Monthly Archives: December 2014

Interview with Mustafa Kemal

Below are transcribed the words in the image above by the founder of the Turkish Republic.

When I first visited Istanbul, in 1998, I was too late to see old American cars used as dolmuşlar. Perhaps there were still a few around, but I did not see them. They had been described in a book published the previous year:

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Bosphorus Sky

This is about the morning of Thursday, December 18, 2014, a morning I spent by the Bosphorus, thinking mostly about poetry, and photographing the sky.

DSC01811

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Istanbul in the Sun

The first Saturday in December promised to be cloudy, like every other day in recent weeks; but it would probably be rainless, so I spent it outside. Sunday was supposed to be rainy, so I planned on doing mental work indoors. In fact there were showers at dawn, but there was also orange light in the clouds. The clouds eventually cleared up, and I saw that I had better go out again. I returned to the seaside park where I had been the previous weekend; but this time I brought a proper camera.

I took some photos on the way to the park; these have now been incorporated in another article, ”Taksim in Limbo.” They serve to illustrate the previous article, “The Istanbul Seaside,” on that earlier park visit; so do the photos below.

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Taksim in Limbo

This is a personal report on the current condition of Taksim square. I visited Taksim recently (early December, 2014) on a rare sunny day.

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Mîna Urgan on alphabets & Atatürk

mina-urgan-paragraf

In the news lately in Turkey is the vow or threat of the President to make lessons in Ottoman Turkish compulsory for Turkish schoolchildren. How realistic the threat is, I do not know. There is the Constitutional question of what the President’s powers actually are. There is also the practical question of whether it is even possible for most Turkish students to learn Ottoman. Foreign language education in Turkey is not generally very good; and as far as I can tell, Ottoman Turkish is practically a foreign language now. Two paragraphs from Geoffrey Lewis’s Turkish Grammar (Oxford, 1967, pages xx–xxi) are very interesting in this regard:

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The Istanbul Seaside

The original purpose of this article was to display and explain two photographs by me: one of a seaside park, the other of an abandoned car. I do this, and I talk about the stresses and compensations of the big city. I continue with the theme of Freedom from an earlier article of that name.

It is now early December in Istanbul, 2014. We have hardly seen the sun for weeks. Some rain falls almost every day. One has to learn to go out when one can. Last Saturday was cloudy, but dry, so we walked down to the Tophane-i Amire—the “Cannon Foundry Imperial.” The name is romantic, because it dates from Ottoman times, and because, like Koh-i-Noor, it is in a Persian grammatical form that is obsolete in Turkish. Today’s name of the cannon foundry would be Amire Tophane.
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