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Turkey Unveiled

de Nicole Pope, Hugh Pope

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Tracing the rise of the country that transformed itself in the twentieth century from an agrarian society to an affluent, prominent republic, this new, definitive edition of Turkey Unveiled contains vital, up-to-date information on Turkey's increasingly prominent position in current global affairs, a evidenced by its vital role as a moderate Islamic government during Operation Iraqi Freedom and its ongoing bid for EU membership. Nicole and Hugh Pope provide a rich mosaic of contemporary Turkey and its formative past, combining expert analysis with keen understanding of a culture long misunderstood by the West.… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porsdprikrylova, storagelibrary, sehitali, LosCamachos, tusiani, npsia, erikdavidkov
Bibliotecas HistóricasTim Spalding

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Exibindo 3 de 3
Of all the books I have read about Turkey, this is the one which gave me the clearest understanding by far of how modern Turkey has come to be what it is. ( )
  sidewaysstation | Jan 6, 2009 |
Turkey
  Budzul | Jun 1, 2008 |
This history of Turkey from Ottoman times to the present, written by two journalists, is a great starting point for learning about the important part of the world that includes Turkey, Greece, Iraq, and Iran.

Turkey, most of which has traditionally been known as Anatolia, has always been a popular spot for invaders. The more well-known included Hittites, Persians, Greeks, and Romans. In the fourth century, Constantine the Great of Rome created a second capital of the Roman Empire [to rule the Greek speaking half] in the Anatolian city of Byzantium, which was later renamed Constantinople. After centuries of relative calm, Anatolia's invasion woes began anew, with attacks by Sassanids and Seljuks from the East and crusading Christians from the West. Gradually reduced in area, it finally gave way to the Ottomans, descendants of Turkoman nomads who entered Anatolia in the 11th century as mercenary soldiers of the Seljuks and who were named for the warrior tribe's first leader, Osman Gazi. In 1457 the Ottomans conquered Constantinople, renamed it Istanbul, and stayed on for another 450 years or so, until WWI.

One of the Turkish heroes of WWI was Mustafa Kemal, later to be known as Ataturk (Father of the Turks). At Gallipoli, he is said to have told his troops, "I do not order you to advance. I order you to die." (This seems to have been the philosophy in general on both sides at Gallipoli.) Ataturk led the group that repelled the post-War attempt by the victors to divide up Turkey, and he set up the first republic, formally proclaimed in 1923. But as the authors observe in a bit of understatement, "He led Turkey on the path of Westernization, but left it stranded half-way to full democratization because, deep down, he was not a democrat."

After the death of Ataturk, we are taken on a journey through the various geopolitical struggles of Turkey's modern era, including control of the Bosphorus Straits, the problem of Cyprus (divided between mutually non-friendly Turks and Greeks), and the quest to gain admittance to the European Union.

They also discuss the Kurdish situation. Kurds constitute a fifth of the population - there are 12 million ethnic Kurds. (And in fact, the authors point out, Kurds are "the world's largest nation without a state - about 25 million people now split between Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and the former Soviet Union..." ) Although they are Sunni Muslems like the Turks, Kurds want to retain their own language and culture. However, from Ataturk on, the Turkish government has engaged in a "Turcification" campaign (even banning the use of Kurdish first names) that has racist overtones. Some Kurds perceive their situation as similar to that of the Turkish Armenians: "We are offered the same choice, either assimilation or genocide." Turkey's desire to be acceptable to the EU has helped the cause of Kurdish rights.

The Alevis are a large minority in Turkey who are Shias. They include both ethnic Turks and Kurds. Politically they tend to be secularists (since an Islamic Sunni state would not be friendly to them).

Another group treated in depth by the authors is the Turkish Armed Forces - "the single institution most trusted by the Turk in the street." The army has always exercised an "oversight" role on the government, granted to them by the 1982 Constitution (which was drawn up under military rule).

An issue of great interest is Turkey's control of the Tigris-Euphrates river system. Around 70 per cent of the flow of the two rivers is on Turkish territory. Turkey looks forward to the time when water overtakes oil in importance.

The authors give very detailed accounts of political machinations in recent times (especially the leadership of Turgut Ozal) - a little too detailed for my taste. Nevertheless, the book fills a much needed gap in western knowledge about the modern history of such an important region.

A postscript written in January 2004 updates the book (originally published in 1997). The Islamic tide remains a threat, and the volatile style of political control in the region is still a deterrent to total acceptance by the West. Yet, the authors conclude with a bit of optimism: "The underlying momentum towards integration of Turkey with the West is winning..." For the sake of minorities and women, may it be so. (JAF)
1 vote nbmars | Apr 25, 2007 |
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Turkey, patriarchal in its naive and smiling simplicity, would amaze our benighted romantics; it would astonish many among us who have lost their Christian faith, but have preserved their anti-Muslim prejudice. -- Claude Farrere, 1925
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Tracing the rise of the country that transformed itself in the twentieth century from an agrarian society to an affluent, prominent republic, this new, definitive edition of Turkey Unveiled contains vital, up-to-date information on Turkey's increasingly prominent position in current global affairs, a evidenced by its vital role as a moderate Islamic government during Operation Iraqi Freedom and its ongoing bid for EU membership. Nicole and Hugh Pope provide a rich mosaic of contemporary Turkey and its formative past, combining expert analysis with keen understanding of a culture long misunderstood by the West.

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