In Crescent and Star, Stephen Kinzer offers a report on Turkey today. He traces its development into a modern state and explains the great dilemmas it now faces. Turkey is poised between Europe and Asia, caught between the glories of its Ottoman past and its hopes for a democratic future, between the traditional power of its army and the needs of its impatient citizens, between Muslim traditions and secular expectations. Will Turkey continue to hide behind its fears, remaining only half-free and fulfilling only half its great potential, or will it yield to the pressure of a new generation and become a powerful and prosperous democracy?
Kinzer spent years working and living in Turkey, and he was captivated by its many delights. He describes the pleasures of smoking water pipes, searching for the ruins of lost civilizations, watching camel fights, discovering the country's greatest poet, swimming across the fabled Bosphorus and even hosting a blues program on an Istanbul radio station. He takes us from elegant city cafés to wild mountain outposts on Turkey's eastern border, talking along the way to dissidents and patriots, villagers and cabinet ministers. He reports on political trials and on his own arrest by Turkish soldiers when he was trying to uncover secrets about the army's campaign against Kurdish guerrillas. And he explores the nation's drive to join the European Union, the human-rights abuses that have kept it out and its difficult relations with Kurds, Armenians and Greeks.
Will this vibrant country, Kinzer asks, become the world's first Islamic democracy? Crescent and Star makes clear why Turkey might—or might not—become "the most audaciously successful nation of the twenty-first century."