What does it mean for people to attain awareness?
Let us seek the answer to this question today, if you like.
Awareness is the first prerequisite to enable a person to lay claim to their entire past, history, culture, surface and underground riches, cities, nature, seas, lakes, rivers, ancient arts and whatever else is theirs.
A society that has not reached the age of enlightenment is very distant from its past.
Was the printing press not 250 years late in reaching the Ottoman Empire?
The alphabet revolution in Turkey took place in 1928. The number of books to have been printed since that date is 25,000. The vast majority of these books belong to the entertainment genre.
There were no universities in the Ottoman Empire. A society without universities is distant from science. In other words, it is like a person without a brain. It is capable of thinking about neither its history, nor its future.
There was not even a proper history book in Ottaman schools that students could be made to learn by rote.
For this purpose, they were referred to fairy tales about the past.
Serious, solid study into the Ottoman Empire started with the arrival of the Republican period.
All of this is natural.
Without the Islamic Middle-Ages being ripped asunder in Anatolia and minds being made independent of faith and science of religion, no society can lay claim to its past in a true sense.
The claim to Ottoman history began to be laid after the Republic. Prior to 1923, efforts of this nature were so few that they can be discounted.
A bit like dividing zero by zero and getting zero.
The keywords of democratic systems are respect for human rights and pluralism.
These two concepts that define individualism in political terms form the basis of Western societies.
They are like flesh and bone.
Respect for human rights, chiefly the right to live and freedom of thought, is given constitutional protection through plain and clear legal guarantees. Both governing parties and the opposition, be they on the right or the left, defend the right to life and freedom of thought.
Constitutions, particularly after the Second World War, have not listed rights and freedoms, but have protected and safeguarded them against all kinds of violation.
Statutes have also been enacted in accordance with them.
These safeguards have also extended beyond national boundaries and have come under the watchful eye of such international institutions as the European Court of Human Rights.
Countries agree under conventions to abide by them. All these things number among the innovations of the 20th Century.
In consequence, the number of aware societies has increased in European countries. And, so, the aware individual defends basic rights and freedoms and does not acquiesce to leaders, and wishes for even more democracy.
What I have written so far was inspired by reading Prof Dr Server Tanilli’s What Kind of Democracy We Want.
Turkey is going to a referendum on constitutional change on 16 April
Those who wish to will vote ‘No’ and those who wish to will vote ‘Yes’ of their own free will.
The valued constitutional jurist who has been expelled from university, Prof Dr İbrahim Ö. Kaboğlu, says in the article entitled ‘Constitution for a person, not the Republic of Turkey,’ that appeared in Birgün: ‘The basic rights and personal rights and duties contained in chapters one and two, and the political rights and duties contained in chapter four of part two of the Constitution cannot be governed by Presidential decree.’
The aware voter, irrespective of their political views, inquires and asks questions. The aware voter knows about their past as well as their future.
Our basic problem is that we have unfortunately not transitioned from an oral culture to a written culture and so are at the mercy of a culture of acquiescence.
Society has a need for the constitution of the Republic of Turkey, not a constitution of acquiescence.
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