The Complexity of Contemporary Life and critique of the book, End of Democracy by Hans Lukas Kiesler
The Complexity of Contemporary Life
In our fast-paced world, we often find ourselves surrounded by many items and subscriptions, ranging from magazines like the New York Times, Washington Times, New Yorker, American Scholar, the Baffler, Scientific American, and the Nation to various forms of entertainment and technology. This abundance, including toys, books, and numerous digital gadgets, starkly contrasts with simpler times. Such an accumulation prompts introspection about the necessity and impact of these possessions on our lives. We seem to miss the direct and open threats and happenings in our immediate vicinity, targeting the essentially divine principles of our modern lives of decency, academic integrity, constitution and human rights.
The Digital and Academic Landscape
The shift towards digital platforms has significantly altered how we consume media and engage with social networks. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and various video streaming services have become integral to our daily routines, offering a mix of information and entertainment. This change raises questions about the quality of our engagements and the value of shared content.
Simultaneously, the academic sphere is often a battleground for historical narratives and interpretations. The case in point is the debate surrounding Hans Lukas Kieser’s book, which presents a contentious view of historical events, particularly in relation to Turkey’s role in the early 20th century. The book’s portrayal of Ataturk and the Lausanne Treaty has sparked significant discussion about the integrity and objectivity of academic research.
I was watching the program by Cengiz Ozakinci and Levent Yildiz on YouTube, and they have a great streaming service that I love;
The Importance of Evidence in Historical Discourse
A crucial aspect of historical analysis is the reliance on evidence. Accusations of heinous crimes, such as genocide, demand robust proof and should ideally be adjudicated by competent international courts. The absence of concrete evidence in such serious allegations raises concerns about the motives and methodologies of those making the claims.
Reexamining the Lausanne Treaty and Turkish History
The book is on sale by the Cambridge University Press. Basically, the author Hans Lukas Kieser, who published some others on Turks with malicious intent to defame and attack Turkish identity with racist fervor, states that the Lozan treaty, the foundation of the modern Republic of Turkiye, is the establishment of Nazi and Fascist regimes in Europe and is the last nail in the coffin of ‘democracy.’ He claims that British Imperialism, Greece (which was a kingdom during the First World War and during the Lozan Treaty), and the other imperialist hegemonic powers such as France and Italy were bringing ‘democracy’ to the rest of the world. Kieser argues that the Lozan (Lausanne) Treaty and the Turks stopped this procedure.
When two lies (that imperialists are bringing democracy) are combined with another lie (that Turks stopped the evolution of democracy by the Lausanne Treaty), this doesn’t make one truth but completely tarnishes the reputation of Kieser. Cheap propaganda published by a university whose ‘universal’ approach to scientific integrity according to its own rules is not followed also tarnishes the reputation of that university beyond repair in this process.
In his book, Kieser contends that Ataturk had the opportunity to establish himself as the sovereign ruler of a Turkish Kingdom. However, this assertion is cast into doubt by historical facts and the provisions of the Lausanne Treaty. Such a claim undermines the credibility of Kieser’s work, as it is well-documented that Ataturk, far from aspiring to royal status, was instrumental in dismantling the Ottoman Monarchy and the Caliphate, leading to the foundation of the Turkish Republic. This was achieved with significant participation and support from the Turkish populace. Furthermore, it appears that Kieser’s narrative often elevates figures who, due to their racially motivated political views, stood in opposition to the modern, secular Turkish Republic. This bias raises questions about the objectivity and reliability of his interpretations.
Kieser posits that the roots of various malevolent ideologies, specifically racism, Nazism, and Fascism, can be traced back to the outcomes of the Lausanne Treaty. He argues that this treaty, which succeeded the defunct Sèvres Treaty, ushered in a new era of realpolitik, fundamentally altering the geopolitical landscape that the Sèvres Treaty had initially shaped. Kieser suggests that the Sèvres Treaty might have facilitated universal and international peace if it remained in effect. This treaty, largely perceived as an attempt to partition Turkish territory among foreign powers such as Greece, the British Empire, France, and Italy, was seen as a direct threat to the survival of the Turkish nation, potentially leaving it without resources, land, or sovereignty, and exposing its people to the risk of genocide. The rejection of this treaty by the Kemalists, in Kieser’s view, significantly impacted the course of international relations and the evolution of certain destructive ideologies.
Kieser’s discussion of ‘promises’ within the Lausanne Treaty has been critically examined by Cengiz Ozakinci and Levent Yildiz. They convincingly argue that Kieser’s interpretation significantly misrepresents the historical context, particularly in referencing Riza Nur’s work. According to Nur, the abolition of the Khalifate by the Turkish Kemalists was a decisive move made prior to the Lausanne Treaty and not a result of it. This contradicts Kieser’s implication that the Turks were compelled to make such a promise under international pressure at the Treaty. Moreover, Ozakinci and Yildiz highlight that during the Lausanne discussions, it was actually the representatives from Greece, Italy, France, and the British Empire who projected a racially charged narrative, suggesting the alleged inferiority of the Turks. They purported that this perceived inferiority warranted the continued application of Sharia law, rather than adopting modern legal frameworks, thus contradicting the ideals of equality and human rights. This interpretation challenges Kieser’s perspective and underscores the complexities and biases inherent in historical analysis.
Cengiz Ozakinci’s research highlights that the Kemalist movement in Turkey was keen on adopting modern governance principles akin to those in Western Europe, emphasizing equality before the law, secularism, human rights, and women’s rights. Contrary to this progressive stance, Western European powers at the time — specifically the British Empire, Italy, France, and Greece — advocated for the retention of Ottoman-era laws and regulations. This insistence seemingly conflicted with the emerging ideals of modern governance and human rights.
Furthermore, Turkey’s advancement in terms of electoral and representational rights was notably progressive for its time. Even as the Suffrage movement was gaining momentum in Great Britain, Turkey was already making significant strides. Turkish women gained the right to vote and actively participated in governmental and other official capacities. This progress in Turkey occurred when many European nations were still grappling with gender equality in politics and governance. This aspect of Turkish history is often overlooked in discussions about the evolution of democratic rights in Europe and the Middle East.
Kieser’s analysis appears to undervalue the Turkish Revolution’s significance and the Kemalists’ achievements, potentially reflecting a biased perspective. He posits that the adoption of the Swiss Law of Obligations and Civil Law in 1926 by the Kemalists was a result of the coercive influence of Western European Imperial powers. However, historical records suggest a different narrative. In fact, the Kemalist delegates themselves were the driving force behind the incorporation of these laws, advocating for equal legal representation for all, in contrast to the imperialistic pressures of the time.
This portrayal by Kieser raises concerns about the objectivity of his work, particularly in relation to the Cambridge publication. The narrative presented therein seems to skew the historical facts, potentially serving to discredit the Lausanne Treaty and the transformative impact of the Kemalist Revolution in Turkey. Such a representation not only oversimplifies the complex dynamics of the period but also appears to overlook the proactive and deliberate efforts of the Kemalist leaders in shaping modern Turkey’s legal and social framework.
I would like to place a brief recess here and examine Kieser’s work so far: To construct a compelling argument that Hans Lukas Kieser is academically dishonest and is misrepresenting findings with malicious intent, it is essential to examine the nature of his arguments, the context of his references, and the broader academic standards for scholarly integrity.
1. Examination of Kieser’s Arguments:
Kieser’s thesis, as discussed, appears to attribute the genesis of various malevolent ideologies directly to the outcomes of the Lausanne Treaty. This simplification of complex historical events into a single cause-and-effect narrative can be seen as a reductionist approach, which often fails to account for the multifaceted nature of historical developments. Historians and scholars typically acknowledge the complexity of events and are cautious about attributing broad historical changes to single causes.
2. Context and Interpretation of References:
Kieser’s interpretation of Riza Nur’s work and the events surrounding the Lausanne Treaty raises concerns. If, as argued by Cengiz Ozakinci and Levent Yildiz, Kieser has significantly misinterpreted or selectively cited Nur’s work, this would indicate a breach of academic integrity. Proper scholarly conduct requires accurate representation of sources. Misrepresenting a source to support a predetermined conclusion, especially in historical research, can be seen as intellectually dishonest.
3. Intent to Deceive:
Arguing that Kieser has a malicious intent to deceive is a more challenging assertion, as it requires evidence of Kieser’s motivations. However, if it is demonstrated that Kieser consistently misrepresents sources or omits key historical facts that contradict his thesis, one might infer an intent to mislead. Such a pattern of selective citation or misinterpretation, especially if it serves a particular narrative, could suggest an underlying bias or an attempt to manipulate historical understanding for specific ends.
4. Contradictions in Historical Facts:
If Kieser’s assertions about the Lausanne Treaty and the Kemalist reforms in Turkey are in direct contradiction with well-established historical facts, this discrepancy needs to be critically examined. For instance, if it is historically evident that the Kemalists were proponents of modern legal and social reforms, contrary to Kieser’s portrayal, this would further question the accuracy and integrity of his work.
In summary, a compelling argument against Kieser’s academic honesty would involve a detailed analysis of his use of sources, the accuracy of his historical interpretations, and the consistency of his arguments with established historical facts. While claiming malicious intent requires caution and substantial evidence, demonstrating patterns of misrepresentation or selective citation can significantly undermine the credibility of his work. In the realm of academic scholarship, the adherence to factual accuracy and intellectual honesty is paramount, and any deviation from these standards warrants scrutiny and critique.