America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

America's #1 Balance Bike Destination
America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

29 October 2006

Happy Republic Day for Turkey

Today's first order of business is the Turkish National Anthem. I discovered this video for the first time tonight, and I think you might find it as astonishing as I did. How many Turks among us can recite the entire istiklal Marsi completely from memory? This is no Star Spangled Banner, folks... This is ten verses. To wit:
Korkma, sönmez bu şafaklarda yüzen al sancak;
Sönmeden yurdumun üstünde tüten en son ocak.
O benim milletimin yıldızıdır parlayacak;
O benimdir, o benim milletimindir ancak.
Çatma, kurban olayım çehreni ey nazlı hilal!
Kahraman ırkıma bir gül! ne bu şiddet bu celal?
Sana olmaz dökülen kanlarımız sonra helal,
Hakkıdır, Hakk'a tapan, milletimin istiklal!
Ben ezelden beridir hür yaşadım, hür yaşarım.
Hangi çılgın bana zincir vuracakmış? Şaşarım;
Kükremiş sel gibiyim, bendimi çiğner aşarım;
Yırtarım dağları, enginlere sığmam, taşarım.
Garbın afakını sarmışsa çelik zırhlı duvar,
Benim iman dolu göğsüm gibi serhaddim var.
Ulusun, korkma! Nasıl böyle bir imanı boğar.
"Medeniyet!" dediğin tek dişi kalmış canavar?
Arkadaş! Yurduma alçakları uğratma sakın!
Siper et gövdeni, dursun bu hayasızca akın.
Doğacaktır sana vaadettiği günler Hakk'ın;
Kimbilir, belki yarın, belki yarından da yakın.
Bastığın yerleri "toprak" diyerek geçme, tanı!
Düşün, altında binlerce kefensiz yatanı.
Sen şehit oğlusun, incitme, yazıktır atanı;
Verme, dünyaları alsan da bu cennet vatanı.
Kim bu cennet vatanın uğruna olmaz ki feda?
Şüheda fışkıracak toprağı sıksan, şüheda!
Canı, cananı, bütün varımı alsın da Hüda,
Etmesin tek vatanımdan beni dünyada cüda.
Ruhumun senden, ilahi, şudur ancak emeli;
Değmesin mabedimin göğsüne na-mahrem eli!
Bu ezanlar ki şahadetleri dinin temeli,
Ebedi yurdumun üstünde benim inlemeli
O zaman vecd ile bin secde eder varsa taşım;
Her cerihamdan, ilahi, boşanıp kanlı yaşım,
Fışkırır ruh-i mücerret gibi yerden na'aşım;
O zaman yükselerek arşa değer belki başım!
Dalgalan sen de şafaklar gibi ey şanlı hilal;
Olsun artık dökülen kanlarımın hepsi helal!
Ebediyyen sana yok, ırkıma yok izmihlal.
Hakkıdır, hür yaşamış bayrağımın hürriyet;
Hakkıdır, Hakk'a tapan milletimin istiklal!

Lyrics by Mehmet Akif Ersoy
Music composed by Osman Zeki Üngör

28 October 2006

Giant Turkish flag in Kirikkale

Workmen put the finishing touches on a giant Turkish flag painted on stones laid on the slope of a hill in the central Turkish city of Kirikkale October 27, 2006.
REUTERS/Umit Bektas

26 October 2006

Mudanya'da bir kanun ustası İrfan ALTINBAŞAK

My father received some good press recently at this website and also in 'Bursa' newspaper this past July... He is visiting with us for the next few weeks, and has brought with him two of his latest pieces. Both are offered for sale in the $3,000+ range. Detailed pictures or video footage upon request.

23 October 2006

Melissa Papantones' Anti-Turkishness Part 2

Here is my reply to the letter from Melissa Papantones :
Dear Editor,
For the second time in the past 30 days, Melissa Papantones has proven to be a habitual racist offender of Turkishness. The title of Melissa Papantones' letter, published October 22nd in reply to a letter written by Ece Koc, is completely mis-leading, as none of the history that is set forth can be attributed to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's "reign". When did it become appropriate to publish such tripe? What have the Spanish Inquisition, the Greek Orthodox sem­inary at Halki, or the European parliament, to do with Ataturk?
The French Parliament has recently passed a bill which criminalizes denial of the Armenian tragedy- an act which has been condemned by the European Union and which is considered an affront to free speech. This is clearly an overture to the the strong Armenian lobby in France, whose national pastime is to stoke pity for their unfortunately high number of casualties, suffered at the beginning of the Allied occupation and their subsequent attempt to colonize Istanbul and Anatolia. The French-boot-licking Armenians are proven to be complicit in contributing to the destruction of the Ottoman Empire, and their pre-meditated exploitation of Turkish weakness reveals their true colors. Regrettably, Turks were under assault from the land-grabbing Russians, Greeks, British, French, Italians, Georgians, Armenians et al, and the untold number of Turks who were killed fighting for their nation's survival is completely white washed and dismissed. Self-pity is not a Turkish national pastime.
It is from under such chaos, misfortune and hopelessness that a new leader emerged. One with an undefeated military record, who introduced the new Turkish alphabet overnight, who abolished Islamic courts and law, who forced complete separation of government and religious affairs, who liberated women and gave them the right to vote decades ahead of France, Italy, Greece and Switzerland, who was the single unifying factor of a country being systematically dismembered and colonized by it's enemies, and who successfully defeated all of the above named aggressors to create a new republic. He is Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. To denigrate his name and his achievements is to spit in the face of liberty, modernization, and secularism.
What kind of a leader is praised and honored by the likes of Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, John F Kennedy, and Dwight Eisenhower?
What kind of a leader erects memorials to the ANZAC casualties who attacked at Gallipoli, bearing the inscription:
"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives... You are now lying in
the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference
between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side now here
in this country of ours... you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway
countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in
peace. After having lost their lives on this land. They have become our sons as
To try to connect any of Ataturks's contributions to the Armenian tragedy or to compare him to the Nazi Hitler, is not only a pitiful attempt to de-humanize one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century and the national hero of Turkey, it is also a forfeiture and blatant violation of Godwin's Law, which states: "...whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically "lost" whatever debate was in progress..".
On October 29th, Turks of all ethnicities within Turkey and abroad, will celebrate the Declaration of the Turkish Republic's 83rd anniversary.

-Murat Altinbasak

Published in The Westerly Sun on Sunday October 22nd:

Anyone praising Turkish leader can't ignore the atrocities under his reign
Ms. Koc of New York responds to my letter concerning Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and the genocidal atrocities of the Turkish state with non sequiturs and ad hominem attacks. It is she, and not I, who is ignorant of history. Ms. Koc cites as an example of Ataturk's enlightenment the exten­sion of the vote to women. According to my research, women received the vote in Turkey in 1934, many years after women received the vote in the United States, not "decades before" as alleged by Ms. Koc. Ms. Koc either ignores or is igno­rant of the history of both the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. From conscription as slaves and forced conversion to Islam of Christian children ( Kapi kulu or slaves of the Porte) to the depreda­tions of the Janissary Corps, Ottoman history is replete with bloodshed, intolerance, rapine, and plunder. This was the alleged enlightened refuge to which the vic­tims of the Spanish Inquisitor fled in 1491. Ms. Koc clearly is unaware that on Sept. 27, 2006, the European parlia­ment released a report sharply criti­cizing Turkey's application for EU membership and specifically men­tioned Turkey's failure to meet European standards on questions of human rights including freedom of expression and religious liberty. Today, Turks live in Europe and America where they are free to live unmolested while the Patriarchate of Constantinople, has been targeted for extinction by the government created by Ataturk now that Christians have been reduced to less than one percent of the population. In the 1960s, the Turkish govern­ment closed the Greek Orthodox sem­inary at Halki. It has since refused to permit it to reopen while allowing the plunder and decay of its library, art­works and buildings. The Ecumenical Patriarch, spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, must be a graduate of Halki and a Turkish cit­izen. Thus, Turkish official policy guarantees that eventually no priest will legally qualify as successor to St. Andrew the Apostle. Presumably, this is the type of religious freedom to which Ms. Koc refers in her letter. I must emphatically point out that Ms. Koc does not deny Ataturk's genocidal campaign against the Armenian population in 1915. Nor does she deny the liquidation of the entire Greek, Jewish, and residual Armenian population of the city of Smyrna (now called Izmir) in 1922 by Ataturk's forces. Praising Ataturk for women's suf­frage while ignoring the atrocities perpetrated by his forces is like citing Hitler for the development of the autobahn or Mussolini for making the trains run on time, while over­looking the carnage of the Holocaust and World War II.
Melissa J. Papantones New Haven and Misquamicut

Please read the title, read the letter and try telling me that replying to this won't be like fishing with dynamite. -AT More later.

22 October 2006

Turkish Soldiers Arrive in Lebanon, by air and sea

Turkish soldiers stand on guard by their warship in Beirut port October 20,2006. Around 100 Turkish soldiers arrived in Lebanon by sea on Friday to join the U.N. peacekeepers monitoring ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah.
Turkish soldiers rest in a truck upon arrival by warship at the Beirut port October 20, 2006. Around 100 Turkish soldiers arrived in Lebanon by sea on Friday, the first Turkish land forces to join U.N. peacekeepers monitoring a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah.
A Turkish flag is reflected on a vehicle as it is being unloaded by a soldier from their warship at the Beirut port October 20, 2006. Around 100 Turkish soldiers arrived in Lebanon by sea on Friday, the first Turkish land forces to join U.N. peacekeepers monitoring a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah.

21 October 2006

Mattress Follies: Do not try this at home

Update: Today I finally patched the hole in the floor, but not before shooting this picture, in case there was any doubt!
Seemed appropriate to break things up with some light-hearted banter..
I will post a photo later, but I wanted to tell about how we got our new king sized mattress upstairs. Wouldn't go up the front stairs or the butler staircase of our home, so... I peeled back the carpeting and cut the floor boards in our back foyer, cut through the ceiling, and hoisted the thing up in between the floor joists. Yeah Murat is not playing with a full deck these days. But when you spend thousands of dollars on a top shelf mattress which you can't return, you must be resourceful. This thing is heavenly to lie down upon, which I think I will do right now. Good night!

Waterspout Spotted in Antalya

Tourists on the Mediterranean coastal city of Antalya watch a waterspout on the sea October 19, 2006.
19 Oct 2006 REUTERS/Anatolian

19 October 2006

Radio Open Source: "Talking Turkishness" Update

Open Source is hosted by Christopher Lydon. The featured guests are Fatma Muge Gocek and Amberin Zaman. In addition, Deborah Ann Dilley and myself will be on the line as representatives of the Turkish blogosphere. Tune in at 7:00 pm on National Public Radio.
You can read the many comments posted in advance of the program, at the Open Source website.

18 October 2006

Cruel and Unusual Punishment: Painful death for murderers is un-constitutional

Which is worse: The fact that the United States still executes violent criminals? or this?
We're like a dog biting our own tail. Is this the greatest country in the world, or what?

Radio Open Source: Talking Turkishness

We’re going to try to understand what this conversation sounds like in Turkey. In this modern secular state with a Muslim majority, built on the foundation of one of the great, complex empires of the last century, what’s the interpretation of or consensus on “the Armenian question”? Why is it such a taboo subject? What does the reaction to Pamuk’s award and the French resolution say about the country? Why is it that Turkey’s literary figures have become its dissidents? And what’s the relationship between historical Turks and Armenians and those in the present?

To be recorded Thursday October 19th, and may include one or more Turkish bloggers. More to come. -AT

15 October 2006

1000 Words: Turks demonstrate against France

A security officer looks out of a window on the gate of French consulate in Istanbul during an anti-France demonstration, October 14, 2006. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday Turkey was studying retaliatory measures against France following approval of a law making it a crime to deny Armenians suffered genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks. 14 Oct 2006 REUTERS/Fatih Saribas
Turkish riot police officers block the road in front of the French consulate during an anti-France demonstration in a busiest shopping district in central Istanbul, October 14, 2006. The French lower house of parliament approved a bill on Thursday making it a crime to deny Armenians suffered genocide in 1915 at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. 14 Oct 2006 REUTERS/Fatih Saribas

Pete Blackwell: Under the Anti-Jihad Radar

As Pete Blackwell of Parenthetical Remarks correctly points out, the voices who habitually step on the necks of Islamists fall silent when a moderate Muslim wins the Nobel Prize for Literature:
  • Andrew Sullivan—No mention of Pamuk. This from the blogger who wondered less than three weeks ago whether the term "Muslim writer" was becoming an oxymoron. Surely anyone who feels qualified to opine on such a subject follows the world of Muslim writing quite closely. Or perhaps not. While not mentioning Pamuk, Sullivan did manage to get sucked in by a bogus story falsely claiming Muslims were upset over a new Apple store in New York.
  • Instapundit—No mention. Too busy with the Harry Reid "scandal", I suppose. Glenn did find time to blog about a YouTube Jihad, though.
  • Michelle Malkin—No mention. Much anguish over the bogus Apple jihad story and some anti-Pope coverage, however.
  • Little Green Footballs—No mention. Where to put it amidst wall-to-wall coverage of the religion of peace?
  • Jihad Watch—No mention. But, jihad closely watched, including even yet still more coverage of the bogus Apple outrage story.
  • Power Line—No mention. Scott did take a moment to write about an obscure Minnesota House candidate and his alleged ties to CAIR. The post was called, ironically enough, "Errors and omissions".
  • Captain's Quarters—No mention. In other news: Harry Reid, Harry Reid! Plus, Muslims bad.

Continue reading Under the Anti-Jihad Radar.

14 October 2006

Global Voices Online: Turkey is Typing 14 Oct 2006

Our dear friend Deborah Ann Dilley has posted a new entry into the Global Voices site and features many of the Turkish bloggers who are members of the Amerikan Turks Yahoo Group, created specifically for Turkish bloggers and their readers. Please direct your browser thusly to read Deborah Ann Dilley's compilation of what is buzzing in the Turkish blogosphere: Global Voices Online: Turkey is Typing

ATAA President's Letter to the Ambassador of France

ATAA President's Letter to the Ambassador of France

October 13, 2006
Dear H.E. Jean-David Levitte,
On behalf of the Turkish American community, I respectfully express our concern at yesterday's decision by the lower house of your parliament to pass a bill that would make it a crime to disagree with, oppose, debate or question the Armenian allegation of genocide. We hope this bill does not become law, because the enforcement of such would constitute a grave violation of freedom of speech, particularly under the European Convention on Human Rights to which France is a party.At a minimum, such a law would alienate a strong ally and a vibrant population in a critical region of the world. Worse, it could fully derail Turkey’s European Union aspirations.Freedom of speech is a fundamental human right. One cannot understand the complete story of the Ottoman Armenian Tragedy or find a lasting resolution without the freedom to discuss just what happened during those difficult years. In this age of information, the Armenian public advocacy system has sought to censor information that challenges the Armenian point of view, particularly as experts discover and expose evidence pointing in the direction that the actions of the Ottoman Empire did not constitute genocide. Indeed, the ATAA is working to protect freedom of speech as a litigant in the case of Griswold v. Massachusetts, to reinstate into the teachers’ curriculum guide scholarly materials that question the Armenian allegation of genocide; the materials had been removed under political pressure from the Armenian lobby. I respectfully refer you to,, for more information on the actions the ATAA is taking in the United States and worldwide legal arenas to protect freedom of speech. I renew my highest confidence in and compliments to you and your foreign mission.
The Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) is the national umbrella organization for over 50 local Turkish associations and over 300,000 Turkish Americans.
Respectfully yours,
Vural CengizPresident

Pamuk: Read comments from supporters and mud-slingers alike

Culture Vulture

It's so easy to see who is Turkish nationalist, Armenian/anti-Turk, elitist WASP, Bible thumper, or just plain envious...
A cornucopia of positions.. Enjoy.

Pamuk's Nobel divides Turkey

Nicholas Birch
Friday October 13, 2006
Guardian Unlimited

Twenty-four hours after Orhan Pamuk became the first ever Turkish writer to win the Nobel prize, reactions in Turkey are strangely mixed.

His fellow artists have been overwhelmingly positive. Yasar Kemal, doyen of Turkish novelists and often tipped for the Nobel himself, emailed Pamuk to congratulate him for an award that he "thoroughly deserved", while the winner of the 2003 Grand Jury prize at Cannes, Nuri Bilge Ceylan declared he was as happy as if he'd won it himself.

EU slams French bill on Armenian deaths

By MATTI HUUHTANEN, Associated Press Writer 8 minutes ago

HELSINKI, Finland - The European Union on Friday condemned a French bill making it a crime to deny that the World War I-era killing of Armenians in Turkey was genocide, calling it unhelpful at a critical stage in the Muslim country's EU entry talks.

The bill was approved by lawmakers in France's lower house Thursday, but still needs approval by the French Senate and

President Jacques Chirac to become law. Turkey has said the decision would harm relations with France.

Chirac's government is thought to be unlikely to forward the bill for passage by the Senate.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said "we don't think this decision at this moment is helpful in the context of the European Union's relations with Turkey."

EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said the bill came at a bad time as the 25-member bloc was trying to avoid "a train crash" in negotiations with Turkey.

"This law is counterproductive," he told reporters.

13 October 2006

Yalan'dan Kim Olmus?

A symbolic stuffed figure is hanged with a sign which reads "Armenian Genocide" as members of the Armenian community in France attend a demonstration near the National Assembly in Paris as deputies at the lower house of parliament approve a bill October 12, 2006 making it a crime to deny Armenians suffered genocide in 1915 at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.
12 Oct 2006 REUTERS/John Schults

"At the hands of the Ottoman Turks"... This wording always gets on my nerves, as it invokes images of Ottoman Turks choking and strangling Armenians to death... somehow 1.5 million of them. If we examine the size of the Ottoman army which is supposedly responsible for this, at a time when their resources were already spread thin by self defense required on three fronts, each and every soldier would probably have to kill 15-20 Armenians, EACH. Do the math. The image above is misleading as well.. how many Armenians were hanged? The choice of a white figure is also suggestive.. as Armenians see themselves pure as snow, completely free of culpability. This is not a truthful portrayal. -AT

12 October 2006

October 12 2006: Turkey's Triumph and Tragedy

Orhan Pamuk wins the Nobel Prize for Literature, and France passes their coveted armenian genocide bill...
For Armenians, both events are victories. It is Pamuk who spoke openly about genocide, resulting in a court battle for his freedom. For Armenians, he is considered to be one of the "good Turks", I'm sure.
For many Turks, Pamuk is loathed as a treasonous sell-out. Someone even went to the trouble of writing a scathing poem about him. I am a little more tolerant, a little less militant than that, so no, Pamuk is not on my shit-list.. But..
French lawmakers don't know their ass from a hole in the ground. Their actions are akin to an employer who is fearful of firing an undesirable employee, and instead chooses to make life as miserable as possible for them, in the hopes that they'll just quit.
Will Turkey quit? Or will Turkey be fired? One of these outcomes seems inevitable.
As I said to my friend Metin recently, it's like a G-d damned hazing at a fraternity that they're putting Turkey through. What's next? Fear Factor? No EU unless Erdogan drinks a blended mix of goat testicles and eats 12 boiled horse rectums??
This endeavor has been nothing but give-give-give on the part of Turkey. Will we reap some just reward for all that we've sown?
Remember an episode of The Simpsons where Marge is invited to join an elite country club? She can only afford one nice dress, and to avoid notice of this, she astutely re-tailors and modifies the outfit each night using her sewing machine, trying to make it appear different to her new rich friends.. trying to make herself appear different.. trying to pass herself off as something she is not.. In the end, she comes to her senses.
Perhaps one day we will conclude that the French did us a favor. After all, "Zararin neresinden donsen kardir."

Here Erkan gives us the POV which might now prevail in Turkey.

Breaking News: Pamuk Wins Nobel Literature Award

Full story on CNN
Coincidentally, I am in the middle of reading SNOW, and in my mind, I have this vivid vision of what Kars looks like...

11 October 2006

Turkish Yahoo Groups: The (Soon To Be) Definitive Guide

I am going to list all of the Turkish Yahoo groups I've found over time. I may refrain from giving my assessment of each, at least for now. The point here is to make this post the top Google result for "Turkish Yahoo Group", so I will be adding new Yahoo groups as I discover them.

Amerikanturks Created by yours truly on January 7 of 2006. Co-moderated by Metin and myself. 126 members as of this date. English-only and centered around Turkish bloggers.
ATA-Houston Created September 1999. 1102 members as of this date. Low message volume of about 15/month average.
BayAreaTurkleri Created December 2004 and has 350 members. For the Californian Turks.
BelcikadayasayanTurkler The name says it all. Mixture of English and Turkish used. HUGE message volume of about 1500 average/month. 862 members, created May 2003.
Daughters_of_Ataturk Probably the fastest growing group out there with 1240 members. Message volume has recently spiked to over 1000/month. Created April 2001.
desifre Okay this one is creepy. I was invited one day via e-mail and said okay what the heck... Created in March 2005 and now has 473 members. Huge volume of messages, most of which go right over my head. I don't understand anything they're talking about.
Ebru_Gundes_Fans Don't laugh! This one is very popular, has been around since November 2002 , and boasts 1071 members. Worth a visit. Cute.
FLTURKS-ilan You guessed it. Floridian Turks! Since May 2003, 422 members have joined.
kuvayi-milliye-hareketi I can't even pronounce this one.. big name- big group! 1253 members as of today. Created in February 2005
latino-turk "This group has been formed by ''Mundo Latino Latin Dances & Promotions'' to enable all Turkish ''Latin American Dancing and Music''Lovers to communicate easily, to exchange information, and to socialize together harmoniously." 456 members since November 2000. An older group with very light message volume.
mensa_turkiye Can you hear the crickets? This one is on it's last legs, with only 36 members since July 2001. Murat stokes his ego and redeems his lack of a college degree with his hard-earned membership in this society.
NewJerseyTurk A VERY LARGE group- 4582 members since February 2002. Surprisingly low volume of messages though.
(Okay now I'm getting tired, so I will add details for these later)
nyrkturks 38 members
RI-Turks 218 members
SanDiegoTurkleri 783 members
SiyasetMeydani 725 members
uciturkish 118 members
UnitedTurkishRepublics 734 members
USA-Turkleri 2399 members
And for those wondering, yes I'm a member of all of these groups, and others not listed! If you know of a group which should be added to the list, please leave a comment to notify me!

10 October 2006

Conspiracy Theory? Frivolous Hypocrisy? Double Standard? You decide

Turkey's enemies are intent upon blackening it's face, be it regarding WW1, the EU, human rights or ultra-nationalism..
With such bad press outside of Turkey directed against it, Turkey must protect itself..
Especially from within...
So when a Turkish writer or journalist or poet disparages his own country, it's like twisting a knife into the back of his/her OWN wounded family, and it's a punishable offense.
"Insulting Turkishness" is a crime which has drawn strong criticism. I personally don't like it (or rather, I don't like that Turkey has been forced into this position by outside influence) Here's the conundrum:
Laws are being created [outside of Turkey] making it criminally unlawful to deny Armenian "genocide".
Meanwhile, Turkey's approach toward Turks who offend the State is criticized and condemned... by the very same people who are trying to pass laws which make it a crime NOT to offend Turkey!
Using this gorilla logic, a Turkish person in Turkey can be jailed for proclaiming the "Armenian genocide" as a factual event... This same person, after being rehabilitated and re-educated by the Turkish prison system, may later travel to France and proclaim that the Armenian "genocide" is false, and serve time in prison there as well!
France's message is clear: "When it comes to freedom of speech, do as we say, not as we do".
When will the world's assault of everything that is Turkish, abate?
It seems to have become quite fashionable to insult Turkishness from a distance AND condemn Turkey's treatment of Turks who do the same.
Divide and conquer.
Make people choose a side (there are many), because they can't be defeated if they are united as One...

09 October 2006

French: Denial of Armenian genocide is criminal

Demonstrators shout anti-France slogans as they face riot police during a march towards French consulate in Istanbul October 8, 2006. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has added his voice to a growing chorus of Turkish protests over French plans to make it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered "genocide" at the hands of Ottoman Turks in World War One.
(TURKEY)08 Oct 2006 REUTERS/Stringer

In other news, did you know that there are plans to erect an Armenian Genocide Memorial in Centennial Plaza in downtownLas Vegas??? Yes, our friend Ergun KIRLIKOVALI has been single handedly lobbying the mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar B. Goodman, to help stop the Armenian addiction to their national past time: Stoking pity for their dead, dismissing all Turkish casualties as irrelevant, and dreaming of claiming and collecting reparations... Ugh.

Check comments for the dialogue between Mr Ergun Kirlikovali and Mr. Oscar B. Goodman.

As The Wheel Turns: Good summer, sad ending

Today I competed in my last road race for 2006: The Jamestown Classic. Yes Murat paid $45 for the privilege of lining up at the start line with about 75 other professionals and category 1, 2 and 3 bike racers from all over the Northeast... The race course is 19 miles of rolling hills, and our event included three laps.
Regrettably, this much anticipated season finale (I missed it last year) was not fruitful for Murat... We completed our first lap in about 44 minutes, or I should say, averaging 26.5 miles per hour... (!) On a race course which is far from flat (see course profile, above. Blue is speed, red is heart rate), and very windy in sections, this is nothing to sneeze at, in fact it's faster than some recent criteriums I've raced. As I explained to a team mate earlier today via e-mail:
Coming through the start/finish for the first time, a circuit in my head (or heart?) tripped and I told myself I didn't want to repeat that for another two laps. A touch of burn-out? When it doesn't seem fun anymore, why force it? I no doubt could have finished, and would have if wife and child weren't there... but being with them just seemed a much more attractive past-time than tasting puke for 90 more minutes...

06 October 2006

Insulting Turkishness: Melissa Papantones Demonstrates.. At Whose Expense and For Whose Benefit?

Serife Hathaway, myself and others founded the Turkish American Cultural Society of Rhode Island on October 29th, 2001. She has been a selfless contributor to the RI Turkish community for many years, and we salute her for it. Regrettably, recent correspondence which was published in a local periodical has demonstrated a pathetic lack of tact and a propensity for spreading mis-information..
The following letter was published on September 24th in The Westerly Sun, in response to an August 20th article in said newspaper which profiled our good friend of RI's Turkish community, Serife Hathaway.
The author of the tripe found below (Melissa Papantones) takes issue with the article's photograph. Apparently Serife posed with a portrait of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who in the eyes of Turkey's detractors (such as Melissa Papantones), is cut from the same cloth as Saddam Hussein and Adolf Hitler... How trite... We expect no different from those who curse our nation's survival and triumph, and who might also wish for it's destruction. But then, who is Melissa Papantones? Judging from the results of a simple Google search, it appears that she is an attorney who is running for public office in District 10 of the Connecticut State Senate... Hopefully I am mistaken. If not, good luck with that Melissa..
At any rate, using her gorilla math and revisionist historical knowledge, 3.5 million were murdered for their Christian beliefs... Whatever Melissa.. Please try again when you get a clue.
In the meantime, let's make an important distinction, as long as you are trying to compare Hitler and Ataturk:
Germany was trying to expand it's empire, and eliminate the population which it deemed undesirable. Turkey was happy to end it's empire and acted only in the interest of survival. Does this excuse anything? No, but what it does is polarize Turks far far away from those with motives and plans which were truly heinous and cruel..
So no matter how many people died at the hand of the Germans or the Turks, a subjective analysis reveals the gaping disparity between: Turkey's fight for independence... and Germany's extermination of 6 million Jews in death camps. Enough said. A small child could grasp this...
Also, it's true that a massive population exchange took place between Greece and Turkey, and that it was in fact religion based. From Wikipedia: "About one and a half million Greeks had to leave Turkey for Greece and about half a million Turks had to leave Greece for Turkey". But please, let's avoid confusing population exchange with casualties...
Greeks will hopefully one day get over the death of Megali_Idea, and refrain from disparaging the singular heroic Turk who rightly deserves credit for defeating several land grabbing aggressors who had strength enough only to exploit weakness, and for knocking them onto their tookus for trying.
The fact that Eleftherios_Venizelos nominated Atatürk for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1934, makes the premise of Melissa's argument against him seem completely without merit.
Finally, here is proof that Melissa's twisted views are isolated and irrelevant.

To buy a copy of Serife's cookbook, Turkish Cuisine, click here. I hope to find a portrait of Ataturk in there somewhere, Serife.

The People’s Forum
Turkish cook’s photo with picture of ex-leader offensive given his history
Serife Uludokumaci- Hathaway’s food looks delicious ( The Sun, Aug. 20, 2006), and she probably is a very nice person.
It was offensive, however, to photograph her holding a picture of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is respon­sible for the Turkish genocide of the Christian and Jewish popula­tion of Turkey between 1918 and 1922.
During that time, over 3.5 mil­lion people, mainly Greeks, Armenians, and Assyrians were murdered for their Christian beliefs.
Because of Turkey’s power and influence, the genocide is not taught in American schools. The alleged religious freedoms of Turkey discussed in the article are a travesty as evidenced by the cur­rent treatment of the Turkish gov­ernment of the Patriarch of Constantinople and the closing of the Greek Orthodox Seminary at Halki. Had the article been about a local Iraqi of interest, that person would not be photographed hold­ing a picture of Saddam Hussein. Likewise, a German would not be photographed holding a likeness of Hitler.
Melissa Papantones New Haven and Misquamicut

Turkish Write Mustafa Balbal: Banned Book

Turkish writer Mustafa Balbal tapes his mouth during his lone protest in front of the Justice Ministry in Ankara October 5, 2006. Balbal was protesting against a court ban on his book.
05 Oct 2006 REUTERS/Fatih Saribas

So... what's this book all about? -AT

05 October 2006

Place you hand over your mouth...

It's what I instinctively did as I read this article. (Scroll down to "This is not a Fairy Tale")
Soooo... What was G-d's purpose for letting this happen?
My crippling depression continues unabated, actually worse than I've ever felt, ever.
Reading stuff such as this doesn't exactly help.
But neither does wallowing in self pity because of some pathetic temporary issues which will no doubt work themselves out in a matter of time.
Read the article and count your blessings.

04 October 2006

No Diving

Just returned from an overnight trip to Connecticut, visiting such places as Hartford, Wallingford and New Canaan.. Stayed at the Marriott Courtyard again, this time for $144/night. Took a swim in the pool, which was nice... NOT the pool you see pictured.. Try to imagine what this swimming pool used to look like. I was passing through a gymnasium where the floor was cut open, revealing the view of this mess below it. Looks like a scene right out of the Kurt Russel movie Escape From New York... doesn't it?
The weather has been soooo lovely. I am busting with frustration that I couldn't ride the bike for the past two days... my all-or-nothing OCD personality wants me to punch myself in the face... Maybe I'll ride in the early AM... It's actually so nice out right now that I want to sneak away with my headlight and explore the bike path at night... (it's now midnight)

Appears the weather will be nice on Columbus Day, meaning that I will be doing the Jamestown Classic after all, as will many of my team mates. Three laps on a 19 mile course. I can't wait.
Lately, I don't much feel like blogging... Considered just giving a final post to say goodbye and letting this site die a peaceful death. Would hate to disappoint my three or four regular readers though (most of my traffic is from google) Again, my OCD probably won't let me, seeing as I'm addicted to seeing my site's traffic increase month to month.. All-or-nothing... no middle ground... no half-assing it... I hate that and would rather just stop completely... Why am I like this?
Might have something to do with the paternal issues, the ACOA stuff... So hungry for acceptance and approval that I'm conditioned to [be happy only when I] do my very fucking best at everything. And if that isn't possible, fuck it, don't bother.
This could explain some of my depression lately... At work I am overwhelmed... such that each of my projects is getting a lot less attention than I'm used to giving... In other words, less than my best.. This equates to mediocrity.. Knowing I can do better and not being able to do it, or even choosing not to do it, completely sickens me... almost as much as asking for help... which exhibits weakness... which people love to exploit... which is also something which sickens me... This pattern of thinking can't be healthy...
Textbook ACOA, that's me.

03 October 2006

Death is all around...

In recent news..
A woman attacks a young mother, cutting her up and stealing her 8 day old baby... Fortunately, mommy's recovering and the baby was found.
Another woman is found dead in a field, her belly ripped open with scissors, fetus gone... Later it's discovered that the babysitter did it, and the fetus died, and that the dead woman's other three children were drowned and stuffed into a washer and dryer. These were one and two year olds... Sick fuck- I hope you suffer for eternity.
A man shoots his wife and three kids dead the other day in cold blood.
Another man recently takes some high school girls hostage and shoots one in the head, and then offs himself too. Good riddens.
Today another psycho storms an Amish school and tries to execute ten young girls, killing four of them.
These people live among us?!?! Who is protecting us from these parasites?
It's funny how Homeland Security is tapping phones, harvesting information, arresting people without charges, profiling Muslims in the US, no-fly lists and what-not.
Yet these short-circuited douch-bags with homicidal and suicidal tendencies fly completely under the radar.
So to all of the right-wing-nuts who love to beat their chests and finger us moderate Muslims for all of the terrorism in the world, I repeat your own tired mantra, right back at you:
"Where's the outrage?"
So, America, clean up your own house before demanding that the "silent majority of peaceful moderate Muslims" take up arms and fight the violent extremists.. As if!... The might of the most violent entity in the world: the US military, can't do it... Meanwhile, non-violent Muslim civilians are bird-dogged as "complicit" and "cowardly". What should we do? Start operating anti-terrorist training camps? No... Short of completely denouncing our religion, all moderates are fucked no matter what they do.
Some of the things which common ordinary Muslims refrain from doing are: drowning babies, cutting pregnant women open and shooting little girls and boys dead in cold blood.
Lately it's hard to judge which nations are truly sick and degenerate... Afghanistan and Iraq are no doubt on top of such a list, but that's clearly by design of another country which is also at the top: USA
Read the statistics and prove me wrong.
Sure, we're relatively safe from foreign invasion, but who will protect us from ourselves?
I realize that comparing Islamist terrorism to domestic violent crime is not apple to apples...
All I am saying is that the self-righteous holier-than-thou do-as-we-say, not-as-we-do BULLSHIT we hear from the White House and it's diminished/diminishing number of supporters, is completely meritless and hollow.

01 October 2006

Cycle for Life Criterium: Pictures by Ebru

Regrettably, I flatted 1/2 way through today's 30 lap race, and I didn't bring any spare wheels for the pit, so I was shit-out-of-luck.. To view some video I took afterwards, click here.