Monday, 05 April 2021 17:35

Do NGOs or Congregations Rule the State? (October 01, 2013)

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None of the changes that determine the historical process occur in a short time; each of them is the result of long-term formations. The eventful history that the last change will change the whole process is a misconception; The myth of great men who changed history also stems from this misconception. From this point of view, there are no magical moments, no magical dates in history, but there are symbolic moments, symbolic histories. There are intersections and turns that determine the concentration points of a process. For example, neither the French Revolution did start with the conquest of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, nor did the Middle Ages end with the conquest of Istanbul on May 29, 1453. All of these are actually symbolic times of radical changes. In different periods of history, there are different turning points. These are experienced in different levels according to the phenomena of time and space, or their effects are felt in different levels. In these periods of change, in the micro dimension starting from the individual, family, society, companies and states in the macro dimension are affected. According to the new situation, these elements take positions as a natural result, they must take positions and they get a reflex of determining their new projections and strategies. Because they need to transform this new situation into a positive effect on a large scale for themselves.

After the French Revolution, the whole world experienced a great turning period and new fault lines were formed. Before the French Revolution, three basic parameters determined all the rules in the world. One of these was feudalism, the other was states or structures and organizations which mainly based on religion, and the other was empires. With the French Revolution and the industrialization revolution, these three main parameters evolved into other parameters. Empires turned into nation-states, religion-based states turned into secular structures, and feudalism turned into modernism. From the French Revolution to the present, these three basic parameters have besieged all states, institutions, people's lives, lifestyles, ways of thinking, types of relationships, science, economic understanding, etc.

The 21st century is witnessing a similar big turning point. In this new age, where globalization has no boundaries, the age of communication has made the world routinized, and even different civilizations and cultures have begun to become homogeneous, the parameters we have mentioned are being replaced by new ones and the world is in a state of chaos.  And it cannot be predicted exactly when everything will fall into place. The parameters to be formed in such a turning point when the most intense periods of globalization are experience is necessary to fill it with effective and powerful facts and to take a strategic position. In this respect, what should be the position, importance and effectiveness potential of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as they pass through this great turning point to new and different orders. This requires hard-working analyzes and sociological and psychological field studies.

On the basis of the Turkish-Islamic Guild, which is one of the oldest NGOs in Anatolia, the fact that it is celebrated folklorically only one day or one week a year and evaluated only in a category such as the artisan solidarity organization shows how shallow and narrow our interpretation of history is. It is a reflection that we are too far away from the philosophy and basic spirit of the Turkish-Islamic Guild mentality.

When the Turks came to Anatolia, there were Armenian and Greek merchants and craftsmen in these lands. The incoming immigration society did not have the ability to exist against them; there was an important and great asymmetrical competition, and the local merchants were strong enough to destroy them with one move. One of the main purposes of the Turkish-Islamic Guild movement, inspired by the Futuwwa Organization established with the advice of Haji Bektash Veli, was to implement the reflex of joint action in an organized manner and did not allow the power of the Turks to be destroyed in Anatolia.

With his projects, he prevented such a great risk. Later, the Turkish-Islamic Guild Organization became such an effective power that the Mongols, the biggest imperialist power of that time, started to make plans in Anatolia, saying that if we could not expel this NGO, it would not be possible to occupy these lands. The basic imperial strategies of the Mongols; In the places they would occupy, they would first make sociological field analyzes, identify the dominant forces, and support the weak ones against the strong ones and push them into compulsory conflict. When there was weakness in the region, they would invade that region by emphasizing their most cruel and violent aspects. There were two dominant elements in Anatolia at that time. One of them was Turkish-Islamic Guild and the other was Mevlevi, and both movements were based on the Sufi school originally. The Mongols, by supporting the Mevlevi and distancing them against the Turkish-Islamic Guild, made these two groups conflicting with each other and then they have been occupied. The issue here, of course, is not to explain the occupation. The main theme we are trying to highlight is this: A great imperial state cares about the influence and power potential of the NGO in that region without invading another state or a large geography, and it is the awareness that it cannot dominate the region without eliminating and neutralizing this NGO power.

If we go back to the development and strategies of the Turkish-Islamic Guild until they gain this influence and power potential; As it is known, Members Turkish-Islamic Guild of were “tanners”. They were conducting tannery works. When the wives of this members saw that their men were throwing away the wool that could not be processed, they developed a new project and asked their wives to establish a wool processing plant where they could earn this wool for the economy. In this wool processing workshop, they processed and weaved the wool and turned it into ready-made fabrics, and they started to turn them into ready-made garments, as today's terms they were stylists at that time. This activity began to be organized everywhere as the "women's branch" within the body of the Turkish-Islamic Guild, and "Bacıyan-ı Rum means Sisters of Rûm" emerged, which became a large multi-partner holding. Later on, these wives of members started to produce all the clothes of the Janissaries, also they conducted the stylizing works. They were making a lot of money. Instead of acquiring personal property, they spent it on caravansaries. With a great strategic project, they built caravansaries, which we can call today's five-star hotels, for the nomadic communities to stay when they come to the city for shopping. These caravansaries saved the Nomadic community from the nomadic life or discouraged them; established the basis of the social empowerment project by establishing a settled life. In these facilities, they accommodated the immigrants who came to the city for shopping free of charge, offered them meals, beautiful clothes, and moreover, they gave them money when they left. When a migrant stay in a caravansary with high comfort for 4-5 days; they were experiencing a conflict between the suffering in the mountain and the comfort of the city, and eventually preferred the city and settled down. It is necessary to consider this project as one of the rare great sociological projects made throughout history.

In the words of Eric Hoffer, Turkish-Islamic Guild knew that “people who created great works in history was always grown in big cities. Creative people did not appear in the village, in the forest, in the countryside, in the mountains. How can it be possible; What can be created in an environment where foreign things are not welcomed? Human has found his reality in the city. Without the city, human is nothing. However, it is the city that makes human addle and degenerate. If we do not make our cities viable and livable, we may see the demise of some great nations.” (E. Hoffer, The True Believer, 2011)

Despite the fact that the Mongols destroyed the Turkish-Islamic Guild and committed great massacres during their invasion, the Turkish-Islamic Guild did not give up and continued their social activities by escaping to the border sides. A non-governmental organization had created such a foundation that the loss of money, the fact that they had to flee from their homes, and being removed from their settled order did not destroy their production capabilities, they continued to get stronger by reorganizing. Imagine, at that time, they seized the establishment of the Ottoman Empire, which was in the process of being established, they supported it and surprisingly said: “You will not take the Mevlevis or us to the state administration. As a non-governmental organization, we will be out of the state administration. You will do your own work as the political will, and we will control this will as an external unit. But you will remain loyal to the establishment principles, if you cross the lines, then we will interfere with the administration…” This is a very important stance in terms of the conservation of the fundamental founding manifesto and the examination and disclosure of the functions of the NGO today. As a matter of fact, no one from the Turkish-Islamic Guild entered the Palace until Murad I period. At that time, the Turkish-Islamic Guild established the legal system of the state and they were the judges. There is a very interesting and important anecdote told about this period: In one case, the plaintiff cites Murad I as a witness. However, the judge does not accept the testimony of Murad I. The Sultan resents it and tells him, "Who are you and how dare you to not to accept my testimony?". The judge says:  “Sir, I have never seen you in the mosque during the fajr prayer, nor have I seen you talking to the public; Therefore, your testimony is not valid.” After this incident, Murat I had a mosque built right next to his house and after the fajr prayers he began to listen to the people for two hours on the seat in front of the mosque.

These examples are the ideal peak points that a non-governmental organization can reach. However, the basic paradigm to be considered here is to have this knowledge, to pass it on to each other, and to make some celebrations and commemorations that we have mentioned before has no value. The important thing is to be able to analyze the spirit in the formation of this system, which should be noted. If we can perceive the basic dynamics that can create this in a healthy way and bring it to the present day, a suitable vision will emerge in our minds at the point of the non-governmental organization being effective, fair and strong today.

If we consider the issue with this perspective and projection; however, we can establish a fundamental triangulation point in transferring the fundamental values that constitute the impact and power potential of NGOs from theory to practice. If the spirit, essence and basic philosophy of all similar historical realities are based on today's studies, a similar potential for influence will emerge today.

There are some key elements in this framework: The first is the issue of futuwwa. In other words, as it is known, the Turkish-Islamic Guild was the continuation of the futuwwa movement. Futuwwa; It comes from the root of “feta” word and means valiant, brave, honest. Futuwwa means bravery. In order to fully understand the meaning of the Futuwwa Movement, its current meaning is "youth and brave movement.”  The caliphs, who understood its meaning well, had the "Futuvvetname means book of Futuwwa" written when their political power was in danger. In other words, they wrote the book of being youth and brave. And through this, they have influenced the powers in the society. These people have almost come to compete with each other in order to comply with the “futuvvetname”. Of course, this project was not just a political attraction. It is certain that it has a counterpart in its fundamental regarding human nature and the nature of society. If we look at this phenomenon from our own; When the Prophet (pbuh) said "I was sent to complete good morals", he did not say to a new system, but since Adam (pbuh), there has been a moral system coded in accordance with human nature and the Prophet (pbuh) came to make this moral system whole. Throughout the history of humanity, no community has rejected the elements of virtue beforehand. The "Hilf al-Fudul" made during the Meccan period is a good example of this.  Throughout his life, the Prophet struggled to make virtue the main element. At the heart of Turkish-Islamic Guild is this axis element; the understanding of futuwwa, the concept of futuwwa. The main dynamism of the Turkish-Islamic Guild; It was based on a fundamental constant to human nature, to the nature of society. That was the first fundamental dynamism. The second fundamental dynamism was to raise people in this origin.

Practice methods in Turkish-Islamic Guild started from apprenticeship and followed a path to mastership. Until the one became a master, a Guild member got 789 different trainings. This was not limited to training; From the apprenticeship, money starts to be deposited in the safe-deposit box on behalf of that apprentice, so this means: The apprentice was morally, technically, humanly, personally, strategically trained within the Turkish-Islamic Guild. At the same time, this meant that his capital was accumulated and his capital was given to him at the end of the training period, paving the way for him to start his own business. In other words, it was raising rivals for itself. In the modern capitalist world, it is interpreted as treason for someone working for you to leave and start its own business. The Turkish-Islamic Guild developed the positive sharing method; that is, it taught them to "fish". Beyond being a tradesman's solidarity organization, it was a very important academic education institution. Today, how and under which psychological conditions this can be implemented needs to be examined and studied in a healthy way. In modern times, in the perception of modern times, we should be able to avoid seeing such a thing as a utopia.  We can do this by reading and understanding history from a different perspective, and reconstructing a philosophy of history in order to see all these events as phenomena that can have possibility and mental correspondence, and to create a philosophical understanding about it. When we look at the basic common ground, we can thus understand that the Turkish-Islamic Guild is based on raising virtuous people. This brings us to three main elements: Power, will and action. NGOs and congregations need to build this network for the infrastructure and quality that can create the result, not result-oriented, in order to spread this network effectively to the population areas and to create a healthy and effective hinterland. To do this, there must be a common language, a common perspective, common sensitivity, and common perceptions. This is what the Turkish-Islamic Guild did. So, from here we can deduce: If the potential for power and influence is evaluated appropriately and in a timely manner, an NGO can establish a state and bring about great sociological changes. An NGO may have the power potential to affect all balances from micro to macro or to be an active factor in balances. Determining and revealing the will that would efficiently activate this constant, which is encoded in the nature of the human power potential, which is the unchanging element of these structures, can put it in a viable position today.

The Turkish-Islamic Guild did not emerge primarily to establish a state. While developing formulas for the solution of seemingly specific problems and solving it, they started the initial cycle of gaining mobility at the macro scale. In other words, after this first movement, the area of the circle will begin to expand with the resulting loop and a synergy will occur. Since the Turkish-Islamic Guild is a Sufi movement, it had a strong philosophy. Thus, they developed a strong organizational model that found its way in practical life. Having a very strong economic structure over time did not lead them to personal investments and luxury expenditures, on the contrary, they added newly trained elements to the structure with the guild system they established, and this strong potential structure had the effect of making them have a say in the state administration to be established.

If we evaluate it through the understanding of the Turkish-Islamic Guild, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have four main subheadings:

1-Intellectual dimension and perspective

2-System and organizational dimension

3-Strategy development and planning

4-Implementation and development dimension

In summary; NGOs or congregations, it does not matter. To be a subject, i.e. to be free, and no political or state power should condemn these structures to pay a price, i.e. force them to become objects. In terms of congregations, the resources that we cannot use effectively and appropriately are not a power but a trouble. This matter should not be forgotten for both parties.


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