The new and old Jerusalem - YAŞAR TAŞKIN KOÇ

The new and old Jerusalem

It seems that Trump’s controversial decision has quieted down on Christmas Eve. At the UN General Assembly, almost the whole world gave the necessary response to the U.S. by rejecting its decision. I said almost because we know why those abstained decided to do so. There’s no theoretical payoff of the voting, but there are and will definitely be practical results.

I hope that one result of this nonsense will be speeding-up the process of founding and recognizing of the State of Palestine and Jerusalem being its capital.

It is not surprising that current matters have a place in history, in fact with strong roots. A thousand year adventure can be seen in the Jerusalem issue. Thomas Asbridge’s book The Crusades is both a new work on this matter and contains theories that contradict with what has been established until today. Analyzing the crusades, which is not just the most important issue of the Middle East but also has effects on today’s world, Asbridge states that war or similar acts of violence were not accepted in the Christianity of the period contrary to popular belief and that the Vatican, who conducted those, was not able to rally the armies easily. As you read it, you will see that the first crusade, the only one that reached its goal, miraculously did not end in Iznik first and then Antioch.

While this was taking Western Europe by storm, what were the Muslim Middle East and other close regions doing? They were neither aware of the incoming wave and the objectives of the masses run by religious motives, nor were they looking for solutions by stopping the conflict among each other. When they realized that these masses, who they thought to be “The mercenaries of Byzantium who would come and loot, at the most, and then leave” aimed to stay, it was too late.

Despite the huge excitement in Europe after taking Jerusalem back, not a single movement could be observed in the Muslim world. 

A strange similarity, the rulers of the time who were told by stories by the escapees of massacres just got emotional and only a protest was held after the Friday prayer. That’s all…

Only after kingdoms and counties were founded in four different towns, Muslims finally understood what was happening.

Then came counter attacks, repeats of failed crusades and the Islamization of the region despite some Christian communities.

Followed by World War I and World War II and the incidents after the founding of Israel.

History goes on. This spinning wheel comes to present.

Our current issue is the latest Legislative Decree and its content.

Especially, the uniform issue and the legal and administrative non-liability under Article 121 for the civilians who resisted the coup attempt are subjects of controversy.

The description in the article was at first criticized for leaving the date range open for interpretation.

Then the government and authorities of the ruling party said that the description was only limited with resistance against the coup attempt on July 15 and July 16, 2016 as it lasted till the next day.

Although it is only limited to two days, there are strong criticisms against the protection of non-official civilians from being tried. With this criticism, it is not requested that those who joined the resistance on July 15-16 be judged, nor is it a perception that sees them a guilty.

First of all, it is theoretically not right to grant such legal non-liability.

And secondly, it is concerning that this can be abused in similar situations for their practical results in the future.

The legislative decree was published and the judicial road is closed, however, arguments continue.

Let’s conclude, from the place we started, with an anecdote from a thousand years ago;

On July 14, 1099, the second day of the Christians’ attack which will result with them taking Jerusalem, they attacked the Damascus Gate with a huge ram. The exterior defense line was crushed. Fatimid soldiers on the defense threw ignited Sulphur, tar and wax to burn the ram with the fear that the soldiers would collapse the internal wall. As the Christians were trying to extinguish this, their commander noticed that their ram was too big to allow them break in and ordered the soldiers to leave the fire. Now the Fatimid soldiers were trying to extinguish the ram.

It was so strange that the Christians wanted their weapon to burn and be destroyed and that their opponents exerted themselves for the exact opposite.

Life once again showed us that there might be surprises between what we expect and what actually happens.


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