ISTANBUL -- Many a curious tourist had wandered in this city in the last millennia, and I wondered how it would be like for me to wander along the city's new outreaches. Those plans disappeared by 10:00 p.m, when like Istanbul locals and tourists, I was reminded that Istanbul was now a city ruled by terror.
This month marks the 100th anniversary of the self-proclaimed "Great" Arab Revolt of 1916, launched against Ottoman rule from the Arabian Desert by Sharif Hussein, emir of Mecca. Thanks to a systematic decade-long campaign orchestrated by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the event will pass almost unnoticed in most Arab cities and media outlets.
ISTANBUL -- Nowadays, Turkey is going through a difficult period, and there is a growing sense of public anxiety following attacks by militants from ISIS and the PKK. But the current political climate, with its heated debates about big issues like secularism, is not unique in Turkey's history: the country has been here before.
I have to differ with the author, however, about the status of Damascus Jews. Denying their persecution at certain epochs of Syrian history would obviously be incorrect, but so would to claim that Damascus was hell on earth for its Jewish community. That exactly is what the book tries to push through the reader's mind, quit intentionally.
Turkey is headed in a dangerous direction, toward a corrupt, authoritarian state. The country needs an Arab Spring of sorts, but within the democratic process. An electoral revolution, not a street putsch. The use of the rule of law to end an illiberal government. The ballot box must make political power accountable.