Why I Write About Turkey

PHOTO BY PHYLLIS M. SKOY The Bosphorus is a natural strait that forms the continental boundary between Europe and Asia, and separates Asian Turkey from European Turkey.

PHOTO BY PHYLLIS M. SKOY
The Bosphorus is a natural strait that forms the continental boundary between Europe and Asia, and separates Asian Turkey from European Turkey.

When my husband, Arthur, and I returned from Greece, the only place I wanted to visit was Turkey. The benevolent friends who loaned us their home in Monemvasia in the Peloponnese traveled back and forth to Turkey frequently. Something about their tales inspired me to begin an investigation into a trip that would take us on an adventure we had not found anywhere before or since.

Arthur was not terribly interested in Turkey at first. “Why do you want to go there,” he asked. “Why not France or Spain?”

“I’ve already been to France and Spain,” I retorted with a bit of arrogance. “Let’s do something completely different.”

Arthur’s Greek friend pleaded with him, “Please don’t go to Turkey, I beg you.” Of course, Arthur immediately reported this to me. My response was something like, “He’s Greek. The Greeks never got over the Turks. And who can blame them?” I began to read Turkish fiction and we both began to watch Turkish films. As I have done more extensive research and reading, I’m not sure how the Turks ever got over the Greeks.

In any event, Arthur discovered a wonderful Turkish agent in New York City who planned our entire trip with us. Since we always avoid getting on the bus or traveling in large groups, he arranged individual guides for us. It was the trip of a lifetime and we made wonderful friends. It was due to one of these friends that I became completely enamored of Turkish history and culture. I knew I would not become bored reading or writing about such a fascinating country. Yasar Kemal and Orhan Pamuk quickly became two of my favorite authors.

Unfortunately, this first trip took place in 1997, and we were not yet in the digital age. All the photos posted here are from our recent return trip to Istanbul in 2014, when we spent one month living on “steep street.” If all goes well, we will return to Turkey in 2017. Hopefully, I will have the opportunity then to shoot digital photos of Avanos and a few villages along the Black Sea and post them for you. Also, hopefully by then, I will know a few more words in Turkish! Please stay tuned.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share This

Subscribe To My Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates about book talks and other literary events.

You have Successfully Subscribed!