Weblog Archives

  Thursday  September 29  2005    11: 39 AM


A must read. Turkey is at a crossroads in many ways. A long piece but very interesting.

The East in the West

On a warm Saturday night, beneath the cable car that runs up into the mountains from a quiet neighborhood in the historic Ottoman city of Bursa, the Teleferik Family Tea Garden is mobbed. Whole families from the farthest reaches of Anatolia, the Asian part of Turkey, are crowded around tables in front of glasses of tea, watching a pair of guys with a keyboard sing arabesques and rock songs in Kurdish. The families have arrived in the past few years, a cashier explains, from Tunceli, a town at the epicenter of the terrorist campaign against the Turkish state that Kurdish guerrillas waged from 1984 to 1999. Most of the young women wear the loose-fitting headscarves traditional in Turkey; others, the more elaborate and constraining ones that are a mark of newer currents in political Islam. Still others are on the dance floor, uncovered, bare-armed, dancing in an implausibly immodest way they have probably seen on videos. None of the boys are far enough removed from village mores to dare join them. Watching the dancers impassively, their mothers, in headscarves and long rain jackets despite the heat, smoke cigarettes and chatter on cellphones.


  thanks to War and Piece