Turkey is surrounded with Black Sea in the north; Georgia in the northeast; Iran, Azerbaijan and Armenia in the east; Syria and Mediterranean in the south; Iraq in the southeast; Aegen Sea in the west; and Greece and Bulgaria in the northwest.
Some facts about Turkey • Turkey is situated where three continents (Africa, Asia and Europe) meet. • Turkey is surrounded by sea (Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Aegean Sea) on three sides. • Three different climates are observed in Turkey: Mediterranean, Black Sea and terrestrial climate. • Turkey is situated on the intersection of three heavenly religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam).
Turkey: the Meeting Point of Civilizations • Turkey is, as it was in the past, located on the intersection of cultures and civilizations • Due to its geographical location, Turkey has been the host to a lot of rich civilizations and also been a neighbor to many others. These have led to the emergence of the feelings of tolerance towards other nations and cultures.
The Tradition of Living Together • The people of Anatolia have the deep-rooted tradition of living together with different nations. • In this region of ours, people from diverse nations have been living in the same city, the same neighborhood, the same street.Only in our country, you can see a church, a mosque and a synagogue in the very same neighborhood.
Churches dated to 1st and 2st century A.D. Are still standing in Mardin • St. Pierre Church which is accepted as the first church in the world has kept its presence next to mosques and synagogues • Etz-Ahayim Synagogue in Bursa shows that a synoguge right next to the Holy Mosque can freely function since 14th century.
The Agthamar Church in Van, Fish Lake of Haz. İbrahim the Prophet in Şanlıurfa, Sumela Monastry in Trabzon and Mevlana Shrine in Konya are like a history of humankind. • These cities as monuments of tolerance are included within the World Cultural Heritage
The area of Turkey is 770.453 km2 today. • During the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent, the area of the Ottoman Empire was 14.893.000 km2; 19 times more than today’s Turkey. • Those lands were located in the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa.
How could many people from different cultures, languages, religions and world views lived in hormany under the rule of the Ottoman Empire? There are many reasons why the Ottomans managed to rule such great lands for a long time. The Ottoman Empire secured the rights of freedom, religion, privacy, thought, and education for every person regardless of religion (Muslim or not) and guarded these rights by law. The most important factor for the Ottoman Empire to keep this idea is that it had tolerance to different nations living within its borders.
Christian Respect towards Turkish Monarchs • The tolerance which is showed by Turks to other religions is depicted on the fresks on the walls of Saint Georgios Church dated to 13th c. • This fresk proves the indulgent rule of the Seljuques who reigned the area. • The fresk depicts stories from the Holy Bible along with a portrait of Seljuq Sultan Mesut II (1282-1305).
The fundamentals of love, tolerance and peace in Anatolia are deep-rotted. In all periods of time there were great savants who called for indulgence towards all the people. The most known of these people are Mevlana (Jalal al-Din al-Rumi), Yunus Emre, Hacı Bektaşi Veli. The illuminated path of indulgence that these men created still enlights the humanity today.
Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi (Jalal al-Din al-Rumi) • "Come, come, whoever you are,Wanderer, idolater, worshiper of fire,Come even if you have broken your vows a thousand times,Come, and come yet again." • In this poem, Rumi tells that a person has his own value in the world whatever his religon is.
Yunus Emre “We love the created Because of the Creator” • In these verses, Yunus Emre wants to state that all the beings in the nature, alive or not, are valuable. It means the respect to the Creator makes it necessary to show respect to His creations as they are a part of Him.
Hacı Bektaş-i Veli (Hajji Bektash Wali) “We do not condemn any nation or person.” • In these words, Hacı Bektaş means that every person and each different culture are valuable. He emphasises that one should not condescend but welcome them.
Today • Turkey is a land of tolerance. In our country, people from different ethnic origins, religions live in peace and harmony. • In every corner of our country there are mosques, synagogues and churches open and people freely worship in them. • Members of different cultures and nations are free to receive education of any kind and are equal in terms of law. • No terms or statements reminiscient in any way to xenophobia is used in Turkish education system. • One should bear in my that this world we are together living in is wide enough for all of us.