LU International Insights

Ayse Adanali

This week Ayse Adanali, a Lawrence international student, tells us about her home country of Turkey.What comes to your mind when I say “Turkey”? I can hear you saying Thanksgiving; sweet, juicy meat; feathers . I am actually talking about the other one – the Republic of Turkey.
So where is Turkey? After reading The Lawrentian, go and stand in front of a world map – my favorite is on the second floor of Briggs. You will see a bridge-like country among Europe, Asia and the Middle East which is surrounded by three seas: the Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Black Sea.
Turkey is the only secular democratic Muslim country among all the Muslim countries in the world. It is a land full of historic treasures from 13 successive civilizations spanning ten thousand years.
The oldest known human settlement is in Catalhoyuk, and the first church built by man – St. Peter’s Church – is in Antioch, also known as Antakya. St. Nicholas, also known as Santa Claus, was born in Demre on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. Noah’s Ark landed on Mount Ararat, or Agri, and the last meal on Noah’s Ark, a pudding of sweet and sour taste known as “asure” is still served throughout Turkey.
The Virgin Mary’s house where she spent her last days, situated on top of Bulbuldag (Efhesus), is considered a holy place for all religions. Early Christians escaping from Roman persecutions found shelters in Cappadocia. Every year hundreds of Christians make pilgrimages to these places and many more in Turkey.
The Turks gave the Dutch the tulip flower and introduced coffee and cherry plants to Europe. Turkey is noted for having one of the three most famous and distinctive traditional cuisines in the world.
Bursa, Turkey is the homeland of “iskender doner” or what you know as gyro or “shorma.”
There are hundreds of beaches and marinas that have the “Blue Flag” – a European award for the best clean water on the Mediterranean and Aegean Coast. Indeed, the name for the color turquoise comes from the clean sea color on the Aegean Coast in Turkey.
There are approximately 9,000 species of flowers in Turkey, of which 3,000 are endemic. In Europe there are 11,500 species.
Istanbul, the country’s most populated city, is the only city in the world built on two continents.
Anatolia, the Asian part of Turkey, is the birthplace of many historic legends such as Homer, King Midas, Herodotus, and St. Paul the Apostle. Julius Caesar proclaimed his celebrated words, “Veni, vidi, vici,” – meaning “I came, I saw, I conquered” – in Turkey when he defeated the Pontus, a formidable kingdom in the Black Sea region of Turkey.
The philosopher Aristotle lived in Assos for three years. The famous Trojan Wars took place in western Turkey, around the site where the Trojan horse rests today.
Writing was first used by people in ancient Anatolia. The first clay tablets in the ruins of Assyrian Karum date back to 1950 B.C.E. In 640 B.C.E., for the first time in history, the Lydian king in Aegean region of Turkey used coins made of electrum. The first university in history is in Harran, Turkey.
Tradition in Turkey says that a stranger at one’s doorstep is considered God’s guest so he or she has to be very well taken care of. I believe this is a good excuse to visit Turkey!