Being 'Turkish' seems
to be a geographical label as much as anything else. Everybody and their
uncle have been through Anatolia in the last 5.000 years and the result
is a rich and diverse culture, drawing on influences beyond analysis.
It's important however to remember that you're essentially dealing with
a modern Turkey that is less than 100 years old.
1998 saw the celebration
of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic,
an event which almost all Turks, no matter what their political beliefs,
see as the point at which the idea of 'Turkey' was preserved and the
country as a whole brought into the 20th Century. In conversation with
Turks you'll often hear the newness or youth of the country referred
to as the reason for many things you'll remark upon.
99% of Turks are
Muslim. Turkey is however a militantly secular country and life
here is far removed from that under fundamentalist regimes. This is
a key factor if you want to achieve any understanding of the way that
politics and society work here. At times you'll forget that you're in
an Islamic country and only be reminded next time you hear the call
to prayer, broadcast through a dodgy PA system from the nearest mosque.
The mix of cultural influences and traditions here is one of the things
that draws tourists to the country and, well, come and see for yourself.
It is also important
to realize that Turkey is a country undergoing radical changes,
and has been for the last century. Urbanization and migration from the
troubled east to the more developed west are changing the character
of the towns and the rural areas and bringing a truckload of social
problems with them.
both geographically and politically, makes it a key player in
relations between Europe and the middle east. Turks themselves like
to distance themselves from the Islamic block to their east and certainly
do not perceive themselves as Arab. Their is a tradition, founded by
Ataturk, of looking west in terms of political and social reform but
the recent refusal of the EEC to make more than token gestures towards
considering Turkey for membership may have done much to convince Turks
that this road will not be open to them for some time. The peculiar
role played by the army in moderating Turkey's democratic process coupled
with human rights concerns, the Cyprus issue and the continuing armed
struggle in the East provide serious obstacles, in the eyes of the West
at any rate, to Turkey playing the role in Europe that it wishes.
Turkey will, however,
continue to look for ways to expand her influence, with the roads to
the East and the West temporarily blocked this leaves the Turkic block,
recently exposed by the collapse of the Soviet Union, and it is here
perhaps that Turkey will find a role as a regional superpower.
The exploitation of this regions natural resources will be hard to achieve
without Turkey's involvement and cooperation and natural gas and oil
projects are under way.
- Copyright hotels-world.com Travel Info