The irony is that Turkey’s Erdogan spilled some controversial words about the discovery of America a few days before the executive action on immigration law, which is still debated in the United States.
Irony aside, all Erdogan wanted the world to understand or at least the Muslim leaders of the Latin American countries is that their ancestors is capable of achieving something remarkable, like reaching the land mass of America.
The purpose of this article is not to contest whether Muslims reached the New World before Christopher Columbus, but to understand more about how beliefs of such leaders is taking the world to the brink of cataclysm.
This article will conclude two major insights from Erdogan’s opinion on discovery of America after a short briefing of the whole event to give an idea to those who are unaware. The Turkish President based his arguments somewhat on the studies conducted by Dr Yousseff Mroueh, a modern day lesser known scholar, who cites Columbus as referring in his diary, that he saw a mosque like structure on the hill top along the north-eastern border of Cuba. Another source for Erdogan’s claim is that of the Turkish scholar Fuat Sezgin, who suggested that the references for the maps used by Columbus to reach the Americas could have been taken from the cartographic works of Muslim sailors and hence the voyagers who reached America before the Italian sailor could be possibly Muslims.
This idea is not completely fallible as it is only a speculation and there are more conjectures that the Americas had visitors before Columbus and the ones to do so first is being contested by the Chinese, the Vikings, the Muslims, and many others. Moreover further investigation on various sources say, the mosque like structure is an allusion Columbus made to the landscape he saw from his ship and there were no archaeological evidences found as proofs.
This claim of Erdogan brought him to the lime light as ever before, for his controversial statements. He was ridiculed for the claim even by his native critics; one of them went on to say that the next of his claims would be not Newton discovered gravity but a Muslim. Erdogan’s rebuke to those critics is what would feed some off-beat thinking. He accused his critics of lacking self confidence that their ancestors had the capability to undertake such voyages and reach milestones.
There are two insights that can be inferred from the whole event, especially from Erdogan. One is how he should do some soul searching to understand what he firmly believes and the other how such misinterpreted beliefs of world leaders have continued to deteriorate international security. If he thinks he is venting out his displeasure on the West by making this claim, he is completely wrong.
Because he inherently believes without his knowledge that reaching the New World is a matter of pride and he makes attempts to entitle the coveted achievement to the credit of his ancestors. He also questions the country’s youth who speculates this claim by asking them why they think such an achievement is not possible to be accomplished by our ancestors. It is illogical to say that he admires the land but not its dwellers.
Another important aspect to be noted is his view of his fellow men lacking self confidence for something their ancestors achieved, if at all. Self confidence is all about oneself and describes how an individual is motivated to achieve something and not the ancestry. This regress in history to understand ourselves and judge others is a major hindrance for world peace. World leaders are less bothered about shaping the future by understanding the history and acting in the present in a responsible way, but are more interested in devising divisive tactics like Erdogan did in Istanbul while addressing the Muslim heads of the Latin American countries.
What is further evident is that you cannot logically formulate an ideology from history to create a rift between societies. In other words, if you want to carve out such a divisive philosophy from history, then your logic will be flawed and it will overshadow your inner belief and faith. Thus his claim is just a cover up for his domestic political failures as a leader of his country. But he demonstrates his shrewd political skills that turn away attention to a point, which can create tension in an already fragile world.
History is for gaining wisdom and not for the sake of factual knowledge and politics. We need wise leaders.
Image Source: Vox