President Abdullah Gul warned the Muslim world on Friday of the possibility of facing the darkness of the Middle Ages as Europe once did if interest-based beliefs are combined with sectarian identity politics following the Arab Spring Today`s Zaman reported.
“Will a renaissance that enjoys peace and prosperity or a regional era of recession in which people will be subjected to new troubles as a result of regional rivalries start at the end of this process in the 21st century?” the president asked the audience while delivering the keynote speech at the fourth İstanbul Forum organized by the Center for Strategic Communication (STRATİM).
According to the Gul, no country, society or sect will benefit from such an era, as he called the intra-civilizational clash a “disaster scenario” which would be worse than a clash of civilizations.
Gul said there is no dilemma between Islam and democracy and a pluralist rule, in which all faiths and cultures can find space for themselves, appeals to everyone. However, he said, “In no country was there a transition to a pluralist democracy overnight,” as he added that a process to establish democracy in any given society is necessary.
President Gul also referred to his landmark speech at the ministers of foreign affairs meeting of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in 2003, well before the people’s movements in the Arab world were ignited, in which he called on the Arab world to put its house in order. “I had directed attention to the need for change in the region in my 2003 speech,” he noted.
Gul urges for exit strategy in Syria
The president also called for a political exit strategy in Syria to be initiated by the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and Syria’s neighbors to end what he called a proxy war in Syria.
Gul said an earlier-planned Geneva II peace conference should convene with extensive preparations so as not to leave any room for diplomatic ambiguity as was the case with the first one. According to Gul, the first Geneva meeting failed because it faced tactical struggles without any sanctions or a timetable.