If you're delivering a prestigious architectural scheme in London that includes hard landscaping and real stone, the best contract managers will find you Turkish Mason-Paviors to carry out the work. Next to the Turks for quality, ability and speed rank the Portuguese and the Irish. The rest are also-rans. So my heart sank on one of my sites recently when I heard the Paviors bantering in pure East End; cockney sparrars have many fine strengths, but decent paving isn't amongst them. Not to worry, though. They were Turkish Cypriots, and the English spoken in Northern Cyprus clearly has its origins in Bow.
I like the Turks. I've rarely come across a bad'un. In war, they're superlatively brave - as we found both at Gallipoli and in Korea, when thankfully for the latter we were on the same side. In victory they're magnanimous. Kemal Ataturk's words after Gallipoli to the allied dead still get me bleary-eyed every single time; "You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears. Your sons are now living in our bosom and are in peace. Having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."
And it was Turks of course who took to the streets in North London with doner-kebab knives during the recent riots to deny the feral looters their bounty, showing us all the way. They hold family, home and work as dear as any Protestant ethicist, as they do entrepreneurship and rights to property. For all these reasons, the Euro Federasts loathe them.
In stepping forward to display regional leadership in a post Arab-Spring Maghreb, and in the process crossing Israel's bows, Turkey has done exactly the right thing. A secular Islamic republic that brews some decent beers is exactly the model democracy that offers Israel the best bet for peace and security, and the best model for Egypt, Libya and the rest. We should encourage Turkey in developing a pivotal role astride the Bosphorus, as a regional power bridging Europe and Maghreb / Arabia.