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Monday, May 30, 2011

Can Turkey Unify the Arabs? |

If I had time, I'd write a longer comment on this evocative NYT piece. Unfortunately, all I have time for is to post a link and excerpt:
“The bread of Azaz comes from Kilis, and the bread of Kilis comes from Azaz,” said Mr. Said, whose shop sits just off a road that once carried the business of the far-flung Ottoman Empire and now marks Turkey’s limits. “We’re the same. We’re brothers. What really divides us?”

As the Arab world beyond the border struggles with the inspirations and traumas of its revolution — a new notion of citizenship colliding with the smaller claims of piety, sect and clan — something else is percolating along the old routes of that empire, which spanned three continents and lasted six centuries before Ataturk brought it to an end in 1923 with self-conscious revolutionary zeal.
The basic thrust of the piece is that old Ottoman cultural, familial, and economic ties remain in the Middle East, bolstering Turkey's project of projecting a more ambitious regional profile. Definitely worth reading.

Can Turkey Unify the Arabs? -
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