For hundreds of years, Turkey has been a crossroads between European and Asian culture, politics, business and art. Turkey’s influence has also been wide-ranging– the Hungarian fondness for paprika is a remnant of the time that Hungary was part of the Ottoman Empire, and the pungent spice was brought to its citizens from the motherland. This identity as a point of intersection has become a crucial aspect of political affairs in today’s Turkey. Turkey is one of the few countries that can have mainly positive relationships with European, Asian and Middle Eastern countries simultaneously, even as they war against each other.
So, it is irresistible to speculate on the outlook for this fascinating nation. If you are interested in joining others for conversation on this question, come to the Magnolia Branch from 1:30-3 PM on Tuesday, March 25, for part of the Great Decisions series, when local facilitators Cathy Van Dyke and Bill Stern will discuss Turkey’s future as a bridge between Eastern and Western cultures. If you want to do some reading in advance, visit www.fpa.org or call the Magnolia Branch for suggestions.
For background and further perspectives, you may also want to try some of these:
- The Turkish Perspective: Should Turkey Be Admitted to the European Union? This film considers the controversial question of whether Turkey should be admitted to EU membership.
- Reset: Iran, Turkey and America’s Future The Middle East is a volatile region, and Turkey a key player in its future. The author advances some unusual ideas about what America can do to assist in its stabilization.
- Inside Central Asia: A Political and Cultural History of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Iran We might think of Turkey as a Middle Eastern country, but it’s also worth paying attention to its involvement in Central Asia, and the political currents playing out there.
- It can’t hurt to try a little fiction to get a sense of the culture and the history of the political situation. The riveting detective series by Jason Goodwin, set in 1836 Istanbul and featuring a sophisticated and brilliant eunuch named Yashim, does not disappoint!