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|Turkey, Turks, Ataturk|
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|The Turkish Family|
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|Southeast Anatolia Project|
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|The Gap Project and Turkey's Neighbors|
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Turkey is a young republic situated on a very ancient land. Throughout the ages, several miraculous occurrences took place on the land that is now Turkey. Perhaps the most important of these is the Neolithic revolution, during which our ancestors made the transition from a hunter-gatherer, nomadic existence to sedentary living and food production. The largest known Neolithic settlement is éatalhÜy¤k, located in central Turkey. This fascinating site possibly had a population of 10,000 as early as the sixth millennium BC.
The land we call Turkey served as a bridge between Asia and Europe. Turks, who originated in Central Asia, arrived in the eleventh century AD and rapidly conquered the land from the Eastern Roman Empire, founding the Seljuk State. Seljuk Turks withstood the Crusades and the Mongol raids but disintegrated shortly thereafter, splitting into sixteen smaller principalities. One of these, the Ottoman, grew to be a world empire.
Spreading over three continents, from the gates of Vienna to the Arab peninsula, the Ottoman Empire covered all of North Africa and all lands around the Black Sea. It was a miraculous accomplishment. But it came to an end as the Ottomans fell behind the advances in science and industry that took place in the West and as the conquered nations rose one by one against their rule. The First World War witnessed the final dissolution of the empire as Arabs mobilized by Lawrence of Arabia rose against the sultan. Turkey, the heartland of the Ottoman Empire, was occupied and partitioned by the allies after the War.
A new miraclecthe Turkish Republiccemerged from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire. This miracle would not have been possible if it ere not for the leadership of a single man, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a young general at the time and the Turkish hero of the Gallipoli Campaign. He mobilized a war-weary, worn-out nation with a per-capita income of $50 in a campaign against the victors of the First World War, despite the urgings to the contrary of the sultan, the traditional ruler, and his government. Ataturk led his armies brilliantly to victory in a war that was fought against seemingly impossible odds. Following the successful conclusion of the war in 1923 he declared the Turkish Republic and sent the royal family into exile. He then spent the remaining fifteen years of his life as the first president of Turkey, leading the reforms that forged a modern nation out of the debris of a medieval empire.
For the first time in history, Ataturk made a Moslem nation into a secular one. Also for the first time in a Moslem country, he recognized the complete legal equality of women with men. Turkish women could vote and be elected to office before French, Italian, Greek, and Swiss women. He changed the lifestyle of the nation. The weekly holiday was changed from Friday to Sunday. The way people dressed was changed; the red fez was made illegal and the black veil strongly discouraged. Western calendar and measurement systems were adopted.
Even though Ataturk was one of the most brilliant military leaders in history and had the rank of field marshal, (his rank well earned on the field), he never wore a uniform after becoming president and he banned his generals from politics. He also banned all medals, decorations, and aristocratic titles. Unlike his contemporaries Hitler and Mussolini, he never declared himself president for life nor did he interfere in daily government or in the courts, thus laying down the foundations of a democracy. It is part of his legacy that Turkey has been a multi-party democracy since 1946.
Unlike the European dictators who were his contemporaries, Ataturk refused to define nationhood based on race. He introduced the modern concept of nationhood with the statement, “How happy is the one who calls oneself a Turk,” meaning that one is a Turk not by race, ethnic group, or religion, but by choice. “A Turk,” he said, “is a citizen of the Turkish Republic.”
His nation honored him with the name “Ataturk,” meaning “father of Turks,” when he made it a law that Turks would have second names as well as first, something that they did not have before. He continues to bless his people and to give them affirmation as befits a true father, from his mausoleum in Ankara, where there is not one single word that praises him but, instead, many of his words that praise his beloved people, such as “The right to rule belongs to the people,” “Turks are brilliant, Turks are intelligent, Turks are hard working.”
This book is an overview of contemporary Turkey, this amazing miracle initiated on a very ancient land by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Posted January 20, 2008
This author has rewriten history according to his own theories. The author goes on to talk about Armenians and Greeks and claims that the origins and homelands of these people are fictional. He claims that Urartians(ancient kingdom of Armenia) were not an indo-european people. Later on he goes on to deny the existence of lands where Pontic people and Armenian people used to live. The author makes other FICTIONAL claims. This FICTIONAL novel should be avoided since it gives false information.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 31, 2002
If you want to know about Turkey this gem of a book is the place to begin your journey. Dr. Ergener's clear and concise presentation spared me countless hours of research. He provides a broad perspective and insight into the character and concerns of modern Turkish society and the wondrously colorful mosaic that is Turkey. After reading this informative book I was well prepared to settle comfortably and quickly into my new neighborhood in the delightful old city of Istanbul. Thank you Dr. ErgenerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 25, 2002
We had the wonderful opportunity to tour western Turkey with Dr. Ergener in the summer of 2002. We found the book exceptionally helpful during the tour. It is packed full of facts about Turkey to questions we had, but never knew where to find the answers. One of the things we liked most about this book is that Dr. Ergener covers many, many facets about Turkey: social, political, business, foreign relations, religion, military, education - and more - and does so in a concise, no-nonsense, though attention-holding manner. We highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to know more about Turkey and wanting to do so by reading a fact-packed/no time wasting book. Dr. Ergener is an excellent good will ambassador for his beautiful country: this well researched, written book exemplifies that. John Q. Adams and Margaret SheridanWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 23, 2002
This is a wonderful read for the first or indeed many visited traveller to Turkey. The book is full of facts anf figures anf general information that is often difficult to find anywhere else - read this before you travel to this magical country and you'll be up to speed with a lot of interesting and beneficial information which will make your journey that much more meaningfulWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 4, 2003
Posted December 29, 2002
This little book should be included in the 'must have' library of everybody who has ever visited, planned to visit, or dreamt of visiting Turkey. This is truly 'Everything' you always wanted to know about Turkey. Compiled and written with such respect and love by a 'True' native of this history rich, and beautiful country, an easily read and informative handbook.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 8, 2003
Outstanding reading. Everything You Want To Know About Turkey answers al of your questions. You finish with a wonderful understaning of the people, politics and culture of Turkey. This books answers all your questions you are not generally able to ask on most tours. Rashid makes Turkey come alive and shares its magical powers with whoever read this book or visits this country. I suggest to all who just want to learn about Turkey, or to read before a visit so you can appreciate all Turkey and its people have to offer.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 9, 2003
Dr Rashid E has provided for me a crystallised yet detailed overview of his wonderful Turkey. Having had the pleasure of being in a large tour party Rashid co-ordinated and directed through Turkey several months ago, I can vouch that, as comprhensive a work is his book, it is a tasty vignette of his encyclopedic knowledge of his Turkey. In a plain no-nonsense, easily read gem of a book. It is chocked-full of facts, figures, general knowledge including spiritual dimensions and cultural aspects of Turkey. This great book comes refreshingly without 'spin'. Turkey is critical to world peace, has tremendous potential as a world leader in its region. Dr E's book is highly recommended to anyone who wants an excellent snapshot of Turkey.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 8, 2003
Concise and up to date, this book is everything you will ever need for your home library. It is recommended for the person interested in Turkey, wishing or planning to visit Turkey, as well as the already initiated traveler who desires information at his/her fingertips. About Turkey is an informative reference written by one of Turkey's most knowledgeable and most sought after tour guides.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.