Spanish Professor Miguel Angel de Bunes Ibarra, an expert on Ottoman history, has said that the Bulgarian government has issued a ban on him entering their country on the grounds that he "defends the Ottomans."
Speaking to the Cihan news agency, Ibarra said nationalistic hatred for the Ottomans emerged in the Balkans in the last period of the Ottoman Empire and still continues. He said two complaints were made against him to the Bulgarian government, following which the ban on his entrance to the country was issued.
“After the emergence of Balkan nationalism, Ottoman culture was destroyed. Balkan nationalists are disturbed about the presence of the Ottomans and Turks [in the Balkans]. They tried to destroy the mosques, bridges and Ottoman archives that reminded them of the empire that ruined their culture, according to their belief,” said Ibarra.
He stressed that Ottoman rule in the Balkans led to a nationalist hatred among Bulgarians. “They are in Europe, but their hatred continues. But this [hatred] does not change the fact that Bulgarian culture, language and characteristics as a country were preserved perfectly during the rule of the Ottoman Empire. [Saying this] led to a diplomatic complaint against me,” Ibarra said.
Ibarra maintained that, as opposed to other European empires, the Ottoman Empire did not impose religion on its subjects. “The Ottoman Empire did not place an emphasis on who its subjects were and it formed a political union by considering what was best for the fate of the empire. To this point, the structure [of the Ottoman Empire] was smart and modern,” the professor said.
The professor also mentioned Ottoman studies in Spain. “There is almost no work on Ottoman studies in Spain. There are no experts on Ottoman history and there are none who know Turkish. Although there is growing attention, there is not a class on Ottoman history at Spanish universities. Until 10 years ago, Ottoman and Turkish history were composed of just stories,” Ibarra said.
Stating that the Spanish people have recently begun to learn about Turkey by means of döner kebab, tourism and Turkish football, Ibarra said the Spaniards cannot distinguish between an Arab Muslim and a Turk. “There is a tendency in Spanish culture to identify religion with nationality. Recently, the Spanish became aware of the difference between Turks and Arabs thanks to döner kebab,” the professor said.
CihanLast Mod: 10 Ekim 2013, 09:24