Turkey for the Experience

Oct 22nd, 2018, 07:17 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 47,458
OK, OC, we will put May on the calendar and be very happy to meet you. I am not afraid.
StCirq is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2018, 10:53 AM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 7
Thanks very much OC, I’m sure I will!
MidnightRose is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2018, 12:44 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,609
Originally Posted by StCirq View Post
OC, my dear, my DH and I spent this hot, lazy day in the Périgord running through a list of places we might want to visit in December, when the grim weather tends to set in here and days are short and nights are black. Our list included Greece, Turkey, Malta, Sardegna, Sicily, Corsica, Portugal, and Morocco.

After endless (oh, how I tire of this research sometimes, even though with the internet it's "easy"), we settled on Morocco. My first choice was Turkey, but even I, the infamously intrepid traveler, didn't see much there to lure me in this climate. A blonde American and a Jew? Maybe not so welcome. Perhaps I'm not assessing the situation realistically. I know it would be a very cheap vacation, but that's not our only criterion for a pleasant stay away from home.

I honestly don't think I have ever evaluated vacation venues in terms of what I and my partner look like, what languages we speak, etc.

Maybe I am way off base. But we are going to Morocco.
Turkey is still very much a mainstream destination for Europeans - mostly those looking for cheap sun, cheap food, and cheap drink. It's full of Europeans (well Europeans that aren't Turks I mean). As far as looking different, you're way off. Turks are Caucasians. Mediterranean white people. And as someone else said, they have many blondes.

I don't care for a political discussion of whether they belong in Europe or not. It happens to be a muslim country but this does not mean they are non-white. We all have ignorance about different things but it sounds like (and with respect) you have a lot of ignorance about Turkey. Therefore, it should go back on the top of your list. Maybe you'll educate yourself.
walkinaround is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2018, 02:28 PM
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 167
otherchelebi, I am wondering what is going on with Khashoggi'z murder and your perspective on it from Turkey. Erdogan seems to lead the drumbeat against MBS and Saudis taking responsibility. My news coverage here in the US is probably partial to a certain perspective.
2016adventurer is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2018, 07:55 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,699
2016adventurer, here are somethings I have heard, read or thought ::

- Khashoggi (K) was an important member of the Ikhwan (Moslem Brotherhood)
- In the past, The Ikhwan was actually helped along by the Wahabi KSA to fight against secularism and socialism in the Arab world, Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia, CIS states and Indonesia.
- Ikhwan was also used or kept in the side lines to be eventually used by the US as a possible weapon against communism and socialism
- With the most recent coup in Egypt, the Ikhwan had to leave their birthplace and move their management to Qatar. There they were also required to leave by threats by KSA and other Gulf emirates.

- Currently the Ikhwan is firmly established in Turkey, controling or controled by Erdogan and USA, both of which play dangerous games. Allegiances regarding KSA, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Al Nusrah, Russia, Israel, Qatar, Egypt, Libya, Emirates, Quwait, even Pakistan and Azerbaijan are very fluid.

- Erdogan (AKP) received a great deal of financial aid froum KSA and the Emirates from 1993 until Erdogan openly sided with the Moslem Brotherhood.
One of the reasons for the economic crisis in Turkey is that the huge amounts ( some of it as request of US) stopped coming to keep the Turkish economy afloat.

- Erdogan needed to become totally involved in investigations for K's murder, because,
1. K was of the Ikhwan
2. KSA is no longer a Turkish ally
3. K was under US protection and this gives a chance to Erdogan to make up with US.
4. K was a political Islamist and against secularism, hence a supporter of the Turkish government and US policy in the Moslem Middle East.

I am sure more can be written on the subject, especially delving into traditions, revenge, desert laws. losing face. Islamic justice, self-importance. ego, complicity, hypocrisy, ignorance, death of diplomacy, etc.

Last edited by otherchelebi; Oct 23rd, 2018 at 08:00 PM.
otherchelebi is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2018, 08:44 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,857
Hi, OC! Best to you and Eser.

I just checked the restaurants in Sultanahmet that I enjoyed when in Istanbul in 2012, and was surprised to find that my two favorites have closed. I ate well, but wouldn't go out of my way to recommend any other places.

Those considering a trip to tantalizing Turkey might find some value in my old trip report. I'm sure you know how to find it.
kja is offline  
Oct 24th, 2018, 08:06 AM
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 167
Thank you, OC! Fascinating analysis. I am so intrigued by the power politics in the Middle East and Near East, but there is such paltry and primitive coverage of it here in the US.
2016adventurer is offline  
Oct 24th, 2018, 11:48 AM
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 167
Here is what I've found so far: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/23/o...gtype=Homepage.
Interesting insight.
2016adventurer is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2018, 01:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,699
I am sorry for the long hiatus. Have managed to get through a huge jet lag after flight back from two months in Chicago, partly without my BP and Diabetes medicine; and more recently a miserable cold.

There is no improvement psychologically, socially, economically and politically in Turkey.

That means that Turkey is still one of the cheaper countries to visit despite the 20% appreciation of the Turkish Lira during last two months.

There have been no incidents regarding tourists and no safety issues.
Tourism picked up this year, especially with continuing high levels of visitors from the Middle East and North Africa and from Iran and Russia.

There are some new excavations but they are too early to visit unless you are an archeological buff.
However, if it has been someyears since you visited some major sites like Gobekli Tepe, there is a great deal more to see, discover and wonder about.

I strongly recommend the following video, which opened up totally new sections of my brain to new mysteries, thoughts and dreams:


We had only a few flurries of snow last week in Istanbul. It got warmer but will be in the forties or even higher thirties during the coming week.

We will spend some time at Nicaea/Iznik and report on the status of the theatre excavation and small town life after we get there.

Seasons greetings and lots of joy and health in the coming year to all.
otherchelebi is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2018, 07:43 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,295
Good to hear from you, OC. Hope you had a good time in Chicago. Best wishes for a better 2019.
thursdaysd is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2018, 07:48 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,699
Thanks thursdayd. Chicago was mainly baby sitting with GD but managed to sneak off to Milwaukee for a day.

Here's a post I made at Chowhound for a friend of dfrost NH, which can prove helpful to other potential visitors in the coming Spring months :

Hopefully weather will have improved by time you arrive. Recommend light rainproof hoody.

Check my thread on Eating Fish in Istanbul on Fodor's Turkey forum

With only five days, where to eat depends quite a bit on where you're staying in this city of almost 18 million.

Street food is good and safe, except for stuffed mussels which are great but not safe.

Small restaurants serving local merchants and displaying their food are usually decent and tasty. They provide many home cooking style dishes.

Grilled meatballs, Urfa and Adana (spicy hot) kebaps are very good.

Doner kebap (gyro) is good but much better at certain locations. Try hole in the wall Yasar just off the Grand Bazaar, Durumcu Mehmet, at far end of the same street offers seating and his combination of one Adana kebap and half shish kebap together in flat bread is terrific. Point at garnishings of parsley, tomatoes, hot or mild green peppers and the definitely required onions. $

Seaside fish restaurants will be higher priced but still reasonable these days of depreciated Turkish Lira. To be close to downtown, try Sardunya. $$$
Across in asia at Kuzguncuk, short cab ride from Uskudar (Scutary) ferry landing is Ismet Baba which does not accept credit cards. Uskudar is a twenty minute scenic ferry ride from Eminonu. $$$

Another 20 minute ferry ride from Eminonu will take you to Kadikoy and a short walk will give you Ciya Sofrasi (Assyrian Food) and Ciya kebap. Pronounced Cheeya. $$

Nisantasi district cafes and restaurants are high scale and great for people watching

For great food try Sunset or Ulus 29. $$$$

The $ signs are for people who have TL income. You may actually subtract one $ from some of the above ;ike Ismet Baba and Ciya.

For wine, try Doluca and Sevilen brands which have both medium priced and high end Turkish red and whites. Try the single grape "Kalecikkarasi" or "Okuzgozu" red wines, "Sultan" "Emir" or "Narince" whites which are not very dry or the local Chardonnay or Muscat.

Must try Turkish Ezine white cheese.

I would go for tomato/cucumber salads rather than greens except at better restaurants, just in case.

March is a pollen allergy month. Build up your antihistamine levels before you arrive.
otherchelebi is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2018, 08:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 47,458
Lovely post, otherchelebi. We still have our sights on Turkey for May/June next year.
StCirq is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2018, 09:34 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,857
Best wishes for the holidays and 2019 for you and yours, otherchelebi. Thanks for letting us know you're OK!
kja is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2018, 12:18 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,201
Hi OC -- Nice to see you here. Your grandkids are adorable per the FB posts I see. Glad to hear things seem calm for visitors. Take care & please give my best to Eser.
yestravel is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2018, 04:37 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,655
OC, wishing you a happy and healthy 2019. Turkey has a special place in my heart.
Treesa is online now  
Dec 30th, 2018, 08:03 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,699
Thanks everyone for your greetings.

There will be New Year's celebrations only in the square in front of Cevahir Mall at Sisli. Bayoglu (including Taksim) and Besiktas municipalities announced that they are not holding any.
There will be mounted police to protect the expected crowds in Taksim.

Unfortunately Islamists have been writing and speaking against NYE celebrations in over 95% of the media all of which represent the current government view.

Over two thousand people, including famous actors, comedians, housewives, academics, journalists, TV personalities, legal professionals are being sued for "insulting" the president, usually
for using certain words previously and currently used by and for (in)famous historic national leaders, in columns, on stage, on FaceBook, Twitter, in taxi cabs, busses, ferries, schools, weddings,
and such. Many have already been sentenced and jailed. The leader himself has actually a much larger vocabulary at his or his speech writers' disposal than Trump could ever imagine for calling all critics, artists, opposition party members, and sometimes leaders of foreign governments (he called Merkel, a Nazi)

Yet life goes on, the sheep look down, the sun still shines but dimly; children naively hope for a great future, the brain drain reache 43 thousand of highly qualified professional in 2018 alone.

But here is a great synopsis of life with Turks in turkey from an Egyptian :
otherchelebi is offline  
Jan 1st, 2019, 04:26 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,699
Here is how the last day of 2018 started in Istanbul:

Sun rise over Asia

But then it became cloudy
And we woke to a depressing first day of 2019 to watch on TV news Syrian refugees having taken over Taksim square, enjoying the arrival of the new year waving official
Syrian flags.

Last edited by otherchelebi; Jan 1st, 2019 at 04:27 AM. Reason: spelling
otherchelebi is offline  
Jan 1st, 2019, 06:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 47,458
Happy New Year, otherchelebi!

Sounds like troubling times on some fronts. Looks beautiful, though. Wasn't it ever thus?

We are starting the new calendar with new travel plans, and Turkey is definitely on it for May or June. You decide for us, OK? We want to plan a visit with you and your family if possible and a week or two in the country. I have been before but my husband has not. We'll go to Greece, too, on this trip because - why not? It's right there. I'm poring over maps, but that's me.

Be in touch, please. We are eager to see you and your country.
StCirq is offline  
Jan 1st, 2019, 07:53 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,699
StCirq, wishing you and your husband best of health and happiness in 2019 and later years.

The best time for us will depend on our Chicago daughter's visit. I will let you know asap.

Consider Cappadocia if you have not done it before.
Other than that there are some historic/archeological sites which also offer natural beauty. Most of that can be planned after your arrival in Istanbul.
I am sure you will come up with a great deal which strike your fancy.
We would like to host you in Iznik also.
If you wish, Gobekli Tepe and Urfa can be done with a one night stay or two if you include Gaziantep for the mozaic museum, kebaps, baklavas and katmer and maybe even Mardin with its Assyrian monasteries and Hasankeyf if you stay a third night. These areas are safe now but may not be accessible in a few years.

We only visited Chios with a 45 minute ferry ride from Cesme and Alexandroupoli, a three hour drive from Istanbul in Greece. You may also check about a gulet trip of a few says off the Turkish coast instead of Greece.

Reminds me of Willy Wonka,“We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it.”

― Roald Dahl

Last edited by otherchelebi; Jan 1st, 2019 at 07:55 AM. Reason: assition
otherchelebi is offline  
Jan 1st, 2019, 10:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 47,458
Oh thank you, otherchelebi, we are very much looking forward to our trip in 2019 and meeting and spending time with you. Let us know when the best time is for yo
u - we are flexible.
StCirq is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:50 PM.