Not So Kemal
Far be it from me to pass judgment on the national hero of a country I spent less than a week in, but all the idolization of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk has made me curious about the man versus the myth. Wherever we went in Istanbul we bumped into giant statues of him – overlooking the Bosphorus, in Gulhane Park, at the top of Istiklal Caddesi. A huge gold “death mask” of Ataturk is one of the first things you see when you walk into the train station. On the monument it says “No mutlu Turkum diyene” – Proud is he who is a Turk.
Clearly, Ataturk was proud to be a Turk, but it was Turkishness of his own invention.
When he was born, circa 1880, his parents called him Mustafa. His math teacher dubbed him “Kemal,” which means perfection, and “Ataturk” – father of the Turks – came later. In fact, he wasn’t even born in Turkey, but in the Balkans. He chose a military career in the Ottoman army and gradually worked his way up to the top.
As we see so often in this part of the world, military heroism became a springboard for politics. His nationalist movement, the Young Turks, overthrew the Sultan. When the Republic of Turkey came into being on October 29, 1923, Kemal was elected president. He introduced major political, social, legal, educational, cultural and economic reforms. In short, the man was a reformer par excellence. In this respect, he reminds me of some other national leaders I know (Israel’s David Ben-Gurion comes to mind). He was a democratic leader in name, but something of a dictator in practice. According to his leadership approach, you don’t give the people what they want. You give them what they need. And he decided what they needed was to shed Islamic customs – from hats to alphabets, as if these were responsible for holding progress back. What Turkey needed, in his eyes, was to be Europe.
Kemal’s intentions were good, but it turned out that they – and he – were far from perfect. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, his detracters say, was a womanizer, a pedophile and a drunk. He died at 57 from alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver, leaving behind a country that has indeed made progress, but continues to be torn between East and West.
Istanbul, with her natural...
Istanbul, with her natural beauties and rich history, is a town with high local and international tourism potential, and from this view point one of the most attractive towns of the world. Besides her natural beauties, Istanbul has a lot of historical works remaining from the Byzantium and Ottoman periods.Especially the trio of Topkapi Palace, St Sophia Museum located in Sultanahmet Section and the Kariye Museum are the places which attract the utmost interest of foreign tourists. 870,000 persons have visited the Topkapi Palace in 1997. Number of persons visited the St Sophia Museum during the same period is 650,000. Touristic significance of mosques such as Sultanahmet (Blue Mosque), Süleymaniye and magnificient palaces, fountains, tombs, founded charities (such as roads, public water distribution points), Turkish baths; historical structures like churches, cisterns, walls etc. remaining from Byzantium period is great.
Kartepe ski resort.
Opened last year but really up and running this year.
First snow has fallen but as yet not great amounts so some runs still shut.
Map to download of the ski runs on the web page.
Spa facilities also available.
Area great for hiking at other times of the year.
Silivri is a popular vacation area about 65km from Istanbul..It offers sports,health and fittness facilities.
One of the largest golf clubs,with 18 hole, 73 par, 6200 meters.
How to go : There is buses running plus regular sea bus service connects Istanbul and Silivri.
Where to buy those Tea glasses..
When you are in Istanbul, you will be several times offered to drink tea.. And all those different nice looking glasses might take your attention..
If you intend to buy tea glasses, Pasabahce shops are the ideal location to buy them. Pasabahce is the biggest glass manufacturer of Turkey and almost all tea glasses are produced by them.. You can find pasabahce products, in several shopping malls or markets. However if you plan to buy nice glasswares also, you shall visit their product shops..
Pasabahce has 12 product shops in Istanbul and the one at istiklal street is the nearest one to the touristy area.. All kinds of glasswares.. Specialised in glasses all prices are tagged and are not due for bargain..