yeah, there is one article that was on gamasutra that seems to be lost now that I had posted on another forum. It is an interview with James Ohlen and Trent Oster talking about the influences behind Baldur's Gate design and the obvious influences of RTS games at the time like C&C and Diablo.
They felt that, when trying to tell a story, combat should be part of that narrative, and shouldn't take you out of it. They felt that the flow of exploration in to combat with their active pause (it wasn't "RTWP" back then) system allowed for a more cinematic experience of the story being told. Baldur's Gate was a single player story experience, much like reading a D&D novel, only it was interactive. That was the feeling they were going for. Most importantly, they were trying to do something different from the litany of gold box turn based games.
If the goal is for a multiplayer game first, then sure turn based makes sense, but it is a departure from the spirit of D&D being a "collaborative story-telling" game (because even in COOP you're still playing a severely pre defined and scripted program vs the free flow of table top D&D), and from BG's clear focus on narrative and character development ... it wasn't a combat simulator.