Turkey: What Everyone Needs to Know

Turkey: What Everyone Needs to Know

Turkey: What Everyone Needs to Know

Turkey: What Everyone Needs to Know

Synopsis

Turkey occupies a strategic position in today's world: the only predominantly Muslim nation to be a member of NATO and an ally of Israel, it straddles both Europe and Asia. Turkey is the link between Islam and Western democracy, between Europe and the Middle East. In this concise introduction, Andrew Finkel, who has spent twenty years in Turkey writing about the country for publications such as The Economist and Time magazine, unravels Turkey's complexities. He sets the complications and transformations of present-day Turkey against the historical background of the Ottoman Empire, the secular nationalist revolution led by Kemal Atatürk, and repeated political interventions by the military, which sees itself as the guardian of Atatürk's legacy. Finkel reveals a nation full of surprises. Where else but in Turkey, Finkel writes, would secularist liberals have supported a prime minister who was once jailed for promoting religious extremism? From the Kurdish question to economic policy, from Turkey's role in Iraq to its quest for EU membership, Finkel illuminates the past and present of this unique, and uniquely consequential, country.

Excerpt

The method of this book is to investigate a complex subject succinctly by posing a series of questions that beg answers that beget more questions. It is hard to squeeze an introduction into such a scheme unless the very first question is, “Why did you write this book?” That, of course, is the most awkward question of all, since anyone setting out to produce an account of modern Turkey has an uncomfortable sense of being about to commit perjury. Perhaps all truisms have a mirage-like tendency to evaporate the closer one approaches and it would be foolish to pretend that Turkey is uniquely inscrutable. However, as a journalist working in Turkey for over two decades, I have learned from hard experience the challenge of writing news stories with shelf-lives longer than a week, let alone producing generalities that will nestle comfortably on a bedside table. Turkey is a society in the throes of enormous change, and any snapshot of the hereand-now is bound to be blurred.

Nonetheless, I believe a book can locate the underlying reasons for this fast-moving dynamic, some of which will reveal my own motives for embarking on this hazardous . . .

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