Since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, most Turks preserved the belief, beyond a simple expectation, that one day they would have ‘grandeur’ again. In fact, this was largely shared by some Western observers who regarded Turkey as a potential model for the coexistence of Islam and democracy.
16.2 | Turkey
Turkish media called it an ‘historic moment’. Four parliamentarians from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) entered the parliamentary session of the Grand National Assembly with their headscarves on 31 October 2013. This seemingly insignificant action was politically salient.
Particularly rich in Seljuk-era architecture and urban archaeology, Hasankeyf provides us with a broad and comprehensive view of how cities were organised, the technologies that shaped everyday life, and the eclectic architectural tastes of Artukid, Ayyubid and Akkoyunlu patrons.
My first chance to visit Istanbul came suddenly, in the spring of 2004. I’d be spending my forty-ninth birthday where continents converged, in a city which contained both east and west: just where life had placed me and so many others like me. A city with a body of water that was both river and sea. When we arrived, I was as anxious as a lover: or more appropriately as someone meeting an unknown partner for the first time after an arranged marriage.
In what category should we place the writing of Turkey’s only Nobel laureate novelist, Orhan Pamuk? Is it ‘fiction’? Or perhaps, ‘non-Western fiction’? But how can we define his work as ‘non-Western’, when it is not considered to be completely ‘Western’ by some?
Come in, come in. Please, esteemed guest, kindly take off your shoes. If you wish you may recline on the charpoy. Are you comfortable? Can I bring you a glass of hot sweet chai? This heat is insufferable, no? Perhaps cool water instead? Or a hand fan? Perhaps you would like to meet the local Maulvi for some spiritual comfort? Or see a show from the village juggler?
Turkey is always fascinating, enchanting and never, ever dull. There is much to like and love about the country but our list is limited to a top ten of Turkish delights.