Bilderverkauf aller 50 km / Pictures on Sale every 50 km

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Special Day and Turkish Hospitality vs. European Hospitality

27th – 30th of November:

We could not see so much the night before since it was already dark but the street from the Black Sea to Erzurum is amazing. It is sunny and we are driving through a huge canyon in the far east of Turkey. I never imagined that Turkey has such a nature. The sheer rock walls have structured but artistic patterns. As in other valleys on our journey the people live at the bottom having there farms and animals. Further up everything is dry. We leave this canyon and go up in the mountains. It is sparse populated but from time to time there is a village or a military check point. The houses look quite new, which means they are build in this “concrete style”. The “concrete style” is the same everywhere in the world. Just some steel and concrete is casted in a form. Ready is the house. Traditional house construction methods are already lost in here and also later we will make this experience in other parts of Turkey. This is a big difference to the countries in Central Asia where in some areas the people still build in the traditional way. Old style houses are hardly to find, maybe 30 years ago or in some hidden villages in the mountains.

(N 39.11313°, E 40.84087 °)

For two days we are driving through the mountain side. It is cold but sunny; we are often above 2000 m. As in Central Asia this landscape is used for the sheep and cow herds. The night is quite cold but we are happy to see the sun in the morning. We are driving down from the mountains and it is getting warmer. We decide to warm up and to stay a day at a warm place with a spring. The first contact to a Turkish guy is funny. We are used to communicate in Russian or English. Now we only have hands and feet to “speak”. Again the people are very friendly invite us for self-made cigarette and also to stay in there house. But for this day we decide to stay here: N 38.31786°, E 39.99798 °. It is a really nice ancient looking warm place; a small cave, a spring and the water floating through a pond into the rocky valley below us.

Next day we are washing all our clothing. Meanwhile people stop by and we get again invited by two nice guys with their two small boys to visit a wedding party. We just wait until our clothing is dry and then we drive to their village Koey, which is just 2 km away. First they prepare a lunch for us in their family’s house. Half of the village visits and most of them are family. A lot of kids, but first we always have to say hello to the elderly and most respected persons. We make a short visit at the wedding but then they say lets go to Ergnani. There we visit another uncle. It seems all the family is gathered around. Veysel just visits his family from Istanbul. He stays most of the time there studying. His English is very good and we have the chance to understand more. He explain us that today is a very special day. This is a time the whole family comes together. So why it such a important day I ask. He tells me the story: “Allah asked in ancient a man to kill and sacrifice his son for him. Asking this was just a test if the man really would do it. The man takes the knife and tries to cut the neck of his son but it seems it is impossible to cut. Allah sends a sheep to him and tells him he should kill the sheep instead and share it with the poor people. That is what the people do this day.”
We saw a lot of people killing a cow or sheep beside the street. For the rich it is obligatory to share this with the poor and they do it.

All people sitting in one room, in case an older or respected person enters the room everybody stands up to greet him or her. Just after he/she finds a place everybody else is sitting down. The elderly are much respected. Mostly the kids or the young woman are sitting on the carpet and only a few are sitting on something like a sofa that is above the others. We eat; we drink and talk a lot. Veysel makes always kidding with the people. He tells them that Kotomi can speak Kurdish. Some women start to talk to Kotomi in fast Kurdish happy to know that she will understand. Finally everybody recognises and we are laughing all together. Actually they all can speak Kurdish but they are not fanatic PKK fighters. Veysel explains that most of them living in peace with the Turkish. For him it does not matter if somebody is Turkish or Kurdish.

We talk a lot with him and Veysel tells me that he experienced already in Europe that the hospitality we experience now he could not receive in there. Unfortunately, I have to agree and I tell him that I am always ashamed about this. I hope he can visit us one day and I could give him shelter and show that he can also find hospitality in Europe. I guess most people are afraid to invite a foreigner, they are not able to trust the people. Nevertheless, later on we experience that the Turkish do not trust other Turkish/Kurdish/Arabic or other way around. It is strange they trust us but they wouldn’t trust their own people in some cases.

Later we sleep at Veysel’s cousin’s house in the town. There we meet his father and the rest of the family. I have to say that I got in trouble with all the names, it was like 50 names this day and I am sorry for that but it is just to much names in the short time L.

(N 38.26583°, E 39.77236 °)

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