Seyed Hossein Mousavian has some advice to those who are critical of proposed Iran nuclear deal: “Be realistic.”
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The first website was established in 1991. The world has changed dramatically in just 23 years.
The early Ottoman Empire was a global power for more than 200 years before it was defeated during the Siege of Vienna in the 16th century. And it took the Ottomans about 150 years to figure out what they did wrong.
“They tried many things,” Soner Cagaptay said. “In the end, they concluded that the only way to catch up with the Europeans was to become a European society.”
As a country that began its experiment in democracy less than a century ago, the transformation from the Ottoman Empire to the Republic of Turkey has been nothing less than remarkable. But Ibrahim Kalin doesn’t think of his country as a perfect model for democracy. Rather, he believes it should serve as motivation for other countries.
“Turkey can serve as a source of inspiration, and maybe there are experiences from which other Middle Eastern countries can learn,” he said. “But we don’t impose Turkey as a model, because it’s just too patronizing.”
During his Interfaith Lecture on Monday, the Right Rev. John Chane demonstrated that Turkey and Iran share similar political and economic interests: Both are concerned about the plight of those living in the Palestinian territories, and soon the trade volume between the two countries is expected to exceed $30 billion, he said.
However, Chane noted that Iran and Turkey also have their differences. Iran sees Syria’s Assad regime as its ally and as a distribution point for weapons, arming both Syrian forces and also Hezbollah. Turkey, on the other hand, views Syria as a destabilizing presence in the region and has directly opposed its leadership.
“I am going to try to be hopeful,” the Right Rev. John Chane said, as he began his sermon at Sunday’s 10:45 a.m. morning worship service. His title was “The Light Still Shines in Tehran,” and the Scripture was John 1:1-5.
Turkey may seem like an odd choice as peacemaker for Iran and the West. On a number of issues, the nation’s position is contrary to either side; it disagrees with Iran on the issues of Syria and Hezbollah and disagrees with the U.S. on Iran’s right to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
“Yet it still holds a place of being the most trusted partner to be able to broker a new way forward,” said the Right Rev. John Chane.
In 2008, Dennis Ross was asked by Vanity Fair if he thought the map presented by T.E. Lawrence to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 could be applied to the Middle East today. Ross said the notion was inconceivable. But five years later, Ross said he believes the map — which separates countries of the Middle East by their individual tribes, sects and clans — may have “a lot of possibility.”
“This is not the Middle East that you knew before,” he said. “It is a Middle East that is changing.”