how the world sees america

Taking Off to Turkey

Amar-Packing.jpg
My whole life in a bag.

Three hours to go till Turkey. As long as thunderstorms don't ground the plane, I'm gone.

Here's the final (but flexible) itinerary:

  • -Turkey till November 5.
  • -Lebanon till Nov 20.
  • -Mystery Country till December 5.
  • -Philippines till Dec 25.
  • -South Korea till January 10.
  • -Colombia till Jan 20.
  • -Venezuela till Feb 5.
  • -Mexico till Feb 25.

My editors and I picked these countries because they all have strong, specific ties to the United States, either through their history, foreign policy, or people. They're politically relevant, and different enough from one another (religiously, geographically, politically and culturally) to offer unique angles on America: its Middle East interventions, the effects of labor migrations (Mexico and the Philippines), the impact of the web and pop culture (South Korea and Lebanon), and the critique of American-style capitalism (Venezuela and Mexico). I hope you'll propose many other themes along the way.

Amar-Passport-Large.jpg
Passport primed.

I'm reaching out to the best journalists in each country from across the political spectrum, picking their brains for tighter connections to draw between the U.S. and their country. In Turkey, Soli Ozel brought up some obvious ones like the impact of the Armenian Diaspora in America, U.S. arms sales, support for the Kurds, and the Iraq War. Then a young reporter named Afsin Yurdakul also put me in touch with new filmmakers, underground movements, and rockers to check out.

So I narrowed down to the very different cities of Istanbul, Diyarbarkir and Trabzon to visit, along with small towns nearby. And as soon as I arrive I'm meeting a brain trust of bloggers to give me some sense of the word on the street, nooks and crannies to explore, and people to meet. I develop a long list of contacts, pick the most intriguing places to start, and then hit the road.

On the streets, serendipity takes it. One contact leads to the next; a rhythm builds. And soon I get lost to the world -- that's the thrilling part. I'm looking forward to your company, and your thoughts, as I go.

If you want more on my thoughts behind the project, I talk about it here on video, and have a map for you to browse.

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Comments (47)

TO ALL ENEMIES OF TURKS:

as everyone can see from that blog, enemies of Turks ve been working much and using the opportunities like this page very well...have powerful lobbies in usa and can say lies on Turks everywhere,everytime...u r very small amount of people but doing ur job very good,i must admit that you r succesful and congs..as we ve been good humans since centuries who has the same nationality as Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi,we do not use that kind of lies and accusations on every possibilities. come,come whoever u r come says Rumi and we all think that way,no enmity here... so do not waste ur time on those internet pages to say lies, do nice things and use internet in a good way in ur short life as u say...peace and love from Turkey...and hasan i want to tell u something too...u say Trabzon people r Laz who r not Turk is wrong man,laz people r at aftr Rize,we are all real Turks here but we have some Greeks too and living together in peace..and many of the strong governments like usa,uk,israel know that people from Trabzon r the very important dynamic of the Turkey and interest wth Trabzon...go to that page and learn something please about the real Turks in Trabzon...http://ahmetyazar.blogcu.com/1784935/(sorry for bad my english,i hope u understand me except who does not want to understand the truths)
AMAR- Well done if u went to Trabzon but if not u can call me when u arrive here,let me know please

To Hasan:

Hasan, my man, Greeks killing Turks in Athens? Are you referring to the Greek War of Independence? Then yesssss. If you are, however, trying to compare that ordinary battle field stuff (and why shouldn't they burn the traces of their oppressors, by the way?) with the planned murder/expulsion of all Christian minorities in Turkey, in which millions were killed and in the most wicked ways possible (buried alive...arms chopped off simply because someone was an Armenian teacher and the Kemalists wanted to make an example of him... buried, as an old man, up to your neck in sand...godawful things) If so....then please save your breath and give diginity to the murdered Armenians and Greeks, and to all who remain from their families. Look, some Turks are cool, wonderful, etc., and more probably want to say more about the past, but the brainwashing that the govt has done on you all is nothing short of criminal. It's a damned bloody legacy that you all have there, no matter how you dress it up with cool bars and effective lobbyists.

Bhorgesianna :

Why all the PR about Turkey? You're like a one-man promo machine. But if you're feeling lucky, ask your guide about Talaat Bey (no, better not, you may end up in prison--or your guide may for answering) May you have eyes to see not only the present crowds and their dark age boastings and blamings, but may your vision go deeper, into the lush past, into the glory that was Asia Minor...see the ghosts of the Assyrians, Armenians, Greeks, and the beauty of the countryside cultivated for 4,000 years by the dhimmi. And talk to the old folks--the Turks who came from Greece.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Hey Lawrence van rijn, thanks for your memories. I am in Istanbul now, and indeed find it one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen, if not the most beautiful. So much to see, do, and such beautiful people. Looking forward to Lebanese kebabs.

Hasan, I agree that writing is hard at a time like this, especially for someone from this country and in love with it as you seem to be. Thanks for attempting to communicate civilly with other posters.

Metin,
Love your post.

HASAN CAN FROM TURKEY:

I could not write. We are all paralized by the last attack. God help the ones who has called the fury of TURKS on themselves.

Lawrence van rijn:

-Turkey till November 5.
I have been to Konstantinopol (i think they call it Istanbul now). I was amazed with it's beauty, the slopes by the sea, and especially the warm people there. It was unlike anything i expected. Plenty of places to visit, so you'll run out of time faster then you think.

-Lebanon till Nov 20.
Mixed feelings here. i was there in 1981 right after the Assasination of Sadat. It was a weird time. Oddly enough the strongest feeling was the Lamb Kebab's. They are the best in the world. I still yearn for those Kebab's 26 years later. Isn't life odd?

It was odd to see how Palestinians were treated, especially in Tel Aviv. They all seemed to be labelled as inferior. It was uncomfortable seeing that. I will never accept that all of them are warlike. it is too black, like too white, neither can truly exist, even then. I learned a lot about the shades of grey in people, especially in myself.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Vic, thanks for the note. I'm looking forward to Latin America too, but it feels a far way away right now with all happening in Turkey.

So many beautiful things have been happening here, drinking tea on the Bosporous, meeting all the warm and strikingly attractive people, having long free-wheeling conversations. In just two days this place feels welcoming.

But of course terrible things are happening in the East that I will be looking into. I will stay safe when I go.

Yesterday, I interview some fascinating rockers and education moguls. More on that to come...

Metin Talks Turkey:

Take it easy people. Life is too short.

Try to take in 'the beauty' of the country and its people(s) Amar.

Metin
TalkTurkey.us
Newport Beach, CA

Well wisher:

Happy travels! Do stay safe.

HASAN CAN FROM TURKEY:

TO MAXITHS:
1) I dont beleive in reancarnation, so i wont be born again as anything else.
2) I am not a leftist or a grey wolf. I am secular democratic turk who enjoyes TRUTH more than anything.
3) You are saying that we killed 30.000 of our own citizens and put the blame on Kurds and USA/EU/UN fall to this trick and declared that PKK is terrorist and drug smuggler?
4) You can fool others maybe but not yourself.
5) You said that you are a Turk, so?? Maybe i am a Kurd? what does that prove? Races dont effect the truthness of facts.
6) Greek massaccares in Athens and Creete was put in official greek school books this year and faced big protests in Athens.. So greeks accept this? We did not even made a fuss a bout this? BUT YOU CLAIM THAT GREEK GOVERMENT IS LYING WHEN THEY ADMIT THAT THEY KILLED TURKS?
7) WAKE UP :))))))) YOU ARE NOT GOD :))

Vic van Meter:

Hey Amar. Happy hunting. Good luck in Turkey. To be honest, I'm definetely more excited about you visiting our Latin American neighbors. With all that Middle Eastern back and forth we've been having, it's like we've forgotten our Mexican, Venezuelan, Cuban, Jamaican, and likewise brothers and sisters. And I really do think of them like that.

I mean, I know oil is important and that we have to protect our Middle Eastern allies (aka airbases), but come on! The biggest priority right now is in how we deal with the pressure on our culture coming from the south. I've been arguing for years on opening up the border a bit with either work passes or immigration favorability. Working on infrastructure and development with the people that are a stone's throw from our border.

It's them that we have the most responsibility with, in my opinion. Outside of Israel and the oil trade, we have nothing really to do with the Middle East that is any more than us projecting values onto them. We should be paying a lot more attention to Argentina and Brazil than Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In fact, if the phantom bombers weren't coming in droves from the Middle East, our biggest (and most economically and socially IMMEDIATE) issues would be south of our border. And, as far as I'm concerned, we're a lot more important to them than anyone else. I mean, maybe the grip of America is everywhere, but the city on a hill is in their backyard.

I'm eager to see how much we've disappointed them. They deserve better than what they get from us.

Maxiths.:

To Hasan from Turkey.
I admire your persistance on the important issue of," Turkey gone Wild."
You sir! is a big Lier,Your quote, Planting bombs in banks and accusing the Kurds, Your worse than 9-11 coverup.
Hasan, The Athenians never killed Turks in Athens or for that matter in Greece, yes there was an exchange but not killings.
Now if your refering to the Liberation of Greece from the Ottoman empire, yes Any liberator will kill to survive the inhumane conditions one has under anyones rule.
Hasan, I will get serious with you cause you seem to be either radical left, or grey wolve.
Just remember that NATIONALISM IS AN EXTENSION OF TRIBULISM.

You are Nationalist arent you?

Hasan the Kurds have been tortured for many Decades and if you bother to look at the towns where they live, you will observe Freaks from the Tortures imposed by the Turkish Command.
And you want to tell me about the minimum incidents that Kurds had with the Turkk.
Shame on you!!
My beliefs are, that Turkey is A big Land, Give the Kurds their own Land and there will be peace among us.
What is the big deal. After all life is short and Quick, Maybe in your next life you will be a Kurd!! PKK, you see what i mean.
Regards to mahmoud and Moustafa.
from
GOD
By the way i'm also Turkish, no lie!

Amar, Holeheartedly i wish you a pleasant trip, the World is Beautifull as long as there's PEACE.
I like your Thinking also.

HASAN CAN FROM TURKEY:

TODAY 15 TURKISH SOLDIER WAS KILLED BY KURDS. TODAY KURDS FIRED AT A BUS THAT WAS CARRING BRIDE-GROOM TO THEIR WEDDING.. THESE THINGS HAVE HAPPENED WHEN AMAR IS IN TURKEY...
YOU NEVER BELEIVE US BUT NOW THERE IS A WITNESS..

SO FELLOW AMERICANS? WHO DO YOU CHOOSE?
TERRORISTS KILLING BRIDE AND GROOMS ON THEIR WEDDING CEREMONY? OR TURKEY THE ALLY OF USA FOR 60 YEARS, WHO HAS FOUGHT SIDE BY SIDE WTIH MARINES IN KOREA AND TODAY IN AFGAHNISTAN?

MAKE A CHOISE..

HASAN CAN FROM TURKEY:

TO 4.99

4 YEARS AGO HSBC BANK BOMBED AND ALL THE PEOPLE THAT DIED WERE TURKISH WORKERS IN THE BANK. DONT FORGET THAT ONE OF THE BOMBERS WAS FROM S.ARABIA AND HE WAS THE SPONSOR OF ATTACKS. AS THERE MIGHT BE 7 TURKS IN ALQAIDA THERE ARE 70 MILLION NON ALQAIDA TURKS..
I AM SURE THERE ARE MORE AL QAIDA LOVERS IN USA THAN TURKEY.

TURKEY HAS THE SECOND BIGGEST ARMY IN AFGAHISTAN TO FIGHT AGAINST AL QAIDA... THIS IS HOW YOU THANK BACK DEAR 4.99???
HSBC WAS BOMBED AFTER TURKISH SOLDIERS STARTED FIGHTING AGAINST AL QAIDA IN AFGAHISTAN..

BEFORE ACCUSING TURKEY, READ SOME INFO FROM INTERNET THEN ACCUSE...

BEFORE THE INTERNET WAS INVENTED IT WAS EASY TO TELL LIES AND MAKE UP STORIES, AS THERE WAS NO TURKS AROUND YOU CAN EASLYYYY SCARE YOUR NEIGHBOURS. BUT NOW THERE IS INTERNET AND BEWARE. BECAUSE W E C A N B E T T E R THAN YOU. MATTER OF IQ?? GET IT?

$4.99:

Ask about the bombing of the British Consulate and HSBC Bank 4 years ago by home-grown Al Qaeda boys in Turkey, for as much as "EuroTurks" (!!!???) hate to admit it!

HASAN CAN FROM TURKEY:

to maxiths:
1)greeks/armenians etc are still living in taxim, their churces had been open since 15th century.. go to any church and ask them if it is true or not.. on the other hand after greeks killed everyturk in athens they burn down each mosque. as a human rights defender i beleive that you gonna go hard on greeks after this historical fact! my grandpa is one of the few survivors.
2)as a matter of fact i love long movies, stanley kubric is one of my fav. i was talking about expecially "walley of wolfes". if you dont have much to give it is unnecessary to make an action movie long.
3)500 hundred cops watching as grew wolfes beating a girl. a) cops hate greywolfs they arrest them in everychance. Cops support the leading party AKP in turkey. and Grey wolfes are from their rival and enemy party MHP. if you dont know what you are saying just dont say it.
4) name a any freedom that that girl wanted and did not have. Kurds became PM. minister, officer, 1 of 3 members of the parliement are kurds..freedom for what did she wanted? freedom to kill 30.00 people again? freedom to bomb malls, schools, kill doctors and rape nurses?
5) why do you take side with terrorists? can it be because just because it is aganst turkey? are you racist?

6)AMAR SORRY FOR THIS COMMENT. THIS SECTION IS ABOUT YOUR TRIP BUT I NEEDED TO ANSWER THOSE QUESTIONS.

7)AMAR THIS IS SUNDAY AND IN "MODA" DISTRICT OF ISTANBUL YOU CAN VISIT 1ST TURKISH EVANGELICAL CHURCH. IF YOU TELL THE DRIVER TO TAKE YOU TO THE HOUSE OF BARIS MANCO (VERY FAMOUS TURKISH ROCKER) THE CHURCH IS RIGHT ACROSS THE HOUSE.

gulyesil:

I have couple of places I would recommend in
Istanbul.

May I suggest you visit the Beyazid Camii and
Sahaflar Carsisi on a weekday afternoon? You might
meet some students from Istanbul University. Also
want to take a peek to how middle class shops,
I suggest you go to Carsamba Pazari
(at Fatih, a very conservative district), don't
forget to be at the Fatih Camii during Zuhr prayer.

You might also get a flavor of religiosity and
traditions of the Turks by visiting Eyup Camii where you will find most Turks seek refuge...

Have fun,
G.

Amar C. Bakshi:

I just got back from Taxim, and I visited Nevazide. I'm going to start posting pictures on a separate page. It was hands down the most incredible night spot I've ever visited anywhere. Diverse, beautiful people. Great food. Cool clubs. One bouncer asked me how this compared to NYC. I just said NYC was more spaced out, less crowded, and didn't have this mix of the very old and very new in one place. I love it.

Tomorrow, Sunday, I'm meeting a group of bloggers for breakfast, then a big real estate mogul who invests in U.S. education and tried to build a mosque in DC, then a rocker, then a college student and a reporter. Will give you more on their bios soon.

A busy day ahead, but the first six hours in Instanbul have been incredible so far. So vibrant. Although my cab driver said he was from the far south, East of Diyarbakir and is barely making money because of the high gas prices. As far as America goes, talk was about the usual: Iraq War, currency exchanges (heavy investment in the dollar) and issues of party politics and view of America. More to come as I get a better handle on it. Now to bed. Big day tomorrow....

Maxiths:

Hasan can from turkey.
The Armenians,Kurds<Assyrians<palestinians<cypriots, SyriansGreeks,Bulgarians,Australians,that were butchered by the Turks, did they not choose LIFE.
Why did your people kill them all?
The young Pregnant kurdish woman that was beaten up by the Grey wolves was in front of at least 500 police all she wanted was her Freedom.
Stop supporting something that's evil man. Too much Raki in your vein, is like the asasin's with opium.
Nothing wrong with parting, but think also!
you might become a MAN.
You people can not seat and watch a long Movie,
it's too confusing! Right?

HASAN CAN FROM TURKEY:

about walley of the wolfes:

tv series are great! but the movie was 5 over 10. Reason:
1) unnecessary long.
2) Unnecessary propaganda of islam
3) Unnecessary to blame israel for deaths in iraq
4) the best quato from the movie "turkish mob fighting against Usa marines: on of the t.mob says "it is all because of kurds" the kurdish turkish mob says "dude i am a kurd too" trk.mob says: "but you are different". kurdish-turkish mob says "it all begins like that!"

PS: in taxim there is a street called "nevizade" thats the best place to drink raki and in taxim there is a rock bar called "kemanci" it is the haven of turkish rockers. All the turkish rock singers start their carrier in that bar. in taxim you will see armenian,turk,kurd,greek,illegal immigrants,black & white living in harmony! :)

Amar C. Bakshi:

Hasan thanks for the email. I will get back to you.

I'm off to Taksim Square now, a nightlife hub, and a place where lots of people cross paths. I'll try raku.

I also was wondering your thoughts on Valley of the Wolves. I am going to try to meet the director later this week. Looking forward to watching the film.

HASAN CAN FROM TURKEY:

To anonymous: Here are your answers?
1) Turkish prisons are the worst
in the world because they are terrorist education facilities just like a collage. Thats why each kurdish militant commits a small crime (theft etc) and goes to prison for education. Ocalan is not living in a cage he is living in an island, his room is around 25m2 and he meets with his lawyers weekly and still leads his terrorists. What a prison..Yes turkish prisons sucks!
2) Pregnant girls beaten by turks?? in every second a crime is commited in USA. What shall we do? nuke Turkey because someone commited a crime?
3) Our prime minister was in prison because he has used religion to get more votes. Turkey is a secular country and u can not use religion for political power.
4) If u drink raki and eat fish once a week, maybe instead of bombing shopping malls you would enjoy life and get yourself a life.. try it.
CHOOSE LIFE :)

Anonymous:

To Hasan Can from Turkey.
Midnight express has been broadcasted in Turkey?
Hard to believe!
That's right! they just broadcast it...
Now here is my Q: Has the Goverment done anything to better the worst prisons in the World?
Has the Goverment stoped tortures, I remember Occalan in a cage.
I remember political prisoners tortured, i remember even your now premier Erdogan in Prison.
Turkey loves to torture and put people in Prisons, and you talk about human rights and European christian clubs.
What about the Kurdish pregnant girl, being beaten up to death by The Grey Wolves in Instabul?

Get with it man. wise up and stop drinking that Raki, you might see the truth.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Actually, Skype at AmarCBakshi works well. I'll try to be on once a week and let you know when and maybe we can do conference calls.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Hey all,

Thanks for this advice. I think Izmir is going on the itinerary too, along with another place or two. Will continue to take your advice on it. I just got into Taksim Square about 20 minutes ago and am drinking wonderful Turkish tea.

Reach me anytime here, and if you'd like to talk via phone, email me here http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/america/2007/01/stay_in_touch_with_amar.html and I can send you my Turkish cell when I get it.

I'm taking a quick nap then going to explore.

HASAN CAN FROM TURKEY:

to mike s:
I'd be interested in two questions:

1. If you suddenly found yourself in America, what is the first thing you would want to do?

EAT TEXAS STYLE PIT BBQ - BEST IN THE WORLD

2. If you suddenly found an American in your neighborhood, what is the first thing you would want to show him or her?

TURKISH TRADITIONAL ALCHOL DRINK - RAKI - BEST DRINK EVER IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND (we drink raki in dinner with meat/fish or during sunset just with whitecheese..) (GREEK UZO IS A BAD COPY OF RAKI! UZO SUCKS RAKI RULLS!)

HASAN CAN FROM TURKEY:

TO A.:

Midnight express had been broadcasted many times in Turkish tv's.

In Turkey everyone has the right to change their religion. There is not a single problem about it. I have changed mine in 1 hour officially in 1996.

Aren't you tired of telling lies????

A.:

When in Turkey, ask around whether they have ever shown Midnight Express in that land of liberal cultrual values in a Turkish theatre, given your presumption of strong ties, similarities and connections between USA and Turkey!!!!

Come on man, where is the connection between USA and Turkey? 18 IMF deals in 24 years? Massive foreign aid? Denials of Genocide? ......unless, you mean that USA is becoming ever more so Turkish, to wit:

a)denials of personal liberties,
b) the state within the state (the Turkish Deep State)
c)torture, the press being a confirmer of the government and ruling elite,
d) the military and the politicians being fixed on a single enigma (Turks on PKK, USA on 9-11 and Al Qaeda, treating the voting taxpayers as a herd, and of course
e) .....a devalued currency and highly volatile stock market?

While in Turkey, check out Section 301 of the Turkish Penal Code and compare it with The Patriot Act!!!!! Also ask Turks if they had to officially declare their religion to the State and have it written in their national ID cards (until about 3 years ago, due to EU pressure).


alkanlevent @ washingtonpost.com:


who are in USA? egyptians, greeks, romans, phoneicians, vikings, dutch, germen, russians, gregorians?

come to Anatolia. you shall be home. but come with St Francis. and i shall thank you, for coming.

alkanlevent @ washingtonpost.com:

and if you want to know about Hittitians, go to Yozgat. there are excavations in Yozgat.

if you want to know about Cleopatra the Egyptian and Phoneicians, go to Antalya Side.

alkanlevent @ washingtonpost.com:


if you want to know about Alexander Great and the Gordion Knot, go to Ankara.

and you shall have an idea about how you can see America in America, from Anatolia.

alkanlevent @ washingtonpost.com:


in case you want to know about Atlanta in Anatolia, go to Izmir and Antalya.

HASAN CAN FROM TURKEY:

DEAR AMAR,
Have a nice trip in Turkey. BUT YOU MADE A MISTAKE :(
Istanbul: just like NY very diverse cultures living together. It is not real Turkey.

Dıyarbakir: Kurdish dominated city, you gonna hear lots of Kurdish propaganda.

Trabzon: The people living in the city are called "Laz" they have their own language and muslim but racially Laz.

so you have picked 1 Kurdish 1 Laz and 1 multiethnical town.

SORRY DUDE, YOU ARE COMING TO TURKEY BUT NOT VISITING TURKISH TOWNS :)

PS:PLEASE CHANGE YOUR ROUTE AND GOTO IZMIR OR ANTALYA AND MEET THE TURKS!

Metin Talk Turkey:

Happy and Safe Travels . . . Enjoy your visit to Turkey.

And please give my regards from this Turkish-American to the homeland.

A question that I hope you pose to the average Turk would be, how did the Turks become Muslim? When did it happen and what were the circumstances?

What is their definition of 'democracy'? Would they rather side with a system that allows a simple majority of 51% to rule over the 49%, or an ideology that protects the rights of even a 1% minority, so long as the majority and the minority doesn't 'fundamentalize' their beliefs over one another.

If they are so allowed, what would they be critical of their religion and why? Do they find any fault with (organized) religion or the religious people. And if they can explain the difference between the 'real' Islam versus the 'perceived' Islam, whatever they may perceive as perceived Islam?

And lastly, if a Turk was to be stranded on an island, who would they want least to be their mate forever?

A Greek, a Kurd, an Armenian, an Arab, a Jew, a Russian, or their mother-in-law?

Life is not that bad after all!

Greetings from sunny Southern California
Metin, Newport Beach
TalkTurkey.us

Tim Weber:

Happy travels. I hope your "mystery country" is Armenia.

B.N.:

I bet you will hear from the Turks especially that the U.S. and others have a double standard when it comes to terrorist attacks and the war on terrorism. How can one explain that it is okay for the U.S. to go after terrorists on foreign soil but not for the Turks? On this, see also
http://www.reflectivepundit.com/reflectivepundit/2007/10/turkey-the-pkk-.html

Arewethereyet:

"...a braintrust of bloggers..."? God save us.

Tolgahan :

Hi my names is tolgahan im turkish but live in london i really recommend u to go to izmir n konya in turkey. there is a sayin in turkey see the world, but you got to konya. it has so muich history tht city and also izmir becasue it has alot of history becasue it used to be the greeks so it has alot of greek history tht place n plus the girls are the best in turkey, teer is a sayin about there girls but im not gona say it find out ur self mate ;)

Tolgahan :

Hi my names is tolgahan im turkish but live in london i really recommend u to go to izmir n konya in turkey. there is a sayin in turkey see the world, but you got to konya. it has so muich history tht city and also izmir becasue it has alot of history becasue it used to be the greeks so it has alot of greek history tht place n plus the girls are the best in turkey, teer is a sayin about there girls but im not gona say it find out ur self mate ;)

amar:

Hi Istanbul nyc. I'm writing from my phone in the plane before taking off. What itinerary would you recommend? Which locations? Trust is key so I need leads anywhere I go. I appreciate your comment.

Emil, its just like that when I pack, promise!

Istanbul/NYC:

Amar,
I strongly recommend not to follow Soli Ozel's road map. Two reasons:

1- West needs a different (maybe better) picture of Turkey and Turks

The western journalists have been in contact with only a handful of Turkish journalists. Not surisingly, most of them are affiliated with Turkish organizations backed by a bigger American one . Learning Turkey from them is like watching a Turkish move based on a novel written by an American.

Soli Ozel's road map will lead you to not-so-true conclusions like secular Turks, me being one of them, are not democratic; secular Turks oppose EU, etc.

2- Not influential

Although they are backed by big organizations and foreign media, most of these journalists have little influence on public opinion. They claim that they can influence the government but since the election, the government does not seem like paying attention to them neither.

3- Different priorities

This group's priorities are different than those of people. People are worried about jobs, social security, terrorism and secularism. On the other hand, these journalist focus on the Turkey-Armenia border, Turkishness, property rights of religious establishment, etc (you can find the full list on editorials published on Economist, WSJ, New York Times etc).

Emil:

Amar, you gotta clean your apt! Safe trip, have fun and send back lots of OFF/beat news.

JRLR:

"My whole life in a bag"... I rather like that image, and the feeling that goes with it.

Brings to my mind: "Seeing a young man kneeling on the further side of the brook, drinking from his cupped hands, the old monk, leaving his bowl behind, slowly walked away."

Now "get lost (to the world)", Amar...

Take care of the thrill!

Amar C. Bakshi:

Mike, I love those questions! I will certainly ask them widely abroad.

mike s:

I'd be interested in two questions:

1. If you suddenly found yourself in America, what is the first thing you would want to do?

2. If you suddenly found an American in your neighborhood, what is the first thing you would want to show him or her?

Anonymous:

safe travels :)

Jeremy,:

Can't wait for your first post Amar!

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