Focus Point - Exploring Turkey

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Turkey has always been a fascinating country, balanced between a Moslem, autocratic past and a mostly democratic, yet still Islamic present. Turkey is a key to our middle eastern policy, a staunch backer of U.S. operations there, and a significant player in NATO.

Still, it's a country most Americans don't know much about -- or haven't known until now, thanks to a new book by Stephen Kinzer called "Crescent and Star."

Kinzer loves Turkey without being blind to its faults and problems. Chief among these is an ambivalence toward democracy, something everyone seems to want but which the power structure and the army feel the average Turk isn't ready for.

Kinzer does an excellent job describing Turkey's wrenching change from Ottoman empire to secular society, but he's ultimately hopeful for Turkey's chances to become a fully modern democratic state, given its resources, education and liberalized electorate, and especially Turkey's hoped-for integration into the European Union.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. Visit the NCPA website at to learn more. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, the uninsured.