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The Project for Islamic Cooperation for a Peaceful Future in Afghanistan, November 30, 2011 - December 2, 2011

George Mason University Press Release

November 29, 2011

Media Contacts: In U.S., James Greif, +1 703 993 9118, jgreif@gmu.edu. In Turkey, Aziz Abu Sarah +1 571-236-0380, azizabusarah@gmail.com .

Istanbul, Turkey –From every province of Afghanistan, Imams and civil society leaders will meet together today with Islamic scholars for the first time during the Islamic Cooperation for a Peaceful Future in Afghanistan conference, an unprecedented gathering that will open on November 30 in Istanbul, Turkey. More than 80 Afghan scholars will meet with over 20 of the world’s most prestigious Muftis and Islamic scholars, with millions of followers across the world, from Pakistan to Indonesia.

The conference participants consider this gathering, discussion and commitment for peace and non-violence as the establishment of a historically significant point of reference for Islamic teachings of moderation, tolerance, peace and cooperation.

The conference is an academic forum created by the Center for World Religions, …

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Get on the Right Side of History

by mgopin on September 24, 2011 · 0 comments

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(A version of this essay was recently published in The Jerusalem Report.)

Across the world in the last 40 years politically organized religious forces have played an increasingly important role in national politics. From India to Indonesia, from Lebanon to Israel, from the United States to Russia, organized religion has increased its impact on politics.

We are also aware of the frightening rise of very violent religion, expressed through terror groups. For this reason, it is easy to misunderstand the relationship between religion on the one hand and between states and ethnic groups and their very secular interests, on the other hand.

Precisely because so many millions of people care about religion, religion has become an essential tool of secular state and ethnic interests. Indeed, what may seem to be a religious issue often turns out to be very secular state interests. Missing this relationship, it becomes easy

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This is a great example of how people need to take charge of global foreign policy. The Jews of Turkey are modelling the way in which citizens need to take charge of their own fate, to make the case for their own needs, and in so doing, call upon political leaders to stop using religion, ethnicity or such cultural differences as weapons. They are also deeply concerned by the over-identification of a state and its policies with a people or a religion. This must change to make everyone safe and help states to take responsibility for their own policies. None of us should be held hostage to state policies but should be empowered to represent ourselves and our basic needs.

Turkey’s Jews Urge Calm After Spat With Israel

On Wednesday, a major Jewish American group raised concerns about rising anti-Semitism in Turkey, criticizing statements by Turkish government officials and the

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hillary

From the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson’s Bureau:

Israel welcomes the signing of an historic peace agreement between Turkey and Armenia. The agreement, which was signed by the foreign ministers of the two states on Saturday (10 October 2009), proves once again that open, brave and direct dialogue is the only way to overcome controversies and past fears and to make a new start towards a better future.

Israel hopes that the peace agreement will lead the entire region into a period of peace and cooperation.

This is a terrific development and I hope the pace of reconciliation efforts takes hold. But things are very complicated in Turkey.  Prime Minister Erdogan has to balance his embrace of former adversaries of Turkey while keeping allies. He must embrace Arab causes such as the rights of Palestinians without humiliating Israeli leaders. Turkey can be the bridge between the West and the …

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TURKEY’S RETURN TO GLORY

by mgopin on March 18, 2009 · 5 comments

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This article just appeared in Today’s Zaman and in Zaman which is Turkey’s preeminent journal. As you can see this has been part of my ongoing efforts to introduce and encourage far more intermediaries in the Middle Eastern conflict who can be effective, trustworthy and more even handed that Western intervention. This is meant also to encourage the United States, Hilary Clinton, and others to follow the lead of where the most moderate voices of the Islamic world are going. This is also a development of my work in Syria which has encouraged cultural revival that is peace-oriented, practical and visionary at once.

Turkey’s return to glory
by
Marc Gopin
For reasons of history, culture and geography, there is a surprising opportunity for Turkey to assume a position of central global leadership in the 21st century and thereby further all of its legitimate national interests.

This is shocking considering the

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Landis on American Middle East Policy So Far

by mgopin on February 6, 2009 · 1 comment

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As usual, Josh Landis is brief, brilliant and right on target. The Obama White House should study every word. It is time for a diplomatic revolution if they want to save themselves a massive upheaval in the Middle East in the next few years. Listening to where the Arab world really is at is going to be the key to a successful American intervention in the region. The rage and shock that has spread across the Arab world could lead to a new regional confrontation with Israel. But if Obama coordinates a systematic engagement with all regional powers and players, including Syria and Turkey, in addition to a new kind of engagement and negotiation with outside powers such as Russia and China, we may see an emerging consensus on both what Israel must do, what Iran must do, and what Hamas must do, in order to step back from …

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Excellent progress has been made in the Middle East due to the clever replacement of the United States as a third party. First Turkey, which helped engineer the official channel of a rapprochement between Syria and Israel, and now France in terms of a rapprochement of Syria and Lebanon. They have both played pivotal roles in dramatically changing the possibilities on the ground. I heard through the grapevine that Syrian officials had said over a year ago, “If you see us moving toward Iran it means war, if we move toward Turkey it is peace.” This does not mean that Syria does not maintain a deep relationship with Iran, but all its major public moves of late are moving Syria toward Turkey and France.

Most significant is that for the first time in modern history there is a real chance that Syria and Lebanon will engage in an amicable separation

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