The second thematic Meridyen Meetings, which were kicked off by the Meridyen Association, took place with participation of The Foreign Minister of the Republic of Turkey on the evening of Saturday, March 10, 2012 at the Bahariye Mevlevihanesi (Dervish Lodge).

The meeting which took place with participation from a large number of academics, writers, journalits, NGO representatives, Meridyen Association members and volunteers, under the theme of “Contributions to the life of Knowledge and Ideas in the 21st Century,” began with a introductory presentation on the activities of the Meridyen Association by Ahmet Murat Özel. This was then followed by a speech by Meridyen Association President H. Hümeyra Şahin, who spoke to the initital launching of the assocation and its vision, using the following words:

“We set out six years ago as a civil and independent initiative which convened around the idea of working for the common good of humanity. We wanted to contribute humbly to a great human ideal in doing what we could not do individually together, to become subjects who shape the course of time and not just subjects within time. As you know, raising a person is a ancient act. And we convened our resources in order to serve this ideal to support social scientists who would reconstruct the changing world. With a spirit of cooperation that holds that what is enough for two will be enough for three, and believing that giving will only increase blessings, we believed in the importance in sharing for this beneficial project we were to embark upon. A small campaign we had begun in order to send our friend to a symposium abroad, granted us a blessed opportunity to be side by side with a respectable group of people of knowledge within a period of six months.”

The foreign minister of the Republic of Turkey, Dr. Ahmet Davutoğlu was the last person to speak as the guest of honour. He began by sharing the story of how he came to choose social sciences himself and highlighted the importance of our mission both on an individual and societal level. “History is moving forth with a great deal of speed. Those who are not able to comprehend this, and those who are not able to interpret this the way it ought to be interpreted will become faced with being lost in the fast flow of history. We are in a land where history flows the fastest, in a time where history flows the fastest. Every morning when we wake up, and ever night when we go to sleep, we ought to ask ourselves, “What is the misson of living during this era and this time in history?” Davutoğlu said.

Davutoğlu, who pointed out that societies have embarked upon a time in which they are quickly unraveling and reconstructing, noted that it is important to raise scientists who are in tune with the times. Davutoğlu added: “In the conference I gave in Washington two weeks ago, I focused on a matter which many of us are unaware of. Particulary, when speaking about the changes taking place in Egypt, I pointed out the following: Imagine that in 1989 when the typewriter was still being used, Hosni Mubarak was still the President and he was still President when twitter was being utilized. And he was the same style of president. This is not something that is appropriate to the nature of time. We are either to set out by way of reshaping our mentality according to the flow of time or those who carry on with their old habits, those who think within the same framework are going to become lost in that great flow of time. Actually, what we are experiencing is a great defiance. Those who are going to face this defiance and those who are going to provide a solution to this defiance will not be politicians or those dealing with crisis like these on a daily basis within the flow of time, but to the contrary those who understand this flow in addition to scientists who are drawing a new horizon for this flow.”

In his speech, Davutoğlu indicated the following in order to stress the importance of contributing to the scientific and intellectual life of our times and producing scholarly leaders, congratulating Meridyen for the efforts it exerts towards this end. Davutoğlu said: “We must be stepping on a solid ground on the land which we are on. We must first be sure of ourselves. We must be sure that we are most aware of the the ancient wealth and internalized modernity we possess . If we are to produce scholarly leaders of the 21st century, we will only be able to do so through those who espouse both of these elements. Then we are going to bring these together in order to form a framework wherein we can produce solutions to all of our problems. It is not possible to transform this structure without producing new applications. In this regard, if the ground on which society steps on is sound, then a country’s outlook to the future and their perspective will be sound as well.”

Following his speech, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu was presented with an original map titled “The Turkish Empire,” prepared by British cartographer John Speed and printed in 1626 in London, as a token of the Meridyen Association’s appreciation for his attendance.

On the map, which is the first map of the Ottoman Empire to be printed in England, the cities of Famagusta, Damascus, Cairo, Jerusalem, İstanbul, Rhodes, Alexandria and Hormuz are featured. On the right and left hand side of the map, women and men from Greece, Syria, Egypt, Arabia and Persia are depicted.