The Rough Guide To Turkey, 4th Edition (Rough Guide Travel Guides)

$104.31 New Out of stock Publisher: Rough Guides
SKU: DADAX1858285429
ISBN : 9781858285429

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The Rough Guide to Turkey, 4th Edition (Rough Guide Travel Guides)

The Rough Guide to Turkey, 4th Edition (Rough Guide Travel Guides)

INTRODUCTION Turkey is a country with a multiple identity, poised uneasily between East and West – though, despite the tourist brochure cliche, it is less a bridge between the two than a battleground, a buffer zone whose various parts have long been fought over from both directions. The country is now keen to be accepted on equal terms by the West, having long been the only NATO member in the Middle East region and, as of December 1999, officially promoted to EU candidacy status. But it is by no stretch of the imagination a Western nation, and the contradictions – and fascinations – persist. Mosques coexist with Orthodox churches; remnants of the Roman Empire crumble alongside ancient Hittite sites; and, despite the fact that Turkey is now a secular state, the country’s heritage as home to the city of the caliphate and numerous dervish orders, plus contemporary Muslim fundamentalist movements, points its moral compass consistently south and east rather than northwest. Politically, modern Turkey was a bold experiment, founded on the remaining, Anatolian kernel of the Ottoman Empire, once among the world’s largest, and longest-lasting, imperial states. The country arose out of the defeat of World War I, almost entirely the creation of a single man of demonic energy and vision – Kemal Ataturk. The Turkish war of independence, fought against those victorious Allies intending to pursue imperialistic designs on Ottoman territory, has (with slightly stretched analogy – Turkey was never a colony) long been seen as the prototype for all Third World wars of liberation in this century. It led to an explicitly secular republic, though one in which almost all of the inhabitants are at least nominally Muslim (predominantly Sunni). Turks, except for a small minority in the southeast, are not Arabs, and loathe being mistaken for them; despite a heavy lacing of Persian and Arabic words, the Turkish language alone, unrelated to any neighbouring one, is sufficient to set its speakers apart. The population is, however, in spite of official efforts to enforce uniformity, ethnically remarkably heterogeneous. When the Ottoman Empire imploded early this century, large numbers of Muslim Slavs, Kurds, Greeks, Albanians, Crimean Tatars, Azeris, Daghestanlis, Akhazians and Circassians – to name only the largest non-Turkic groups – streamed into the modern territory, the safest refuge in an age of anti-Ottoman nationalism. This process has continued in recent years from formerly Soviet or Eastern Bloc territories (including even a few Christian Turks or Gaugaz from Moldavia), so that the diversity of the people endures, constituting one of the surprises of travel in Turkey. It’s a vast country – France would fit within its boundaries with plenty of room to spare – incorporating characteristics of Middle Eastern and Aegean, as well as Balkan and trans-Caucasian, countries. There are equally large disparities in levels of development. Astanbul boasts clubs as expensive and exclusive as any in New York or London, yet in the chronically backward eastern interior you’ll encounter standards and modes of living scarcely changed from a century ago – an intolerable gap in a society aspiring to full EU membership and other accoutrements of Westernization. Governments have sporadically attempted to address the anomalies over recent years, and the 1995-approved customs union with the EU has resulted in a flood of European imports, but it’s debatable whether the modernization process begun during the late nineteenth century has struck deep roots in the culture, or is doomed to remain a veneer, typified by a mobile-phone- and credit-card-equipped urban elite. But one of the things that makes Turkey such a rewarding place to travel is the Turkish people, whose reputation for friendliness and hospitality is richly deserved; indeed you risk causing offence by refusing to partake of it, and any transaction can be the springboard for further acquaintance. Close to the bigger resorts or tourist attractions, much of this is undoubtedly mercenary, but in most of the country the warmth and generosity is genuine – all the more amazing when recent Turkish history has demonstrated that outsiders usually only bring trouble in their wake. Turkey has been continuously inhabited and fought over for close on ten millennia, as the layer-cake arrangement of many archeological sites and the numerous fortified heights, encrusted with each era’s contribution, testify. The juxtaposed ancient monuments mirror the bewildering succession of states – Hittite, Urartian, Phrygian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Armeno-Georgian – that held sway here before the twelfth century. There is also, of course, an overwhelming number of graceful Islamic monuments dating from the eleventh century onwards, as well as magnificent city bazaars, still holding their own despite the encroachments of chain stores and suburban shopping malls.

Specification of The Rough Guide to Turkey, 4th Edition (Rough Guide Travel Guides)

AuthorRosie Ayliffe
PublisherRough Guides
Publication Date2000
Height5.08 inch.
Length1.14 inch.
Width7.74 inch.
Weight1.25 pounds.

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