” … the end of Turkey as we know it” The Guardian


"With the result of Sunday’s referendum on its constitution, Turkey as we know it is over; it is history.

The architecture of its governance designed by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk – Turkey’s founder – has, after a wobbly series of experiments with the military and a secular elite in charge, been dismantled by the leader of the Justice and Development party (AKP). The collapse of the rule of law that took place in slow motion after the Gezi Park protests has been followed by the erosion of the separation of powers and the annihilation of the independent media.

It’s hard not to notice the striking resemblance to the sequence of events in Germany from 1933: the Reichstag fire, the Night of the Long Knives, the infamous referendum in 1934. The similarities give one a powerful sense of history copy-and-pasting itself. No wonder those who once shrugged at such comparisons are now in shock – particularly when they heard the harsh rhetoric of President Erdoğan’s victory speech: he pledged to an ecstatic crowd that one of his highest priorities is to reintroduce capital punishment."  Guardian


Once upon a time SWMBO and I lived in Izmir, Turkey.  We were there for two very pleasant years wedged in between two of my VN War tours of duty.  The weather was much like that in central, coastal, California.  We had a very nice, modern  and cheap apartment that looked out over Izmir Bay.  The restaurants were very good (and cheap).  Turkish cuisine is one of the world's great cooking and eating experiences.  I had a good job in the NATO headquarters in the city.  Life was splendid.

We traveled all over western Turkey in our blue '67 Mustang (great car) and I traveled throughout the country in the course of my duties.  It was evident then ('69 to '71) that the country was very much in transition from an Ottoman past in which the cities were glittering marvels of mixed European and Islamic culture and the rural areas were only slowly growing to accept the idea of a Westernized future.  Holding the process of change together were the institutions of Kemalist secularism and Turkish nationalism.  The national schools curriculum was probably the most potent weapon in the battle for modernism.  Conscription into the armed forces was yet another tool.  The Turkish Army was then the school of the citizen.

Somehow all that turned to ashes in the general rise of political Islamism across the Islamic culture continent.  Now we have the spectacle of a president of the Turkish Republic (a former semi-pro "jock" of some kind) who calls for a resumption of capital punishment while his wife stands at his side swaddled up like an infant.

The Turkish author of this Guardian article has it right.  Turkey as I knew it is dead and the notion that Erdogan's Turkey is anything like the old Turkey is folly.  We should stop pretending that this Turkey is an ally.  pl  



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88 Responses to ” … the end of Turkey as we know it” The Guardian

  1. Matthew says:

    Col: This is very puzzling. Islamism didn’t come to Turkey because the secular state failed.
    Maybe some of your Turkish readers can explain the attraction to Erdogan.

  2. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The state was not secular in the Western sense, it was anti-akhund/anit-mullah; that is, it opposed much of Islamic Tradition of Sunnis. It had to be since the dead weight of the Islamic Tradition was going to result in the disintegration of what was left of Turkey. the state was going to be destroyed.
    Where the Kemalists failed, in my opinion, was in the creation of a Liberal Order that was commensurate with Islam – they had decades to do so. But their policies, in effect, maintained a schism inside every Turk between Islamic identity, the new Turkic one as well as the project of the adaptation of the Western ideas and institutions and techniques into the body politics of Turkey.
    An analogous dynamics, in my opinion, but more severely, worked in neighboring Iran. The Constitutional revolutionaries of 1905 failed to put in place a Liberal Order. And UK (and later US) helped destroy what was left of the old oligarchic Liberalism in Iran and by 1979, one saw the complete rejection of the post 1905 Constitutional Order by the Iranian people.
    The situation in Turkey is socially much more explosive than Iran because of religious, ethnology-linguistic, and political orientation divisions among its inhabitants – some pining for Islam, some for that which is normative in contemporary France, and yet others who want to live in that fantasy called “Democratic Secular Republic of Kurdistan” (which, as everyone knows, will fully respect any all minority rights as long as they are Kurdish.)

  3. LeaNder says:

    Hm, Izmir, Smyrna, Rembetiko.
    Somehow all that turned to ashes in the general rise of political Islamism across the Islamic culture continent.
    At what point in time would you put it from your personal experience. And from my very, very limited nitwit basis; did this pick up on the earlier Pan-Arabism?

  4. JohnH says:

    My experience in Izmir was decidedly mixed. After taking the boat over from the Greek island of Samos in 1974, we got our room, settled in, and took a nap. As dusk started to fall, we discovered that the room should more properly have been declared an insectarium. Creepy crawlies running everywhere. Fortunately, none bit.
    The good news was that the next morning the owners turned out to very accommodating and gave us the penthouse, which was great. We stayed for several pleasant days.
    Ephesus was amazing, particularly the Roman amphitheater. Bodrum, too. And then there was Istanbul the incredible, one of the most spectacular cities in the world. Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, the Golden Horn, etc.
    The main problem seemed to be Turkish men on buses, who felt entitled to pinch my wife’s butt whenever the urge arose. And then there was the matter of the bedbugs at the youth hostel. Fortunately, disinfected hotels were available.
    Our goal had been to travel overland to Damascus. But travelers coming from the east raved at how clean Istanbul was! We decided to return to Samos, relax, and take in some rays.
    It was then that Turkey invaded Cyprus. We learned about it early one morning when I went to the center of town to get food for breakfast. A crowd was gathered around a sign. I asked what it was all about. They told me that all men age 16-64 had been conscripted for military service, except homosexuals. They were very explicit about the last point.
    Women were scrambling, buying everything in the stores. I asked one what we were to eat. She shared some bread with me, enough to get us through the next couple days. Greeks were remarkably hospitable!
    Much of the local population were descendants of those who had escaped Turkey after World War I. They were scared. Samos was only a mile from the Turkish coast. You could see Turkey looming over the water. It was a lot closer to Turkey than Cyprus.
    Meanwhile, among tourists, the joke was that the men had all run off into the hills to do their service and drink ouzo under olive trees, leaving their wives and children to fend for themselves in the villages.
    We felt very exposed, too. The Regime of the Colonels had been overthrown. Turks were rumored to be at the gates of Thessaloniki. The American Embassy was incommunicado.
    Fortunately, there were also some Brits on vacation there. They got in touch with their embassy, which actually seemed to care about the welfare of its citizens.
    Soon word came via the Brits that a boat would stop to pick us up. It did. There was just barely room to sit on the floor of the deck. A Scot spent a good part of the trip trying to explain that we had to know what the Scottish flag looked like. It was so distinctive. It had a line on it. I could barely understand him and certainly could not understand what was so special about a line on a flag. Turned out, he was talking about a lion.
    At 4 am we arrived in Piraeus and somehow got a ride to Athens. We went to the hotel where we had stayed and asked for a room. They were very accommodating. While a room was being made up, we had breakfast.
    As breakfast was wrapping up, a bright eyed young couple bound into the room and said, “We just got here! What’s happening?”
    We all looked at each other. Finally, someone said, “Don’t you know?”
    We started describing events of the past few days. Finally, it occurred to someone to ask the obvious, “Where are you from?” (Have you been living under a rock?)
    The young man replied, “Oh! We’re from Northern Ireland. Things always sound worse than they really are.”
    Over the years, I have kept that couple in mind and subsequently safely traveled to many places where most Americans feared to go.

  5. eakens says:

    We are. That is why we are trying so hard in Syria I suspect. The neocons get Golan, we get a base, the Russians and Iranians are stopped out, and the QA/SA get their gas into Europe. A lot is on the line, enough for a world war I fear.
    A similar story could also be said of Iran. History will not be kind to the US, and even less kind to those Arabs who pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to send their kids and their gold and chrome wrapped toys to London every summer while their people suffer.

  6. turcopolier says:

    Some people attribute the present rise of Islamism to the failure of Arab Nationalism in the Arab countries. IMO Islam and Sunnism in particular contain within its dogma a claim to universal expression of God’s will on earth. The Wahhabis express this in its most extreme form. There is an evident cycle in the history of Islam’s existence in which every hundred years or so revivalist movements arise that seek to enforce their particular concept of what mankind’s behavior and belief should be. These movement are sometimes pacific and sometimes not. the violent movements have all come to a bad end from the Muslim point of view but after the memory of defeat fades from living memory a new cycle begins. We are, IMO, in the midst of one such cycle and nobody suffers from these cyclic jihadi wars more than Muslims who dare to disagree with the jihadis’ understanding of Islam. This description of my thinking on this matter will, of course, be challenged with the usual economic determinist drivel. pl

  7. turcopolier says:

    I often saw people like you wandering around Turkey looking like refugees from a nuclear apocalypse. What did you expect? You were obvious candidates for victimization in what was still a very conservative society. If you stay in hostels and flop houses you should not be surprised at what you get as accommodation. My wife is a very attractive woman. She was never accosted, pinched, groped, etc. in Turkey, nor in any Arab country but then she knew to dress conservatively and how to behave so as not to attract unwanted attention. If a woman does not act that way, the men are led to believe that she is a loose woman who will appreciate their attention. pl

  8. confusedponderer says:

    I have a bet running with my brother that Erdogan likely soon will …
    (a) declare that Turkey – magic! – has 15 million more citizens than previously known …
    (b) who – magic! – all support Erdogan and that, …
    (c) magic! – Erdogan has gotten no less than 750% of support for his brilliant presidential construction.
    If I win I will get ice cream from my brother.

  9. Annem says:

    Lots of reasons why Kemalism lost out to Erdoğan or morphed into what some Turkish critics call “Islamo-Kemalism,” is the same authoritarian/nationalist political culture but with a different underlying ideology. Unevenly distributed economic and social development widened the cultural gap between the pious, conservative peoples of central and eastern Anatolia and the more cosmopolitan urbanites of the cities of the western part of the country. As we saw revealed with the fall of the Soviet Union, no amount suppression can extinguish religious belief; it just makes it more tenacious, making believers ripe for the picking by a demagogue ready to exploit those sentiments. Add to that a very late migration from statist economic policies to global market capitalism and you have all the pieces of a slow slide into political Islam. After the level of crony-capitalism by the AKP reached a certain point, the regime could not maintain power and still abide by democratic norms.
    The West let the “indispensable NATO ally” drift away with nary a whine. After all, they were helping us fight ISIS when they were not supporting ISIS. The future likely includes the consequences of the flailing economy, deepening debt, high unemployment and sinking currency, together with continued jihadi terrorism and regional military misadventures all of which combine for spontaneous combustion.

  10. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Col. Lang:
    ” There is an evident cycle in the history of Islam’s existence in which every hundred years or so revivalist movements arise that seek to enforce their particular concept of what mankind’s behavior and belief should be.”
    This is not unlike the history of Christianity, from the founding of various reformist monastic orders in the Middle Ages on through the Lutheran Reformation and its subsequent offshoots (e.g. Calvinism, the Anabaptists, etc.) and on to the several Great Awakenings here in North America.

  11. Eric Newhill says:

    My first car, purchased when I was a junior in high school, used with low mileage and very little rust, in 1981, was a blue ’67 Mustang with the 289 engine.Mine was an automatic transmission. Yes, a fun little car.
    This was inevitable. Ataturk, IMO, is highly over-rated as a visionary statesman, etc. Turkey had just completed a thorough butchering of all of its Christian inhabitants and had sided with the losers of WW1. So Ataturk took the most expedient course as a political opportunist; making kissy face with Europe and promising to make Turkey a civilized nation. I guess that was relatively shrewd enough, but certainly not exceptional. In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king.
    Sadly, you can’t change nature. Things are what they are and will not be what they are not. Kind of like the Godfather series, wherein Don Corleone, the younger, attempts in vain to bring the family business to legitimacy, but in the end laments that every time he thinks he’s out, they pull him right back in. The genetics, the history/karma, the call of the ummah; all forces too strong against western style secular government.

  12. Emad says:

    “We should stop pretending that this Turkey is an ally”. Let’s think about downgrading Turkey’s status from an ally to whatever every other non-ally country is.
    What strategic options does Erdogan have, if Turkey is sidelined in NATO and loses preferential treatment in trade and investment deals it’s been enjoying so far?
    Grand realignment at this point sounds impractical to me. Russia? No commitment. China? Limited. A regional block with Saudis and Israel? Unstable. Maybe he thinks the EU and U.S. will learn to live with the new Turkey, save making muffled human rights noises, because they need Turkey more than Turkey needs them. But how much does the U.S. need Turkey? More importantly, wouldn’t ditching Turkey as an ally run the risk of radicalizing the MB types ruling Turkey into Jihadis with access to state aparatus?

  13. turcopolier says:

    I am nomore interested in justifying revivalist jihadism than I would be in justifying Christian fanaticism  PL
    Sent from my iPhone

  14. turcopolier says:

    Eric Newhill
    Same car, same engine, a fine little beast. I sold mine in Turkey to the USDEA who got it shot full of holes in a village drug raid they made with the Jendarma. I should have kept it. I know you are half Armenian but there is the little matter of many Ottoman Armenians siding with Russia in WW1. That does not justify Turkish crimes against the Armenian population but it was factor. pl

  15. irf520 says:

    “Enlightenment” seems to reduce birth rates with the result that eventually the less enlightened outnumber the enlightened and then proceed to vote for the abolition of democracy.

  16. Eric Newhill says:

    My Mustang also met an underserving tragic fate. My younger brother totaled it in a drag race. Fortunately he was ok other than a broken arm and various bruises, the car, not at all. I had allowed him to borrow it with the promise that he would take good care of it.
    What about other Christians such as Assyrians and Greeks that were also victims of the purges? Did they side with Russia?

  17. turcopolier says:

    I  will have to look into that. There were a lot of Greeks in western Anatolia until the Ataturk-Venizelos exchanges after the war and Christian populations remained in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq  pl
    Sent from my iPhone

  18. Kunuri says:

    Albayim, your Apartment next to the old Greek Embassy, 2nd or 3rd apartment block on the Alsancak quay is still there, you have asked me to look for it sometime back and I did. There is MP guard in front of it, so apparently it is still being used by the US personnel still present in Izmir.
    Yes, Turkey as I knew as a young man is finished and over with, RIP. All memory of Ataurk’s incredibly progressive revolutions for its time and context, as they are called in Turkey, is over. It is a shame that no matter what Ataturk did, he could plant the seeds of rational, enlightened progressive ideas into the hearts of minds of only half of the population. The rest, who seem to prefer serfdom, blind following of religious dogma and a life without virtue as long as they have a place in the through, seem happy to celebrate the meticulously crafted transformation of an imperfect democracy into a sultanate.
    As someone mentioned in one of the posts prior, this is Turkey’s 1933 Germany moment, very easy to see especially reading through Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich by William L Shirer, over and over as I have been reading to see where this is going. What brought the Nazis to power, before anything else, was a huge portion of the uneducated, culturally slighted, humiliated, land based rural ignoramus, who initially saw concrete benefits and improvements into their lives, soon after Hitler seized all the levers of the state to transform it into an aggressive war machine. Then it was too late to get off the wagon for those who banked their hopes on him.
    Yesterday, the educated, enlightened liberal urban electorate in all the large urban centers voted NO in this referendum, and the rest of the sheeple, voted YES uncritically within the remaining interior and south east.
    Taxi driver I talked to other day who sounded like he was from the interior, told me that he will vote YES, and I asked him what he was voting for, and whether he had personally read the proposed changes to the constitution, he said no, but he was a pious Moslem. And that the leaders and his elders in the government knew better, of course. I then asked him whether he had read the Koran in Turkish, the only language he can read and write in, he said no, but he was a Moslem, elhamdurillah, and that he was doing OK financially, “ma ashallah, to our great chief”. There you go, this is the profile of the electorate that exulted his excellency, Erdogan the First into his throne, though a mechanism called fair elections, rule of the majority, so foreign to him and his ilk, but oh so useful to get what he wanted. Not unlike the I phones and Mercedes they use, where they would have nothing in common with the people who invented and developed those conveniences, their mind set, the evolutions those people who inherited all the benefits of the liberal ideas of the enlightment, the renaissance and of the industrial revolution. But no matter, they are great to call people and get you from place to place in sublime comfort. Train of Democracy, oh so useful, but we will get off when WE get there, thank you for all your work.
    Erdogan himself is bereft of University level secular education, what High School education he has had is religious in a Moslem Seminary school. And don’t be fooled by his Wikipedia bio, his University diploma is fake, proved over and over but the sheeple does not care.
    Dark times await Turkey, will not be noticeable right away of course, as in the boiling frogs allegory. My longest physical absence from Turkey was 20 years, and when I returned for the first time for a visit, it was a different country altogether. Last 6 years I have been here as a resident, the change is easily observable, especially from the ground level, from the street perspective, day to day, and always for the worse. But happy to report that the street I live on has voted 2 to 1 NO.
    The constitutional changes that were voted on unequivocally concentrate all executive power within the person of the president, and bestow upon him indirect control and power over both the legislative and the judiciary. Whereas the wording over the accepted changes to the constitution is vague, Erdogan can act anyway he wants, and since there is no recourse to object in any level of the government, his actions can become law and precedent. HE CAN NOT BE IMPEACHED OR REMOVED FROM OFFICE, period. There is no such mechanism or procedure in the new constitution. Now, who would like to fit this kind of administration into the observed and accepted forms of governance? Erdogan is here to stay, for decades, as long as he lives. I would be surprised to see if this was not the last election Turkey has ever seen.

  19. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think Erodogan knows that he is indispensable to Fortress West and he is acting accordingly.

  20. Babak Makkinejad says:

    What I read, from Armenian sources, was that many were hiding weapons and bombs in their backyards.
    There were multiple waves of forced displacement, some Armenians were denounced to the Ottoman military be their fellow Armenians – neighbors and acquaintances.
    Those people were not spared the fate of other Armenians; they were extinguished during later forced displacements.
    I do not know who supplied the weapons and munitions but I would not put it past England to have done so through Iran; in addition to the “Usual Suspect”, viz. Russia.

  21. Babak Makkinejad says:

    There were also the Pontics, who were not Greeks at all, but served the purpose of furnishing the local Turks their homes, shops, orchards, businesses etc. Nothing like a little bit of ethnic cleansing to help one’s standard of living.

  22. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Col., I understand that, and would be surprised if you were more interested in the latter considering the immediacy of the threat. It just seemed appropriate, lest we be tempted to pat ourselves on the back for our present-day tolerance here in the predominantly Christian West, to remind ourselves that we’ve had episodes in our past in which those who dared to disagree with the prevailing understanding of Christianity also did so at their mortal peril. The latter applies both on the individual level, for example Jan Hus, and at the societal level in the case of the Thirty Years War.

  23. turcopolier says:

    ex PFC Chuck
    You have to be careful about guilty conscience about long past deeds. That easily can lead to paralysis of action against present danger. pl

  24. Eric Newhill says:

    My great grandfather was summarily executed for smuggling weapons. This was before the 1915 purges in the town of Orfa (aka Urfa). He was a merchant of some kind and he was obtaining German Mauser rifles from a Syrian source (or so family lore has it). The desire to arm – against Ottoman law for Christians to do so – was in response to predations by Turks and, especially, Kurds. I always wondered, if the rifles were indeed Mausers, if they were stolen. The Mauser was the rifle of Germans, who were aligned with Turkey and Turkey also was armed with Mausers, but who knows? Arms dealers were probably as prolific and profit motivated back then as they are today. Or perhaps Turkish deserters sold their rifles to the black market.

  25. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    We have seen and dealt with worse situations. This, too, shall pass. Despite the blatant, fully-documented, voting fraud, the results were not what tayyip expected. This result might even have a silver lining; given the current boundary conditions, the situation is going to go from bad to worse, and there is no one left to blame. tayyip will see himself as a sundenbock sooner or later-sooner if Russians stand fast in Syria.
    BTW, it is entertaining to read the bloviation of the useful idiots who supported tayyip and his klepts in the name of “democracy” and “islam” until they were woken up to smell the hummus.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  26. Kunuri says:

    Sir, I think you are wrong regarding the status of the Christians in Turkey during the 20s. The Anatolian Greeks welcomed the brutal occupation of Anatolia with joyous celebrations, both in Istanbul and the hinterland during the early 20s by the British supported and equipped mainland Greek forces and participated with them in numerous atrocities against their neighbors, fellow Anatolians who happened to be Turks and Muslims. They bet on the losing side, hoping to get rid of the Turkish yoke, fair and square, I understand their grievances. But after the Greek Army was defeated in 1923, and had to retreat back to Greece, the Greek Anatolian residents were left behind. Ataturk, working with Venizelos, actually saved their collective lives by agreeing to an orderly exchange of populations, where otherwise they would have met a fate worse than those of Armenians by their vengeful Turkish neighbors and townsfolk. The exchange of Rum, Anatolian native Greeks and Turkish settlers in Greece was agreed, approved by the UN and peacefully conducted over a period of 5 years, and much bloodshed and further pain was avoided, since it was clear to everyone that these two communities could no longer live together peacefully as they had for centuries until the British meddled for geopolitical reasons after the WWI.
    “Ataturk, IMO, is highly over-rated as a visionary statesman, etc. Turkey had just completed a thorough butchering of all of its Christian inhabitants and had sided with the losers of WW1. So Ataturk took the most expedient course as a political opportunist; making kissy face with Europe and promising to make Turkey a civilized nation”
    And this statement is factually wrong, Ataturk never sided with the Germans, or the Axis, the Ottomans and Enver Pasha Junta did, and he never “kissy faced” with the Europeans, just the opposite, Lloyd George, Clemenceau and Churchill hated, but respected him.
    If you care, please read Lord Kinross’ definitive biography of Ataturk, Ataturk: The Rebirth of a Nation and Sir Ian Hamilton’s Gallipoli Diary and don’t stop there, The Immortal Ataturk: A Psychobiography by Vamik Volkan and Norman Itzkowitz.
    I am sure you then would then have a new and enlightend perspective regarding Ataturk.

  27. turcopolier says:

    how is that different from what I wrote? pl

  28. Walrus says:

    i will be in europe with SWMBO in June/july and was thinking of visiting istanbul for the first time. does the Committee think this is now a good idea?

  29. VietnamVet says:

    It is tragic to watch the new world order careen into chaos. An Islamist Turkey is the prelude to NATO’s dismemberment. Le Pen (right) is second at 23% and Mélenchon (left) is third at 18% in the polls for next round of France’s Presidential election. Both promise to leave the EU. This is in addition to Brexit and Donald Trump’s election. What is happening encompasses all of the Atlantic Alliance. No. It is not Vladimir Putin’s hacking. The basic ruling ideology of the West “the free movement of people, goods, services and money” (globalism) is a failing due to rising inequality. The little people are under attack and they are reverting to the old religions and their tribes to survive. The ivy league elite can’t acknowledge this because then they would realize how fragile their gravy train really is.

  30. Kooshy says:

    IMO, sultan president Erdogan, just made himself president for life, without any oversight or checks and balances including from the usually weak and nonfunctional turkey’ National Assembly majlis. IMO there would by no way to reverse this without violence at Turkey’ national integrity expense and disintegration at weak social joints. IMO the Borg and it’s EU subordinates have no problem with this new Turkey, since they are not comfortable with volatility and unpredictability of free elections in pivotal security states like Turkey

  31. Kunuri says:

    Not different at all, only with a little personal enhancement and aggrandizement of the subject on hand, given the passions of the time.
    I believe you are as grieving as I am on the death of a secular, forward looking Turkey envisioned by Ataturk.

  32. Eric Newhill,
    My guess is that your great grandfather was smuggling model 1871 Mausers just like the Irish as in “Me Old Howth Gun.” Von Lettow-Vorbeck started the Great War with his askaris armed with them until he replaced them with more modern captured Brithsh stocks.

  33. Wunduk says:

    Would NATO be seriously weakened in its defensive functions if Turkey were to leave the Alliance? The argument I had heard when drafted in Germany (1988) centered on the Turks’ job in NATO was to strategically hold down serious SU troops contingents in the Caucasus and on the Balkans, as well as their fleet in the Black Sea, which relieved pressure on Europe. Would the current threat by Russia – as pontificated to us – centered on the Baltics, which is no longer relying on massive deployments but on hybrid warfare, still require NATO to have Turkey guarding the straits and tying troops?

  34. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Attaturk was not the only one who could plant the seeds of rational, enlightened progressive ideas into the hearts of minds of only half of the population (or less.
    There have been many attempts to do so over the centuries; you may recall the name of the great Khwaje Nizam Al Mulk; vizier to the great Alp Arsalan of Seljuks.
    He established his schools all over the Seljuk Empire; the most famous being the Nizamiyah of Baghdad. Where did it go and all such other schools?
    When Khomeini was teaching in Qum as a young man, many in Qum treated him and his family as “najis” – ritualistically impure – and avoided touching them lest they become impure themselves, requiring the religious ritualistic bath.
    His “crime”?
    He dared to teach Philosophy.
    The current interest in pursing a rational approach to the world in Iran may not last – if history be a guide.

  35. Haralambos says:

    Col. Lang, Eric and others interested in some background based on my recollections of the larger region and issues,
    I will chime in a bit with some background and anecdotal information. Despite my handle, I am not Greek but have lived in Thessaloniki for the better part of 40 years. The city is the birthplace of Ataturk, and many Turks find it an ideal venue for their weddings since the Turkish Consulate also houses his birthplace and museum. A wonderful history of the city over the past 400 is Mark Mazower’s is _Salonica City of Ghosts_. That covers 1430-1950. Another useful memoir of the late 19th-early 20the century is _Farewell to Salonica: City at the Crossroad_ by Leon Sciaky. Salonica is the Ottoman name of the city.
    My Greek teacher always corrects folks who refer to the Turcokratia pointing out that it was an Ottoman Empire. Her mother was a refugee from Smyrna (Izmir in Turkish). This might alert some folks to the power and danger of names here especially in this region. Her maternal grandfather had been the accountant for a Turkish tobacco merchant. When Greeks were expelled from Turkey in the exchange of populations, the Turk gave his Greek employee the name of his brother, a butcher in Thessaloniki. The Turk here took the family in. When the Turk was expelled, the families exchanged titles to their properties. A happy ending indeed in this story.
    Greeks, Armenians and Pontic Greeks arrived here from 1923 and later. Those from Izmir found Thessaloniki a cultural backwater and nothing like the Modern Smyrna they had left. The refugees received property here; many of the descendants are prosperous and highly-educated, like my teacher today.
    The exchange of populations was the result of the First World War and the Greek concept of the Megale Idea: http://staff.lib.msu.edu/sowards/balkan/lect14.htm
    I will paste a rather large quote from this article below:
    “Greece in World War I
    “Involvement in the Balkan Wars was not controversial or risky: Greece had pursued land in Macedonia for thirty years, and the Balkan League alliance clearly was too strong to be defeated by Turkey. But in 1914, Greeks were divided about their best course. When Bulgaria and Turkey joined the Central Powers, the potential stakes rose for Greece. It was likely that the end of the war would bring major border changes. If the Central Powers won, Bulgaria might claim land in Macedonia and Thrace at the expense of Greece. On the other hand, if the Allies won, Bulgaria and especially Turkey would lose territory. As a noncombatant, a neutral Greece would have no say in the peace treaty and the lands of the Megale Idea might be awarded to rival states.
    “King Constantine (George having been assassinated in 1913) opposed entering the war at all, and especially opposed joining on the Allied side. His family was German: he was the Kaiser’s brother-in-law. He expected the Central Powers to win. Prime Minister Venizelos on the other hand was sure that the Allies would win the war and that Greek participation would yield benefits against Bulgaria and Turkey.
    Relations between the king and Venizelos deteriorated. When Bulgaria attacked Serbia in October 1915, Allied interest in a Greek alliance rose. As Prime Minister, Venizelos invited French and British troops to land at Salonika. He justified his action under a very wide interpretation of an old Greco-Serb treaty, and under the original 1830 treaty that gave the British and French rights to act as protecting powers for the Greek state. The assembly voted (147 to 110) to declare war against Germany. When the King refused to go along, Venizelos resigned and Greece remained neutral (despite the presence of Allied troops in the north).
    “In 1916 Venizelos’ party boycotted new elections: by doing so he ended any chance to resolve the crisis through constitutional, parliamentary channels and made the situation much more dangerous. In September 1916 Bulgarian forces occupied part of northern Greece (the Allies had forced neutral Greek troops out of the area, uncertain whether Greece might unexpectedly join the Central Powers). Venizelos decided on extreme measures to save the state. He proclaimed himself the head of a revolutionary government. Eager to bring Greece into the war, the Allies backed Venizelos and forced the king to abdicate in June 1917. This divided Greece into hostile camps, on the verge of civil war.
    “Venizelos had staked his political prestige on the assumption that the Allies would allow Greece to fulfill the Megale Idea, but he had no specific promises that Greece would gain control of her unredeemed populations in the event of an Allied victory. Meanwhile, the Royalists were treated as potentially hostile elements to be neutralized. The Allies demanded control of the Greek navy, key railroads and military supplies, and enforced their demands with a naval blockade that left the country short of food and fuel. King Constantine left the country to defuse the crisis. Prime Minister Venizelos became head of a regency, and Greek units joined the French and British facing Bulgarian units around Salonika.
    For the Balkan states, World War I had now become a referendum on the Balkan Wars: the territorial winners (Serbia, Greece and Romania) faced the losers (Bulgaria and Turkey).
    “For a while the Central Powers prospered. Serbia was overrun, and Romania forced to sue for peace. Bulgaria recovered lands in Macedonia, Thrace and the Dobrudja. Greece faced an ambiguous situation, thanks to contradictory Allied promises about post-war arrangements. Greek designs on Albania competed with Serbian, Montenegrin and Italian plans. Greek hopes to annex Western Anatolia conflicted with Italian plans for a protectorate. Greek claims on Constantinople (Istanbul) faced Russian plans to annex the zone of the Straits.
    “Despite the minor and ambivalent role played by Greece during World War I, the Allied victory brought substantial rewards. Competing Russian claims to Constantinople were ignored after the Russian Revolution took Russia out of the war: instead the area became a demilitarized zone under weak Turkish control. The collapse of Turkey allowed Greece to act in Anatolia. Greek troops landed at Smyrna (Izmir) in 1919, and the 1920 peace treaty with Turkey designated a large part of western Anatolia as an autonomous zone under Greek occupation. A plebiscite was planned for 1925: after five years of Greek administration, it was a certainty that the population then would vote for annexation to Greece.
    However, the apparent triumph soon fell apart. Turkish nationalists refused to accept the harsh treaty and retreated into the interior of Anatolia. A Greek army followed them to enforce Allied wishes. At the end of extended supply lines, their advance stalled in 1921 and in 1922 a Turkish counterattack threw the Greek forces all the way back to Izmir. The remnants had to be evacuated by sea and much of the city’s Greek population left with them, ending a Greek presence that stretched back thousands of years. A revised peace with Turkey made the situation permanent: a million Greeks from Turkey were transferred to Macedonia in exchange for a smaller number of Muslims.
    The Megale Idea after the defeat of 1923
    On the verge of the greatest achievement of the Megale Idea, the loss of Anatolia was a stunning defeat. The disaster poisoned Greek politics, already strained by the civil conflict during the war. Although the Anatolian adventure was the direct result of Venizelos’ policy, the events of 1922-23 took place under a Royalist administration thanks to an accident of timing (King Constantine had returned to the throne in 1920 after his son King Alexander died of an infection from a pet monkey’s bite). When six royalist generals were shot for treason after trial by a new and revolutionary government of Venizelists, the seeds were sown for lingering political bitterness.
    “The competition between Venizelists and Royalists involved the social fabric as well. A million refugees needed to be integrated into social and economic life. Many families arrived without possessions, sometimes unable to speak Greek (Turkish-speaking Orthodox Greeks were a feature of Anatolia) and certainly without connections in the cozy world of the Athens insiders. Quintessential outsiders, these new voters became Venizelists. Most settled in northern Greece, where farms forfeited by expelled Turks were redistributed by Venizelist administrators to refugees who remembered which party gave them their land. 38 percent of the cultivated land of Greece came into new hands during this period. Living on small plots, the refugees found that export crops like tobacco offered a better living than subsistence farming. The Venizelists were also the party that favored exports and trade.
    The royalists, on the other hand, kept the allegiance of older rural smallholders who gained nothing from the land reform; of the old-fashioned shopkeepers of Athens, who were threatened by imports and new industries; and of Greece’s small organized labor movement, whose members watched wages fall thanks to the influx of refugees.
    “The legacy of the Megale Idea in the 1920s and 1930s became a destructive cycle of political rivalry and dictatorships. Instead of seeking compromise and solving national problems, the two sides expended their energy attacking each other. We will return to this in a later lecture, but it is safe to say that the immediate interests of the Greek nation were sacrificed in the service of an illusory Greek nation that might have been, based on the Megale Idea. This fundamental flaw in Greek politics continues as an influence even today: the Megale Idea and aggressive nationalism reappear whenever one side or another needs a rallying point at times of crisis. Both the right-wing Colonels of the 1970s and their leftist successors have employed nationalism this way, and the ongoing Cyprus crisis is fueled by it. After generations of population exchanges, the rationale for Greek irredentism has dwindled but its power has not.”
    There continue to be tensions in the Eastern Aegean as Greece hold islands that Turkey claims and Turkey wants greater title to mineral rights here. There is also the issue of the 1974 division of Cyprus. That in itself is a related complex of issues with an interesting history going back to decolonization and British withdrawal, Greek irredentism and a failure of American foreign policy just as Nixon was on his way out in 1974.

  36. trinlae says:

    No economic challenge to offrr, but perhaps an ethnic one:
    Non-Arab Islam as practiced in Xinjiang, Tibet, China proper, and Bangaladesh, and perhaps even the Malaysian-Indonesian-Philipino-Borneo variety seemed to fare well enough until the relatively recent Wahhabi peddling.
    Even (pre-1947) “Pakistan”, Afghani and Indian mulsims seemed to carry on w relative stability over the centuries before Wahhabi-ism. despite European colonialism (and after 1st millennia conquest era), as far as I understand. Maybe Persia could be added as well.
    In other words, I’m wondering if the cyclical dynamic mentioned was not more characteristic of ME/Arab muslims than Islam in general, especially south and east Asian varieties?

  37. Eric Newhill says:

    I will take you up on that. It will be interesting. My knowledge of these things was formed many years ago when I still live at home at listened to what the Armenian side of my family and their friends had to say. My grandparents had survived the genocide and they hated Turks.I mean really hated them. They also were not to fond of Muslims, generally.
    My grandfather, at 88 years old, killed a Turk in Dearborn, Michigan, by digging a pit in his garden at the old folks home he spent his last two years in. The Turk lived in the same home and used to deliberately stomp over my grandfather’s one acre garden, in which he proudly grew tomatoes, egg plants, squash, garlic, onions, cucumbers, zucchini and other foods that he supplied to the kitchen for the whole community to eat. Worse, the Turk did this stomping on his way to the mosque. It was a short cut for him. Grandpa, dug what he said was an Armenian bear tap. He covered it with a thin layer of soil and some freshly planted small greens. The old Turk could not resist such a tempting target. He stomped and he fell in the trap and broke his hip. Pneumonia set in at the hospital and he was dead in a few days. My grandfather and father had a good chuckle over this. My grandfather’s only regret was that he did not have time to line the pit with sharpened stakes. Dad, always the lawyer, said it was best because sans stakes, the whole thing could be defended as an accident, should it go to court.
    Maybe it’s time I let the past go and look into this more open mindedly.

  38. turcopolier says:

    That is an unrealistic and ahistorical POV. In all those place the Muslim populations have resisted Christian governance to the point of armed resistance. In the Philippines, the Moros fought the Spanish for hundreds of years, then they fought us. Now they fight the Christian dominated national government. I can give you all the examples you would care to hear about. pl

  39. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    IMO, except for the possible random bombing, there is no danger. Do not call the chief ass, an ass. You will be arrested for disclosing state secrets.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  40. Laura says:

    Emad–I’m not sure our illustrious El Presidente would agree with you…
    Apparently Trump has already called and “congratulated” Erdogan. Dear merciful…any win for any cause will do apparently.

  41. kooshy says:

    Istanbul is beautiful a true border city of eastern to western world city. If visiting historical sites like Topkapi, just like going to Tajmahal, don’t forget to take your persian translator. Apology to the Turk friends of SST, just couldn’t resist that.

  42. kooshy says:

    Ah, and don’t forget the wonderful cinnamon drink called Saalabb, though better in cold winters.

  43. ked says:

    Col Lang, do you think there is any insight to be gained in comparing the Turkish election outcome and that of the recent US pres election? Seems there are parallel lines in the religious-fringe support for a populist pitch, the urban / rural fracture, closely divided polities… random coincidence?
    On the Mustang front, I learned my driving chops from Dad, via his ’65 200ci L6 / 3sp. I got good lessons… I guess being a flight instructor in real Mustangs gives one a certain skill, in the air or on the ground. Anyway, overdriving my skill level was a real lesson in physics… man! the rear end was light & willing to pass the cockpit at any provocation. Sometimes, it might stop in a straight line too. All that pales to driving w/ a date hotter than the cam. Those were the days, my friends… I knew they would end, and I’m lucky to’ve made it through.

  44. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I do not think it really matters what is written on those pieces of paper. What matters is the willingness of the leaders and the led to live and abide by those stipulations.
    The 1934 Constitution of USSR was the most democratic one in the world at the time.
    It did not matter.

  45. Linda Lau says:

    I too had a 67 blue Mustang – 289 automatic. I still regret selling it for a much more boring vehicle.
    I remember having a discussion with a Turkish colonel at a NATO meeting quite a few years ago. He had a deep, almost paranoid concern of Islamisn creeping into Turkish affairs. I asked him why this would necessarily be a problem. He insisted that any signs of Islamism would have to be immediately wiped out. I mention this to make a point that the strictly secularists sometimes saw problems where they didn’t exist and thus created what they feared the most.

  46. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Thank you, Kunuri.
    “One man, one vote, one time.” anon

  47. turcopolier says:

    Odd that so many of us had exactly the same car. The colonel was right. the forces of medieval Ilam lurked just below the surface waiting, waiting. pl

  48. Lemur says:

    Why do you think that we would be happy living in some multkulti, rootless cosmopolis where permissive individualism is the ascendant value if the money was spread around more evenly? I’m from a comfortable middle class background, but I hate seeing New Zealand’s largest city gradually transform into Asia. Man does not live by bread alone. Your view derives from the Fabian impulse among the global power structure, which seeks to direct the power of capital toward “socially responsible” managerial ends. Two different types of economic man.
    The airily dismissed ‘old religions and…tribes’ are far more authentic modes of life than the liberal atomizaton of today, whether presented in economic or social form. Globalization is an abomination in whatever guise it manifests.
    The rise of Le Pen is greatly encouraging in my view, because she ties a rejection of liberal economic orthodoxy with nationalist modernism and authoritarian Catholic conservatism. The middle and working class are lining up with her against the decadent urbanite elites, who are distressed they can no longer manufacture consent.
    It seems to greatly distress the left that these global anti-global changes might result in war (as if the disruptions of worldwide socialism and capitalism were not just as deadly). But I’d sooner live in real communities under the aegis of value-positive principles liberalism cannot countenance and potentially die in a war than suffer the slow, collective death of dissolution. From the beginning, liberal ideology has never wanted to confront reality a whole – what man actually wants and needs, but it has wanted to rule over all of reality in a genuinely totalitarian fashion. There’s something of a Hegelian clue here i think. Rather than being the natural end of history, the liberal state is in fact part of a dialectic. This is now giving way to a more mature synthesis in which humanity moves toward a self-conscious acceptance of limits. Limits to movement, the flow of capital, the right to absolute self-definition, etc.
    Generation Z (post-millennial from ’95) is the most conservative since WWII. The zeitgeist is changing. http://www.marcomm.news/gen-z-is-the-most-conservative-generation-since-those-born-before-1945/ The Zeds and some millennials (like me) really hate the world the boomers made.
    In light of these observations, how do recent events in Turkey appear? I get and accept all the criticisms of the Sultan’s foreign policy. On the other hand, if the Turks want to move Asian despotism into West Asia, that’s their business. Certainly it may have detrimental effects internally. But where has this reaction to come from? According to some commentators, the ignorant hicks from the country rose up against the beneficent city dwellers and pulled the lever for dictatorship. But what would these people do? Promote rabid materialism and gay pride parades. My belief is that Kemalist revolution carefully integrated traditions of the people into a modernist architecture. Progressives here are committing the narrative fallacy when they fit Turkey’s entry into modernity as the antecedent for progressives causes of the #currentyear. There’s a hard limit to what Turkish society will accept, and increasing globalization has mobilized forces the liberals of the world never dreamed were on over-watch. In summary, in the case of Turkey, the Sultan is bad news. However, viewing him as the deep cause of Turkey’s problems is misguided. We’re seeing the wages of a deviation from the illiberal elements of Kemalist Republicanism.

  49. kooshy says:

    My first car in US, KU, summer of 73 was a 64.5 Mustang 3sp red 170c 6 cylinder inline engine, much the same as Ford falcon same dash and engine. Almost 10 years old I bought it for $580.00

  50. Peter AU says:

    This Islamists rising up every 100 years or so.
    Seems like it is something that needs to be nipped in the bud.
    Yet what is happening? Saudi, Qatar, Turkey – all somewhat openly backing them under the benign eye of the US. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, US allies. Turkey – NATO. Oil convoys from ISIS to Turkey that Russia put a stop to.
    Some AQ taken out by US in Idlib/west Aleppo but otherwise described as moderate rebels.
    An article in sofrep some time ago about about US personal not being happy about training jihadi’s.
    This will all end badly.
    An interview here with Elijah Magnier.
    Starts off with the bus bombing, but expands on the powers supporting the jihadi’s in Syria ect.

  51. ISL says:

    Dear Colonel, a good friend of mine returned to Turkey after many years in the states and had to serve in the Turkish Army, which he was surprised of those he came into contact with was predominantly very religious. He was quite alarmed. Rightly so.
    He graciously hosted my wife and I on part of our honeymoon and I recall coffee on the banks of the Bosphorus.

  52. elaine says:

    Colonel, I had a 1966 Mustang 234 in 19991-1993, bright yellow. It was
    fun but too much hassle getting parts, sold it for a profit, which is
    more than I can say for most of my cars. Ah, those were the days & the days
    before those days & now I just drive a Volvo wagon & live in interesting times.

  53. Kunuri says:

    Well, the damn Turk had it coming, you wont find me feeling sorry for him. My neighbor in my summer house was exactly the same kind of a man, and I set him up good that it ended up in court, where he was actually sentenced to two years, and a hefty fine-of course the sentence was suspended.
    I totally understand your feelings about the Armenian genocide, if they had not been massacred and forced into exile, Turkey would not have been where it is today, and same goes for the Greeks and the Jews who were forced out. They were like the core engine of culture and productivity of Turkish empire, not unlike the Germans left over after WWII in Germany who rebuilt their country from ground up.
    I also have experienced rightful the hate of Armenians of anything Turkish in my Junior year in High School, one of the teachers was a Mr Bedrosian, Mr.B. At 15 I knew nothing, but eventually I noticed that Mr B treated me different than any of the other students. Of course he knew I was originally from Turkey, if for nothing else I told everyone. Never understood it, and let it pass, until I went to college, and read everything on the subject I could get my hands on, down to the reports of American missionaries and dispatches to different embassies as to what is going on at the time. This was not a subject neither taught or talked about in Turkey.
    At one time, my next door neighbors were a large Armenian family of first generation to US, the man was from Lebenanon and the wife from Adana, Turkey. Their 4 kids were born in US, except the eldest daughter. We all became good friends, and I even hired their son Leon to work for me. The subject came around only once a year, April 24, and each year I made a visit to their house and brought them a box of baklava and said nothing, neither did they.
    I can recommend a definitive book on the subject, Elif Shafak’s The Bastard of Istanbul.

  54. Kunuri says:

    The great film director Elia Kazan was an Armenian from Kayseri, Turkey. He was one of the lucky ones to escape to US around 1915 as a kid and departed from Istanbul. Much later in life, after he directed many successful movies, he was asked in an interview what he remembered of Turkey. His answer was that, he was too little to remember anything, except the smell of the cinnamon on top of salep wafting through the air, as he was leaving on the boat that took him to US.

  55. LeaNder says:

    thanks, Pat, appreciated.

  56. Mian says:

    Matthew, excellent observation–the best one thus far. The rise and fall of nations, a (dependent variable)cannot be holistically looked at without independent variables, one being the American people in the global age. Turkey may partly ‘fail’ because the American society has seized to nurture. I say this because, conceptually, the common people of the greatest country must rise to understanding. They must have the power to “own knowledge.” Until then the power of the powerless shall not surface.
    Thank you.

  57. LeaNder says:

    Some of what you write converges with my, no doubt necessary superficial, perception.
    Without further ado. Appreciated your Haaretz link.
    Concerning this author: Yes there may well be a larger elite exodus from Turkey. I looked at some of the earlier articles by the author Pat links to here.
    You may be interested in this:
    Syria: The Hidden Power of Iran, TNYRB, Joost Hiltermann

  58. Thanks Babak for your insights which IMO seem correct! I think the Kurds may be one key to the Erdogan accession to power! Projections of the past under 100 years are often out of focus.

  59. Can a secular west stand up for itself over the next 100 years?

  60. Matthew says:

    Walrus: I will also be visiting Istanbul for the first time in July.

  61. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think the Museum of Archeology, the topographic setting of Bosporus, specially in the evening, and area and the buildings around the ancient Roman Hippodrome are worth the visit.
    The neighborhood around the Fatih Park and the shops just behind the Valen’s Aqueduct are also worth visiting and walking; it gives one a sense of being in a non-European country (felt right at home).
    Top Kapi and the Grand Bazar are not worth visiting.
    (I always wondered what did Ottomans do with all that wealth and plunder; there are more lovely Safavid, Zand, and Qajar palaces in Iran than Top Kapi.)
    The area around Galata Tower has many hotels etc. and lots of Tourists.
    I did not explore the more authentic parts of the city, the islands, etc. It is a city of 10 million with poor urban planning, ugly buildings, worse traffic, and in general a hard place to live for the people there.
    Istanbul is not a good place for shopping; I did not have a pleasant experience with the shopkeepers there; I think US is the best country in the world for shopping.
    And Kooshy is right, there are many “Katibeh” – Inscriptions – done in mosaic tiles – all over the older parts of the city; written in a mixture of Persian & Turkish that describe, often in Ottoman poetry, the provenance of this or that public building, fountain or structure and Iranians are the only ones who can read (partly) and appreciate them.

  62. FourthAndLong says:

    Funny thing, I drove one of those Mustangs myself back in ’71 when my sister lent me hers for a few weeks. Hers had a 427 with dual four barrel carburetors — funnel sticking up through the hood. Gigantic racing slick tires, hugely jacked up. Every stop light became a drag race, challengers emerging out of the woodwork or so it seemed. Four miles to the gallon tops.
    Maybe dictatorial rule in Turkey is fine by the Borg. Nothing would surprise me with them.

  63. Phil Cattar says:

    Jamie Dimon is actually Anatolian Greek.It is amazing how many people assume he is Jewish.

  64. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I do not think that is the case, Turks take their vote and voting very seriously.

  65. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yup, like all those young and not so young European men in short pants who were obliged to don skirts outside of the Blue Mosque in order to be allowed to enter it.
    I am sure that the Turks enjoyed, really enjoyed, that – snickering about it.

  66. Babak Makkinejad says:

    West of the Diocletian Line, “Yes” – East of it will peel off.
    And then there are places like Mexico which is only partly Diocletian.

  67. Margaret Steinfels says:

    All: Thank you for a wide-ranging discussion of Turkey, its peoples and parts, its complicated past and possible futures. It fills in my erratic (and probably eccentric) reading of WW1 in that part of the world, and gives rich context to the fateful decision of this past Sunday.
    My one visit for three-weeks in the nineties was organized by two German academics and their several Turkish graduate students who had returned to live and work in Istanbul. Izmir was our starting point for a trip along the coast in a Bodrum boat. The food was great, so was the crew, the swimming, the sites, and all the shops!!! on shore that wanted to help us bring a beautiful carpet back to America! Didn’t, but have some wonderful pottery that fit in the overhead bin.

  68. Eric Newhill says:

    Thanks for that.
    How can there ever be peace in the region after all the horrible things that the different tribes have done to each other and continue to do? If someone like me, who never personally experienced the tragedies, can feel so strongly the distrust and disdain for those who offended my people, how will those who actually were there ever get it over it? It seems they do not in the MENA.
    When I hear about what the jihadists are doing to Christians in Syria I think that they are just finishing the job where the Turks left off a hundred years ago. My blood boils. When I learn that the US is sponsoring some of that, I am beyond words. When I hear about the Kurds getting their own state, I think about how they would descend like jackals on defenseless Christians and take what and who they wanted and kill those they did not want.
    The Assads’ Syria should have been a beacon of possibility with its multi-confessional communities living harmoniously, but it had to be destroyed. Lebanon, once the Jewel of the Mediterranean, had to be destroyed. Turkey, after 90 years +/- of relative openness and progress, must go backwards towards its dark past.
    Most of my 53 years I have tried to understand the region, its people and its religions and all I see, at bottom, is a trajectory of vendetta, hatred and blood lust, occasionally interrupted by a glimmer of hope that soon fades.
    I see nothing possible for the region short of erasing all memory from all inhabitants and starting over. Perhaps I am being far too pessimistic and ignorant of what is good there.

  69. Nancy K says:

    My first car was a 65 candy apple red mustang, automatic. I loved the car, unsure of the engine size but I could do 110 MPH easily while driving in the desert. it meet it’s end several years later but not from speeding.
    My husband and I were in Istanbul for 3 weeks in 2001 and loved it.

  70. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Closing the italics.

  71. turcopolier says:

    The author is Prince Hassan of Jordan, an Alid and descendant of the Prophet. I recommend the book. pl

  72. Kooshy says:

    Back in early 80s, refering to Turkey’ change to Latin script, professor IHSANOGLU of Turkey told my father (when they both were working on old Islamic era manuscripts), the difrence between you and us is that you can read your history we no longer can.

  73. Kooshy says:

    Thanks Knuri, wondering if in Turkish, Kayseri is same as in Persian Qiesarieh, Kayserville, Caesars place

  74. Kooshy says:

    Babak,also IMO Golestan palace architecturally is much more interesting than the Dolmeh Baghcheh

  75. FB Ali says:

    Obviously didn’t work. Am trying again!

  76. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I did not want to say more lest I offend some people.

  77. VietnamVet says:

    USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were exceptional. The next generation lived better than the previous. No longer. The new land closed. Resources depleted. Immigration increased. The middle class exploited. If the USA is to survival, it must find a way to disengage from the forever wars; cease being the hegemon and end the inequality. Reversion back to ethnic enclaves and fundamental religions may be the way to salvation. But, if the Middle East is any guide it will only lead to chaos if the inevitable ethnic conflicts are enabled by outsiders seeking more loot. We’ve already see the disaster global capitalism causes. The only way out that I see is the middle way. A restoration of sovereign national governments by and for all the people with secure borders, conscript militias for defense from outsiders and alliances with other countries of shared interests.

  78. Kunuri says:

    Walrus, I would like to make available my phone number to you while in Istanbul, the least I can do while you are here is to welcome you and be of assistance, would be my pleasure. Except, I do not know how to do it, perhaps the Colonel may be a conduit for it, as I believe he has my e mail address. Or perhaps you can access my facebook account, Ned Mardin, then we can establish contact.

  79. Kunuri says:

    BM, “Top Kapi and the Grand Bazar are not worth visiting.”
    Women will disagree with you 99%. Personal experience.

  80. You might find of interest that Justice Scalia failed to follow the strict construction of the language of the 2nd Amendment in his famous ruling on that Amendment.

  81. I tend to agree with you for many complicated reasons.

  82. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You are right; all those foreign women wearing translucent summer dresses in the Bazar, walking around, for protection, I imagine, with their domesticated weak male escorts.
    I wonder if they buy those dresses for the purposes of the trip?
    “Let’s go to Turkey and tease Turkish men through false advertising…”

  83. Kunuri says:

    BM, you should come visit Istanbul, or Antalya or one of the popular tourist resorts, your eyes would pop when you see what those women are wearing-in the south, bikinis even, on the street. I like it, but I am sure you will be offended. Turks are not, very used to it now-especially along the coast resorts. I could send you pictures of the beach and the little village nearby during the market day.
    Also, I due a trip to grand bazaar in June when my German girlfriend comes over for a visit, you will see that the foreign tourists are extremely respectful of local sensibilities.
    “all those foreign women wearing translucent summer dresses in the Bazar, walking around, for protection, I imagine, with their domesticated weak male escorts.”
    And I find this statement very offensive, I have been the escort of many non Turkish women in the bazaar, as you may have surmised from my earlier posts. Your statement reeks of suppressed sexism. But then again, BM will be BM. Always certain, but seldom right.

  84. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Could you please elaborate? I am unfamiliar with that ruling.

  85. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you for your comments.
    I, remain, Sir, perpetually; Babak, the Beige Barbarian.

Comments are closed.