21 Haziran 2018 Perşembe

Extraordinary Airport Tax

 türkçe links to original Turkish article

(Sözcü Newspaper, 21 June 2018)

airport tax ile ilgili görsel sonucu
                             Up, up and away!

A businessman who has invested in Turkmenistan was caught at
Atatürk Airport with $245,000, but claimed that he was bringing the
money to Turkmenistan to pay workers there.  Since he tried
to take foreign currency out of Turkey secretly, though, half of the
money was taken by the government as a penalty (!).

In response, the businessman filed a suit to reclaim the money but
the court found that the penalty was justified.  An appeal to the
Constitutional Court by the businessman proved fruitless, as well.
According to Turkish law, at present, an individual can take no
more than 10,000 Euros, or equivalent, out of Turkey.

Orhan Gürel, the businessman, has construction interests in
Turkmenistan, along with selling medical and orthopedic
products.  On 22 July 2014, Gürel was about to board a flight
to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, from Atatürk Airport when police
checked his suitcase and found $245,000.  As a result, and
according to Turkish law, Gürel was fined $122,500 (!).

Gürel objected to the fine and waged a long but fruitless
legal battle, ending with the decision against him by the
Turkish Constitutional Court.

türkmenistan map ile ilgili görsel sonucu
Invest in Turkmenistan! (if you can find it.)

Erdoğan (!) Votes Early and Often

türkçe links to original Turkish article

(Milliyet Newspaper, 21 June 2018)

fotoğraf paylaşınca gözaltına alındı şengül erdoğan ile ilgili görsel sonucu
Given her surname, one wonders who her vote(s) went to.

After Şengül Erdoğan posted pictures of herself voting for the 24
June election in both Belgium and at Adnan Menderes Airport in
Izmir she was taken into custody.  When officials of the Senior
Election Council (YSK) learned of Erdoğan's double voting they
filed a criminal complaint with the Ankara Public Prosecutor.

Police in Izmir's Selçuk district had Erdoğan give a statement,
in which she, at first, claimed that she was joking about voting in
two places, which she said would be impossible.  Nevertheless,
Erdoğan was taken from Izmir to Ankara. 

In her statement, Erdoğan explained that she lives in Belgium
and went to the Turkish Consulate there with her Turkish friends,
who were casting their votes.  She claimed that she was holding
the ballot of a friend when she posed for the picture in Brussels
and that she had not cast a vote herself.  A day later, at Adnan
Menderes Airport in Izmir, she cast her vote and posted the photo
on social media, before going to Selçuk district. 

YSK Chairman Sadi Güven noted that "We have seen people
with the same name but different ID cards, and in their mother
and father's name cast votes.  But when we saw the same
individual casting two votes in photographs she shared we
passed this along to the prosecutor.  There cannot be duplicate
registrations at the ballot box.  The individual has been taken
into custody and the investigation is continuing."

Meanwhile, the Ankara Public Prosecutor's office has determined
that there are two individuals named Şengül Erdoğan living in
Brussels, whose parents' names and birth places are different. One
of these individuals voted at 16:27 on 17 June in Brussels and the
other voted at 17:16 on 18 June at Adnan Menderes Airport. (!)

Prosecutor office officials have requested security video from
the Brussels Consulate and they said that the investigation into
the suspect will be comprehensive, to include any possible links
to FETÖ (Fethullah Gülen Terror Organization).  An additional
inquiry has begun into any malfeasance that may have been
committed by ballot box officials in Brussels and Adnan Menderes

vote early and often ile ilgili görsel sonucu

Şengül hanım confessed she was motivated by the prospect
of winning a free t-shirt.

20 Haziran 2018 Çarşamba

Steep Price For a Pretty View

türkçe links to original Turkish article

(Milliyet Newspaper, 20 June 2018)

Semra Aysal (32), 7 months pregnant, was having her picture taken
at Kelebekler Vadisi (Butterflies Valley) in Fethiye district of Muğla
province when she lost her balance and fell 300 meters, losing her
own life and that of her unborn baby, whose body was found
separately from Semra hanım's. 

Semra hanım had come from Izmir for a vacation in Fethiye the day
before yesterday with her husband.  At a rocky spot at Faralya village,
the couple descended 10 meters to a rock where there was a nice view
of the valley.  As Semra hanım was taking a selfie, though, she lost
her balance and plunged to the rocks 300 meters below.

kelebekler vadisi semra aysal ile ilgili görsel sonucu
 Final resting place for mother and child.

Her husband summoned help and an AFAD (search & rescue) team
arrived to retrieve Semra hanım's body and that of her child.  But
since there was no road nearby, it took 2 hours to carry the bodies
to a boat and after that, another 20 minutes to get to the Ölüdeniz

AFAD member İbrahim Mete Kaplan explained that they used a
drone to locate Semra hanım's body and then four rescuers descended
on ropes.  Kaplan added that "it's a very distressing incident. The
mother and the baby were in separate places.  There are certain
places in Kelebak Valley where people shouldn't go."  Mehmet
Tufan Aydın of Fethiye's UKME (medical rescue team) office
said the entire operation lasted 8 hours.

kelebekler vadisi fethiye haritası ile ilgili görsel sonucu

TNT History Mini-Series: Accidental Turks in Brazil & Beyond (1866)/Part XI (Final)

//Ed. Note:  The remarkable stories of two Turks who 
accidentally found themselves in Brazil in 1866 ends 
with this final episode of İmam Abdurrahman's tale.// 

The Moslems of Marnempugo (Pernambuco/Recife)

recife map ile ilgili görsel sonucu

The Moslems of Marnempugo were smarter and better informed than Moslems
 living in other cities.  They took their lead from two people living here.  One was
 named Yusuf, a young and very intelligent man.  The other, quite the opposite, 
was a moron named Süleyman, who did not accept the pronouncements I made 
about Ramazan in Rio, who fasted during the month of Şaban and who was 
followed by a few ignorant people.

Their situation with regard to fasting and praying was like that of the Moslems
I described earlier.  Their interest in geomancy and charms is quite pronounced. 
The Moslems of Marnempugo are freer than those elsewhere because the 
Christians here are very attached to geomancy and charms themselves.  
Consequently, whatever the Moslems say is immediately accepted by the 
Christians, who therefore show considerable respect towards the Moslems, try 
to avoid insulting or inciting them and provide them with financial assistance. 
People dealing in geomancy and magic are essentially liars and ignorant of most
everything.  But by chance, some of their predictions came true and this was
enough to earn them praise.

 Some Strange Situations

I listened to some strange stories about Africa from the blacks.  Now I can’t 
help but write about them.  According to what they said, there are potatoes on the 
African continent that are as big as people.  Since in Marnempugo I saw a potato 
that was as big as a two-year-old child,  I have no doubt about the reality of the 
potato they referred to. 

There was a powerful leader in the country of Sudan.  Each year he held a meeting 
on the anniversary of his father’s death.  Many people attended from near and far. 
During the meeting the leader said “Whoever goes to my father’s side to serve will 
make me happy!”  When he said this, those in important positions were brought 
forward and the leader, in order to test them, would raise his sword as if to strike 
them with it.  As the sword came down he would kill those who flinched even a little
 bit.  On the contrary, those who proved their courage by exhibiting no fear 
whatsoever would be rewarded generously.

On that day the leader put 1,000 people to the sword with this horrific behavior and 
he believed that he had honored their souls by sending them to the service of his late 
father.   So thhis cruel action, considered to be blessed, has continued since ancient 
times.  When this same leader wanted to go to war with another leader he would have
his soldiers pass over the hide of an ox.  If the the ox hide broke into pieces then he
 would go to war.  If not, he would do the opposite, thinking that the number of 
soldiers was insufficient. 

The leader fed his soldiers corn boiled in water.   His officers were segregated from 
the soldiers by getting one more spoonful each. The people of this country go to battle
on top of elephants.  Most of them ride ostriches and giraffes in order to go from one 
place to another.  In one place of worship there is one large idol surrounded by 12 
small idols.  On every hour one of the idols lies down and another rises up.  Most of 
the people worship this idol.  Moslems live there.  According to what the teller of 
these stories said, the leader respected and valued Moslems because they understood 
magic and soothsaying.

Luğabiryanti, The City of Diamonds

diamonds brazil 1860 ile ilgili görsel sonucu

Luğabiryanti is situated on the fourth degree of latitude.  Because there are diamonds
 here, the place has been built up recently by traders.  Most of the populace is made 
up of black prisoners.  The government has the land excavated by selling it for 
diamond extraction.  The diamonds are recovered from veins in deep and sandy 
ground that are like salt veins.   Although some diamonds are found in stream beds 
and rocks, the best and most valued ones come from the sandy places. 

Sunday is a holiday and any diamonds workers find on a Sunday they can keep for 
themselves.  One worker found an incomparable diamond while working on a Sunday.
  When one of the traders saw the diamond he got the worker drunk and bought the 
diamond from him for a very cheap price.  The trader sold the diamond in Rio de 
Janeiro for 100,000 liras.  The man who bought it sold it to someone else for twice 
as much.  When the owner of the black who found the diamond heard about this he 
killed the black mercilessly.  As a result, the government decreed that blacks who 
find diamonds  on Sunday can only sell the diamond to their owner. 

There is essentially no water in Luğabiryanti so it has to be brought here by ships 
from  far away and is sold at a high price.  On the contrary, though, whiskey is very
cheap to buy.

I Return to My Homeland

mediterranean sea map 1860 ile ilgili görsel sonucu

In the few years that I stayed in Brazil, because of the distressing state of the 
Moslems as I described above,  I was thoroughly worn out and bored.  When my
longing for my friends was added to this, I knew I had to return home.  With the
permission of the Moslems there, I set out to return here.  During my voyage 
home, though, I encountered some interesting things that I feel I must pass on. 


Lisbon is the capital of the Portuguese state.  The gate to the city that was built 
30 years ago is quite ornate.   In front of the gate there is large bronze statue of the 
leader who had the gate built, on a horse.   A while ago the French seized the city 
during a war but then a peace agreement was signed stipulating war reparations and 
the soldiers withdrew from the city.  As the soldiers withdrew they wanted to take the
statue I mentioned with them but the Portuguese would not agree to this.

The industrial products, fruits and similar things one sees in Lisbon are like those 
that can be seen anywhere else.


I went to Cordoba overland.  It is the most beautiful city of Andalusia and was at 
one time the center of the Moslem sultanate here.  The famous Cami-i Kebir, which 
has 400 marble columns, is still standing but the Spanish have turned it into a church.
The palace of the Moslem sultans is still standing, too.  The verse from the Kur’an 
“Mülk, bir ve kahhar olan Allah’ındır” (Property belongs to the one and 
overpowering God) is written in kûfî style on the door of the palace, and there are 
some poems written in Arabic on the walls, as well.   The Spanish take great pains
 to preserve and clean the palace.  No one is allowed inside other than watchmen.

This palace was built on the top of a mountain.  It looks so new it seems as if the 
workers finished it and left just a little while ago.  There are two underground rooms
of the palace that were carved from stone and one of them opens on to the plain.  The
other one’s end point is unknown.  These underground rooms are astonishingly 
beautiful and artistic.  They are proof of the great efforts the old sultans went to to 
protect their country.  The weather and water in Cordoba are quite lovely. 


The mountain has the name of its first Moslem owner Târık bin Ziyad, whose 
grave is there and can still be visited.   The English state has fortified Gibraltar with
 a great and sturdy fortress and walls.  The city is on the slopes of the mountain.  
Besides and isthmus-like piece of land that ends at the Spanish border,  Gibraltar
 is completely surrounded by water.  The English have layed in an explosive mine
  on the isthmus that they can blow it up when necessary.  Within the mine are 
7-year’s worth of provisions for the people of Gibraltar.

The population of Gibraltar  is made up of rich traders who have come from other
 places.  Since the English government has lifted customs taxes on imports and 
exports, the city has become a great commercial center. The consul of Moroccan 
Sultan Muhammed, el-Hac Seyyid el-Cüsusi, is in Gibraltar.  I met with him and
we had a friendly chat.  In his residence there is a mosque where prayers are 
said five times each day.


Tangier is a very inexpensive city.  There are many orchards and gardens here.  
The weather is nice but the structures are ordinary. There is no fortress or 
fortification-like place in the city.  There is only a small fortress on the shore 
and within it are some old-model cannons.

Most of the people of Tangier are Moslems.  They are quite interested in 
mosques and in learning but because they have no relations with foreigners they
still remain Bedouins.  There is no praiseworthy art or culture here.  The imam 
of the Cami-i Kebir is both imam and judge.  Since he is both upright and 
God-fearing, he is well-liked by the people.  Wherever people who have a 
complaint encounter him, even on the road, he sits down without making a fuss
and hears their cases, unlike our judges.

The people of Tangier are very poor and a third of them are Jews.  When Jews 
pass in front of mosques, those who do not take off their shoes and pass to the 
right of Moslems, in accordance with old customs, are beaten.

 Most of the populace goes to Gibraltar for commerce.  The  irregular silver 
and copper money call Meskukat that is used by the people has  the statement 
“Printed in Morocco” on it.  But because the writing is quite indistinct it is 
easily counterfeited. The bath is Tangier is terribly dirty.  The common people
 use this bath without any regard for the rules of modesty.  There are some 
ambassadors from foreign states in Tangier but there are absolutely no 
Christians in Morocco.

From Tangier I returned to Gibraltar and from there to Algiers, which has been
fortified and strengthened with great effort by the French.  From Algiers I went 
to Malta, which is surrounded by fortifications.  It is an island like no other.  
The uniforms and weapons models of former rulers and soldiers are on display. 
From Malta I went to Egypt and from there to Cidde and Mecca.  After I made
the hajj, I went to Damascus and then I came to Istanbul



TNT History Mini-Series: Accidental Turks in Brazil & Beyond (1866)/Part X

//Ed. Note: In Part X of this story, İmam Abdurrahman shares
some information about Brazil's fruits, parrots, forests,
natives and other aspects of the nation.  In particular, his 
observations about Brazil's natives and an Easter celebration 
are fascinating.//

Some Fruits 

brazilian fruits 1860 ile ilgili görsel sonucu

There is a tree in this country that is bigger than the biggest walnut tree, from the 
standpoint of bulk.  The cover of the fruit, which is bigger than a pumpkin, 
resembles the skin of an alligator and its inside is like a pomegranate.  Within the 
seed, which looks like a date seed, there is yet another seed.  The taste is like honey
helva.   Another fruit resembles quince and its inside looks like a sponge filled with 
water.  Since this water is bitter, one drinks it by adding sugar.  Although its taste is 
like that of peppermint, it is more nourishing and pleasant.  There is just one seed 
inside this fruit.

Bazil’s other interesting fruit resembles a bunch of grapes.  Every piece of this fruit,
which is similar in weight to half a Damascus batman (weight varying frm 5-30 lbs.),
is the size of a walnut.  Its color is white and it tastes like turnip.  There is another 
fruit here that resembles an everyday apple.  Its cover is green like the back of a 
hedgehog.  When dried and mixed with coffee it provides a very pleasant smell.
Another fruit resembles corn cob, with a red cover like the back of a snake. Its inside 
is yellow and its taste is pleasantly acid.  It is expensive, costing 2.5 francs for one.  
After being picked from the tree its lasts for only 10 days, before going bad. There 
are about 50 fruits in Brazil that are not found in eastern countries.  Coconuts are 
plentiful and cheap.  Most of the coconut trees live without being cared for.  Even 
though it is said here that the original coconut tree was raised from a seed planted in a
 person’s head, it is quite clear that this is a superstition. 

The Forest That Stretches from Brazil to South America

brazilian rain forest 1860 ile ilgili görsel sonucu

This forest, having plentiful water, is famous for harboring various wild animals. 
A horserider would not reach the end of the forest even by riding day and night for
a month.  From time to time large snakes in this forest emerge and swallow oxen 
whole, causing great damage to the populace.  With its stomach full, the snake 
cannot move and falls deep asleep.  When this happens the people climb trees and 
shoot or cut the snake to kill it.  The skin from the slaughtered snake is used to make
 hats, shoes and raincoats.  Since these items are quite enduring they are also quite

One time I saw a snake skin about 4 meters wide and 10 meters long that was for sale.
They say there are even bigger ones.  The size of the round spots that resemble fish 
scales on the snake’s back are about an arm’s length. Even in the depths of the forest
at night, a light can be seen from afar.  It is believed that this light eminates from the
sparkle of gold and jewels.

Natives of America

brazil indians 1860 ile ilgili görsel sonucu

A large population of uncivilized America natives live in the forest.  
No state has yet been able to change or tame their wild lifestyle and 
behavior, bring them under control or impose civilization on them.   
According to what I have been told, they are very big people.  In 
particular, their feet are so big in proportion to their bodies that when 
it rains they lie on their backs and use their feet  sort of as an umbrella 
to protect themselves from the rain. Some of them have been captured by
government  forces and brought to the city.  By chance, I saw one and,
really, the length of his feet was about 45 centimeters.

The native women are quite beautiful, with very long hair.  Because 
they handle men with magic and soothsaying, they don’t trust one another.
Some of the natives are masters at extracting iron and making bows. Their
primary foods are raw fish and various birds.  They don’t know anything 

Previously, when they captured blacks they would eat them.  Later, when 
they realized that the blacks were human like them, they stopped eating them.
Thinking that blacks’ skin color emerged over time, they would put blacks 
they captured in  water and try to erase the blackness by rubbing them with 
stones, subjecting these blacks to horrible torture.  As the poor souls  who 
met this fate screamed and cried,  the natives would enjoy themselves and 
laugh at them.

A black doctor I met in Rio de Janeiro told me about an experience he had.  
According to what he said, in the 1850s he was captured by the natives but he
was saved from torture by the love and friendship shown to him by one of the
native’s wives.  But the woman’s husband made the man serve him for 12 
years  before allowing him to return to his home.  The natives know the 
characteristics  of plants very well and so when the man was released they gave
him some plant  roots he could use for treatments as a sort of going-away 
present.  When the man  came home he began to work as a doctor and, thanks 
to the plant roots, he gained  fame and wealth.

The natives are not tied to any religion or canonical law. They believe in people 
who are wise in the ways of magic and sorcery and act according to what they 
tell them.   Bows, arrows and spears are the main weapons of the natives  
and their quality is quite praiseworthy.  Their speech sounds like bird calls.  
I wanted to minister to them religiously but the Moslems objected to this and 
prevented me from going. 

My Dream Comes True

easter in brazil ile ilgili görsel sonucu

Fifteen years ago, in a dream I saw myself in a church.  My head was uncovered
and I was wearing European clothes.  I was standing in front of a picture of the 
Prophet Jesus , may peace be upon him,  and  I was telling those with me to read 
the İhlâs Sura.  I awoke from this dream scared and quite disconcerted. When I 
told my friends about the dream, some of them said “that was a strange dream.” 
Some others considered the dream to have been a spiritual warning and urged me
to avoid forbidden behavior and sins.

The day that the Prophet Jesus was risen up to the heavens – Christians believe
that this day was the day he was crucified on the cross – is the day that the Brazilian
Emperor and the Patriarch went to church in their mourning clothes to exhibit there 
grief.  All the soldiers put down their weapons and flags and gathered with the 
populace at the church.  I, too, changed my clothes and went to the church together
 with a few Moslems.

The Emperor and the Patriarch were standing to the right of an idol made of gold 
and silver.  They gestured for the people to prostrate themselves before the idol  and 
everyone got down on their knees and raised their hands to their ears.   When I saw 
this, I told my friends to read the İhlâs Sura.  At this point I recalled the dream I had 
fifteen years before.  This dream had now come true. Then, the Patriarch went up to
 a very high spot and spoke at length.  But since I was far away I couldn’t understand
anything  he said.  At the conclusion of his talk, he said, while crying, “...now he 
has died.” and closed the book in his hand.

The idol I referred to above was then moved to another church. The next day, the 
Emperor, ministers, commanders and soldiers came to this church in a state of 
happiness.  With them were about 100 girls, who were from the families of leading
statesmen and commanders , and all the girls were prettier than each other.  If one 
were to say that these girls, who wore beautiful, colorful dresses, were heavenly 
fairies or Earthly ones, because of their peacock feathered wings, he would not be
far off. 

The Patriarch again went up to the high spot and spoke.  At the end of his remarks 
he said “...now he is living.” and closed the book.  After certain orders were given, 
cannons were fired from various locations.  At this point the Patriarch placed the 
statues of the Prophet Jesus and Mary – may peace be upon them both – on silver 
poles.  The Emperor, together with the girls I mentioned, took these statues on foot 
with great pomp and joy back to the first church. 

The City of Ebaiye (Salvador)

salvador brazil map ile ilgili görsel sonucu

Upon receiving an invitation, I left Rio de Janeiro and went to the city of Ebaiye 
(Salvador).   Although the  city is quite large, production is minimal.  It is situated 
at the 17th degree latitude, south, and approximately the 38th parallel longitude, west. 
There is plenty of water and the weather is extremely hot.  The main food of the 
populace here is the farine that I mentioned before.  In one garden in the city I saw
an enormous silver cage, which was filled with various sorts of birds.  The best 
kind of pedigree parrots are raised here.  One parrot that was brought to 
me memorized the call to prayer after hearing it a few times.  But whatever it
 memorizes only lasts in its memory a short while.  According to what some people
 say, there is a type of parrot that doesn’t forget what it has learned but I never saw
 one of these.

There is a great bay here between two mountains.  The width of the bay is 30 miles 
and its length is 200 miles.  A fish called whale is hunted in this bay and large ones 
are sold for up to 1,000 liras.  I went to see one of these whales being hunted.  It is
 quite a strange animal, with a head nearly half the size of its body.   The animal’s 
width was about 5 meters and its length 20 meters.   Since it is a very powerful animal,
when it is hunted it sometimes destroys and sinks the fishing boats.  From its head 
alone, 40 barrels of oil are filled and some people say this amount may be even more.
Hunting whales is quite an adventure.

The Moslems of Ebaiye (Salvador)

salvador brazil moslems 1860 ile ilgili görsel sonucu

There are more Moslems in Ebaiye (Salvador) than in other cities.  But since
 they are not very interested in learning the rules and information about religion, 
they are no different from those in other cities, from the standpoint of ignorance.  In
 fact, as the example below shows, with regard to their wedding customs, they are
 much worse than other Moslems.

When a Moslem in Ebaiye wants to marry, he brings the girl home to try her out,
 lying down with her before marriage.  The girl is kept in the home until she bears
 a child.  If during this time the girl shows obedience, protects the man’s secrets and
genuinely gains his love then the Moslem agrees to marry her and a marriage is 
conducted.  If it all doesn’t work out, the girl returns to her family with the child.

As soon as I came here my first effort was to try to get rid of this illegitimate 
marriage custom.   As an experiment, I had one or two of these Moslems who had
 such women, get married in exchange for a specified dowry.   Additionally, I 
explained to them the rules of Islam with regard to divorce, when necessary.

The month of Ramazan came and they showed a lot of interest in ‘teravih’ prayers 
(the supererogatory night service in Ramazan performed immediately after the 
prescribed night service of worship.)  In order to make it easy for them, I said 10 
‘rekat’ tevarih prayers (complete act of worship with prescribed postures.) each night.

The Moslem women of Ebaiye don’t wear ‘tesettür’ head coverings and tour
around with their heads uncovered.  When one of them dies their relatives and 
friends go to the church and have the Bible read for the soul of the departed, giving
alms to the priest, as well.  I told them that this was forbidden and prohibited it.

Most of the Moslem children are being converted to Christianity.  The main reasons 
for this are that they live side by side with the Christians and there are many priests. 
When a child sees that no one else opposes the community except his father, 
naturally  the child thinks his father is lying and he conforms with the majority.  For 
this reason,  I told the Moslems to keep their children separate from the Christians 
until Moslems  have wealth and power  and until the children can tell right from 
wrong.  I stayed in  Ebaiye one full year and tried as best I could to teach people the 
tenets of Islam. 

//END of PART X//