"The Turks are coming
A major show at the Royal Academy of Arts celebrates Turkish art. Amina Elbendary queues up, pondering its significance
For centuries the word 'Turk' had all sorts of uncomfortable connotations for the European mind. It is therefore quite interesting to see people from all walks of life queuing in an orderly British fashion to see 'Turks: A Journey of a Thousand Years, 600 -1600' at the Royal Academy of Arts. It comes at an interesting moment when Europe is reluctantly coming to terms with the idea that Turks are here to stay. After all, the European Union has just begun negotiations with Turkey on its membership. Introducing the new member-to-be would be a valid cultural enterprise. And in 21st century fashion the exhibition is funded by a number of Turkish and British businesses including a major Turkish conglomerate and a UK steel company. The hype and the queues also suggest an interest in things Turkish and Islamic -- something that finds wider expression in a series of public lectures and workshops on various topics in Turkish history. "
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