Notes from Istanbul: Oil-based wealth gap buoys extremists

July 26, 2006

You have to walk in the shoes of a Turk to understand why America’s reputation is spinning sand where we need full traction in the war against terror.

The average income in Turkey is slightly more than $8,000. But in forward-leaning cities like Istanbul, signs of wealth are everywhere.

Real-estate prices resemble those of U.S. coastal cities.

The streets of Istanbul teem with young Muslims, people who look just like anyone else you know, with the same aspirations of material comfort and happiness.

When the loudspeakers on the minarets call the faithful to prayer, no one rushes from the teahouse or sweet shop to the mosque.

It is easy to see why the people of Istanbul are skeptical of war. Read the rest of this entry »