In the 1990s, the United States began to re-establish Western dominance in the Islamic region. In the period following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the dominant powers of the Islamic geography became England and France. After World War II, the hegemony of the U.S. began in the region, however, it’s not until the 1990s, that a new period of de facto occupation had officially begun, and the whole region came under invasion.
This period lasted for about 25 years. We can say that it has ended on July 15, 2016. It’s no secret that bookending time according to periods provides certain conveniences in terms of understanding history, but this can only valid to a certain extent. A more in-depth analysis is essential.
The role of colonialist ideologies in the zenith of European states’ world domination in the 19th century is a matter of curiosity. Because, thanks to these ideologies, Eurocentric worlds were established. But over time, these ideologies also became subject to criticism. Simply saying that the West represented the forward and the East represented the backward became obsolete, and healthier ideas began to emerge regarding our own issues.
It is almost generally accepted that these ideologies or perspectives are insufficient to explain the East. In the same vein, after the U.S. launched a new era of occupation and invasion in the Islamic region in the 1990s, liberalism became the dominant perspective as a new colonial ideology. U.S. liberalism was in a way also a colonial ideology.
In the 1990s, liberal concepts were the magic words to unlock any door in the U.S., Europe and Turkey. Even the most complex issues were easily resolved with the magic touch of liberalism. Especially when it comes to the Islamic region, all ties with reality were completely broken. In this period, liberal conservatives could even explain Pakistan seceding from India and its becoming an independent state, in accordance with Eurocentric ideologies.
As a result of this, even representatives of the Islamist thought that played a role in or supported the separation were subjected to intense criticism. In this context, politicians, especially Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and Islamist intellectuals such as Mawdudi, who supported him, were crticized. The peculiar thing about it was that such approaches were becoming more and more common. Such approaches were also generally accepted among conservatives.
It was clear that some basic concepts regarding the East, Islam and the Turkish world were in an unquestionable position. For example, it was generally accepted that Muslims were blamed for the French coup in Algeria or Israel’s expansionist policy in Palestine. It was inevitable that the problems related to the Islamic region were tied to backwardness, science or mismanagement. The most important reason behind the acceptance of such theses that had no ties to reality was that liberalism represented the hegemony of the U.S.
In both the 1990s and beyond, Europe and the United States followed an overtly geographically expansionist policy. As a result, hundreds of thousands of innocent people were killed. In this period, it was no surprise that the U.S. and European states were not silent about these massacres or that the Islamic world was held responsible for this situation. Because generally accepted ideological approaches paved the way for unquestionable basic concepts. But new events, such as racist attacks on Muslims in India, showed a completely different reality. It was impossible to turn a blind eye to what was happening. Despite this, it is noteworthy that new events such as incidents of Indian racism calling for massacres against Muslims are glossed over in silence. As I have tried to explain, these events are beyond the scope of colonial ideologies such as liberalism.
If the conditions of the nineties were still valid today, it would not be easily accepted that Eurocentric and expansionist ideologies are far from explaining our issues. Today, I can safely say that this is not true. This is an almost non-existent belief in the West. To put it more bluntly, the West no longer believes in itself. We cannot speak of a general hostility towards the West, especially when viewed from the perspective of Turkey. However, it is a fact that a very surprising process has taken place in terms of exiting the Eurocentric world. We need to see that this process is based on unique perspectives and concepts. The fact that region-based perspectives and concepts are increasingly on our agenda is a harbinger that there are great changes in terms of ideas on the horizon.