Sunday, March 8, 2009

Turk thoughts March 08, 2009

President Obama is making a brilliant decision to visit Turkey this April after the G20 summit in London! Turkey is one of the countries that I look at in keeping some paradigm about the world. I have known a number of Turks over the years, and I read theorists who see Turkey as that bridge between the Europe and Asia.

1987 pastel of a graduate school friend from Columbia University. She and I would pal around a lot. She came with me to visit my Mom and siblings one holiday. She came to a Citibank company picnic with me one summer. We were residents at the International House. She worked in television. She was one of the political refugees from the Turkish Army coups in the 1970s. She came to NYC from Paris. One of the many who could not go back home. Dunno what happened to her... she moved to Queens and we lost touch.

This past year I read Orhan Pamuk's Istanbul! Wow, such a fascinating read! A book I lived through, looking up references online, looking at my own memories in other ways. A fascinating book.

From my SIPA days, I have thought about the end of the Ottoman empire and the absence of a muslim political entity in international politics. The Ottoman empire was cut up into pretend nations by the European powers after WWI. Today we have nations such as Iraq, almost 100 years old, part of the Ottoman empire for centuries, and still the power vacuum. The whole mideast and the Muslim world does not have that power it had as an international broker for centuries. We have yet, as a world community, to figure that power gap out. Today, we have Iran versus Saudi Arabia, orthodox versus modernists say in Lebanon, and the sad legacy of no resolution for Palestine.

I think it quite astute that Open Society aka the Soros Fund, has an office in Istanbul. Turkey plays a significant role by its years of brokering as a NATO member and part of other multinational relationships. Not only the Ottoman legacy, but also the years of Turkish emigration in the EU. The Turk presence particularly in Holland and Germany. I am quite pleased by Obama's decision!

peace, hugs, compassion

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