To Wesern eyes, Turkey is exotic. Itds domed mosques with minarets piercing the sky, its crowded bazaars piled high with carpets and gleaming of copper and gold, its palaces and sultans’ harems are the rich stuff of fable. The muezzin’s call to prayer startles our ears five times a day, and the syllables uttered by native men and scarved women are like nothing we’ve heard before -not one single word. This legendary strangeness both compels and confuses travelers. It also masks the reality that Turkey is a modern country, rapidly industrializing, constantly changing, growing too fast, and clamoring for recognition as a 20th-century European power.
Such strong contrasts are daily life for urban Turks, who manuever betwen the ancient and modern as deftly as they cross the new..