Could a Third Way save Afghanistan?

As Afghanistan marks its 101st Anniversary as an independent state, both the international community and the Afghan people themselves are concerned about the country’s future pathway.

Since the fall of the monarchy the political system in Afghanistan has suffered a few major crises. The establishment of the Jihadi regimes and anti-patriotic coup along with global colonialism have resulted into the country’s destruction and led to the rise of Taliban. Moreover, President Ghani’s predecessor Hamid Karzai has led the country to a corrupt state unable to deal with the terrorist groups and Taliban.

Invaded by various foreign-backed powers and different political ideas (left and right) Afghanistan has lost its national identity and failed to build its own economic and political system. Torn with corruption, bloodshed and terrorism over the decades, the country today, as some analysts believe, could be saved by a Third Way. The Third Way is a philosophy used to describe the voice of masses, the silent majority of people all the world, including Afghanistan.

The Afghan society needs a reform. The Third Way and adoption of it by a society can lead Afghanistan to a modern state, different from which the country has experienced over the pat 40 years. The Third Way is based on the idea of establishing a secure and sustainable state where the rights of the citizens are respected regardless the influence of any political parties or social groups and ethnic, racial and religious beliefs. Ensuring security and social justice in Afghanistan can be reached through following the several principles.

A balance of Power. Afghanistan has enough of security and defense to maintain and consolidate the national power. Supported by a strong and professional political leadership with pro-national interests Afghanistan will be able to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.  

A balance of domestic politics. The political and economic strategy of Afghanistan should be focused on creating sustainable living environment for its citizen and development of the economic and labor system that will allow Afghan citizens to use the country’s national resources and increase their living standards. In this scenario the Afghan people will stop looking for any possible ways to leave the country.

Balancing of economic growth and regional development will allow Afghan people to supply with jobs and comfortable life not only in major cities but also in the country’s provinces.

Finally, to achieve a Third Way the political system of the country should be based on national and democratic principles. The national principle means the country should use its own capacities and resources, while the democratic principle means that there is no other political regime acceptable in the country, but democracy.

By listening to the needs of the society and recovering its national values Afghanistan in the long-term perspective could become a safe and sovereign state with a sustainable economic growth.

The Fener Greek Patriarchate Universal or National?

The basic mistake made when there is an unsolved problem or when a problem is left hanging, is going around the problem itself without trying to go down its essence and thus to the real answers. To put in other words the basic mistake is the inability to focus on the efforts to find the “right answers” to the “right questions”.

One can find the traces of such mistakes during the process of finding a solution to the problems arising from The Fener Greek Patriarchate.

These problems primarily arise from ecumenical claims and the demand that Turkey should recognize this claim.

In the text of the Lausanne Treaty, which is regarded as the fundamental treaty of the Turkish Republic, there is no mention of the Patriarchate. In Lausanne, political and administrative privileges given to the Patriarchate during the Ottoman period were lifted and it was agreed that it only had spiritual authority. Other than that it is not stated in the text whether it has any authority outside the Turkish borders or any ecumenic title..

Ecumenism is a problem which essentially concerns “church laws and tradition”. Therefore it is out of the question that the Turkish Republic accepts the ecumenism of the Fener Greek Patriarchate.

What is more is that the claims of ecumenism “theologically” have a grave moral flaw:

“Vatican, 1600 years later, had abandoned its principles of faith regarding that the churches except those in Rome, Antakya and Alexandria, which are defined in the Iznik Clerical Council in 325, could not be regarded as ecumenic.

Thus, the claim that the Church in Istanbul was founded by St. Andrew, the first apostle of Jesus Christ, was accepted behind the scenes by Vatican, yet under the guarantee of “the infallibility of the Pope”.

However, until November 30th 2008 it was claimed that the Fener Greek Patriarchate was promoted to a patriarchate from episcopacy due to the “a unified church a unified state” motto of the Eastern Roman Empire and for political reasons and that the St. Andrew myth was made up to justify this on religious grounds. However it was a widely known fact that there is no document indicating that St. Andrew had come to the city of Istanbul, since the city was not even founded in year 30.”[1]

Moreover it a weird contradiction that the Fener Greek Patriarchate is defined and asserted as ecumenic only by those involved in power struggle in the region and not by Orthodox countries and communities. Barthelomeos is consistently defined as the leader of 300 million Orthodox. However it is quite interesting that those who grant him the title “Ecumenic” are not Orthodox themselves.”[2]

Apart from the theological discussions, issues related to the contemporary practices and demands of the Patriarchate also need to be unraveled:

Is the Fener Greek Patriarchate a national church or is it universal (ecumenic[3])?

If it is so, than why are the main churches subordinate to the Patriarchate are led only by those of Greek origin? Why is the Fener Greek Patriarch, Jerusalem Patriarch, French Metropolitan Bishop etc. are only chosen from among those of Greek origin?

What’s more; “Why is the Fener Greek Patriarch is regarded as a national church even above the church in Greece?”

Why do some Greek Metropolitan Bishops force into the churches of those from different nationalities (eg. Bulgarian Church) and hold a sermon in Greek language?

And other questions follow:

Will only those of Greek origin benefit from the Heybeliada Clergy School, great efforts of which were shown in the establishment and which has become a source of political pressure on Turkey? Will the Fener Greek Patriarchate, which has authority over only 300 thousand people among 300 million Orthodox congregation, consider the Orthodox congregation, which is dispersed to a vast area and which is out of its control, as non-existent at the expense of creating duality in the Orthodox world?

It does not seem possible for the Fener Greek Patriarchate – with its single-sided demands and fait accompli – to reach a common solution neither with the Orthodox world nor with Turkey unless reliable and logical answers are found to these questions.

Sibel Keskin

[email protected]

[1] Gozde Kilic Yasin, Global Religious Struggle, Cumhuriyet, July 14th, 2008.

[2] Above-mentioned article.

[3] The term ecumenic derives from the Greek word “oikoumeni“, which means universe, cosmos and world.


Thursday, 30 April 2009
ergun_s[ Ergun KIRLIKOVALI’s note: The following message was read into the Congressional records by Congressman Joe Baca, D, [CA-43] on April 22, 2009, honoring Mr. Ali Cayir. It is a huge honor and I, on behalf of tens of thousands of Turkish-Americans Southern California, congratulate my good friend Ali Cayir for this unique achievement. I believe such success helps break the bias against the Turkish-Americans and bigotry on issues related to Turkey. ]# # #

ALLEN CAYIR, ELLIS ISLAND MEDAL OF HONOR — (Extensions of Remarks – April 22, 2009) SPEECH OF





Mr. BACCA. Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize Allen Cayir, President of Transech Engineers, Inc., who will receive the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Established in 1986 by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor pays tribute to our nation’s immigrant heritage by recognizing those individuals whose achievements have helped to foster respect and understanding for America’s ethnic diversity. Since the award began, recipients have included United States Senators, Congressman, Nobel Laureates, military leaders, outstanding athletes, and clergy.

A native of Turkey, Mr. Cayir, or ”Ali” as he is known to his friends, arrived in the United States after earning an engineering degree from Istanbul Technical University. In 1989, he founded Transtech Engineers, Inc, which provides professional and technical expertise to governmental agencies, educational institutions and the private development sector.

Through his dedication and hard work, he was able to grow the business to a multi-million dollar enterprise. Notable projects over the years have included the Alhambra Civic Center Public Library and the Renovation of the Historic Santa Fe Depot Train Station in San Bernardino, California. In addition to his professional accomplishments, Ali is also known for his philanthropic contributions. He has participated in fundraising activities for the Tools for Education organization at California State University San Bernardino, as well as helped with the restoration work at Mission San Juan Capistrano. In 2005, Ali started a matching fund drive for local businesses for Hurricane Katrina victims, and personally matched other funds collected.

Ali is a volunteer teacher at California State University, where he sits on the board of the College of Education and the Tools for Education Project. He was instrumental in raising $3 million for a new education building at the University.

He is also very active in the Southern California Hispanic community, engaging in many community organizations that provide support services to the Latino population. In 2006, the Embracing Latino Leadership Alliance honored Ali with the ”Honorary Latino Citizen” award.

Finally, Ali is a founding Board Member of American Friends of Israel and Turkey, an organization dedicated to improve cooperation and understanding between American, Turkish, and Israeli citizens by supporting cultural, ethnic, and community events.

Throughout his extraordinary career as an engineer and community servant, Ali has always remained a dedicated family man. For the past 31 years, he has been married to his wife Sybil. Together, they have a daughter, who is currently following in her father’s footsteps, pursuing a degree in civil engineering.

On behalf of myself, my wife, and my family, I congratulate Mr. Cayir for this tremendous honor. His contributions to his family and his community provide a wonderful example of service for all Americans to follow.



Exclusive Private Event



Keynote speaker


President of Inönü Foundation

Light buffet served


Sunday, March 8, 2009


Dag Hammarskjold Building

240 East 47th Street

43rd Floor



2-5 PM


Ozden Toker Inonu: President of Inonu Foundation and The daughter of the late Ismet Inonu, the first Prime Minister and second President of Turkey.

Dr. Linda Stillman : is the creator of special world conference Sophia 2010 Women and Wisdom, Sofia Bulgaria May 25-29, 2010. She serves as Chair of the Sophia 2010 International Executive Board, and Chair of the International Headquarters Council in New York City.

Dr. Sema Gurun: Sema Gurun has been practicing psychotherapy and psychoanalysis for twenty years in New York and the international community within it. Until 2008 she served as a staff member in the United Nations Department for Political Affairs in the area of conflict resolution and peace building, while also serving as an ad hoc mental health advisor to UN staff. She maintains a private practice in Manhattan.

Please RSVP for this event as space is limited. No walk-ins are allowed!


[email protected]



Born in 1930 in Ankara, she is the daughter of the second President of the Turkish Republic. After finishing her primary and secondary education in Ankara, she attended Edinburgh University to study English literature. In 1955 she married journalist and Senator Metin Toker. Together they raised three children and now have seven grandchildren.

In 1983, in order to maintain and develop the ideals established by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and her father, Ismet Inonu, she began to serve as the vice president of the Ismet Inonu Foundation. In 1992 she assumed the presidency of the Inonu Foundation and continues to research and lecture about the formation of the Turkish republic.

Dr. Linda Stillman is the creator of the special world conference Sophia 2010 Women and Wisdom, Sofia, Bulgaria May 25-29, 2010. She serves as Chair of the Sophia 2010 International Executive Board and Chair of the International Headquarters Council in New York City. She first fell in love with the Bulgarian people, with their intellectual and passionate personalities, and their precious culture, 25 years ago and knew she would return one day to a free and flourishing country. In 2008, her world vision to create and motivate positive directions for global social development has become a powerful reality. Today, the thousands are becoming millions of women, men and young people from all continents, culture, and sectors of society, who embrace her collaborative and egalitarian social development approach towards a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world in the 21st Century.

A graduate of Cornell University with a doctorate of distinction from the University of Bonn, Germany, Dr. Stillman is an international specialist of world culture and communication, collaborative negotiation, and human relationships. She is a United Nations representative for Soroptimist International, the world’s largest professional women’s service organization – 90,000 members, and a UN expert on women, culture and the dynamics of social development. For 25 years Linda has served as a professor/consultant of intercultural/interpersonal relations, global social development, and much more in several European countries and New York City. Currently, she is a professor/mentor of world cultural communication, human relationships and global civic engagement with the UN, at Pace University.

Dr. Stillman has participated extensively in diplomatic endeavors: she participated in the organization of the Reykjavik Summit 1986 and assisted Eastern European refugees during the reunification of Germany 1989-1993. She has founded/chaired diplomatic and multicultural organizations in Morocco, former Yugoslavia, Iceland, Germany and the USA/NYC. She manifests and motivates intercontinental and intercultural connections and partnerships through diverse and far-reaching initiatives to advance world social development and to promote international goodwill and understanding.

Dr. Stillman has helped organize numerous UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) NGO sessions as a UN representative. She has conducted multiple intercultural events at and for the UN. Her global civic engagement also includes: Chair of the UN CSW NGO Committees for the Integration off Men and Boys towards Gender Equality, Women and the Media, Advancement of Young People, and, currently, Women and Men Sharing Responsibilities, the theme of the 2009 UN CSW. She also serves on the boards of the UNIFEM USA NY Association; UN Millennium Development Goals Global Watch, and the American Association of University Women. She is also a published writer and editor and considers herself a global citizen residing in midtown Manhattan.

Sema Gurun is an International psychotherapist who specializes in difficulties of cultural adaptation, and the treatment of anxiety and depression. She works with the clientele who are plaintiffs of issues around love and work, helping them to become more comfortable within their lives by developing better strategies for coping and adapting to life’s cycles within their cultural setting.

She has been practicing psychotherapy and psychoanalysis for twenty years in New York City and the International community within it. Until 2008 she serves as a staff member in the United Nations Department for Political Affairs in the area of conflict resolution and peace building, while also serving as an ad hoc mental health advisor to UN Staff.

Ms. Gurun earned her Masters Degree in Social Work from New York University and trained as a psychoanalyst. She is also a painter and has had a lifelong interest in literature and the arts. She maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Manhattan

MONTANA-USA: Military Honors

By Stephanie Domurat


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BILLINGS – A Billings man is honored Sunday for his 50 years of military service.Dewey Hansen received The Tallman Award recognizing his work as an admission liaison for the Air Force Academy. He’s been in this role for 50 years and is one of only two officers to receive this award. Hansen began his military service at the age of 19, serving in World War II and then later retiring from active duty as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1978.

He continued to serve through advising, recruiting and mentoring young Montana men and women seeking to serve their country. Hansen says he never could have dreamed he’d be honored in such a way, and says he has loved being able to make a difference.