How to cite: Haydar, H. (2021). Heartbeats of Belt & Road. Belt & Road Initiative Quarterly, 2(4), 44-51.


In today’s world, humanity is going through a phase of social collapse and ascension like those we have encountered throughout history. While capitalism in the 21st century is collapsing in its globalist imperialist phase, the emerging Asian Civilization paves the way for humanity with publicist principles. In such a period, Yunus Emre’s teaching of love is much needed. This points to the need for revisiting his teaching in today’s light with the aim of producing solutions to countless spiritual problems arisen from Asia’s ascent. 

If there are no heartbeats in your ideas, think again.


With today’s conflIcts and turbulent environment, when humanity needs peace, tolerance, and love more than ever, the UNESCO Turkey National Commission has fulfilled an important responsibility by declaring 2021 as the Year of Yunus Emre, coinciding with the 700th anniversary of his death. Thus, a multi-faceted contribution has been made to the world’s spiritual and cultural accumulation and the expectations of universal rapprochement and solidarity. However, with these activities being in the same scope as the decision of the Presidency of the “World Language Turkish Year”, the roots of Turkey’s magnificent culture have been brought to the agenda by integrating with the love of Yunus Emre. 

With national and international celebrations, the universal values of Yunus Emre’s philosophy were brought to the forefront. The blessed presence of Yunus Emre, the great poet of our beautiful Turkish, who advises “to look at seventy-two nations with the same eye” and seeks salvation in developing the essence of man, once again had the opportunity to fill hearts with love, goodness, and virtue. 

In today’s world, humanity is going through a phase of social collapse and ascension like those we have encountered throughout history. While capitalism in the 21st century is collapsing in its globalist imperialist phase, the emerging Asian Civilization paves the way for humanity with publicist principles. In such a period, Yunus Emre’s teaching of love is much needed. This points to the need for revisiting his teaching in today’s light with the aim of producing solutions to countless spiritual problems arisen from Asia’s ascent. 

In the meantime, the exploitative system led by the USA and the solidaristic and sharing publicist system led by China have come to the front in the lines of fire. The “Belt & Road Initiative” (BRI), built against the Atlantic front, which is increasingly becoming aggressive with the mood of collapse, offers a strong opportunity for resistance, solidarity, cooperation, and liberation to nation-states targeted by imperialism. This great breakthrough has brought the oppressed world together with immense hope. 

For the success of the BRI, Yunus Emre’s philosophy of divine love, which also integrates with the people, comes to the rescue just in time:

“The heat is in the fire, not in the tin plate;
The miracle is not in the cloak or headgear,
Whatever you are looking for, search it in yourself,

It is not in Mecca, Jerusalem or in the pilgrimage.”


In order to strengthen the social immune systems of nations in their difficult days and create the will to resist together, to survive together, they must resort to the universal legacies of great poets such as Yunus Emre who re-enshrine these supreme values against hostilities.  More importantly, it is imperative to ensure an Asian integration that will deter and repel imperialist forces against the possibility of a nuclear global war that threatens the survival of humanity itself. The full legacy of classical poetry, especially Yunus Emre’s, as well as today’s patriotic and revolutionary poets are assigned the urgent task of helping to prevent war and work towards the great victory of humanity. Hearing human heartbeats in the ideas Yunus Emre puts forward in society will ensure unity of heart and make things easier.


Wise Poet of All Times

Yunus Emre’s work was created amidst the difficult times that spanned the 13th and 14th centuries, when peace was disturbed by great wars, destructions, and rebellions. Our great poet, who originated from Asian traditions and was connected to the climate of Turkish and Islamic thought, formed his own philosophy that always fought for the unity and integrity of the people through the turbulence of his time.

The primary influence of the hymns of Yunus Emre is the idea of Universal Love, which comprehends the truth fundamentally. In his poems, he addresses good with evil, cruelness with oppression, death with life, anxiety with joy, absence with being, darkness with light, bravery with cowardice, and more. Opposing emotions provide the inner movement with vitality through imagery in dialectical unity. The power of his poetry should be sought in a spontaneously developing divine but human-substantive acceptance, where the material and spiritual worlds do not clash with each other.

700 years ago, endless Mongolian attacks were decimating Anatolia, causing the material and spiritual values of humanity to weaken and social life to turn upside down. Devoted to the struggle of the people for existence, Yunus nurtured the spiritual world of the Anatolian people with his love, philosophy, and poems. While sectarian conflicts, invasions, tribal clashes, and throne struggles shattered the unity and integrity of the society, Yunus Emre, like other great poets of classical Turkish poetry, resisted these threats with his immortal work and life.  Anatolian Erens1  dedicated their entire selves and assets to the unity and survival of man on the path of truth. They encouraged fraternity against enmity and unity against segregation in order to ensure peace and security. For this purpose, they wore the power of the word like swords as they went on the roads. The virtuous word, with the deep knowledge and emotion it carries, showed its constructive spiritual influence and directed the development of events on the path of reality.


“There is word which cease a war,
There is word which causes decapitation,
There is word which is like posinous food.
And there is word which makes thing smooth and sweet”


Cumhurbaşkanı Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, “Bizim Yunus” Yılı Açılış Töreni’nde, 16 Şubat 2021. (TCCB websitesi, 2021)
President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is at the opening ceremony of “Our Yunus” Year. (Presidency of the Republic of Turkey website, 2021)


Deadly Struggles between Those in Decline and Those on the Rise

As the globalist imperialist system collapses, it seems intent on inflicting more destruction and deadly troubles on humanity. Such a “bloody force” that has lost its share of humanity and is hostile to society and nature can only be stopped by the combination of spiritual forces in the rising Asian civilization.

The tyrants of this imperialist system, who have always ended up withdrawing from the stage of history, do not feel any responsibility towards humanity and never hesitate to drag even their own nation into poverty and disasters.

Today, the BRI emerged at a time when humanity is under existential threat faced with uncertain disasters. Global imperialism, which colonized the world for 200 years and then turned the free market system into a “free oppression” system, will not hesitate to endanger the whole humanity and the Earth itself.

On the other hand, we see that Asian civilization is gradually uniting the oppressed and developing countries to challenge US global hegemony. All our efforts are to reduce the suffering that will be caused by the deadly struggle between those in decline and those on the rise.

Undoubtedly, for this to happen, the unity of the leading Asian nations is necessary, regardless of language, religion, race, or colour. We must roll up our sleeves with Yunus’ words of wisdom to build unity in the face of this destructive force that will lead our planet to total disaster.


A Century of Walking with Love on the Belt & Road

In the present century, humanity is faced with a global collapse and upheaval of greater scale than what happened in the era of Yunus. As the Atlantic exploitation period ended and the Asian sharing period began, the threat to humanity is still increasing.

At a time when the oppressed of the world are looking for ways to escape from the brutal grip of US imperialism, which is rapidly collapsing, China, as a pioneer of Emerging Asia, launched the BRI. This initiative is the largest and most comprehensive civilization project of the last 70 years led by a community of nations. It presents a sound solution to the economic, political, social, and cultural problems of the world that has reached a dead end on a global scale.


At the same time, this historical departure, which declared the end of imperialist hegemony, has generated hope for the oppressed and developing nations with its material and spiritual dimensions. The BRI will be strengthened primarily by the convergence of Asian nations with the love, tolerance, and peaceful feeling that they have accumulated throughout history.

This initiative, which forms the basis for the rise of civilization in Asia and takes development by sharing as a model, has been advancing rapidly despite many difficulties over the last couple of years. Undoubtedly, despite the deterioration of material life, we need humanity’s spiritual heritage to ensure the success of the Asian new civilization. Yunus Emre shows us the right direction, the right path, and calls for friendship for all.


“Yunus Emre tells wisdom
To the wise one.
He is on the path with the initiated
Not with the one without the path.”


It is an urgent task to bring together the Belt & Road community with the same spiritual values as the ancient road paved by the great prophets who spoke to so many hearts throughout history. All the artists, writers, and poets of today should take on this responsibility. Making this path of love a path of solidarity and love to be entered voluntarily should be the goal of all poets.


Heartbeats in Ideas

If your ideas do not have heartbeats, think again! Ideas that do not have the warmth of heart and do not stimulate emotions will have a weak effect on action processes. It is only possible to hear a heartbeat when people get closer. See how Yunus Emre expresses this fact in wise words:

“Come, let us all be friends for once,
Let us make life easy on us,
Let us be lovers and loved ones,
The earth shall be left to no one.”


Evidently, the CCP’s success is primarily based on its trust in the people, its integration with the people, and its commitment to popular culture. As in the case of the CCP, great revolutionary struggles are also great self-organizations in themselves. In the bloody, dark days of the age of Yunus Emre, he calls out to the public as follows:


“Yunus Emre says to you, pharisee,
Make the holy pilgrimage if need be
A hundred times-but if you ask me,
The visit to a heart is best of all.”


The great revolutionary leaders of humanity expressed this fact at every opportunity. For example, Chairman Mao Zedong stresses the need for literature and poetry for the success of the revolution: “To defeat the enemy, we must first rely on the armed army. But this army alone is not enough. In order to unite our ranks and defeat the enemy, we must necessarily have an army of culture.” 

“Let us spread righteousness, goodness and humility,” says President Xi Jinping, a pioneer of the generational Road Initiative. Can Xi’s ideas hear the heartbeat of unification? Yes. The Chinese leader says that, for success, it is necessary to win the people first.


Yunus Emre, from centuries ago, sends the following message of support to President Xi with wise words:


“Leave the duality and come to the unity.
The united souls do not wander in separation.”

Dreaming of a “common future for all living beings”, Xi Jinping decries the virtues of unification instilled by Deep Chinese culture, saying, “the sublime mountains are the piling of Earth grains on top of each other, the raging rivers the gathering of drops.” Xi, the son of China, who describes his troubles to humanity in this form, feeds on 4,000 years of Chinese wisdom. 

Revolutionary politics throughout history have achieved success commensurate with the strength of their bond with spiritual culture, especially in literature and poetry. Today, a revolutionary devoid of the spiritual energy created by art, literature, poetry, and music is unthinkable. The masses get their strength to stand and walk on the road from Yunus Emre.


The heartbeats in our thoughts are fed by our joy of living, our revolutionary simple life, and a vast world of love. At the age of 19, while giving “Revolutionary Culture and Art Seminars” to the youth, I used to talk about Yunus Emre as well as Nazım Hikmet. As I read the following lines of Yunus, which I wrote on the wall of my study room among the rug patterns, my admiration for the beauties of the world increased and I was filled with the joy of living:


“This world is a young bride
dressed in bright red and green;
Look on and on,
you can’t have enough of that lass”


ÇKP’nin başarısının arkasında öncelikle halka duyduğu güven, halkla bütünleşme ve halk kültürüne olan  bağlılığı olduğu apaçıktır. (CGTN, 2019)
Evidently, the CCP’s success is primarily based on its trust in the people, its integration with the people, and its commitment to popular culture. (CGTN, 2019)

“I searched and yearned a lot.
I sought the land and the sky.
I looked for and could not find,
I found it within the human soul.”


The essence of man is formed in the integrity of the material and spiritual existence of society. In this way, humanity transcends the difficulties of the material world through its feelings of solidarity, based on its spiritual world. The great spiritual values that societies need in difficult times are created by their own wise poets.

As I felt the light rising from Asia in my travels from Baku to China, and to the Philippines, I kept our Yunus Emre in mind. I had his dervish shadow everywhere. His wisdom and advice rang in my ears:


“Whatever you wish for yourself,
You wish the same for the strangers.
If there is any meaning in the four books,
This is what they denote.”


No matter how solid the economic and political foundations of this great initiative of the 21st century are, the established structure will not be strong enough unless there are strong artistic and cultural values in its mortar. Due to this necessity, there is a vital need for the art of Yunus Emre, the greatest poet of the Turkish language, which appeals to the hearts today as it was yesterday:


“I didn’t come to create any problems,
I’m only here to love.
A Heart makes a good home for the Friend.
I’ve come to build some hearts.”


In this area of great struggle, if the feelings of love in hearts, tolerance in consciousness, and solidarity in society are decimated, the work will become difficult and the obstacles laid between people in the past will block the path. To prevent this, Yunus’ poems will go on an expedition in the Belt Road:


“Come, o my brother, emulate the unity.
This unity breaks all the ill yearnings.
Could a cauldron boil by itself,
Unless there is fire all around it?”


No matter how strong the intellectual dimension of the Belt Road breakthrough is, the emotional dimension must also be strong. This, in turn, necessarily requires the convergence of nations in literature, fine arts, and all other cultural areas.


Yunus’ Walk Together on the Belt & Road

It is the responsibility of the bearers of humanity’s spiritual heritage to ensure that things go smoothly against all kinds of strife that can cause confusion, chaos, unrest, and divergence between leaders and countries in the Belt Road.

Yunus’ philosophy is robust enough to give no opportunity to those who target completely different religions and beliefs, those who work to disrupt peace and security, those who despise the beauty of the world and the wealth of the source of life, and those who provoke imperialist aggression. Yunus’ teachings are a cure for all kinds of corruption in the Belt Road. For this reason, Yunus Emre will always be needed on the long path of humanity towards a classless society.


“Our name is ‘squalid’,
Our enemy is hatred,
We hold no hate for anyone,
All the people are the same to us!”


Yunus Emre addresses and warns humanity from within the deep culture of the Islamic religion against the loveless, the disrespectful, the darkened, the selfish, the separatists, the despised, and the alienating:


“Work, earn, eat and give away,
Reach a soul for yourself,
Since visiting a soul,
is preferable to a hundred visit to Kaaba.”


Yunus knocks down the selfishness that capitalism has turned into a “virtue” with an ingenious move of words. Yunus, the poet of immortal verbal wisdom that embraces human beings with human beings, reconciles humanity with nature, and brings human beings to universal justice, expresses with a high morality on how to share the worldly life and worldly blessings with all. Yunus reclaims the world and humanity as a whole:


“The world is my true ration
Its people are my nation”


“Here we are leaving this world:
To all who stay there, greetings”


Look how kindly Yunus chooses his words: he does not say, “The world is my property,” he says, “The world is my sustenance,” and integrates the personal share of sustenance offered to him with the public share. In his worldview, no one has superiority over anyone. In a way, this is the message of the future classless society.

Ne mutlu ki Kuşak Yol’un Yunus Emreleri var. Şiirlerle,  türkülerle, ilahilerle yolumuz açık olsun. (CGTN, 2021)
Fortunately, this heartbeat is Yunus Emre’s. Let our path be clear with poems, folk songs, and hymns. (CGTN, 2021)


Conclusion: Let’s Hug Each Other

In this fiery process, the vital importance of the generational Path Initiative, which China offers to humanity, stems from the need for unification. If the material and spiritual energy of the Belt and Road is to be active for the oppressed and developing countries, this initiative should also have a spiritual pile beyond its economic development feature.

It is clear that globalist imperialism, led by the United States, is trying to overturn the tables since it is the losing party in the global economy. For this reason, the oppressed and developing states must pile together with the combined material and spiritual power necessary to deter the aggressor. Our duty will be to postpone or stop this great danger of war in the name of humanity.

As the world shakes violently in the process of collapse and ascension, it is imperative that humanity sticks together to stay afloat. Nations that hold on to each other will not be destroyed; they will survive. On the BRI’s paths that cross Asia and Eurasia, yesterday’s Yunus and today’s Yunus should set out arm in arm.

On this path, there is cooperation, sharing, and solidarity. This is the path of permanent revolutions in the Asian Age. In this way, the language of tolerance, love, and heart is being spoken. It is the path towards the salvation of great humanity. Listen with your heart and you will hear the heartbeat of the Belt & Road. Fortunately, this heartbeat is Yunus Emre’s. Let our path be clear with poems, folk songs, and hymns.