contrasting ideas, almost towards a metamorphosis, each on its own track. Today this transformation is being experienced. Throughout this process we’ve had disputes with one another and we were the cause for separation and disintegration; we could not stand each other. We lost our accord, our own paradise. And in my opinion, gaining what we have lost so far lies in accepting one another. Actually, we have seen for the last 3 years that our society is indeed open to dialogue and tolerance. Not a single step has been left unrequited. As tolerant people accepting tolerance, with Jacob’s feelings of longing and separation in our hearts, I think of and expect the days when extremely dejected social segments such as Hosseini Kerbela will embrace one another, when our media and intellectuals will

Journalists and Writers Foundation


The meeting was attended by Vatican Istanbul Representative Georges Marovitch, Catholic Community Spiritual Leader Lui Pelatre, Turkish Protestant Presbyterian Community spokesman Isa Karataş and Greek Chief Consulate Fotis Ksidas.

Honorary Presıdent of JWF

Fethullah Gülen: “I say ‘Hand-in-hand with tolerance…’ If necessary a foundation of tolerance should be established on every corner and everyone should breathe tolerance…”

play a guiding role at the point where different segments of the society will embrace each other, when those ruling us will think with a sense of tolerance by reviewing one more time their manner seeking to rule us; and in the name of the future I say “Hand-in-Hand With Tolerance”… If necessary, a tolerance foundation should be established at every street corner for this purpose, everyone should take a breath of tolerance. And if certain bloody plans and views are thinking to turn Turkey into a bloody arena in the name of the future, the thought of preventing and precluding these just at the stage of likelihood should be realized.” Also during the same night, the words by Uzeyir Garih, the deceased Turkish businessman of Jewish descent, “At the moment, here, nearly an education is being given for people to love one another and build relations with one another,” as well as the words by Patriarch Bartholomeos I “Our Hodja Fethullah Gülen and I love each other a lot. For all of us, he is a symbol of peace, tolerance and values, honourable for humanity” were referring to the meeting point of the meeting. Speeches supportive of tolerance, by Vatican Representative to Istanbul Georges Marovitch, Spiritual Leader of the Catholic Congregation Louis Pelatre and Consul General of Greece Fotis Ksidas, were received with appreciation. Forming a mosaic of many colours, the meeting was an important building stone in the name of “Peace of Civilizations”.

Journalists and Writers Foundation

11 The Intercivilizational Dialogue Symposium 6-7 June 1997, Istanbul The thesis “Clash of Civilisations” by Samuel Huntington, well-known American social scientist, was being discussed almost in all scientific gatherings. Believing that in the relations among societies dialogue is fundamental while conflict is an exception depending on the objectives of rulers who are after political and economic targets, departing from the idea of “Why Not Dialogue?” the Foundation management organised an international congress titled “Intercivilisational Dialogue” on 6-7 June 1997. Attended by many esteemed authorities from Turkey and from abroad, the meeting possessed the particularity of being the first in its theme. As much as what is being experienced in both the regional and the international arena nowadays seems to confirm Huntington, hopeful of future, volunteers of dialogue continue their efforts in the direction of “Global Peace”.

Participants Turkey: Ali Yaşar Sarıbay, Prof. Dr., Uludağ University Faculty of Economics, Bursa Ersin Kalaycıoğlu, Prof. Dr., Boğaziçi University, Istanbul İlber Ortaylı, Prof. Dr., Gazi University, Ankara Latif Erdoğan, Former President of the Journalists and Writers Foundation, Istanbul Mehmet S. Aydın, Prof. Dr., Dokuz Eylül University, Dean of the Faculty of Divinity, Izmir Mim Kemal Öke, Prof. Dr., Boğazici University, Istanbul Mithat Baydur, Assc. Prof. Dr., Boğaziçi University, Istanbul Süleyman Gayri Bolay, Prof. Dr., Gazi University, Ankara Şükrü Sina Gürel, Prof. Dr., Ankara University, Ankara Türkkaya Ataöv, Prof. Dr., Ankara University, Ankara USA Barbara Stowasser, Prof. Dr., Georgetown Universitesy Washington DC Richard Langhorne, Prof. Dr., Center for Global Change and Governance, Newyork Robert Royal, PhD, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington DC French Stefanos Yerasimos, Prof. Dr., French Anatolian Research Instıtute Germany Johannes Kalter, Prof. Dr., Stuttgart Linden Museum Italy Thomas Michel, Prof. Dr., Secretary General for Jesuits Interreligious Dialogue, Vatican

The public found it meaningful that the “Dialogue among Civilizations” symposium was held at a time when the famous American social scientist Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” thesis was frequently being debated in scientific and intellectual gatherings.

Journalists and Writers Foundation

12 The Art of Living Together “Tolerance 700” 21-22 September 1999, Istanbul The theme of the symposium at the Cemal Resit Rey Concert Hall, organized within the framework of the celebrations of the 700th anniversary of the founding of the Ottoman Empire, carried the title “The Art of Living Together, Tolerance 700.” Following the colorful symposium, a joint concert program consisting of choirs of the three celestial religions eased both minds and hearts, as well as the bridge connecting the Ottoman State to the Republic, the chemistry of living together, was recalled.

The chemistry of living together was remembered on the bridge connecting the Ottoman State to the Republic and lessons were taken for the future.

A “Photograph of tolerance” was taken of famous people who attended the symposium like Metropolitan Istanbul Mayor Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN, Honorary President of JWF Fethullah GÜLEN, Prof. Toktamış, Prof. Mehmet AYDIN, Cengiz ÇANDAR, Abdurrahman DILIPAK, Hayrettin KARACA, Prof. Mim Kemal ÖKE and Taha AKYOL.

Journalists and Writers Foundation


In the scientific part of the symposium the bases of a culture of tolerance were taken up. (From left to right: Prof. Bilal ERYILMAZ, Prof Mehmet AYDIN, Monsigneur Georges Marovitch, Prof.Ahmet AKGĂœNDĂœZ)

That night the hymns sung by the three monotheist religions chorus were reflections of the culture of tolerance and living together.

Platform JournalistsAbant and Writers Foundation



he Abant Platform is a free and democratic platform where different voices can be heard within Turkey’s ideological spectrum.

In the Abant Platform, every topic is open to debate as long as it does not threaten the freedom to debate. Local and international meetings are arranged with this as its goal. In the Abant Platform, all ideas are worthy of respect, provided they do not resort to enmity and are respectful of the platform.

From September 12th to the EU, Political Parties and Democratization

ABANT PLATFORM Founded: 1998

June 19-20, 2009 Abant-Bolu/Turkey The 19th meeting of the Abant Platform entitled “Democratization: From September 12 to the EU, Political Parties,” which was organized in Bolu/ Abant was transpired with intense interest. The subject’s legal framework, past and future were discussed under three separate sub-sessions. Among those who participated in the meeting were State Minister and Vice-Prime Minister, Bülent Arınç; Chief Negotiator, Egemen Bağış; Member of the European Parliament, Emine Bozkurt; Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Kemal Kapat; Bolu Governor, Halil Ibrahim Akpınar; President of the Great Union Party, Yalçın Topçu; Former President of the Democratic Party, Süleyman Soylu; President of the Rights and Freedoms Party, Bayram Bozyel; Political adviser for the Greens in the European Parliament, Ali Yurttagül.

Term President Prof.Dr.Levent KÖKER General Secretary Salih YAYLACI

Making the opening address, State Minister and Asst. to the Prime Minister, Bülent Arınç, emphasized that Turkey has enough experience for becoming more democratic.

Abant Platform

15 There were heated debates at the end of the sessions on topics ranging from democratization in Turkey and the level it has achieved, politics under the influece of the military and issues of other organizations. Some ideas were that the only way for this influence to cease is to change the constitution. It was agreed that Turkish people have reached a certain level of democracy and cultural understanding which is sufficient enough to change the constitution.

State Minister and Chief Negotiator Egemen BAĞIŞ emphasized that Turkey had no choice but democratization. Support for democratization came from intellectuals. (Prof. Naci Bostancı, Bayram Bozyel)

Final Declaration Article 9: The universal jurisprudence of laws pertaining to the political process, basic rights and freedoms in particular, should be upheld in accordance with the sovereignty of the law and in a just and impartial way.

The meeting was attended by State Minister and Asst. to the Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, State Minister and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bağış, Bolu Governor Halil Ibrahim Akpınar, EU Parliament member Emine Bozkurt, PM Reha Çamuroğlu, DP former General Chairman Süleyman Soylu and some political party representatives.

JournalistsAbant and Writers Foundation Platform

16 Seeking Peace and a Future Together February 15-16, 2009 – Arbil/Northern Iraq Messages of peace and friendship were brought forward in the Abant Platform meeting that was held in Northern Iraq. Turkish and Kurdish cultures live side by side, and whatever happened in the past should not be a reason to prevent improvement in the future. The meeting was televised live on the local Kurdish channel, Kurdistan TV. Participants came together emphasizing matters such as human rights, democracy, rule of law, mutual trust and stability to encourage tolerance and brotherhood. Throughout these two-day talks, discussions on the development of mutual relations were held and the need to continue dialogue was strongly expressed.

The speeches of the participants gave voice to projects of hope for the future. (On the right: Bejan Matur)

Among those who held important places in the meeting were the Governor of Arbil Prof. Dr. Mümtaz’er Türköne, Management Culture Minister of the Iraq Region Nevzad Hadi, The Turkish Consul General of Mosul Falakaddin Kakeyi, Hüseyin Avni Botsalı, Head of Mukiriyani Research Center Aso Kerim, Selahattin University Rector Muhhamed Sadık, Selahattin University Faculty Member Professor Şirzat Neccar, Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) President Assistant Prof. Dr. Ibrahim Kalın, writer Ali Bulaç, President of the Kurdistan Strategic Studies Center Ferit Eseserd, Selahattin University Faculty Member Dr. Reşat Miran, Işık University Rector Salih Hoşoğlu, poet Bejan Matur and researcher Murad Hekim.

Messages of peace and friendship took precedence at the meeting which had broad participation.

Abant Platform

17 The Kurdish Issue: Seeking Peace and a Future Together July 4-6, 2008 – Bolu/Turkey The Abant Platform addressed the Kurdish problem, an issue that has been debated over in Turkey for many years. Around 150 intellectuals, political figures and authorities participated in the meeting, where such topics as “The Problem with History being in the Background,” “A Common Heritage and Future Discovery,” “World Practice: Comparisons and Models,” “The History of Taking Account and Seeking Solutions” were discussed. Followed by 32 different media groups, the meeting was aired live on Mehtap TV, Channel 21. Among the ideas that came to the fore at the meeting were those such as putting an end to violence, the meeting’s non-representation of any one person or organization, nor it representing the voice for those who are absent, the dynamics of cohabitation, and remembering the tribulations of the past only to learn from them, but never to resort to vengeance. Among important names of those who participated in the meeting were writer Abdülmelik Fırat, author and researcher Ali Bulaç, poet/author Altan Tan, Bejan Matur, Professor Bekir Karlığa, Former Deputy Undersecretary of MIT Cevat Öneş, Professor Eser Karakaş, Professor Fuat Keyman, Democratic Party Diyarbakır Provincial President Galip Ensarioğlu, former Member of Parliament Haşim Haşimi, Rights and Freedoms Party leader Sertaç Bucak, Professor Mete Tunçay, Justice and Development Party Malatya Parliament Members Mücahit Fındıklı and Professor Mümtazer Türköne, and finally President of the Bar Association Sezgin Tanrıkulu.

In the main session and the debates social and cultural support in addition to the region’s economic development were emphasized for the solution of the problem.

Final Declaration Article 11: “The continuation of the process of democratization in Turkey is essential in the solution of the Kurdish problem. In this respect, the maintenance of the European Union perspective will facilitate both the democratization process and the solution of the Kurdish problem.”

JournalistsAbant and Writers Foundation Platform

18 Alawism in its Historical, Cultural, Folkloric and Actual Dimensions Mart 17-18, 2007–Istanbul/Turkey Putting the subject of Alawism on the table, the Abant Platform made some important findings. An academic and intellectual circle and representatives of the Alawi society attended the meeting where the topic, “Alawism in its Historical, Cultural, Folkloric and Actual Dimensions,” was discussed. It was emphasized in the text of the evaluation which was prepared at the end of the meeting that Alawism is one of the genuine facets of Turkish-Islamic culture.

Artist Ali Riza Binboğa explained the Alevism issue with the example, “looking at the full or empty side of the glass.”

The topic of cemevleri (meeting halls) was at the top of the list of subjects mentioned by Alawi representatives in their speeches during the conference sessions. While it was pointed out that Sunni and Alawi segments do not fully know each other, it was underscored that this kind of meeting was a vehicle for creating empathy. It was asked that a chance not be given to those who are trying to create an environment of discord on the issue of the “Alawism reality” in Turkey. In the evaluation report, emphasis was put on eliminating the scarcity of information regarding Alawites and Alawism and the satisfaction of their demands. There was consensus on the idea of a cooperative effort between Alawites and Sunni Muslims to overcome difficulties. Prominent Alawites and academicians attended the meeting, which attracted great interest, such as DYP General Chairman Mehmet Ağar, the National Education Minister Hüseyin Çelik, author Reha Çamuroğlu, Prof. Ahmet Yaşar Ocak, Prof. Beyza Bilgin, Prof. Bekir Karlıga, journalist-writer Ali Bulaç, Prof. Mete Tunçay, Prof. Niyazi Öktem, Prof. Yasin Aktay, Dr. Cenk Su Üçer, Doğan Bermek from the Alevi Bektaşi Federation and artist A. Riza Binboğa.

Academicians like Asst. Prof.Osman Eğri, Reha Çamuroğlu, Prof. Beyza Bilgin and Ali Yaman gave their views on Alawism.

Abant Platform

19 Islam, the West and Modernization February 25-26, 2007 – Cairo, Egypt The Abant Platform in Cairo, Egypt, having been the first meeting to be held in a prominent Muslim country, is of separate importance. The reason for the calling of such a meeting is so that it could be the start of a productive collaboration with Egyptian intellectuals. The meeting was organized together with Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. Prompting Turkey’s own unique history and growth, particularly the experience gained through its negotiations for EU membership, the meeting provided an opportunity for ideas and experiences to be exchanged with Egyptian intellectuals. Among the important participants at the meeting were journalist Ali Bulaç, Prof. Dr. Eser Karakaş, Prof. Dr. Kenan Gürsoy, journalist Mehmet Altan, Prof. Dr. Mete Tunçay, Prime Consultant Hasan Tahsin Fendoğlu, from the Helsinki Yurttaşlar Organization Ümit Fırat, from Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies President Abdül Münim Said Ali, Dr. Hasan Ebu Talib, Mr. Nebil Abdül Fettah, Mr. Elsayed Yassin, Hani Raslan, from the Egyptian National Research Center Dr. Ibrahim Bayomi Ganem, and from Cairo University Prof. Nadia Mustafa.

Turkish and Egyptian academicians gained important experience on the matter of discussing together the problems of the Islamic World.

By means of the meeting Turkey had the opportunity to share its unique history and heritage, particularly the experience it gained from the European Union process, with Egyptian intellectuals and benefit from their experience.

Egyptian academicians emphasized that this meeting would be a model for other countries in the region.

JournalistsAbant and Writers Foundation Platform


There was great interest in the meeting which was held at a time when France’s efforts to bring political criteria to Turkey’s membership negotiations with the EU.

France and Turkey Conference – I: Republic, Cultural Pluralism and Europe March 31, 2006 – Paris/France The Abant Platform visited France for its 10th meeting. While the forum entitled “France and Turkey Conference – I: Republic, Cultural Pluralism and Europe” dealt with current issues regarding the EU negotiation process, intellectuals made remarkable presentations on democracy and freedom. French intellectuals brought national identity in Europe to the fore, and expressed that the problem is that there is no common goal.

While French intellectuals point out that national identities are again taking precedence in Europe, they emphasized that this derives from the absence of a common purpose.

Nearly 300 French and Turkish intellectuals came together for this twoday meeting at France’s famous conference center, La Mutualité. France showed major interest in Turkey’s intesified efforts to meet their political criteria throughout the EU negotiation process. Among those who attended the meeting were Prof. Dr. Ahmet Insel from Turkey,Prime Minister’s Consultant Ahmet Sever, journalists Ali Bayramoğlu and Ali Bulaç, Professor Ali Yasar Sarıbay, Professor Binnaz Toprak, journalists Cengiz Çandar Etyen Mahçupyan and Hırant Dink, Professor Fuat Keyman, Professor Kenan Gürsoy, Professor Niyazi Öktem, and from France, former Paris Deputy Mayor Agnès De Fressenel, President of Maison des Sciences de l’homme Alain D’iribarne, from Sorbonne University Cecile Berneau, from Temps Libre University Colette Dehais, from CNRS France Scientific Research Institute Dominique Bourel, from the I’ENS Ecole Normale Supérieure Geostrategy Center Frank Debie, Giovanni Grevi from the l’UE Security Research Institute, CFT Eastern Languages Institute Director Marc Bernardin and Yvette Benusiglio from CERI, the Center for International Studies and Research.

Abant Platform


Turkey’s EU membership is seen as an important opportunity for the integration of immigrants in Europe.

Turkey’s EU Membership Process: Culture, Identity and Religion December 3-4, 2004 – Brussels/Belgium Close to two hundred people from different countries, of whom were journalists, beaurocrats, business men, and academic research students, joined the meeting held in Brussels entitled, “Turkey’s EU Membership Process: Culture, Identity and Religion.” In the meeting, topics such as religion, humans rights and democracy in Turkey were debated. Attention was drawn to Muslim Turkey’s EU membership being a positive contribution to the future of Europe. In the sessions, while discussing the interraction of religion and democracy, it was expressed that religion has a positive impact on democratization, and in Turkey, Islam can play such a role. Among the close to two hundred participants at the meeting were Prof. Dr. Ahmet Insel, journalist Ali Bulaç, Prof. Dr. Dr. Arus Yumul, Prof. Dr. Bekir Karliga, Prof. Dr. Eser Karakaş, Prof. Dr. Gündüz Aktan, İngmar Karlsson, Prof. Dr. Kenan Gürsoy, Prof. Dr. M. Kemal Öke, Prof. Dr. Mithat Melen, Prof. Dr. Nilüfer Göle, Prof. Dr. Niyazi Öktem, Prof. Dr. Tülin Bumin, Prof. Dr. İlber Ortaylı, Prof. Dr. Ilter Turan, Zeyno Baran, Mgr. Emmanual Adamakis, Prof. Dr. Francisco Margiotta Broglio, Prof. Dr. J. Martines-Torron, Prof. Dr. Ch. Papastiathis and Prof. Dr. Marco Ventura.

JournalistsAbant and Writers Foundation Platform

22 Islam, Democracy, Secularism: Turkish Experience April 19-29, 2004 – Washington D.C./US The extremely sensitive “Muslim paranoia” felt in Europe, which came about (or was brought about) after 9/11, offers no evidence that Islam commands peace, love and tolerance. A meeting was held in Washington, D.C. in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University in order to resolve this misconception. On the subject of Islam, democracy and secularism, Turkish thinkers and scientists came together with American scientists who take a special interest in Turkey and the surrounding region. The issues discussed and the conclusions that were reached contributed to a solid relationship between Turkey and the United States. Emphasis was placed on the global dimension of the subject at the meeting attended by Francis Fukuyama, John Esposito, UNDP Chairman Kemal Derviş and State Minister Mehmet Aydın.

Among those at the meeting were journalists Cengiz Çandar and Cüneyt Ülsever, from Dartmouth College Dale Eickelman, from Johns Hopkins University David Calleo, Elizabeth Özdalga from the Swiss Research Institute, Elizabeth S. Hurd from Northwestern University, Francis Fukuyama from Johns Hopkins University, Hakan Yavus from Utah University, from Lehigh University Henri Barkey, John Esposito and John Voll from Georgetown University, Kemal Karpat from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Turkey’s Minister of State Mehmet Aydın, Mete Tunçay from Bilgi University and Zeyno Baran from the Nixon Center.

Islam and Secularism Totally unknown is the command for peace, love and tolerance in Islam, which after September 11th has become (or been made) very sensitive and literally turned into “Muslim paranoia” in the European public

March 23, 1998 – Abant, Turkey The symposium entitled “Islam and Secularism,” which took place on the 14th of June in 1998 was the first meeting that gave birth to the Abant idea. At that meeting, Islam and secularism was discussed, however with limited knowledge and limited thinkers. Participants of the first Abant meeting that took place in July of 1998, however, which had a great number of thinkers and scientists, came together and debated on this topic. Turkey’s most selected intellectuals came together in an active meeting for the very first time. They discussed some of Turkey’s most critical topics, such as “Islam and Secularism,” and tried to create solutions for the issue. On behalf of the Abant Platform, the Journalists and Writers Foundation President Harun Tokak and the Platform’s Scientific Coordinator Professor Mehmet S. Aydın, addressed in their speeches, the importance of this historic meeting.

Abant Platform


Past and Present Abant Meetings and Their Topics 1998 July 16-19 - Abant/Bolu, Turkey: “Islam and Secularism”

1999 July 9-11 - Abant/Bolu, Turkey: “Religion-State Relations”

2000 21-23 July - Abant/Bolu, Turkey: “Democratic Justice State”

2001 July 13-15 - Abant/Bolu, Turkey:

Turkish President Abdullah Gül received the Abant Platform Board of Directors. (March 18, 2008)

“Societal Reconciliation and Pluralism”

2002 July 12-14 - Abant/Bolu, Turkey: “Globalization”

2003 July 11-13 - Abant/Bolu, Turkey: “War and Democracy”

2004 April 20-21 - Washington DC, United States: Islam, Democracy and Secularism: The Turkish Experience”

2004 December 3-4 - Brussels, Belgium: “The EU Membership Process: Culture, Identity and Religion.” The EP

The 9th President Süleyman Demirel received the Abant Platform Board of Directors. (July 1998)

2005 July 1-3 - Erzurum, Turkey: “At the Threshold of a New Age: New Outlooks in Education”

31 March-01 April 2006 - Paris, France: “Conversations among Turkey and France: Republicanism, Cultural Pluralism and Europe”

2006 July 14-15 - Abant/Bolu, Turkey: “Global Politics and the Future of the Middle East”

2007 February 25-26 - Cairo, Egypt:

Former President Bülent Ecevit received the Abant Platform Board of Directors. (July 1998)

“Islam, the West, and Modernization”

2007 March 17-18 - Istanbul, Turkey: “Alawism: Historical, Cultural, and Real Dimensions”

2007 April 13-14 - Istanbul, Turkey: Conversations among Turkey and France: Perceptions and Realities”

2007 November 16-17 - Kartepe, Turkey: “A New Constitution”

2007 December 15-16 - Istanbul, Turkey: Turkish-Egyptian Conversations: “Turkey, a Bridge between Civilizations in the EU Membership Process”

2008 July 4-6 – Bolu, Turkey: The Kurdish Issue: Seeking Peace and a Future Together

2009 February 15-16 – Arbil, Northern Iraq: Seeking Peace and a Future Together

2009 June 19-20 – Abant/Bolu, Turkey: Democratization: Political Parties from September 12th to the EU

Former Foreign Affairs Minister Hikmet Çetin received the Abant Platform Board of Directors. (July 1998)

Intercultural Dialogue Journalists and Writers Platform Foundation



he coming together of leaders from different religious communities brought messages of peace and love to the meeting, which also contributed to the peace process. The inter-faith dialogue, which began in Turkey on an individual level, is also held through non-governmental organizations. Representatives of different ogranizations as well as individuals who took part in previous dialogues were also invited to the Intercultural Dialogue Platform, in order to help make it more widespread and reflect the masses better. The founders of the dialogue, all from different religious backgrounds, welcomed each other with respect and honor. The main principles of the dialogue include respecting and honoring one another’s religious values.

Intercultural Dialogue Platform

The Platform, with its large audience, wants to spread the dialogue to the masses from different religious backgrounds. It also aims to establish a common ground so that the parties can understand each other and the topics on a deeper level. The goal of the platform is for the common values of its participants to serve in world peace. The Platform brings academicians and researchers from different institutions, as well as different religious backgrounds, together, in order that they may engage in dialogue at an academic level and make known to the public the principles of the Platform.

Founded: 1998 Term President Prof.Dr.Suat YILDIRIM General Secretary Dr. Ahmet Muharrem ATLIÄž

Members of the monotheistic religions in this geography were successful in keeping Abrahamic morality alive.

Intercultural Dialogue Platform


Some Noteworthy Meetings Hunger and Poverty: Soltutions offered by Religion February 1, 2006, Istanbul/Turkey In a panel aimed at reminding its large audience the seriousness of “hunger,” which is the cause for someone’s death every 3.6 seconds and increasing at a rapid pace, the answer to the question “What are the solutions religion has to offer?” was sought. Professor Francis Wilson from Cape Town University, African Labor and Development Center and the President of UNICEF Turkish National Comittee and former Minister of Culture Professor Talat Halman spoke at the meeting that was held with the support of the Municipality of Istanbul, UNICEF, “Kimse Yok mu Derneği” and “Can Simidi Yardımlaşma Kulübü.” At the meeting Professor Francis Wilson expressed his point of view regarding the cause of hunger: “When South Africa is able to produce enough agricultural goods like sugar, honey and corn, it is forced to import due to political reasons.” There are strict laws in Africa restricting what you can produce and sell, unlike in the US and EU countries, where wide support for such trade is given. Furthermore, deadly diseases like HIV/AIDS add an even more frightening dimension to the issue of poverty. Professor Talat Halman claims that the United Nations and the international community is not unsuccessful, but certainly not enough. Therefore, everyone must join in to solve this issue. He quoted what reporter Ciyn Zigler said back in 2004: “12 children under the age of 5 die every minute as a result of hunger and malnutrition,” and then adds “We are living in a world that can put an end to hunger completely. It’s no secret as to how we can achieve this. We don’t need new technology to do it. We only need a political power to redistribute the wealth, so that the poor will stop becoming poorer and the rich will stop becoming richer.

Prof.Dr.Talat Sait HALMAN “We live in a world rich enough to completely eliminate hunger. It is no secret how we can eliminate hunger. There is a need for a political will that opposes today’s policies that only make the rich richer and the poor poorer.”

Journalists and Writers Platform Foundation Intercultural Dialogue


Georgian President Mihail Saakaşvili expressed the importance he gave to the meeting with this sentence: “Georgia has always preferred tolerance.”

Globalization and Inter-civilizational Dialogue Symposium September 30 – October 1, 2004, Tiflis/Georgia The purpose of the symposium, which was made possible with the support of the Georgian Head of State, Georgian Patriarchate Archbishop Iliya II, International University of the Black Sea, UNESCO, Giorgi Tseretli Institute of Eastern Sciences, Uluslararası Gürcistan Eğitime Katkı ve İş Hayatı Dayanışma Vakfı and Intercultural Dialogue Platform, was to try to explain why there is more need of a dialogue in the Caucasus.

Georgian Patriarch Iliya II is among those who do not believe in the clash of civilizations thesis.

Circassian Muslim Union President Allahşükür Paşazade: “There is no room for religion in a world that gives premium to enmity, terror and violence.”

Georgian Head of State Mihail Saakaşvili stated that he was pleased to host the symposium in Tiflis, and said “Georgia is a country where people from all different religious backgrounds can live in peace. Georgia is a perfect example of a country that lives without ethnic or religious conflict.” Georgian Archbishop Iliya II stressed that he did not find the thesis, “clash of civilizations” to be very convincing. President of the Caucasian Muslims Association Allahşükür Paşazade realized that it is possible to live in the same world among people of different religious backgrounds who speak other languages. He stated “We should strengthen inter-civilizational dialogues by organizing such symposiums. Religion cannot survive in a world that promotes emnity, terror and violence.” Honorary President of the Journalists and Writers Foundation, Fethullah Gülen, in his message sent, stated: “I truly hope that the new millenium, rather than being met with apprehension and fear, will at least be one that is more joyous, just, merciful and promising than the previous ones. We have witnessed the positive results of the dialogue, which began with the three sister faiths, Islam, Christianity and Judaism, and later included the ancient faiths of India and China.”

Intercultural Dialogue Platform

27 PRAYER FOR PEACE : THE “COMMON MORAL VALUES IN THE THREE MONOTHEISTIC RELIGIONS AND TERROR” MEETING 15 January 2004 – the Hilton Known for its bringing together people of different faiths and cultures, the Intercultural Dialogue Platform came together on January 15, 2004, this time for Prayer for Peace. The title of the meeting organized at the Hilton Hotel in Harbiye was “Common Moral Values In The Three Monotheistic Religions And Terror.” The participants, with bouquets of roses in their hands, which represented the colors of the three religions, included spiritual leaders, academicians, journalists, writers and artists. The meeting commenced with the opening speech by the General Coordinator of the Intercultural Dialogue Platform, Prof. Dr. Niyazi Öktem. Following the speech by Prof. Dr. Mustafa Çağrıcı, Mufti of Istanbul, which emphasised the importance of dialogue and tolerance and that Islam is the religion of peace, leaders of the congregations prayed in their own languages. After prayers and wishes, the panel with the theme “Common Moral Values In The Three Celestial Religions And Terror” began. The views agreed that the importance given to religious education should be increased in order to protect moral values, the points the celestial religions have in common should be stressed and representatives of the celestial religions should come together and exchange opinions.

In order to protect moral values, the importance given to religious education should be increased, the common points of the monotheistic religions should be emphasized, and there should be exchange among the representatives of monotheistic religions.

Representatives of monotheistic religions living in Turkey prayed together for world peace. (From left to right: Former Istanbul Vatican Representative Georges Marovitch, Istanbul Mufti Mustafa Çağrıcı, Ancient Assyrian Community Leader Yusuf Çetin, former Armenian Community Leader Mesrop Mutafyan, Istanbul Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomeos, Jewish Community Leader Izak Haleva, Latin Catholic Community Spiritual Leader Monsigneur Lui Pelatre, Assyrian Catholic Community Leader Yusuf Sağ)

Journalists and Writers Platform Foundation Intercultural Dialogue


Istanbul Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomeos

Former Istanbul Vatican Representative Georges Marovitch, Istanbul Mufti Mustafa Çağrıcı

Ancient Assyrian Community Leader Yusuf Çetin, Jewish Community Leader Izak Haleva

Brief notes from the meeting: Secretary General of the Chief Rabbinate of Turkey, Yusuf Altintas: “As Turkey, we should utilize our quality of being an ethnic mosaic and our geopolitical position and do our utmost for world peace.” Assistant to the Patriarch of the Armenian Orthodox Congregation of Turkey, Sahaq Mashalyan: “Religion is a fact ensuring the permanence and implementation of moral values. The world revolves around the system of reward and punishment, which constitutes the generator of religious ethics. In religious terror, minorities joining major groups call their being minorities as “capable of eternal survival” and themselves as “more precious” because of their being minorities. Religious terror is the ripest fruit of fundamentalism”. Leader of the Ancient Syriac Congregation of Turkey, Yakup Tahincioglu: “There can be no room for terror in religion. Terror is the premature baby of raving madness, individual ambitions and dictatorships. Members of the three religions should pray in the name of God’s rehabilitation of the forces who are behind these actions.” Marmara University Faculty of Theology, Chairman of the Department of History of Religions Prof. Dr. Ömer Faruk Harman: “How can a man kill defenseless people, in cold blood, while on the other hand there is the example of Job’s perseverance in protecting his religion? Common aspects of the celestial religions need to be emphasized, internalized and exhibited, and in this regard a great duty falls upon leaders of the congregations.”

Intercultural Dialogue Platform

29 “The Concept of God in Three Religions” Meeting March 2003 / St. Etienne Catholic Church Representatives of the three monotheistic religions gathered to discuss the topic “The Concept of God in Three Religions” organized by the Intercultural Dialogue Platform in March of 2003. Jewish, Christian and Muslim theologians prayed together for world peace after the meeting. Among the participants at the meeting, hosted by Georges Marovitch, were General Coordinator of the Intercultural Dialogue Platform Professor Niyazi Öktem, on behalf of the Catholic world Turkish Vatican Representative Monsigneur Lui Pelatr, on behalf of the Jewish world Chief Rabbi of Izmir Rav İzak Alalaluf, Assyrian Church Metropolitan Bishop Samuel Akdemir, Patriarchate Archbishop of the Armenian community Kirkor Damatyan, and on behalf of the Islamic world, Marmara University Faculty of Theology Prof. Suat Yıldırım and Prof. Ömer Faruk Harman.

Ancıent Assyrıan Church Bıshop

Samuel Akdemir “In order to advance the culture of living together so that historical mistakes are not repeated, we have to have serious communication.”

Professor Niyazi Öktem reminded those at the meeting that there was a bloody war in Turkey’s neighboring country, to the extent that people almost lost their minds. At a time like this, he says that the only thing one can do is ask for God’s mercy. Assyrian Church Metropolitan Bishop Samuel Akdemir stated “In the past there have been some horrific events that took place among different religious groups. We do not want to hear about them anymore. So that history is not repeated, we, as the people of the Book, need to communicate with sincere intentions.” Faculty of Theology Member Professor Suat Yıldırım said that the Qur’an calls God “Allah.” The three religions refer to God by the same name. God is the Most Merciful and All Forgiving. The entrance door to Jerusalem reads “We come together through Abraham.”

Jewish Community Chief Rabbinate General Secretary Yusuf Altıntaş, Harun Tokak, Chief Rabbi Izak Haleva

500 Years Foundation Museum Director Naim Güleryüz, Jewish Community Chief Rabbinate General Secretary Yusuf Altıntaş, Armenian Community Representative Father Kirkor Damatyan, Catholic Community Spiritual Leader Monsigneur Lui Pelatre

Journalists and Writers Platform Foundation Intercultural Dialogue


Harran Meetings “In the footsteps of a common ancestor, Abraham” April 13-15, 2000, Urfa-Istanbul/Turkey The Abrahamic tradition has an important place in the junction of ancient cultures in Anatolia. Abraham lived in Northern Iraq and Southern Anatolia for centuries, which helps keep the tradition alive, among the people from different sects of Christianity and Islam, who keep him close to their hearts.

Honorary Presıdent of JWF

Fethullah GÜLEN “We have the dynamism to make the world a cradle of brotherhood. This dynamism is religion.”

Therefore, the meeting was in Harran. One part of the meeting was in Şanlıurfa, which has been considered to be the birthplace of Abraham, and the second part of the meeting was in Istanbul, a place where the three Abrahamic religions resided peacefully for centuries. Honorary President of the Journalists and Writers Foundation, Fethullah Gülen, sent a message saying: “On the one hand, our world is tired of wars and conflicts; greedy human nature is the cause of new conflicts. On the other hand, we are entering a phase that promotes peace, unity, and brotherhood.” Gülen made it clear that there is enough dynamism to make the world a cradle of brotherhood, and it is religion. Gülen states “Abraham began his mission in Harran, continuing to Canaan, modern-day Jordan, Syria and Jerusalem, then Egypt, and finally, Mecca, where he and his son together built the Kaaba, which would leave a trace for all of mankind to follow him.

Intercultural Dialogue Platform

31 Events organized by the Intercultural Dialogue Platform 2000 April 13-15 Urfa-Istanbul/Turkey: Harran Meetings I. “In the footsteps of a common Ancestor, Prophet Abraham” 2004 January 15 – Istanbul/Turkey: Prayer for Peace: “Common Moral Values in the three Abrahamic Religions and Terror” Meeting 2004 May 13-16 – Mardin/Istanbul: Harran Meetings II. “Religion and Peace in Prophet Abraham’s enlightenment” 2004 September 30 - Tbilisi, Georgia: Globalization and Inter-civilizational Dialogue Symposium 2005 January 25 – Istanbul/Turkey: Prayer for Peace II: Abrahamic Religions and Eternal Peace 2005 June 7-8 – Moscow/Russia: From Terrorism to Universal Peace: Religion and Peace Congress 2006 February 1 – Istanbul/Turkey: Hunger and Poverty Symposium: Hunger and Poverty: Soltutions offered by Religion

The doves set free in Mardin by representatives of the three monotheistic religions flapped their wings for the blossoming of common moral values and the end of terror. (May 13-14, 2004)

Harran Symposium Final Declaration, Article 4 The most important among the common values of the three great religions is the place of Hd. Abraham’s personality and the unitycentered Abrahamic tradition he left us.

Violence was cursed by all religions at the “Peace prayer: Monotheistic religions and eternal peace” symposium held in Istanbul. (January 25, 2005)

Medialog Platform Journalists and Writers Foundation


medialog P L AT F O R M

Medialog Platform


he Medialog Platform is an umbrella organization established to coordinate national and international vocational activities. Among its primary aims are to contribute to the establishment within the media field of a lasting, continual and regular dialogue atmosphere; increasing the quality in all fields of media and contributing to the settling of a media understanding that takes care to draw attention to the public good; to assist journalists and academicians working on Turkey; and to search for solutions to sector issues through vocational meetings.


The idea that being a newspaper columnist is not defined as a “writer” was among the most prominent ideas of the panel.

Founded: 2008 General Secretary Erkam Tufan AYTAV

Columnists’ Problems December 26, 2009 The problems of newspaper columnists were discussed at the second Agenda: Media meeting. Topics like the habit of columnists writing on every subject, their independence, their reporter curiosity, age limit and retirement were taken up. At the meeting Milliyet newspaper columnist Aslı Aydıntaçbaş, Vatan newspaper columnist Can Ataklı, Radikal newspaper columnist Avni Özgürel and Zaman newspaper columnist Ahmet Turan Alkan participated as speakers. A comparison was made between columnists in Turkish newspapers and magazines and those in the foreign press. Avni Özgürel emphasized that there were specialist columnists in developed countries and that they did not write every day like in Turkey.

A meeting between Nigerian journalists and their Turkish counterparts and visits to media outlets. June 17, 2009 TProminent Nigerian journalists traveling to Turkey to meet with their Turkish colleagues rather enjoyed a working meeting organized for them. The meeting provided the opportunity to introduce Nigeria, an important global petrol exporter, and its political, economic and cultural qualities in comparison with Turkey’s characteristics.

Medialog Platform


Nigeria Media Group Debo Adesina Gbenga Omotoso Tunde Sarafadeen Rahman Kunle Oyatomi Bisi Deji Folutude Ime Ola

While leaving the meeting, newspaper reporters took notes on the projects, not their prejudices.

The Guardian The Nation Thisday Vanguard The Punch The Sun

Editor Editor Editor-in-Chief Editor-in-Chief Education Editor Education Editor

During the joint meetings, it was expressed as a self-criticism that Nigerian journalists held a preconception of Turkey as a nation where “freedoms and human rights are restricted.” Despite this, the issue of minority rights was among the topics that drew the attention of the Nigerian group. During the working meeting, Zaman daily foreign news editor Celil Sağır noted that Turkey had made progress in its EU membership bid and had entered a period of renewal, emphasizing that Turkey cannot be identified as an entirely Eastern country, with half of it bearing similarities to the Middle East. Bilateral relations were also discussed during the meeting, with the Nigerian journalists emphasizing the opportunities and important contributions to dialogue provided by Turkish schools in Nigeria for Muslim and Christian students to receive their education together.

In a sustainable world the media takes on an important

A panel on “Ergenekon” presented by attorney Orhan Kemal Cengiz

role in everyone’s

April 29, 2009

understanding one

The lawyer for the Christian missionaries murdered in Malatya and also a human rights defender, Orhan Kemal Cengiz shared his views on the Ergenekon Terror Organization with members of the foreign press at a Covering Turkey meeting. Journalist interest ran high in this topic that occupied the national news agenda.


Journalists and Writers Foundation Medialog Platform


Quoting from her book, “Advise to news directors,” Deborah Potter suggested that as punishment the works of irresponsible journalists should not be read.

A seminar by US-based Journalist Deborah Potter to communications students at Istanbul’s Bilgi University March 17, 2008 Deborah Potter, one of the writers at the prestigious American Journalism Review, which observes and criticizes journalism in the US, explained the “principles of independent journalism” in a meeting she took part in in İstanbul. With 16 years of reporting, presenting and administrative experience at the CNN and CBS television channels, Potter said that media establishments needed to ensure a minimum influence on the news center on the part of owners in order to avoid “conflict of interest.” The writer of books including “Incoming! Advice for the Newly named News Director” and “The Handbook of Independent Journalism”, Potter commented on the frequent appearance of unreliable and false news stories in Turkish media and international standards to prevent this, saying: “Irresponsible publishing exists throughout the world, and the greatest punishment for this is for readers and viewers to abandon these [news outlets].” In this way those who carry out responsible journalism will find what they deserve, Potter said, emphasizing that denouncement of false news stories out in public was an effective method as well. The head of the Washington, D.C.-based Newslab journalism resource center, Potter also spoke about methods of covering ongoing legal investigations.

A introductory and information-exchange meeting bringing together Afghan and Turkish members of the press. April 5, 2008 In this first meeting with members of the Afghan press, journalists had the opportunity to debate the hot regional agenda and understand and analyze

Medialog Platform

35 events from a joint perspective. In the meeting during which East-West perceptions were a recurring theme, discussions over terrorism and democracy were prevalent. During the meeting several topics were addressed: perspectives on the issues of censorship and freedom of expression in Turkey in the face of developing stories and news agendas; media in Afghanistan; cultural change in Afghanistan pre- and post-Taliban; stability, security and NATO in Afghanistan; Afghanistan’s strategic importance in the struggle against international terrorism; scenarios on the future of Afghanistan; Turkey’s presence in Afghanistan and its role in the rebuilding of the country; the republican model in Turkey; Islam and democracy; and expectations, needs and possibilities in Turkey-Afghanistan relations. Expressing great satisfaction at the gathering between the members of the press, Afghan Deputy Culture Minister Din Mohammad Mobarez said that they would do their best to make the most of the meeting. Recalling that there were many topics to be discussed, Mobarez said: “Turkey and Afghanistan have many common denominators but in particular, religion has an important place. On this topic, Mevlana can show us the way.” Noting that Mevlana was born in Afghanistan but would become a scholar who lived in Turkey, Mobarez said that members of the press and writers were the guides of the world. This situation should be recognized as an opportunity, he said. “Turkish schools take good advantage of this opportunity, and as a ministry we are ready to develop this,” Mobarez said. Amongst the meeting participants who shared their perspectives were Afghan Deputy Minister of Culture Din Mohammad M. Rashedi, Deputy and Afghan Jurists Union President Abdul Kabir Ranjbar, Visa newspaper Editorin-Chief Fazel Elahi Shafiqi, journalist-writer Ahmad Waheed Abdul Hakim, Chiragh newspaper Editor-in-Chief Sayed Najibullah S. Hassan, Presidencial Policy manager Sebghatullah Sanjar, and Writers Association President and writer Asadulah Moh. Amini.

Asst. Afghanıstan Mınıster of Culture

Din Mohammad Mobarez “Turkey and Afghanistan have many common points, but religion in particular holds an important place. Mawlana can guide us on this subject.”

Pointing out that the role of the media is great in common projects and cooperation, Afghan Journalists invited their Turkish colleagues to Afghanistan.

Journalists and Writers Foundation Medialog Platform

36 Events organized by the Medialog Platform

2008 March 17 - Istanbul/Bilgi University: Panel discussion featuring American journalist Deborah Potter. 2008 April 5 - An introductory meeting with Afghan members of the press. 2008 April 11 - An informational meeting for Norwegian members of the press. Speakers: Yavuz Baydar, Cengiz Aktar, Mustafa Akyol 2008 May 23-30 - An introductory meeting with British journalists. 2008 October 31 - A visit to meet journalists from the Northern Iraq Regional Administration. 2009 April 5 - An informational meeting for a group of journalists in Turkey on the status of minorities and religious minorities in Turkey, organized through the “Civilizational Dialogue” Meeting. Speakers: The Secretary-General of the Intercultural Dialogue Platform and journalists Cemal Uşak and Andrew Finkel. Foreign journalists in Turkey listened to Prof. İhsan Bal regarding the process of democratization.

2009 April 14 - An informational gathering for journalists from Belarus on the topic of “Turkey’s EU bid and the Ergenekon trial”. Speakers: Journalist Hüseyin Gülerce and Assistant Professor İbrahim Öztürk 2009 April 24 - A briefing on Turkey’s realities for Norwegian members of the press. Speaker: ODTU faculty member and columnist Professor İhsan Dağı. 2009 June 17 - A meeting between Nigerian journalists and their Turkish counterparts and visits to media outlets. The Medialog Platform organizes period “Covering Turkey” meetings with an aim to inform accredited members of the foreign press based in Turkey.

State Minister and Chief Negotiator Egeman Bağış spoke to foreign journalists in Turkey on “External Security in Circassia, Central Asia and Turkey.”(2008 Sept. 25)

“Understanding Turkey Meetings” which are held periodically allow foreign press members in Turkey to reach correct information.

Medialog Platform


Some of the meetings held 2008 February 2 - A New Constitution Speaker: Professor Levent Köker 2008 March 8 - Is Turkey Islamizing? Religion, Secularism and Society Speaker: Professor Recep Şentürk 2008 April 5 - Alevis and their Expectations Speaker: Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy Reha Çamuroğlu 2008 March 26: The Deep State and Unsolved Murders Speaker: Former Parliamentary Human Rights Violations Investigative Committee head Mehmet Elkatmış 2008 June 7: The Tradition of Party Closure in Turkey and the AK Party Speaker: Assistant Professor Mustafa Şentop 2008 July 19: The Gülen Movement Speaker: Ali Bulaç - Hüseyin Gülerce 2008 September 25: The Caucasus, Central Asia and Turkey’s External Security Speaker: State Minister Egemen Bağış 2009 January 10: The Partying of Ways between the AKP and Liberals Speaker: Dr. Şahin Alpay 2009 February 7: Turkey on the road to the EU Speaker: Assistant Professor Cengiz Aktar 2009 March 24: Local Elections Speaker: Metropol research company manager Professor Özer Sencar 2009 April 29: Ergenekon Speaker: Attorney Orhan Kemal Cengiz 2009 June 17: Military-Civilian Relations in Turkey Speaker: Taraf and Today’s Zaman columnist Lale Sarıibrahimoğlu

Asst. Prof. Ibrahim Öztürk informed journalists from Belarus on the subject, “Turkey’s EU membership process and the Ergenekon case.”(2009 April 14)

The biggest punishment that can be given to irresponsible publishing is abandonment by the reader and viewer.

Culture and and Writers Art Platform Journalists Foundation



rts and culture, which appear to be the civilization’s most important element, are an important opportunity for the development of projects to promote living together. This geography has yielded a number of common works of art, from music to cinema and architecture, generated by different religious and cultural backgrounds. The Arts & Culture Platform transforms these resources into individual projects, ensuring contributions for art to exist within a framework of togetherness, tolerance and peace. Toward this aim, special events, films and CD albums are organized.

Culture and Art Platform

The platform organizes events of its own as well as running stage design and choreography projects for domestic and international activities of the Foundation and its other platforms.

On December 27, 1996, various awards were given to animal lovers in the gala of a film debut at the Cemal Reşit Rey hall.

Köpekler Adası (Island of Dogs) Cinema Film and Animal Lovers Awards Night (1996) Founded: 1994 General Secretary Gürkan VURAL

The movie Köpekler Adası (Island of Dogs), written and directed by famous director Halit Refiğ, was shot in July 1996 in Balıkesir’s Erdek district. With Perihan Savaş and Tanju Gürsu in the starring roles, other parts were played by actors like Mürşit Bağ and Ekrem Dümer. Tanju Gürsu won the award for best male actor at the 34th Antalya Film Festival for his role in the film. At the gala for the film’s first showing, held at the Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall on Dec. 27, 1996, various awards were also given to animal lovers. At the end of the gala, in which the late İsmail Cem also participated, then Parliament Speaker Mustafa Kalemli’s wife Betül Kalemli, Professor İsmet Sungurbey, Professor Zafer Ayvaz, Society for the Protection of Nature President Nergis Yazgan, Dr. İlhan Gökgöl, Faruk Yalçın, Esin Elingür, Ediz Hun, Nevzat Ceylan, Türkan Akalın and Nurten Akoral received awards. Speaking that night, director Halit Refiğ said: “When I die, I want for it to be written on my gravestone, ‘He was an ardent director and a true animal lover’.”

Culture and Art Platform


“My school’s film” shot in memory of deceased teacher Bünyamin Demiryürek was shown great interest.

The album “Our Monument of Pride – Our Master,” made by 11 artists including Fatih Kısaparmak, Ferdi Tayfur and Muazzez Ersoy for which they took no compensation saw heavy interest.

The “Okulum” (My School) Film Young director Gökhan Yorgancıgil prepared and directed the film, based on the life of “Bünyamin Demiryürek,” a teacher who lost his life in the Kocaeli Earthquake. Artists like Nur Gürkan, Bulut Aras, Yılmaz Köksal, Yosi Mizrahi and Nihat Nikerel played roles in the film. A student whom the late Bünyamin Demiryürek had supported and stood up for was played by Anafen Educational Institutions student Şevki Durmuş.

Our Exalted Monument - Our Sire - I Album Project (2008) Work was completed to produce a charity album with the participation of 11 famous artists, among them Fatih Kısaparmak, Ferdi Tayfur and Muazzez Ersoy, featuring religious hymns in honor of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). With the proceeds from the album, 11 study centers were opened in 11 provinces, most of them in the East. The artists received no compensation for their contributions to the album, which was wildly popular -- when 100,000 orders were placed for the album before it was even released, a second 100,000 copies were made. Among the artists who contributed to the album were Ahmet Özhan, Muazzez Ersoy, Ferdi Tayfur, Hakan Altun, Sami Özer, İbrahim Sadri, Orhan Hakalmaz, Fatih Kısaparmak, Erhan Güleryüz, Murat Göğebakan, Funda Arar and Uğur Işılak.

Due to implemented social responsibility projects, we contributed to artists and the public embracing.

Journalists Foundation Culture and and Writers Art Platform


The people showed great interest in the Erhan Güleryüz Reading Hall opened in Diyarbakır. (January 7, 2010)

Reading Rooms Opened and the Artists they were Named for          

Samsun – Orhan Hakalmaz Hakkari – Ahmet Özhan Diyarbakır – Erhan Güleryüz Elazığ – Fatih Kısaparmak Mardin/Kızıltepe – Muazzez Ersoy Van / Muradiye – Funda Arar Muş / Bulanık – Uğur Işılak Şanlıurfa / Suruç – Hakan Altun Adana – Ferdi Tayfur ve Murat Göğebakan Sivas – Zara

Sacred Birth Commemoration Night Reading halls opened with the names of artists in Eastern Turkey have become a door of hope for many children.

04/30/2008, Istanbul Show Center Eminent Turkish singers gathered for the occasion of the Sacred Birth at the Istanbul Show Center, putting on a good performance for the attendees. A total of 5,000 people showed up that evening, including İstanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş, Professor Ümit Meriç, Professor Toktamış Ateş, Professor Nevzat Yalçıntaş, Cengiz Özdemir, Naci Tosun, Journalists and Writers Foundation President Harun Tokak, Assyrian Catholic Church ArchbishopYusuf Sağ, Father Sahak Bıçakçı of the Armenian Church, Greek Orthodox Father Harisantos, the Yeni Şafak daily’s Yusuf Ziya Cömert, Fadime Özkan of the Star daily, Yeni Şafak Editor-in-Chief Mustafa Karaalioğlu, journalist Fehmi Koru, Zaman daily Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı, journalist Abdülhamit Bilici, STV Broadcast Chief Hidayet Karaca, artists Mustafa Keser, Osman Yağmurdereli and more.

Culture and Art Platform


Among the 5000 people who attended the Happy Birthday evening were important names like Metropolitan Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş, Prof. Toktamış Ateş and Prof. Nevzat Yalçıntaş.

That night the hymn, “It Was You Who Came That Night O Hd. Muhammad,” sung by Muazzez Ersoy touched the hearts of the audience.

During the evening, artists who had contributed to the “İftihar Abidemiz Efendimiz” (Our Exalted Monument, Our Sire) project, organized by Fon Musical Production, performed their pieces live. The performers gave roses to the listeners and then sang all together Muazzez Ersoy’s “O gece sendin gelen ya Hz. Muhammed” (It was you who came that night, O Prophet Muhammad). Tickets were sold out quickly for the paid event, proceeds from which went toward the opening of Reading Rooms in eastern Turkey.

The Fire of Spring and Exiled Horizons Albums Famous musician Ahmet Hatipoğlu set to music some of the lines from the poetry book “Kırık Mızrap” (Broken Quill), written by Journalists and Writers Foundation Honorary President Fethullah Gülen. The songs were performed by TRT artist Bekir Ünlüataer and released as an album entitled Ateş-i Bahar (The Fire of Spring). Another album with lines from Kırık Mızrap, this time read aloud by famous artists, was released under the title “Gurbet Ufukları” (Exiled Horizons). Those reading the poems, in addition to Fethullah Gülen himself, included such renowned names as the late Cem Karaca, the late Nihat Nikerel, the late Nedret Selçuker, İbrahim Sadri, Uğur Arslan, Yusuf Ziya Özkan, Yavuz Bülent Bakiler, Hayri Küçükdeniz, Bedirhan Gökçe, Oya Seymen and İlkim Karaca.

Audio Works Published by the Platform     

Melancholic Homesickness Always Suffering From the Mouth of Mevlana Exiled Horizons The Fire of Spring

Women’s Platform Journalists and Writers Foundation



he Women’s Platform was established, parallel to other platforms of the Foundation, for solving different problems in Turkey and around the world in an environment of dialogue. Established without remaining tied to a single discourse and not taking up the defense of one gender, but rather to determine and solve existing problems, the platform aims to be another branch of the Foundation that spreads dialogue in the country. In this respect, the platform’s mission is, by bringing together women from different viewpoints, to develop dialogue on the common denominator of being human first and then women and to put forth projects that will produce common solutions to not just women’s problems, but the problems of mankind.

Women’s Platform

Aiming to be included in the future in the area of activity with different projects in different environments by benefiting from all elements of our cultural wealth, our platform at this time is working on tasks related to Turkey in the international conference entitled, “Family as a Value in regard to Religion, Tradition and Modernity.” In order to draw attention to the degeneration of family values recently occurring in Turkey, the platform is organizing “Family Seminars.” Under the title of “Family Seminars”; on February Assistant Professor Ergun Yıldırım gave a seminar with the title of “Family in Turkey and the World in the New Era”, on March Professor Kemal Sayar on “Societal Psycho-hygiene and Family” and Sibel Eraslan on “Prophet Mohammad’s wife Hadijah as a Mother, Wife and a Women” on April, and on May Professor Fatih Andı on “Family in Turkish Novels”. On a national level, different projects had started and as a platform we hosted different guests and we visited different important institutions and people from different backgrounds. The first of these projects is the “Reading Workshops” project which started on April. Six different interdisciplinary reading groups were formed in this project in order to make specialized field work with a scientific consultant of each section. These sections are “Science and Techniques”, “Literature”, “Sociology”, “History”, “Philosop-

Founded: 2009 General Secretary Ümmühan GÖKMEN

An exchange was made with German groups who were curious about our Foundation’s views on the place of women in life. (October 20, 2009)

Women’s Platform


Platform General Secretary Ummühan Gökmen is coordinating preparations for the conference, “Family as a Value in Religion, Tradition and Modernity,” to be held in November, 2010.

hical History”, and “Media Analysis”. We came together with different nongovernmental organizations both from Turkey and abroad, namely; TESEV, BISKAD, KKM, International Cultural Lab, and a group of activist women from Kazakhstan. We did meetings not only non-governmental organizations but also with governmental organizations and individuals which are Mustafa Kara mayor of Uskudar district, and Selma Aliye Kavaf Minister of State. Mrs. Kavaf kindly hosted us at her ministerial office and showed a great interest for the international family conference which is going to be held on November 2010 and the projects, seminars of the platform as well. As time passes, new projects will be added to these local and international activities. One of them is the panel called “Depiction of Women on Media”. Furthermore, we are organizing a group of graduate students in order to make academic research on women issues with the name of “Women Studies”. Different meetings and collaborative projects with local and international non-profit organizations are at our agenda in the next years in compliance with other activities and projects under the umbrella of the Journalists and Writers Foundation.

The goal is to strive to determine problems and their solutions without remaining tied to just one discourse and without taking on defense of one gender.

Experience was shared at the “Turkish-Armenian Relations Through Women’s Eyes” workshop at the invitation of the Erivan University Turcology Department. (November 26, 2009)

The Research Center Journalists and Writers Foundation



he scope and diversity of the topics in which the Journalists and Writers Foundation has taken an interest in since its conception, and the depth to which these issues have been addressed mandated the “establishment of a research center” idea.

The Research Center

With this as its takeoff point, the Research Center has increased interest in research in this field by focusing on the academic and scientific research of our Honorary President, the Esteemed Fethullah Gülen and the intellectual world. Among the humble efforts have been the Research Center’s publication of the books “Fethullah Gülen in the Eyes of Turkish Intellectuals,” “Gülen Movement Research” and the “Fethullah Gülen in the Eyes of World Intellectuals” series. The activities that began with those steps were followed by the Luncheon Series, Media Seminars, and roundtable and working meetings on Fethullah Gülen and the Gülen Movement featuring domestic and international speakers, in addition to various publications, bulletins, and Internet publications. The library established as part of the JWF Research Center is in service as a documentation center that gathers written and visual documents having to do with Fethullah Gülen, as well as the foundation’s work and activities, events and publications of the Abant Platforum, the Intercultural Dialogue Platform and the Medialog Platform.

Founded: 2009 Director Dr. Faruk TUNCER

The seminars have become a meeting place for academicians.

The Research Center

45 The Gülen Movement’s Inter-religious Dialogue Perspective 11.24. 2009 Speaker: Asst. Prof. Mustafa Alıcı Speaking to a crowded audience, Asst. Prof. Mustafa Alıcı, Rize University Theological Faculty Member and Chairman of the History of Religions Department, evaluated the “Gülen Movement’s Inter-religious Dialogue Perspective.”

Gülen Movement Seminars

Pointing out that dialogue and tolerance, the two basic concepts of the Gülen Movement, are at the same time commands of the Islamic religion, Asst. Prof. Mustafa Alıcı gave examples of verses from the Quran on this subject. Indicating that Fethullah Gülen has developed an original discourse that will establish peace in the whole world and explaining the basic motives of the Gülen Movement’s dialogue in the form of fourteen items, Alıcı mentioned these points: “Fethullah Gülen Hodjaefendi has shown us that contemporary Muslims should support, not oppose inter-religious dialogue activities for the reason that they have been put forth by the Christian West as a new missionary method. By means of inter-religious dialogue activities, Muslims also have the opportunity to explain their own beliefs and views to members of other religions. In short, neither a blind submissive approach of support should be taken towards inter-religious dialogue, nor should it be opposed due to a number of anxieties. With the condition of being fully informed, inter-religious dialogue should be supported for the sake of world peace and common human problems.”

There was an opportunity at the seminars and workshops to examine cultural and intellectual life more closely.

Asst. Prof. Mustafa Alıcı: “Fethullah Gülen has developed an original discourse that can establish world peace.”

Journalists and Writers Foundation The Research Center


Prof. Thomas Michel: “The source of success at the schools where the Gülen Movement’s educational philosophy is dominant lies in the union of the mind and the heart.”

The Gülen Movement and the Schools’ Educational Philosophy 11.21. 2009 Speaker: Prof. Thomas Michel

The topics of programs with foreign speakers which saw heavy interest from the audience were examined from an international perspective.

In the seminar which examined in depth the different perspectives of the Gülen Movement, Prof. Thomas Michel took up the educational philosophy of the Movement. In regard to the source of the schools’ success, Prof. Michel said that Gülen had opened a new era in education by “adopting an educational philosophy that unites the mind and heart and aims for world peace.” Saying that the founder of the Jesuit Church, St. Ignatius de Loyola II, adopted a similar philosophy, Michel spoke about the perspectives, educational policies and curriculum of these two types of schools. He said, “When I spoke with teachers during my visits to Gülen schools, I saw that they all had a different background plan. In other words, the aim of these various schools, and also our basic aim, was to show the students how to best fulfill their potential and to give them support with a profound philosophy.”

The ‘Gülen’ Contribution to Turkey’s Globalization 10.03.2009 Speaker: Professor Yasin Aktay At the conference, attended by roughly 50 academicians and writers, Professor Aktay spoke about the contributions of the Gülen Movement to globalization. During the conference, in which background information was given about the Gülen Movement and globalization, from time to time different points of view were voiced, enabling the Movement to be examined from a broader perspective.

The Research Center


Prof. Yasin Aktay described the Gülen Movement’s globalizing effect on Turkey.

At times there were heated debates during the noon break.

Speaking about the sort of path the Gülen Movement had followed during the globalization process and the problems it faced, Professor Aktay evaluated the Movement’s status in Turkey and according to global authorities. Emphasizing the changes encountered during this process, Aktay asserted: “While in its first years the congregation fed off nationalist elements, today it has embraced an almost anti-nationalist perspective; it has reached a much more universal, and from an Islamic perspective a much more appropriate point. And this has been made possible by the schools.” Citing the famous sociologist Max Weber’s description of churches as NGOs, Aktay said that the Gülen Movement was also an NGO.

The breaks between sessions turned into opportunities for participants to share their ideas.

Journalists and Writers Foundation The Research Center


Asst. Prof. A. Emre Öktem chatted with the audience during seminar breaks.

Luncheon Series

The program being in English attracted the interest of foreigners and university students.

Democraticization: Education and Freedom of Religion Panel 07.15.2009 Speaker: Quisra Shahraz (Pakistan), Assistant Professor Akif Emre Öktem (Turkey)

The seminars the Research Center arranged in English during the noon break make an exchange of ideas possible and prepare a foundation for diverse perspectives to come together and make mental gymnastics. Organized once a month, the seminars address foreigners living in Turkey and people and institutions involved in international relations.

For the first of the Luncheon Series panel discussions, famous Pakistani writer Quisra Shahraz was invited to speak about her two books printed by Truva Publications, “The Holy Woman” and “Typhoon,” and Assistant Professor Akif Emre Öktem was invited to share his analyses on the topif of Democratization: Education and Freedom of Religion. There was heavy youth attendance from among the university population. The session was held in English, which ensured the interest of foreigners as well. Interest was high in Quisra Shahraz’s works during the program. Following the session, attendees were able to speak with Quisra Shahraz in pairs and groups, as well as get signed copies of her books. During the panel’s second session, Assistant Professor Akif Emre Öktem shared his views with attendees by breaking them up into three main categories: 1. The Headscarf Issue; 2. The Heybeliada Halki Seminary; and 3. The Educational Rights of the Alevi Community. He emphasized international law and legal systems in his talk, and cited the Leyla Şahin case as an example of the headscarf ban in Turkey. Later on in his talk, Öktem compared different cases that have risen to the agenda of the European Court of Human Rights. After giving a brief history of the Heybeliada seminary, Öktem explained what has gone on in regards the topic from 1971 to the present day. He said that while the official reason cited for removal of the school’s operation was the legal prohibition of all universities owned by foundations, the true reason was the rising of tensions due to different developments during the period. He also touched upon the topic of the educational rights of Alevi citizens in Turkey.

The Research Center

49 Human Rights and International Law Panel 08.08.2009 Speaker: Carter Center President Dr. John Hardman (USA) The panel drew wide attendance and in particular attracted the attention of foreigners living in Turkey. During the panel discussion during which Dr. John Hardman, president of the US-based Carter Center, spoke broadly about human rights and international law, he also said that our Foudnation’s activities constituted an important contribution to the democratization process.

By contributing to

Speaking about the activities of the organization he chaired, Hardman said that their goals were to realize societal and global dialogue, noting that they do work in many different fields, including health, education and societal consensus. He emphasized that his institution was similar to the Foundation in terms of their working toward world peace.

universal peace.

Hardman also noted that the most important steps to be taken on the path to democratization were the development of transparent policies and the prevention of corruption. It is unthinkable for all the states in the world to operate on a shared, single type of system in this regard, he emphasized. In the panel discussion, which drew the participation of many graduates and graduate students in addition to journalists and representatives of diplomatic missions, Sabancı University faculty member Professor Ersin Kalaycıoğlu also took part. Following the session, Dr. John Hardman and domestic and foreign academicians and journalists continued discussion.

Dr. John Hardman pointed out that the most important steps to be taken towards democratization are the development of transparent policies and the prevention of corruption.

democratization, activities in the areas of health, culture and education held by NGOs are serving

Activities JournalistsOther and Writers Foundation



(Fast-breaking meals)


amadan has come to be seen by Muslims as an important opportunity for societal consolidation, dialogue, tolerance and putting one’s self in another’s shoes. Our foundation has also made the Ramadan dinner tables the foundation for dialogue and tolerance by coming together at fast-breaking meals each year with guests from Turkey and abroad. Turkey’s multicultural and multifaith composition has always been reflected at the iftar tables. During these nights, which are of important religious meaning, in particular the participation of minority leaders and families in Turkey has given them the opportunity to share their thoughts on dialogue, unity and understanding.

The Children of These Lands: Sharing is Beautiful 09.13.2009 Cevahir Hotel / Istanbul Representatives of the Abrahamic religions together with the Deputy Governor of İstanbul participated in an iftar held on the evening of Sept. 13 at the Cevahir Hotel under the slogan “The Children of These Lands: Sharing is Beautiful.” At the iftar, attended by around 300 people, declarations and statements conveying “brotherhood” were prominent. Foundation President Mustafa Yeşil delivered the opening remarks at the iftar night, while Honorary President Fethullah Gülen also conveyed a message. Speeches were also made by some of the guests, including Chief Rabbi of the Turkish Jewish community İshak Haleva, Syrian Orthodox Church of Turkey Archbishop Yusuf Çetin, Former Vatican Spokesman Monsigneur Georges Marovitch, Armenian Patriarchate Archbishop Aram Ateşyan, Deputy Governor of İstanbul Ali Kazgan and KADİP President Dr. Kenan Gürsoy. Chaırman of the JWF Board

Mustafa Yeşil “The Quran says that man was created in nations and that no one is superior to another except in service to God. In that case, come and let’s race with one another in service to Him.”

The warm dialogue among Chief Rabbi Ishak Haleva, Prof. Suat Yıldırım and Head of Religious Affairs Ali Bardakoğlu reflected the night’s atmosphere.

Other Activities


Also in attendance were Foundation Board of Trustees President Ekrem Dumanlı, Professor Suat Yıldırım, Professor Niyazi Öktem, Dialogue Eurasia Platform Co-President Harun Tokak, Hüseyin Hatemi, Professor Şerif Ali Tekalan and the families of members of different Abrahamic religions. During the meal artist Jerry Jramyan’s work “The Children of These Lands” was read, and former Vatican Spokesperson Monsigneur Georges Marovitch was a special guest at the dinner. Participating in a foundation iftar for the first time in a long time, Marovitch’s remarks on his feelings about the evening and about faithfulness drew attention. In his opening remarks, Foundation President Mustafa Yeşil spoke about globalization, commenting that in a multicultural world this made it essential for everyone to be able to live together. Noting that in the Qur’an it is mentioned that humanity was created in peoples, Yeşil said that no one people or race can be esteemed above another, and that God only assigns people value over one another due to love and respect, in which God invites people to compete.

The attendance of Head of Religious Affairs Ali Bardakoğlu, Former President of JWF Harun Tokak, Head of Parliament Bülent Arınç, former Prime Minister Yıldırım Akbulut and Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomeos received great attention.

Diversity had never been received with this much “understanding.” Everyone being accepted in their

Toward Universal Peace: Bridges of Peace

own position, dialogue,

October 16, 2005, Hilton, Istanbul/Turkey

tolerance, forbearance, and

The night was rather colorful, with the participation of attendees from various countries in the world. During the night during which messages of world peace were continually delivered, a special dimension was added by the participation of youth from different cultures and of different beliefs. For this night had been organized in order to commemorate their messages of dialogue and the bridges of peace they had built, and to celebrate their mission.

love had never gained this much power and prevalence while finding sincere expression.

Journalists Activities and Writers Foundation


More than a thousand writers, artists and scholars came together to break the fast at the Polat Renaissance Hotel in Yeşilköy. (February 11, 1995)

Attendees included Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç, and a number of other ministers, parliamentarians, diplomats, provincial and district governors, journalists, writers and artists. It was emphasized throughout the evening the contribution that Turkish schools around the world had made to world peace. Young graduates of the Turkish Colleges opened in Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, the Philippines, Cambodia, Pakistan, Morocco and Van shared messages of world peace during the evening. Emotional moments took place in the hall when the youth joined hands -- black and white, Christian and Buddhist and Muslim -- and all spoke Turkish, conveying messages of world peace. The night was a testament to the “Peace Role” that Turkey has conducted throughout the continents. One African student delivered perhaps the most meaningful message of the night when he said, “These schools will bring smiles to the dark fate of my dark continent.”

Awards given to prominent leaders of nations possessing the same history, language and religion opened the door to common projects by creating synergy in dialogue.

We’re on the same boat 10.24.2004 Lütfi Kırdar Congress and Exhibition Palace, Istanbul/Turkey Through activities organized by the Journalists and Writers Foundation/ Intercultural Dialogue Platform, the meetings of spiritual leaders from the Abrahamic religious traditions living in Turkey began years ago. A common message emerged from those speaking at the iftar tables: “We’re all on the same boat.” Later, the iftar tables became a tradition, and led to the development of warm friendships.

Meeting participants convey important messages Patriarch Bartholomew I: “We set out on the road in the field of dialogue in order to increase the nation’s prosperity and contribute to world peace; as is said in the Republic’s 10th Year March, we set out 10 years ago, the very person who holds this view, the honorable Fethullah Gülen was among us. I now pay him respect and wish him my warm sentiments.”


53 Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç: “Nobody should be made uneasy by a night during which people from every segment come together. This is Turkey’s reality; as a stone thrown into water creates waves in its vicinity, so will this reality [make waves] in the world. In this way, we will together see the end of the screams, wails, and the sounds of ammunitions fire and tanks in the world. Just as Turkey is in need of this, the rest of the world, thirsty for peace, has the same need.” Directorate of Religious Affairs President Professor Ali Bardakoğlu: “In the present day, when the unlimited spread of secularization has left deep wounds on humanity, there is a need for the call to peace and tolerance of the religion of the Oneness of God. This love must encompass us all.” Vatican Embassy in Turkey Istanbul Representative Monsigneur Georges Marovitch: The picture that emerges from the activities of these platforms is amazing. I’m actually saddened, because the architect of these wonderful meetings, Hocaefendi Fethullah Gülen, isn’t here amongst us. I pray for him every day. I put a photograph of him in between the pages of one of my prayer books. Even if I’m asleep, I know that God will protect him. Chief Rabbi of the Turkish Jewish Community İshak Haleva: “There’s nothing more to be said or added to the wonderful picture that has emerged from these meetings. I’m sure that [as far as God is concerned, His thoughts on the matter are as such]: This is exactly what I wanted. You all have to share love with each other, hand in hand and heart to heart.”

Diversity gained meaning 01. 27. 1997, Hilton, İstanbul/Turkey Differences had never been met with so much “understanding” until that day. Everyone being accepted for who they were, dialogue, tolerance, lenience, love… it had never been expressed so earnestly, it had never gained so much strength and prevalence. The warmth of those Ramadan nights, their spiritual calm and sincerity; the elements of our cultural and faith-based richness were shared with representatives of the Abrahamic religions.

It’s unity, not division that is necessary 02.11.1995, Polat Renaissance, Istanbul/Turkey Over 1,000 writers, artists and scientists came together at the Polat Renaissance Hotel in Yeşilköy at an iftar (fast-breaking diner) organized by the Journalists and Writers Foundation. One of the many beauties of the everimportant month of Ramadan for Muslims is gathering together at such meals with dear friends. As the fast-breaking time approached on that day, nobody wanted to ruin the atmosphere of the moment by raising their voices too loud; even conversations lowered to a whisper. Only the sweet

Award Ceremonies

Journalists Activities and Writers Foundation

54 sound of the ney coming from speakers filled the hall, bringing a separate joy to our hearts… It was as if Mevlana Rumi was there… As if the ney had voiced “complaints of separation” by saying, “Bişnev ezney kim hikayet mikuned.” But this time it wasn’t the harbinger of a gathering over separation, but rather that of unity and togetherness. For as Fethullah Gülen would later put so beautifully in his talk, the wish of the attendees of that gathering was for “cause of unity.”

Over Quarter - Century Scene of Pride 05.07. 2000

9th President Süleyman Demirel was presented the Turkish World award. (January 1998)

Man of State Politician Business World Education Media and Arts

Süleyman Demirel Hikmet Çetin, Mustafa Kalemli, Bülent Ecevit Sakıp Sabancı, Üzeyir Garih, Aydın Doğan, Nihat Gökyiğit, Bayram Meral Prof. Dr. İhsan Doğramacı, Prof. Dr. Nilüfer Göle, Prof. Dr. Halil İnalcık, Prof. Dr. Yaşar Nuri Öztürk, Sami Yıldırım, Prof. Dr. Şerif Mardin Rıza Zelyut, Nevval Sevindi, Gülay Göktürk, Şahin Özer, Hülya Koçyiğit

Tolerance Awards 01.04.1997 / Çırağan Palace - Istanbul Intellectuals who reflect our country’s richness and resources, and who with their ideas and works contribute to a culture of democracy, peace and love were awarded with a “Tolerance Awards” ceremony organized by our foundation.

Important persons like 9th President Süleyman Demirel, politician Hikmet Çetin, former Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit, Sakıp Sabancı and Üzeyir Garih from the business world were presented the “National reconciliation incentive award.” Participants formed a full portrait of reconciliation.


55 Award Recipients: Columnists: Media/TV Programmers: Media/ Journalist: Art: Diplomacy: Science: Nature and Environment: Family: Assistance to Persons with Disabilities: Sport:

Taha Akyol, Cengiz Çandar Toktamış Ateş, Abdurrahman Dilipak Münire Acım Barış Manço, Kutsi Ergüner, Fehmi Gerçeker Işık Sadık Ahmet Prof. Dr. Mehmet S. Aydın Hayrettin Karaca Perihan Savaş Müjdat Gezen ve R. Tayyip Erdoğan Fatih Terim

Night in Commemoration of Fallen Soldiers and Veterans and Award Ceremony March 16, 1999 Lütfi Kırdar Congress and Exhibition Palace What can we feel other than gratitude and respect for those fallen soldiers and veterans who sacrificed their blood and lives in the name of the unity and integrity of our country? On this night, 2,000 people, including the families of over 600 fallen soldiers and veterans, to the best of their ability tried to assuage the pain of those veterans still alive, and remembered the fallen soldiers with compassion and gratitiude. Aid checks were also distributed as a gift for the Eid al-Adha (the Feast of the Sacrifice) holiday during the evening, which was scene to many emotional moments. As part of the program Bora Gencer, Ertuğrul Polat, Taner Aras, Eyüphan, Cansever, İsmail Hazar, Ömer Danış, İzzet Yıldızhan and Zeynep added color to the evening with songs about soldiers. Also, as part of the program awards were given to individuals, institutions and establishments that stood up for the families of fallen soldiers and veterans, and members of the press who through their work themed around fallen soldiers and active soldiers brought awarenss to the public.

The Union of Turkic Countries Awards (1998) Beginning in 1990, with the process of the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the ground was laid for the establishment of five new “Turkish” States, which have remained close to one another for historical, religious, and cultural reasons. Since then, the political, economic and cultural ties between these new nations and Turkey have grown stronger. Nonetheless, this new closeness between Turkey and the central Asian Turkish states should not be considered ‘contrary’ or ‘opposed to’ other forms of cooperation. In recognition of this historical moment, the Journalists and Writers Foundation decided to give the awards to those heads of state who have made extraordinary contributions to this process.

Rauf Denktaş, President of the Northern Cyprus Turkish Republic, received the “Turkish World” award from the hands of Foundation President, Harun Tokak. (April 1998)

Journalists Activities and Writers Foundation


Former Azerbaijan President Haydar Aliyev’s award. (December 1998)

Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s award (April 1998)

Tataristan President Mintimer Şaymiyev’s award. (December 1998)

Süleyman Demirel: (Ninth President of Turkey) “The Journalists and Writers Foundation is dedicated to bringing its mission of conciliation to the Turkish World as a whole. I congratulate you. You are still at the very beginning of the work that must be done in the Turkish World. May you succeed.”

Gathering the approval of a broad segment of society for the projects it realized in the name of dialogue and tolerance, our foundation was seen worthy of various awards.

Nursultan Nazarbayev: (President of Kazakhstan) “The Turkish World, with a population of 150 million, is creating the foundations for new unity and togetherness by casting new light on its own history. At the moment, Turkish investments in our country number two million dollars. In the year 2000, we will together celebrate the two thousandth anniversary of the Dede Korkut and the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of the city of Turkestan, where Ahmet Yesevi lived. These spiritual figures are the common heritage of all Turkic peoples. Rauf Denktaş: (Ninth President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus) “The greater part of the Turkish World is entering the third millenium free and self-determined. From now on, it will be necessary to devote greater efforts to solving problems and consolidate unity and togetherness. In this regard, I consider your foundation’s initiatives in this area important and useful.”

Other heads of state who received the award: * 1998 January - Süleyman Demirel President of Turkey * 1998 April - Nursultan Nazarbaev President of Kazakhstan * 1998 April - Rauf Denktaş Ninth President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus


57 * 1998 December - Haydar Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan * 1998 December - Mihtimer Şeymiyev, President of the Republic of Tartarstan, Russian Federation * 1999 Fevral - Saparmurat Türkmenbaşı, President of Turkmenistan * 1999 March - Askar Akayev, President of Kyrgyzstan * 1999 September - Natsagiyn Bagabandi, President of Mongolia * 1999 September - Aliya İzzetbegoviç, President of Bosnia-Herzegovina * 1999 October - Edward Shevardnadze, President of Georgia * 2005 December - İmamali Rahmonov, President of Tajikistan

Awards Received and Affiliated Organizations  The Turkish Military Association for the Handicapped, Veterans, Martyrs, Widows and Orphans / 1998  The Russian Federation Friendship Association / 1998  Türksav “Award for Service to the Turkish World” / 1998  ŞADDER(Association for Solidarity and Social Aid for Families of Martyrs) / 1998  Istanbul Association for Solid arity with the Mothers of Martyrs and Social Aid / 1998  AGRT(Anatolian Newspaper, Radio and Television ) Broadcasters Union / 1999  Mount Olympus Culture and Education Award

Turkish Hearths Culture Award (April 18, 1998)

 The Istanbul Mayors’ Office, “Award for Support of the Turkish World”/1999  Saparmurat Türkmenbaşı, President of Turkmenistan/ 1999  The Istanbul Municipal Government / 2001

Foundation President Harun Tokak received the Service to the Turkish World Award which was given to JWF from the hands of 9th President Süleyman Demirel.

Journalists Activities and Writers Foundation


Steps in Dialogue

 The Istanbul Regional Directorate of Foundations / 2003  USA, Hartford Seminary Exploring Differences, Deepening Faith / 2005

Awards Given to Fethullah Gülen, Honorary President of JWF * 1995 May 26 - “The Nihal Atsız Award for Service to the Turkish World,” from the Turkish Hearths Foundation * 1995 July 25 - Certificate of Thanks from the Turkish Armed Forced Little Mehmet Foundation * 1996 April 18 - “Individuals of the Year Award” from the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen Foundation * 1997 Fevral 23 - Award for Service to the Turkish World, from the Writers and Artists Foundation (TÜRKSAV) * 1997 November 21 - The Special 24th of November Education Award from the Turkish Education Union At the end of their visit German guests coming from Brücke-Köprü said, “Love is the platform that brings everyone together.”

* 1998 March - Award in Recognition of Contributions to the Turkish World, from the Turk 2000s Foundation * 1998 April 18 - “The Turkish Hearths Culture Prize,” from the Turkish Hearths * 1998 July 05 - “The First International Turkish Struggle for Independence Symposium Award,” from the Silk Road Foundation * 2001 April 27 - “The Esteemed Service Award” from the Turkish Writers Union * 2004 November 01 - “The Award for Contributions to Peace and Harmony among Peoples” from the Kyrgyzstan Spirituality Foundation

Steps in Dialogue

Those who find the opportunity to get to know each other better by means of meetings and trips feel the joy of escaping from their prejudices.

The road to living together in dialogue, tolerance and peace runs through listening to one another, researching and getting to know one another. For this reason, our foundation employs mutual visits with an aim to get to know different cultures both regionally and internationally, to examine them and engage in the exchange of ideas. Just as in different world countries there are homogenous cultures, there are also places where different cultures mix and live together. The work of our foundation is made more meaningful through research into how love, peace and tranquility -- the aims of life -- can be established in such places, and what sorts of activities exist to pursue these aims, how they are run and what possibilities exist for collaboration in this field. Through our various activities, these differences with an interest in one another are able to see each other from a closer distance through mutual visits, meetings and trips. These comings and goings that we call “Steps in Dialogue” naturally result in new projects for a life of stability and peace. It can be seen frequently during visits like this that different groups whom we think subconsciously “won’t even sit at the same table together” are running toward the same reality on common ground. Nobody says that anywhere is too far; our foundation has seen heavy traffic from visitors coming from Australia, Korea, India, China, the US, France, Germany, Italy,



Foundation President Mustafa Yeşil received South African guests.

Belgium, Africa, Russia and the Caucasus, and at the same time organizes trips and tours for groups of journalists, academicians and people from other segments of Turkish society to these countries and continents.

A Comment on Dialogue from Germans: Love and Tolerance is a Common Platform Above Religions 09.22.2009 A group of clerics and dialogue volunteers visited our foundation during the “Christian-Muslim Rendezvous Journey” trip to Istanbul sponsored by the BRUCKE-KÖPRÜ establishment, which runs dialogue activities between Christians and Muslims in Germany’s Nuremburg. Following a briefing on the foundation by Vice President Cemal Uşak and Intercultural Dialogue Platform General Coordinator Ahmet Muharrem Atlığ, the views and recommendations of the guests were solicited. In the concretization of work to establish a foundation for societal peace, the messages given being clear and understandable are of a considerable, determinant importance. Hans-Martin Gloel, group leader and also a worker of Brüke-Köprü, made the following statement on the issue: “The realization of these efforts, the coming together of many people from different religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and their showing respect to one another requires a concept that encompasses and supersedes their religions, cultures and races. And this is the God that everyone believes in. Love is a platform that brings everyone together.”

Business proposals from Senegal 08.25.2009 Presidential Aid Moustapha Ndiaye, who coordinates major investments made in Senegal, was in Turkey to establish official contacts. He also paid a visit to our foundation to receive information about dialogue and tolerance activities. Our guest was received by Abant Platform Secretary-General

Senegal Presidential Advisor Moustapha Ndiaye wanted youth from Senegal to be educated in Turkey.

Journalists Activities and Writers Foundation

60 Salih Yaylacı and provided with general information about our foundation by the platform’s project coordinator, Mustafa Kasım Erol. Evaluating current events in Turkey, Moustapha Ndiaye emphasized his perception of democracy in the country with an example: “I can understand the rigidity in the understanding of laicism of the old generation, but the new generation needs to finally understand that there is a need for change. Everyone must be granted the right to live freely. Even though 96 percent of the population is Muslim, the president of Senegal is a Christian. Even this shows that we are a free democracy.” In particular, Moustapha Ndiaye recommended the establishment of a platform just to address this issue. Concrete proposals also arose from the visit; Moustapha Ndiaye said that they commended the educational quality of Turkish schools in Senegal, and expressed a desire to bring this quality to their own schools. In order to accomplish this, they want to send Senegalese youth to Turkey to receive education and training in areas needed to assess what’s lacking in Senegal, such as pedagogy, he said.

Russian Students Should Complete Internships in Turkey 08.19.2009 Academicians from Petersburg traveling to İstanbul to observe work in the fields of media and communications in Turkey first-hand said that they wanted to send their students to Turkey. Journalist and Petersburg State University Communications Department faculty member Valeriy Dzantemiroviç Takazov paid a visit to the Medialog Platform.

Due to the “Dialogue Steps” visits some parties of whom it has been said, “they will never come together,” have broadened their fields of work and adopted ideas based on tolerance.

Academician Valery Dzantemirovich Takazov from Petersburg wanted his students to have internships in Turkey.


61 The media have a great role in the normalization of relations between Russia and Turkey, Takazov said, expressing a desire to work on collaborative projects with the Medialog Platform. Saying that students from his department had been sent to Europe and the US for internships but that it was also very important for them to participate in internship programs in Turkey, the Russian academician said that they had requested the assistance of the Medialog Platform in this regard. Medialog Platform Secretary-Genral Erkam Tufan Aytav said that they were extremely pleased to receive the Russians in Turkey, and that they were open to all forms of cooperation.

Japanese Courtesy 06.16.2008

The weather was rainy and the sun was hidden behind the clouds. Lines from Marguerite Duras’ “Hiroshima mon amor” (Hiroshima My Love) came to mind: “Woman: Does the sun never rise in Hiroshima? Man: The sun never rises in Hiroshima.” How can that be in the “Land of the Rising Sun”? And isn’t it true that “Ex oriente lux” (the sun rises in the east)? That’s certainly so. But it’s clear that Duras is referencing Hiroshima’s “Sunless Days.” That is to say, those bleak August days in 1945.

Seeing lives destroyed by war in Japan being revived with love pushes people into an atmosphere full of hope.

We were in Japan. Even if in a Japanese folk song the words “let’s fly to İstanbul” are said, we had flown to Hiroshima through an international meeting; as guests of the Arigato Foundation which focuses on the problems facing the world’s children. We were able to visit four other cities outside of Hiroshima. Through this, we tried to get to know this beautiful country which had left those bloody World War II days behind. We saw with our

They say, “The sun never rises in Hiroshima,” but we witnessed in the “Land of the Sun” that the sun always rises. This sun is reflected as smiles on the faces of the people.

Journalists Activities and Writers Foundation

62 own eyes how a country devastated by atomic bombs had transformed itself into a modern and prosperous nation. People virtually keep their voices to a minimum level in order to avoid disturbing one another. At every occasion, with an amiable bow they express their respect to one another. It’s impossible to forget the waiter who bends his knees while presenting the bill; or the ticket-collector who, while checking tickets, makes a note to come back to the passenger sleeping beside me so as not to disturb him, and goes out of his way to bow in greeting to every person who enters or exits the wagon. Cemal Uşak (Intercultural Dialogue Platform Secretary-General)

Northern Iraq Trip Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2007 The trip, attended by Amberin Zaman, Mustafa Akyol, Ferhat Kentel and Akif Emre, began in Arbil, the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region. Talip Büyük, general manager of the Işık High Schools opened there by the Fezalar Educational Company, gave our briefed our group on the schools. The first of the schools was opened in 1994, and they now had a total of eight schools in Arbil and Kirkuk. A total of 206 teachers are serving at the schools; 95 from Turkey and 111 from Northern Iraq. Deans from the Ukraine visited our foundation for the purpose of “Education, science, the state and intellectual integration.”

Those scholars who believe that the future will rise on the shoulders of educated youth are sure that love will give this belief action.

At the schools, which were educating 2,228, 599 graduates from such backgrounds like Kurdish, Turkmen, Assyrian, Christian, Muslim and Kildani had all received their education together. School officials said there was great local interest in the schools, and that parents were practically competing with one another to enroll their children there. An official from the KDP said: “The schools have communicated the image that Turkey is not an enemy. Others had hurt us. These schools mended our wounds. It was a form of compassion.” Erkam Tufan Aytav (Medialog Platform Secretary-General)

A meaningful message from Ukrainian rectors: “The Future will be built with love” 10.18.2007 Rectors coming from Ukraine’s Ternopil, Odessa and Prikarpatya regions expressed important messages during their visit to our foundation. By means of the traditional “Education, science, state and intellectual integration” conference organized for 10 years in Ukraine, the rectors had come to İstanbul to sign educational agreements with universities in Turkey. They emphasized the fact that bilateral relations between the two nations must also progress in the field of education and benefit from relevant experiences. Receiving a briefing on the foundation’s work, the rectors took particular interest in the Dialogue Eurasia magazine published in Eurasia. They expressed hopes that the magazine, which they found considerably successful in terms of its publication policy, rich content and design, would be published in Ukranian as well. Giving information about the magazine, Foundation


63 President Tokak emphasized the importance that educators and scientists played in societal life. Ternopil State University Vice Rector Ribak Timofiy Teofan Ivanovic said that he was greatly affected by hearing about the foundation’s work, saying: “There are many things that Ukraine and Turkey have to share with each other, in terms of both education and culture. For 10 years in Ukraine we’ve been debating over educational issues, and in this field we have benefitted from Turkey’s experiences.” The rector, expressing hopes that the visit would be remembered meaningfully, had a message for humanity as well: “The future will be established with love.”

Australia Impressions 11.30.2007 Avustralya’ya Kültürlerarası Diyalog Merkezi’nin davetlisi olarak geldik. TaWe came to Australia upon the invitation of the Intercultural Dialogue Center. Of course there were others who had come from Turkey as well. Academicians, parliamentarians and journalists: Prof. Nazif Gürdoğan, Prof. Ahmet Güç, Dr. Abdurrahman Kurt, Prof. Recep Kaymakcan, Prof. Hüseyin Algül, Prof. Abdullah Özbek, Prof. Yusuf Ziya İrbeç (a deputy from Antalya), Prof. Suat Yıldırım, Prof. Alparslan Açıkgenç, Prof. Hüseyin Elmalı, Prof. Şerif Tekalan, Prof. Doğu Ergil, Prof. Vahit Kirişçi (a deputy from Adana), Mahmut Övür. The program began with a visit by the state governor… Following that, we toured the parliament building. Then, we were guests at the Australia Police Department building. The Police Chief’s sincere words were attentiongrabbing: “You all also know, when a new police chief is appointed somewhere, the first people to pay them a visit are generally those involved in illegal work. As they have to maintain good ties with the law, they come to visit. This is the same everywhere… When the Turks first came to visit us, we wondered, ‘They must also have some expectation or are up to some sort of no good.’ But it turned out they were from the Australia Intercultural Dialogue Center and had come to introduce themselves and give us firsthand information about themselves. Honestly, we were really surprised. It was the first time that had happened to us. Later, we became close friends. Our friendship grows with each passing day.” Our main reason for coming here is the opening of a seat at a university. Australia Catholic University is one of Australia’s well respected universities. Three years ago, the university senate decided to establish an Islamic Sciences Chair, and after some research, decided from amongst a number of candidates to name it after Fethullah Gülen. Victoria Governor Professor David de Kretser, who conducted the opening, is also an academician. Australia Catholic University Rector Professor Peter W. Sheen and the university faculty members are almost ready. Australian

The Islamic Studies Chair established by the Australia Catholic University was given the name of Fethullah Gülen.

The trust that is tested in reciprocal visits is opening the door to new projects; the institutes that have been founded are turning into international hearths of knowledge.

Journalists andActivities Writers Foundation


Reflections in Hearts

parliamentarians… Top-level administrators from the Melbournce Police Department… The Catholic community’s spiritual leader and other Australians… And there are also many Turkish citizens in the hall. Upon entering the room one immediately feels the friendly atmosphere and warmth; it is as if everyone is being embraced by a warm welcome. One person sitting beside me leans over and whispers, upon taking in the scene, “This is an extraordinary scene! Something serious is happening here.” Faruk Tuncer (Dr., Journalists and Writers Foundation Research Center Director)

Jon Cantrell (USA) I would like to thank you for the kindness and hospitality that you showed me and my wife, Theresa, during my trip to Turkey. I’m a longtime defender of interfaith dialogue, but your activities showed me that all of us need to commit to dialogue and communication. Not just for introducing the East and West, but in order to nurture all of mankind and perpetuate the existence of future generations. What I would like to say to each of you is this: Continue on the path of sharing with all people the peace and goodness, interfaith dialogue and the incredible experience that I had with you and with the people of Turkey. You all have renewed my belief in the innate goodness of all people. You have inspired me to share the kindness, mercy, humility and wisdom of Fethullah Gülen and the Turkish people. I will never again hide behind a curtain of apathy or ignorance with regard to my stance toward believers. And I will always know that we belong to one world, one type and one God. May God protect each and every one of you. General Secretary of IDP Muharrem Atlığ gave Bosnian guests gifts as tokens of friendship.

Judith A. Dye Dear friends in Turkey, I’ve been home in Nebraska for a week. I think of you all frequently. I want to thank you once again for the generosity and hospitality that you showed me. You really put our small group up well. Many people are asking about my trip to Turkey. I’ve told them all about the wonderful experience that I had. I spoke about many things that I experienced in your homes, schools, at your tables and discussion groups. Now, I’m writing articles for a local newspaper. There’s so much to tell! I’m trying not to explain everything all at once. This fall, I’m going to present my photographs and memoirs along with a PowerPoint presentation. I look at the pictures and I remember… I see your faces and I smile…

The Northern Iraq trip of Turkish reporters.

May God be with you.


65 Kyoki Hello Turkey, I want to express my deepest feelings of gratitude for the extraordinary experience I had in Turkey. I didn’t know anything about your country before. I’m happy to have spent time with you, visit your mosques, share your morning and evening meals, visit your schools and dorms and see the incredible beauties of your country. I want you to know that, as a Buddhist priest, it would not have been possible for me to make this trip without the generosity of each of you and especially the West Pennsylvania Cultural Center. I’ve begun my reading, and I want to thank everyone who shared with me their books and brochures. I loved the stories. During my prayers, my mind is constantly busy with thoughts of you. I’ve returned to my home and temple near Pittsburgh and I’m now on a one-month vacation. Unfortunately this means that I haven’t yet been able to share my stories with many people. At the same time this means that I fear that as I sit here quietly they will, like bubbles inside of me, fly off and escape.

Kyoki “I am happy to be with you, to go to your mosques, to share your breakfasts and dinners, to visit your schools and dormitories and to see unbelievably beautiful country - Turkey.”

Your gracefulness has given me both great mirth and deep peace of mind. With love.

Gerry Straub, Gerard Thomas Straub, SFO, President & CEO My trip to Turkey through the Interfaith Dialogue Institute was a profound experience. I can’t stop myself from thinking about this journey. Our plans are ongoing to create a film that relates the importance of interfaith dialogue. Of course, our biggest problem is financing. We’re currently amidst presenting a major offer to a relevant establishment. Attached you can find the latest draft of the film we’ve named “Servitude to the Same God.” We learned many things from our Muslim friends, and we are thankful to them for the opportunity for us to learn about their faith and discover the ways in which Islam can make us better Christians. With today’s global conditions, the continuation of our existence is tied to our capability of listening to one another and learning from one another, to the respect that we will foster for one another, and even our loving one another. With love.

Mahmut Altınzencir, President of the Frohsinn Förderkreis Association, Germany We regard it a duty to express to you our happiness in the face of your showing us a wonderful example of Turkish hospitality during the April 22, 2006 visit we paid to your institution. Our German guests with whom we visited your institution expressed to us repeatedly words of praise regarding this hospitality. We would like to present our thanks to the esteemed officials who dealt with us and to those who had a hand in the delicious foods given to us. Respectfully.

Project Coordinator of ABANT Platform Kasım Erol explained the purpose of dialogue to German students.

Publications Journalists and Writers Foundation



Books Cultures develop through the nourishment of the civilizations they belong to. The points of view and stances with regard to the meaning of life and its essence that are created herein have a role as important as

Publishing the original and translation of books of thinkers whose ideas related to dialogue and tolerance we have benefitted from, particularly speeches and meeting notes from the Abant Meetings, enables them to reach a broader reading audience.



that of any technological product. Our foundation takes great care in focusing on the publishing of works of idea -- books -- that will constitute bearers of civilization. For a book is the first and soundest resource when it comes to the deep, intimate examination of the understandings and ideas of the civilization it belongs to. The fact that the geography in which we live has hosted multicultural and multi-faith ancient civilizations since the beginning of history makes it mandatory for ideas to be bound into books in the name of dialogue and togetherness. For this reason publishing the ideas, in particular of those of our intellectuals who concern themselves with civilization and societal life and publishing in book form the relevant events being held are at the top of our publishing priority list. Beginning with the bulletins and meeting notes from the Abant Meetings, we have in the name of dialogue and tolerance made use of the ideas of men of letters, publishing their books in their original languages and in translation to ensure the delivery of their messages to a wider audience of readers.

JournalistsWhat and They WritersSay Foundation


Turkısh Prıme Mınıster Recep Tayyip Erdoğan:


he Dialogue Eurasia Platform is conducting important efforts with regard to rebuilding the bridges between the Eurasian societies, which share similar historical adventures, and development forwardlooking perspectives. I believe that the advantages of coming together for mutual benefit and unifying our strength will emerge here.

Turkısh Armenıan Orthodox Communıty Representatıve Sahak Maşalyan:


eligion ensures the continuation and application of moral values. World leaders revolve around the penalty and reward system established by the dynamics of religious morals. In religious terrorism, some minorities that become members of larger groups refer to their minority status by saying that they have “been able to survive” and define themselves as “more valuable” because they are in the minority. Turkey’s Marmara Unıversıty Dıvınıty Faculty Professor Ömer Faruk Harman:


ow is it that while on one hand great pains are being taken to preserve the religion of the Prophet Job, while on the other hand a man can kill defenseless people unflinchingly? The common points of the Abrahamic religions must be emphasized, internalized and brought to the fore; in this regard, a heavy duty falls upon the shoulders of religious community leaders. Amerıca’s Unıversıty of Wısconsın faculty member Professor Kemal Karpat:


ere different worlds come together but there’s no respect for ideas. In this sense, the Abant Platform is a very important step for Turkey. Even if nothing else was accomplished, the mere gathering of so many people from such different worlds and engaging them in discussion is in itself quite an event.

What They Say


Chıef Rabbı of the Turkısh Jewısh Communıty ıshak Haleva:


here’s nothing more to be said or added to the wonderful picture that has emerged from these meetings. I’m sure that [as far as God is concerned, His thoughts on the matter are as such]: This is exactly what I wanted. You all have to share love with each other, hand in hand and heart to heart.

Former Ukraınıan Secretary of State Yury Sergeyev:


he peoples living in the Eurasian geography do not know each other well enough. Due to advancements in today’s telecommunications fields, international dialogue can be accomplished with greater ease. The development of cultural knowledge amongst the Eurasian publics is of serious importance for the Eurasian states.

Russıan academıcıan Professor Leonıd Sukıyaınen:


f we put our focus not on materialistic values, but more on spiritual values, culture and morals, then we will be able to make important contributions. Religion, spiritual and moral values are a source of primary importance not just for Russia or Turkey, but for all of the other Dialogue Eurasia member nations as well.

Former Azerbaıjanı Presıdent Haydar Aliyev:


he story of how the DA magazine first began is very important. In order for us to grow closer, we have to accomplish big things. The DA magazine is capable of accomplishing such big things. Dialogue and mutual understanding must take the forefront in the globalizing world.

JournalistsWhat and They WritersSay Foundation


Kyrgyzstan Secretary of State Adahan Madumarov:


ialogue Eurasia’s mission is for us a state mission. It makes us exceedingly happy to be walking down the same path.

Patrıarch Bartholomew I:


e set out on the road in the field of dialogue in order to increase the nation’s prosperity and contribute to world peace; as is said in the Republic’s 10th Year March, we set out. Ten years ago, the man who came up with this idea, the Honorable Fethullah Gülen, was amongst us. I extend my greetings to him with respect and feelings of friendship. Turkısh Dırectorate of Relıgıous Affaırs Presıdent Professor Ali Bardakoğlu:


n the present day, when the unlimited spread of secularization has left deep wounds on humanity, there is a need for the call to peace and tolerance of the religion of the Oneness of God.

Vatıcan Embassy ın Turkey Former Istanbul Representatıve Monsıgneur Georges Marovıtch:


he picture that emerges from the activities of these platforms is amazing. I’m actually saddened [by one aspect of this all], because the architect of these wonderful meetings, Hocaefendi Fethullah Gülen, isn’t here amongst us. I pray for him every day. I put a photograph of him in between the pages of one of my prayer books. Even if I’m asleep, I know that God will protect him.

Journalists And Writers Foundation  

Journalists And Writers Foundation

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