First I would like to start out with a few thoughts:
1. A few days ago I connected a map to this blog which records the number of visits to the page. Either it isn’t working… or I am the only person visiting it! I guess that it is still a good record of what I am doing and seeing. There were comments from my sister, Susie and also my friend Trish which do not show up on the map, so maybe it is not working???
2. Leo and Urban, I wish I could see you swimming, splashing and laughing in the Rock Quarry! We have swum several times in the ocean in Greece and yesterday Steve went swimming in Turkey. The ocean water is a nice temperature for swimming, not too cold, but not too warm.
3. TWINS!! Actually, Artemis is a twin! Her twin brother is Apollo, who is known as someone who gives advice to people based on his knowledge of the future. Yesterday we went to a big temple dedicated to him in Didema. It was about a 2 hour drive from Selchuk where we are.
4. Here are a few pictures that I forgot to include earlier. One is of a few amphora that were found in the terrace houses. It shows how they were buried to keep the wine in them cool. The other is of some ancient graffiti in the terrace houses. I am baffled why someone who had beautiful paintings done on the wall would allow people to scratch things into it, but the graffiti is thought to be from the same time as the paintings and not modern.
Now for a little bit about Turkey as a country. Here is a link to a site with a map of Turkey and pictures of different areas. It is a huge country. Here is a map from the Perry-Castaneda Map Collection at the University of Texas.
You can see from the red line that we have only seen a very small part of the west of the country. Turkey is a country that is really between the Arabic east and the West. On the far east border is Iraq which we have been hearing a lot about in the United States. Turkey is trying to become part of the European Union which is a group of countries that has decided to use a common currency (the Euro) and also has many other economic and political agreements.
There are many Turks who would like to be more like the west and there are many who feel this is not good and want to be more like the Arabic east. Some feel the connection with the European Union would be a good thing and others feel like it is denying a big part of important national identity.
There is one statue that I saw that described one view of Turkish identity in an interesting way. It has many statements on it like “I am for an Independent Turkey”, “I am a Secularist.”, “I am enemy of fanatics, thieves, opportunists and exploiters”, and “I am a follower of Ataturk”.
Ataturk is a very important figure in Turkish history. He is sort of like our George Washington. Everyone knows who he is and there are pictures and statued of him everywhere. He lived in the early 20th century and brought Turkey from the time of royal dynasties to the modern age. He wanted Turkey to be a bridge between the West and the East. You see statues and pictures of him everywhere.