By Kevin O’Sullivan
Turkey’s recent general election (in which Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party was returned for the third time in a row) and the stalled process of its application to join the EU set me thinking about how much we have forgotten about the history of Europe’s relationship with North Africa and the Middle East. Beneath the debate about veils (see what I did there?) and the rise of fundamentalism, have we so easily forgotten how much European art and architecture owe to our Islamic cousins? Have a look at these two examples from the continent’s southern extreme – a mosaic and ceiling detail from the Alcázar in Seville – and tell me that Europe’s artistic heritage wouldn’t have been all the poorer without them.