Turkish PM says he ‘debated with Hegel in his dreams’

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Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said he has been debating in his dreams with the 18th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and the 11th century Islamic jurist al-Ghazali.

“Frankly, I’ve been debating with al-Ghazali and Hegel in my dreams,” Davutoğlu said in speech at the opening of the academic year at Ondokuz Mayıs University in the Black Sea province of Samsun on Sept. 28, describing his relationship with them as a “teacher-student bond.”

He also said a number of Turkish ambassadors addressed him as “teacher” out of habit in his first days as foreign minister, before apologizing and correcting themselves by calling him “Mr. Minister.”

“But if you apologize for this reason, I see it as an insult to a position [being a teacher] that I regard as the most precious. A ministry is temporary, but you always remain a teacher,” Davutoğlu said, according to Doğan News Agency.

The prime minister said the teacher-student bond is the kind of relationship that is unlike any other.

“Even death can’t stop people calling someone their teacher. I still have teachers who I have never seen. Frankly, I’ve been debating with Ghazali and Hegel in my dreams. They are my teachers, even though I did not see them in my dreams while I was writing my doctoral thesis,” he added.

Hegel is the latest scholar whose ideas center on the dialectic to attract the attention of the prime minister. Earlier this month, Davutoğlu invoked Karl Marx as a rationale for forcing students — even atheists — to attend religious classes, saying, “It is necessary for an atheist to have knowledge of religious culture, just like I know about Marxism despite not being a Marxist,”

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