That’s Turkish for “hello.”
My sister-in-law Peggy taught me that word years ago and now I may actually get to use the greeting when I visit the country of Turkey soon. I am traveling to Turkey with Peggy, my brother Phil (Peggy’s husband), and my brother Steve. Peggy, a professor at American University in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, is presenting a conference paper in Turkey, so the rest of us are going along to see the sights. Peggy, from South Dakota, learned Turkish after serving in the Peace Corps as a teacher in the Turkish town of Yenipazar. She will be our interpreter, though English is used a lot and taught in schools there.
Turkey is a democracy and also part of the Middle East and Arab world. Though most of the country is in Asia, a tiny part of it is in Europe, near Greece and Bulgaria.
Istanbul, the ancient city, will be our first stop. According to various Internet figures, Istanbul has a population of more than 13 million. Probably closer to 17 million now. I will try my best to count the people there and let you know later.
According to Wikipedia, “Istanbul has served as the capital of the Roman Empire (330-395), the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire (395-1204 and 1261-1453), the Latin Empire (1204-1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453-1922).” Turkey became a republic in 1923. Ankara is the capital city.
Actress Angelina Jolie recently visited the Syrian refugee camps in southern Turkey as a United Nations representative, following the exit of Syrian people fearful of the Syrian dictator and government with the recent protests there for freedom. We will not be going near the southern border or to Ankara, but will be traveling to Istanbul and along the western coastal area.
My trip to Turkey will make it the first time that I have visited the continent of Asia. I have been to Europe numerous times (England, Scotland, Ireland, and France). My favorite city in Europe is Edinburgh, Scotland. I have been to Africa by visiting Egypt when it was still under the dictatorship rule of Hosni Mubarak. I am glad that Egypt has moved to the process of becoming a democracy.
I am looking forward to learning more about Turkey. When traveling with a Roberts-American, it always means enjoying the history, visiting historical sites, and trying to be a good representative of America while still keeping a sense of humor about life, travel, people, airports, the TSA person named Pat Down, and other adventures along the way. I will try to avoid being a complete “turkey” in Turkey. I have watched so-called “ugly Americans” in other foreign countries with disdain, so I know that arrogance and rudeness are not attributes.
O.K. Turkey, here I come. Gobble-gobble (for humor). And “merhaba” to all.