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Advantages and Disadvantages of Visiting Turkey At This Time

Advantages and Disadvantages of Visiting Turkey At This Time

Old May 31st, 2014, 06:22 AM
  #221  
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Thanks Cowboy1968 and Ian.

Went up to taksim and Istiklal with eser and a neighbour family about noon. No traffic was allowed. The metro was closed. There were large groups of police in and out of uniform.

Those out of uniform usually wore vests with some carrying shoulder bags with truncheons sticking out. There were also hundreds of full undercover agents, some very noticeable from the way they were dressed because they had been moved in from other and smaller towns.

Gezi park was closed off with just a few small groups of young people sitting at the steps just reading books. At about 2 PM, the cops told these readers to leave the steps. they just walked down, about 10 meters and sat on a curb to continue reading.

We visited the Union of the Chambers of Mechanical Engineers, just off Istiklal to receive T-shirts prepared for the occasion with pictures of those killed by the police last year, and wore them. This drew the attention of the Reuters Reporter in the area and we were interviewed.

We also received nasty glances from the occupying forces who were not happy with us taking their photographs.

Eser almost got into trouble when she apparently mumbled, "You know where you can stick those truncheons" as she was walking by a group of cops.

here's a tweet from those hours, with a photograph :

https://twitter.com/ahmetcelebiler/s...16619228405760


Past 5 PM now. We must have just missed the CNN reporter Ivan being detained in Taksim during live coverage by undercover cop who spoke English very much like those in the old film Midnight Express. Groups are growing and so is the police presence with the water cannon moving into place.

There were not as many tourist on the streets today as there were last year, but all shops including foreign exchange offices were open.
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Old May 31st, 2014, 08:30 AM
  #222  
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Intervention started just before 7 PM upon request of Taksim platform to have about 150-200 people and some opposition deputies to be allowed to get to gezi park steps to lay some flowers and to make a press conference.

TV commentators say that there were at most 3-4000 participants and possibly twice as many police at istiklal street. It is as if the government is hoping for nasty things to happen.

CNN's Ivan Watson was released half an hour after forcefully taken away despite showing his press card on live TV. He seemed to be enjoying it! just as i would in his place if i were an american like him. Not as easy for a Turkish reporter.

There are crowds at other locations in istanbul and also at Ankara, Adana and possibly some other cities where police are also using force to dispel peaceful meetings.

here's a photograph of Eser (the terrific blond far right) and some neighbors wearing their new Tees:

https://twitter.com/ahmetcelebiler/s...74469623500800
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Old May 31st, 2014, 09:43 AM
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It seems that this will be a long night. the protesters and the pilice are playing hide-and-seek at side streets of istiklal, cihangir and Besiktas, despite the huge army of police.

All ferries from the asian side to the european side have been cancelled for som time and the groupd which met at kadikoy ferry landing have started walking towards the first bridge. Even if they are not allowed to cross, it will be some time before they even get there.

There are other sparks for freedom of opinion and speech and against authoritarianism in about 20-25 cities across the country with some small rural groups joining. Despite what the government says, these are all peaceful and orderly groups who do not allow any vandalism or violence. they will chant, sing, make speeches, read or just stay silent. They have no objectives related to income or social rights. They are purely after Human rights, environmental concerns and a better life that they can provide in a country with a secular, compassionate law abiding government for their offspring if not for themselves.
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Old May 31st, 2014, 10:02 AM
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OC, thank you so much for your thoughtful and present observations. Please stay safe...you and the lovely Eser, and the others. Our thoughts are with you.
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Old May 31st, 2014, 11:28 AM
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Troubling news, which has made me begin to wonder at what point a democratically elected leader becomes so autocratic, and so dismissive of the basic right of the people to peaceably assemble and protest, that his/her removal by non-democratic means is justified. Thank you for the on-the-scene reporting.
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Old May 31st, 2014, 01:19 PM
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Eser.. one terrific blond, indeed!

Actually, I am deeply impressed by your courage and steadfastness.
And that you don't lose your humor in times like these. But maybe you need a lot of humor these days..

As you have seen in Cologne, we start to have (on a smaller scale than in Turkey obviously) the same issues up here... AKP followers against AKP opponents..
Cem Özdemir, one of our MPs with Turkish roots, has defended Erdogan's right to free speech at the ralley in Cologne while opposing his views at the same time. Now he is under police protection again as attacks by AKP followers are feared. Özdemir's wife, originally from Argentina, already got spit by an AKP follower in Berlin's Kreuzberg district where they live.. not excatly the same as getting hit by a water cannon, I know, but still..

But all that Erdogan is good for is spreading hate and violence.
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Old May 31st, 2014, 03:05 PM
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Hi otherchelebi- I know you don't have a crystal ball but would you mind offering an opinion on our planned hotel stay very close to Taksim Square on Tues Oct 21, Wed 22, Thurs 23, depart Fri 24.

Unfortunately, I booked a non refundable internet rate and we'll lose over $1,000.00 for our Bosphorus view room if we cancel. The hotel is new and was designed by the Phillip Starck group- when I booked it was getting excellent reviews as part of the Yoo2 chain but it was sold recently and is now called Avantgarde Hotel Taksim Square. Reviews not nearly as stellar but now my main concern is the possibility of demonstrations breaking out during our stay.

We have other family members joining us those dates and will need two more rooms. We don't want to risk getting stuck in our hotel, tear gas exposure etc etc.

Earlier, I couldn't find a Sultanahmet hotel that sounded appealing-except for the $700 per night Four Seasons. We like nice mattresses and good sheets.

Live and learn- this is the last time I will book a non refundable rate months out. Should I go ahead and reserve three rooms at a different hotel (refundable)? Does it have to be a hotel in the Sultanahmet district?
Thank you for any advice you can offer.
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Old Jun 1st, 2014, 12:58 AM
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Hey OC! Just saw this on CNN last night in Portugal. So sorry this is happening. Hope you and your family and friends can continue to voice your views and stay safe. As always, thanks for the on site updates.
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Old Jun 1st, 2014, 02:25 AM
  #229  
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Marnie, Fra_Diavolo, Thanks

Yestravel, we have been following & cheering on your travels with wonder.

I just got back home, from dropping Eser at airport for her flight to Chicago. Ceylan's operation will be tomorrow and eser will be flying back on the 18th.

calville,

As far as I can tell, you have no cause to worry. There are no anniversaries of any kind or holidays or memorial days on those dates.

I have not checked the Avantgarde hotel but Taksim area will be better near end of October than Sultanahmet. You can get to Sultanahmet for major historic sightseeing easily by cab and during heavy traffic, you have funicular+tram.

You will also have the advantage of being close to the hotspots like tesvikiye-Nisantasi and Bebek, etc.

A large new hotel opened very close to our home. some of its 438 rooms have terific views. It is in one of the best Taksim area neighborhoods and in closer walking distance to public transport and some sites like Dolmabahce Palace:
http://www.agoda.com/cvk-hotels-reso...tanbul-tr.html

DW checked its gym and pool and liked it. she will probably get a membership if she can negotiate an introductory or a neighbour reduction. the old Park Hotel was an important landmark and location in the city. eser remembers high Tea there with her grandparents, I remember the last years of its bar with poets, artists and journalists.

For a cheaper hotel with a similar view (this one has same as our home) check Opera Otel, just 120 meters down the Street from the CVK Park Bosphorus. It has smaller rooms, and the street rooms are not recommended.
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Old Jun 1st, 2014, 02:53 AM
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The night continued till 3-4 AM with 122 detained including two early teens (photos of the arrest by the district police chief was on twitter) and one ten year old although some will probably be released.

the United States is appearing more and more to have accepted what the Administration or Senate thinks is inevitable, that the Turkish PM is here to stay at least for another term, and this time as an elected president with expanded powers. So, the United States, trying to make the best of a rather unpleasant situation (partially of its own making) is trying to work on solutions to Cyprus and Israeli-Turkey, Turkey-Armenia and Iraq-Turkey relations as well as opening a new base in Turkey to train new rebels to fight against Assad in Syria.

Is that how I would handle the situation if I were in Obama's place? No! But Obama does not have the advisors with the needed background and wider horizons as well as long term perspectives. Phillip of Macedon and his son Alexander (the great) employed Aritotle as an adviser. Ponder on that for a moment.

In terms of Turkey, neither the leadership nor their advisors have any understanding, horizon, background or perspective, so even a combination of Aristotle, Saint Augustine, Macchiavelli, Voltair, Russeau, Bertrand Russel, Wittgenstein and Zizek would do no good here as advisors even if any of them could survive longer than a week.

yet Turkey will remain a very important place to visit because of the incredibly still remaining heritage of tens of civilizations that destroyed, rebuilt and were destroyed in this region.

There are even supposedly evidences of alien visits new and ancient as well as temples devoted to a multitude of pleasant and not so pleasant pagan gods, the doorway to Hades, a 12,000 year old observatory built to watch a large comet together with the sacrificial altars to appease the visiting entity.

So there is some political unrest these days. This is very usual for this part of the world. If Methuselah were still alive, he would have seen it for the insignificance it has in the run of things. The new Coloseums are the streets of istiklal and Taksim Square. the Turkish police are the lions and the armed gladiators and the protesters are the unarmed slaves and the Christians. In another 20-30 years all will be forgotten to be replaced by new usurpers, dictators, killers and new symbols of the downtrodden.
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Old Jun 5th, 2014, 09:23 AM
  #231  
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No news is good news, someone or other said at some time or other. Applie to Turkey this week. Nothing significant for the traveler.

Except, sea water temperatures are a bit slow in going up on the Aegean coast, 17 at Foca (although 20 at Ayvalik) to 21 degrees Celsius at Fethiye/Marmaris and 22-24 on the Southern shores like Antalya.

My travelers advisory on driving East and Northeast from Diyarbakir and visiting Antakya/Hatay stands.

Can visit Gaziantep and Urfa or Mardin but fly there.

Eser is in Chicago, happily caring for DW after succesful procedure and basking DSIL who was given sign of possible partnership (another Dr. Faustus incident?) at law office in near future. Will replace my profile picture here with one of theirs.
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Old Jun 5th, 2014, 10:12 AM
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Are you planning on joining your happy family in Chicago?
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Old Jun 5th, 2014, 11:38 AM
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Hi Yestravel, Eser will fly back on 17-18th. Then we both go to Chicago for about 6 weeks 5-12 August till 12-21 September. We can meet if you find yourself in the vicinity.

In fact we can have a former Turkey visitors GTG, if an Illinois resident takes it up like Purduegrad. Then I can bring some Turkish spices to those who ran out of them.

I somehow lost contact with my otherchelebi mail when my laptop only partially regurgitated the coffee i fed it and then was too embarrassed to ever speak to me or to the service and maintenance chaps.

But I can be reached at a spare gmail associated with my book which I usually check every week or so, to throw away the spam which seems committed to making me rich beyond my dreams:

[email protected]

any offers that include sharing tasty food, good jazz or blues will be appreciated.

I will do my best to intervene in advance on behalf of visitors to Turkey in my absence, so that they do not face any unpleasantness
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Old Jun 5th, 2014, 06:31 PM
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I wish I were going to Chicago and could ask otherchelebi to bring me some oil-roasted Pul Biber....
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Old Jun 6th, 2014, 11:23 AM
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Wouldn't it be fun to meet up in Chicago, but don't think the timing would work. I love Chicago.

Laptops can be tough. Thanks for the new email address. Mine remains the same...my desktop and I get along just fine usually.
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Old Jun 6th, 2014, 12:41 PM
  #236  
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Sorry for mistake of date of construction of mosque:

should be 1853 .


The links to mercan Dede concerts are as follows :

Toronto - Canada
Date: June 15, 2014
Concert: Istanbulive VI Presents Mercan Dede & Istanbul Tribe
Place: The Mod Club
Information: http://themodclub.com
This event is supported by a major grant from the Turkish Cultural Foundation.

Boda - Sweden
Date: June 16, 2014 - January 14, 2015
Exhibition: "Turkish Unlimited - Made in Istanbul"
Place: The Glass Factory Museum
Information: http://theglassfactory.se/english/ex...turkish-glass/
The participation of Ahmet Ozdeniz, Baris Can Aksakal, Hale Hendekcigil and Mehmet Komurcu in this event is supported through the 2014 TCF Cultural Exchange Fellowship.

New York - USA
Date: June 17, 2014
Concert: Istanbulive VI Presents Mercan Dede & Istanbul Tribe at the Global Beat Festival
Place: Brookfield Place Winter Garden
Information: http://brookfieldplaceny.com/arts-events
This event is supported by a major grant from the Turkish Cultural Foundation.

Chicago - USA
Date: June 18, 2014
Concert: Istanbulive VI Presents Mercan Dede & Istanbul Tribe
Place: Old Town School of Folk Music
Information: http://www.oldtownschool.org
This event is supported by a major grant from the Turkish Cultural Foundation.

Cleveland - USA
Date: June 21, 2014
Concert: Istanbulive VI Presents Mercan Dede & Istanbul Tribe
Place: Cleveland Museum of Art
Information: http://www.clevelandart.org
This event is supported by a major grant from the Turkish Cultural Foundation.
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Old Jun 6th, 2014, 01:44 PM
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I may be in Chicago for some of those dates and would love to meet up if there is a gathering.
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Old Jun 6th, 2014, 08:21 PM
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We will still be in Greece unfortunately . . .

Ian
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Old Jun 8th, 2014, 08:21 AM
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Thanks so much otherchelebi for the info on CVK Bosphorus Hotel. I went ahead and booked it (fully refundable) as I think we might be able to get out of our "nonrefundable" booking at the other hotel which for some strange reason had never been charged.

The reviews of CVK on trip advisor are mostly excellent. It looks very comfortable and luxurious.
Would you mind comparing this location with a hotel stay in Nisantasi neighborhood?

Why did you feel Taksim area was better than Sultanahmet at end of October? Was it just because of the lack of probable demonstrations at that time and in general Taksim is a more desirable location? Does hotel location matter seasonally? I've read some people say staying directly on the Bosphorus in summer is ideal but not in the winter. Will it be turning cold at the end of October?

I checked out the Opera Hotel that you mentioned. In June of last year someone posted that they couldn't get to the hotel because of demonstrations and when they called the hotel they were told not to come! I see that CVK is close to the Opera as well as foreign consulates- is consular staff also potentially stuck during demonstrations?

So now I'm wondering should I make a third booking in Nisantasi just in case?
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Old Jun 8th, 2014, 11:00 AM
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Calville,

Last year the major access route to Opera hotel was closed for about ten daysdue to the biggest demonatrtions ever witnessed in Istanbul. Even then, there is a back route which would have brought the guest within 100 feet ogf the hotel with no trouble.

As far as I know, there is no reason to have a similar one in late October. However, go ahead and make another reservation at either House Hotel or at Park Hyatt at Nisantasi/tesvikiye, as long as they are refundable.

In any case, our home is just 500 feet behind the CVK and we will be among the first to know what goes on in our neighborhood, and we will post immediately.

End of october can be anything from 50-70 F in the daytime and 42-55 at night. There may be drizzling rain but no rain storms.

Nisantasi neighborhood will present more choice of restaurants, cafes, bars and fun evenings and nights. It is an upscale area where the famous and/or the rich hang out. People usually dress in the hight of fashion. No tourists, no hasslers, touts, bargaining. Lots of young and young looking elderly people out at all times. a small mall with cinemas, both expensive and budget restaurants. Street carts selling reasonably priced cleaned artichoke bottoms next to the most expensive grocer in town. A Pasabahce glassware factory store you will love in addition to Todds, Armani, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, etc. and the top Turkish designer, Vakko.

The problem with Nisantasi is horrendous traffic and lack of public transportation. You can avoid some of the traffic by walking to the back of your hotel (either one) some 3-400 feet to pick your taxi there.

CVK has quite good access to public transport, within reasonable walking distance to Dolmabahce palace and the Kabatas ferry landing where you can take ferries to the Asian side. It is close to the more middle class but old and interesting Pera (Istiklal), Galata and the bohemian Cihangir areas all of which also offer good restaurant and cafe alternatives.

And, of'course, you cannot find the view of CVK at any Nisantasi hotel or at Istanbul Hilton, or even the Swiss Hotel. The Ritz I will not recommend because it is a bad walking location.

My wife and I have lived on the same street (behind the German Consulate which is just next to CVK)since birth, where our grandfathers had built the family homes in 1909, and we would not consider moving anywhere else.
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