Arguably, Anatolians have been living in peace for about 2000 years. Twice they’ve lived
through mass chaos, first when the social order collapsed after the fall of the Roman empire in
the 12 th. C, and then when the Mongols invaded. The Balkans and The ME were experiencing
a similar chaos at the same time.
A Century after the Mongol invasion Turkic tribes began settling in Anatolia. They brought with
them a unique cultural style and religious understanding. The first organized tribe to arrive was
the Selcuk Turks who settled around Konya.
They established a new order in Anatolia, but over time it began to break down. One hundred
years after their arrival their administration was replaced by the Ottoman tribe, who we call
Osmanlı, or Ottoman.
Lack of order and securıty caused conflict to grow amongst the many ethnic groups: Asyrians,
Greeks, Jews, Armenians, Turkmen, etc.. at the time the Osmali came to Anatolia. The
Ottomans needed to establish control, so tolerance and acceptance was decreed and the
vehicle was Sufi Islam and their Dervishes from Mıddle Asia.
The Sufis scholarly interpretation of İslam focused on inner spritüal development and its sects
included alewi, nakshi. And Bektashi.
The Ottomans emancipated Greeks and Serbian serfs from feudalism and instated an order for
limited self-determination. The Dervıshes helped develop and support this new social order
with consent of the people.
The Prophet Muhammad ‘s grandchildren were called Sayyid and were maltreated by the
Amawi arabs; they were persecuted and suppressed by Amawi power. They were sheltered by
Turks who were living in middle Asia, and it was they who influenced the spreading and
understanding of Islam.
In today’s Turkey Anatolian Islam prevails despite the secular reformation, distortion caused by
mixing politics and Islam, and the influence of salafist. We may mention the four pillars of
Anatolian Islam which include the Madressa (religious schools), Tariqats (Sufi institutions), local
religious leaders, and islamic associations and foundations. But these 4 pillars are being
threatened by a growing dependence on internal political and foreign affairs, such as salafism,
heterodoxy, political incompetence and corruption.
We need to defend Anatolian İslam from post-modern radical religious elements that are
spreading through the public imagination and affecting our reality.