Interviews with the Presidents of the PUIC Conferences (Turkey)

Interviews with the Presidents of the PUIC Conferences (Turkey)

The following is responses of the President of the Fourth Session of the PUIC Conference and former Speaker of the Grand Nationad Assembly of Turkey H.E. Bulent Arnic

*Our World Needs Rooted Values and Functional Mechanisms
*Palestine is Also a Global Cause
*Coordination is important with the IPU

Q: How do you evaluate the work of the PUIC during the past ten years?
A: -Our World is faced with great challenges. Globalization is a process which involves great opportunities and also problems. The new communication channels which were not possible in the past are approaching different cultures and religious traditions. The basic values of the Islamic culture and civilization are also global values. Justice, peace, equality, respect to the other, rule of law, accountability, family and ethical values are the values shared by all humanity. The future of  humanity shall rise by virtue of those common values. A world which is indifferent to humanitarian values, can not be representative of progress and civilized people. A world which is not driven by these values can be a world of chaos, terror, desperation and injustice.  

Along with this, globalization makes new discriminations. The economic cost of globalization is being felt by all people of the world, and also being perceived as a threat against national identity.

Our world, which becomes smaller, should make further efforts in order to achieve peace and stability. All the peoples of the world face problems such as hunger, ignorance, infant mortality, wars, terrorism, torture, human trafficking, drug, economic injustice, corruption and discrimination. In order to solve these problems we need rooted values on one hand, and functional mechanism on the other. The PUIC, established in 1999, is one of these functional mechanisms. I consider the first 10 years period as a child’s creeping and walking period. The PUIC, established with good will, has perceived its shortages and become more respected and prestigious in the international arena by improving day by day and removing these shortages. I believe that more beneficial services shall be offered to all humanity and the Islamic World during the term of office of Secretary General, Mr. Mahmud Erol KILIC.

Q: How do you evaluate the PUIC response to Islamic issues in general?
A: -In the globalized world, any problem in any part of the world becomes the problem of all international circles. When we take into consideration conflict fault lines of the world, we observe that these are places of Muslim states or communities.  For instance: Middle East question and energy. In other words, global problems are the issues that are deeply felt and experienced by Muslim states. It is precondition of a democratic, free and equal society to settle legitimate questions and demands by legitimate means. Parliaments are established in order to address legitimate demands and expectations of societies. Parliaments are committed to ensure the realization of social issues by means of functional mechanisms. The attitude of the PUIC, composed of representatives of peoples, is of the essence apart from the classical diplomacy for the settlement of problems. Of course, the attitude of the parliaments that founded the PUIC along with the single attitude of the Organization is also important. Unfortunately, different attitudes of Islamic countries affected the attitude of the PUIC. Of course, it is not expected that 51 Islamic countries have the same view but can come together on the basics of minimum common interests. During my term of office, on the occasion of Lebanon crisis in 2005, unfortunately our initiative to convene Parliaments of Islamic World did not succeed. However, this issue was not only a tragedy for Islam but also for all human beings.

Q: In what way/ways can the Palestinian issue be supported in the framework of Muslim parliaments?
A: -The Palestinian cause is not only an Islamic cause but also a global cause that threatens world peace. Without going into details, on one side the Palestinians are defending only their right of living, apart from the contemporary rights, on other hand Israel which practices state terror denies this right for Palestinians. Today, 51 Islamic States compose 1/3 of UN membership. Unfortunately, sensitivity of our people is not being conveyed to international public opinion properly.  As parliamentarians, we should further lead our governments by conveying our sensitivity at the same time. I would like also to mention that the unity in Palestine is of utmost importance for the settlement of the cause. I believe that the extraordinary meeting in Istanbul on the massacre in Gaza in 2009 was a promising test for member Parliaments of the PUIC.

Q: How do you view the level of coordination action by the Union in international fora, particularly in the framework of the IPU?
A: -One of the methods that will make our Union more respected and efficient is not only ensuring coordination with OIC Member States but also with other international organizations. To this end, coordination is important within the Inter parliamentary Union (IPU) which is the biggest existing parliamentary organization. Besides, Parliamentary Assembly of Mediterranean and Asian Parliamentary Assembly are the other organizations where coordination is requested.    

Q: How do you envisage the way to activate and energize the PUIC?
A: -Since its establishment, our Union has taken some decisions in the economic and trade areas. The most significant ones are creating a foreign trade zone, establishing an Islamic monetary fund and helping poor African countries. The thing that should not be forgotten is, we as Parliamentarians can canalize the real executive bodies, the governments. These decisions can be seen as the first steps of transmission to practice within the system of thoughts.

Q: What role may parliamentary diplomacy play in advancing official relations among the various states of the Union?
A: -Parliamentary Diplomacy is a phenomenon which developed in the last quarter of the 20th century. This is not a competitor to the classical diplomacy but a supplementary element. The Islamic world, with its universal norms, fruitful historical heritage, young population, dynamic social structure and natural resources is faced with challenges and opportunities. Islamic countries should aim at contributing to the construction of a fair world system.  Islamic societies which read global developments correctly should be constructive, dynamic actors instead of being passive and rebellious actors of history.
Islamic tradition has set the principles of being fair, virtuous, as well as the principle of equality. It has guaranteed sustainability of a participatory and representative administration. These principles have been boosted by the tradition of a fruitful administration and the experience of multiculturalism. By means of this experience, Muslims continued living in harmony with different societies.
Muslim societies and administrators should mobilize both moral and material values in order to overcome poverty, abusiveness, ignorance, epidemics, and inequality in revenue distribution. However, it is the duty of Muslims at the outset to find solutions. In the Islamic world, it is not a solution to put the blame on others and act with a psychology of being victims and resort to violence.
As being the representatives of peoples, we, parliamentarians, believe that the Islamic world has its own energy and facilities to overcome problems. It is our joint duty to bring together our historical values with active mechanisms.  

I wish you many ten-year anniversaries by emphasizing my belief that our Union will contribute to the solution of problems and strengthen relations with other Parliaments.

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