By Ahmet Abdulaziz ….
The friend of Northern Cyprus shares its Daily News of Life and Times around the world
By Ralph Kratzer
There are things in life you plan for a longer time, and the closer the date of fulfillment comes, the more doubts arise whether you are actually doing the right thing…
I already knew parts of Anatolia, geographically also called Asia Minor (small Asia), through some trips by truck from Munich in southern Germany to Hatay (Antakya) in southern Turkey (near the Syrian border) and back.
How did this happen? Before I emigrated to Cyprus 12 years ago I had almost a year without employment. The businesses in Germany had already been phased out, but the new home on the Mediterranean island was not finished yet. A Turkish friend, whose family ran a forwarding company with several 40-ton refrigerated trucks, asked me one day: “You have been many years in the German army?”…”Yes”… “Then you surely have the driving licence for trucks!”… “Of course!”…”Do you also have experience with those vehicles?”…” Yeah, right!”…” Then do a few trips for us!”…” OK! Excellent! I will do!”
Now it is necessary to mention at this point that I had always dreamed of driving one of those big American trucks from the East Coast to the West Coast of the USA, you know one of these typical youngster´s dreams… it never happened, as with so many dreams in life. So I thought, instead of USA you are going with one of these vehicles across Europe to the Near East!
Of course the harsh reality taught me very soon that truck rides on the route Germany-Austria-Hungary-Serbia-Bulgaria-Turkey and back were anything but dreamlike and I was glad that I was able to give up this job after a few trips.
At least I got a taste of the vastness of Anatolia. And when I heard that my motorcycle club Turk Riders (a big association of bikers all over Turkey and worldwide) was planning a big tour through Asia Minor for this year, I promised my participation spontaneously. (Please watch the official Turk Riders video clip by clicking the link above).
But the expected long distance on the motorcycle and the terrible incidents in Turkey in recent times made me – the nearer the date came – doubt whether it was really such a good idea. But a promise is a promise… bikers´ honour, so to speak!
So, 3 enthusiastic motorcyclists – a Cypriot, a Turk and a German – made their way from Northern Cyprus to Turkey late in August, specifically first of all by ferry from Girne in the TRNC to Tasucu on the Turkish mainland.
Thus the subject of “inconveniences” of such a journey began. To all the readers who may plan to do a similar thing, i.e. to travel by car or motorbike from Northern Cyprus to Turkey for a holiday, has to be said: the whole completion of formalities in the ports is extremely time-consuming, confusing and tedious. The ferries themselves are anything but comfortable, unclean to shabby, hot and stuffy. On our ferry (I deliberately do not mention the name and company as I think they are all pretty much the same) you could book 2 or 3-bed cabins for additional money, but without air-con these little holes are like ovens! So we decided on the so called VIP-lounge with A/C (if it works!) and reclining seats (if they work either!). It turned out that this accommodation was anything else but VIP… To say it in short, this kind of holiday begins and ends with stress!
And especially motorcyclists, I recommend, when boarding the ferry, to be with your bike through the whole procedure of securing the machine with belts (“lashing” it´s called!!) and to watch the ferry-staff on their fingers. Otherwise, damages to the motorcycle are inevitable!
After an uncomfortable overnight ferry trip, almost without sleep and without a refreshing shower the next morning, and after endless police, customs and insurance procedures at the port of Tasucu, we finally headed to our first stopover Mersin, the starting point of our 3,000 kilometres trip through the Turkish motherland.
The route had been planned in detail by the General Road Captain of the Turk Riders and led us on the 1st day from Mersin via Adana (headquarter of the club) to Gaziantep; the day after from there to Sivas, then in stages to Ankara, Eskisehir, Isparta, Karaman, Silifke and back to Tasucu.
At each location club members from the other Turkish cities and regions joined us to celebrate with us and to accompany us for the next legs of the trip.
Anatolia can be described in a few words as seemingly infinite, sometimes breathtakingly beautiful and unique, and on the other side over long distances very monotonous. Landscapes with high mountains, rolling hills and wide plains alternate, almost everything appears in the colours brown and yellow (at least at the end of the hot summer). In the central and eastern parts of the country there are few forests. And what we are completely unaccustomed to as Germans, British or generally Middle Europeans is the fact that you hardly encounter human settlements outside the major cities of Anatolia. You drive dozens of miles without seeing a village or even a couple of houses…
Daily stages of up to nearly 500 kilometres on a motorbike are a strain, especially in the heat, unlike in the air-conditioned cab of a Volvo 40-ton truck with perfect suspension seats, audio system and minibar.
On the one hand there are the Turkish road conditions. In Anatolia there are roughly 3 categories of roads:
1A-motorways with new grippy tarmac and only a few wide curves.
Then country roads (especially in the mountainous regions) with old roadbeds, plentiful curves and bends, countless potholes, patched with extremely slippery fresh tar sections, sprinkled with hazardous loose gravel or any other dirt. Cows or other livestock cavort on the road…. and everything else the heart of a biker desires….!
And last but not least there are almost impassable dirt tracks (at least if you are not traveling on an off-road Enduro bike but with a Harley Davidson!).
The latter could only be “improved” if the unpaved road was watered by tank trucks for the purpose of dust control, because then the gravel road is replaced by a “super” mud-track!
On the other hand don´t forget the Turkish motorists. If someone thinks Northern Cypriot drivers are reckless and often acting without a brain, I recommend a trip through Turkey. “No-passing” signs and speed limits are generally and deliberately ignored, dangerous overtaking and speeding everywhere, whether in town or out of town. Turks are only prevented from speeding by nearly endless traffic jams in the big cities, such as experienced in Ankara.
In Ankara we met with club friends from all over Turkey, just in time for the Victory Day on August 30th.
Along the way to the Turkish capital, of course we ran into the only thunderstorm clouds that had built up over the whole of Anatolia this time of year. Because as a biker you deserve nothing else than that and you love to be wet and soggy!
From Eskisehir to Isparta and from there to Karaman in the direction of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast the landscape becomes more varied and green, especially the lakes and mountain ranges east and south of Isparta forming a beautiful contrast to much of the route before.
After 2 more or less boring but relaxing days of waiting for the next ferry in the local Turks´ very popular recreation and holiday area of Kizkalesi on the south coast of Turkey, we finally went back to Northern Cyprus, tired but happy…
What have I learned from the exhausting days of this tour?
First, the club camaraderie was overwhelming. At each stage of our journey we were received by members of the other Turk Riders chapters most cordially. That I, as a German, am accepted and respected in their ranks, fills me with pride.
Secondly, this was probably my last big trip on a motorcycle. After numerous tours in the past with my Moto Guzzi California bike from Bavaria in Germany across all over Europe and this recent trip through Anatolia, I really only have the Route 62 in South Africa left on my bucket list, along with my partner Sarah. And this tour will be made in a very relaxed way on a rented bike without time pressure, with much shorter stages and all thinkable comfort regarding the motorcycle and the hotels…
You just don´t become younger…!
Editor´s note: Every bold, cursive and underlined link in the text above leads you automatically to more information about the specific topic.
Shared by Tom Roche…….
Enjoy LIFE and don’t WORRY about your HEALTH
Life in North Cyprus can be wonderful. The climate and scenery are amazing, fresh food is cheap and plentiful; really, there’s no excuse for not living that healthy Mediterranean lifestyle we are always hearing about.
Unfortunately, many people are concerned about the quality of health care available. That’s where the outstanding Güven Hospital comes in. If you have any health worries, or would value a second opinion, you now have the option of a consultation with experts from this world class institution.
In association with Living magazine, a one day seminar is to be held at the Cratos Hotel in Çatalköy, where you can meet experts from the Güven Hospital and put your questions to them.
The Güven Hospital is in Ankara, less than an hour’s flight time from Ercan airport. It has recently opened an office in Kyrenia, where local representatives can arrange appointments for you and organise your trip.
Güven was one of the first private hospitals in Turkey, founded in 1974. Today the Hospital employs more than 1000 people, including 200 doctors and 350 nurses. There are 251 beds in private rooms and a further 50 intensive care beds.The hospital treats more than a quarter of a million patients annually, both admissions and outpatients – and delivers 1,500 babies a year.
Come and find out how you might benefit from the skills and experience available at this outstanding hospital. Presentations will be in English and feature experts in heart disease, cancer, dementia and knee & hip replacement surgery. Afterwards there will be opportunities to meet the doctors for a free, personal appraisal.
WHERE: Cratos Hotel, Çatalköy (Molière Room)
WHEN: Wednesday 4th May. 09.30 till 5pm
Coffee breaks and free buffet lunch provided
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CALL YASMİN ÇALISKAN: 0533 842 7349
Starting :9.30 : opening (9.30 to 10.00 o’clock just coffee service while they are waiting for other people to arrive)
At 10.00: Visual presentation and introduction of Güven Hospital.
12.30 :Yasmin and Nedim Calıskan from the Cyprus Kyrenia-Bellapais office will close the conference by introducing the Güven Hospital attorney.
12.40 to 14.00 Lunch open Buffet.
14.00 : Face to face doctors meetings.
If you would like to include something please feel free to make contact with us.
Yasmin and Nedim Calıskan
By Ralph Kratzer
After my posts about “50 Facts about Cyprus” (click here!) and “50+ Facts about Germany” (click here!) I want to continue this interesting mini series on our websites with 50 Facts about Turkey. Enjoy reading!
1. Turkey’s biggest city Istanbul had been the capital of three of the world’s great empires: the Roman empire, the Byzantine empire, and the Ottoman empire.
3. St. Nicholas, the inspiration for Santa Claus, was born in Patara, Turkey. He was a historic 4th-century Christian saint and Greek Bishop of Myra/Demre, which is situated on the country’s Mediterranean Coast.
4. Turkey is one of the world’s only 5 transcontinental Eurasian countries. Asian Turkey comprises of 97% while European Turkey comprises of 3% of the country. They are separated from each other by the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles.
6. Turkey is the first world hazelnut producer and exporter, with approximately 70% and 82% of the world`s production and export respectively.
7. Antakya/Hatay near the Turkish-Syrian border (then known as Antioch) is home to the Cave Church of St. Peter or the Grotto of St. Peter, where many believe Christianity was born as a religion and one of the pilgrimage destinations for Christians. The Church is a cave carved into the mountainside on Mount Starius. The Church’s stone facade was built by Crusaders who ruled Antioch between 1098 AD to 1268 AD.
9. Once a loved symbol of nationality and a special badge of the Turks, the Fez which was worn by men and women, even if not a Moslem, is hardly seen these days. The Fez was banned on 30 August 1925 and by the 1930s it was almost gone in Turkey.
10. The current 29-letter Turkish alphabet was established as a personal initiative of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in the 1920s. Turkish was written using a Turkish form of the Arabic script for over a thousand years before.
11. Tulips do not originate from the Netherlands as most people believe. It was a wild flower growing in Central Asia that was cultivated by the Turks as early as 1000 AD. The flower found its way to Western Europe and the Netherlands only in the 17th century.
12. The Anatolian peninsula or Asian Turkey, is one of the oldest permanently occupied regions in the world. European Turkey, called Eastern Thrace, has also been inhabited since 40,000 years ago, and is known to have been in the Neolithic era by about 6000 BC.
14. Julius Caesar’s famous words, “Veni, vidi, vici” (which mean “I came, I saw, I conquered”), were uttered after he won the difficult battle against the kingdom of Pontus, which is located in Northeastern Turkey.
15. Football is the most popular sport in Turkey. Galatasaray won the UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup in 2000. The Turkish national team finished 3rd in the 2002 FIFA World Cup Finals. Istanbul has 3 famous football clubs: Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas.
16. Göbekli Tepe at the top of a mountain ridge in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey is the world’s oldest known example of monumental architecture dating some 11,600 years old. It also contains the oldest known temple.
18. It was in 640 BC when coins made of electrum were utilized for the first time in history, namely by King Croesus in Sardis, Turkey.
19. Turkey is home to 2 of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus is near Izmir, and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus is in Bodrum. The Wonders originated during the Greek era in 2nd century BC.
20. The Turkish Delight or Rahat Lokum is one of the oldest sweets in the world with history dating back 500 years. Napoleon and Winston Churchill’s favorites were the ones with pistachio filling, and Picasso used to consume it daily while working.
21. Turkey’s Çatalhöyük is one of the first urban centers in the world (at 7500 BC to 5700 BC) with wall paintings and mural art that provides a direct window into life 9,000 years ago. It is also internationally important for the understanding of the origins of agriculture and civilization.
22. Mount Ararat (5,137 m /16,854 ft) in Eastern Turkey is where Noah’s ark is widely believed to have landed after the Great Flood.
23. The Aşure or Noah’s Pudding is a Turkish dessert said to originate from Noah’s family. It is claimed that when Noah’s Ark came to rest on Mount Ararat, Noah’s family celebrated with this special dish consisting of grains, fruits and nuts.
24. The world’s first underground mosque is constructed in Turkey’s Büyükcekmece district in Istanbul. Built 7 meters beneath the surface, Sancaklar Mosque was inspired by the Cave of Hira and the building won 1st place in the World Architecture Fest competition for religious places.
25. Turkey has 11 heritages on the UNESCO World Heritage List as of 2012. They include the Archaeological Site of Troy, City of Safranbolu, Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği, Hattusha – the Hittite Capital, Historic Areas of Istanbul, Nemrut Dağ, Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük, Selimiye Mosque and its Social Complex, and Xanthos-Letoon.
27. Turkish food is a mixture and refinement of Central Asian, Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisines by Ottoman chefs. It is typically rich in fish, lamb, beef, chicken, eggplants, nuts, garlic, lentils, cumin, pepper, mint, oregano, parsley and paprika.
28. The 7 Churches of Apocalypse are all situated in the Aegean region of Anatolia – Ephesus, Smyrna (Izmir), Pergamum, Thyatira (Nazilli), Sardis, Philadelphia (Alasehir) and Laodicea.
29. In the Book of Genesis, it is said that the Garden of Eden was watered by a river that split into four streams as it went beyond the garden. Two of these streams are believed to be those that rise from the mountains of the eastern part of Turkey, namely Tigris (or Dicle) and Euphrates (or Firat).
30. Turkey’s beaches rank 3rd in the world, with 383 beaches and 21 marinas awarded a Blue Flag, an international eco-label given to beaches and marinas with high water quality, cleanliness and environmental standards. Its Mediterranean resort city of Antalya holds the world record for having the highest number of ‘Blue Flag’ certified beaches across the world with 197 beaches and 6 marinas awarded.
31. Turkey is the birthplace of the following popular historical figures: the biblical Abraham, the poet Homer, St. Paul the Apostle, the storyteller Aesop, and the “Father of History” Herodotus (first conferred by Cicero).
32. 623 years of Ottoman rule was abolished and the newly formed “Republic of Turkey” was officially proclaimed on 29 October 1923 in Ankara. Mustafa Kemal became the republic’s first President and was bestowed the honorific surname “Atatürk” (Father of the Turks).
33. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was actually born in Greece. The founder of modern Turkey was born in 1881 in what was then the Ottoman city of Selanik, now Thessaloniki, Greece’s 2nd biggest city.
34. The typical Greek dish of Moussaka originated in Turkey.
36. Turkey is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. While the entire continent of Europe has 13,000 plant species, Turkey alone has 10,000 plant species. Every 10 days a new plant species is discovered in Turkey. There are 11,500 species of flowers in Europe and Turkey alone has 9,000 species. Turkey is the richest country in Europe in terms of the variety of bird species. The number of animal species in Turkey alone number over 80,000 and to over 100,000 including sub-species. Europe has only around 60,000.
37. Turkey is ranked the 6th most popular tourism destination in the world with 35.5 million foreign visitors in 2012.
39. Istanbul has the historical building of Sirkeci Train Station. This was the last stop of the Simplon-Orient Express – “king of trains and train of kings” – between Paris and Constantinople (Istanbul) from 1883 to 1977. Agatha Christie was one of the passengers of this famous train.
40. Turkey is noted for having one of the three most famous and distinctive traditional cuisines in the world.
42. Early Christians escaping from Roman persecutions found shelter in Cappadocia (Central Anatolia).
43. There are eight countries that share a border with Turkey: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Bulgaria, Greece and Georgia.
44. Just over 80 million people live in Turkey (80,694,485) as of July 2013.
46. Turkey’s warm climate is good for growing crops. Livestock and forestry are also important industries.
47. Turkey has a strong manufacturing sector, it makes and exports cars, planes, electronics, clothing and textiles.
48. Because of its location on top of a number of continental shelf boundaries Turkey is prone to earthquakes especially in the North of the country.
49. The patron Saint of England, otherwise known as St George also originated from Turkey. He was born in an area known as Cappadocia and later lived in Palestine. He was a Roman soldier, objected to the persecution of Christians by the Romans.
50. Finally it´s interesting to know that Turkey is also classed as being one of the few countries in the world that is self-sufficient. If all trade with other countries was suddenly cut, people would still be able to drink and eat most varieties of food as well as have access to fuel and energy.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs – Özdil Nami said that it is clear that negative reflections of the continuation of the Cyprus problem are felt in a very wide area and stability and prosperity should not be expected among the Turkey, Greece and Cyprus triangle before solution of the Cyprus problem. Nami added that furthermore, regional cooperation in energy and strategic fields should not be expected.
Stressing that focusing on a comprehensive solution in Cyprus should be provided with determination, FM Nami said that a solution will especially affect the people who live in the island that’s why they should be more than willing for a solution.
Nami added: “From now on, we don’t have the luxury to miss the opportunities. We, as the side which has been mostly affected by the deadlock in the island, cannot tolerate to wait 50 years or even one day more for a solution.”
Within the framework of his Ankara visit, FM Nami gave a speech at the conference entitled ‘ Cyprus Negotiations’ at the Middle East Technical University yesterday.
Within the framework of his Ankara contacts, Foreign Minister – Özdil Nami met with the Turkish Minister of EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at the Turkish Ministry of EU Affairs.
During the meeting they discussed projects, cooperation fields and the action plan in order to put the protocol signed last week between the TRNC Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Turkish Ministry of EU Affairs into practice.
Source: TRNC Public Information Office
Less than a week after a notorious ban on Twitter went into effect, the Turkish government blocked access to YouTube on March 27. The ban was ordered hours after leaked recordings of a key security meeting were published on the video sharing website.
Turkey’s Telecommunication Directorate (TİB) has used its new authority for the first time by blocking Youtube without a court order.
Read more by clicking Hurriyet Daily News
“We stand with our users in Turkey who rely on Twitter as a vital communications platform. We hope to have full access returned soon,” the company tweeted via its own account in Turkish and English.
The closed-door meeting in Ankara was reportedly the scene of some tough bargaining and little has been disclosed about the content yet.
Twitter has taken action against the government’s ban on access, hiring a lawyer expert in cyber law.
Lawyer Gönenç Gürkaynak has confirmed that he was set to meet officials from Turkey’s Telecommunications Authority (TİB) in Ankara on behalf of Twitter, adding that discussions for finding a legal solution were ongoing. In the past, Gürkaynak had worked on the legal case against the ban on YouTube.
He left the TİB headquarters at 4:00 p.m. local time without making any public statement.
A government minister stressed that Twitter should get a permanent legal representative and “enhance its cooperation” with the Turkish authorities.
Industry Minister Fikri Işık said the microblogging website should agree to block individual accounts if it wants to resolve the row.
Social media is rife with rumors that the authorities have demanded that Twitter remove certain accounts and disclose the identities of dissidents, including the online leakers of the wiretapped recordings allegedly proving widespread corruption.
Source: Hurriyet Daily News
Indicating that comments regarding sending back those who came from Turkey and became TRNC citizens in case of an agreement were not true President Eroğlu said: “the comments made by the Greek Cypriots on this issue are not true. The Turkish army cannot leave Cyprus because the Guarantee and Alliance Agreements were signed by three states. Therefore, three states should decide unanimously. If we consider the sine qua non of Turkey these demands are not possible.”
Eroglu answered the questions of AA correspondent regarding the new period in the Cyprus negotiation process.
Expressing that there were issues that pleased him in the joint statement agreed with the Greek Cypriot side, Eroglu said that it was ‘very natural’ that the statement was written in a way which addressed both sides and stressed that the important thing was to establish a bi-zonal, bi-communal partnership based on political equality of two founding states.
As it is known, the Cyprus negotiation process was interrupted by the Greek Cypriot Administration in 2013 due to the presidential elections and economic crisis in South Cyprus.
During his conference held in Paphos, Former President, Mehmet Ali Talat stated he believed that a settlement can be reached in Cyprus due to the current conditions and both sides can approve the solution plan.
During the conference and also during the press meeting organized before, Talat stressed that during his presidency, he could not reach a settlement with the former Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias due to the problems created by the Greek Cypriot political parties and the insufficient time.
Talat added that Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades has advantages to reach a settlement due to the new conditions and also his being close to the right-wing and the church.
Underlining that advantages of a solution in the island both for the region and the Turkish and Greek Cypriot people are extremely important, Talat said that if the negotiations continue from the stage they left, it will be possible to reach a settlement in a very short time.
Replying to a question regarding Turkey’s influence over the solution process, Talat pointed out that since the year of 2000, Turkey desires a solution in Cyprus and spends efforts towards reaching a solution.
According to the statement of the Presidency, Özersay had a meeting with the Undersecretary of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Feridun Sinirlioğlu. During the meeting, the latest developments on the Cyprus issue were discussed.
It has been also recorded in the statement that Obama mentioned that Turkey can demonstrate leadership in the world through positive engagement.
Source: TRNC Public Information Office
Recently, they showed how concerned they are about their citizens no matter where they are.
On 31st January 2014, The Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Nigerian Embassy Ankara, Turkey and the Nigerian Immigration service carried out a passport renewal and extension exercise in both Ankara, Turkey and Northern Cyprus. This exercise stands to benefit those who have passport related issues such as lost, expired, correction of name or any kind of passport related issue.
Speaking to the Diplomats, it was confirmed that a 5 man Team was involved in the exercise. I was told that due to concern for its citizens, the Federal Republic of Nigeria sent a 5-man team from Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, to both Turkey and Cyprus for the exercise.
The team which included 5 officials from the Nigerian Immigration service were air-lifted from Sauka-Abuja, Nigeria on 30th January at about 11:00pm and they arrived in Istanbul in the early hours of 31st January. They later proceeded to Ankara, Turkey where the Nigerian Embassy is located to report to the Nigerian Ambassador and to commence a 7 day passport renewal exercise from 31st January to 6th February.
A team of 4 which included 3 officials of the Nigerian Immigration Service in company of an official from the Nigerian Embassy Turkey was also sent to Famagusta, North Cyprus to attend to the Nigerian citizens residing here also for all passport related issues. The exercise started on the 6th February and ended on the 9th February. The team has since returned to Nigeria.
Speaking to the beneficiaries of the exercise, which were mostly students, they confirmed that they are very delighted and happy about the exercise because it would cost them a lot to go back to Nigeria which is about 9 hour flight from Cyprus just for the purpose of Passport renewal. They also confirmed that the exercise was a successful one as both the officials, the machinery and beneficiaries co-operated. They thank the Federal Government of Nigeria for bringing Nigeria to Cyprus.