The concepts of East and South-east signify a geographical region
and direction in our minds. However, they mark in our ideological and political
lives different areas. Our country is an important part of the Middle East, which
is one of the bloodiest regions of the world. In the Eastern and South-eastern regions
of our land occur many turbulent events in recent years. Furthermore, the rise of
deadlock concerning these two regions draws our attention to this problem.
Some people think that South-eastern question is an issue of the
backwardness and human rights, for some others it is a component of the crisis in
the Middle East. However, the recent denomination of the issue as "Kurdish Question"
displays different thresholds. To discuss the South-eastern problem will bring together
various issues as "nation-state, nationalims, Middle East, terror, education, religion".
In addition to these, many other issues as "regional backwarness, the inequity in
income distribution, landholding system" can be discussed around this issue. While
trying to find solutions to such complicated issues, the ultimate reasons lying
in the historical background should not be forgotten and the cultural values, beliefs,
socio-economic and socio-psychological conditions in this region should be considered
Bediüzzaman's approach in this issue and his arguments for solutions
are very important since he is acquainted with the internal dynamic of this region
in individual and social level. Hundred years ago, Bediüzzaman came to Istanbul
to draw attention to the problems of this region and to find permanent solutions
for them. The current situation as not having permanent solutions for the problems
in the regions shows us both the profundity of the issue, on the one hand; and that
unawareness of Bediüzzaman's experience. Thus, Bediüz-zaman's attempts to produce
a number of solutions based on the religious, historical, socio-cultural and socio-psychological
realities are very noteworthy: he blocked ethnic discussions while emphasizing the
"Islam nationality", he remarked the possibility of a peaceful coexistence or different
trends and groups with special reference to the unifying function of religion, he
targeted the essence of the issue while preparing educational projects.
Another considerable point is that this issue may be one of the
possible heads on the way to EU for Turkey. It seems not to be possible to consider
the "South-Eastern Question" apart from the dimension of "democratization process".
This question should be discussed under the normative frame of rule of law even
though the "terror" dimension complicated the circumstances.
Bearing all of these in mind, we determined the dossier subject
in or 98th issue as "Ethnic Problems in South-east and Solution Approachs". We planned
to discuss the issue under the conceptual framework of "East, South-East, Middle
East, nation-state, nationalism, terror, Turk-Kurd, meta-identity, sub-identity,
citizenship, education, religion, language, rule of law, democratization, European
Union" and ask the following questions:
What is the South-Eastern problem essentially? In which direction
should some cultural and political solutions be undertaken? What are the general
reasons in the continuation of the problems in this region during the Republican
Period? What are the impacts of the nation-state structure, authoritarian approaches
and attitudes upon the region which have been implemented since the establishment
of the Republic? What are the consequences of the the politics substitution of religion
with the phonemona of nation? What can be the main reasons of terror in this region?
How can we analyze this region sociologically? What are the characteristic features
of this region? Is there a real Kurdish question, or is this issue an artificial
political issue to serve some other benefits? What can be the socio-economic and
political results of the Kurdish-Turkish polarization and conflict? How should we
analyze the receipt of "art, knowledge, alliance" suggested by Bediüzzaman against
the diseases of "ignorance, necessity, conflict"? What is the regional significance
of the project of "Medresetü’z-zehra" which is a university model merging religious
and natural sciences into each other proposed by Bediüzzaman after considering socio-cultural
structure of the region? At this point, how can we overcome the burden of the discussions
on language? What is the role and importance of religion for the regions considering
the high religiosity of the regional population? What kind of measures could be
taken to pass the problem of the mutual insensitivity between the population and
governors in this region which is shown as one of the most important reasons of
disquiet in the region? How will the EU process influence this issue? What is the
significance of the actualization of rule of law at this point?
We believe that our authors try to give persuasive answers to these
questions to find some ways for the solution of this problem. This dossier will
provide with important expansions for our intellectual world and for those who are
dealing to solve this problem. One of the common point stressed by the authors in
this issue is the irrelevancy of the official nationalism and "laicism" policies
practiced until today. We need to benefit from the historical and religious experiences
of Kurds and Turks on their centuries long success in peaceful coexistence. Some
new policies should be executed to achieve the fusion of state and population in
this region while considering those experiences. For this sake, the most important
step for solution should be directed towards "democracy".
We hope to meet you again in our 99th issue with the dossier subject
of "The Religion, State, Politics and Social Relations in Public Sphere".