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Turkish leader inspierd by the Gita - Statesman

Posted By Ashok V Chowgule (ashokvc@giasbm01.vsnl.net.in)
16 December 1996

Title : Turkish leader inspired by the Gita
Author :
Publication : Statesman
Date : December 16, 1996

The former Turkish Prime Minister and well known writer, Mr Bulent Ecevit,
revealed that the Indian scripture, Bhagwad Gita, was a source of solace and
guidance in hours of crisis, reports, PTI.

"The Gita has been source of inspiration for me particularly when I had to
take critical decisions in my political career," Mr Ecevit, who has
translated part of the Gita into Turkish, said.

Recalling an episode, Mr Ecevit said he developed serious difference of
opinion in 1971 when his party leader, Mr Ismet Inonu, whom he respected very
much, chose to back the Government imposed by the military.

"I did not have the guts to confront him," he confessed and added that it was
the Bhagwad Gita, which guided him out of this dilemma.

He criticized the Turkish Prime Minister, Mr Necment for omitting India and
focusing only on Muslim countries during his recent visit to Asia.

"It is dangerous to base foreign policy only on religion," he told visiting
Indian journalists in an interview.

He said he had maintained that Turkey should have close ties with India as
both the countries were treading a common path of development.

Mr Ecevit, who has been the Prime Minister of Turkey twice, is currently the
chairman of Democratic Left Party. He studied Sanskrit, Bengali and History
of Art at the London University and later published translations of Tagore's
Gitanjali in Turkish.

the former Premier said he was attracted to Tagore as the Indian poet was
close to the Turkish-Islamic Sufi movement and hence touched a familiar
chord.



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