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Founder of Turkey’s Cem Foundation: “Heydar Aliyev told me 'We are the same people as Nasimi’”

Izzettin Dogan: Heydar Aliyev said, 'We are the same people as Nasimi'
© Report

Istanbul. 16 January. REPORT.AZ/ Report’s Turkey bureau interviews founder and honorary chairman of Turkey’s Cem Foundation, professor Izzettin Dogan.

- President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev announced 2019 the year of Nasimi. How do you assess the decision?

- It is an extraordinarily relevant decision evidencing that after late Heydar Aliyev his attitude towards religion and classic literature is successfully continued. During our meeting in Baku late Heydar Aliyev told me that in some of our regions there are still the heavenly ceremonies. He said in 70 years of the Soviet regime, religion was prohibited. “We did not know much about alevis, sunnis, shafis. But we knew for fure that whoever Nasimi, Fuzili, Abdal Musa are, we are like them.” It was a very sincere statement.

- What was the purpose of your visit to Baku?

- We were sent to Baku by late Ejevit. Culture Minister Istemihan Talay was walking behind me. I told him, ‘you represent the country, move ahead’. But he said: 'Mind your business, you must go ahead’ (laughs). "Prime Minister Ejevit noted that deceased Ozal once said ‘Azerbaijanis are Shias and we are Sunnis’. Therefore, there can be coldness between us. You are an Alevi leader. I ask you to go to Baku and discuss these issues with President Heydar Aliyev in detail." I said ‘It will be a great honor to me’. I asked him to go with Izzettin hoja. We were not familiar with late Heydar Aliyev. Turkey’s ambassador to Baku Kadri Ejvet Tezdjat was sitting next to him. He said ‘we are the same people as Nasimi’. That is, our conversation got the right start. We were late Heydar Aliyev’s guests for three days.

- He himself ordered to make a film about Nasimi. The novel ‘Day of Judgment’ is among the best samples of world literature. They were friends with Isa Huseynov. Heydar Aliyev treated these things both as a statesman and a man of soul…

- He was a farseeing politician. Not every statesman could balance the religious issues after Marxist society but Heydar Aliyev could do it well. Millions of people died following the Socialist revolution. After Azerbaijan gained independence Heydar Aliyev settled the issues bloodlessly. He instructed the then Minister of Culture Polad Bulbuloglu, ‘Follow Hoja’s words, whatever he says, like you follow my words.’ He said, ‘we will always do everything possible to meet your needs.”

- What events do you plan to hold in 2019 in line with the decision adopted by the Azerbaijani President? I mean will you visit Azerbaijan?

- I am ready to provide every assistance. President Ilham Aliyev’s decision must be implemented not only in Muslim but also in Christian countries for the worthy commemoration of Nasimi. This is our opinion. Allah says, ‘I created all of you different. If I wanted, I could create you similar.' This is what Guran says. My greatest wish in the year of Nasimi is to promote him on the world arena. Now Yunus Emre is on the foreground in Turkey...

- Attempts to attribute Yunus to ‘Sunnis’ are observed at the conferences held in the past years…

- The names of Yunus Emre, Haji Bektashi Veli are always on their lips as they speak out. But their thoughts are not followed. Every son of the civilization must fulfill his duty in the place where Nasimi’s name is indicated. Our TV channels is at your service, if you want to make any program related to Nasimi, we will do our best to help you. It was me who brought late professor Oqtay Efendiyev to Turkey. By rendering necessary material support, I asked him to write a book about Shah Ismayil. But failed, because he died after writing 50-60 pages. We would also like to publish in Turkey interesting books about Nasimi written in Azerbaijan

- I can offer the work ‘Vocabulary of Nasimi’s divan’ to which late professor Jahangir Gahramanov dedicated his life. There are also other valuable pieces about Nasimi.

- We will promote those books in our TV programs.

- Late Iren Melikoff played a great role in Nasimi’s promotion in Turkey. It would be good to publish her book too…

- Iren Melikoff used to meet with me during her visits to Turkey. We were at odds, but it was not my fault. Iren claimed that Alevis appeared after the 16th century. How can it be so?

- Are you still interested in Nasimi’s grave in Aleppo? If the situation in Syria stabilizes, will be come forward with an initiative to restore the poet’s grave in Aleppo?

- Sure. Had the system not changed, we discussed all these issues in detail with former Prime Minister Binali. I told him that cooperation between the regional countries in all spheres is essential. Azerbaijan is closest to us among those countries. With a great pleasure we will demonstrate the film ‘Nasimi’ on our TV channels with subtitles. We all owe a debt of gratitude to President Ilham Aliyev for such an important decision about Nasimi. Our duty must be the arrangement of events on Nasimi every week of 2019. All of us will see the importance of respected Ilham Aliyev’s decision for Turkey. I will give instructions to our TV channels right away. Please, strengthen your ties with us and let’s hold the Year of Nasimi at the highest level worthy of that great personality. 

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