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Stephen Kinzer is an ex New York Times correspondent who has written about many parts of the world, while based in locations as varied as Nicaragua, Berlin and Istanbul, the latter two as bureau chief He has covered Central America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Turkey, Africa in short, he s been around I picked up this book because I read one of his previous efforts, Blood of Brothers, while travelling through Nicaragua in 2008 Daniel Ortega had just been re elected, and the book dea Stephen Kinzer is an ex New York Times correspondent who has written about many parts of the world, while based in locations as varied as Nicaragua, Berlin and Istanbul, the latter two as bureau chief He has covered Central America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Turkey, Africa in short, he s been around I picked up this book because I read one of his previous efforts, Blood of Brothers, while travelling through Nicaragua in 2008 Daniel Ortega had just been re elected, and the book dealt with, yes, Daniel Ortega and the struggle of the Sandinistas against the US funded contras in the 1980 s The book was the ideal travel companion, adding richness of detail and breadth of historical perspective to my travels through that country Crescent and Star is almost as impressive.This book concentrates on the modern era of Turkey, mainly the period from the 1980 s onwards, although it quickly covers the Mustapha Kemal Ataturk era and the decades that followed it Here is a summaryAtaturk and the Creation of the Turkish RepublicThe unusually prominent role of the military in modern Turkey has been dictated by the peculiar circumstances of the country s birth, in the wake of the disastrous implosion of World War I when the Ottoman Empire sided with the losing side As the victorious Allies dismembered the Empire into its constituent ethnic pieces Arab, Greek, Armenian and parceled out parts of it among themselves as colonies protectorates, it looked as if little would survive of Turkey other than a few pieces of the Anatolian homeland It was not even clear that Istanbul itself would remain part of Turkey Into this power vacuum stepped Ataturk A Turkish general who had been instrumental in the defeat of the British, Australians, New Zealanders and French at the Battle of Gallipoli in 1915, his reputation was strong He was able to quickly assemble an army from the remnants of the Ottoman forces, and rout the Greek Army which had been trying to greatly enlarge the Greek holdings on the Anatolian coast This victory ended in a mass expulsion of up to 2 million Greeks from lands that had been Greek speaking for millennia, and effectively ensured that Turkey would retain borders essentially the same as those it has today Turkey remains a multi ethnic state however, mainly because of the presence of about 15 million Kurds out of a current total population of about 80 million.Turkey paid a heavy price for becomingethnically Turkish it lost most of its Greek and Armenian population a large percentage of the latter having been slaughtered in an earlier ethnic cleansing in 1915 , and after World War II most of its Jewish population as well These three ethnic groups had made up the great majority of the commercial class Their loss took much of the energy out of the urban economy, and greatly delayed Turkey s transition from an agrarian economy.From this foundation, Ataturk created the Republic of Turkey in 1923, sending the Sultan packing The country he ruled until his death in the late 1930 s was resolutely ethnically Turkish and secular in nature Kurdish demands forautonomy were met with military force Demands by the Muslim hierarchy and by Islamic believers in general to play a role in the governing of Turkey were also turned back Symbols of the old way of life from the script of the written language to the wearing of the fez and the veil were swept away Turks were forced to take last names for the first time The country was dragged, often kicking and screaming, into the modern era.Ataturk was himself a non religious man, who drank, smoked and had a long succession of lovers Maybeimportantly, he wasn t willing to tolerate competing contenders for power, regardless of whether they were ethnic, religious or ideological in character The form of governance he put in place to modernize Turkey and ensure his personal power was known as Kemalism, and was the dominant ideology of the ruling class in Turkey until at least the end of the 20th century Its principles included ensuring the primacy of the ethnic Turkish nation, enforcing a strictly secular approach to government, and adopting a form of limited democracy that always left the ultimate veto power to the military.The key power behind the Kemalist Turkish state was always the military, ready to depose any civilian leader who posed a threat to the military itself or to the secular and ethnically Turkish nature of the state No compromise with Islamic fundamentalism or with other ethnic groups especially the Kurds was tolerated When Prime Minister Menderes regime in the 1950 s grew too accepting of Muslim practices, such as tolerating the creation of religious academies, he was overthrown by the army, tried for treason, and hanged along with two of his cabinet members.The Post 1980 EraThe most recent of the military coups was in 1980, at a time of great Kurdish unrest as well as left wing terrorism The army s war against the Kurds lasted well into the 1990 s, took tens of thousands of lives, and still flares up from time to time even today However, the reins of government were soon turned back to a civilian government in 1983, under a man who proved to be a fareffective reformer and modernizer than anyone ever expected Turgut Ozal.After Ozal died in office in 1993, matters backslid once again, with the accession to power in 1996 of Prime Minister Erkaban of the Welfare party, whose power base was largely small town and rural Islamists His moves to draw the country closer to Iran, along with other moves to strengthen Islamism, led to his being deposed by the army one year after coming to power The most prominent of his followers was Tayyip Erdogan, the Mayor of Istanbul When Erkaban s regime was deposed, the Welfare party he led was banned Erkaban and Erdogan were both condemned to prison terms though only Erdogan actually spent time in jail Erkaban was finished he was elderly by this time but the much younger Erdogan emerged from jail to found a new Islamist party, the AKP Erdogan s release from jail coincided with the devastating earthquake of August, 1999, which struck the region about 50 miles away from Istanbul near the sea of Marmara Twenty thousand people died, while the army and the government did next to nothing It was a catastrophe made worse by official incompetence The main search and rescue efforts for survivors were mounted by the locals themselves as well as by foreign disaster relief workers, including significant numbers from Turkey s old enemy, Greece For days, Turkish troops sat in their barracks while the government called press conferences to say that their its soldiers and workers couldn t reach the disaster zone TV crews and foreign teams seemed to have no such difficulty, and the popularity and credibility of both the government and the army plummeted It is very plausible to argue that it was the discrediting of Turkey s old institutions, both civil and military, that laid the foundations for the AKP s election victory in 2002 The party won a majority and Erdogan became prime minister and remains so to this day.Erdogan proceeded to loosen the controls on the expression of religious opinion He largely did away with the practice of torture, which had been routine in police stations and prisons He also loosened controls on the press, though the constitution of the country remained unchanged, with all its restrictive provisions regarding civil rights For example, political parties that advocate on behalf of ethnic minorities are not allowed Nor is any form of expression seen to insult the memory of Ataturk Nor anything seen to attack the historical and moral values of Turkishness Not surprisingly, it s easy to still run afoul of such broadly worded provisions, and even such world renowned figures as Turkey s Nobel prize winning author Orhan Pamuk have been indicted and tried under these laws.One notable piece of progress was in acknowledging the role of Turks in the 1915 slaughter of the Armenians The government even allowed a university conference on the subject in Istanbul itself in 2005, though not without government officials displaying a lot of huffing and puffing about insults to Turkishness The conference was held successfully, and the issues it raised were debated for weeks in the Turkish press, which would have been unthinkable a few short years earlier.A major force in helping Erdogan to drive liberalization was the hope and expectation of being admitted to the EU The EU laid out a long list of conditions, and the Turkish government set to work to fulfill them But after a courtship lasting several years, the EU suddenly announced in 2006 that the it was re thinking admitting Turkey The Turks felt dissed and duped However, as the EU lurched from crisis to crisis from 2008 onwards, Turks had some reason to feel both vindicated and even grateful for not being embroiled in the mess.Throughout his first term, Erdogan ruled as Prime Minister, but the President was the army s man In 2007, Erdogan decided to place his own man, Abdullah Gul, in the presidency All that was required to do so was for Parliament to elect him At this point, the army pushed back hard, and tried to use the courts to ban the AKP for violations of the constitution Erdogan fought back by calling an election, which he won with an increased majority, and in the process managed to both install a new president and humble the army He remains firmly in control today.SummaryIt s impossible not to be impressed with this book At times it seems somewhat rambling, as journalistic works often do, but the author knows the country about as intimately as any foreigner ever can and tells its story very well He understands its history, its institutions, and the players that make the country what it is today It s hard to escape that this man knows whereof he speaks As well, he clearly loves most everything about it, from its people to its food to its landscapes to its music, and it shows At times he displays a tolerance for prolonged repressiveness of the Turkish regime that seems surprising, until you begin to compare it to the bad neighborhood that surrounds it For decades, its neighbors to the north were the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc satellites, which on its southern and eastern borders sat the dictatorial regimes of Syria, Iraq and Iran By comparison, Turkey was a liberal paradise Some parts of the neighborhood have improved notably with the disappearance of the Soviet Union but it s still not great Turkey deserves much credit for being the most democratic regime in the Islamic world and one of the most economically dynamic And Kinzer deserves great credit for this wonderful book [[ Ebook ]] ↴ Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds ☞ If Turkey lived up to its potential, it could rule the world but will it A passionate report from the front linesFor centuries few terrors were vivid in the West than fear of the Turk, and many people still think of Turkey as repressive, wild, and dangerous Crescent and Star is Stephen Kinzer s compelling report on the truth about this nation of contradictions poised between Europe and Asia, caught between the glories of its Ottoman past and its hopes for a democratic future, between the dominance of its army and the needs of its civilian citizens, between its secular expectations and its Muslim traditionsKinzer vividly describes Turkey s captivating delights as he smokes a water pipe, searches for the ruins of lost civilizations, watches a camel fight, and discovers its greatest poet But he is also attuned to the political landscape, taking us from Istanbul s elegant cafes to wild mountain outposts on Turkey s eastern borders, while along the way he talks to dissidents and patriots, villagers and cabinet ministers He reports on political trials and on his own arrest by Turkish soldiers when he was trying to uncover secrets about the army s campaigns against Kurdish guerillas He explores the nation s hope to join the European Union, the human rights abuses that have kept it out, and its difficult relations with Kurds, Armenians, and GreeksWill this vibrant country, he asks, succeed in becoming a great democratic state He makes it clear why Turkey is poised to become the most audacious nation of the twenty first century Frank Williams it could rule the world but will it A passionate report from the front linesFor centuries few terrors were vivid in the West than fear of the Turk Why the Allies Won and many people still think of Turkey as repressive Being Sam Frears wild Homing Instinct and dangerous Crescent and Star is Stephen Kinzer s compelling report on the truth about this nation of contradictions poised between Europe and Asia Post Everything caught between the glories of its Ottoman past and its hopes for a democratic future Nikhil (Kaliszians, between the dominance of its army and the needs of its civilian citizens Surrender of a Siren (The Wanton Dairymaid Trilogy, between its secular expectations and its Muslim traditionsKinzer vividly describes Turkey s captivating delights as he smokes a water pipe Buried Fire searches for the ruins of lost civilizations The Dragons Virgin Slave watches a camel fight Soft Keys and discovers its greatest poet But he is also attuned to the political landscape Fat, Black, Virgin. (1) taking us from Istanbul s elegant cafes to wild mountain outposts on Turkey s eastern borders A Season with Verona while along the way he talks to dissidents and patriots What is Remembered villagers and cabinet ministers He reports on political trials and on his own arrest by Turkish soldiers when he was trying to uncover secrets about the army s campaigns against Kurdish guerillas He explores the nation s hope to join the European Union The Children the human rights abuses that have kept it out Petting Girls and its difficult relations with Kurds The Virgin in the Garden Armenians Dead Aid and GreeksWill this vibrant country Lady of Quality he asks In a Minute succeed in becoming a great democratic state He makes it clear why Turkey is poised to become the most audacious nation of the twenty first century So, finally, I am done Please do not mistake the great length of time I took to complete this book to mean anything other than I am awful at managing time, this was a great book As someone who visited Turkey and read a handful of literature about the great city of Istanbul and life under the Ottoman Empire this book wove together a bunch of missing facts and political details, I was otherwise unaware of It is obvious the author is passionately in love with this county, he can portray it for a So, finally, I am done Please do not mistake the great length of time I took to complete this book to mean anything other than I am awful at managing time, this was a great book As someone who visited Turkey and read a handful of literature about the great city of Istanbul and life under the Ottoman Empire this book wove together a bunch of missing facts and political details, I was otherwise unaware of It is obvious the author is passionately in love with this county, he can portray it for all its ill s and pride s as a country in constant flux, coming into its own after decades of twists and turns There are numerous entries where he speaks of his first hand experiences dictating tales as if out of his travel journals With ease, the author weaves varying timelines and rich character profiles helping to illustrate the plethora of Turkish leaders, politicians, and countrymen Pragmatic writing and research help a reader remember the pivotal moments and players With his extensive and seemily, impartial chapters on the Kurdish puzzle to explaining in the most vivid and delicious details the process and protocol of Turkish Meze Raki, the author does great justice to a city and country that, so many visitors fall in love with From this reading I took with me these topics to follow up on 1 Strategic Depth by Ahmet Davuto lu2 Nazim Hikmet poet3 Kim by Rudyard Kipling about the great game 4 Man without a Gun by Giandomenico Picco5 Mehmet s Book by Nadire Mater Crescent and Star by Stephen Kinzer4.5 Stars Rounded to 5I ve always had a fascination with Turkey It is at the crossroads of so much history Geographically, it straddles two continents and it known as the place where East meets West Its religious history is unique and it is one of the few countries in which democracy is evolving out of a former dictatorship It is simply a country full of dichotomies Yet, it is a country that hesitates to fully embrace its rich past in order to continue i Crescent and Star by Stephen Kinzer4.5 Stars Rounded to 5I ve always had a fascination with Turkey It is at the crossroads of so much history Geographically, it straddles two continents and it known as the place where East meets West Its religious history is unique and it is one of the few countries in which democracy is evolving out of a former dictatorship It is simply a country full of dichotomies Yet, it is a country that hesitates to fully embrace its rich past in order to continue ignoring its ghosts Stephen Kinzer is a journalist who lived in Turkey for four years In just 267 pages he succinctly covers the history of modern day Turkey touching on the salient pivotal points over the past seventy five years as well as the important figures that have evolved since the days of its founder Ataturk I think the aspect I appreciated the most was Kinzer s focus on showing how the country has successfully resisted falling into the same fate as some of its neighboring Middle Eastern countries, remaining secular It is a strategy that has worked but is also responsible for not allowing Turkey to develop into a full fledged democracy The fear of moving away from secularism results in a great deal of civil rights oppression, particularly in the realm of religious freedom and freedom of speech It has only been recently that even though female students are routinely turned away from university classes for wearing a head veil that an openly nationalistic Islamic politician has successfully ruled the country It is ironic that Erdogan has been the one to implement many of the reforms in an effort to make Turkey s entrance in the EUpalatable In Turkey, as elsewhere, it has long been a truism that Islamic oriented politicians scorn democracy and deliciously subversive way One candidate was an Islamic oriented democrat the others were secularists who feared democracy pg 23 As the country desperately wants to gain admission into the EU reforms have taken place, but it is in no means complete But, it is also important to remember that the country is still young One Turkish diplomat observed, You in the West also had long periods of backwardness and intolerance You had dictatorships, civil wars, religious fanaticism, the Inquisition, all kinds of horror Then, over a period of centuries, you climbed out of that hole You had the Enlightenment You had philosophers who wrote books about democracy Very slowly, people started to understand and accept these new ideas You began to have governments based on democratic principles Now, because you went through all of that, you can give your people complete freedom Your societies are stable enough to handle it But it s not the same here Our Enlightenment began only seventy five years ago It s too soon to life every restriction The risk is too great We could lose everything I also really liked the way Kinzer ended the chapters He switches to an italicized writing and focuses on items related to everyday It makes for great recommendations on anyone planning to travel to the country.I did take issue with a couple of the work s aspects First, if you read Kinzer work you know he cannot resist opining on his subject This is no exception Unfortunately, at times he comes across as an arrogant westerner preaching to the Turks about what they should do Finally, he covers a lot of material in a short space As a result he doesn t always full flesh out topics He references that Christians are subject to similar repressions as Muslims, but doesn t share with the reader how that manifests I understand that the focus isabout how these restrictions have sustained the secular government, but I was still left curious Finally, Kinzer leaves the reader with the question, A new debate now dominates public discourse in Turkey It is not about Kurds or democracy or the European Union, but rather about the nature of the regime dominated by Prime Minister Erdogan and President Gul Is this regime truly committed to democracy, or has it been using democracy to cover a hidden agenda that aims to wipe away the secular order and turn Turkey into an Islamic state pg 216 Ironically, Erdogan won the first direct presidential election yesterday and has publically stated he plans to expand the powers of the office So, we may get the answer to this question sooner rather than later Turkey is an anomaly For centuries, it was the dreaded foe of Christendom, twice pushing at the very gates of Vienna After the Great War, when the victorious west disassembled the Ottoman Empire and reduced the Turks to mere Antaolia, it seemed a total defeat but shortly thereafter, a rare Turkish hero of the Great War led a revolution and established a new Turkish Republic, one that phoenix like drove away its exhausted enemies and even reclaimed a foothold into Europe It was to Eur Turkey is an anomaly For centuries, it was the dreaded foe of Christendom, twice pushing at the very gates of Vienna After the Great War, when the victorious west disassembled the Ottoman Empire and reduced the Turks to mere Antaolia, it seemed a total defeat but shortly thereafter, a rare Turkish hero of the Great War led a revolution and established a new Turkish Republic, one that phoenix like drove away its exhausted enemies and even reclaimed a foothold into Europe It was to Europe that the new lord looked not as an object of conquest, but an object of emulation Like Peter the Great, Mustafa Kemal would make his life s ambition to modernize and westernize the Turks whether they wanted it or not Using the military to carry forth his will, he declared war on the past out with fezzes and zithers, in with fedoras and Bach While the other mideastern countries that emerged from the Ottoman disintegration drifted into tyranny religious in Afghanistan, secular in Iraq, both in Iran Turkey remained anomalous, discretely controlled by a military that had enforced liberalization, and counted itself the enemy of Taliban style religious rule, but itself imposed limits on democracy and speech But the forced liberalization of Turkey at the hands of an illiberal power, the military state, has long since showed its age Turks today wantfrom their devlet , their state, than being patronized they want genuine democracy, genuine freedom to talk about issues the military order would rather have stay buried.Crescent and Star is the product of one man falling in love with Turkey while living there for years for the New York Times It combines vignettes about life in Turkey with historical political reporting, both heavily steeped in obvious affection for Turkey as a whole It us romantic and at times naive Kinzer bubbles that Turkey could be a world power and admits that portraits of Kemal hang in his office, as they do around Turkey but to the total outsider like myself, informative Kinzer s passion for Kemalism is never hidden he wants Turkey to become not merely a member of the European Union, but a genuine European power Again and again he asserts the cultural bonds that link Turkey and eastern Europe Greece and Turkey are divided by political bickering over Aegean islandsthan anything else, and towards the end he presents a heartwarming account of trans Aegean brotherhood in the wake of a series of earthquakes As one earthquake near Istanbul shattered belief in the devlet s competency and humanitarian interests, it also shattered belief in malevolent Greeks the Greeks were first to come with aide, and when Greece had its own earthquake days later, the Turks responded to that charity in kind charity in the truest sense of the word, caritas, love in action For Turkey to fulfill its destiny, Kinzer writes, the military must acknowledge that its paternalism has kept Turkish domestic politics immature Its protective intervention in the past, removing incompetent officials whose blundering were pushing the country toward civil war, have served their purpose for Turks to become truly European, they must be set free to create their own destinies.Crescent and Star brims over with human interest, created by personal research Kinzer lived in Turkey for at least four years during his tenure as bureau chief for the New York Times, and he cultivated a variety of friendships, even hosting a blues radio show in Istanbul He interviewed Turks and Kurds extensively, and his obvious love for Turkey is not in the least dampened by the stories of Armenians and Kurds who have suffered at the hand of the state The Turks have his affection, not the Turkish government While the book s optimism stemming from a quiet Kurdish front and ongoing negotiations with the EU now dates it, given how the chaos in Iraq and Syria has turned Turkey s borders into a war zone, Kinzer s account nontheless illustrates how Turkey s history has given it a pecuilar stamp, a place able to bridge Europe and the middle east not only geographically Turkey s close involvement with the Syrian war, its frequent brushes with the Russians and Iranians, make it a country worth knowing about Considering that a faction within the military attempted to assert itself politically once again, there s no denying this kind of book s relevance Read this in preparation for going to Turkey in August Kinzer is a former NY Times correspondent who has written several books Seems like he is a good journalist who learned the language and culture very well and was granted access to important figures.One passage from his inter chapter interludes got me particularly excited, Kinzer talks about the countless historically and archeologically significant sites that no one even knows about Even the discovered sites are so remote and widely scat Read this in preparation for going to Turkey in August Kinzer is a former NY Times correspondent who has written several books Seems like he is a good journalist who learned the language and culture very well and was granted access to important figures.One passage from his inter chapter interludes got me particularly excited, Kinzer talks about the countless historically and archeologically significant sites that no one even knows about Even the discovered sites are so remote and widely scattered that many are rarely visited In Turkey I have followed routes taken by Julius Ceasar and Saint Peter, walked among weird monoliths carved by Hittite sculptors three thousand years ago, crawled into caves used as churches by early Christians and climbed rocky hills up to crusaders castles Once I took a drive through eastern Turkey that in the space of just four days took me to unforgettable ruins from half a dozen great cultures The book is a pretty quick read and focuses on some of the history and current events up to last year that have shaped Turkey profoundly I learned a lot and highly recommend it He does a good job of showing the conflicts and contradictions of the nation as well as its hopes.One thing I gleaned from reading it is that Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey s Prime Minister, reminds me a lot of Barack Obama Erdogan was elected under deep suspicion from the old guard and has since tried to prove himself to be amoderate leaning democrat while trying to move Turkey forward toward the EU In fact, I just found a recent Turkish news article off Kinzer s website that quotes Kinzer as saying Turkey s new identity fits with Obama s view of the world This is the second Kinzer book I ve read He s a talented writer who brings his subject to life with a clear, direct, active style.In both books I ve read, Crescent and Star and All the Shah s Men about the US British overthrow of the Mossadegh government in Iran , Kinzer turns potentially dry subjects into page turners.Perhaps as a by product of his accessible style, Kinzer arrives at simplistic solutions In Crescent and Star, the overall thesis is that the founders of the Turkish Republic we This is the second Kinzer book I ve read He s a talented writer who brings his subject to life with a clear, direct, active style.In both books I ve read, Crescent and Star and All the Shah s Men about the US British overthrow of the Mossadegh government in Iran , Kinzer turns potentially dry subjects into page turners.Perhaps as a by product of his accessible style, Kinzer arrives at simplistic solutions In Crescent and Star, the overall thesis is that the founders of the Turkish Republic were correct to forcefully impose secularism and a Western looking government Kinzer argues that this imperative is no longer necessary, largely because their experiment was successful His argument is less than convincing He presumes to know what Ataturk would have wanted in a modern day Turkey a relaxation of the militarily enforced secularism, for example He provides virtually no evidence from Ataturk s speeches, writings, etc Ataturk was profoundly aware of the tension between democracy and religiosity There s as much evidence probablythat the founders of the Republic would have maintained their worldview in today s Turkey, given the wave of fundamentalism that is sweeping the Muslim world, especially in countries that share a border with Turkey Written in the very early 21st century, this book combines 20th century history with current politics to give the reader a history and contemporary view of Turkey The author has spent many years in the country as a journalist, and he clearly has a great love of his subject He serves as a major booster for the country Since this book was written 10 years ago, much of the contemporary information is dated, but Kinzer has done a good job of predicting future trends Many of the author s predicti Written in the very early 21st century, this book combines 20th century history with current politics to give the reader a history and contemporary view of Turkey The author has spent many years in the country as a journalist, and he clearly has a great love of his subject He serves as a major booster for the country Since this book was written 10 years ago, much of the contemporary information is dated, but Kinzer has done a good job of predicting future trends Many of the author s predictions have come true in the last decade He appears to be perceptive of contemporary society The book also provides enough history to give th reader a basic understanding of Turkey s history in the 20th century It would be interesting to have him write an update, based on the changes that have occurred over the past 10 years.The book s major flaw is the author s overly prescriptive style, combined with the fact that he tries to gloss over many of the problems Although in some respects, he seems to appreciate Turkey s complexity, on other occasions, he expresses very simplistic views about Turkey s future Kinzer s book is a wonderful read to understand Turkish 20th century history and politics and the challenges that the country has faced and faces in being in the crossroads of Europe and Middle East, with multiple ethnicities and religions The book basically covers the period from Ataturk to Erdogan, discusses Kemalism, the Army, Religion, Kurdish problems, Armenian past, and the democratization challeges Turkey s strive for EU membership and the changing foreign policy of country are also cov Kinzer s book is a wonderful read to understand Turkish 20th century history and politics and the challenges that the country has faced and faces in being in the crossroads of Europe and Middle East, with multiple ethnicities and religions The book basically covers the period from Ataturk to Erdogan, discusses Kemalism, the Army, Religion, Kurdish problems, Armenian past, and the democratization challeges Turkey s strive for EU membership and the changing foreign policy of country are also covered by the author Ahmet Davutoglu s role as Erdogan s personal adviser on foreign affairs was briefly described and it was interesting reading to see how he carved Turkey s foreign policy strategy from 2000 onwards Personally I missed the coverage of what happened in Northern Cyprys in a bitdetail, given that this was one of the official stoppers in Turkey s EU membership negotiations, but otherwise the book was great and insightful reading Kinzer s last meze chapter summarizing some of the book s main themes and making a parallel on those to american blues was a very nice way to finish the book I ve been very impressed by everything by Kinzer that I ve read, yet this book was somehow the one I objected to the most Admittedly I view much of his political writing from a differing position so I m in no way surprised that a heavily personal book didn t quite gel with me But therein lies one of my favourite things about the book Kinzer unashamedly injects personal experience, opinion and personality throughout the book and so I found that the italicised portions gave the following chapt I ve been very impressed by everything by Kinzer that I ve read, yet this book was somehow the one I objected to the most Admittedly I view much of his political writing from a differing position so I m in no way surprised that a heavily personal book didn t quite gel with me But therein lies one of my favourite things about the book Kinzer unashamedly injects personal experience, opinion and personality throughout the book and so I found that the italicised portions gave the following chapters incredible richness I usually find Kinzer s style incredibly satisfying to read at the worst of times and this book s tone and level of personal engagement gives vibrancy to his otherwise usually somewhat detached prose Highlights his interviews with ordinary Turks of polar opposite opinions, his interviews with Kurds and account of travelling in remote Kurdish areas Weak points his occasionally patronising attitude when it comes to solutions for the Kurdish and Armenian problems, his somewhat wavering position on the European Union as regards Turkey I am no fan but even I think his invective is a little misplaced