Here is an interview made with the founder of IBDA Movement, Salih Mirzabeyoglu, right before the Gulf War, which reflects the standpoint of this Islamic movement on Saddam Hussein and his historic action, along with an article titled
“Allah’s Will is Saddam” !
IBDA is the most significant Islamic revolutionary movement in Turkey !
After one year, starting with the first Iraq war, was commander Mirzabeyoglu detained for 70 days.
The Weekly Cuma: When you, as the “Commander” of the IBDA movement, were asked to make an interview by our reporters about the Gulf Crisis, you said that there is no point in speaking just for the sake of speaking. We would like to relate all you talked about in that preliminary talk of ours with you.
Salih Mirzabeyoglu: By all means! First of all, I believe that the issues should be handled at a level they actually deserve. The reason why I mention this measurement is here: One side of the issue seems extremely simple and good for easy talk, however, the other side of the issue is extremely complicated and requires much thought on the lessons it has given. Instead of speaking the same things over and over again and pretending to say something and playing games like flying children’s kites, I am interested in catching the inward matter, spiritual motifs, and make then the inflaming, fuelling, motivating, directing part of the Islamic movement. This is the point where I stand when I talk to you, I will speak within this framework.
The Weekly Cuma: If you do not mind, I would like to learn about your general opinions on the attitude of the parties involved in the Gulf Crisis.
Salih Mirzabeyoglu: Obviously, according to me, neither the different parties of this crisis nor the ones who were somehow involved into the issues know really what is going on. Everything is moving in its course just like groping behind a thick curtain of fog. There is a kind of ambiguity and uncertainty both in terms of analyzing things and in terms of power mathematics. One has to stop and think about the profound lessons emerged due to divine reasons!
The Weekly Cuma: All right, then, what do you think about the situation of Turkey under these circumstances?
Salih Mirzabeyoglu: Now, please listen to me, because I am going to read some newspaper clips in which you can find Turgut Ozal’s statements. This is what he said on August 11: “I don’t think there will be a serious action in the Gulf Region. I really don’t believe…” Seventeen days later, on August 28, he says: “This war can hardly be prevented!” That’s what he said to the BBC. One day before this he stated: “The survival of Saddam Hussein’s regime is at stake each day!” However, on August 13, he said the contrary: “I don’t think Saddam can ever be overthrown. He is very powerful. And he is acting as the father of all Arabs!” Then on September 22, he told to a journalist: “This issue can eighty or ninety per cent be settled through embargo, yet patience is needed!”
The Weekly Cuma: Whatever he says is contradictory to each other, is that what you would like to point out?
Salih Mirzabeyoglu: Yes. And, in addition to all of this, there is the ambiguity of Turgut Ozal’s position and scope of authority and imagine the situation. He is acting as if he is the president (as in the US within the presidential system) of the state. Let me put it in other words: There is no presidential system in Turkey, and in doing so, Turgut Ozal is in fact violating a Constitutional rule as the head of the state, which is indeed a symbolic position.
The Weekly Cuma: Could you please elaborate more on this? And what is relevance of this to the Gulf Crisis?
Salih Mirzabeyoglu: Due to the availability of exact and continuous applications, I have to use the United States of America as an example for the Presidential System. In the US, “the executive power” belongs to the president elected by the public; in other words, “the executive” is represented by one person: the President; to whom the Vice President and the Members of the Cabinet deeply faithful. In terms of the rank relations between the cabinet members and the President, the cabinet members in this system are described as “secretaries” by the law practitioners. The executive agent is the president; this is the reason why the regime is called “Presidential Government.” The secretaries have to obey the policy made by the President and the president has the right to terminate their positions whenever he wants. And let me add this too: The authority of the President to command the armed forces is not symbolic as it is in the regimes of parliamentary head of state as ours. He has the authority to send troops to any place in order to maintain the security of the United States of America and the administration of the foreign affairs too is among his tasks. Well now, in our system, it might be possible to change the tasks and role of the head of the state and to make him superior to the government representing the parliament, especially when there is such a puppet prime minister; however, this would bring about many problems, because it is just a statue without a base. The Gulf Crisis will reveal the system crisis in Turkey. To tell the truth, within a period of authority chaos and civic disorder, there will then be a proper basis for all those revolutionary movements!
The Weekly Cuma: Then, I guess, it will come down to the discussion about the question how real the identity Turgut Ozal assumed in his visit to the United States of America is.
Salih Mirzabeyoglu: We have to go beyond the personal level and accept the fact that, neither at home nor abroad, Turkey has the cultural and moral image it would like to take up and achieve. If you think about this comment together with what I said about Turgut Ozal, you will see that the consequences are amazing. First of all, today, one can easily see that the power of the governing party in the parliament and the public support given to them is not proportionate and the election of the head of the state has been carried out in a questionable fashion. The prime minister is acting like an orderly officer of the head of the state, which is neither lawful, nor ideal.
One should remember that he was a man who did his best to abuse former prime minister Suleyman Demirel’s power by buttering him up and who asked his permission while he was assigned to take a position after the coup on September 12, 1980 and remember how he became unfaithful and perverse as a party leader. If you remember all this, then you can infer about Yildirim Akbulut (puppet prime minister during the Gulf Crisis!) whose relationships were mostly based on his own profit and political interests. Whether Yildirim Akbulut has a kind of courage to resist Turgut Ozal or not, but within this kind of relationships, the ground is always changeable and insecure. The insecurity results from the illegal image drawn by Turgut Ozal and all about the Prime Minister, Ministers, Members of Parliament belonging to their own Party and even Party Organizations. And there are the opposition parties who do not recognize him and who regards him as the president of ANAP (Motherland Party) not the head of the state. As a consequence, the political attitude which is claimed to be Turkey’s official policy especially abroad in fact does not reflect the realities in Turkey legally, socially, or morally!
The Weekly Cuma: What might be possible effects of this situation on the Gulf Crisis or the effects of the Gulf Crisis on us?
Salih Mirzabeyoglu: First of all, such a structure cannot motivate our people to make their moves according to official policies; in other words, it won’t be able to stimulate, excite, provoke or lead them. Then, both in terms of the US and Europe and of their auxiliaries here in Turkey might be very much surprised at all these unexpected developments by distinctive personalities!
The Weekly Cuma: You do not approve of Turkey’s engagement with the United States of America and Europe during the Gulf Crisis. Then, what do you think about Saddam Hussein?
Salih Mirzabeyoglu: Yes, I do disapprove of collaborationist and toady policies! The commitments involved in without taking Islamic groups’ reactions into account, may produce unexpected consequences. It will never be unreasonable if the issue is considered in terms of hatred against Western in general, in particular American imperialism instead of “like or dislike Saddam Hussein”; because it has got cultural and psychological roots in our people. And I would obviously like to say that in all those countries with a Muslim population as the majority, regardless of the attitude of the government, the members of the society have a distinct sense of intuitions and emotions. I don’t want this to sound like a possibility of this or that but for this or that reason, the life of foreigners in Muslim countries is somewhat in danger. The American and Western citizen will have to confront not only with Islamic groups but also with leftist and nationalist organizations!
The Weekly Cuma: Do you think, the occupation of Kuwait by Iraq is evaluated within a sound frame of mind in Turkey?
Salih Mirzabeyoglu: It’s a good question! The talk between the former prime minister Bulent Ecevit and Saddam Hussein opened the eyes of many people and therefore now there are power centers feeling rather disturbed. Now, let me give you an example to clarify. While a reporter from a periodical was interviewing me three or four years ago, I refuted his weak arguments and then he held onto the “the law against nuisance” like a life buoy, and he asked me if I was one of those proponents of the prohibitions. As a matter of fact, I find the law rather ridiculous because this is a country where the gypsy culture is now administrating the country and gypsy culture is among the missions of the Ministry of Culture and the performers of belly dance are titled “artist” and acclaimed, and where one is given a ministry after flattering the right person and where the civil servants uniformed or not publicly get rich through all kinds of illegal ways and where fat women use their husbands’ high positions like a piece of furniture at home. And despite all this social and administrative weakness and despite this bunch of people who dishonestly gain billions of lira in an apparently honest way, there are mothers who sell their flesh in order to feed their children and where good men and soldiers are encouraged or ordered to watch pornographic movies to loosen their Faith and Islamic motifs in their lives and call it “supporting secularism and education.” My being against that law and my addressee’s is not the same. Anyhow, I replied to him: “Suppose, I am a proponent of the prohibitions. But when you are against my being so, don’t you see that you are also one of those proponents of prohibitions?” Well, here is what I mean: When discussing some of the issues, hasty and false conclusions are reached and imposed on people. People are conditioned to think within certain prejudices or thought. For example, one says, “The occupation of Kuwait by Saddam cannot be approved of!” When you hear the responses to this complaint, one who is against this opinion might as well say: “The occupation of Kuwait by Saddam cannot be approved of but…” Why should it not be approved of?
The Weekly Cuma: Do you approve it?
Salih Mirzabeyoglu: We should first be reminded of some truths. Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against Kurds in Iraq; the well-known Halabja massacre. On the other hand, the systematic torture and oppression on the Kirkuk Turks have continued for years. There was nobody to object to this, was there? Who sold the weapons to Saddam who used them in the genocide there?
The Weekly Cuma: The issue was considered to be an internal affair of Iraq or that was how it was regarded then.
Salih Mirzabeyoglu: This is a very significant point to be emphasized. The territories of a country are not created by justice or injustice but by de facto situations. After a while, Kuwait may be included into the Iraq’s internal affairs. Today, the main concern of the West; I deliberately say “the West”, instead of the world, is not the sense of justice but the fear of a break in their imperialist order. And the other countries are just their subjects; they are the slaves; the bit players. The United States of America invaded Panama to nobody’s objection; who could do anything against it? As for the question whether I approve Saddam’s Kuwait invasion or not, my reply will be a resounding “yes!”
The Weekly Cuma: Then, what could be the aftermath of this issue or the pros and cons for Turkey?
Salih Mirzabeyoglu: If you do not mind, I would like the remind you of what I said at the beginning. I said, what is of importance to me is to understand the depths of the issue and use it as the motivating fuel of the Islamic movement. This is the attitude of a man of action and of idea; in other words, one that catches the essential meaning which causes and directs all other events, grasps the fundamental concept and quality from which all other details stem, finds out the soul of the corpse which is subject to that soul. When one is a journalist, he reports the news with comments or in bits and pieces of comments in accordance with his personality and puts some photographs relevant to the story. A scientist evaluates the things within certain criteria. The reason why I say all this is well, I am not a journalist and there is no point in repeating the same news in my own words here. Now that I specified my place as a locus of abstraction and intuition, I’ll tell you the beneficial aspect of all this for Turkey: Turkey will not be able to live within the policy, or rather, the policy-less-ness of “Peace at home, peace in the world.” These conditions warn that the existence of anyone who indicates no dominant will to survive or makes no significant effort to grasp the core of things and who is not equipped with a supreme goal and ideal which those efforts are to be based on will be wiped off the map. Everything is against such apathy of a corpse now. Can there a greater pro or benefit than this?
The Weekly Cuma: Can you please clarify it?
Salih Mirzabeyoglu: By nature, spiritual enthusiasm in a society from the individual to the family, as its expression, has certain outer appearances and images to keep. What can be accomplished with what facilities and how can you find those chances to reach wherever you want to? Even the simple act of eating food is an expression of a policy motivating our faculties as a desire stemming from our own body to survive. Only in a soul-less corpse is there no desire to attack and carry on. When we look at the history of the foreign policy of Turkey, we see that it resembles a debtor trying to run away from his creditors always. Now, look at the situation: Greece snatched the twelve islands in the Aegean Sea and has now abused the concept of territorial waters and it is about to lay claim to that zone from end to end. Moreover, it is ready to consider the Turkish ferryboats sailing from Izmir to Istanbul to be moving inside the Greek territorial waters. Greece again attempted to annex Cyprus and retains the memory of a Greek Istanbul and has dreams about it in the future conditions; Syria is in attempts to annex Hatay; Iraq, in need of water, and therefore longs to control Southeastern Anatolia along with targeting the Russia-Iskenderun line as a means to be used in a Middle East strategy, etc. And Turkey, like a poor and idle man who pretends to be pretty well off and victimized by the consolation of “peace at home, peace in the world,” by those who have no idea what image to give at home or abroad, was brought to a totally different point now. A powerful Iraq is not at all convenient for Turkey; however, if Turkey supports the United States of America, all the other countries involved in the issue will regard it as a Western pawn in the Middle East. That is, a lose/lose situation. To put it briefly, all the internal and external conditions actually force Turkey to accomplish its mission, to a great Islamic emergence and to the leadership of the world of Islam. This is the only raison d’etre for Turkey. To me, the benefit of all this is covered by this warning!
The Weekly Cuma: You said that you approved of Saddam Hussein’s move.
Salih Mirzabeyoglu: I have already said that the territories of a country are created by de facto events. Now, let us go back to the matter of justice or injustice. Without repeating the already known news, I am going to tell you briefly: Iraq had to do it. It was like an attempt of a man to eat a lion in order not to die of hunger. On the other hand, there is this puppet state who could not, in any sense, demonstrate any distinctive quality in depth or width other than being an Arab tribe. To erase this country from the global map is beneficial, in terms of the requirement of the grand existence of the Middle East, both as a step to a well-organized image of the Middle East and as a means to destroy the imperialist powers and to stir the world for this purpose. The Western policies which drew territories on sand and caused the peoples of the Middle East to fight against one another along these territories are now in a dilemma. If Saddam Hussein had handled it more tactfully, for instance, as necessary Islamic policies not out of a material gain or desire, he would be a real hero. What was Kuwait but a treacherous country who poured all its oil income, ignoring the poor Islamic world, to the West?
The Weekly Cuma: They say that the world had just entered a period of relaxation and peace when Saddam made a hash of something. What do you think about that?
Salih Mirzabeyoglu: Now, here is the time to mention our dear deceased Grand master and demonstrate what it is to give a strong grasp of things! In order to give the best response to this story of “relaxation,” I would like to read one of his articles written at the end of 1970s. Here, let me read it to you:
“Since we are in the alarming worry about the missing order at home of our own, we seem to ignore the outside indicators which threaten us with a terrible destruction. The greatest events of the recent weeks is the inclination for the agreement of disarmament between the US and Russia. In fact, this is not a real disarmament but a tactic as the non-use of weapons against each other. It should be very well understood that, Turkey has been able to stand up thanks to the opposite winds blowing from the East and the West since the Second World War. These winds clash with each other right above us and somewhat support our country weakened by its own troubles. In other words, this is what has helped us maintain the temporary and artificial balance so far. The harmony between the United States of America and Russia should make us nervous before anybody else; we should be alarmed and decide where and how we should seek our right to exist in the future. Such a harmony which might sound to be favoring peace and relaxation in the world will most probably result in profit-distribution between Russian and the US in the Near and Middle East Region and particularly in oil-supplying regions. This mutual smile and shaking-hands between the lion and the tiger of course should frighten the herd of deer in the forest but do they really understand, intuit or see this danger and is there anyone taking action?”
Here is a comment as fresh as it has been just written. They feel their empire is at a decline and they now put all their efforts to regain their strength through a new structure, and we take this period as “peace in the world!” Now, imagine a man. He is beating another man, battering and punching him, and becoming exhausted after a while. As soon as the other man raises his hand, some peacemakers start objecting to it: “Look, he is not hitting you at the moment, why should you beat him; it is pointless, isn’t it?”
Throughout history, each era has its own limits and conditions, along with the balances which are advantageous for some and disadvantageous for the others. And that era is not the end of everything but a link in the chain of Human History. Otherwise, any action resisting against exploitation, oppression and slavery would indicate a breakdown in peace and balance. After all, the self-evident truth clearly shows itself: what on earth are the Western world and the United States doing in the Middle East?
The Weekly Cuma: What do you think about the embargo imposed on Iraq?
Salih Mirzabeyoglu: First of all, I would like to emphasize one point clearly: It is a shame that Turkey overtly plays a role of guard of the West and the United State of America in the Middle East and support them. As for the embargo issue, one should first think about the answer of the following question: “While waiting for Iraq to be dissolved by the embargo, do you also take into account that embargo itself can dissolve the agents of the embargo as well?” In my opinion, this is where it comes down to: Apart from all this small political tradesmanship, the world is on the verge of chaos, in which all the small and spiritually unsupported dreams are destroyed and all the significant accounts are settled; and now it has become impregnated with many huge and unexpected changes!
The Weekly Cuma: Anything you would like to add or any message?
Salih Mirzabeyoglu: I would like all the members of our congregation to emphasize to themselves these points: they should be professionally organizing and leading the amateur activities on behalf of a true idea and they should be feeding and supporting the professional activities within an amateur fashion and excitement and will to support. They should be active actors of the stance they take rather than talkative spectators of the events. Our stance has nothing to do with the trivial; it has to do with Islam per se!
The Weekly Cuma – October 1990
Right before the Gulf War;
Interview with founder of IBDA Movement, Salih Mirzabeyoglu
ADIMLAR Europe Magazine