by Professor Erol Göka
Mar 8, 2008 | Interview |
Psychology of Turks A historical psychological study. But when we look at the resulting picture, it is understood that the Turks are a warlike, nomadic nation that carries civilization rather than creating civilization, is obedient, fond of ostentatious and pompous. Aren’t these some negative traits?
So that’s what it looks like from where you look? Also, there have been so many publications against the Turks in the last period that, in my work, when faced with statements that do not glorify the Turks, “I wonder if this is it?” the reader may say. My books on the Turks came out at a time when the Turks were trying to be stabbed and the article 301 was being discussed. Some men, who thought they were funny, tried to make fun of the so-called Turks, Turkishness, in the articles they wrote. The behavior of our people that they make fun of, which we can completely explain with socio-economic or historical conditions. Our people have been destroyed. You migrated to big cities in a very short time like twenty years, people living in the patterns of tradition in Anatolia. Urbanites lost their old traditional behavior patterns before they could gain new behavior patterns.It was unfortunate that my works, which were the product of years of effort, came out when the books that made fun of people trying to hold on to life came out. But now the reader knows us, knows the scientific orientation of our work and the sincerity of our intentions.
Also, aren’t you tired of this arrogance anymore? I’m so bored, I want the skullcap now. My job as a scientist is to put on a skullcap. Besides, I am a Turkish intellectual. I am in favor of the modernization of the Turks, and I do not think that modernity will “make us not who we are”. Just as we have been Islamized for ourselves, we will modernize for ourselves. This is how it will be, whether we want it or not. I am in favor of the modernization of the Turks because modernity now determines the basic orientation of humanity. Societies will modernize. I want the Turks to make their own modernization rapidly. This is an attitude in favor of the Turks. To show the fetters that hinder our modernization efforts as Turks, to say let’s get rid of them as soon as possible,A call to intense reflection on seeing what our negative sides are and how they can change and transform… That’s what I’m trying to do.
The reason we swing between the extremes
You say that the carelessness shown by the Turks to their language is “a self-inflicted expression of their tolerance”. If you have to interpret it as a psychiatrist, do we have a lack of “self-esteem”? Some kind of inferiority complex? If so, what is its historical background? Why do we oscillate between extremes of self-esteem and underestimation?
No, it is not so, this is not the conclusion to be drawn from what I have said about our carelessness about our language: I am trying to make observations and draw conclusions from all Turkish history. Interestingly, the Turks have strived for “world domination” in every historical period, and they thought that they would find comfort when they conquered the whole world. Don’t look at the wretchedness of our situation, our unconscious wants it now. A community with such great desire can get into strange moods when it begins to perceive the reality of the current situation a little. I guess it’s these kinds of moods that you call oscillating between extremes.
How would you describe the Turkish identity? Is geography the common denominator here? religion? language? Who is Turkish?
First of all, we cannot talk about a generally accepted identity as “Turkish identity”. First of all, we must reveal which Turkish identity it is. There are currently two Turkish identities. One includes everyone living within the borders of the Republic of Turkey, our legal system calls all citizens, whom it says to be free and equal, “Turks”. There is also an “ethnic Turkish identity”. The identity of people who feel ethnically and historically Turkish. These are the people I have studied in my books, namely ethnic Turks. If you are asking what determines the ethnic Turkish identity, my answer is very clearly the mother tongue, Turkish. Old Turkish beliefs and ethnic identity are also very important, but it is the mother tongue that determines it and transfers it to generations. In this case, the people we call ethnically Turkish are those whose mother tongue is Turkish, in the shortest definition.By the way, thanks to you, we have also said that being Turkish does not mean being from one race. It’s very important here. Even academics in Turkey are talking about a race when they talk about ethnicity. However, ethnicity does not mean race, it is an identity situation formed by the mother tongue and the basic beliefs stemming from the common life culture throughout a long history.
There are two kinds of ‘others’ for the Turk.
Who is the “other” for a Turk? Kurdish? Armenian? Arab? American? Or is it European?
“Turk” has two kinds of “other”. One is the neighboring Turkish tribes, that is, Turks who are not of his own tribe; the other is because of the Turks’ desire to dominate the world and rule the world, he was the greatest power person in the world at that time. We can call this latter the “absolute other” of the Turk. The “absolute other” of the “Turk” is the one who prevents his world domination, that is, the one who is dominant in the world at that moment. This choice of “absolute other” probably stems from the old beliefs of the Turks, which placed themselves in the center of the world and the rulers of the world, the representatives of the Gök-God, the difficult natural conditions they lived in, and the mood created by being surrounded by crowded Chinese. Our ancestors probably thought that the Chinese made up the rest of the world,They thought that they had no choice but to dominate the whole world in order to survive in this difficult world and to have the products of their civilization. Material conditions determined both their desire to rule and their warrior spirit. This mood has been passed on to generations, and has survived to the present day by transforming into Turkish group behavior. We always wanted to dominate the world, but for some reason we always started from our brother right next to us.
The fact that our “other” is another Turk makes our history the history of sibling rivalries. The fact that our “absolute other” was dominant in the world at that time causes problems in our foreign policy. Now do you understand why “Europe, Europe hear our voice in the matches. “These are the footsteps of the incoming Turks”? Why do most Turks dislike the USA at all? Why do science fictions about the war between the Turks and the Americas attract the attention of our people and sell well?
You say that one of the most important features of the psychology of Turks is that Turks never become fond of their identities and languages? Isn’t the emphasis on the “Turkish identity” underlying many of the contradictions we experience in our own geography today?
As a requirement of their role in the history of civilization, Turks are tolerant towards other civilizations, religions and languages. Tolerance can sometimes reach the level of indifference or indifference. The basis on which I base our not being as fond of our identity and language as other ethnic communities stems from our role in the history of this civilization. Yes, contrary to popular belief, Turks are not ethnic and religious fanatics. But they are also human after all, they have an ethnic identity to protect in the final analysis. The reason why Turks appear as ethnic and religious fanatics in today’s panorama is another feature of them, although in reality it is the opposite. Because of their segmented social structure, they cannot get rid of sociopathy. Our society is constantly producing mafioso formations, sociopathic gangs. The actions of these gangs,They are trying to be attributed to the Turks. When we compare what is going on in our country with other parts of the world experiencing ethnic turmoil and bloodshed, it can be better understood what I mean.
What is the importance of nomadism in Turkish psychology? You say we were nomads until 200 centuries ago. That’s why you say our cities are like construction sites. Can’t we get rid of the feeling of nomadism?
No, we were not saved. Worse still, there is no glimmer of hope that we will be saved any time soon. The mood and mentality of the nomad is completely different from that of the settled person. It seems as if it will take centuries for us to learn about settled, urban life. In fact, settled cultures were able to learn the necessities of settled life after centuries.
It is necessary to stop for philosophical thought!
Is nomadism the reason why the first question we asked each other was “Where are you from”?
Yes, without any doubt, it is from nomadism that we keep asking those who come before us, saying “it is not a shame to ask”.
Do you show nomadism as the reason why Turks cannot produce philosophy? Is established order necessary to produce philosophy? Or isn’t the time period when we settled down enough to start producing philosophy?
The nomad thinks but does not produce philosophical thought, because he does not need it. It is necessary to stop for contemplation, for philosophical thought, to concentrate and record thoughts on a certain point. In the verbal mind of the nomad, whose body is constantly changing, there is no need for a mental migration in the volatile verbal mind of the nomad, it is sufficient to try to understand the place and time he is in. Also, the nomad is not good with writing; he is a person of oral culture and love. The brain of the oral culture person is very different from the one living in the written culture. It is because of all these that we do not have a thinker who can reflect what is unique to us in the history of thought and philosophy, or who can make a name for himself as a Turk. Of course, there were thinkers of Turkish origin such as Farabi and Ibn Sina in the history of Islam, but they werethey are not rightly referred to by their ethnic origin, they are considered within the Islamic thought.
Doesn’t the feeling of nomadism also bring a constant feeling of anxiety? To have nowhere. No sense of belonging anywhere?
Of course, nomadism means living in a constant state of anxiety. Some romantic writers bless nomadism for living in the bosom of nature, but out of ignorance. If they had tried to live with the nomads, they would not have lasted a day.
According to your interpretation, the feeling of “Let them say this for me” is important for Turks. Is it caused by some kind of feeling of worthlessness, or is our sense of worth something visual rather than internal?
We cannot call it a feeling of worthlessness. This is so because of a cultural code. We Turks are people of the pre-capitalist potlatch culture. Even the most bourgeois of us lacks the rationality of the market. Whether we are rich or poor, we do what we do to show others, to show off, to brag.
Obedience, glory and showing off are paramount.
What is potlaç culture? What is its importance in Turkish psychology?
Potlatch culture is a concept used to describe the relationship systems in the pre-capitalist world. In full Turkish, it can be called “han-ı loot”. In this culture, obedience, glory, honour, ostentation and pomp are more important than anything else, rather than market rationality. On the face of it, there are positive aspects such as brotherhood and solidarity. Westerners have been struggling for hundreds of years to transition from potlatch culture to capitalism. We, on the other hand, have not yet realized that we are immersed in the potlatch culture up to our necks.
Are you saying that Turks received only 2000 patents in 130 years and none of them contributed to world science and technology? What do you think is the reason for this?
Our oral culture and our nomadism… Although we have trained important scientists for the world of science, we still cannot be creative. Civilization “watch the best, the strongest, the newest!” We’re trying to catch up with the formula. There is no real scientific initiative, the transmission mentality continues. Regardless of whether we can digest all the products of civilization, we are scrambling, but we do not develop it ourselves. This is why we flock to the technology fairs opened by Western countries in our country, and when there is a cheapness campaign for the devices that come out with the latest technology, we crush each other. We love the technology itself, but we don’t contribute to it. Despite our long and undoubtedly glorious history, we are perhaps the only great nation that, as Talat Halman said, has not made a single scientific invention, not a single geographical discovery.
You say, “Oral culture is the biggest obstacle to modernization and it develops not the personal conscience but the social and external conscience”. So our conscience is also ours for others?
There is a connection between writing and the internalization of conscience. Writing causes a brain development that enables us to look at ourselves and others as separate entities and to make relatively objective evaluations. In oral culture, on the other hand, what the inner conscience does can provide custom or command. This is what we call external conscience. Therefore, Turks, who can establish the most regular armies in the world, are unable to advance in traffic by showing respect to each other.
Another interesting finding of yours is that Turks are more easily graded than other nationalities, and are fond of show and pomp.
Easy skipping is also a feature of potlatch culture. The absence of a deep-rooted bourgeois class in Turkey, the constant change of our top taxpayers, the formation of our wealthy people are obvious examples of easy class advancement. The passion for ostentation and pomp is running through us everywhere, from birth to weddings, from our curiosity about buying a house and furnishing it badly, to our competition to send our children to luxury schools, and even to the mawlid ceremonies that are taught after death.
One of the important determinations is on the effect of meeting with Islam. You say, “Meeting with Islam added vitality to the structure of the Turks, who were doomed to disintegrate”. How did Islam achieve this?
We have always been lost among other civilizations due to our feature of not claiming our language and identity. Until he entered the circle of Islam. For example, we see in our earliest inscriptions that some of our Ancestors dissolved into Chinese culture. We all know that those of us who went to the west from the north of the Caspian became Christians and evaporated. We would have ended up like them, but the fact that almost the entire Turkish world became Muslim, thanks to his easy reconciliation with both our previous beliefs and our warrior mentality, prevented our extinction process. The fact that we became the head of Islam very soon after converting to Islam and that we started to strive for Islamic civilization provided opportunities for the solution of many of our fundamental problems.
But you also say that the sibling rivalry, which is thought to be reduced by entering under the roof of religion, has survived to the present day by taking the name of Alevi-Sunni fight under an Islamic guise. Is not there a contradiction here?
No, there is no contradiction. When the Turks converted to Islam, a brand new situation arose in their history. For the first time, white-bud and black-bud were united in the same belief system. However, because the Turks became Muslims, segmentary society structures did not change suddenly. While the dominant tribes preferred Sunni Islam in Muslim Turkish states such as Karahanlı, Gazneli, Harezmli, Seljuk and Ottoman, other tribes both embraced their old beliefs and embraced Hz. They moved to the pro-Ali opposition wing. The efforts of the dominant tribes to settle and settle the nomadic Turks also increased this conflict. We are still experiencing the troubles and pains of the same process.
Interview: Handan Akdemir