Monday, December 22, 2008

Which Capital?

His first stop.

His first outreach.

His first message of US reconciliation.


What an excellent bunch of first's indeed, don't you agree!

Now the problem begins at this point.
Where it should be delivered?

There are two options, lets see:

Jakarta / Indonesia
Where: capital and largest city in Indonesia.
Gov't: republic.

Population: more than 200 million ppl

Religion: Muslim (86.1%)
Address: in Southeast Asia.

Note: Obama spent much of his childhood there.


Istanbul / Turkey
Where: the largest city in Turkey. The 3rd largest city in the world.
Gov't: democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic.
Population: more than 70 million ppl
Religion: Muslim (99%)
Address: a powerful regional presence at the intersection of Europe and Asia with strong historic, cultural and economic influence in the area between Europe in the west, Central Asia in the east, Russia in the north, and the Middle East in the south.

Now I ask you, what do Istanbul and Jakarta -have in common?

OK, both are two Muslim-majority countries as religion. But Turkey doubtless has got comparative advantages in this challenging world, besides being the unique, modern and laic onliest one in the Islamic world. You can call it as a role model country.

Universally popular President-elect Obama is planning to visit a Muslim capital during his first 100 days in office. Where it shall be? As it will be his first important message then he should not be centered in the Islam world with 1.4 billion Muslims, but he should point out a reconciliation with the rest of the world, I think.

Obama can select Indonesia.
Emotionally it can be correct. But technically wrong.

If Obama is the strongest leader, then his message should be supported by his speech area selection, too:
literally and metaphorically a bridge between East and West, North and South. So I say, Istanbul.

It would be worldly correct.

It would be politically correct.

It would be strategically correct.

No any second better address available on earth.

It was my answer for Washington Post's question 'But, which capital: Jakarta or Istanbul?'

A side note: I completely forgot my Istanbulian identity when composing this post:)


  1. Your logic and rationale make complete sense to me. Now, we have to wait and see.

  2. Great idea. I love the idea of it being a bridge.

  3. Is there a large difference between the Turkish Muslim majority and the Christian minority? All the people from Turkey I ever talked to were Chhristians, so even though in my mind I know it, I was "emotionally" surprised to be realize Turkey is a Muslim country.

  4. Beautiful Lady Nihal, good day to you! ;)

    We ough to be bridges to connect, not walls, which separate.... I love the concept!

    Merry Christmas and warm wishes from our house to yours.


  5. Merry, merry Christmas, Nihal! xo

  6. Excellent post!I hope he chooses Istanbul. A very merry Christmas to you and yours, Nihal!

  7. Dear Nihal,

    I just met - or rather, re-encountered - a person I know who lives in Istanbul. A mom and a couple of kids and a dad. She is the daughter of a colleague of my husbands. She and her family are visiting LA now, but will be returning there.

    I will send her a link to your blog. Maybe you can meet!

    Happy Holidays!


  8. @ Thyme: No big difference. For us, the challenge is to craft an identity that can embrace all its citizens, all differences. That's why Turquie is well-known as ''Home of Tolerance''. Hoping you find a good opportunity to travel Turquie, so you'll see how it's true:)

    @ Glennis: So cool:) Yes you can link me to your friend, I'd love to hear a new voice. Isn't nice bridging the people as well as bridging the countries. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you and yours, too.