Friday, September 22, 2006
I used to feel about Turkey the way I feel about Norway or Canada - don't get it, what's the point? This has now changed because Turkey seems to be on the way to becoming the centre of the world. Lately, we learn that the Pope is resisting the idea of Turkey joining the European Union as he does not regard it as part of Christian Europe and that Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who shot the last Pope, has suggested this one doesn't visit Turkey. Meanwhile, the novelist Elif Shafak has been acquitted on charges of insulting Turkish national identity, a crime that the EU would like to see abolished. The country is torn between Islamic theocratic and secular nationalisms. The EU is torn because theocrats may be a threat if Turkey is admitted or, worse still, they may be encouraged if Turkey is rejected. The great fault line that is forming in the world runs through Turkey. There are 74 million Turks; suddenly what they want seems to be the incoming issue. So what DO they want?
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 8:35 am