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Visiting Exciting Turkey in the Throes of Restoration

Visiting Exciting Turkey in the Throes of Restoration

Old Apr 26th, 2015, 01:10 PM
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OC- saw the good news on FB...Congratulations on your new role.
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Old Apr 26th, 2015, 11:03 PM
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yestravel, it may not be a just a role. I may actually have to face it in real life. - Although, for the time being I am just a caretaker for four cats who have no interest in being replaced as objects of affection.

I also changed my Fodor's profile picture to reflect the new state of affairs.
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Old Apr 27th, 2015, 06:16 AM
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Ah...beautiful!
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Old Apr 27th, 2015, 10:29 AM
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OC - as well as cat sitting, you could be filling your days watching the cycling tour of Turkey. i only knew about it as the BBC's sports pages are full of Mark Cavendish winning both of the first two stages.

How much more excitement do you need?
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Old Apr 27th, 2015, 01:39 PM
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annhig, as everyone knows, the only way anyone can win anything in Turkey these days is through cheating and/or nepotism. So, it stands to reason that, whoever Mark Cavendish is, he must have an in with the Turkish President. Otherwise, there is no way in Heaven he could win anything.
Hah!
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Old Apr 27th, 2015, 02:13 PM
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not sure how that would work in a cycle race, OC. also, he's won races elsewhere and though the turkish president is undoubtedly powerful, i doubt that his writ runs in France or Spain.

following the Lance Armstrong scandal [if that's a strong enough word] there are suspicions that all pro cyclists are drugs cheats but given that Cav is a brit, I refuse to believe that that could possibly be true.
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Old Apr 27th, 2015, 10:53 PM
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Then, it must be because of the purple trunks that he must have desired since early childhood, a colour men would definitely not prefer to wear in Turkey. lol

The Summer is finally here. Temperatures are over 70 F in Istanbul and above 77 in Southern and Western resorts. The sea may still be cold, but the foolhardy and those from cold climates may still enjoy a dip at the beeches.

This is a good time for hiking, trekking, visiting the less known natural sites as well as antique cities without so many tourists and amidst Spring foliage/flowers in pleasant weather.

Yedi Goller (Seven Lakes) nature park, Abant, Mudurnu & Goynuk, in addition to Nicaea are lovely overnight driving trips from Istanbul.

2-3 nighters could be Western Black Sea Bartin-Amasra-Safranbolu-Pinarbasi

2-4 nighter Flying to Gazipasa, between Alanya and Anamur and visting Anamur-Ermenek-Mut-Aydincik-Silifke. (may require flight with stopover at Ankara with Anadolu Jet) (and there may not be flights everyday at suitable times) You may consider flying direct to Antalya or better still, Mersin and do the extra few hundred miles rather than lose time at airports.
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Old Apr 28th, 2015, 08:50 AM
  #168  
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Here is an alert for certain districts in istanbul on May 1:

Taksim Square has traditionally been the place for May 1 festivities. It was also the location where the celebrations were marred by gunmen shooting indiscrimnintaley and more deaths by trampling in the ensuing panic. Since 1977, the government and the municipal authorities have tried to stop the labour unions marching on to the square and the people from gathering there on May 1 and the workers fighting against the edict.

The few times Taksim square was allowed, there were no problems and everything was peaceful.

However, the government wishes to show wgo is the boss again this year. They have moved 40,000 police to Istanbul and steel barricades to the aquare and the roads leading to it, to be placed Thursday, April 30 Night.

The unions and other groups will probably try to march to the square from,

- Galata Tower
- Karakoy
- Besiktas
- Sisli
- Okmeydani
- Sishane
- Kasimpasa

directions.

I expect that commuter ferries will not run between Asia and Europe and even the First Bosphorus bridge may be closed to traffic.

I do not expect any problems at Sultanahmet and the historic city.

This will be a good day to stick to tha area or take a long Bosphorus cruise.

You may even consider one of the options I listed in the previous post.

Banks and government offices will be closed. The decent FX bureaus within the Grand Bazaar and at Tahtakale may also be closed.
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Old Apr 30th, 2015, 09:16 PM
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It is just past 8 AM on May 1 in Istanbul.

All routes to Taksim are blocked and Taksim concrete square's virginity is protected by 10,000 police.

The May 1 committee has been in intense communication with the governor of Istanbul.

The committee comprises the concerned (non-Islamist/non nationalis) labour unions and syndicates, The Turkish Medical Association, The Turkish Engineers and Architects Associations and possibly other NGOs. The largest opposition party has also called for its supporters to gather.

They have asked for a compromise permission to meet at Besiktas at 11 AM and give a press declaration.

The live feed from taksim square on Twitter shows athe curfew situation. Video at Besiktas shows some people starting to gather but also strong police presence.
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Old Apr 30th, 2015, 10:50 PM
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Good to hear that you are surviving. An A1C below 7.0 is pretty good. Cats happy?
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Old Apr 30th, 2015, 11:24 PM
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Thanks mjs,

Visiting cats are having a great vacation. One of the residents has resignedly accepted the fact and joins the fun occasionally. The other resident, Fistik (nut,) mostly stays away from sight and will react with anger to invitations to participate in games by the others, but comes to me to assure himself that I prefer him to my keyboard!

Eser is having the survival problems. SonIL became ill day after birth and has refused to lift a finger to help with cooking, cleaning, shopping (even medicine) so far, so she had to look after him also. Yesterday DD's Turkish friend arrived with brother. Today DD's MIL and SisIL will arrive from Toronto. Help or new chores for Eser?

No altercation in istanbul so far. Apparently some thousands of police reinforcements were flown into istanbul yesterday by private flights from other cities.

I tweeted that the government should establish Taksim Square as the location for a Policemen's Memorial celebration day location, so that, having closed of the square to the subjects of the Turkish Empire, they can bring their families and have picnics and games there every May 1 from this year on.

I guess walking tourists are allowed on the square after being searched and foreign reporters with valid press cards that they can exhibit. The merchants are very unhappy because they are not doing any business.

I am seeing very few commuter ferries (possibly for touristic cruises) but no smaller craft crossing between the continents on the Bosphorus.

I heard that most stray cats and dogs in the area surrounding Taksim Square have been taken under protection against possible tear gas and police violence, by animal lovers.
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Old Apr 30th, 2015, 11:33 PM
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Thank you OC! Be safe and see you soon.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 05:14 AM
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A sad bit of information for those who have not had the chance to visit the old Antakya mosaic museum :

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/anc...&NewsCatID=375

A famous cartoonist tweeted that the restorer probably wanted the new product to resemble the Turkish President Erdogan.


latest polls showing the incumbent losing more and more votes. They really have no new campaign strategy to overcome the opposition who are beating AKP and the government in their own game of making large economic promises to the lower income groups.

It also appears that the advice AKP used to receive from former overseas friends and partners is no longer available and they are left in the lurch not knowing what to do; just repeating the same things over and over again, based on advice they had for the previous elections. Shows the power of the United States in areas other than economy and the military. Pity this strategy could not be applied to North Africa, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and the United States did not realize it; in fact will still not admit it.

Only as little as fifteen years ago, my consultancy would have saved so much grief. But now, at this age, I probably would not pay me myself. Possibly Eser would pay but she is mind controled even over the long distance between Istanbul and Chicago. and she would have to pay with my credit card anyway which would be a zero sum operation in financial terms although worthwhile emotionally.

Life is good in Istanbul. I hope Keeblat and group feel the same way. I shall find out Wednesday evening.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 05:29 AM
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how do you get a contract to do work like that,,,, "here's one I botched earlier..." or "we used to have good people doing the work but they were too expensive so we got these Polish builders in..." (apol to all Polish builders).

Even, how to place a Purchase order for the work, "like it is now only flater and hard to make out?" so dis-heartening
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Old May 4th, 2015, 10:07 AM
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See you on Wednesday evening, OC! All 20 are coming to Istanbul and we are looking forward to a fun evening with you.
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Old May 11th, 2015, 07:07 AM
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Just to quickly check back before writing my trip report:

and the award goes to.....

Otherchelebi!

His hospitality and generosity are beyond compare. His knowledge of Istanbul and the world is immense and his humour is adorable.

Thank you for treating us as special guests. Your warmth and kindness made a big impression on my group.

Thanks again, Otherchelebi!
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Old May 11th, 2015, 09:28 AM
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kleeblat, thanks for yr. remarks, for bringing such a great group to Istanbul and the four four leaf clovers you brought me.

I bought some lottery tickets and am anxiously awaiting the good luck although I know that I am already blessed with enough good luck in having such a great family and friends all over the world.

Too many people with hidden and openly hidden agendas in positions of power not only in Turkey but also other countris in the region. So far travelers are not at risk here or in Macedonia. Iran is also an interesting venue for traveling at this time and can replace Egypt, Jordan, etc. as a potentially safer location.

I will be speaking again at the closing and awards ceremony in the 29th year of the Istanbul International Insurance Tennis tournament as I have done since the beginning, on election day, June 7, this year. By the time I get back home from the club, the first few ballot boxes will have been opened. An exciting day altogether.

In the meantime, sea temperatures in Southwestern Turkey on the low side due to a very cold Winter and Spring. Fethiye Hillside Beach Club and Letoonia swimmers measured the sea temperature at 17 degrees Centigrade, 62.6 F just three days ago.

I may have to delay a short excursion to island of Lesvos next week as surprise to Eser coming from a very tiring 45 days in Chicago.

Hatay near the Syrian border will be warm but that will be in all meanings of the word and I do not think I will take the chance.

This is a good time for sightseeing rather than `resorting` (did I come up with a new meaning for that word?) in Turkey.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2015, 03:01 PM
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I must get in some more popcorn supplies for the build up to Sunday's elections!
Apologies to any Turks out there if that sounds crass.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2015, 07:46 PM
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Stay safe.
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Old Jun 4th, 2015, 04:05 AM
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Thanks IMDonehere,

The night of the elections when indicative votes are in and the next morning may be rife for wonder, horror, disappointment, joy and unfortunately violence.

The incumbent and the president will be doing their best to prevent HADEP the Kurdish party to get 10% or more of the total vote which will most probably mean that they will lose their majority and even if they have a simple majority, the power to pass any law they wish by calling for a referandum which requires 60%.

Of'course Hadep may decide to join AKP in a coalition if they have representation in the parliament in exchange for more promises.

It seems that the other Islamist parties, the nationalist party and Hadep will bite into AKP's piece of the pie.

CHP the neo-socialist/neo-liberal party is hoping for the youth, retiree and female vote to increase their 26% up to 35%or more. They have the most pragmatic and ethical campaign promises, but who knows how the voters will respond.

My guestimate is:

AKP 38%
CHP 34%
MHP 18%
HADEP 10%

after the votes for the other parties have been disregarded and the seats have been distributed to the qualifiers because of the minimum 10% requirement.

Horror will be

AKP 50
CHP 30
MHP 20

The 50% vote will give quite a bit more than 50% of the seats, possibly upto 340 of the 550 or so.


IS attacks to wrest control of the most important border post between Turkey and Syria from the rebels is another big news.

The border is currently controled by Islamist fighters some of which are connected to Al-Qaeda and easily supplied by Turkey, Qatar, United States and Saudi Arabia through this post. The few non-islamist groups left in Syria recently admitted that they can get about 10-20% of the arms and ammunition intended for them and the rest are taken over by the Islamists, IS or Al-Nusrah, or just sold in the streets.

Sunday, metereology predicts heavy rains and flooding for Istanbul. That is also the election day and the day of the semi finals and the final of or Annual International Insurance Doubles Tennis Tournament where I have been the MC since the beginning 29 years ago and where I have to conduct the awards ceremony and make a State of the Universe speech, hopefully an hour before the first election results start trickling in.

Usually, first results 9 PM Turkish time

Indication 11 PM

Strong indication 3 AM
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