Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ottomania

Dan Bilefsky reports in today's Times (here) about Ottomania, a phenomena in which people in Turkey are increasingly nostalgic for the Ottoman Empire.

The article says that Ottomania is rooted -- in part -- in a growing frustration with western Europeans' reluctance to accept Turkey as an equal - either politically (by way of admission to the European Union) or socially/culturally:
Ottomania is a harking back to an era marked by conquest and cultural splendor during which sultans ruled an empire stretching from the Balkans to the Indian Ocean and claimed the spiritual leadership of the Muslim world. The longing for those glory years — by religious Muslims and secularists alike — partly reflects Turks’ frustration with a European Union that seems ill disposed to accept them as members ...

We Turks are tired of being treated in Europe like poor, backward peasants,” said the owner of Ottoman Empire T-Shirts.
Bilefsky also says that the Turkish government has been "aggressively courting" alliances with Muslim governments including Iraq and Syria.

A recent manifestation of Ottomania is the tremendous attention in Turkey to the death, this year, of Ertugrul Osman, the heir to the Ottoman throne. It sounds as though the Turks celebrated Osman the way that some Russians continue to celebrate descendants of the czar.

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