I agree, Claire Berlinski’s essay in World Affairs Journal, “Turkish Delight: A Sour Delicacy”, IS good! Wonderfully written and spot-on.
I never planned to live in Istanbul. Like so many things in my life, it just wound up that way. From my window I see massive and glittering cruise ships setting sail on the Golden Horn, sunrise over the Topkapı Palace, glowing like fire, tankers coming down from Odessa, pleasure craft coming up from the Sea of Marmara. I read somewhere that having a beautiful view adds years to your life expectancy.
My relationship with Turkey is not unambivalent, however. Lately, I have been walking down the street and wondering if the warm, kindly people I’ve long known as my neighbors—pudgy Uncle Mehmet, who sells pens at the corner store—are nodding with satisfaction at the scenes on the news of their fellow Turks waving Hamas flags, calling for the eradication of the Zionist Entity, and driving the visiting Israeli basketball team from the court with anti-Semitic curses. They probably are.
My friendships here have come under strain since the recent war in Gaza. Some of my Turkish friends have proved shockingly credulous, willing to absorb every crude slander they hear about Israel on the news and in the street. I’ve fallen out bitterly with Turks whom I viewed, until now, as liberal, Westernized moderates. And in fact, some of my Turkish friends have fallen out with their Turkish friends, having fallen victim to the same error.
That there has been an outpouring of anti-Semitism in Turkey recently should come as a surprise to no one; there has been an outpouring of anti-Semitism around the globe, as there is every time the Israeli-Palestinian conflict goes hot. But it did surprise me to discover it among friends whom I thought particularly unlikely candidates for these sentiments. I have been forced to realize that I didn’t know them—or Turkey—as well as I thought… (click here for the rest)