Settled in a spectacular location and surrounded by its ”friends” is a land called Turkey. Established in its geographically convenient position Turkey is surrounded by Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Bulgaria, Greece, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Lots of ”friends” is not always good as from time to tome friends get into conflicts. Turkey is a peculiar country: it attracts Lithuanians for its cheap famous brands falsifications, for Norwegians it’s an ideal place to spend their winters and Russians are attracted with the endless rivers of local alcohol in an all- inclusive hotel.
Turkeyis a secular country, where as two threads are wind Islamic and west cultures. Although, the country does not have an official religion, most of the population are Muslims, but don`t be surprised if you meet an atheist.
In a country with a population reaching over 76 million it`s not a surprise that you can find quite a few minority groups. Most likely the first person you are going to meet when getting off the plane is not going to be a ”native” Turkish, as there are Georgians, Greeks, Albanians, Arabs, Bulgarians, Jews, Gipsies and of course Kurds residing in the country. Unknowingly, one would never guess that a person is not ”native”, as to most of us, Turkish people associate with dark skin, really dark hair and dark eyes. A ”native” Turkish person you are more likely to notice the second time you go out on a street and you notice a person with an ivory-colored skin, brown eyes and brown hair.
Kurd origin Turkish people are so far the biggest and probably the most disliked minorities in the country. As the locals say (and the saying is not nice at all): ”a good Kurd is a dead Kurd”. I am not exactly sure why locals are so hostile to Kurds, but as I have heard Kurdish people are more likely to get into trouble with the authorities.
As I started mentioning the people, I should also notice that Turkish people are huge nationalist, which, in my opinion, is great and which my country`s people lack. They love their country sometimes more than the family, the dislike some minorities (of course, there are always exceptions to every rule), they are proud of a Osman empire history and they believe in the brighter future. As I was contemplating on how to improve my Russian language knowledge, my local friend suggested to learn Turkish language instead, as according to him, if you know Turkish you can understand Azerbaijani, Georgians, Syrians, Armenians and probably with the rest of a world.:)
A separate mentioning requires Mustafa Kemal Atatürk- the best known, most respected and beloved person in Turkey. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was a person, who directed Turkey into the path of democracy, created the Republic of Turkey and was its first president. In every city and town all across the country you can find a memorial for him, a street and a park named after him. Besides the huge number of memorials dedicated to Atatürk, the bigger number is probably only of the four- footed residences of the country- cats, which can be seen beside every restaurant and hotel, in every other house and under every second bench.
While visiting the country I was extremely happy that I could eat as much fruits and vegetables I wished as the prices here do not bite as much as they sometimes do in Lithuania. Meanwhile, Turkish people underrate ”green” food as, according to them, ” you can survive from meat and from vegetables-not”. Well, that`s logical.:) Meat in this country is valued a lot as the price a cosmic. What is more, I should probably mention and the price of petrol here as well. 1l of petrol here costs 4.71lira which is around 6.98Lt and around 2.30Euros.
It is possible to talk about Turkish food for hours as the cuisine is so diverse. The best known kebab in Turkey is called any raw or marinated meat which is grilled or roasted on spit. Eggplants are also very popular there and are used as often as salt, which is poured spearing no efforts. Besides kebab, Turkish delights are as well-known all around the globe: baklava, kadavif sütlac, kazandibi, helva are just a few for the ones, who are sugar junkies.
Turkish people like to celebrate. And if you are Muslim, there are enough things to celebrate. While visiting our local friend we were invited to a huge Muslim celebration called Kurban Bairam, lasting four days with a culmination of butchering an animal ( usually a sheep), diving it into three parts, giving one for poor and homeless and the rest for friends and family.
Locals are friendly people. And I am not only talking about pedlars, who for a ”very special price for you, my friend” will sell everything you do not need, and for the ones who are not here for the first time- will just help to spend your money. It is really easy to become friends with locals as they are chatty. If you are not too lazy to visit a local you just met and spend a few hours with him, you are most likely to have a friend for the rest of your life and if one`s appearance reminds him of a local (which happened to one of our travelers), you are most likely to become his besty.