(Sabah Newspaper, 18 October 2013)
Did the former CIA director David Howell Petraeus work
as a teacher in Turkey in his youth? Students in Sultanhisar,
Aydin province, say the answer is "definitely yes!", such that
for the longest time their conversations have centered around
Now, the 60'ish students of that era are sure that the Peace Corps
volunteer named Willy Van De Grift who taught them English
for a year was Petraeus, who rose to the summit of U.S. military
ranks before becoming CIA director. The students, who claim that
Petraeus changed his name later on, said that "we began to suspect
it was him when we saw him on TV years later. Then we looked at
old photographs, refreshed our memories and became certain it was
him. He was very ambitious even in his youth and it was clear that
he would be a success."
Ekrem Basaran, one of the students at Sultanhisar Middle School in
1966-67, said that his teacher was Willy Van De Graft, who was called
'Davit' by the staff members who didn't know English at that time.
Basaran stated that "he used to ask me interesting questions and
requested that I take him to the villages. He would speak with the
villagers with poor Turkish and take notes. When I asked him why
he was doing so he responded by saying 'when the time comes you'll
Another former student, Mehmet Sumer, said that years later he
understood why 'Davit' seemed more like an 'agent' than a teacher.
"He wasn't good at explaining lessons. When I myself became a
teacher I realized this more clearly. He just spouted U.S. propaganda.
Since he didn't know teaching techniques we didn't get anything out
of the English he was supposed to teach us."
The oldest of the former students, Zeki Pekoz, recalled that "he spent
more time with the shopkeepers at the market than he did at school.
Petraeus is none other than our 'Davit'.
Sultanhisar, in north-central Aydin province.