Turkey Today and Tomorrow: An Experiment in Westernization

Turkey Today and Tomorrow: An Experiment in Westernization

Turkey Today and Tomorrow: An Experiment in Westernization

Turkey Today and Tomorrow: An Experiment in Westernization

Excerpt

Since their advent into Asia Minor, consolidated by their victory at Malazgirt in 1071, the Turks have compelled world-wide attention. For several centuries they kept themselves at the forefront of history by their martial power and organizational superiority. In modern times they have been the object of great historical pressures because of their exposed and tempting weakness. Today, among the more than one hundred independent nations, although they are no longer of the few dozen that give direction to the course of contemporary events, they still stir greater attention than most of the middle powers more advanced, more populous, more potent than they.

Certainly their geocentric position at the junction point of three continents endows them with a natural importance. But they are also haunted by their historical inheritance. In the last one hundred years, the Ottoman amazon has given forced birth to no less than seventeen independent nations in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Many of the administrative practices and problems in the Balkans, in Mesopotamia, and in Egypt still derive from the Ottomans. Muslim law as codified by them still rules in many Arab lands. Syria, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Lybia still possess at least one living generation born under the Ottoman flag. An indefinable, intangible, but nonetheless weighty complex of spiritual, social, and political influences thrusts Turkey into a position of guiding prominence at this collision point of the three prevalent world postures: democracy, Communism, and neutralism.

Turkey also compels attention because she has been engaged in the development process for more than a century. She was the first non-Western nation to seek a new existence within the technical, political, and cultural mold of the West. She has passed . . .

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