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Istanbul at the crossroad (6)

(People's Daily Online)

13:55, March 21, 2012

Me with Ara Guller (Andre Vltchek/ People's Daily Online)

Turkish economy is now healthier than that of many members of the EU, its growth is staggering. Quality of life is relatively high, to the point that it appears that more citizens of European Union are trying to settle in Turkey than vice versa.

But political situation of Turkey is very complex and far from being transparent. Majority of the country has become religious but the constitution is demanding secularism. For decades, the Turkish military feels it is obliged to uphold the ideals of the great Turkish leader Kemal Ataturk, father of modern Turkish Republic and determined secularist. In the past, the army performed several coups whenever it felt that the religion was coming close to gaining control over the country.

The same army brought Turkey to NATO and has been participating in several Western adventures in the Middle East. Presently there are allegations that it is training Syrian opposition in the ‘refugee camps’. Hundreds of left-leaning intellectuals and activists are in prisons (many of them strongly critical of Western foreign policy), detained without trial. Most Turks can’t agree on whether the role of the military is positive or negative.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that the West is consistently using both the past (Armenian issue) and the present (Kurdish issue) to push Turkey into increasingly servile position. And that brings tremendous resentment from both the Left and the Islamists – two powerful groups that often despise each other on many other issues.

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【11】 【12】 【13】 【14】 【15】 【16】

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