The Influence Of Ottoman Empire To Secular Government Of Turkey Essay Example


Generally, Turkey was associated with the Ottoman Empire because of its long occupation in the country. The secular government was also held to be a legacy from the Ottoman Empire. However, through analysis of the historical background of Turkey, it can be said that Ottoman Empire did not contribute to the secularism in Turkey.

Influence of Ottoman Empire in the Secular Government of Turkey

            The history of Turkey is said to be diverse because it has been influenced by various invaders and rulers, which include the Sea people, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empire, among others. It has also shifted from various types of government system and ruled by different leaders with multiply religious attachments. Notably, the Byzantine Empire is founded on Christianity and the Ottoman Empire was an Islamist believer. After those experiences that Turkey had in the hands of different invaders, it did not cling to any form of governance that the invaders had in the past. The Ottoman Empire may have occupied Turkey for almost 600 years under Osman I, but it did not contribute to the present government system of Turkey. The secular government of Turkey came from Mustafa Kemal or Ataturk.

            The main characteristic of a secular government is the complete separation of the state and the church (MSN Encarta, 2008) which was not imposed during the reign of the Ottoman Empire. Under the authority of Sultan Osman I, the people were mandated to be loyal to their sultan and to Islam in order to be accepted in the ruling class (Mitchelle, 1996, p. 328). In addition, the people were also required to follow the rules of the Ottoman Court (Mitchelle, 1996, p. 328). Islam was propagated by the rulers and the people and has influenced the economic, political, and social policy of the Sultan. Moreover, when the Ottomam Empire defeated the Byzantine Empire, the Sultan adopted various policies against the Christians. Furthermore, the reign of the Ottoman Empire was marked with massive corruption and grabbing of the empire’s wealth that eventually led to its downfall during World War I (Mitchelle, 1996, p. 328).

            After the downfall of Ottoman Empire, the Republic of Turkey was promulgated in 1923 and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk became its first president (Geothals et. al., 2004, p. 56). Ataturk once served the Turkish military under the Ottoman Empire but had secretly founded the Young Turks movement which was a critic to the autocratic government of the Ottoman Empire (MSN Encarta, 2008). It was Ataturk who envisioned Turkey as a modern and secular European state and enforced Kemalism to achieve this ends (MSN Encarta, 2008). Kemalism of Ataturks involved populism, reformism, statism, secularism, republicanism, and nationalism (Mitchelle, 1996, p. 328). Moreover, Ataturk firmly believed in “using your head and not religion” as a guide for the future of Turkey which is different with the belief of the Ottoman (Geothals et. al., 2004, p. 56). The secularism or the separation of religion and politics was emphasized by Ataturks which is evident in the present system of Turkey.  As a result, political parties were not allowed to advance any causes that will benefit or affect any religious practice or belief. Being a democratic country, the people are allowed to exercise their faith freely but cannot encroach on the policy making of the government.

            Furthermore, under the leadership of Ataturk and in line with Kemalism, he introduced many reforms by adopting Western behaviors. Upon assuming office, Ataturk abolished the sultanate and deported the remaining Ottoman family (Geothals et. al., 2004, p. 56). He also replaced the religious education system with a uniform civil education and closed the Shari’a or the Slamic court (Geothals et. al., 2004, p. 56).  There was only one political party system. Moreover, the Islamic calendar was changed and the country adopted the internaltional calendar as well as the Western civil, penal and commerce codes (Geothals et. al., 2004, p. 56).

            Democracy was felt over the land when education was opened to both men and women. Eventually, the archaic Arabic script was change by the adoptation of the Turkish alphabet which is similar with that of Latin (Geothals et. al., 2004, p. 56). Remarkably, women were also allowed to vote in the parliamentary elections (Geothals et. al., 2004, p. 56). Furthermore, a law was enacted requiring the names of all Turks to bear the surname “Ataturk” which means father of Turks (Geothals et. al., 2004, p. 56). All these changes which are evident in the present Turkey were influences of Ataturk and not directly by the Ottoman Empire.

            It can also be observed that Ataturk was loved and was idolized by the Turks because his portraits can be seen in the walls of public institutions, restaurants, coffee shop, and in any other public places. His secularism was rooted to the people of Turkey as observed in the 2007 presidential election. According to BBC News, when Abdullah Gul ran for president, thousands of protesters rallied in support for the secularism. The protesters criticized Mr. Gul because of his loyalty to Islam that poses a threat to the fundamental secularism.

Based on the historical background of Turkey, it can be deduced that the Ottoman Empire did contribute much on the formation of its secular government. It was Ataturk who formed the ideas and independently established it in Turkey.


BBC News. (2008). HugeRally for Turkish Secularism. Retrieved May 29, 2008, from   

Geothals, G. R., Sorenson, G. J., & Burns, J.M. (2004). Encyclopedia of Leadership. New          York: Sage.

Mitchelle, B. M., & Salsbury, R. E. (1996). Multicultural Education: An International      Guide to Reaserch, Policies and Programs. London: Greenwood Press.

MSN Encarta. (2008). Turkey. Retrieved May 29, 2008, from   


Comparison Between Brutus And Antony Speech

In a classic Shakespeare play, Julius Caesar, Antony and Brutus go toe-to-toe at Caesar’s funeral, although, to Brutus’ dismay Antony’s speech was better than his. Marcus Brutus makes his speech very formally to reason the mob for killing Caesar. Brutus appeals to the people’s minds and leaves an impression that Caesar would have become a tyrant. But What Brutus terms as his reason is a hypothetical situation and is not reason enough for killing Caesar. He does not provide any evidence to his statement that Caesar was ambitious. To begin, Brutus’ speech was formal and more directed to the Romans. In his introduction he starts with “Romans, countrymen, and lovers! Hear me for my cause, and be silent, that you may hear: believe me for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour” This was used to join everyone together and later help him justify Caesar’s death. But he starts speech taking listeners as inferior, mindless and ignorant people who could sweep by easily. He was bound to fail as he could not understand the nature of the audience and projected himself superior on the basis of past but audience want to know about the present scenario and future. He had only one reason to kill Caesar which seemed as hypothetical and unproven, although, he found it enough to take mob on his side. Throughout the text he describes Caesar as an “ambitious” man.

Calling Caesar ambitious makes it seem that Caesar only thought about himself. On the other hand, Antony’s speech was more personal and sarcastic. First of all, Antony enters dramatically to the pulpit with Caesar’s body to win the sympathy of the mob. In contrary to Brutus he opens his speech with “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears”. This sets up his later statements of being Caesar’s friend and also a patriarchic. It also conveys him as a friend to listeners unlike Brutus who gave speech as a ruler to Romans. Specifically, Antony repeatedly used the word “honorable” to describe Brutus and other conspirators. The effect of this was that he was contradicting Brutus’ speech. The speech draws much of its power from repetition. Each time Antony declares how “honorable” the Brutus and the conspirators are, the phrase accrues an increasingly sarcastic tone until, by the end of the speech, its meaning has been completely inverted. Similarly, each time Antony cites Brutus’ claim that Caesar was “ambitious,” the claim loses force and credibility. The speech wins over the crowd and turns public opinion against the conspirators; when Antony reads Caesar’s will aloud a few moments later, the dead Caesar’s words join with Antony’s in rousing the masses against the injustice of the assassination. Throughout his speech, he uses paralipsis and repetition to poke at Brutus but at the same time save Caesar’s reputation.

A paralipsis is a device used to draw attention to something while claiming to pass it over. There are two examples of this one is “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.” But throughout the speech he praises Caesar and what he has done. Another example is “I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke, But here I am to speak what I do know.”, although he talks good about Caesar and what he has done for Rome, in contrary to what Brutus said. While comparing the two speeches I have found that Antony’s speech was more persuasive. He made points to contrast what Brutus said in his speech about Caesar.

He says that Brutus was wrong twistly and he put a new spin on it. For instance, Brutus says “Had you rather Caesar was living and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all free men?” which was countered by Antony in statement “he hath brought many captives home to Rome, whose ransoms did the general coffers fill; did this in Caesar seem ambitious?, when that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept: ambition should be made of sterner stuff: yet Brutus says he was ambitious; and Brutus is an honorable man”. Antony countered Brutus by saying that Caesar felt deeply for his people and that he was a very humble kindhearted person, that he brings money and gave it to the coffers without any greed. He also gave mob the fact that Caesar refused the kingly crown thrice which directly contradicts Brutus’ statement that he turned tyrant. Throughout Antony’s speech he uses devices, tactics, and his sympathy to his advantage.

Antony is gifted with the power of oratory that helped him to stir the common man. Antony proves himself everywhere Brutus was weak. With caution and gradual persuasion, he proves that he is a consummate politician using gestures and skilled rhetoric to his advantage. Brutus only had one point, which was that he killed Caesar for Rome, to stand on. The mob finds it easier to accept Antony, an emotional and sincere speaker than Brutus who appears arrogant and forceful. All in all, Antony’s speech was better and more persuasive than Brutus’s.

Indian Cinema And Communalism

From its very beginnings the film industry has been a tool to entertain people. This revolutionary medium has affected our lives, our society and our social system a lot. Whether it is on the social front, or economic, political or religious front, it has gained popularity, earned money and influenced people at large. One industry in particular has become a multi-billion dollar entity, the Bollywood film industry is one with an identity recognizable world-wide. Filmmakers have used the real life experiences as well as imaginary, mythological, fictional or historical imprints to express their ideas and translate them creatively into celluloid.

This is the main narrative and objective of the Bollywood industry. It has been showing the real images of Indian life and life styles in the most creative and innovative way possible. Indian cinema has done all it can to entertain people but in this process many people have been hurt as well because one must remember being a multicultural and plural society, we have always negated communal ideology and aspects and such traits are never welcomed. Thus this is where we examine this with our main the focus is on the communal problems and the biases related to it in Hindi Cinema.

India is still predominantly Hindu and if a film is meant to be most successful it has to cater to this demographic. There is a redundancy of neutrality between the two religions or a main focus on a pro-India standpoint. Keeping a similar theme amongst movies keeps loyal viewers loyal. Films are a direct vocalization of the thoughts and views of politicians as well as the beliefs of society. Films are also a tool of manipulation of mind-sets in society. A good example of the type of guiding the films provide can be found in Farhan Akhtar’s film Lakshya.

The film is based on the 1999 Kargil Conflict where Pakistani troops invade the Indian territory of Kashmir. It stars Hritik Roshan, Amitabh Bachchan, and Preity Zinta — all very big Bollywood stars. There is a scene that takes place after the Indian army is aware of the Kashmir infiltration and have breached the Kashmir camps. One of the officers in the Indian army is a Muslim. After killing all the Muslim Kashmiris the Muslim in the Indian army answers a call form a Kashmir leader to one of his men. After the Kashmiri leader realizes that the Indian officer is Muslim he questions him, “are you Muslim? The officer responds, “To you, I am Indian. ” A true Muslim would not denounce his/her faith for any circumstance.

Another outlandish display of pure marketing was in Yash Chopra’s, Fanaa. This stars Kajol and Aamir Khan, both very famous. The story line focuses on Aamir Khan’s character, who is a Muslim from Kashmir, and is working undercover to steal a detonator from the military so as to empower Kashmir. Kashmir it fighting for its independence and planned on using nuclear arms as a threat in order to make demands. Khan’s character does not wish to fulfil the mission, but is pressured by his Uncle.

The final scene shows Khan with the detonator in hand, a helicopter looming above him with his Uncle in it to collect the item, and another helicopter with a female secret services agent who is on Khan’s trail. The story ends with the female agent single-handedly shooting the Uncle with one shot, as well as shooting down his helicopter with one shot. The female agent is representative of India, women, and the non-Muslim population. The film created entertainment at the expense of belittling Muslims and Kashmiris. Sometimes most of the stories having any shades of communal biases are used for setting the plots.

Religious, fundamental, and political thoughts and events are shown in the films in exaggeration, but only to exemplify the events of the plot and story. End result of these types of stories is always shown and finished on a secular node, in the interest of common person. Some of the important Hindi films, which depict true secular image of Bollywood may be named as- Zakhm(1998) by Mahesh Bhatt, ‘Bombay'(1995) by Mani Ratnam, Sarfarosh by John Mathew Mathan, Rang De Basanti by Rakesh Mehra, Water by Deepa Mehta, Parjania by Homi Adjania, Dhokha by Pooja Bhatt and Rice Plate (of Das Kahaniyan) by Rohit Roy.

These films have shown clearer image of the Muslims in India and also their true Indian spirit of pluralism. Now it is clearly shown that Indian Muslims are responsible citizens of the country and feel threatened if someone attacks or criticizes our identity. It seems like saint Kabir has been a driving force behind the names of truly secular characters in the films. This trend can be seen in Mani Ratnam’s Bombay, and Shimit Amin’s Chak De India. Sarfarosh has given a detailed dialogue on thestatus of Inspector Salim, whose sincerity was being questioned since he is a Muslim.

The character of Salim played by Mukesh Rishi was very meaningful and real. Amir Khan playing the role of ACP Rathore did a close discussion with Inspector Salim. This scene was very much liked by the audience, as this is the original feel of Indian Muslims. Muslim protagonists played in Chak De India and Dhokha are more Indian than Muslim and show that they are taking their responsibilities as routine, where there is no room for communal biases. In 2002 another horrific communal riot broke out in Gujarat. A train from Godhra holding mostly Hindu passengers was set fire to by Muslim fundamentalists.

The end of the Gujarat riots left a death toll of 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus. Aparna Sen’s, Mr. and Mrs. Iyer, is based on the events of the Gujarat riots. The film’s story unfold between the relationship of Meenakshi, a Hindu Brahmin, and her husband, Raja. The two are on a bus stuck in traffic right after the train had been attacked. While stuck on the bus Hindu-extremists with torches come to the bus and tell the driver to open the doors. The driver complies, and the passengers are then forced to identify themselves by religion.

There were two Muslims identified by other passengers, the two were taken out of the bus and killed. The story unfolds that Raja is in fact Muslim and now Meenakshi must weigh her love against her Brahmin background. The film is a great depiction of the changing ways of modern day India, however, it also shows that traditions of the past are still alive. Indian film offers a lot to its viewer. It has some of the most well-thought out scenes, amazing dance numbers, and enjoyable songs. The themes are often it for family-time viewing. There have been recorded numbers of people who go back to see a single film more than ten times.

With type of a turn out it would seem very easy to send more grounded and positive messages to the viewer. Justice for Muslims and Hindus in Indian film would mean that the film industry would have to take a pay cut. The propaganda lying between the lines in the films may be doing more damage than the public is aware of. In terms of class structure, India has a growing middle-class population which will eventually become the majority. As this change continues, the film industry will have to change to suit the majority. As communal conflicts continue to exist in India, and the world, it will continue to exist in Indian film.