Commentary "Recognition and Appreciation of Others"


A commentary by Mag.a Handan Aksünger-Kizil of the "Alevi Theological Studies".

According to the sociologist of religion Peter L. Berger (2015), pluralism only makes sense if people talk to each other and not about each other, so that there should be continuous communication. Berger describes a social situation in which people of different ethnicities and world views live together peacefully and interact with each other in a friendly manner.

In the picture above, published in a brochure by the Istanbul city government on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the "National Day of Sovereignty and the Child" on 23 April 2020, friendly communication with people of different religious/denominational affiliations seems not only possible but already realised.

Despite the efforts of the Istanbul city government, critical voices are being raised within Turkey and among migrants of Turkish origin in Europe. The explicit illustrative visualisation of "recognition and appreciation of the other or difference" under the theme section "freedom of religion and belief" is very welcome. Is it not the wish of many people with different ethnic, religious, language identities and different world views in an increasingly plural world to be recognised, respected and valued as equals despite their differences and otherness? It seems all the more important that an acknowledgement of difference is depicted in a state brochure called "Republic and Democracy" for children and young people, which could perhaps also find its way into school textbooks. A development that not only refers to but also realises the coexistence of a secular and a religious discourse and the coexistence of different religions and differentiations in the sense of Peter L. Berger.