June 6, 2013

What's going on in Turkey?

I spent a couple of weeks in western Turkey a few years ago, and I came back with fewer firm opinions on the country than I had when I got there. It's a nice place, the people are polite, and even the restaurant touts don't pester tourists more than is reasonable.

Still, the place struck me as, well, Byzantine. It's been, on and off, the most strategic place on Earth since, roughly, the Age of Odysseus, and the locals have developed skills for dealing with that fact; one of which is that what's really going on in Turkey remains relatively opaque to tourists like me.

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

What's happening is Turkey is like all the old bearded dudes are like, "ALLAH! ALLAH! ALLAH!", and like, all the young dudes R like, "PAAARTYYY!! WOOOOOO!! ROCK AN' ROLL!!!".

And like, there's like a clash of cultures and junk, you know?

Aaron Gross said...

My experience was different when we visited Istanbul in the 1990s. One waiter (maybe the manager?) tried to cheat us by switching bills. He was so clumsy it was obvious, and after I shouted at him he gave us back the right change, so we ended up paying him just the usual ripoff tourist-price he charged us.

On the other hand, one merchant gave me back the right change when I mistakenly overpaid him.

A cab driver tried to take us on a really long, roundabout journey to some restaurant, but it's possible that there was a misunderstanding rather than him trying to cheat us.

Dunno if nationality has anything to do with it. We were speaking English the whole time. On our way out of the Hagia Sophia some street merchant called out to me, "Shalom, Yossi!", which I thought was really funny. At the bazaar, when we walked through the areas with the carpets or the leather jackets, sellers called out, "Shalom!"; but when we walked past the gold jewelry a few minutes later, sellers called out to my wife, "Señora!"

Dr Van Nostrand said...

Not really all that much to figure out!

Erdogan and his party came to into power due to the various factors

1) The more Islamic leaning types in Anatolia had a higher birth rate over the years
2) The humiliation of constantly being rejected by the EU for membership
3) Erdogan also had secular support due to his free market reform
4) He Dream of the reviving Turkish power and prestige through a pseudo caliphate

But while he kept his Islamism down low when campaing but like many Islamists went full throttle with Islamization not realizing Turks are not Palestinians or Egyptians but one of the most cosmopolitan people in the Middle East.

They didnt mind when he projected his conservative views outwards such as the Gaza flotilla in 2010 ,opposition to Iraq 2003 and dealing harshly with the Kurds.

But its another matter when they are on the recieving end of his heavy handed approach such as improsing high ranking military officials on trumped charges of treason and imprisoning journalists.

I dont think he is quite alright up there.
Sure he does face an economy on the downturn(due to his Bernanke style monetary policy) , low birth rates among even observant Turkish women and impending Kurdish majority.
But there are better ways of dealing with issues and he has squandered all opportunities to do so.



Anonymous said...

Haven't you seen that one?
Why are the Turkish people fighting?

Anonymous said...

Dude, I know these are exciting times for you, given the sudden & accelerating confluence of all the trends in the world which you have been trying to warn people about for basically your entire life, but if this is one of those nights when Mrs iSteve is begging you to turn off the computer and come to bed, then please listen to her.

We don't want you pulling a Breitbart on us.

A day or two from now, most of these stories will still be here.

Get some sleep, man.

Get some sleep.

Anonymous said...

Well, on the surface it's not that complicated. Tayyip, drunk on power, has really gone off the deep end this year. Recent decrees blend together the spirit of Woody Allen's Bananas and the Ayatollah Khomeini: Turkish Airlines stewardesses must not wear red lipstick or nail polish, people must not kiss in the subways, no alcohol sales between 10pm and 6am (now you must all drink at home during the day!), naming a new Bosphorus bridge after a Sultan known for butchering Turkey's largest religious minority (Alevis), etc. So his deranged reaction to the Gezi park protests -- calling hundreds of thousands of peaceful demonstrators being gassed by police tank-vans & helicopters "alcoholics," "hooligans," "extremists" and "marginals," threatening to mobilize & arm his supporters to bludgeon them (this has already started) -- well, this seems almost like a logical progression of his recent policies.

Theories abound as to why Tayyip may have lost his marbles (the President and his 2nd in command in the AK party have quietly begun distancing themselves from him); he almost certainly has colon cancer at a fairly advanced stage, although the press is not allowed to mention this, and he is heavily made up when he appears on television. Some people seem to go mushy when they face death. Tayyip, it would appear, may be more in the paranoid, lashing-out mode of Stalin & the Doctors Plot. Just a guess.

We may know more in about 12 hours. He's expected to return to Turkey tonight. A bunch of scribblers & academics (including yours truly) are gathering to march on the square to make a statement, hopefully beating him to the punch. It will be an interesting evening.

Captain Tripps said...

Modern Turkey is schizophrenic, in many ways like the US is (our Puritan/religious vs secular/capitalist roots). Having spent a year there, I came away with that conclusion after observing the people up close. There is a rough North-South geographic dividing line somewhere in the middle of the country. To the west of it, Turks are more secular, cosmopolitan, and Western. The Turkish officers and soldiers I socialized with were from that part of the country, and were quite at home drinking alcohol and eating pork at the many social gatherings we had together; their Islamic faith was more akin to a lapsed Roman Catholic – they were nominally Muslim, but enjoyed the earthly pleasures and follies like most people, and thoroughly enjoyed deep philosophical conversations. They hated the Russians; that’s why they loved us (the military folks that is) so much despite our backing Greece during the Cyprus affair in the mid-70’s. To the east of the dividing line, the Turks were much more religious and strict in observing their faith. I traveled to both Istanbul and Adana (in the southeast near the Syrian border) and you could visibly see the difference in both the appearance (most of the Turkish women in Adana were covered in traditional Islamic fashion; not hijabs, but headscarves and full body clothing) and personal engagement (the Adana Turks were much more aloof and distant). All in all, I came away thinking Turkey had a lot of potential, but was held back by the Byzantine nature of their government/politics/how things get done. Also, they never got the word on the evils of tobacco; it seemed every Turk chain smoked. Tobacco smoke was everywhere.

Anonymous said...

We should trade Constantinople for Jerusalem straight up. Problem solved.

Anonymous said...

I never understood the term "Byzantine". The Greeks holded the Roman Empire longer than the Italians.

el supremo said...

The supporters clubs of the 3 main Istanbul soccer teams have provided a well organized core of protesters.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/supporter-groups-of-istanbuls-three-major-teams-join-forces-for-gezi.aspx?pageID=238&nID=48007&NewsCatID=341

As you discussed in your post yesterday, soccer club fan organizations serve as a grass roots organizing structure in Turkey, especially for young, urban secular people from the lower middle and working classes. The park where the protestors are fighting is located near the stadium where the club Bestiktas plays, which has the best organized and most antagonistic supporters club, the so-called Carsi
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%87ar%C5%9F%C4%B1_(supporter_group)

They actually stole an excavator yesterday and used it to chase off the police . . .
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUy_gREtRqA

el supremo said...

The supporters clubs of the 3 main Istanbul soccer teams have provided a well organized core of protesters.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/supporter-groups-of-istanbuls-three-major-teams-join-forces-for-gezi.aspx?pageID=238&nID=48007&NewsCatID=341

As you discussed in your post yesterday, soccer club fan organizations serve as a grass roots organizing structure in Turkey, especially for young, urban secular people from the lower middle and working classes. The park where the protestors are fighting is located near the stadium where the club Bestiktas plays, which has the best organized and most antagonistic supporters club, the so-called Carsi
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%87ar%C5%9F%C4%B1_(supporter_group)

They actually stole an excavator yesterday and used it to chase off the police . . .
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUy_gREtRqA

Anonymous said...

Without doing much research I know that;
- the Western-funded color revolutions in Eastern Europe & North Africa, so I should be suspiscious;
- Turkey has a big Islamic backbone which could rear its ugly head after a revolution;
- Turkey's strategic place in the region warrants some special considerations for supporting (semi)despots,
- Somewhere, somehow Israeli interests will profit from Erdogan being on the defensive,
- the army is always on the verge of a coup
- authoritarians often succeed in power struggles, and still...

I really am disgusted with Erdogan's fascist police goon squad bullying protesters into silence and obedience. In Turkey, right now, the rioters are the good guys.

I had some interactions on Twitter with young Turks and they really seem to want their country to be more modern. More normal. I say, good luck.

Anonymous said...

My sister went there with my mother.

They thought the place was nice(for the Middle East, they had only gont to Israel before) but my sister got sexually harassed and even molested(by a creepy dude in the tube who was like 40 years old) and my sister punched him in the face(that's why I love her).

I asked her about it and I'd told her that I've read stories at how sexual harassment has increased in Turkey since the islamist takeover(sexual repression does that to young men) and she said without blinking "yeah but he was Russian-looking".

Mind you, my sister's a total leftist but when prodded a bit further she admitted the place is hostile to women and that she would probably never go back and never go anywhere in the ME for a long time(except Israel, where we have family).

The turks where I live, Sweden, don't tend to act like most Middle Eastern immigrants. But I know that the Germans have problems with them in Germany, so I don't know.

According to Lynn and Vanhanen the Turks have a higher IQ than their neighbours, at about 93-95, so they do better than places like Egypt, but there's still barbarism there. Like you said: right between Central Asia and Europe, that's reflected in the people too.

Also, the current protests are more about democracy and less about religion. Most turks like the increasingly Islamist direction the country, and the region, is undertaking. They just forgot that Islamists tend to be reactionary and authoritarian people. Erdogan himself has called democracy "a taxi you take only as long as you need to until you get to your destination".

The Turks want to see themselves as more cosmopolitian, due to their relative closeness to Europe and the West, and their decent relations (for the Middle East) with America.
But their notion of how they view themselves in their dreams and what the people actually want are clashing, as we see now.

Mark said...

It's been a few years since I was last in Turkey, but I spent a lot of time there in the energy business. The main tension in Turkey was the renewed, Islamic movement that many saw as a threat to the secularization of the country brought about by Ataturk, at the end of WWI. He is revered as the father of modern Turkey. Most saw the election of Erdogan, as a Trojan Horse for the Islamic movement.

The main bulwark against the Islamists, is the military, and Erdogan has been try to overcome that one by purging it's command ranks.

I think we are still in the early stages of this battle. The Islamists also have the difficult task of overcoming the economic success Turkey has enjoyed during the last 10 to 15 years, as well. A lot of powerful people made a lot of money, and aren't prepared to kowtow to the mullahs.

Hunsdon said...

Raimondo's take seems reasonable. While no expert on Turkey, I'd trust him further than most mainstream reports.

Anonymous said...

Your frequent commenter, Black Sea, should chime in. He knows Turkey as well as anyone.

Drunk Idiot said...

Turkey may be Byzantine, but it would probably be a lot better if it were still more Byzantine.

Orthodox said...

Are you familiar with socionomic theory? They blew a credit bubble after 2009 (as did many other nations), and now it's bursting. Pull up a chart of the Turkish lira, it's already heading towards multi-year lows. On top of it, the historically secular (or more secular than most) Turkey has a radical Islamist for a PM, and he's been slowly pushing Turkey in that direction. In 2011, the whole of the military leadership (guardians of secularism) resigned.

So you have people chafing at a radical leader, in office long enough to start acting arrogant in general (it takes U.S. leaders all of 5 years to get arrogant, so figure where this guy is at after 12 years in power) and you have an economic bust getting started.

Art Deco said...

one of which is that what's really going on in Turkey remains relatively opaque to tourists like me.

Do you speak the language? Have you done serious academic study of the place? Have you spent more than a few weeks there? There might be a perfectly mundane set of reasons the place is opaque to you.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

OT, From CNN, "Adios Charlie Sheen, hello Carlos Estevez"

Anonymous said...

wherever you got the pic of liv tyler, it is setting off the alarm on malwarebytes

John said...

I should know. But I don't. I've been to Turkey four times, traveled all over it, have a fair reading and speaking knowledge of the language, have even programmed a not-too-simple Turkish-to-English translator. And yet I can hardly get interested in going to a website and checking the latest news, for I bet it is dull. The country is violent, but in a dull way: much mayhem, though not necessarily the latest mayhem, is attributed to the PKK, yet this outfit has never controlled a square inch of the place and many of the incidents sound more like local score-settling than large political gestures. Turks seem to want large political gestures, from mystifying entities like the PKK, or Ergenekon, or To Be Assigned. Looking, reluctantly, at the comments thread on a story about a policeman dead in riots in Adana, I see the customary blankness: posts are almost all anonymous and terse, uncontroversial and unspeculative.

Which is odd because one of the non-dull things about Turkey is its language. Unless you count Azerbaijan and its 9-mile border (and you should - Mt. Ararat is striking), Turkey's neighbors all speak languages not only unrelated to Turkish but unrelated to one another. Turkish has lots of Arabic and Persian loanwords but to my (very limited) knowledge, only Serbo-Croatian has borrowed noticeably from it. A knowledge of Turkish will allow you to translate place-names from Greece to China, yet I doubt any Turk ever does that. Turkish surnames all mean something in Turkish, or perhaps I should say they all meant something when they were invented in the 1930's. Daron Acemoglu may call himself Armenian and maybe he really is but his name means "son of the Persian."

Pressed to say something both waggish and indisputable about a foreign nationality (and I do feel so pressed), I'd say, "The thing about Turkey is, it's full of Turks." This is actually a useful template - I feel it totally nails Argentina - but it works in different ways for different countries. Turkey IS full of Turks, and that is remarkable. Flooding a sizeable landmass even though it's mostly mountainous and has not one navigable river. Numerous pre-Turkish cultures did a lot of spadework, but Turks themselves somehow followed through. "Turkish work" - the phrase is either ungrammatical Turkish or exasperated German - they call their own screwups, but they seem to do enough things right. My theory is that their mothers yell at them.

Anonymous said...

Well, if any one knows a Byzantine emperor its usually Constantine then Justinian. Justinian's church Hagia Sophia and the Law Code defintely means he is remmeberd in the West. However, in High School I think I only studied about Constantine and read several things on Constantine a year later. Justinian was not discuss in high school in the 1970's even with the Hagia Sophia and Justinian Law code.

Anonymous said...

Istanbul is really pre-historic, when they found the Theodosian Harbor about 5 years ago, they found skeletons which were about 6,000 years ago.

Anonymous said...

I never understood the term "Byzantine". The Greeks holded the Roman Empire longer than the Italians The Romans in the East had a much smaller Empire after Theodosius the first, who divided the East and West, the 7th to the 9th century it got much smaller and expanded I think between the 9th to 11 Centuries. It helped that the Byzantine Empire was much smaller than the classical Roman empire to adminster it. Also, everyone in the Empire was almost all Orthodox except there were a lot of Italian merchants in Constantinople and some areas that were reconquered probably had some muslims. Even after the 4th Crusade where Western Europeans like the Franks and Venetians took chunks of the Empire, it lasted another 200 years.

Anonymous said...

The Turks seem to be a superior breed of Muslim compared to most of the others. I know all of Europe is having its problems with Muslim immigrants, but a big advantage that seems to accrue to Germany is that its Muslims are mostly Turks, and Turks are much preferable to Pakis (Britain) and North Africans (France). I've heard Turkey and Germany have a close relationship, which must go back to their days of being allies in WW1.

Anonymous said...

Turkey won't turn into Egypt or Iran or Pakistan or some other Islamic failed state. They are too rich and too modern already (and this is not built on oil like Saudi, Qatar or Bahrain).

The tensions between the religious and secular types were actually quite common in Europe in the 19th century as it was industrialising. But the Turks have actually not done badly given the fact that there is so much Islamic superstititon and prejudice to overcome. Erdogan has acted foolishly so far and if anything this could result in someone from his own party toppling him - and if that happens, it will be good for the country. Russia or the US has no interest in Turkey becoming an Islamic failed state.

pat said...

Historians tell us that Adrianople which is a little to the east is the site of more military conflict than any other place on earth. Maybe it will be again.

Between the wars it looked like Islam was in retreat. In Iran the senior Pahlavi Shah and in Turkey Ataturk both instituted policies to make their respective nations free of much of Islam.

Both nations admired Western democratic institutions and Meijii Japan. But that was then. That certainly isn't the way it is now. Retrogressive forces are now in the ascent and it's hard to be optimistic.

We are engaged in a war with Islam and our most serious domestic social problems revolve around race. So somehow we have elected a black man who is also a Muslim to lead us.

Yes it's hard to be optimistic.

Albertosaurus

Peter the Shark said...

"Still, the place struck me as, well, Byzantine."

Maybe I've read too much Umberto Eco, but external revolutions and even ethnic cleansings often seem to result in much less real change in who holds power than you might expect. The figure heads change, but the deep power structures seem awfully hard to root out.

I live in Vienna, and it has some similarities to Istanbul. These ex-Imperial cities are odd places. Remember just a century ago, in my grandfather's lifetime, both Vienna and Constantinople ruled ancient large multi-national empires, with strong religious identifications (remember the Habsburgs basically led the Counterreformation and were the true power behind the Papacy for centuries). Both cities, and elites, were stripped almost overnight of their posessions and went through painful periods of ethnic cleansing to become the capitals of rump states with more or less ethnically homogenous populations, and supposedly secular somewhat leftist social policies, on the surface. They didn't take it well - Vienna spent 20 years trying and eventually succeeding in joing the German Reich, which worked out pretty badly. Istanbul went through a cultural revolution on an almost unimaginably traumatic scale. The Turkish language was stripped of most Persian and Arabic loan words and forced into the Latin alphabet. (Imagine if some crazed English nationalist decreed that all French and Latin words had to be banned from English and we had to start writing it in Cyrillic, it was that crazy). Almost all Turkish literature and culture produced prior to 1920 is unintelligble to modern Turks. So certainly we are talking about a society with lots of hidden grudges and traumas that no one talks about. But despite all the massive changes in Vienna and Istanbul you get a sense in both cities that somehow the old Imperial elites managed to hang on in weird invisible ways. They do everything possible to disguise their power, but odd things happen now and then that make you wonder.

Of course, the Russian Empire went the same way - much of the Tsarist Secret Service morphed into the NKVD (some people claim even Stalin had been a Tsarist secret agent before the Revolution), which then morphed into the KGB, and then Putin. No wonder that Turks love conspiracy theories so much.

Anonymous said...

My husband is Turkish and his family is still in Turkey, in Istanbul. We are married almost 40 years.

This is not the first time there have been riots in Istanbul in the last 40 years. One time his mother was badly injured in a spontaneous riot that included gunfire. That must have been in the 80's. There she was, an older woman just doing her shopping. We are afraid for our nieces and nephew who have to go to the western side of Istanbul every day for work.

There have been problems with Kurdish separatists forever and there were student riots in the 60's.

This current stuff looks very suspicious. All mentions of "twitter" are suspicious as all hell. Anthony Bourdain had a bizarre show about his trip to Libya and some guy (speaking PERFECT English) was telling him it was all organized via Twitter. I was born at night but not last night. And did you know that freedom for Libyans was all about fried chicken? Yes, it was. Now Libyans can eat fried chicken. People died and the country is in ruins and there is no civil order and it was for fried chicken and Anthony Bourdain is inspired by it all.

Turks are not "Allah! Allah! Allah!" religious. You don't see that in Turkey and you don't see soldiers with machine guns in the streets like you see in Rome or in Mexico.

Erdogan is not a religious fanatic. A law that stops gas stations from selling liquor at 2 in the morning is not religious fanaticism.

But Turkey is very strategic, thats for sure. So is Libya, so is Syria if someone wants to control the Mediterranean.

Anonymous said...

Erdogan believes in development at any cost. I was in Istanbul a year ago and spent time with a notable Turkish public intellectual. She felt Erdogan and ghe AKP were idiots who wanted to grow Istanbul to a unmanageable size.

Personally, I have been to Gezi park. It is a nice stretch. Baffled why they'd want to bulldoze it.

So at the core the government has been dickish to the long time westernized population of Istanbul.

NOTA said...

To the extent that this is the result of high-birthrate religious fundamentalists eventually outbreeding successful liberal secularists, it seems like it might have lessons for the future of the US, as well.

Lisa said...

Byzantium was a good place to live. "Byzantine" used as a synonym for anything confusing/convoluted is the lazy fault of Edward Gibbon.

Anonymous said...

OT, From CNN, "Adios Charlie Sheen, hello Carlos Estevez"

"The film is second in a series after the 2010 film "Machete" starring Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba and Michelle Rodriguez. In "Machete Kills," Trejo returns as ex-Federal agent Machete, recruited by the president of the United States, played by Charlie Sheen, asked to go on a mission to take down a madman revolutionary and eccentric billionaire arms dealer, played by Mel Gibson, who has come up with a plan to spread war across the world."

I'm surprised Gibson agreed to do this. He must be desperate for money or something after his divorce. Because we know who he thinks "spread[s] war across the world."

Anonymous said...

20 years ago, curious people had consistent access to smart, nuanced journalism, and we'd know what's going on in Turkey from smart people paid to interpret events. In the "information age," the main problem isn't a dearth of foreign correspondents; the problem is that immediate access to raw facts is prized much more than interpretation. Our brightest people know this, so they don't become journalists. Surely there are some would-be journalists at Rand who could write up a Pulitzer-worthy explanation.

The story in 3013: There are hundreds of thousands of Turks who are protesting the landscape architecture at a park, and their government is unleashing thugs to hurt and main them. The government is Bad Bad Bad. Want more? Here's are 100 pictures of injured people, and 100 pictures of military trucks. Want more? Here's are instant-by-instant updates on what the park looks like, with quotes from random people who are milling around there.

What the story would look like in 1983: There is a mass protest organized by the leaders of political and religious Factions A, B, and C. Their objectives are A', B' and C'. The Erdogan government can usually count on infighting between A, B, and C, and it is brutally suppressing the rebellion because an alliance between A and B could not only unseat the government, but also bring about X. Americans, however, should be most concerned about C'.

Anonymous said...

Turks at istanbul are better people than Greeks at Athen.

Just my personal experience.

Anonymous said...

Whilst the EU stagnates and dwindles to insignificance, (due to pig-heeaded policies), Turkey grows and grows. A little reported fact.
I can't help thinking that the reporting from Turkey is some type of schadenfreude from disappointed Europeans whoo can't stomach the fact that Turkey waxes fat whilst the Euro goose is cooked. (pate' foi gras, as they say in Brussels).

Matra said...

Judging by the Olympic publicity shots of the Turkish women's volleyball team it doesn't seem like the typical Islamic country it is described as in the neocon press.

Anonymous said...

To the extent that this is the result of high-birthrate religious fundamentalists eventually outbreeding successful liberal secularists, it seems like it might have lessons for the future of the US, as well. How's that so, evangelical whites only have 2 kids per family, its the Hispanics that have more kids at 2.5 or 3 if they are immirgants. Not that the religious fundamentalists in the US that have the most kids but the Hispanic Cathlolics that do. Evangelical whites have higher incomes and educated than Hispanic Catholics.

Anonymous said...

America ought to be called chicken.

Anonymous said...

20 years ago... the story would look like in 1983...

Not to be an arithmetic Bolshevik, but the Reagan Administration was THIRTY years ago.

And don't feel bad - I find myself making that mistake all the time.

Rush Limbaugh played some excerpts from Reagan's remarks at the 40th Anniversary of D-Day, and we are today at not the 60th Anniversary, but rather the 70th Anniversary.

The guys in their twenties who stormed those beaches are now in their NINETIES [the few of them who are still alive].

2013 - O'Bammy
1983 - Reagan
1953 - Eisenhower
1923 - Harding/Coolidge

Anonymous said...

OOPS - 69th Anniversary.

Not 70th.

Anonymous said...

"Imagine if some crazed English nationalist decreed that all French and Latin words had to be banned from English and we had to start writing it in Cyrillic..."

Not Cyrillic. Runes, please.

TontoBubbaGoldstein said...

And did you know that freedom for Libyans was all about fried chicken? Yes, it was. Now Libyans can eat fried chicken. People died and the country is in ruins and there is no civil order and it was for fried chicken and Anthony Bourdain is inspired by it all.

Please don't tell Tiger Woods.

HAR said...

It seems to me that Egypt and Turkey are similar in that:

A) Islamists are good at winning elections, probably because they represent the true view of the people
B) A secular liberal minority is good at using social media, organizing protests, and getting western media attention

It seems analogous to pre-Obama America, i.e. Nixon's "silent majority."

HAR said...

"Sure he does face an economy on the downturn(due to his Bernanke style monetary policy) , low birth rates among even observant Turkish women and impending Kurdish majority."

According to Wiki, Kurds were 18% of the population as of 2012. So why do you say that they're a soon-to-be majority?

Iosue Andreas Sartorius said...

I've never been to Turkey, but I've worked with a lot of Turkish university students here in the US.

They are far more European that I had imagined before getting to know them. Unlike Arabs, they can think critically. The girls are very cute and flirtatious and the guys funny and interesting. I like them.

walter condley said...

A friend of mine, Sicilian, visited Turkey with his family about 5 yrs. ago. In some bazaar a merchant offered him 20 camels for his 21-year old daughter. True story.

nydwracu said...

Anon 3:57: ᛋᚩᚢᚾᛞᛋ ᚷᚩᚩᛞ ᛏᚩ ᛗᛖ!

Anonymous said...

I have a degree of comfort with Turkish Airlines that I do not share with some other airlines from the same region (El Al excepted).

That has to say something.

Anon.

Maxwell Power said...

Other day it came up in conversation with a local elder friend in N. Cal., himself a close relation of Turkey's NATO envoy (ambassador?) back in the 70s or 60s, and what he told me is more or less what Anonymous 3:15 said

d said...

I visited W. Turkey in 1998 and had a great time. Loved the landscape, and the people. Had completely different experience than Aaron. Was with guy but for some reason, Turks focused on me. Turkish men are very gallant, so I'd act helpless and they'd do everything. I never stood on a bus or trolley (I forget which they have in Istanbul). "Sit, lady! Sit!"

"Turkish Airlines stewardesses must not wear red lipstick or nail polish, people must not kiss in the subways..."

Now that's going too far. Turkish women, even the religious ones with scarves, love their warpaint. Istanbul was one of the smoochiest, most PDF, cities I ever saw in my life. I mean, girl-boy PDF, in case you were wondering.

Anonymous said...

The odd thing is that the BBC don't seem to know (or don't want to say). Generally with the rest of the "Arab Spring" from Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Syria, they'd let you know in no uncertain terms who "the good guys" were.

With this, they're just reporting what's happening, almost like a news organisation, instead of telling us what we ought to think. Most odd.

(it does seem to be the hip young dudes against the bearded fuddy-duddies - but if that's so, why aren't the BBC going to town on it and telling us that The Kids Are Alright?)

Anonymous said...

To Hunsdon said..

Raimondo's take...

I was a faithful reader, commentator and financial supporter of Antiwar.com for over a dozen years.

Then one day I made the "mistake" of saying a few things in my commentary like, the media had misrepresented the Martin/Zimmerman incident, pointing out the disproportionately high black crime rate, asking a few questions about the wisdom of diversity. The things I said wouldn't even have raised an eyebrow on this blog. I was promptly banned from the site. No explanations. No warning. Nada. I believe others may have been banned as well. When someone enquired, they said they didn't want any "stormfront bubbas". Libertarians talk about freedom, but they don't really mean it. They certainly don't mean freedom of speech or thought. They are really just as bad as everyone else.