...In February, Asharq Alawsat, a pan-Arab newspaper based in London, took note of changing attitudes in a widely circulated column, “The Return of the Ottoman Empire?”
This new mood started at home. Since it first came to power seven years ago, Turkey’s government, led by the liberal-Islamic Justice and Development Party, has taken a different approach to its role in the region. The mastermind of this turnaround—“neo-Ottomanism,” as some in Turkey and the Middle East are calling it—has been Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish prime minister’s chief foreign-policy advisor. In his 2001 book, Strategic Depth, he argued that in running away from its historical ties in the region, Turkey was also running away from political and economic opportunity...And, from being on the verge of war with Syria a decade ago, Ankara is now among Damascus’s closest allies in the region.
The Ottoman past is also in the air in Turkey. At a recent government rally, one enthusiastic supporter unfurled a banner proclaiming the prime minister “the last sultan.” Moviegoers have been flocking to see a new spate of Ottoman-themed films, from The Last Ottoman, an action flick set during World War I, to Ottoman Republic, a comedy imagining daily life in modern Turkey if the sultans were still in charge.
Istanbul’s newest cultural attraction is the municipal-run Panorama 1453 History Museum, a granite-clad building just outside the city’s ancient walls that tells the story of the Ottomans’ conquest of Byzantine Constantinople. In the gift shop, visitors can buy everything from cuff links emblazoned with the sultans’ seal to a 1,000-piece puzzle showing Mehmet the Conqueror entering Constantinople on horseback.
Just ask the Armenians. Although Obama betrayed them.
And as for Jews?
There was this instance:
On the Passover of 1917, the Turkish rulers of the country ordered the residents of Tel-Aviv to evacuate the city. Almost 8,000 people were listed for expulsion. A sense of dispossession accompanied the eviction notice. The expulsion was in effect exile from the homeland. Anxiety-ridden settlers prepared to leave their homes, although not from Egypt but, for a considerable number, to refuge in Egypt. Many felt the symbolism of their plight...
(and see here and here)
Dr. Gur Alroey, who chairs the Land of Israel Studies Department at the University of Haifa, says there was nothing heroic about that expulsion. "It's almost impossible to grasp today," he said. "Thousands simply got up and left, without resisting, and maybe that is why nobody likes to remember or recall that expulsion."
They scattered to Tiberias, Safed, Kfar Sava, Petah Tikva, Zichron Yaakov, Jerusalem. Some 2,500 of them, mainly the poor, wandered as far as the northern moshavim, or small farming communities. They had to contend with the climate, hunger, poverty and typhus. They survived the first few months, but in the winter of 1917-18, hundreds died of exposure, disease and hunger. Most of the dead were buried hastily, in unmarked graves around the country.