|From left to right: Former Minister Prof. Dr. Shimon Shetreet, Turkish Muslim Spiritual Leader Mr. Adnan Oktar, MK Rabbi Nissim Zeev. Photo Credit: Sinem Tezyapar|
Source: The Jewish Press
By Sinem Tezyapar
Since the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident there have been many behind the scenes efforts to calm political tensions.
On Sunday, two days ahead of the Israeli elections, Turkish and Israeli politicians made an appearance on Turkish television A9 TV, and expressed the necessity of solving the problems between their two nations with love, friendship and brotherhood.
The Israeli delegation was composed of a founding member of the Shas Party, MK Rabbi Nissim Zeev, former Minister Prof. Dr. Shimon Shetreet, and Shas Secretary Rabbi Tsvi Jacobson.
The Turkish group included a founding member of the AK party, former Turkish Foreign Minister and Ambassador Prof. Dr. Yasar Yakis, Former Minister of Health, Halil Sivgin, and former AK Party Member of Parliament Mucahit Daloglu.
The AK PARTİ or AKP, the Justice and Development Party, is an Islamic-leaning center-right conservative party, the largest in Turkey—with 327 members of parliament. Its leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is the current Prime Minister, while fellow former party member and PM Abdullah Gül is President. (In Turkish, Ak also means white.)
The meeting was hosted by Mr. Adnan Oktar, a prominent Turkish-Muslim scholar, who is embraced as a spiritual leader across the Turkic and Muslim world.
Since the Mavi Marmara incident of May 31, 2010—when Israeli Navy forces blocked a six-boat flotilla headed for Gaza and a confrontation on board the Turkish boat Mavi Marmara resulted in the death of 9—there have been many behind the scenes efforts to calm political tensions and reinforce the bilateral relationship between Turkey and Israel.
Political and religious leaders were invited to Turkey to have both private and public meetings under the auspices of Mr. Adnan Oktar. During the last three years, many politicians and esteemed Rabbis visited Istanbul, not just to express their desire to see Turkey and Israel as good friends, but also to develop the relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims in the Middle East to a new level. Among them was former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Knesset Speaker MK Reuven Rivlin, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, and Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar.
Lately these meetings have become platforms to bringing Turkish and Israeli politicians together so that they can discuss their expectations and mutual good intentions face to face in a warm atmosphere and in the spirit of brotherhood.
Here are some highlight from the latest TV appearance of Turkish and Israeli politicians:
Israel and Turkey have always had a longstanding friendship, ever since the time of the Ottomans. They have always loved each other and always protected and watched over for each other. This has always been like this and will always be like this. From time to time, we might have some slight breezes, but there will never be a fall out in the basis of our friendship. Very beautiful, very nice, very pleasant days are very imminent, insha’Allah…
Israel and Turkey will forge an alliance as strong as steel and bring peace, love and tranquility to the region and put an end to terror and anarchy… [Within the great unity that will be formed] every state will be independent, both in their domestic affairs and in their international affairs. Yet there will be a complete alliance in regard to love, in regard to affection, friendship and brotherhood. We will see the sons of the Prophet Israel, the sons of the Prophet Jacob in Jordan and in Egypt; we will see them everywhere. We will see that they will be living freely everywhere in the world and also in that region. That is because the wars will come to an end. The conflicts will come to an end, passport requirements will be lifted, visa requirements will be lifted. Unnecessary tensions would weaken us. Friendship and love would strengthen us. Allah wants love from us and we will, insha’Allah, abide by this command of Allah.
… This century is the century of deliverance. There is no other time anyway. We have entered the time that has been heralded in the Torah. In the Qur’an, in the 55th verse of the Surat An-Nur, Almighty Allah says that the whole world will be saved. And in the Torah, when we look at it, we see that it is stated at length that we’ve entered the time of the Maschiah. For that reason our hearts should be completely at ease. These developments, these portents, are both the portents of the appearance of the Mashiach and the portents of love and peace prevailing in the world… Democracy and liberty will come to everywhere. Science and arts will prevail everywhere. After a while we will do away with the weapons as well, there will be no weapons, there will be no wars. We will go to Jerusalem to have dinner and we will go have our dinner in Tehran the next night, the next day we will go to Algeria and have discourses in Casablanca during dinner. Allah has given the whole world to us insha’Allah. We will all together see those beautiful days by the will of Allah. Almighty Allah has given a glad tiding to the children of the Prophet Jacob (pbuh), to the children of the Prophet Abraham (pbuh) in the Qur’an. We all are the children of the Prophet Abraham (pbuh), we all are.
… All these problems between Turkey and Israel will calm down, all of them would be solved. All of them are transient, I mean in a very short period of time these will all be solved. Turkey and Israel will make the whole region become more devout, more prosperous and they will strive to attain widespread democracy, human rights, compassion, love and affections. We will turn the region into a more beautiful place than Europe, insha’Allah. There won’t be any wars or dissension. We will do away with those walls in Israel, you know those stone walls. You will be very comfortable, insha’Allah. We will see you in Jordan, in Turkey, all around, insha’Allah. Israel will always be there. There is a verse in the Qur’an. It is the command of Almighty Allah. You will be there, that is the abode of your ancestors. You know, those people who say “You should go and leave!” they are being disrespectful. Do not mind them at all. We love you and we want to see you in that region. All through that 4,000 years of history you were there, you were there in the time of the Prophet Abraham (pbuh), you were there after that. That is the land Allah deemed suitable for you. Almighty Allah wants you to live there. We will live altogether in unity and in joy. We will have our dinner in Jordan in the places the Prophet Moses (pbuh) ate. We will go to Egypt and have our meals in the places where the Prophet Moses (pbuh) had his discourses. These fights are all artificial, they are all completely invalid.
… Once we fill everywhere with brotherhood and love, the rest is easy. When one has his friend, his beloved one by his side, he would have eyes only for affection. The Prophet Abraham (pbuh) received guests he did not know at all and he had a calf slaughtered and had yoghurt brought as well and laid down a most perfect table for them. The Prophet Abraham (pbuh) did not have any personal interest in that. The Prophet Abraham (pbuh) was generous, he never made fine calculations. He resigned himself to Allah.
… The important thing is that there is love. The properties of this world will remain in this world, we do not need the properties of this world. Let there be rejoicing, let there be love, let there a festive air, let there be affection and that would be enough for us. That is what we live for. Loving Allah is important, living for Allah is important, doing things that Allah would be pleased with and feeling the happiness of that is important. If the name of Allah is uttered in enthusiasm let all the wealth we have be spent, it all belongs to Allah anyway. The important thing is to attain this beauty. Look what the Torah says, Zechariah 7:99; “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.” Proverbs 16:6 “Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord -through the fear of Allah- evil is avoided“. The same is in the Qur’an. “But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice…” Hosea 12:6. So that means the goal is love… When we abide by the stipulations of the Qur’an, when we abide by the stipulations of the Torah, it is apparent that we will be living very well. Keep your hearts at ease. Both the children of the Prophet Abraham and the children of the Prophet Isaac and the children of the Prophet Ishmael, those are the children of the Prophet Jacob, we are all living very closely, we are together. All these are transient. You will, insha’Allah, see that the Mavi Marmara incident will be solved in the coming days. We’ve been receiving very good news one after the other… We want peace, friendship, democracy, goodness. We want to become prosperous all together and we want to live a beautiful life all together. That is what we want.
Knesset Member Rabbi Nissim Zeev:
Turkish President Gül, in a recent interview said that Turkey should carry out “virtuous power”. This means that it is “a power that gives priority to the safeguarding of human rights and interests of all the human beings.” Now in Hebrew. If Turkey becomes a virtuous power, this would make Turkey an admirable role model. Turkey’s goal as a “virtuous power” could start with the peace process in the Middle East. I suggest that Turkey could take the lead in helping to achieve peace in the Middle East by assuring the human rights of all the people of the Middle East. I am appealing to the Turkish people and the government of Turkey to adopt President Gul’s idea of “virtuous power” and to return to the historic friendship and alliance between the Jewish people and the people of Turkey which begins in Harran with the Prophet Abraham and to help us bring peace in the Middle East which will be a model for the whole world. We have come to Istanbul to work together with our Turkish colleagues through the cordial hospitality and courageous initiative of Mr. Adnan Oktar to find ways to return to the historic friendship and alliance between Israel and Turkey. It is only through this historic relationship that we can together bring peace to all the people of the Middle East… We need you. We need a person like you that he has the power and to make the realization of friendship between Turkey and Israel and is good for all the countries in the Middle East. I really thank you again for the work you do.
Former Minister Prof. Dr. Shimon Shetreet:
I was very impressed by your quotation from the Bible about love, about peace, about unity. And I think the vision of the prophets in the Bible should be the basis of the dream that you’ve just described. The dream of creating a better world for us, a better world for our children and particularly a better world and better relations for our two great ancient nations; the Turkish nation and the nation of Israel. And I agree and I share the view of my good colleague that led the discussion today of our dialogue; that we should look to the future. There were negative events, but we should not deal with them too much, we should look to the future and we should see the challenges as opportunities for creating better relations, a better infrastructure for cooperation. And I think what you are doing in emphasizing peace and love and cooperation and unity and positive, not negative things, and helping the other gives us hope and without hope it is not possible to live. With hope there is a great chance for us to build the good world that we need… We have to practice love, cooperation and I want to add that the world was better because of dreamers like you that have dreams. Dreams of peace, dreams of cooperation, dreams of a better world, dreams of electricity, dreams of computers. So I think that we ask you to continue to dream and to continuously show us good dreams that we and others have to practice and materialize.
Former Turkish Foreign Minister Mr. Yasar Yakis:
… When Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent had the wall built around Jerusalem, he had the following inscription engraved on a stone on one of the entrance gates; “La ilaha illa Allah, Ibrahim habibullah.” Instead of “La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammad ar-Rasul Allah (There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of God),” seeing that Jerusalem is the center of all religions and they all come from the religion of the Prophet Abraham, he used a statement that embraces all three religions that we know to be the Abrahamic religions, divine religions equally by saying “La ilaha illa Allah, İbrahim Habibullah (There is no god but Allah, Abraham is beloved of Allah)”, by saying Abraham is a very much loved servant of Allah. Consequently, I believe that this short statement expresses the approach that should prevail in the future, both in respect of the status of Jerusalem, and of other places within the region.
About the Author: Sinem Tezyapar is an executive producer at A9 TV, broadcasting from Turkey, Istanbul. She is a political and religious commentator and a peace activist.