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For a Taste of Four Cultures on Two Contınents

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This is my fourth annual thread on Turkey for the travel planner, the curious, for the adventurer, for the seeker of new tastes, colours, fashions, friends, history, archeology, fairy tales, the absurd, beaches, mountains, canyons, rafting, spelunking, cycling, cruising, sailing, windsurfing, skiing, continent hopping, soccer, basketball and for the social and political globalist.

I will try to post information on safety issues, roads and routes, driving and flying, and maybe even hiking while covering the economic, financial, social and political situation as background for your visit.

This first post will be on the July 15 attempted coup and its short term effects effect on the traveler.

This is the first time I have heard of a (still) secular country which had a coup attempt by a semi-clandestine religious fundamentalist organized elite movement with mass dimensions.

The FG group I have written about in earlier threads were the perpetrators of the coup attempt. I was aware of their deeply entrenched moles in the Police Force, the Judiciary and the Ministry of Education, but did not realize the extent of their infiltration in the armed forces. Just as I am writing this, a former high level functionary of the group is saying on TV that the group probably had involved up to 90% of the armed forces.

Apparently they had full control of all military academy admissions, entrance examinations and the departments involved with evaluation of soldiers and officers for promotions and postings for twenty years or more.

The president admitted that he had walked hand in hand with this group, not fully realizing the level of their involvement as a support for his aims and ambitions to become the unique leader in full control of all aspects of governance, just because he believed that they both appeared to trod with and for God.

Even though the president, his party members, deputies and even ministers had deep relations with Gulen and his followers, he did not realize that his aide-de-camp and some of his most trusted advisers were Gulen assignees.

The coup was attempted prematurely because the president's military aide was present when a list of high level Gulenists were delivered to the president. Realizing that the game was up, the coup was attempted immediately the next evening with no real planning, organization or logistics.

There was no time to try to involve most military command and the public and after a period of uncertainty the Gulenist ranks within the armed forces started turning, not taking orders, giving themselves up to the police and admitting they had made a big mistake.

Was this because the group had grown too big to control or were the religious teachings of the group leadership too illogical or was it that they had no benefits to offer to the lower ranks of their followers?

There were large rallies against the coup most nights, organized by the president for almost a whole month, but with no violence or unruly behaviour. Lots of flag waving, some chanting crowds, many bussed to the meeting sites with municipality vehicles.

Except for the closing of the major airports for just over three days, there was no interruption of tourist transportation.

Although people openly talk of possible United states involvement in aiding and abetting Gulen and his movement, this view is not extended to American tourists, unless they act as intelligence agency personnel.

I recently had a single male visitor who is an American reporter on vacation and a personal quest, and he had no problems in enjoying Istanbul and a day trip to the Aegean..

Security at all Turkish airports may be the highest of any airport anywhere. There are spot checks of vehicles within the city and no influx of Syrian refugees breaking your heart with their plight in areas where you will be sightseeing.

However, the threat of ISIS is a valid one just as it is for some other European countries, so the traveler is advised to stay clear of potential targets.

I will write of more matters soon.

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