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Advantages and Disadvantages of Visiting Turkey At This Time

Advantages and Disadvantages of Visiting Turkey At This Time

Old Dec 27th, 2013, 01:22 AM
  #81  
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Thank you for detecting the photoshop IMDone.

There are some major events in regard to the judiciary, the police, the economy and most importantly corruption in the government including four Ministers (now former) sons of ministers, sons of the Primeminister, CEO of gov. bank, mayors, governors, some big business, etc.

This is very new.
So far The Turkish Lira has devalued another 10% or so, and the stock market more than that.

The government may try to take refuge in dictatorial powers which may cause some small problems for tourists.

The Tukish union of bar associations are protesting against illegal, authoritarian moves.

A large number of NGOs have called for a big protest this evening at Taksim Square where the big protests of June 2013 took place.

(I have managed to dissuade DW, daughters and sons in law (DD and SIL from Chicago here for Holidays also) from attending the protests.)

I will keep posting as things develop.
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Old Dec 27th, 2013, 04:00 AM
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Looks like some disturbing news over the last few days. With over 1000 police sacked?
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Old Dec 27th, 2013, 07:57 AM
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The police have closed off most access to Taksim Square and are using water cannon against groups trying to march on the square.

The news is that the police have also taken the mobese street cameras out of action, possibly to stop identification of the police taking violent measures.

The former Minister of Interior, who resigned yesterday admitted last week in Parliament that the police used chemicals including tear gas in the water cannons.

CNN and two other national TVs have cameras and reporters at Taksim plus some on-line TV.

As I mentioned earlier on this thread, the followers of Fethullah Gulen were dominating the police and a large proportion of the judiciary. About 3 months ago war started between FG and the government and reached a peak last week when prosecutors arrested sons of three ministers and businessmen close to the government and the Primeminister.

Immediately, the government went on the defensive, removing a large number of police chiefs or assigning them to different posts and assigning new prosecutors to the corruption case. They also made new regulations, contrary to the constitution which required prosecutors to inform the highest ranking police chief and governor of any and all case they were investigating.

Two days ago another public prosecutor started to move against 41 new suspects in a new corruption case, including the two sons of the Primeminister. The police refused to follow his orders and he was removed from the case.

Today, one of the Supreme courts called the new Government regulation on informing the security forces unconstitutional.
In the meantime, the chief suspect and his Saudi Arabian assistant, both also suspected of being involved in Al-Qaeda financing activities, escaped the country and probably all others were busy destroying all evidence.

There is a new cabinet with well known yes-men, and the PM is giving speeches to crowd of mostly women (?) talking of an international conspiracy and all the good things he has done for this country and his honesty.

Last news is that groups trying to cross from Asia to Europe to get to Istanbul are not allowed on the ferries and that the police are trying to force their way into the opposition party district headquarters.

I am glad we are not there, although we are only a third of a mile away.

The Metro stop at Taksim has also been close.
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Old Dec 27th, 2013, 09:08 AM
  #84  
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The police intervention is comtinuing on Istiklal and its side streets. Lots of pepper gas and plastic bullets.

One woman reporter shot by plastic bullet at close range. She's fine apparently.

The pepper gas has reached our home. We have closed all windows tight.

While this is going on, the PM arrived at IST airport and gave a speech to a few thousand full of hate and conspiracy theories, almost provoking them to go after his enemies, his wife nodding frequently.

Not clear where it is all leading.
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Old Dec 27th, 2013, 09:11 AM
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Stay safe & take care, OC. Do you still have your blog? could you repost the link to it? I still follow Eser on FB.
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Old Dec 27th, 2013, 09:21 AM
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Thanks Yestravel,

I have unfortunately been very lazy and have not posted in a long time.

But here's a link :

http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blo...71326#allposts

the name is dreamsandperception

or

www.ahmetcafercelebiler.blogspot.com
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Old Dec 27th, 2013, 12:57 PM
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Here's an excerp from a good article by Joseph Dana, dated December 27, 2013 :

"...supporters have rallied on the streets of Istanbul and other major cities. When thousands took to the streets of Kadikoy, a neighborhood on Istanbul’s Asian side, calling on Erdogan to step down, AKP came wrapped in burial shrouds. The message was clear; Erdogan’s supporters are prepared to follow him to the death.

A cynical question hangs over the entire saga, would Erdogan risk Turkey’s international standing in a single-minded question to remove any and all political obstacles in his path to unrivaled power?

Over the past year, Erdogan’s charms have slowly fallen away, leaving a bombastic politician eager to entrench his power. The corruption probe represents Erdogan’s final impediment to unfettered dominance over the Turkish political scene. If he is able to neutralize the Gulen movement, survive the corruption probe and win elections in 2014, Turkey will have a new sultan. He will not be a sultan of an empire, however, but a banana republic."
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Old Dec 27th, 2013, 02:45 PM
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Sorry, the police have started attacking its own citizens in the streets again. Stay safe and let us hope there is new leader on the horizon.
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Old Dec 27th, 2013, 03:55 PM
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Best wishes in this very difficult time. Stay safe.
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Old Jan 7th, 2014, 12:13 PM
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Thank you, this has been a very helpful forum! My husband and I are planning a babymoon to Istanbul the middle of February and would appreciate any update on the events mentioned above and/or any additional recommendations.
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Old Jan 7th, 2014, 02:14 PM
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Nothing new to upset any planned visits for the near future.

There is a major war going on between the Sect and the government. So far 2,500 police were removed from their posts or given different appointments; including some who were investigating the corruption charges against government, bureaucrats and big business, (three bureau chiefs the evening of their arresting 25 for corruption regarding Izmir Port leading to relatives of the former Minister of Transport and Party candidate for mayor of Izmir in upcoming March elections.

The Central Bank is selling almost $1 Billion Foreign Currency a day to keep Turkish Lira from depreciating, but interest rates are hovering around the 10% range.

If you are thinking of shopping for jewellery, check if new draft law has passed and refrain from buying any pieces with precious stones because the government proposed an 18% VAT on all precious and semi-precious stones (there was none before) in addition to and on top of a special 20% special tax which already existed.

Silver is still an excellent buy in Istanbul. You can also still find some decent turn of the century Russian items.

beedeeo, Hi,

So far, we've had a very mild Winter with very little precipitation. Just hope that the weather does not hit Istanbul with a vengeance in February, which is usually the coldest month and also rather wet.

In spite of the location of all the historic sites, I would strongly recommend a Nisantasi hotel for lodging in February rather than one in Sultanahmet which can be rather miserable in bad weather.
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Old Jan 12th, 2014, 02:53 PM
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Thank you otherchelebi! The information is very much appreciated, we haven't booked our flight yet, but I will defintely check out the Nisantasi neighborhood versus Sultanhmet and we'll hope the nice weather continues
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 02:35 AM
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"a major war going on between the Sect and the government"

I'm spellbound by what's happening. Even the military are trying to have their convictions reviewed - conspiracies within conspiracies!
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 10:17 PM
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I think you are very brave (or foolish) otherchelebi to be so outspoken against the govt - as right as you may be. I've read Elif Shafak's works recently and recall she had to flee after writing about the Armenian situation.
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 12:33 AM
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Tommmo, I am not against the government, I am against stupidity, ignorance, bad intentions, corruption, graft, bigotry, chauvinism, narrow mindedness, greed, power broking, lack of compassion, inhumanity, lack of empathy, authoritarianism, etc.

Hence, I could never be a politician, nor can I ever condone politicians in general. In fact, I find all belief and ideological systems extremely stifling, unnatural and detrimental to personal and social development

I am a pyrrhonist and a humanitarian; an observer, narrator and scholar with the aim of seeing the absurdity and the humor of the 'human condition' and writing about it. (see my blog, http://ahmetcafercelebiler.blogspot.com/ where I've posted a few of my short pieces in English)

Elif Safak has her own political agenda and a narrower perspective of history and life. But she became famous, so, good for her, although I am not a fan just as I am a rather harsh critic of Orhan Pamuk whose father was a friend and bridge partner too many years ago.

I am not brave, but have weighed my risks and decided that I am not a public person and can get away with being a curmudgeon, a critic, a bitter old man or a sarcastic conceptual w...nker.

Needless to say, I do not speak about my political views in my graduate seminar at university.
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 05:15 AM
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Thanks other another word for me to look up "pyrrhonist"; great stuff.
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 05:38 PM
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Hi otherchelebi, we are planning to be in Istanbul from Feb 21-24. We are a little nervous about the trip, would really appreciate it if you could keep providing updates on the conditions there on this forum, It is very helpful to hear from someone who is there.

"I would strongly recommend a Nisantasi hotel for lodging in February rather than one in Sultanahmet which can be rather miserable in bad weather".
In what way is Sultanahmet worse in bad weather? I have not heard of Nisantasi, could you please provide some details about the area? It seems far from the tourist sights, any other areas that might also work besides Sultanahmet? We are currently booked at the Yasmak Sultan.
Your input would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 05:52 PM
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I am not the expert OC is, but I would suggest you not stay as far from the main sites as Nisantasi is. We stayed there for a few nights at the end of our trip after staying in Sultanhamet at the beginning out our trip. We really liked Nisantasi, but if you only have a few days in Istanbul, perhaps OC could recommend a neighborhood a bit easier/quicker to get to Sultanahmet than Nisantasi.
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Old Jan 15th, 2014, 08:00 AM
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Sultanahmet becomes a deserted large square with some imposing lit up structures after 8PM on Winter evenings. Although there are some side streets that have some life, below Sultanahmet mosque, it is a small area that caters to tourists only. If it is foggy, raining or drizzling, the few staggering Arab or East European tourists crossing the square add to the miserable feeling. Other streets have wholesale garment , shoe and leather shops which close up earlier.

Many hotels are not accessible by vehicular traffic during regular hours (don't know how long the curfew, 9 or 10 PM?)

If you prefer easy walking access to the major standard historic sights and to retire to your hotel room by 8 or 9 PM, Sultanahmet will do fine.

If you wish to experience the lifestyle of the inhabitants of the city and the night life or you would like to have the option of leaving your hotel any time during the evening and the night or early morning to have a safe walk in a decent neighborhood, Nisantasi or Tesvikiye are recommended especially in Winter.

You can get to the old city via 'dolmus' (shared van taxi) to Taksim + funicular to Kabatas + tram or short taxi ride to Kabatas to tram.
or by early morning commuter ferry from Besiktas after short taxi or dolmus.

This way you will get much better food and better wine for not much more than those of the tourist traps at Sultanahmet.
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Old Jan 15th, 2014, 08:12 AM
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The current bad news is that the government is trying to pass a new law to empower the PM and/or the Minister of Justice to close down any internet web site or search engine within four hours of noticing something they do not like. If someone does not like the censorship, they can go to court to have it lifted , the draft law says.

However, a second law they are trying to pass will also give them complete power on all Judge and prosecutor appointments and discipline procedurs.

They say, they are doing all this to recover any semblance of a unified government from the infiltration of the FG Sect into the judiciary, police and education.


Here are some of my very recent tweets for fun :


#Turkey ruling party like Swiss cheese holed by moles and held together by webs woven with flimsy strands of disbelief and apprehension.

#Turkey accuses own officials using gov't resources to achieve disparate aims as parallel gov't directed by FG sect and foreign power.


#TurkishMinofFinance proudly announced tax fine increase over 100% in 2013. A nation of crooks or government of gangsters?
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