The Portuguese Nobel prized novelist José Saramago revealed to a journalist after his visit to Istanbul in 2007;
“How have I not ever made my way to Istanbul earlier?”
What may have caused him to say this?
What impressed him so much that he felt obliged to express this as regret?
It is not all that easy to understand what lies under this quote; we can only assume.
I personally think the difficulty is how to picture Turkey through its various angles you look at her.
Another Nobel prized novelist, this time Turkish, Orhan Pamuk depicts Turkey in his books as in Istanbul since Istanbul is a picture of Turkey.
He tells us about the people there.
Turkish film director, winner of the biggest award of Cannes in 2008 sees and reflects Turkey through small rural towns like in the novels of Marquez.
Those who read about Turkey from Yasar Kemal, the most popular novelist of this country, get acquainted with
the southern province of Turkey with the extension to Taurus Mountains and there, the social bandits in their legends -as in Sicily or Corsicaappear to the reader.
All this, is Turkey. When a visitor wishes to practice such experiment and more, undoubtedly this rich soil will respond and it will supply guests with an album of memories sustainable for many generations.
Should one drop by in the summer, the scene is a dynamic land welcoming the top notch jazz stars.
The same picture features cool entertainment spots in addition to luxury hotels along with art workshops at Galata by a generation of unlimited energy and speed.
Those that move inland towards Cappadocia; will face scenes as if from another planet, an absolute unique geography.
If one goes further, to the East and a little to the South, one runs into ancient beliefs, religions and their temples of course. The Christianity of eastern boundaries has left traces as featured in the Bible, some are still alive.
In West on the Aegean, the magnificent remnants of Greco- Roman cultures revive the ancient times in today’s harvests of sacred olives and cotton in addition to vine like in Homer’s writings.
In the north, The Black Sea in spring bears the vast plains with thousands of its endemic plants.
Turkey is featured in many photographs but live in one.
This variation is Turkey and the geography here is observed in different climates, months with warm breezes in the Mediterranean versus tough cold winter days in Eastern Turkey.
The Aegean grows figs, the north lives on hazelnuts and tea.
The geographical differences, intermingled climates and inevitable migrations also from earlier nomadic life style, form the customs and lives on this land of 300,948 sq. mi. Hence, the question “how people live, lived?” counters many answers.
Secondly, the history on this soil is long and therefore complicated. Many rulers have emerged and disappeared one after another. There lies the richness of the soil that makes it fertile.
The magnificence of Roman times is observed here in Turkey today. Prehistory has left important remains here.
First human built temple of 11.000 years old is in South Eastern Turkey at Gobeklitepe.
Homer wrote the legends on Western coasts. Troy is on the Dardanelles, most of is intact and still inspiring the mankind.
The antique sites, Ephesus, Aphrodisias, Priene, Miletos reflect Roman times to the visitors.
The antique sites, Ephesus, Aphrodisias, Priene, Miletos reflect Roman times to the visitors.Noah’s ark from the sacred books is still sought by those after it in eastern Turkey. Followers of St. Paul after his steps must start the voyage from east and south of Turkey.
Those masters made the mysterious temples and installed the god heads on top of Mt. Nemrut and those who carved out the dwellings under the soft soil of tufa, all lived here.
The Ottoman ruler inherited the power from the Roman Empire was born here and the arisen power of Ottoman Empire lasted longest after the Habsburg Dynasty, lived here.
The rule of the Ottoman Dynasty of sultans administered the world from 13th to 20th century by a strong power of skillful conduct over many people from many ethnicities.
The artists of shaping rocks and architects of Turkish, Greek, Armenian masters have proved their virtues by building Bazaars, glorious mosques, palaces, baths, have signed the name of Ottoman in civilization.
The most dramatic battles of World War I took place here at Gelibolu (Gallipoli) of Canakkale where the world has witnessed the establishment of a republic on the basis of an imperial monarchy by the appearance of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey that adopted democratic parliamentarian system.
TO CATCH THE DAY / THE JOY OF TODAY
If should outline the life in Turkey today, the essence lies under the word “JOY” which is indispensable in metropolis. Those in Istanbul, express their joy when they watch the nostalgic white boats on the Bosphorus with friends, or finish a good novel or watch a well played soccer match.
In Rize of Black Sea, the traditional rice with anchovy; in Aegean, stuffed zucchini cooked with olive oil; In Mardin of South East; Zerde sweet of ginger are the joys for those when they reach these flavor.
This joy is far more than just tasting but catching the enjoyment of the moment. It is stable and is a ritual which is the meaning of life.
Saramago must have seized and saved this “JOY” from what he saw, whom he met, what he ate, in Turkey, this `Joy` only.
How come you have not made it, not coming to Turkey?