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Europe: AL, BY, HR, SL, I, F, SB, H, PL, SK, D, NL, BiH, FYRMC, TR, L, B, RU, BG, GE, AZ
Asia: TR, SY, IR, PK, IN




13. Turkey


Country with 1000 faces.

Turkey is a big country on the edge of Asia and Europe. In the Balkans they often say Balkans is a crossroad, but in fact so is Turkey. Not even too long ago the Turks have taken place in this beautifull country which has it all; sea, mountains, dessert, forrest, hills and much more. Turkey is a secular state. In fact the modernism of Ataturk is still having effect, so the militairies 'protect' the country against overreacting religious influences. On the other side, Turkey shows great tension when minorities become the subject of the conversation. In Turkey live over 10 million Kurdish people. The complete Kurdish nation is scattered over 4 or 5 countries. Specially now, with a war in Iraq just on the other side of the border, there are inmense tensions going on.
Although most Kurds speak about a struggle of equal rights, it can be assumed Kurds in general prefer to have their own state. This would be the end of Iraq as we know it, but also of Turkey. Probably the Turks will never accept that. There are some understandable opinions working here; most Turks have acepted the secular state and therefor they have given away some of their rights. It would be difficult to accept them sacrificing rights while others still fight for those rights. We have been at the Iraqi border and the word NGO should not even be mentined. Turks show a great discipline if it comes to hyarchie, which leads to slow burocracy. It also show a great lack of being convinced about themselves, in times thing are less then expected. We saw them losing the match of footbal when they were favorit.

We were there just at the days of the Istanbul bombings. At first there was a calm reaction. Only after the second day of bombings there was panic, extreme tough regulations and confusion. We were visiting a painter called Hakan Gursoytrak who we considered an engaged person. There was a big doubt in his mind. "I'm not sure if the fundamentalists are pulling us one way, or the Americans are pulling us another way", he said, making clear in what kind of particular, and in some cases fragile situation Turkey is.

We met a Dervish muslim called Ali in a music shop and it seemed we knew each other for many years. In the meetings that followed we spoke about the attitude of patience, the fact that smiling is a symbol of forgiveness and the idea of finding each other through argument, in stead of clashing with each other because of those arguments. In such an atmosphere it is nice listening to the arguments of others.
In Turkey the overwelming majority is muslim. But the country has experience with modernism since long time. Modern art, new pop music, fast cars and fashion, it is all there. Therefor you see great differences between the cities and the villages. But all Turks act friendly. Friendlyness seems to be something in the genes of the Turks.

We passed Istanbul the major city, we passed Eskesehir with an enourmous university where we were guests for a day. later we saw Isparta, Antalya, Mersin, Adana and Hatay before we left Turkey and entered again near Mardin in the complete east. Untill Hatay it was extremely nice, afterwards it was as if we entered another country. Mardin, Diyarbakir, Hassan Keyf, Elazig are all places on 1000 meter altitude. The climate is different and much more tough, and the people are as generous as everywhere in Turkey. Many spoke Dutch to us, they learned while working in Holland for several years as gastarbeiter.
We missed Kapadokia and the Hittit capital, we missed most Roman ruins and Assyrian monestries. We have not seen most mosques from the inside, we missed lake Van, but no shit. We are not a turist office so go and check it out yourself. Ironically we have seen the flat buildings that collapsed in Konya.
He have heard great music but it must be said; if you are a music star in Turkey, it means you will be upfront, alone. Kurdish take this aspect different. If the main singer starts singing, within one frase all others join in. Kurdish music is therefor, in my humble opinion, more interesting, unless you get into the ethnographic music of Turkey. Expect to discover a brand new world.

Turkey does not have a great name in the world and it really needs investigation to give an answer why that is so. Besides that is also needs an investigation how to solve that, because Turkey is a excellent country to visit, what ever you had in mind.

See some of our impressions

Addition in 2008: Turkey is a crossroad for our journey. To Asia, to the Middle East and to the border of Europe itself we will meet Turkey. And we are happy about it. in November 2003, during our first visit with the yellow truck, we have invited several artists like Ridvan Coskun and Hakan Gursoytrak. In that time we spoke about the option to present in Istanbul at Hafriyat. Even if the location at that time did not existed yet. But now, almost 5 years later, we have been able to set up a great program together both n Istanbul and in Kars, the cold city, completely at the other side of the country. With friendly support of the Royal Dutch Consulate General in Istanbul.
having great exhibition in Istanbul and Kars, we can only say that Turkey is a great pleace to be. In the middle of political discussions (do they belong to the EU? Is it a muslim state? Does it have the right to invade Iraq? and so on) it is a country that fuels discussion. And we all know; if discussions are held with respect, it can be the engine for a positively changing world.


Name : Istanbul
Objectives :
kilometer : 14628 and

In relation with 80 questions : World city

We took some days of in Istanbul in order to take some time for culture and art. It was the first weekend of in a month and although all the other time had been good. There is nothing better then having some days of in a magnificent town like Istanbul. But it is also good to be active in this town. (see below)

Name : Istanbul
Objectives : Bombings
kilometer : 14637

In relation with 80 questions : World city

Whily passing istanbul and get great support for our cultural ideas, we were confronted with the bombings that took place. Specially after the send day, panic was on the rise.

Name : Bosporus Bridge, Istanbul
Objectives : New frontiers
kilometer : 14646

In relation with 80 questions : World city

Whily passing istanbul and get great support for our cultural ideas, we were confronted with the bombings that took place. Specially after the send day, panic was on the rise.


Name : Isparta
Objectives : get a shave
kilometer : 15255

relation with 80 Questions : We have treated ourselfves well. It's birthday time and we went to the barber.

Name : Antalya
Objectives : hook up with cycler.
kilometer : 15464

Relation with 80 Questions : This is the place where we hooked up with a cycler in order to reach the Iraqi border.

Name : Istanbul
Objectives : exhibition in Hafiyat
kilometer :

Relation with 80 Questions : Show Your Hope completing circles.

related websites: India travel, Hakan Gursoytrak
Links: Hafriyat, Royal Dutch Consulate General in Istanbul

Name : Arpacay
Objectives : public street presentation
kilometer :

Relation with 80 Questions : Supported by the ANadolu Kultur Merkezi we have been doing spontanios presnetations

related websites: India travel
Link: Anadolu Kultur Merkezi

Name : Hatay
Objectives : publicity picture
kilometer : 15628

Relation with 80 Questions : In the bottom of Turkey is a small landstroke gping south into the direction of Lebann. This area is called Hatay. It is extremely fertile and pretty quite.

Name : Habur
Objectives : iraqi border
kilometer : 18644

Relation with 80 Questions : We wanted to reach the Iraqi border with car and bike, in order to raise money for the children in need.

related website: bikeride

Name : Guzel Sanatlar Universitesi, Istanbul
Objectives : Session at the Art Academy
kilometer :

Relation with 80 Questions : We like to give inspiration. Hakan Gursoytrak showed me the art academy and his friend, teacher posted me in front of his classroon inmeadiately. That was fun.

Link: Guzel Sanatlar Universitesi