Thoughts reverent and irreverent from the road in Turkey

I’m in Burdur otogar waiting for the bus to Bucak when a woman sits down beside me who, at a sidelong glance, I’m sure must come from Somalia. She’s wearing a ragbag mix of clothes and far too many of them, in my opinion, for the sticky hot weather. Her head...
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At the entrance to Kıyıkızlacık, near Milas, a man has set up a kokoreç stand to grill lamb entrails for passers-by. It strikes me as a strange thing to be cooking in temperatures of over 100 degrees but no doubt he knows his potential clientele. In any case, he’s a...
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{jcomments on} I had such fond memories of Beçin, near Milas, but of course since my last visit the tidy-uppers had been at work, restoring the fine 14th-century mosque so that it now looked brand new. That was bad enough. What was worse and what always makes my blood boil was...
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At Alabanda, near Çine, I bump into a student from Aydın University. He’s clad in what seems to be the international national-park staff uniform of green sweatshirt and khaki Bermudas and we fall into conversation in front of a lovely old house, one of the few left in the village,...
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  The silence of the night in Sidyma is magical. A cow bellows, a chicken crows, but there’s not the slightest sound of obtrusive modernity. I’ve come up here to visit Brea, a Canadian woman who has set up a goat farm amidst the ruins of ancient Lycia and I’m overwhelmed...
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I don’t know how many times I must have wandered past the Yeşil Cami in Kütahya without ever thinking to take a look inside, but today something makes me push open the door - - and what a revelation it is.  Inside, as is normal during Ramazan, a Koran class...
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Gölyaka is one of those places that has the feel of the end of the world about it. The main road is lined with mud-brick and stone houses with pretty jutting-out cumbas (bay windows) but as we drive along its wide empty space there’s no getting away from the fact...
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Really, there is nothing quite like it. Think back to the excitement of those Christmas mornings of childhood, magnify that feeling by a hundred and still you wouldn’t quite be able to evoke the tension of the last 15 minutes before the break of the fast (iftar) during Ramazan in...
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“Hmm, the rate isn’t good today, I’m afraid,” says the receptionist at my hotel and immediately I feel my blood start to boil.It’s a fallacy commonly rolled out by commentators who haven’t spent much time in Turkey that things will be cheaper here because it’s not part of the eurozone. That...
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Tucked away in the back streets of conservative Fatih in Old İstanbul there’s a mosque that boasts a particular treasure. The Hırka-ı Şerif is a garment believed to have belonged to the Prophet Mohammed and bequeathed by him to Veysel Karani, a Muslim mystic from Yemen whom he had never...
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