Society, Politics, and Economy in Modern Turkey: Sociology of Turkey - Maintained by Tugrul Keskin
We are at a point in our work when we can no longer ignore empires and the imperial context in our studies. (p. 5)
― Edward W. Said, Culture and Imperialism

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Vortex A Turkish city on the frontier of Syria’s war.

By Robin Wright

The New Yorker - December 8, 2014 Issue

Gaziantep, a city in southern Turkey some forty miles from the Syrian border, has become a bustling hub at the center of the Middle East’s latest conflict. It’s a destination for spies and refugees, insurgent fighters and rebel leaders, foreign-aid workers and covert jihadists—all enmeshed in Syria’s multisided war.
I recently drove to one of Gaziantep’s upscale neighborhoods, an area of pastel apartment blocks with balconies, and took pictures of American Patriot-missile batteries on a nearby hillside. They were pointed at Syria. The missiles were deployed, last year, to defend against Scuds fired at rebel militias by the government of Bashar al-Assad. (Several Scuds had struck close to the border, and occasional artillery shells landed in Turkey.) Now the fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, a.k.a. ISIS or ISIL, are also just across the border, less than an hour away. During an inspection visit in October, NATO’s Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, told American troops manning the missiles, “Your mission is more important than ever.”
Until this summer, when ISIS began seizing large portions of Syria and Iraq, Gaziantep—or Antep, as the locals call it—was best known for its baklava. The city’s 1.5 million inhabitants have thrived as Turkey’s economic boom during the past decade brought rapid development to the Anatolian hinterlands. The Forum Mall, which opened last year, has a Popeyes, an Arby’s, a KFC, a McDonald’s, a Burger King, and a Starbucks. In October, “Fury,” with Brad Pitt, played at the cinema. I watched a red Lamborghini as it roared down a wide boulevard.


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