An International Bridge of Hearts and Souls
When evaluating the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), much emphasis is placed upon economic partnership and mutual gains in international trade. Developing world countries seek to achieve sustainable development through partnerships developed within the scope of the BRI. All this is true, but too much focus on this aspect alone means underestimating the true potential of the Initiative.
The spirit of the BRI lies in the concept of “sharing”. The principle of “shared development”, which is at the core of the Initiative, devises a brand new understanding of partnership in the age of imperialism. In the meantime, it also offers clues for an alternative system of international relations that challenges imperialism.
Asia’s call to share, as the heart and soul of the Silk Road, comes from our common history and is powered by the historical roots of Asia, the cradle of civilizations.
The Silk Road peoples, who have been intertwined and mixed for thousands of years, stand up for harmony, which will pave the way for a brand new civilization, not for a “clash of civilizations”.
Yunus Emre, whom we commemorate on the 700th anniversary of his death, is the representative of a conception that permeates the genes of Asian peoples. Our great poet Yunus Emre, who represents the common philosophy of Asian peoples, is the coryphaeus of the spirit of humanity, sharing, and solidarity coming from the Anatolian geography, where all nations are blended. In the relationship between different cultures, the BRI is based on a threefold understanding that the culture of a nation is neither superior nor inferior to that of other cultures, that all these cultures represent the common value of humanity, and that cultures develop as they share. The BRI approaches differences with tolerance and understanding. This is a completely different understanding from the Western-imperialist approach that has derogated other cultures and their peoples for the last four centuries. The BRI’s understanding is also the key to establishing the “heaven on earth” that Yunus Emre heralded about 700 years ago. The strongest structures made by human hands can be destroyed, but it is not easy to erase or destroy the culture that the people have accumulated throughout history. From Sumerian poets to China’s Confucius, from Anatolia’s Yunus Emre to India’s Kabir, to Arabs', Persians' and Turks' Fuzuli, the breath of many more folk sages continues to ignite hearts all over the world. Sharing requires the siblinghood and companionship of societies that have common problems and the unity of heart. The hearts should be one so that they can produce together and share. It is a common struggle that requires the societies, which have common sufferings, to share the challenges ahead.
In the BRI, there is a need to build bridges not only to connect seas, highways, and railways but also between hearts and souls. A bridge of hearts and souls for the civilization that will materialize a real harmony between human beings and the nature, where all the peoples of the world will be siblings/comrades, starting from the developing world...
We are saddened to announce the passing of Selim Yaşar, one of Turkey’s most prominent businesspeople. As a highly creative representative of the business world and an outstanding intellectual bringing solutions for Turkey’s problems, he had joined the BRIQ family since the earliest days of its establishment. We convey our sincere condolences to his family and friends!