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Travels In Turkey

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Just back from a couple of weeks traveling through Turkey to see friends in Gaziantep, Adana and Istanbul.

I was nervous about the trip as I have never been to Turkey without my husband before, but I need not have worried at all. From the moment I arrived at Gokcen airport I was looked after, cosseted and fussed by my friends and have had a truly wonderful time. I was pleased that on the journey across Turkey to Antep I traveled with a Turkish friend who showed me the ropes and made sure I was comfortable - I was not hassled by anyone and although the coach trip is long it was interesting! In Antep I was lucky enough to stay with my friends family, and although it was odd to be escorted everywhere I went it was great to be shown reality in a busy city. My friends travelled with me to Adana, where I met Turkish prejudice for the first time. Another friend had kindly arranged an apartment for me to stay in, but the apartment owner did not want my friend from Antep to stay with me. There was plenty of room, and 2 middle-aged English ladies traveling together are unlikely to be having an illicit relationship with a teenage boy but as soon as the apartment owner noticed that our escort was a Kurdish Turk he told us that the Kurdish cannot be trusted, that they are bad people, they steal and lie and yada yada yada.... I was appalled by his attitude, but kept quiet and made sure that I did not offend him. Still, my escort from Antep stayed in a small hotel not far from us and waited until we were on the coach back to Istanbul before going home to Antep. So he was a true gentleman in every sense of the word while the apartment owner showed himself, despite being middle-class, affluent and a 'committed christian' to be an ignorant, bigoted and small-minded nincompoop!

Next time I travel in Turkey I will certainly visit my friends in Antep, but I doubt I will return to Adana - particularly as I now understand that Adana has serious crime problems which are not found so much in other, perhaps poorer financially, places in this complex country. Make no mistake, I will return and travel more as there is just so much to see and learn....

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An interesting story Saina as Baykus said, and thanks for sharing it with us.

It always makes me angry when people lump others together as all being the same just because they come from a different origin, even if they have had a bad experience, why do they do that.

I can't even begin to understand what the issue is that seems to exist between some Kurds and Turks as I fear that it is rather complex. All I know is that I have meet some really nice Kurdish people also some not so nice ones, but I don't judge them as all being alike because they aren't, the same goes for any nationality. I have had a few bad experiences with French people but I don't go round telling people that all French are liers and cheats.

Unfortuately, these bigots exist in every country around the world, it's just a shame your friend had to experience it. I was pleased to read that it hasn't put you off, as you would miss meeting a lot of genuinely nice Turks. :)

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Thanks Baykus and Abi - and yes I have come across bigots in many different places so of course one idiot would not put me off Turkey as a country or the turkish people be they turks, kurds or canaries!!!!! :)

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Hi Sania,Lovely to have read your story, sounds like you are slowly but surely making your way around the country lol. I am so pleased to hear all went well.

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A good story, thanks for posting that! I lived Adana for three years, I was going somewhere with a Turkish friend and asked about how the city was growing so much, having noticed all of the neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city. He said that huge numbers of Turks (well, Kurds), had moved to Adana for employment and had really swelled the population of Adana, because times where quite hard in Eastern Turkey. So while not excusing bigotry, I can see how that would cause tension with the residents of Adana who have lived there all of their lives. I've also met Turks of the same opinion, nothing good to say about Kurds, I think a lot of that kind of thinking has been fueled by the PKK, since Turkey has lost 35,000 people to fighting with the PKK and various terrorist acts, I suppose it's the same in Europe, the UK, or the US where you might find people who think negatively about Arabs because of the acts of a few.

I've also met Turks with no Kurdish blood who make no distinction whatsoever about whether someone is Kurdish or not, and will point out that some of the early heroes of the Turkish Republic were Kurds. I had a conversation with a good friend of mine and I was making a distinction between Turks and Kurds in the conversation. At one point, he made his point by saying "they are Turks." In context, he was saying "they are Turkish citizens, it doesn't matter what their ethnicity is--they deserve the same respect, the same opportunities, and the same protection under the law." It kind of surprised me, that is, how strongly he felt about that, because he is an extremely patriotic Turk who is proud that he is an "Anatolian Turk" as he will tell you! At that time I had thought that a lot of Turks had kind of a hidden prejudice for Kurds, kind of like how some white people conceal their prejudice for other races because it's not socially acceptable, but I don't think it's as common as I once thought it was. But it's definitely still there.

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Wow. I mean WOW. This is a fantastic example of Turkish hospitality. I'm not surprised by it, this has happened to me as well. I'm just saying that this an excellent example of it.

I read a story once about how a man was in a town in Eastern Turkey, in a similar situation. A Turk happened upon him on the street, and found that this foreigner had no place to stay. The Turk invited the foreigner to his home. The foreigner shared a meal with his Turkish hosts. At first the foreigner wondered why they had served him so little. Then he came to realize that this Turkish family had given him half of everything they had to eat.

Turks are cool. In many ways I wish our countries were more like them.

If you want to reply to this topic do it here... To tell a new story, please open a new topic (click "New Topic" at the upper right). It will make your story a lot easier to find.

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Three really interesting and heart warming stories. As you all say, in which other country would you find such hospitality and friendliness?

Whether you are in a bus, a bank, trying to send something by cargo, and so on, whenever they hear you speak usually there is someone offering to help you. :)

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Hi KangalKid and thanks for your post. Interesting to see that you talk to Sania - this is a direct translation of my name, Saina, into the turkish version, or so I am assured by turkish friends who insist on calling me Sania as they are convinced that I must have turkish blood somewhere along the line!!

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  • 2 months later...

Turkey is simply the most beautifull country I have ever visited...

Istanbul,city with big traffic jam was left wonderfull emotions in my memory...

Also,I would like to notice that is very important thing how you travel through any country(I used the car) and organisation (tourism agency) is very important.

I was traveling with this agency mitsegeln segeln and I was very impresioned...

Very professional team.

With regards,Ratko Petrovich

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