Any discussion of conflict between Turkey and its neighbours must take into account the social organization of the Ottoman period, says political columnist Etyen Mahï¿½upyan. The heterogeneous and hierarchical structure of religious communities governed by the paternalist-authoritarian Ottoman state enabled a smooth transition to the modern nation-state. In the authoritarian version of modernity adopted by modern Turkish governments, “national interest” has been more important than individual or sub-societal benefit. The current conflict surrounding the so-called Armenian question is a product of this cultural history.
18 January 2006