Sorry, Not Sorry

I have tried not to post any political opinions on my blog, and I think I have been somewhat successful at keeping my blowhard points of view to myself BUT here I am today being all political yet again.  I am sure I will offend some of you, but *sigh* I don’t care to be honest.


My very first post on this blog explained how I came to be living here in Türkiye.  I won’t bore you with the details (you can read about them here) but in short, I had an epiphany that would lead me to travel to the Middle East and Türkiye and to that fateful evening when I met The Turk.

I wanted to travel to Jerusalem.  I wanted to learn about this city that is home to major Muslim and Christian shrines, as well as Judaism’s holiest site.  I wanted to float in the Dead Sea, and I wanted to hit all those nightclubs in Tel Aviv.  Finally, I felt a need to understand why there is such animosity about this fascinating part of the world.


In preparation for my travel, I took a couple of theology classes to learn about the long, and, at times, painful, history of the area.

I learned that the Temple Mount in the Old City is the most sacred place in Judaism.  It is the site of Solomon’s Temple which is said to have housed the Ark of the Covenant.

I also learned that it is the third holiest shrine in Islam, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif. It was the scene of Prophet Muhammad’s ‘Night Journey’ ascension from Earth to Heaven, and the compound incorporates the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The city is also sacred to Christians and Catholics with millions visiting Jerusalem to undertake the Stations of the Cross which follows Jesus’s last day as a man before being crucified on a hill outside its walls.

Finally, I learned that I would never truly understand the complexities of the area.

But Jerusalem also has hugely important implications for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the United States of America have completely derailed any chance of peace in the foreseeable future with Trump’s recent declaration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital city.  This has just added to the instability of the region.

I mean he is totally giving the Palestinian people the finger.  Ugh!  The man is a complete moron.

Moving on.

Those that know me personally know that I am no fan of Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his push for power in my adopted homeland however his speech given yesterday regarding Trump’s threats to cut funding if countries didn’t vote alongside the US was, in my opinion, fecking fabulous!


By way of context and for those of you living under a rock the US President Donald Trump, being the very embodiment of a bully, threatened to cut funding to countries that would vote against them on the UN motion condemning the US’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Some of Erdoğan’s comments include:

“They call the U.S. the cradle of democracy. The cradle of democracy is seeking to buy a nation’s will with dollars.”

“Mr Trump, you cannot buy our will. I am calling on the whole world: Do not sell your struggle for democracy for a few dollars. Your stance is important.”

“I hope that the U.S. will not get the result it expects today and the world will give the U.S. a very good lesson.”

Yesterday President Erdoğan made the US aware that they are no longer the powerhouse that they once were and that no country should accede to their whims and flights of fancy.  They have dragged themselves down with their ridiculous agendas, casually forgetting about those who have been, up until now, their friends and allies.  The US has swiftly moved from being a joke to being the most hated nation on earth.

Thank you, President Erdoğan for saying what the rest of us are thinking.

And to you Mr Trump – make your fecking list.  Feel free to bluster and blow wind up your own ass because clearly, no one else is interested in your opinions anymore.

Incidentally, the UN General Assembly voted 128-9 declaring Trump’s announcement of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “null and void”.

Merry Christmas.


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Turkey Today

Over the past few days I have had no end of calls from worried friends wanting to know how safe it is in Turkey at the moment.  Yes there is anger and frustration in the streets of many cities.  Thousands of Kurdish people are protesting across the country including in its capital Ankara and Istanbul.  They are furious that Turkey seems to be standing by as Islamic State advances on the Syrian town of Kobane.  They say that Turkey’s failure to help the Kurdish fighters there will no doubt lead to the city falling to IS.

I have learned from writing this blog to keep my opinions to myself as I do not have sufficient knowledge or education on the complicated relationship between Turkey and the Kurdish people.  I will only say that Turkey is in an extremely difficult situation.  They are, of course, a powerhouse in the region and they will vigorously protect their land and their citizens (including their Kurdish citizens).  Should Turkey cross the border into Syria they are entering foreign soil and crossing that border would be considered a hostile act by Syria.  Should a Syrian or Kurdish citizen be injured or killed at the hands of a Turkish soldier then I suspect all hell will break loose.  Turkey also has the underlining concern of keeping peace within its Kurdish communities which can prove a difficult task particularly when Erdogan is comparing the PKK to IS.

The Australian Government has today emailed its citizens living or visiting Turkey and have advised against all travel to the towns of Akcakale and Ceylanpinar.  They have also advised against all but essential travel to areas within 50km of Turkey’s border with Syria.  You should remember that each countries give their citizens their own advice with the UK Foreign Office advising against all but essential travels within 10km of Turkey’s border with Syria.


Friends, where we are in Mersin it is perfectly safe right now.  We are approximately 4-5 hours drive from the Syrian border.  There have been no protests however there is a heavy polis presence in the city.  If I feel in any way that the situation has changed or that Daughter and I are no longer safe here we will make arrangements to leave the city and, if necessary, the country immediately.

Remember if you intend on travelling to Turkey in the coming days I suggest that you check with your own Foreign Office.  If you are travelling to Marmaris or along the western coast of Turkey you are 12 hours – I repeat – 12 hours from the Syrian border.  Of course your personal safety and the safety of your family is paramount but do not let the remote possibility of terrorism by Islamic State (or by any other terrorist organisation) control your lives.

If you are interested in reading more about what is going on – here are a few links that I found interesting.

4 Questions  /  The Prize and Peril of Kirkuk  /  Smart Traveller  /  UK Advice  /  Ankara on Alert

Please share this page to your family members who are concerned about safety while travelling or living in this beautiful country.

Finally I will add that Turkey is one of the most amazing countries in the world with its magnificent beaches, glorious scenery and its surprising history.  The Turkish Government will do everything in its power to control the situation along its borders and to protect its citizens and its visitors – that means you!


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Icli Kofte

Recently we walked down to visit the remaining Auntie Muriel at her home down by the deniz.  A pleasant walk on a beautiful spring day and all of us including My Hurley Dog enjoyed ourselves immensely.  A spot decision was also made to take My Hurley Dog to the beach so he could have a run and a splash (after all it is very much warm enough here).


Arriving at Auntie Muriel’s I immediately realised we came on a good day.  Her son was returning to Germany the next morning and so she and her daughter were making Icli Kofte for his farewell party.

Icli Kofte (also known by Daughter and I as Nene Kofte) is Daughter’s absolute favourite meal.  They are bloody hard to make.  The few times The Turk and I tried they were dismal failures but everyone in the village seem to know how to make them and damn it they make it look so easy! 

Anyone who has been to a Middle Eastern or Lebanese Restaurant (or has been to the Middle East or Lebanon) would have tried the similarly made Kibbe but I know that Icli Kofte are just that little bit better (Daughter says its because it is made with love).

There is an awful lot to the recipe so if you want to give these a go I would suggest you try the recipe from Ozlem’s Turkish Table.  I have tried a few of her recipes and they always successful (well most of the time) and spot on for taste.

Referring to her recipe we do not put in walnuts at all.  We do use all the spices mentioned but we also add cumin and biber salcasi (pepper paste) to give the bulgur dough a tinge or glow. 

The dough needs to be perfect.  If it is not perfect it will be damn near impossible to make the little parcel and fill with the meat mixture.  To be honest I cannot do it.  It is bloody hard.  I sat there watching Auntie Muriel making these at such a speed all the while chatting and laughing, not a care in the world.  I tell you the last time The Turk and I tried to make them it nearly caused WWIII in our household (and it left a hell of a mess to clean up).  Oh also we add the pepper paste to the dough as well – obviously we like it spicy here in the village.


After a couple of leisurely hours drinking cay and listening to Turkish chatter Auntie Muriel sent us on our way with a plate of her Icli Kofte for dinner.  I carried my precious cargo of kofte home and immediately started making the sauce which we add to pretty much everything.  I have mentioned the sauce before – pepper paste (yes again), garlic and oil, honestly it works with pretty much everything.

Ozlem bakes her Icli Kofte but here we either deep fry them, a favourite with the çocuklar (kids) or boil them (my favourite and obviously a lot healthier). 


Served with a salad, for me this is a meal but to many this is merely an appetizer, either way I will finish with Afiyet Olsun or enjoy your meal.