Military officers deploying abroad and executives conducting activities overseas often receive cultural training designed to help them avoid offending host country nationals and to negotiate effectively with host country counterparts. Such cultural training usually covers the meaning of gestures in the foreign context, basic pleasantries in the foreign language, and generalities such as “Japanese will try to avoid saying no” or “Jordanians are renowned for their hospitality.” While necessary, such cultural training often falls short of meeting the needs of a person entering not only an unfamiliar culture but an unfamiliar political and historical context. A case in point is Turkey, which has a complex history of secularism, pan-Islamism, pan-Turkism, Kurdish separatism, militant leftist movements, and empire fragmentation, as well as military, political, and legal ties to the West.
Be part of the conversation. Leave your comment below.