Obama visits istanbul. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Turkish: Sultanahmet Camii) is a historical mosque in Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey and the capital of the Ottoman Empire (from 1453 to 1923). The mosque is one of several mosques known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior.
It was built between 1609 and 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I. Like many other mosques, it also comprises a tomb of the founder, a madrasah and a hospice. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Istanbul.
As an analyst of contemporary Turkey and the geographical region it surrounds, Stephen Kinzer, formerly the Istanbul bureau chief for The New York Times and now author of books about international relations, is hard to beat. "By resoundingly voting to reform their constitution in Sunday's referendum, Turks took a giant step in their 87-year march toward full democracy," he wrote in The Huffington Poston September 18, 2010. "They also strengthened a government that has catapulted Turkey from a near-invisibility on the world stage to the status of a rising new power." He pointed out that Turkey is an economic powerhouse, projected to grow by 11 percent in 2010, second only to China.
I've read Kinzer's 2010 book, Reset: Iran, Turkey and America's Future. He says the U.S. and Turkey need to strengthen their relationship.
“Americans have come to realize that they lack some of the historical and cultural tools necessary to navigate effectively through the Middle East and surrounding regions. They need a guide. Turkey is their best choice. As the United States shapes and carries out its policies toward Muslim countries, it should do so with Turkey at its side. … A successful partnership requires partners to listen to each other, accept each other‘s counsel, and adapt to each other‘s needs. The Turks may be ready for this kind of relationship with the United States, but America has little experience in listening to other powers. ... Shattering events of the last decade, however … have shaken Americans’ sunny “can-do” mentality. For the first time in their history, they see that there are some things in the world they cannot achieve by themselves, no matter how determined they are or how much money they spend. Many now realize that they need help … (and) the place they most need help is the Muslim world, (as) Turkey becomes America‘s next best friend.” (page 201)
I read Kinzer's 2002 book, Crescent & Star: Turkey, Between Two Worlds. He clearly fell in love with Turkey, and says it has a great future as an economic, diplomatic and political powerhouse if it can develop enough self-confidence in itself to fulfill its destiny as a strong secular democracy and model for the Islamic world.