T Nation

A foreigners outlook on Turkey


Alright, so I'm doing a history research as part of my final project and I'm making a survey on the international outlook on Turkey. So, in terms of;

Political Power

Economical Power

External Affairs

Internal Affairs

The Current Government's Regime

Crime, Corruption and Judicial Affairs


What do you think about Turkey? Specifying the positive and the negative aspects would help.


I hope you do, but I don't know if you'll find any experts on Turkish current events around here buddy.


It's delicious. I can't think of a single negative.



These guys often get crazy when they haven't had their sleep or they've been told by Tiribulus that they were going to burn in Hell...so don't take things personally.

Turkey has ALWAYS fascinated me, mainly because of this fact:

97% of the Country is Muslim; yet a)Turkey was founded upon a strict secular constitution which forbids the influence of any religion, including Islam and b) it functions are a secular democracy in a part of the World where that is virtually non-existent.

If you can research and answer the question "why" (I am still trying to find out how!)...you will have a fascinating project on your hands!

Good luck!



The modern state of Turkey was founded in this vein by Kemal Ataturk and the Young Turks.

Bullshit. It used to be the most liberal Islamic country along with pre-revolutionary Iran however it is now a fucking Islamic fundamentalist oligarchy aligned with Iran and Syria. They have seen a 900% increase in the murder rate of women since 2002. The place is unrecognisable.

In addition, Turkey has the most powerful military in the Islamic world and historically Jihadism has had its epicenter in Turkey. Unless one is unfortunate enough to be living in India, Turkey should be considered the greatest threat in the Islamic world. Fortunately the Ruskies are one of their traditional enemies hence Turkish NATO membership. However this animosity did not prevent them from seriously considering an alliance with the Entente powers in the First World War.

We came very close to having Johnny Turk on our side but Churchill's attempts at an alliance were foiled by the Foreign Office and there were pro-German elements in the Turkish government(Enver Pasha). Also a German 'advisory' team led by General Liman von Sanders was already in Turkey in early 1913. The Entente powers were unaware of a secret treaty signed so continued to attempt to gain Turkey as an ally. It all ended in a fucking tragic fiasco that resulted in the deaths of my materal great grandfather and his brother at hill 971 amongst other things.



I was hoping that AT THE VERY MOST, what I posted was chickenshit!

(Oh, well!)

See...you are confusing me even more about Turkey. There certainly is "something" that distinguishes it from other Islamic States. Are you saying there is not?



There is 'something' that distinguishes it. That something comprises decent Turks who aren't lunatics. That something is now an extremely small minority. That something also comprises some secular checks and balances that are being eroded away by the current Islamist government of Turkey. It also comprises secular elements of the military who have instilled in them the modern and civilised ideas of Kemal Ataturk. These elements are also becoming a minority.



Now that should go a lot furthur in helping Lakkhumu (and me!) with his research.



Well the most intimate knowledge I have of Turkey is a 19 year old kid living in Ankara who calls himself [SiNaN] and is a frighteningly skilled PHP coder. All web code and MYSql actually. I know him from here http://simpleportal.net/ He was 17 when I met him over there. Great guy and very gracious and generous with his time when I needed some help on of my SMF forum sites. Like I say, he's a monster web developer. I mean like mad skillz. Oh well, now that I wasted everybody's time with that.


Actually what caused the Turks to to join the Germans in WW1 was not the foreign office. What happened is they were having a rivalry with the Greeks. Before WW1 the Greeks had made a deal with the United States to buy two old battleships to upgrade their navy. The Turks had responded to this by picking up the cancelled contract the Brazilians had with the British to build a modern dreadnaught along with another Dreadnaught. The Sultan Osman was to be the most powerful dreadnaught in the world when it was launched.

Those two dreadnaughts would have greatly outclassed the Greek battleships. The Turks went deeply into debt to try and pay for them. The held fund raising drives. It was a matter of national prestige for them that they were going to be able to dominate the Greeks.

The Sultan Osman was finished just before the outbreak of war and was just getting ready for delivery when the situation with Germany turned sour. The British commandeered it, the other dreadnaught, some cruisers and destroyers and pressed them into service with the Royal Navy.


That infuriated the Turks. When the Germans offered to give them a battle cruisers and a light cruiser if they became allies they took the deal.


Now, as to how Turkey functions as a secular democracy, the BBC did an article about that a few years ago. The military is secular and sees itself as the protector of Ataturk's legacy. That is why several times they have had military coup detat's that have installed a military junta in order to keep the country secular.

What is happening now is along with increasing islamic fundamentalism the EU has gotten involved. One of the conditions of EU membership has been a weakening of the military so they can no longer intervene in the country's politics. With those changes in the power structure, the present president (who is an islamist) has been picking off the more secular generals and replacing them with islamist's.

That is why they are aligning with Iran and Syria while distancing themselves from Israel. Israel had been very friendly with Turkey because during WW2 the Turks had done a lot to help Jews escape from the Nazi's. So Turkey is going through some big changes and not for the better.


Didn't say it was. The foreign office ordered Churchill to stop sending letters to the Turks which he was doing to try to court an alliance.

No. The Turks never got the battleships. Although Turkish crews had arrived to take possession they had not been handed over to them hence no 'seizure'. I have studied the event from the allied perspective at length. My main source is Churchill's unabridged World Crisis. It's very complicated. I have not however read anything from a Turkish perspective. I imagine it would be lacking in detail on the expulsion and extermination of Christians, the Adana massacre, the Armenian genocide, the Assyrian genocide, the Greek genocide etc. After all, the authors would be guilty of 'denigrating the Turkish state and/or institutions'. :slight_smile:



As someone who'd read history from a biased point of view from the Turkish side, here's what I can summarize:

The Ottoman Empire was being acceleratingly weakened by the numerous mutinies, the Balkan Wars and the constant provocations of the Russian Empire and the British. At that time, the tension between Austria-Hungary and Serbia was making the world restless. The Ottoman Empire initially tried to forge an alliance with the Entente powers but they declined, since the regrowth of the Ottoman Empire would vastly weaken their mandates in the Middle East. Germany, however, had no such problems.

Fearing that they would fall weak before the Triple Entente and not trusting the instable Austria-Hungary enough, they decided to enlist the help of the crumbling Ottoman Empire. Not only would this open another front in war, but also after they won the war, Germany could very easily subjugate the Ottomans and take hold of the Middle East. So, with the aid of Enver Pasha and İttihat ve Terakki, the Ottoman Empire joined the war alongside the Central Powers and was crushed. Turkey officially joined the war when Russia bombed the Black Sea shore.

The Eastern Front proved to be disastrous. The French were dominating the southeast, the Russians were advancing at large from the northeast and the Arabs, provoked by the British, backstabbed the Ottomans which was a huge blow to them and caught them off-guard (Since the Caliph, who was also the Emperor of the empire, had declared a Holy Jihad calling for all Muslim peoples to join the Central Powers). The campaign of Galipolli is what marked the fate of Turkey in the war. Through great acts of heroism etc. etc. the front was won and this marked the end of Churchill's WWI career.

The battle was partly won by the constant aids of the newly formed Bolshevik Interregnum between the Russian Empire the Soviet Republic. Moreover, Lenin had given back the lands the Russian Empire had invaded back to Turkey. Nevertheless, even after these campaigns, Rauf Orbay signed the treaty of Sevres and Turkey was partitioned.

Then came Kemal Ataturk and the war of independence. The Western Front proved to be especially troublesome and Ataturk called for total war. The Greeks were hardly subjugated and the British and the French took a great deal of time before being kicked out and the treaty of Lausanne was signed. Through great ordeals the battle was won and the secular, democratic Republic of Turkey was established, but that was only a beginning...

This is what is taught here in our schools, sans the deeper politics.


Internal Affairs:
The first things which comes to mind is the genocide of the armenians, which seems to be a disturbingly ignored topic in Turkey. Almost like it never happened. Not to mention the massive and much more recent, (still ongoing?) state terror against the kurds, which was almost completely ignored by the rest of the world for some reason.


Sounds close enough from my knowledge. Do they teach you that the Marmara region, the Black Sea region, the Aegean region and 95% of these islands(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_islands) were continously inhabited by Greeks for thousands of years? Invasion of Cyprus and annexation of the North followed by declaration of an indenpendent state? I already mentioned the genocidal pogroms. You won't want to mention them in your project or you'll be arrested for 'denigrating the Turkish state/institutions.'


Thats not true, they only ignored it until the Kurds exploded a few banks in Europe which immediately led to the PKK being declared a "terrorist" organization, so I guess we know now what is worth more, Kurdish lifes or bank held property.

Also, there are no Kurds, only mountain Turks, snicker, incidentally there are no Alewites in Turky either.

Turky is a fascinating example of a society that is based on denial.

Come to think of it, maybe that is quite common?


Well, I'm half Turkish (my dad is from North Cyprus) and him and my mum live in Kusadasi and I visit them every year.

Here are my observations;

Everyone is a muslim yet the majority of people drink.

Drinking in public is not a problem at all.

While the Prime Minister is definitely conservative/islamist, I would not go so far as to call Turkey and Islamic Fundamentalist Oligarchy.

Whenever I have been there (I have been visiting Turkey on and off for the past 20 years) I have noticed that only the older ladies cover their heads. Every younger girl/lady (40 and under), I have seen had their head uncovered and dressed in very western clothing.

The economy has improved drastically! I remember when the interest rates in banks was near 100%! Trade and export have really picked up.

Back in the day (mid 90s and prior) you could get away with most things provided you had enough money to bribe the police. Things are not as bad as they used to be. Saying that, I wouldn't want to end up in a Turkish police station/jail/prison.

Turkey is stuck walking a tightrope. They aren't 'white' enough to join Europe, but they aren't Islamic enough to join with their eastern neighbours

The military carry a lot of clout and you aren't considered a proper man unless you have done your national service. If you want to get out of it, say you are gay and provide video evidence of yourself getting butt-fucked to prove it.

The government has devalued the currency with the intention of encouraging my tourism. I don't reckon that taking an Islamic hardline will help with this.

I have found the people to be friendly and welcoming. I have found the salesmen to be pushy to the point of annoying. This has got better in the last few years.

I won't comment on the Cyprus situation as I have my opinions but I realise they are not impartial at all as I am half Turkish Cypriot.

As I mentioned, all of the above are my observations and what I have picked up from friends who have lived their for a long time.


Yes actually they did, though very vaguely. No comment was made and I remember the whole topic of the issues with the Greeks, including the exchange (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_exchange_between_Greece_and_Turkey) took merely one lesson of 40 minutes. The issue of Northern Cyprus is an incendiary topic here. As we were taught, the Greeks were causing troubles, mirroring the pre-Balkwan War rebellions and Enosis was becoming more and more a terrorist organization. They started killing the local population and implementing terror tactics until Turkey had to intervene and "take care" of the Turks living there. I myself am agnostic about the Cyprus issue: I don't know enough to comment on it thoroughly. And the genocide. During the whole curriculum, the phrase "Armenian Genocide" was never ever uttered. It's as if even the concept had never originated. I do not deny the Genocide myself, however I can't get in a serious debate about it. Ever. Whenever I open the topic, the focus of the conversaion changes with almost a divine intervention and if it does not change, I get bashed for being pro-American, pro-Imperialist and pro-capitalist (saying which is ironic in a democratic country with capitalism as an economical base) whenever I'm outside the boundries of my school (Which is an American College actualy). And on that last issue, have you ever heard of Ergenekon and the mass-arrest of generals and deans?

I myself couldn't have put it better. The problem is that Turkey falls a bit on the racist side on the right-left spectrum, and there is a wide, common-spread delusion that Turks are the supreme race.


I didn't say the Turks had taken delivery of the ships. They were at the shipyard getting ready when the British marched troops on board. From there the pressing into service was fairly quick. The brass signs for the various machinery was inscribed in Turkish on one side and English on the other, so all they had to do was unscrew them, flip them over, reinstall and they were in business. If you really want to get a good understanding of the affair you should read the book 'The Great Dreadnaught'.


Yes I have heard of Ergenekon. Very interesting and mysterious. I have a lot to say about the Dardanelles and how we could've forced Turkey out of the war with ships alone and even after we fucked that up we could've taken the peninsula and Constantinople with ground forces but I don't have time now. I will visit this thread again soon.


Don't know it and can't find it. Do you mean 'Dreadnought: Britain, Germany and the Coming of the Great War' by Robert K Massie? If so, I've read it and it's on my shelf.