Dr Oz: "Americans Were Not Able to Understand What Islam Was"

“As a Turkish surgeon, I was not much affected by 9/11; however I happen to have observed its effects closely on Arabs, particularly the Saudis, as well as the Afghani, Iraqi and Pakistani populations…” says the world-famous heart surgeon Mehmet Oz.
He is a man who has gained the respect and love of the public with health programs broadcast on various TV channels in America. Dr. Oz talks about the effects of 9/11 on America, the country where he was born and grew up:

“In the past Americans were not able to understand what Islam was. They thought it to be a religion that came from outside. After 9/11 this has changed. Now either out of fear or curiosity they are interested in learning about it. Only 20% of Americans have passports and few of them know a second language. They don’t understand the world well. When they suffered an attack like 9/11, their first reaction was anger. However, as time passed, Americans understood that they could not isolate themselves from the rest of the world and sit somewhere on their own.”

Dr. Mehmet Öz says he understands that the anger of the Turkish public towards the Washington government increased when America invaded Iraq, but he cannot help but remember the deep rooted relations between the two nations as well. Maybe the reason for this reflex is that he feels close to both of these countries, being a Turkish man who was born and grew up in the US:
“I understand that people in Turkey get angry with White House’s decisions and anti-Americanism has increased; but I think at least for a couple of years Turkey should tolerate the US’s behavior; because even today the majority in America thinks that Islam is a kind of a religion like it is lived in Afghanistan, Iran or Saudi Arabia. However, the Islam there is not the same as hearing from my uncle what the prophet did or going to the  saying prayers or learning about the teachings of religion. I think this is why the Americans have moved rather towards a more fundamentalist attitude. The Americans will find the way to the center from the edges eventually. America is a nation that has helped the world in the last 100 years; of course they made some mistakes, like other countries did; but they like the Turks and support them…”
Even what Dr. Öz said, as a member of the group which was least affected by the outcome of 9/11, shows that this five-year period has deeply affected Turkish-American relations and the Turkish minority in the USA. On the other hand, within the process, in which mutual relations between the two states are growing more important on the global level, understanding one another will play a determinative role for future relations.

Editor’s Note: This article series is compiled from the quotations taken from the documentary Sarı Yaprak, which was produced by Elif Özmenek for the fifth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. In the article series Sarı Yaprak only 10 of the 29 interviews that are included in the documentary were used. I sincerely thank Ahmet Ertegün, Egemen Bağış, Yalkın Demirkaya, Salim Görür, Cavit Öncül, Erhan Yıldırım, İsembike Gönen, Erden Arkan, Leyla Uyar İbiş, Can Kamiloğlu, Emrah Ülker, Doğan Uluç, Nur Ceylan, Çiğdem Acar, Yaman Erim, Fatih Yılmaz Alkan, Kamil İbiş, Emine Kanşay and Ekrem Güven for the time they put in the documentary.  I would not be able to finish this work without the effort and help of Deniz Topçuoğlu, Serkut Bozkurt and Cem Yücer.
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07