İbrahim Kalın, the spokesperson for Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said that Westerners have never forgiven the Turks for the conquest of İstanbul, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Saturday.
Speaking at a conference organized by the Turkish Diyanet Foundation Center for Women, Family and Youth (KAGEM), Kalın said that debates over relations between Turkey and the European Union are not independent of relations between Islam and the West. Kalın said many in the Muslim world evaluate this issue from the perspective of “how the West and Europe look at us.”
Underlining the ups and downs in the 50-year-old relationship between Turkey and the EU, Kalın said, “When you look at the issue from the viewpoint of ‘What is the obstacle, or what will we see when it is completed?’ you can see many issues extending throughout the long history of Islam-West relations. The conquest of İstanbul is one of the issues that left deep traces, especially in the minds of Medieval and modern-age European philosophers. In this respect, the conquest of İstanbul was an unexpected incident for Europeans and the Byzantines. And they did not get over the shock of the conquest for years. Indeed, Westerners have never forgiven the Turks for the conquest of Byzantium.”