The Turkish intellectual history survived many fluctuations and changes from the second half of the 19th century on.
After the proclamation of the Reform Edict in 1839 (Tanzimat Fermanı) in the reign of Sultan Abdülmecid, the Ottoman Empire enters a new era in the political, social and literary spheres. According to Tanpınar, “with the proclamation of the edict, the Empire exited from a civilization in which it lived for centuries for another civilization, and accepted the values of this new civilization clearly.” The Westernization movement started by a world empire eclipsing the Europe for centuries brought about many fundamental changes in order to better off from the bad situations. The idea to rescue the Ottoman Empire from the troubled days leads to the emergence of new ideological movements.
While analyzing these intellectual movements under four main groups as Islamism, Westernism, Turkism and Ottomanism, we need to take the intellectual journals as the spreading tools of these ideas into consideration. The contemporary intellectual journals played a significant role in the vitality of the intellectual world. It is not easy to reach proper conclusions without taking the following figures and the periodicals published by them into account on our intellectual life: Mehmet Akif and Eşref Edip and their Islamist publications such as Sırat-ı Mustakim and Sebilürreşad; the journal İctihad as a forerunner of the Westernization movement published by Abdullah Cevdet; the Turkist periodicals like Yeni Mecmua, Genç Kalemler, Türk Yurdu in which the Turkist intellectuals as Ziya Gökalp, M. Emin Yurdakul, Ömer Seyfettin have written on.
The excessive number of the influential periodicals on the political life and media of Turkey were to be see in The Second Constitutional Period. This intellectual journalism continued after the Constitutionalist Period. Considering the fact that more than 200 titles were published between 1918 and 1923 in Istanbul displays the intellectual and literary vividness of the period. Some of these journals played also an important role in the Constitution of Republic, thus their place in our intellectual life should be recognized in depth.
The intellectual journalism went on in the Republican Period also. Especially during the 1940s, many social and political movements occurred in our country. In spite of the political-social problems due to the Second World War and different policies of one-party period, this decade has been an important era in our intellectual and literary history. The prominent journals published in this time were the following: Ağaç, Aydınlık, Kadro, Büyük Doğu, Çınaraltı, Ergenekon, Varlık, Yeni Adam. After this time, the ideological split, right-left distinction, led to the emergence of different ideological circles around which new periodicals began to be published.
Turkey came along with coup d’etats after 1960s Human rights, freedom, justice, equality, secularism, religion-politics-society relation etc. set up the main issues discussed in a number of journals. In this period, literary, cultural and political journalism began to flourish together with intellectual journals. Within this continuing process, we can say that even today this kind of vitality is to be seen in Turkey. It is possible to see that our intellectuals identified themselves as conservative, democrat, liberal, nationalit etc. are summarized around different ideological periodicals.
What is the place of Köprü that is proud to reach 100th issue in the intellectual journalism starting with the parole of “to science, occult knowledge, civilisation”? We believe that Köprü enrichs the Turkish intellectual life and opens new perspectives with his approach to look at the social-moral problems of Turkey from the perspective of Risale-i Nur and through the views of Said Nursi.
Köprü does not only draw attention to the political, social and economic problems of our worlds, but also, it supports the studies on Risale-i Nur and calls the academicians’ attention to the main subjects in Risale-i Nur which is one of the most important duties by Köprü. The modern man is now looking for new ideas to make his existence meaningful, due to the fact that he becomes indefensible against the “current illnesses” which have been indicated by Bediüzzaman with the following words: “The world is surviving a big spiritual crisis. An illness, a pest, a black death appeared in the Western society whose the spiritual basis was corrupted is spreading to the globe very quickly”. Satisfied materially, but dissatisfied spiritually, the modern man is currently in search for the new tools to give meaning to the existence. Köprü is a consequence of the sincere answers to the candid questions. This journal in your hand aims only to establish a stable link between the existence and Creator against the materialistic approaches which can not be provided the humanity with the expected happiness, against the non-religious philosophy, and against the “individualism” presented as a religion by modernism.
Köprü never strived for the popularization of its ideas, for the domination of its ideas on the ideological struggles and for the fact that its ideas would become governing ideas. Köprü takes the following phrase as its motto: “the win over the civilized people are with persuasion”. It continues its struggle according to this motto in which the above-mentioned thoughts and ideas are presented as samples to reach the target like the ant in the pilgrimage voyage. From this point one, Köprü is neither a representative of any ideology nor a publication of a certain political organization. It is an intellectual journal which seeks for the introduction of people with the Qur’anic civilization while analyzing the opportunities presented to humanity by Risale-i Nur in the way to recognize the existence.
Keywords: Bridge, existence, Cosmos, The Sultan of this World, knowledge, occult knowledge, civilization, Intellectual journals, Periodical Köprü, Risale-i Nur, modernity, tradition
Source: This article is the editorial writing of the akademic magazine Köprü-Autumun 2007