One of the strangest things about my time spent in Turkey, was my geographic proximity to the Arab Spring uprisings. I remember having to constantly explain to concerned friends and family the fundamental differences between Turkey and these dictatorships. All Muslim countries are not created equal. And, that while I love to deplore the state of Turkish politics, it is true, Turkey is a representative democracy with a generally functioning rule of law. While Erdogan fancies himself indestructible and his power indisputable, it is not so.
I remember the day that Mubarak ceded power in Egypt. I was sitting on the top floor of the Istiklal Cd. Starbucks looking out over the street, feeling sorry for myself. I had just gotten the worst haircut of my life, and burst into tears every time I caught my reflection. It was like Justin Bieber was staring back at me. The horror.
I was on twitter when the news broke. Mubarak was stepping down. I felt ashamed of my ridiculous first-world problems. It didn’t have a hash-tag then or I would have been all over it.
I found that one of the hardest things about living during such a period was mitigating the horrors of the human rights abuses, the death, the destruction with life. There is nothing funny about people being beaten in the streets. We shouldn’t ignore it. But, we can look, with some cynical humor/shame, on the support many of these dictators received from the “great” nations of the world. I mean, remember Ghadaffi’s bedouin tent debacle in DC?
One of my closest friends in Turkey has recently started a campaign to support the Syrians. He started emailing a number of us a few months back about his plans to design and sell dictator mugs. It would be a set that could be bought, containing the faces of various, recently deposed dictators with quotes from their western supporters on the back. He corralled an artist to do the drawings, and with much support, he launched his idea. Putting aside his general aura of cynicism he decided this project should go beyond the general capitalist agenda (that is, make dolla billz), he launched a gofundme account and plans to put 65% of all proceeds from the project towards various charities working in numerous capacities to support the displaced Syrian populace.
I hope a few of you will find this project as comical as I, and that you’ll support not only the humor that carries us through, but also the Syrian people, who need all the love and support that we can muster. For more information, click the image below.
I am sure the attack on the American Embassy this past week is not news to you all.
I don’t have much to say, beyond that I am deeply saddened by the loss of the Turkish security guard, Mustafa Akarsu. While I never met him, he did a heroic and courageous thing putting himself in the line of fire, and his family should know the security that he provided, daily, for the Embassy staff, even after his loss.
This got posted by a friend on Facebook and I nearly died laughing.
I enjoy the title because it sounds quite like the “Karate Kid” and I love me some Mr. Miyagi. I prefer the one with Hilary Swank, which works here since she’s a Kareteci Kız. Also, the thought of a Turkish version of the Karate Kid would probably be spectacular. It would also likely be very sad, and would end with the brutal murder of every main character.There would be a lot of shots of Ataturk, who would be revealed at some pivotal point to have been an excellent Karate master, freshly inspiring the main character to follow through and prevail. But, like I said, he will die a cold death anyway.
After watching the clip above I was curious, so I googled the film and was brought to the IMDB page which reveals the following:
Zeynep lives with his old father. She has lost her ability to speak because of an accident. She needs an operation in order to be able to talk again. One day, five prison fugitives come to their house and kill Zeynep’s father. The fugitives take their money and attack Due to the shock, Zeynep regains her ability to speak. The fugitives are arrested but Zeynep wants to take revenge, therefore she says that the fugitives are not the ones who have attacked them. The police appoints Murat to make her give a statement. Murat teaches her how to use a gun and some karate, but she still doesn’t know he is a cop. They fall in love and decide to get married. On their wedding, the prisoners kill Murat. Nothing can stop Zeynep now from taking revenge. She becomes a policewoman and traces the fugitives one by one.
Gender confusion and comically short/incomplete sentences aside, this description is interesting. I have the following comments:
- Why does she need to lose the ability to speak?
- Under what circumstances would a presumably psychosomatic speech problem be curable through surgery?
- Yay extra-judicial justice!
- Why is a police officer teaching a crime victim how to use a gun?
- Why does he know karate?
- Of course they want to get married. Of course.
- What is on that guy’s face? Is this like that horrible shaved eyebrow craze? It kind of reminds me of Seneca Crane in the Hunger Games:
I know they “hate” each other, but I’m constantly astonished how similar Greece and Turkey can be. They both seem to breed mercurial politicians, a bureaucratic maze so complex that even the designers themselves become lost, and a national pride that is so misplaced, and so, honestly, comical, that it really is surprising they don’t get along better.
You’d have to be living under a rock to not have heard about the recent Greek election, even if it was slightly overshadowed by the ouster of Monsieur Sarkozy. The whole Greek crisis really sounds like a farce. The disorganized, high-inflation prone country of Greece somehow convinces the rest of Europe to let them piggy back on their currency. Nobody checks up on anything… for a decade. NPR’s Planet Money did a great couple of podcasts on the Greek debt crisis and the concept of a Greek default, I can’t help but laugh.
And then I see this. The Golden Dawn has gotten some headlines recently, but I didn’t take it too seriously. This guy has me taking him seriously. He is seriously delusional, but he’s seriously committed to his delusions. Isn’t that the hallmark of lunacy? Not being able to decipher delusion from reality? If so, several hundred thousand Greeks just voted for a lunatic.
I am particularly fond of his, ehem, loose translation of “Veni, vidi, vici.”
Today, we’re going a little off the beaten path. Recently, due primarily to my Pinterest addiction, I’ve been seeing a lot of Turkish-inspired design. It seems kılıms are about as hip as you can get (unless you count the Hudson Bay Blanket and those damn “Keep Calm” signs.) It was fun to see a new take on
traditional typical Turkish housewares:
I love my cezve, apart from my kılım, it is my favorite thing that I picked up in Turkey. Though, mine is the more traditional copper-plated one (picked it up in Edirne for 2TL… what what!) I ran out of coffee not too long ago, but luckily stumbled on Turkuaz, my friendly Turkish grocer, located just around the corner from the Gulen culture center. (
He his wife makes fresh yaprak sarma, kısır, and borek… but that’s another story entirely.)
I was curious who thought it was a good idea to re-invent the wheel, and, as it turns out, these folks are pretty damn creative. Here are some çay bardaklar.
And some rakı bardaklar
It seems this is a little shop run out of Ayvalık, the creative pair Tulya and Fırat are designers, and do this on the side. So, if any of you find yourself in Ayvalık any time soon, please pick me up a few of these!