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 KÖPRÜ / Bahar 2011 
 Said Nursi’nin İslam Dünyası Tasavvuru: Hutbe-i Şamiye
 KÖPRÜ / Bahar 2007 
 Güneydoğu'daki Etnik Problemler Ve Çözüm Arayışları

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Kış 2014   [ 125. Sayı ]

Being Democratic


“Being democratic” or “democraticity” is a concept that has been associated with democracy and that has taken a very significant place in our democratic culture. This concept has a wide variety of content that must be studied with a multi-directional approach.

The fact that even though Turkey has a one-and-a half century long experience of democratization, it hasn’t acquired democracy at a desired level draws the attentions to the concept of “democraticity,” which constitutes the essence of and the subject of democracy. It is quite interesting that different labels of democraticity such as liberal democracy, social democracy, conservative democracy etc., which appear in the political literature, converge at the common ground of being democratic. It is a wondrous question that which one is the real democrat among these different patterns of democratic thinking which draw different road maps in terms of the administration of society in a more liberal way and in providing the public and individual freedoms. What are the principles that underlie the democraticity? What are the characteristics that must be possessed by a democratic person or society? Though it may be from different democratic perspectives, these questions must be discussed in order to help the accomplishment of political arguments on the right grounds.

Is democraticity a kind of uniform that modern societies and individuals find fitting themselves or does it represent an attitude or understanding that we can find in different regimes and systems throughout history? In fact the real democraticity which we can basically summarize as “being in favor of the right; accepting the right; being on the side of the right by leaving aside the ideological, institutional and personal priorities” and which represent an attitude andan understanding that we can observe in every period of history necessitates our questioning of today’s understandings of democracy and democraticity. In broad terms, democraticity expresses a standing point which does not alienate the other; which perceives differences as richness; which accepts just and liberal rules and attitudes; which turns its face to individuals and society without relying on the state, the status quo or a certain elite; which defends a legal system producing justice; and which believes in the supremacy of the law. Therefore it is necessary to question the conjunctural understanding and behavioral patterns of the liberal, social, and conservative democrats, who do alienation; who confine the freedoms into the areas where they have determined; and who adopt statist attitudes in relation to fundamental rights. Such contradictory situations which render a partial and sometimes a secular democraticity require as well the study of “a religious democrat” which is a new democratic identity based on righteousness and justice.

Democracy which is remembered alongside democraticity stirs up different arguments due to hypocritical attitudes of the Westerners about democracy as in the case of Egypt. This situation, which makes up a new area of discussion for the segment of people who cannot associate Islam with democracy and never get along with democracy cause the questioning of the relationship between Islam and democracy once again and the speeding up of the search for the domination of the democratic understanding and structures in the ways leading from the conscience to the state. An aspect of these searches points out to the reasons for why we cannot pass to a state of law which gives priority to preserving the human being and the values belonging to humanity, even though we have had a one-and-a half-century long constitutional tradition. It also leads to the clues of how to take position against authoritative understandings and how to establish a democratic culture. The solution of our social problems by means of these clues which highlight the democratic identity, gains importance in terms of setting up a democratic structure we have desired so far.

Another issue to be discussed is how to determine the position of Bediuzzaman in the arguments of democraticity. Bediuzzaman always emphasized “Ahrar” the liberals while discussing the fundamental rights and freedoms in the continuum of history. The question whether Bediüzzaman’s pointing at the Democrats as the continuation of the Liberals is just an expression of a political approach or it is concerned with the basic stresses of the understanding of liberalism has a nature that can shed light on the political discussions of our time.

The definition of democraticity by Bediuzzaman Said Nursi around the issues such as establishing the freedom of conscience, the love for freedom, serving to the nation, being in favor of the symbols of Islamic Sharia, following the policies of Islamic Unity, helping the students and truths of Risale-i Nur against the movements that disapprove The Quran and Islam is important in terms of understanding a line extending from the time of “Asr-ı Saadet” (The Era of Happiness) till our time. In this context to follow the footsteps of the democratic understanding in the Islamic societies throughout history will be a remarkable reading in order to see the reflections of the line in the Era of Happiness unto the democratic descriptions of our time. Furthermore such a reading will enable us to understand the distinctive features of the democratic line starting with the liberals, continuing with the democrats, which in return will enable us to evaluate Ak Parti, which is based on a conservative democracy and the other political parties that have structured around democratic discourses.

How can the democratic identity and culture be established is among the issues being discussed in democratic societies. Therefore the answer to the question “what are the ways of building up a democratic identity” is related to the extent that the civil social structures like parties, unions, associations and communities have adopted the democratic culture. Therefore the ways of building up democracy and the democratic culture will be among the topics discussed in this issue.

As a result we have planned to determine the topic of the 125th issue of Köprü as revolving around concepts such as “democracy, constitutionalism, republic, democrat, democraticism, democratic culture, liberal-social-conservative democrat, religious democrat, liberals, religiosity, religion, politics, society, civil society, community, association, political parties, the Democrat Party, constitution, army, laicism, independence of jurisdiction, national state, beliefs, ideologies, differences, the survival of the state, pluralism, freedom of press, basic rights and freedoms, the other, opposition, alienation, tolerance, reconciliation, coexistence, righteousness, law, justice, conscience …. ” Within the framework of that plan we have discussed with the Institute of Risale-I Nur the topic of “democraticity” as a roundtable in İstanbul. Then we declared to the public opinion the conclusions of that roundtable at a panel organized on 29 December 2013. In this issue we publish both the conclusions of the roundtable and the text of the panel.

The questions we intended to answer in this issue are briefly as follows:

What is being a democrat (democraticity)?

What are the basic features of the democratic identity?

What are the values of a democratic society? Does democraticism exclusively mean having the right of administrating itself? What is the relationship between republic and democracy and democraticism?

What is the relationship of the concepts of democracy, democrat, democraticism with politics and state? How can a democratic diagram concerning politics-society, state-politics, and state-society be drawn?

What is the significance of the supremacy of law in terms of democracy and democraticism?

What are the measures to be taken to prevent the legal grounds from being the destructive means of the powerful? What is the use of the democratic identity in that context?

What are the main differences between the types of democraticism such as liberal, social and conservative democraticisms? Do these different types express contrast or represent different searches for regimes in the conducts concerning the state?

What is democraticity and who is a democrat in Said Nursi’s mental world? What sort of relation does Said Nursi set up between the Ottoman Liberals (Ahrars) and the Democrats? What is liberalism (Ahrarlık) according to Risale-i Nur? How can the footsteps of democraticism be followed in the life of Bediüzzaman? How can the relationship between Bediuzzaman and the Democrat Party be considered? What is the significance of the concept of “the lesser of the evils” (ehvenüşşer)? How can we carry this interpretation pattern to the political atmosphere of our time?

Köprü takes pride in meeting with the readers as a “peer-reviewed journal” in this issue and hopes to address you with the texts of the 9th Congress of Risale-i Nur, “Social Movements and Coexistence according to Said Nursi.”