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Advantages and Disadvantages of Visiting Turkey At This Time

Advantages and Disadvantages of Visiting Turkey At This Time

Old Mar 30th, 2014, 02:36 AM
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I am reading Hurriyet in english about the voting and other current events issues. How is the atmosphere in Istanbul so far today?
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Old Mar 30th, 2014, 11:11 AM
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opaldog,

the early results of the elections at 9PM local time is all messed up.

There are two press agencies reporting results and they provide contradictory results about the very critical istanbul and Ankara elections.

According to the government owned and controled AA (Anadolu Agency) AKP the incumbent seems way ahead in Istanbul and slightly ahead in Ankara.

The other press agency shows the major contender CHP candidate slightly higher in istanbul and even more so in Ankara.

At some stage tonight or tomorrow, possibly after midnight the Election Institute will start releasing official figures.

While the counting is going on, there are power shortages in ten or more areas in istanbul, Ankara and other cities. It is surmised that this is to allow AKP to somehow intervene with the ballot boxes and the counting.

The opposition parties are begging for their representatives at the voting and counting stations to never leave the ballot boxes unattended until the count has become officially written and signed by all.

Coming home about 6PM this afternoon we saw some armored police vehicles stationed at critical junctions leading to Taksim square and lots of police in riot gear just as it was during the Gezi Park protest days. It was scary, like the preparation of a coup or official declaration of a police state just in case AKP is not as successful as they wished.
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Old Mar 30th, 2014, 01:47 PM
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I wish you well in the aftermath of this election and the results, whatever they may be. I am following this all with great interest.
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Old Mar 30th, 2014, 02:44 PM
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Seems that hopes of many are shattered.
The vote is for authoritarian rule with about three quarters counted.
There will be a major witch hunt now and it is expected that reporters, media personalities, writers, columnists, etc. who opposed the PM will be hunted and detained on false charges.

FG sect supporters and companies will also be targeted.

What will happen to the thousands of police, prosecutors and judges who were re-appointed during the aftermath of the corruption and money laundering investigations they had started against government members and AKP deputies and the PM's family, is uncertain.

Many of those very same police, public prosecutors and judges were instrumental in ugly mistrials of hundreds of innocent navy and air force officers plus journalists, writers and students during 2007-2013 including the environmental and anti-corruption protesters of Gezi park, including about 20 deaths and ten thousand injuries and possibly deserved what happened to them.

So, maybe it is a good thing to let these two ugly factions cause damage to each other, but the soil sems to breed these types and one cannot help but think that there will be more where they came from if only 28% of the total vote went the way of ethics, wisdom and logic in addition to human rights and freedoms even if this was just local elections somehow blown totally out of proportion.

Will get back to traveling and enjoying your vacations in Turkey if the crisis has blown over.

Just some Will Rogers advice for me and others to remind one not to get into politics:
"Do not kick a piece of cow pat if the weather is hot." with my addition, "In fact never kick one if you are not sure how hot the weather is."
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Old Mar 30th, 2014, 02:58 PM
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Too bad.
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Old Mar 31st, 2014, 03:14 PM
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Yes, too bad, too awful.....
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Old Apr 14th, 2014, 12:38 AM
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For the traveler :

- The Turkish Lira gained some ground to 2.10 to a USD and 2.93 to One Euro from 2.28 to a USD and 3.10 to a Euro.

So, some things are not as cheap as they were couple of months ago.

- The reason for the gain is high inflow of FX due to oil flow from Northern Iraq (not approved by Iraqi government) on the Turkish pipeline. About $2Billion/week last two weeks.

- The government believes they were given not only permission but a mandate to become more dictatorial by gaining 43-45% of the vote in the local elections which they took to be a referandum for their authoritarian policies and corrupt practices.

- Accordingly, both the USA and the EU have spopken strongly against these policies and practices but to deaf ears.

- New Turkish Intelligence Agency Draft law allows for wire tapping and filing all of the 35 million/year touristic visa holders arriving in Turkey. I am sure that all countries keep track of visa recipients but to publicize such activity at a time of undemocratic practices and international criticism is rather pitiful.

If the law passes, this should not be an issue for the visitor accept in cases of name similarities, etc. because of the new E-Visa regulations. Otherwise, visa procedures at borders and points of arrival would have taken longer.

i recommend that those planning visits to get their visas with time to spare just in case there are any glitches in the system or the data base.

There is a jazz festival at Cesme/Izmir with good Turkish groups, every Saturday at Cesme Marina till June 7.

There will be a morrel mushroom festival at Fethiye in May if I remember correctly.

It is a good idea to check for these types of festivals in the areas you will be visiting during the period of your travels.

And do not forget to check for the weekly markets at every small town and district of large city where you will find not only interesting fresh farmers' produce but also some very good textile bargains.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2014, 03:59 AM
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A marker has just gone up regarding May 1, 2014 in Istanbul.

The two sides are gearing up for a confrontation, daring each other.

The government and their duly appointed governor have spoken that no May 1 celebration or commemoration meeting will be allowed at Taksim Square which has traditionally been the location of such meetings in the past except when banned by dictatorial governments after military coups. In 1977, people of unknown origin or ideology opened fire on the celebrants killing some and causing panic when more were trampled to death. Investigations were not conducted properly and evidence was lost(!) to this day. other than that there has been no violence at any of these meetings.

However, both the Glorious Turkish Leader and his occupational governor of Istanbul - declared that they were banning the Taksim celebrations to prevent vandalism and any damage to local inhabitants and businesses. (the same businesses which would probably triple their average daily turnover on such a day).

I should also make it clear that there are no Turkish laws which gives glorious leader or an occupational governor the authority to ban such meetings, and that such a ban, some years ago was declared illegal and unacceptable by The Court of Human Rights at Den Hague, an institution that Turkey has agreed to respect and follow.

Some labor unions, syndicates, NGOs and the opposition parties including the Kurdish ones have declared that they will be in taksim despite what the PM and governor say.

hence there is bound to be confrontation.

The confrontation should be expected to take place at :

- Asian side entrance or approach to 1st Bosphorus Bridge
- Sisli, Nisantasi, Harbiye
- Okmeydani
- The entrances to the Galata and Unkapani bridges over the Golden Horn
- Sishane
- Tunel
- Istiklal Street
- Besiktas
- Dolmabahce
- Kabatas

- taksim square itself.


Note also that the government stated that they will allow meeting at Kadikoy square for the last time this year because the suburban grounds prepared by them for such activity is not ready.

this means that the group s meeting at Kadikoy may also start to protest causing the police to use force to shut down any criticism of the government and possibly causing things to go out of hand.

If you are in istanbul on May 1, 2014, either:

- stay in the historic peninsula.
- take a day trip to Ephesus with early and late flights
- take a trip to Iznik (Nicea) with early ferry from Yenikapi

- Get a Taksim Square view room at Marmara Taksim hotel if you are willing to spend all day there and observe making good use of room service and mini bar. - Better if you have a companion who can translate CNNTurk or HalkTV coverages of the events to you.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2014, 04:52 AM
  #169  
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By the way, I just pulled out a Food and Wine tagged thread I had started on the lounge two years ago on our trip to Southeastern Turkey, Gaziantep, Urfa, Gobeklitepe, Halfeti Rumkale; added an intro, a piece on the Birecik dam/Euphrates river trip to visit Rum kale in freezing cold and some photographs and put it on my blog, as follows :

https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?bl...0;src=postname
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Old Apr 22nd, 2014, 10:10 AM
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We are arriving on May 1st. !!

Hopefully, we will be able to transfer from IST to our hotel in Sultan Achmet without significant interference. Any suggestions or specific cautions ?
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Old Apr 22nd, 2014, 11:53 AM
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MarnieWDC,

There are no problems with the route from IST to sultanahmet at all. Nothing to worry.

Your taxi should use the coastal road and give you a lovely colorful entrance to the city.

Hopefully, i am exaggerating anyway. Enjoy your sightseeing that day.

It is a national holiday, so the Grand bazaar will probably be closed as well as the Spice Bazaar. Arasta bazaar should be open.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2014, 01:23 PM
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I really appreciate that, OC. I arrive late afternoon, so probably just stroll, settle in and go for our first dinner in Istanbul.

My good friends, Yestravel and Gottravel, enjoyed meeting you and Eser so much....if possible, we would be delighted to have an opportunity to meet you both, as well.

Teshekurederem.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2014, 01:54 PM
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Marnie, let me know name of your hotel and your length of stay in istanbul and if we can manage, we would love to. Eser is at Iznik now. I have a class on the 30th.
If we decide to take off to Iznik that evening, would you be willing to take a day off istanbul to see old Nicea?
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 06:01 AM
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OC, that sounds wonderful ! I hope we can find a mutually agreeable day to visit Old Nicea with you and Eser. If not, then meeting you both for a lunch or dinner, in Istanbul, would be excellent, too.

We will arrive May 1st; we are staying in the Dersaadet the nights of the 1,2,3, & 4.
(Tel: 90-212-458-0760 ).

We return to Istanbul, to a different hotel, for the nights of the 12, 13, & 14.

I will ask Yestravel to give your DW my name and private e address. Getting so excited to visit Turkey that I can hardly sit still
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 07:46 AM
  #175  
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You can also contact me at :

[email protected]

an account with the turkish name of my book where I thought I would be inundated by praise and comments, but was flooded by the worst kind of spam by people who promise to pay me incredible sums of money.

What did you do about Tom Tom?

here's a tweet with some interesting info for the general reader :

Can you imagine that there may be 300,000 children in #Istanbul a city surrounded and divided by water, who have never seen this water!
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 08:14 AM
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Keep you and your family safe. Sorry about the spam, I thought I was cleverer than that.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 08:27 AM
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IMDonehere, thanks. I realized it was spam immediately, especially when i received five identical messages, all written in good English.

My best to your DW and please buy her a pastrami sandwich rather than chopped liver this time.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 08:38 AM
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Can you imagine that there may be 300,000 children in #Istanbul a city surrounded and divided by water, who have never seen this water!
//

Because they are always indoors? or what?
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Old Apr 24th, 2014, 03:03 AM
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ashwinb, these children live in areas where the sea is not visible and were never taken to the shore by their parents, relatives or schools. meaning, they never crossed the Bosphorus and never visited a museum in their lives.

I am sure they spend their time playing in the streets near their home and/or watching TV. I also bet that quite a few of them older than 10 have mobile phones and/or pads.

This is not just poverty. It is a way of life, a lack of curiosity, lack of family upbringing and mainly a matter of wrong priorities.
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Old Apr 24th, 2014, 03:10 AM
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Apparently, there are over 8 Million working children below the age of 16 in Turkey, a country of about 78 million. Many of these are seasonal workers traveling over the country to work in the fields, especially during Summer break, picking hazelnuts, almonds, apricots, etc.

Yesterday was Children's holiday in Turkey. Some sat at government seats, some were arrested for protesting killing of their friends by the police, some kindergarten kids were taken for mass prayers, and others continued working as usual without a chance to see what va sea looks like.
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