To understand Turkey start with the dominant reality... the awesomeness of Islam. Almost everything in Turkey whirls about it. And symbolically... The Great Blue Mosque, without subtlety, tells the world much what St. Peter's Basilica proclaims from the other Rome... There is a huge difference between theocratic and political passion. Increasingly, Liberal democracy is in tension both with the legacy of St. Peter's in the West and this triumphal Blue Mosque in the East.
Miss that point and neither Christian nor Islamic culture is penetrable.