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Professor Sina Aksin writes that the “Tanzimat was the beginning of the national movement for civil rights and constitutional government.” This short but lively book is intended for absolute beginners and it gives them a readable but authoritative tour across two hundred years of history which will surely leave them with a clear and deep understanding of how Turkey came to be the country it is.
Professor Aksin starts in 1787 with Selim III and the impact of westernisation and nationalism in the Ottoman lands and takes us down to 2002 and the end of the Ecevit Government and Turkey’s growing confrontation with the EU.
He writes in a plain but colourful style which conveys an unmistakable sense of the flavour of the times and the people who lived in them. When there is an important question to be asked about why things unfolded as they did, Professor Aksin pauses to ask it, giving brief but lucid answers drawn from a deep understanding of his period.
Heath W Lowry, in the first of a series of articles this issue, pays tribute to the city that gave the Ottoman state its first capital.
John Carswell on the city that married the courtly arts of Asia to the princely aspirations of Renaissance Europe. Photographs by Jürgen Frank
No day passes in Turkey when horses are not racing – and when it comes to prize money the country now leads the field. Donna Landry visits Karacabey, the national stud near Bursa, with the Ottoman historian Caroline Finkel and discovers an equestrian paradise
As Bursa lay in ruins after the earthquake of 1855, the man the Sultan sent to rescue the city was Ahmed Vefik Pasha. A brilliant man of letters, champion of Ottoman causes and very undiplomatic diplomat, he was to leave an indelible mark on Turkish culture. David Barchard reinstates a wayward hero.
Christian Tyler, author of Wild West China, The Taming of Xinjiang, assesses Ergun Çağatay’s extraordinary volume of photographs of the wider Turkic world
The çörek is full of symbolism, and its association with religious festivals reflects earlier pagan customs. All sorts of buns, loaves and çörek are eaten at Sabantoy, the colourful June festival celebrated by the Altay, Çuvaş, Tatar and Başkurt peoples of Central Asia.
More cookery features
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