Ottomanism and Neo-Ottomanism is Nothing Similar to Americanism in The Balkans
The Ottomans were never as humane, freedom-loving, democratic and peaceful as America has been toward Albanians in Kosovo as demonstrated from 1999 to 2013. In other areas of the Balkans where ethnic Albanians reside, the opposite was committed by Ottomans: oppression of freedom, independence, democracy, self-determination, progress, and in general the people’s welfare.
Therefore, for Albanians in the Balkans until 1912, the Ottoman Empire served nothing but tyranny and slavery for centuries.
These are the main reasons why Albanians justifiably do not recognize or accept any type of Ottomanism or Neo-Ottomanism, since both are characterized by the hegemony and imperialism of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans.
However, this does not mean that Albanians in the Balkans do not want reciprocal cooperation and positive relationships in culture, economy, politics, diplomacy and trade with what is the present day modern, secular and peaceful state of Turkey established by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. As the first President of the Republic of Turkey, Ataturk established the main historical, political, diplomatic, and national merits leading to the modernization of Turkey consistent with the western model.
Today, Kosovo and Albania share close and friendly ties with Turkey. This mutual cooperation and trust should continue and be nurtured for future relationships between Albanians and Turkish people.
Currently, Albanians essentially have even one more reason to maintain cooperation and promote further good relations with modern-day secular Turkey: Turkey is a good and credible ally of the United States.
Krasniqi’s Thesis Is Wrong And Unacceptable
In a recent commentary titled “Ottomans are like Americans” by Imam Dr. Shefqet Krasniqi was published in the Albanian daily newspaper “Bota Sot” on March 31, 2013. Dr. Krasniqi starts with the statement, “The arrival of the Ottomans in the Balkans was God’s gift to Albanians, just as was the arrival of the Americans.” (See in: www.botasot.info/opinione)
Regardless of what he wanted to convey politically, his thesis is absurd and false. There is no valid element to the comparison drawn between the relief brought upon by the arrival of the Americans in the Balkans and the tyranny committed by the Ottoman Empire during the XIV,XV, XVI, XVII, XIII, IX and first decade of the XX century, where Albanians were terrorized and forced to assimilate by conversion to Islam. That was a “gift” to Albanians from the barbaric Ottomans, and not from God, as Imam Dr. Shefqet Krasniqi has incorrectly suggested in his commentary, in order to manipulate and deceive Albanian and Turkish public opinion.
Americans Are True Allies
Therefore, all of the pro-Turkish Albanians who have the Turkish Empire (Ottomanism or Neo-Ottomanism) in their minds and hearts, ought to know that Ottomans were not friends or allies of Albanians, but rather for more than five centuries have been bitter enemies. Meanwhile America and Americans are indeed true allies, liberators, friends and saviors of Albanians in Kosovo (1999-2013).
This key difference is what distinguishes the Ottoman invaders and the freedom-loving and peaceful Americans in Kosovo. This is the asymmetric essence between Ottomanism/Neo-Ottomanism and America in Kosovo, namely in the Balkans (1991-2013).
All of Europe and the world are aware that America went to the Balkans to save over 2 million Albanians in Kosovo of the ethnic Albania from the terror, genocide, and conquering aggression of Serbia led by Slobodan Milosevic (1989-1999). While America had and continues to have a humanitarian role of liberation and peace (1991-2013), the Ottomans that Shefqet Krasniqi refers to used terror and genocide in conquering and ruling Albanians for more than 500-years (XIV-XX).
Thus, there is no question that America liberated and rescued Kosovo and its 2 million Albanians (1999-2013), whereas the Ottoman Empire was invasive, captive and committed genocide against Albanians in the Balkans, as they were then colonial Slavic invaders (Serbs, Montenegrins, Greeks, Bulgarians, Macedonians). The only politically and historically valid analogy that can be made about the Ottomans is that they acted in the same manner as the colonial Slavs did to Albanians and their territories throughout Ethnic Albania (1878-2013).
The Ottoman presence in the Balkans was not a great gift from God, but a great tragedy
Despite Krasniqi’s claim that “Ottomans are as Americans for Albanians” and that “they were God’s gift” it should be highlighted that the Ottoman presence in the Balkans was not a great gift for Albanians from God, but on the contrary a misfortune and a great tragedy for the majority of Albanians.
Krasniqi’s naive and offensive statement is scandalous, inconsistent and a counterfeit propaganda against the history, culture and values of the Albanian population in the Balkans.