In 14 months of living in Turkey, for the most part, I have seen no evidence of support for radical Muslim groups like Al Qaeda. I had one experience in Southeast Turkey, traveling with a group of Turks and Americans, in which we stopped in a rural area overlooking the Euphrates River from a 2000-year-old Roman bridge. Momentarily wandering alone on the other side of the river and under the bridge, I encountered an Arab-looking man who asked me where I was from. "America," I said. A big grin broke out on his face (something common among the Turks, as they are most hospitable). But instead of welcoming me to his country as so many others had done, he said, "Osama Bin Laden," and gave a thumbs up. Then he started climbing down the bridge toward a group of men huddled behind some brush.
I think he was joking, but I wasn't certain, so I turned around immediately, climbed back up to the bridge, crossed it and joined the rest of my group.
I hadn't thought much about that brief encounter until I read