no. 14 (2014)

Turcja - Türkiye - Turkey

Antemurale Christianitatis – the Bulwark of Christianity – is an important constituent of many national cultures in Central Europe. It is also the experience of the Poland and Poles. Several centuries of the Polish Republic and the Ottoman Empire as neighbours are still alive in the Polish tradition and culture.

And what is interesting is that our perception of Turkey is burdened with the load of national mythology which comes from the turn of the 20th century. Its foundations still lie in the works of the Polish Nobel Prize winner Henryk Sienkiewicz from over a hundred years ago. What is more, Sienkiewicz’s glasses have become stuck on our noses so perfectly that many people forget they are looking through them at the past of our part of Europe. It is time to take them off . It is time to have a look from the other side as well.

To what extent can we talk about the European limes of the Turkish Empire? About the civilising mission of Turkey in our part of the continent? About Turkish heritage – denied, unwanted, or maybe just forgotten? At the same time we are intrigued by Turkish experience of the 20th century; the Turkish road to constructing a modern and democratic country; the complicated relations between tradition and development.

When raising these issues, we do not hesitate to ask about Turkey’s European horizon – in the past, today, and perhaps in future. Both the 90th anniversary of the signing of a treaty on friendship between the Second Polish Republic and the Turkish Republic (2013) as well as the 600th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the First Polish Republic and the Ottoman Empire (2014) make an excellent pretext to do just that.

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