Sirji, some thoughts on turkeys agenda and the way it has conducted itself in the syrian war, perhaps??
also touching upon Erdogans role and his consolidation of absolute power by seizing control of the army??
Does it have anything to with Erdogan trying to force his way into the EU on his terms??
what is he afraid of??
why did he buy the S-400 system from russia and why did russia agree to sell??
Thanks for the kind words chetak. It spurs more thinking!!!
I would go to Battle of Vienna in 1683. Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Vienna
Short recap. Europe has just finished the 30 years war in 1648 and signed the Treaty of Westphalia and launched the modern world.
About 35 years later the Ottoman Turks invade Europe and lay siege to Vienna the eastern most frontier capital in Europe, after which "the Ottoman Turks ceased to be a menace to the Christian world".
The Ottomans got defeated for the first time since 1299. They left behind tons of coffee that the Viennese took up and even now best coffee in Europe is in Vienna. A Viennese baker created the croissant as victory symbol. Every time you eat one you are conquering the Ottoman Turkey.
This defeat touched of a 150 year introspection in Ottoman Turkey on the causes of defeat. Meantime Turkey started losing Eastern Europe to Russia which liberated most of it from Turkey. And went on to expand to Siberia taking over many Central Asian Turkic lands.
It was decided the problem was the pre-modern military and the Ottoman society. Sultan Mehmet II(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmud_II
) abolished the janissaries in 1826 and killed most of them by 1830. He created a modern Army that lasted till 1920.
At same time he and his successor launched baroque style of reconstruction in Istanbul. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdulmejid_I
) Look at the architecture. So both these Sultans started Westernizing their societies. Its possible that their mothers had a role for in Turkey women are very powerful as I saw on a recent trip!!!
Baroque is prelude to Modernism. I saw that in Istanbul, Vienna and even in London. But its not obvious. (In fact I don't like Hanumathappa's Vidhan Soudha or Lootyens Delhi for its baroque architecture for what it portends.)
After the defeat and overthrow of the Sultanate, Kemal Attaturk modernized Turkey. Ismet Inounu
, the successor of Attaturk kept Turkey out of WWII and eventually part of NATO. This kind of completed the cycle started by Mahmud II about 120 years before. Till recent elections Turkey was ruled by generals.
The West saw Turkey in NATO as denying Soviet Russia a foothold in Balkans and bottleneck into Mediterranean Sea. However Turkey saw it as part of eventual integration into Europe which was the object of their Modernization. They lost quite a few Turkish things on the way.
The end of Cold War finished off the Turkish utility for West in Europe. And they stalled and stopped EU integration.
At this juncture Erdogan gets into power. And sees that he needs to re-establish Turkey to Ottoman greatness to get any respect. This forced Obama to use the Gulen card to get rid of Erdogan. The Gulenist coup supported by Obama was last betrayal after Turkey acted as proxy for the West in Middle East. I think Erdogan got tipped off from those hacked files and owes one to Russia. Hence the new bonhomie.
S-400 is a weapon of prestige and Erdogan getting them means he is being weaned away from NATO.
I may be wrong on fine points but this is the big picture.
What does Turkey want?
They want to modernize but retain Islamic society with its own Turkish characteristics.
In Turkey I saw three types of : traditional i.e. burkha/abhaya, modern with hijab/ Bearded men in western clothes, Western with no Hijab/no beards.
Istanbul has become a hub for Central Asia and North Africa and is building a new airport.
One way to think of Turkey is its Anatolia or Troy.
Even Alexander's empire was mostly Asian.
The copy of Hittite treaty is there in the Istanbul Museum.