Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party has consolidated its power with relentless construction projects, pursued at the expense of Turkey’s cosmopolitan heritage. The country’s historic football stadiums are among the collateral.
Faced with a vast, decaying empire, the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II ruled with an iron fist, curtailing press freedom, promoting Islam and severing ties with the West. His similarities with Turkey’s current president have not gone unnoticed.
Turkey has a long history of coups, but a failed attempt on the life of President Kemal Atatürk in 1926 had a lasting impact on the country. One foreign journalist recorded the reprisals that followed with admiration – which soon turned to fear.
Over the last 30 years, western ideas about the Ottoman Empire have been transformed, just as Turkish attitudes towards the West have become increasingly negative, writes Erik Zurcher.
“Perhaps... not the noblest of victories”. This haphazard action, in which the forces of Great Britain, France and Russia destroyed a gallant Ottoman fleet, did much to ensure the achievement of Greek independence. By Robin Fedden.
Territorial concessions in Anatolia were promised to the Greeks during the First World War but, writes Cyril Falls, hope of fulfilment was defeated by the resurgent republicans of Turkey.
From the thirteenth century until the suppression of the sect by Kemal Ataturk, writes Anne Fremantle, these enthusiasts symbolized their religious beliefs by means of their ecstatic dances.