In This Review

Turkey Unveiled: A History of Modern Turkey
Turkey Unveiled: A History of Modern Turkey
By Hugh and Nicole Pope
Overlook Press, 1999, 266 pp

Western interpretations of Turkey have long been bifurcated. Some observers view it as the most modernized Middle Eastern state, citing its parliament, diverse political parties, and female emancipation. Others see Turkey as the heir of all that was bad in the Ottoman Empire, responsible for the tragic plight of the Armenians and a bully to its own Kurdish population -- to name a few charges. Turkey Unveiled avoids these extremes. Instead, the Popes offer a complex and nuanced picture. Especially adept in narrating the recent years they experienced firsthand, the authors also provide an account of the Ottoman legacy and the early years of the republic. The emerging picture is of a dynamic but often inflexible polity with many rough edges, few heroes, and many problems -- the Kurds, the Islamists, and the military's dominant role in politics -- that the government only sporadically addresses. This first-rate political reporting demonstrates that those seeing Turkey in either the best or the worst light are only half right.