31 May Two Turkish Projects
First, there is this from the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News:
The groundbreaking ceremony for Istanbul’s controversial $3 billion third bridge over the Bosphorus was held yesterday, on the 560th anniversary of Istanbul’s conquest by the Ottomans. The ceremony was attended by Turkish President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the name of the bridge has been announced as “Yavuz Sultan Selim,” one of the most prominent sultans in Ottoman history. “We thought a lot about which name should be given to the third bridge over the Bosphorus in Istanbul, and we have decided on Yavuz Sultan Selim,” Gül said at the ceremony.
So they put a lot of thought into choosing the name of the bridge. And as such, they chose a Sultan who was known not only for greatly expanding the Ottoman Empire, but also for making it illegal to be a Christian within the empire. In other words, they chose an extremist, expansionist, Islamist Sultan. Certainly not the kind of individual you would wish to honor if you were seeking to build a positive and tolerant image abroad. The ceremony was concluded by prayerfully celebrating the conquest of Istanbul and memorializing the “martyrs” of that conquest:
The Turkish government has already worked on seven big projects worth $150 billion in Istanbul, which is known as the “city on the seven hills,” like Rome, [Turkish Transport Minister] Yıldırım said yesterday. In addition to these seven projects, such as the third bridge and the third airport, the prime minister announced new projects to be held… The ceremony ended with collective prayers both to commemorate martyrs and to celebrate the 560th anniversary of the conquest of Istanbul.
And then there is the other massive Turkish construction project, this one in the US:
The government of Turkey is building a 15-acre, $100 million mega-mosque in Lanham, Maryland. Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan visited the site on May 15 as part of his official visit to the U.S. The state of Maryland was officially represented at the event by its Secretary of State John McDonough. The event was also attended by the leaders of two U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities. The mega-mosque is called the Turkish American Culture and Civilization Center and, according to the Muslim Link, it “will likely become the largest and most striking examples of Islamic architecture in the western hemisphere” when it is finished in 2014. The Muslim Link explicitly says it is “a project of the government of Turkey.”
Someone certainly has a very strong sense of cultural confidence, but it most definitely is not the US. Welcome to the age of Turkish ascendancy. Read the full article by Ryan Mauro at the Clarion Project