It's that old Winston Churchill bit about how you can't think ahead into the future any further than you can reach back and remember your past. It's a balancing act.
Neat NYT article on how Turkey is rediscovering its history via film ("As if the Ottoman period never ended.") Nothing says, "growing regional/global ambitions" quite like that.
The Ottoman period, particularly during the 16th and 17th centuries, was marked by geopolitical dominance and cultural prowess, during which the sultans claimed the spiritual leadership of the Muslim world, before the empire’s slow decline culminated in World War I. For years the period was underplayed in the history taught to schoolchildren, as the new Turkish Republic created by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923 sought to break with a decadent past.
Now, as Turkey is emerging as a leader in the Middle East, buoyed by strong economic growth, a new fascination with history is being reflected in everything from foreign policy to facial hair. In the arts, framed examples of Ottoman-era designs, known as Ebru and associated with the geometric Islamic motifs adorning mosques, have gained in popularity among the country’s growing Islamic bourgeoisie, adorning walls of homes and offices, jewelry and even business cards.
I know a lot of people harbor a lot of fears about Turkey, but I think it's the best thing that's happened to the Middle East in a long time. If we didn't have a Turkey to play lead goose on the Arab Spring, we'd have to invent one.
Bring on the Gallipoli films (all four of them)!