I’m watching with interest the riots in Turkey. Turkey is that transition point between Europe and the Middle East. You can be standing in a very modern shop one minute and literally twenty feet away it can look like you’ve gone back in time a hundred years.
I haven’t been to Turkey in many years in fact it was the mid 90’s when I last ventured through the streets of Adana and took a trip to Mersin and the Castle by the Sea. I liked Turkey but it was easy to see how quickly it could fall into the Middle Eastern trap of chaos.
It was thought that the main reason Turkey didn’t slip was the worship of Ataturk and the secular Army. Prime Minister Erdogan has diminished much of those holds on stability as he’s pushed Turkey closer to radical Islam the past few years.
The Turkey I remember was full of both head scarfs and mini-skirts. Side by side. I remember sitting in a food court in Adana when a young Turkish student came up to a friend and I and asked if he could talk to us to practice his English. Of course we were more than happy to oblige. It gave us a chance to learn more of the people and culture in a non-scripted environment. We talked for about 30 minutes as he told us of a his pre-arraigned marriage. He wasn’t too hot on the idea. But didn’t feel he had a choice. Overall it was a pleasant experience. One of many I had during my multiple stays there.
It would be a shame if Turkey was to turn any further to the east and the ways of fundamentalism.