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A.G. Sariçam: Address to the International Leadership Conference

 Address to the UPF International Leadership Conference
Seoul, Korea, February 6-10, 2011

Hon. Ahmet Gokhan Sariçam is a Member of the Grand National Assembly of the Republic of Turkey. Mr. Sariçam graduated from Faculty of Law in İstanbul University and founded a company selling furniture. In 2002 He was elected a member of Parliament. He is the Vice-Chair of Human Rights Inquiry Committee. He is also President of the Kırklareli Physically Handicapped Sports Club.

Nowadays, peace and democracy are frequently mentioned everywhere as two magical concepts. Especially, when "peace" is articulated, the sentence usually concludes with the phrase, “peace is a whole of beauty which can be achieved through a challenging and difficult struggle.”

Peace is an environment which is established with mutual tolerance and respect. The philosopher Herodotus said, “None is senseless enough to prefer war to peace.”

The fundamental reasons for peace not being established are the variations of expression and perception. Basically, no one is against peace. However, differences in thinking and conflicts of interests provoke terrible tragedies for humanity. Issues that are not normally problematic among individuals and peoples have brought about great conflicts and massive injustices due to the problematic ways of thinking of the rulers.

In our world, the way to establish peace is without a doubt through love. Yunus Emre, a famous Turkish philosopher, underlines the necessity of extending this love to all creatures with his statement: ”I love the creature, just because of God.” If we adopt this attitude of looking at all beings  in existence with the eyes of love, it will not permit an atmosphere of conflict.

Just imagine what benefits the whole world would gain if leaders who rule communities could base their philosophy on this broad understanding of love!

A state that is established with the aim of defending the rights of individuals generally becomes a mechanism that cannot protect human rights globally. In fact, we know that this problem is caused by rulers who have not properly internalized these rights. Rulers who do not show respect, love, and tolerance and view the world only through materialistic glasses will inevitably take a Machiavellian approach. Furthermore, it is also impossible for the people who elect such rulers by their own free will not to be aware of these facts.

In the last century, prevailing regimes in considerable numbers of countries have enabled leaders to reflect the structure of the people who elected them. However, nearly all of these leaders’ policies are those of an exploiter who shows no love, tolerance, or other qualities that are in the national interests.

When the beliefs and morals of these societies are analyzed, one can assume that God anticipates a system of punishment and compensation not only in this world but also the world after death. However, human beings have not taken these intangible qualities into consideration in spite of the fact that they talk about them over and over.

For example, Muslim and Christian communities support leaders who put into practice policies that cause problems for them in their realm of existence and expectations. When these communities support such leaders, they ignore the system that is the basis of civilization.

Peace begins and develops in the realm of the individual. It seems impossible for an individual who has problems in his inner realm and is not at peace with himself to promote peace. An individual’s education and the realm that is shaped as a result of that education should be appropriate to the values that establish peace. Grounding the values of universal peace in the individual realm is the precondition for world peace.

When individuals who have not established these values properly in their inner realm take important positions in institutions, these problems expand from the individuals to the institutions. This means that the masses who live under the influence of these institutions cannot dwell in peace. This is the first step of annihilating universal peace.

There is no doubt that leaders have the same senses and subconsciousness that everybody else has. The good leader is the one who can discipline his senses and act independently without being controlled by his subconsciousness. In order to achieve this, it is necessary for an individual to internalize the values of a worthy belief system.

Substantially, all belief systems in the world teach us that love is essential for a happy life and for being at peace with the world. If individuals ground their life by internalizing a belief system based on love, their leaders will most probably have the same values in their life. Moreover, when people’s characters are shaped by love and tolerance, it will bring about peace and lead to the happiness of humanity.

The principle of mutual love and respect for each others’ rights, which constitutes the primary condition for peace among individuals, is being challenged as a result of twisted relations between the states. The biggest problem is caused by the attitude in which the state governments put their interests above the principles and rights of all others. Peace can only be established if the governments believe in and respect the principles of peace. Thus, justice, which is the foundation of peace, should prevail within the scope of political ethics.