Interview originally published here
UPA: Professor Kitsikis, thanks for accepting our interview proposal. Although you are a celebrity in the academic world, could you please tell us about your life and your academic career for our young readers?
Prof. Dimitri Kitsikis: I was born in Athens. My grand father, Dimitri was born in Lesbos (Midilli) in 1850 and I liked to say with pride that from Lesbos came also two celebrities, Sapho and Hayreddin Barbaros. Having later published many books of poetry and my poems being part of a Greek anthology of Lesbian poets from Antiquity to the present day, I was proud to say that the greatest female poet of Antiquity, Sapho, also came from Lesbos. The second Lesbian celebrity was Hayreddin Barbaros, a Greek janissary, who build up the Ottoman fleet. My mother was born in Herakleion, Crete (Girit) and her Cretan family settled in Cairo, Egypt, as successful businessmen. Her mother, in Cairo, originated from Trieste, the main harbor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The parents of this grand mother of mine, were Greco-Italians. Her father had a title of nobility, being called count Antonio and her mother had 16 children: 8 of them were baptized Christian Catholics, while the other 8 (including Corinna, my mother’s mother) were baptized Christian Orthodox. So, my mother was a Cretan Christian Orthodox. When her father died in 1915, back in Crete from Egypt, in the Cretan city of Herakleion, her mother, Corinna, who was 30 years younger than her deceived husband, decided to live with the family’s lawyer, Aristides Stergiadis, from Herakleion, who thus became my mother’s step father. Stergiadis was the best friend of the Cretan Eleutherios Venizelos. Both of them were freemasons. In 1919, Venizelos, as prime minister, sent Stergiadis to Izmir conquered by the Greeks. Stergiadis was specialized in Ottoman law and in Crete, was the lawyer of prominent Cretan Turks. He was also considered outrageously pro-Turk and this is why Venizelos chose him to be in Izmir Greece’s high commissioner or, as he became known, the “dictator of Ionia”. Stergiadis was hated by the Greeks of Izmir because he systematically defended the Turkish population against the brutalities of the local Greeks. When in 1922, the Greeks lost, he took refuge in France, in the southern city of Nice, where he died, never going back to Greece, where all Greeks accused him of high treason in favor of the Turks. My mother, who was 12 in 1919, was living at the time with him in his headquarters in occupied Izmir. His tragic fate influenced me a lot and helped me to better understand the Turkish people.
My father, Nikos, was a Liberal Senator of the Venizelist party in the interwar period, a professor and later rector of the Athens famous Polytechnic School. During the war as rector of the School, he organized the EAM Greek resistance among his students against the German occupation. Under the influence of my mother, Beata, who became an officer in the ELAS Communist guerilla army in 1944, he also joined the KKE, the Communist Party of Greece. After he was ousted from the Polytechnic School by the anticommunist government in 1946 and after my mother was arrested and condemned to death by a military tribunal in 1947, I was sent, at the age of 12 in France, in a boarding school by Octave Merlier, the head of the French State Institute of Greece. Thus, I became a French citizen and later married my first wife, a British girl, daughter of a British chief justice in the British colonies, from which I had my two first children from a total of four.
In Paris, in 1950, at the age of fifteen, sleeping in the school’s dormitory, I saw a very strange dream: An angel appeared to me who said: “Dimitri, you have to reunite the two sides of the Aegean Sea”! When I woke up I decided to consecrate all my life to the one and only aim: The formation of a Greek-Turkish Confederation which would revive the Ottoman Empire, the most perfect and just empire in the whole history of humanity.
In 1968, teaching at the Sorbonne, I actively took part in the Parisian May revolt as a Maoist. I had been specializing in Chinese History and had visited China. I had personally met with the Chinese communist leaders. The result was that I was expelled from all French Universities. I was then invited by the University of Ottawa as a regular professor and this is how I settled in the Canadian capital in 1970.
UPA: Professor Kitsikis, you are known in Turkey with your theory about the “Intermediate Region (Arabölge)” and your book “Turkish-Greek Empire”. Could you please tell us about the “Arabölge”, your outstanding contribution since the 1960s to the science of geopolitics?
Prof. Dimitri Kitsikis: The Intermediate Region (Arabölge) has always been one of the two civilizations of Eurasia, a civilization crowned by Hellenism (which has little to do with the Greek nation-state) comprising as many cultures as the peoples included in it. The other civilization has always been the East, that is the world of China, comprising also very many cultures. In the 15th century A.D. as a moon detached from Earth, what we call today the West, was detached from the Intermediate Region and formed the so-called Western civilization, a distorted bad copy of the Intermediate Region. Because of its deformed nature the West is doomed to disappear.
The East is principally Buddhist and Hinduist, while the Intermediate Region is principally Christian Orthodox and Muslim. The West was detached from the Intermediate Region starting with Saint Augustine in the 4th century who unintentionally misunderstood certain theological texts not knowing Greek, continuing with Charlemagne in the 9th century who wanted to become Roman Emperor and in order to distinguish himself from the sole Roman Emperor reigning in Constantinople introduced the “filioque” in the Christian Credo, pursuing with Saint Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century who blended Greek philosophy with Christian theology, to finally arrive at the Italian 15th century and the triumph of Greek paganism which split in two human knowledge, putting at one end theology and at the other science. Secularization followed in the 18th century with modernism which culminated in the radical reforms of Vatican II in the 20th century. Beside these developments in the Roman Catholic Church appeared in the 16th century Protestantism which went so far as to change even basics of Christian faith and promote the virtues of money and capitalism. So, a third civilization was created in the West in the last 500 years, pretending to base itself on Hellenism, distinguishing itself by the religions of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.
The three regions of civilization are not separated by a frontier but by borderlands, like the marches in the Middle Ages where civilization was gradually passing from one statehood to another. For instance, Sicily, because of its purely Greek past could well be incorporated in the Intermediate Region. Same with Northern India which could be incorporated in the Intermediate Region because of a Greek past spanning over 1200 years, from 600 BC to 600 AD. But Chinese Turkistan is definitely part of the Intermediate Region. So, states are often built over two regions of civilization, like originally Yugoslavia or Pakistan. My position is that if so, the said states risk to lose a chunk of the territory that overlaps another region of civilization. This happened with Yugoslavia (which lost Croatia and Slovenia) and Pakistan (which lost Bangladesh) and this could well happen with Xinjiang which could be lost for China, as definitely belonging to the Intermediate Region.
Because religion is the most important element of identification of a civilization, when a country is mainly Roman Catholic or even Uniate, then it belongs to the West. Unionism of the Uniates, with time, was Catholicized and was lost for Orthodoxy. So Unionists are today basically Roman Catholic. Poland is a tragic example of a state sandwiched even today basically between the Germanic entity which belongs to the West and the Russian entity which belongs to the Intermediate Region. Hence it has many partitions and disappearances. But because Poland chose to become Roman Catholic, it was used for the last one thousand years by the West and the Vatican as a spear thrown in the heart of Orthodox Russia. Poland has always been a battleground between the West and the Intermediate Region. The problem of Poland will be definitely solved only when and if the Vatican collapses and the whole of Christianity are brought back to Orthodoxy.
Roman Catholicism made Hungary a staunch enemy of the Ottoman Empire and the Orthodox World. Hungary is definitely a Western country which had belonged to the very Western Austrian-Hungarian Empire.
Hellenoturkism, as defined in my many books, is a philosophy and an ideology that exists and binds together the Greek and the Turkish people since the 11th century. The aim of Hellenoturkism has always been to put up a Greek-Turkish political entity. The reality of Hellenoturkism is founded on the Greek-Turkish civilizational phenomenon. In order to defend this common civilization it is necessary to form a political ensemble. This political ensemble was the Ottoman Empire which has to be reinstated today in the form of a Greek-Turkish Confederation. The ideological father of Hellenoturkism was the Greek philosopher George of Trebizond (Georgios ho Trapezountios-Trabzonlu, 1395-1484). I have always claimed that the best Greeks were the Turks.
There are no political contradictions between the two countries. Greece is basically responsible for spreading at the beginning of the 19th century the Western ideology of nationalism which like a poisonous drug spread all over the Balkans and then in Asia Minor, the Middle East and Africa and put to death the Ottoman Empire. Nationalism was used by the imperialist West to colonize the Ottoman Empire. The last victim of nationalism was the Turkish people who got the disease from the Greeks, particularly when they invaded Turkey in 1919 to serve the imperialist interests of the West.
There is as much a Greek imperial tradition than a Turkish imperial tradition. I titled one of my books in Turkish: Turkish-Greek Empire to characterize the Ottoman Empire. The Greek nation-state that appeared after the revolt of 1821 has been from the start a failed state, that has little to do with Hellenism which is the common heritage of the whole planet.
Cyprus has a Greek and a Turkish population. They should form a Greek-Turkish Cypriot Confederation that would become a model for the Greek-Turkish Confederation between Athens and Ankara. But for such a thing to happen, nationalism has to be banned from the picture. In both Greece and Turkey, as well as in Cyprus most businessmen and politicians have already overcome nationalism. Unfortunately nationalism is still a boomerang in the hands of Western imperialism which uses it to divide and rule. The Annan Plan could have been a solution. Unfortunately it was sabotaged by the then nationalist Greek President Tassos Papadopoulos up to his death in 2008.
Ideally, the Confederation should be formed on an Alevi-Christian Orthodox basis. Erdoğan’s present regime is based on the Sufi principles of Fethullah Gülen, with whom I have collaborated for many years now. Sufism is not Orthodox Sunnism. It has always supported -like Bektashism-Alevism- a stand of great tolerance. In my opinion, the sufism of Gülen and the sufism of Bektashism can happily collaborate. I do not think that Erdoğan’s Turkey wants to dominate the Muslim world. It wants to recreate the Ottoman Empire in which the Alawis of Syria and the Arab countries should be welcomed as in the past.
Syria is ruled by an Alawi minority that has many common religious ties with the Turkish Alevis. Furthermore, the project of a Greek-Turkish Confederation comprises peripheral states. In the West, Albania and Macedonia of Skopje. In the East, Armenia and Greater Kurdistan. In the South, Israel. In order to link territorially Israel to the Confederation, Syria should be part of it and, preferably, ruled by the religiously tolerant Alawis. There is an expansionist temptation on the part of the Turkish State to incorporate part of Northern Syria to the Turkish province of Hatay, also populated by Alevis-Alawis, that belonged to Syria and was detached in favor of Turkey, in 1938. The south of Syria could be annexed by Israel or both Turkey and Israel could exercise a kind of double protectorate over the whole of Syria. Nevertheless, this expansionist temptation is very dangerous and could become a boomerang for Turkey. So let’s hope it will not be realized.
UPA: Professor Kitsikis, you recently attended an international conference on the “Arab Spring” in Bilkent University. During the conference, you talked about your reservations and criticism towards the process. How do you assess the so-called Arab Spring? Will this process lead to a more stable and democratized Middle East?
Prof. Dimitri Kitsikis: The Intermediate Region, south of Russia, has become the center of the world. The Anglo-Saxon thalassocracy, represented today by the United States, economically is a wounded power but still a formidable military machine. Washington’s capitalism is obliged to live in a permanent war that it started formally on March 24, 1999, when NATO bombarded Yugoslavia and in the words of Bush Jr. will last for a generation. Washington has prepared in advance a road map of this planetarian war that will end with the US-China total war. The first stages of this war of conquest that have already been accomplished are Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Washington has systematically sacrificed its former allies: Milosevic, Bin Laden, Saddam and Kaddafi in order to replace them by conservative Islamists. The reason is that while secularists may play again the game of neutralism, Islamists are staunch anticommunists, supporters of capitalism, contrary to Christians who have been, in South Americain particular, a pain in the neck for capitalism, with their promotion of the Theology of Liberation. The Americans have systematically toppled all the secularists, former allies of Washington and relied on the Islamists of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The present threats against Syria and Iran are in the logic of American world domination, as next steps in the planetarian war in progress. The aim of America in the Middle East is to have total control of the region for two reasons. First, in order that no one else would have a say in the region. That is, to stop the expansion of Russia to the south, the expansion of China to the West and the expansion of the European Union to the East. Second, in order to totally control the two essential sources of energy: oil and water, for themselves, but also to prevent the other great powers to exploit them. The so-called Arab Spring Revolts follow the logic of spreading American presence in the Middle East and have nothing to do with the will of the people. They are an instrument in the total subjugation of the Intermediate Region by the USA in their pursuit of the planetarian war ending with the US-China total war.
My doctoral thesis submitted to the Sorbonne, in Paris, and published by the Presses Universitaires de France, in 1963, 540 pages, bore the title, Propaganda and Pressure Groups in International Politics. Now, I am amazed since the time I finished my thesis, at the extraordinary progress of American propaganda and psychological warfare. The USA have used since the Helsinki Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (1973-1975) all means of fake information through the Media and the Human Rights campaigns to provoke street uprisings baptized colored or spring revolutions, using armies of mercenaries to provoque civil wars, so much that half of the work of destabilization of regimes is done not through armaments but through propaganda. Washington has used religion, Catholicism in Poland and Islam in Afghanistan to overthrow the Soviet Union. It used the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, e-mails, blogs to create unrest, often with great success. It used monetary destabilization to attack the euro and ruin the progress of the European Union. Anyone that has dared to question the supremacy of the American dollar, be it Japan in the past or the European Union today has been badly hit by them. The Empire before dying will commit suicide that will take with it in the grave hundreds of millions of lives all over the planet, because America is struck by the vision of Armageddon.
UPA: Professor Kitsikis, two elections were held in Greece, in May and June 2012. How do you see Greece’s future in terms of relations with European Union and relations with Turkey?
Prof. Dimitri Kitsikis: I think that Turkey was very lucky not to have been accepted in the European Union, otherwise it would have had the fate of Greece. Greece’s industry, agriculture and finance were totally ruined by their entrance into the prison of the peoples, under German dominance, that represent the European Union, a repetition of the European Holy Alliance of 1815-1823. Greece’s interest is to abandon the European Union and the euro and go back to its national currency, under the umbrella of the American dollar. Such an outcome will allow the Greek-Turkish rapprochement of both economies and their political union. Later on, a common Greek-Turkish currency could be set up, replacing both the drachma and the Turkish lira. The present political trend in Greece goes towards such a future development. Nevertheless, one has to be very careful to avoid provocations from both sides that could be explolited by the enemies of a Greek-Turkish Confederation and plunge the region into a Greek-Turkish war.
UPA: Professor you worked in the early 1990s as an adviser to the former President of the Republic of Turkey Turgut Özal. Could you tell us about Özal’s personality and your relations? How do you see the latest discussions about the death of Özal?
Prof. Dimitri Kitsikis: I consider Özal as the most important leader the Republic of Turkey has had since Atatürk. In 1988, Özal was the author of a book in French, published in France by the famous Plon Publishing House, under the title La Turquie en Europe, with the help of Ambassador Gündüz Aktan. The first half of the book was based entirely on the works of Halikarnas Balıkçısı and the second half was based entirely on my works. At the time I did not know Özal but my friend Kaya Toperi, the then ambassador of Turkey to Ottawa told me that Özal admired me and that he considered me his spiritual father. After this publication, Özal invited me to Ankara where I became his collaborator and best friend. Alevism tight us closely together. His entourage was very critical that he had chosen to have at his side, as President of the Turkish Republic in Çankaya, a Greek and a socialist. This, as well as the Kurdish problem that he tried to solve, cost him his life. I was persuaded, already at the time of his death, in 1993, that he was poisoned by the military establishment.
UPA: Professor could you please name some academicians, journalists and politicians that you follow closely and give importance to their views?
Prof. Dimitri Kitsikis: İlber Ortaylı.
UPA: Professor Kitsikis thanks for your sincere answers and friendly look to our country.
Interview: Dr. Ozan ÖRMECİ