There is – always has been – a wealth of social diversity in Turkey, with the Kurds, Alevis, Circassians and Laz, as you know.


Yes, of course.

It’s a very long list and difficult to remember, but one of our greatest failures was not recognizing them. The Kurdish reality was unacknowledged until the 1990s, for example. Even if we seem to be recognizing it now, the outcome remains unknown, and this could be just the start. Turkey played the “Don’t know, can’t hear, can’t see” card in relation to the Armenian question and the problems of the Armenian minority.

Consequently, we fail to appreciate the social richness that stems from this diversity. A society that appreciates such richness could put it to good use. It could lead to diversity in literature and foster a variety of artistic movements. We could be transformed into a more peaceful, more harmonious society on the political level, too. In the past, business was quite adamant about demanding a single party government in lieu of a coalition.


Absolutely. Of course.

We have a single party government at the moment. But Turkey’s problems aren’t going to be easily solved by a single party government. And why is that? Because quite a few problems can only be solved through consensus. They may be constitutional issues. They’re not problems that can be solved as a fait accompli. So it’s important that people with different viewpoints in Turkey talk with each other.

We need to create a social structure that engages in more debate, is open to the external world, and embraces universal values. This doesn’t mean we should ignore our own values, but at the moment I think we’re just floundering. In saying, “We’re going to treasure ourselves, identify our essential values, and appreciate our history better,” we turn our backs on universal values and developments and end up focusing only on ourselves. Turkey needs to avoid doing this because our geographic location has already given us a highly diversified social structure, one divided along fault lines impossible to overlook. We’ll get nowhere by ignoring this social structure. So, from that point of view, yes, this is our heritage, but it’s one we ought to regard as a source of dynamism that we can turn to our advantage, for future prosperity.


Thank you very much.

September 6, 2017