Erdogan fights for emblem symbols and Islamic relics

To the scandal between the UAE and Turkey

Stanislav Tarasov, December 22, 2017, 14:35 – REGNUM

Between the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, a scandal develops with sharp plots and a serious geopolitical background. It all started with the fact that UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan mentioned on his Twitter page how in 1916 one of the Ottoman commanders, Fahreddin Pasha, plundered the treasury and stole the manuscripts in Medina. Gasoline was poured into the fire by one of the readers of the minister, who supplemented his information with the following: in addition to the stolen treasury and ancient texts, the Turks took from Medina “captive” to Istanbul many residents of the holy for all Muslims of the city, which at that time was part of the Ottoman Empire now belongs to Saudi Arabia).

This is an episode that is well known to historians. Indeed, in 1916-1918 in the Ottoman Empire an Arab uprising flared up, which was carried out under the control and even by the leadership of the famous British intelligence agent Thomas Lawrence. Earlier, Emir Abdulaziz Ibn Saud subdued the central regions of Arabia, declaring the desire to unite the Arab lands in one state. This region has always had a special significance for Muslims, since here are the sacred cities of Mecca and Medina. The Arabs of Arabia believed that the Osman dynasty had lost its rights to the Caliphate, and now only the descendant of the Prophet Muhammad should become a caliph and unite the Arab-Muslim world.
In 1916, negotiations were held between London and Paris on the post-war partition of the Ottoman Empire’s heritage. They went down in history by the names of the main negotiators – the Englishman Sykes and the Frenchman Pico. In accordance with the concluded agreement, the entire territory of the Asian part of Turkey was to be divided into several zones indicating the sphere of influence – Britain, France – or transfer under international control. Arabia was in the control zone of London. Ottoman Turks aspired to hold at all costs Medina, the burial place of the Prophet, where the commander of the expeditionary corps in Hijaz, General Fahreddin Pasha. The commander allowed only the wounded to leave the city, sending numerous Islamic relics to Istanbul with them. Only on January 9, 1919, the nine thousandth garrison of Medina laid down arms.

So the Foreign Minister of the UAE did not distort historical facts. But here is how the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted to his words. He stated that “Fahreddin Pasha did not steal anything from Medina, but defended the city and fought against its occupants during the war”. From a formal point of view, Erdogan did not distort the historical truth either. However, the Turkish president introduced a nuance of principle in assessing the situation, stating that “the Ottoman Turks defended the Islamic world, while the Arabs beat in the back,” going over to the side of the British, “yielding to their promises of independence from the Ottomans.” The Turks have a very common idea that the Arabs betrayed the Turks, having listened to the English, and because of this the Ottoman Empire collapsed.
Similarly, Ankara, by the way, explains the brutal extermination of Armenians on the territory of the Ottoman Empire in 1915. Current Turkish historians believe that the Ottoman Sultan as a Caliph was supposed to protect the Muslim relics, which Fakhraddin Pasha did. In our opinion, such judgments have their own logic, although in the subsequent time the battle for these relics between the Republican Turkey and the Arab states created on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, especially Saudi Arabia, if any, was of a muted nature. And suddenly now everything began to get out. From time to time, in some Arab publications, there are demands to return Islamic artifacts located in Istanbul museums, which are of great historical value for them. It also mentions the mummified, silvered “hand of the Prophet” in the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul.

What’s the matter? In our opinion, we need to talk about the erosion of Turkey’s recently proclaimed doctrine of neo-Ottomanism, which presupposed the restoration of Ankara’s influence almost within the territories of the entire Ottoman Empire, an attempt to expose itself as the main leader in the Middle East and the “sole fighter” for the Islamic heritage. Therefore, the possession of Islamic relics is regarded as one of the arguments in favor of the formation of a “new caliphate.” As Muslim theologians consider, this contradicts the “spirit of the Sunnah.” Although the cult of Islamic relics is gradually gaining strength, which, however, refers to the relics of all religions, and not just Islam.


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