We leave Istanbul to see the rest of Turkey. Our hotel had pools but the temperature was quite cold. Even the “hot tub” was cold and was called a hydro massage. The signage claimed that this was the temperature recommended by the World Health Organization. Understandably, we were the only ones there.
Politics written by Rob Street
Mustafa Kemal was an officer of the Turkish army in 1915 when they successfully defended the Dardanelles Strait against The Allies at Gallipoli. He is said to have told his poorly-equipped army, “I am not ordering you to attack. I am ordering you to die.” They held the hill and changed the course of the war. Later in the war he was promoted to Major General and then Field Marshall of the 7th Army.
After WWI in May 1919 he led a nationalist revolution in Anatolia, organizing resistance to the peace settlement imposed on Turkey by the victorious Allies who were trying to partition the Ottoman Empire. This was particularly focused on resisting Greek attempts to seize more Turkish land. Victory over the Greeks allowed Mustafa Kemal to get a revised peace agreement. During this time Armenians were persecuted, killed, and driven from the country.
In 1921 Mustafa Kemal established a provisional government in Ankara. The next year the Ottoman Sultanate was abolished, and the current Sultan was exiled to Switzerland. The Sultan as Caliph was the religious leader of the Islamic world. So this was a big deal, like the pope being exiled from Rome. I think even bigger because the Sultan had religious AND administrative leadership of Turkey (Ottoman Empire).
In 1923 Turkey became a secular republic with Mustafa Kemal as its president. He had dreamed about this all of his life. Once in control he shifted the country from Islamic to secular. Islamic Sharia law was replaced with secular laws. He prohibited religious education and turned some mosques into museums. Mustafa Kemal changed their alphabet from Arabic to Latin. On January 1, 1927, he switched the calendar from Julian to the western Gregorian calendar. Women were to be given equal salaries to men. Women were not allowed to wear Muslim clothing such as burqas to work. Mustafa Kemal declared that people would start to use surnames. Historical family nicknames became the surnames. As an example, one family’s nickname was “chubby”. That became the family’s surname. Ertunga said that his family’s historical nickname was “stingy”. They didn’t think of using a different surname. In 1934 the Turkish parliament granted Mustafa Kemal the surname “Ataturk”, which means “father of the Turks.” Ataturk died in 1938, but his government continued until 1945.
Starting in the 1980’s Fetullah Gulen, an Islamic scholar and author built open schools that provided Turks with a good education. If you wanted to work hard and advance, a teacher would spent 24 hours with you. In these schools he was also teaching people to be his future allies, brainwashed in a way. The schools taught Islamic religion and the regular subjects such as math and science.
For their final year of education the students would go to a secular high school. The degree came from the high school and the records of their time at Gulen’s schools were hard to find without a lot of research. Ertunga told us that he went to one of the Gulen schools for a year. Eventually some of the former students moved into positions of power and influence in the government. Also small groups of Gulen’s followers formed of up to six people. Outwardly, Gulen was not promoting radical ideas, so he was allowed to continue.
Recently Turkey has been led by Recep Tayyip Erdogen. He was mayor of Istanbul, then Prime Minister, and now President since 2014.
For a while Gulen and Erdogen were allies. Erdogen knew about Gulen’s plans, and some of this people infiltrated the groups. In 2016 a coup attempt started. Some people think that Erdogen initiated a fake coup against himself, that he gave the orders to the people he had placed to start the action. 100,000 people were arrested when the attempted coup was crushed. Some are still in jail. Around the same time a few terrorist activities happened. Erdogen told the people that they could either reelect him or this chaotic situation would continue. He was reelected. Previously in 1999 Gulen had self-exiled himself to the US. After the coup attempt Turkey outlawed the Gulen movement, closed the schools, asked the US to return Gulen, and offered to trade a jailed pastor. About 1,000 Gulen schools exist worldwide including about 125 private charter schools in the US. They rank highly in education but are controversial because of their political agenda. Ertunga said that some people believe that the CIA was even supporting Gulen.
The US has a relationship with Turkey mostly as an ally and member of NATO. However, not all is good. Erdogen has allowed some policies to become more Islamic and less secular. The US supports the Kurds in Eastern Turkey who are at odds with the Turkish government, trying to form their own separate country. Erdogen has also recently purchased S-400 missiles from Russia as he is trying to show his people that he is strong and independent. Ertunga thinks practically that those missiles will never be used.
We stopped at beautiful Barbare Vineyards. They started the vineyard 16 years ago so it is relatively new. We got a private tour of their certified organic wine production. They do not need to use pesticides as the wind from the sea keeps the insects away.
It takes a vineyard three generations or one hundred years for it to become an established winery. They first purchased 82 hectares, and then 82,000 vines.
Wait for seven years for the first good grapes. You will produce your first bottle after 10 years. Oh and then there is the purchase of a state of the art precision bottling machine from Italy.
They have a winemaker from France who comes to the vineyard six times a year and costs $1,350 per visit.
Oak barrels cost over $1,000 per barrel. Americans buy approximately thirty percent of their wines aged in oak barrels. One can only use a barrel three times. The wine is aged from 1-3 years. One barrel can hold enough to fill 300 bottles. Then they are sold for decor for about $125.
Originally, the barrels were purchased for transportation but people started noticing a different flavor, and for some, a better tasting wine.
Our host joked that, “It takes a large fortune to make a small fortune.”
Barbare Vineyards produces approximately 120,000 bottles per year. They make two types of red wines-one type is in a fatter bottle.
Red wines keep the skins on during the fermentation process. The whites only use the juice. Rosé and blush are exactly the same and is named differently only for the Anglo market.
The wines labeled as blush and rosé were taste tested by Americans and poured from the same bottle! They indicated a preference!!!
I don’t drink but am a professional flavor taste tester so we sampled six types of wine. Rob liked the oak reds best. I thought all of them tasted like medicine but I did my best to catch top notes and bottom notes. The cheese, dried fruits, and nuts were my favorites.
We had a gourmet lunch overlooking the grapevines. We even had a yummy grape leaf appetizer!
Gallipoli (British) aka Canakkale (Turkey)
How can some of the most horrific places of death be in some of the most beautiful places? Everywhere on the Gallipoli penisula is a graveyard.
In WWI The British empire wanted to capture Istanbul and control the Aegean. Gallipoli was the first step. The Turks were defending their land and seas.
Britain called upon her empire throughout the world. The young men of Australia and New Zealand were looking for adventure. They called it Gallipoli Fever. They were called ANZAC (Australia New Zealand Army Corp). This begun the comradery known as mateship that Australians are known for.
The British soldiers arrived early in the morning of April 25, 1915 . The land was short and a steep climb. The shores had barbed wire. Many trenches were dug on both sides. Trench warfare and hand to hand combat were a hallmarks of WWI.
Many people died during the 11 month battle. One British soldier was screaming due to his injuries. A Turk pulled off his white underwear to wave for a truce. He carried the man to his friends in a nearby trench. There is a monument commemorating his compassion.
“I am not ordering you to attack, I am ordering you to die,” said Mustafa Kemal who later was named Ataturk which means “Father of the Turks”. He was the first president of the Republic of Turkey.
There was a popular song written about this time in 1913 called “The Trail of the Lonesome Pine”. It was made famous by Laurel and Hardy. Ironically, I saw a 2019 movie about this comedic duo on the plane ride and they sang this song!
Pine trees saw all the battles. There was the Battle of the Lone Pine. Today there is a cemetery to the unknown who are buried here. Two Australian soldiers took pine seeds back to Australia and New Zealand to plant. There are two types: the Turkish pine and the Aleppo pine and many exist today down under.
Here is a poem about the Lone Pine.
Lone Pine! Lone Pine! Our hearts are numbly aching
For those who come no more,
Our boys who sleep the sleep that knows no waking,
Besides the Dardan’s shore.
Through all the years, with glory sad and sombre,
Their names will deathless shine;
No bugle call can wake them from their slumber:
Lone Pine! Lone Pine!
They did not quail, they did not pause or ponder,
They counted not the odds;
The order came, the foe were waiting yonder,
The rest was with the gods.
Forth from their trenches at the signal leaping,
They charged the Turkish line,
And death charged too, a royal harvest reaping,
Lone Pine! Lone Pine!
Nought could withstand that onrush, backward
The foemen broke and fled.
by Edward Harrington
The troops began to question, “Why are we here?”
The British commander came to assess the war and made the wise decision to retreat. There were many lives lost.
This British amphibious assault was studied extensively prior to the Normandy Invasion.
Ertunga leads many Australians to this battlefield. In a famous speech Ataturk told the Australian mothers that your sons are like our sons and they are buried together on our soil. We will take care of them.