Letter: Turkey's record

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Sir: I usually admire the opinions of Professor Norman Stone, as common sense informed by historical knowledge. I was therefore very disappointed by his article ("The view from here", 5 December) inspired by his work at Bilkent University in Ankara; a hymn of praise to Turkey, Ankara and the university.

Modern Turkey may have begun without labour camps; it certainly began, and continues, with ethnic massacres. Its corruption in politics and business is famous. It is a safe haven for crooks. Its inflation is astronomical. Its realpolitik in international affairs is an embarrassment to its allies.

It is currently well on the way to becoming another Islamic dictactorship. Its human rights record, including routine torture, even against children, is despicable.

I have been to Ankara (in winter, admittedly). Its centre is a mud-ridden wasteland of tasteless, pre-war totalitarian concrete.

As for Bilkent, Professor Stone finds it very refreshing, compared with "swimming in glue" as a teacher in English universities. I can only suggest he resigns his Oxford professorship.


Slough, Berkshire