Turkey Blogs

  • Getting Married in Turkey
    I never thought I would get married in Turkey, and I never thought Turkey would be a great place to get married.  When people fantasize about an exotic wedding, they imagine Tuscany, Nice, Cancun, the Caribbean; a place that mixes palm trees, scenic beaches, and local clubs holding all-night parties to the AM hours.  Who would ever think that would exist in a “Muslim country”?  It is a label which make me cringe more and more each day. When I told people that I would be eloping in Turkey, it didn’t exactly conjure up romantic mental pictures, with all the...

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  • The Meaning of Life
    When Mikael sent this video “The meaning of life” almost a year ago, I liked it a lot and I immediately wanted to write about it. Then I said to myself, let me think about it first and put all my thoughts together. After many months later, I found myself still trying to find the right words to talk about Mikael and his version of “The meaning of life”. At the end, I gave up trying to find the right words and I am just publishing the video for everyone to find their own right words. In 2004, Mikael Strandberg...

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  • A Trip to Homer’s Valley
    Following the signs to Homeros, you will descend into the first valley, which is not Homeros. It constists of a small reservoir with a waterfall, a large picnic area (piknik alani in Turkish) and some short trekking paths.

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  • FashionISTAN-BUL
    If Paris, New York, London and Milan are the main cities of fashion industry, Istanbul might be the next most popular city of fashion world. After being the culture capital in 2010, the city is ready to shine as the next fashion capital. Although Turkey is more involved in manufacturing, events like fashion weeks help to raise the country’s global profile in the industry. In the past days, the fourth Istanbul Fashion Week 2011 organized by ITKIB organization (Istanbul Textile and Apparel Exporters’ Associations), Fashion Designers Association (MTD), the United Brands Association (UBA) and the Istanbul Fashion Academy ( IMA)...

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  • Religion in Turkey: Alevi Protests
    Turkey has recently been the center of large protests once again.  In Izmir, crowds have gathered in the streets, chanting statements against the government’s requirements to have religious studies made mandatory in public schools.  The protests have been mostly peaceful, with people gathering and holding up banners, playing music, dancing, and on occasion, holding prayers. Contrary to what people may think of me as a Greek Orthodox Christian living in a “Muslim Country”, this protest is not coming from non-Muslim groups.  The uprising  was started by Alevi Muslims, a historical Turkish Muslim community who differ from the mainstream Sunni Muslims...

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  • Traditional Turkish Puppet Shadow Theater Karagoz Hacivat
    One of the greatest memories of my childhood belongs to the times when I watched traditional Turkish puppet shadow play “Karagöz & Hacivat ”. Popularized during the Ottoman period, Karagöz and Hacivat are the lead characters whose contrasting interaction is the central theme of the play. Karagöz represents the ignorant but street smart people while Hacivat is using a literary language as a member of the educated class. Their fights are somehow funny that make audience laugh and enjoy the play. The legend of Karagöz is believed to have begun in Bursa during the construction of the Ulu mosque in...

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  • The Expat’s Kurban Bayrami
    “Bayraminiz kutlu olsun!” is the greeting everyone gives each other on the day of Kurban Bayrami (in Arabic: Eid Al-Adha).  It is the most important holiday in Islam, and lasts approximately 3 days, being the equivalent to Christmas Break in the US.  It celebrates the prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael (Isaac in the Judeo-Christian tradition), in accordance with God’s demands.  However, God intervenes at the last minute, saving Ishmael, replacing him with a ram which is then sacrificed in the name of God.  This is considered to be the point where monotheism begins as a practiced faith...

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  • Christmas or New Year’s Tree?
    Celebrating Christmas a second time in Izmir brings a different experience to this expat. Having lived in Turkey for almost a year, the culture shock has come and gone, with Turkey becoming more of a home than a “cultural experience”. However, when people ask me about the holidays, they are left dumbfounded. “There are Christmas trees here. Santa Clause, lit up streets, the whole nine,” I described. “Really? But it’s a Muslim country,” my friends respond. They’re absolutely right, however, never underestimate the power of Christmas (marketing) culture. Although Turkey is predominately a Muslim country, Christianity flourished out of Asia...

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  • What’s in a Name?
    When introducing themselves, Turks frequently continue on to explain the meaning of their name.  When my new friends managed to bypass the barrier of my poor Turkish, knowing the definition made even me, a notorious forgetter of names, remember what they were called.  At first though, I was baffled by the ritual, as friends tried to pantomime concepts like angel or light, ideas for which the gestures aren’t really international. Before I came to Turkey, no one ever asked what my name meant.  I knew that there was a  family connection, and in bouts of childhood self importance I looked...

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  • The Istanbul Marathon: Once-a-year Opportunity to Walk Over the Bosphorus Bridge
    The Bosphorus Bridge is one of the two bridges in Istanbul that connects Asia and Europe. Nevertheless, it is not one of the many bridges in the world that can be either walked across or climbed. It is open for the pedestrians only for a couple of hours every year. This once-a-year opportunity to walk over the Bosphorus Bridge is the Istanbul Marathon, popularly known as the Eurasia Marathon. The occasion comes again when thousands of people will be able to walk from Asia to Europe. The Istanbul Marathon will be run tomorrow between the two continents and about 100,000...

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