Wednesday, June 18, 2008

 

Mehmed II: Was that any way to talk to your father?

Turkey's performance in the Euro 2008 football (soccer) tournament--very successful, so far-- has inspired some to wonder about the geopolitical implications. "What is Turkey doing in a European tournament? If that is appropriate, why look askance at Turkey's candidacy for E.U. membership?" ( Encore la Turquie, et puis aussi un nouveau combat de l'inutile 18/06, Jean-Michel Aphatie [fr] )
It also, according to Murat Iyigun (who I read thanks to a mention on Dani Rodrik's blog) led the major Turkish daily to run the headline: "Vienna Falls!"

To be sure I understood the reference (I did), and also because I suspect Sarkozy's attitude toward Turkey (it is not to be in the E.U.) may be rooted in his Hungarian heritage, I reviewed (and went further in my reading of) Turkish history. I came upon this gem of a story in Wikipedia [slightly reformatted by me] :

...When Mehmed II was 11 years old he was sent to Amasya to govern and thus gain experience, as per the custom of Ottoman rulers before his time. After Murad II [Mehmed II's father] made peace with the Karaman Emirate in Anatolia in August 1444, he abdicated the throne to his 12-year-old son Mehmed II.

During his first reign, Mehmed II asked his father Murad II to reclaim the throne in anticipation of the Battle of Varna, but Murad II refused. Enraged at his father, who had long since retired to a contemplative life in southwestern Anatolia, Mehmed II wrote: "If you are the Sultan, come and lead your armies. If I am the Sultan I hereby order you to come and lead my armies." It was upon this letter that Murad II led the Ottoman army in the Battle of Varna in 1444.



Clearly, children parents have trouble keeping under their control are not just a phenomenon of contemporary Western society.



P.S. Why was Israel in the qualifying round for a European tournament? Next thing we know, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan will be European! Crosschecking the membership of the UEFA and the Eurovision Song Contest will be for some other time, but it seems that if "Europe" is "Region 1" and comprises the countries included in the European Broadcasting Union, then even Saudi Arabia is in.


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