Monday, January 01, 2007

Turkish history

Yesterday I finished reading Birds Without Wings by Louis De Bernieres. In the end I found the violence too painful, but it certainly gave me a much deeper understanding of Turkish history. After World War I, when the Ottoman empire collapsed and the modern nation of Turkey was put together, the Greeks tried to claim western Turkey and Constantinople as historically Greek, as they were not only in ancient times but also during the Byzantine empire. When the Turks successfully resisted this, they drove out the Christians (and the Greeks drove out their Muslim population) and erased their monuments and history. A tradition of religious tolerance was reversed in the name of nation-building.

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