31 Ocak 2016 Pazar

Snow-removel: The Step-by-Step Approach

türkçe links to original Turkish article

(Sözcü Newspaper, 31 January 2016)

Pazar district pioneers the latest in snow-removal techniques.

The scandalous incident happened in Pazar district of Rize
province. The district chief gave orders to have the snow on the
football field belonging to the provincial Youth and Sports Services
Directorate removed.  However, there was no snow-removal machine

So, 50 6-month temporary workers of the district chief's office
were pressed into service.  The workers were made to walk up and
down the field repeatedly for 90 minutes in cold and snowy weather
in an effort to eliminate the snow cover.  Walking in street shoes and
clothes, some of the women workers began crying.

Image result for selçuk aslan pazar kaymakamı
"See, she's warm and toasty now. No harm done."

Pazar District Chief Selçuk Aslan admitted that "I gave the order but
I didn't tell anyone to have them walk like that. I'm starting an
investigation." (!)

Image result for rize pazar haritası
Pazar district is on Rize's Black Sea coast.

30 Ocak 2016 Cumartesi

Paperwork Edition: Hunters & Gatherers

türkçe links to original Turkish article

(HaberTürk Newspaper, 29 January 2016)

kağıt toplama
         Hardest working folks in Turkey.

Turkey's system for collecting waste paper begins with the
street paper collectors.  They are known by the names "kağıtçı"
and "çekçekçi" and roam from street to street, searching through
garbage containers for waste paper.

All told, there are 500,000 çekçekçi's in Turkey, 100,000 of
them in Istanbul.  Together with their families, their population
approaches 2 million.  The çekçekçi's work 15 hours per day
and collect an average of 200-250 kilograms of paper. They sell
the paper for 15-20 kuruş (3-5 cents) per kilogram.

Çekçekçi's make between 40 and 60 TL per day and most of those
in Istanbul are from Aksaray (district of Istanbul).  As for foreigners,
Afghans are foremost.  About 10-30 tons of paper are collected in
this way each week. By the time the paper reaches a factory for
recycling the price per kilo reaches 60 kuruş.

Image result for aksaray istanbul haritası
                Aksaray, Istanbul


türkçe links to original Turkish article

(Hürriyet Newspaper, 30 January 2016)

Adalet koridoru
Send a couple of çekçekçi's over to 'process' the files.

When no space remained to put the files of the 7th Debt Collection
Directorate in the Kocaeli province judicial building, the files were
tied up and left in the corridors.  People coming to the bankruptcy
office pass through the heaps of files.

In 2015, 96,209 debt-collection files were processed for unpaid
debts to banks, GSM operators and other firms.  It is estimated
that, combined with previous years' files, there are more than 300,000
files currently being processed.

Kocaeli Bar President Nuri Almaz noted that "unfortunately, there's
an increase in debt files every year. Consequently, there's no way to
prevent the increase from continuing."

Image result for kocaeli haritası
Kocaeli province. Paperless future a long way off...


29 Ocak 2016 Cuma

Kılls Friend, Marries Sister, Confesses...Almost

türkçe links to original Turkish article

(Hürriyet Newspaper, 28 January 2016)

Image result for arkadaşını öldürüp kız kardeşiyle evlendi 10 yıl sonra itiraf etti
     Let me re-phrase my 'confession'.

The friendship that began between army buddies Hacı A.
and Muhittin Kızılaslan in Elazığ in 2001 continued when
they transitioned to civilian life.  When the two friends,
both originally from Muş, went to Istanbul they shared a flat.

However, in 2006 when Kızılaslan told Hacı A. as they
drank rakı together that "I'm going back to Muş", an argument
ensued that resulted in Hacı A. stabbing  Kızılaslan 27 times.
Hacı A. then wrapped the body in a blanket and threw it out into
the street.

Police began an investigation, as Kızılaslan, the father of 1 child,
was buried in Muş.  Hacı A. participated in the funeral service and
even paid the related expenses.  If that wasn't enough, Hacı A. fell
in love with Kızılaslan's sister and married her (!). In the meantime,
Hacı A. was called in for police questioning about Kızılaslan's
death but no link could be discerned.

Image result for arkadaşını öldürüp kız kardeşiyle evlendi 10 yıl sonra itiraf etti
Hacı and Suphiye, mourning her brother's death at wedding.

Hacı A. and his wife Suphiye settled in Bursa and had a child.
However, differences arose between the couple and Suphiye went
back to her father's home in Muş one month ago.  With his
knowledge of Arabic, Hacı A. (35) worked as a tour guide in Bursa
but he suddenly turned himself in to the police yesterday.

In his statement, Hacı A. explained that "in my dreams Muhittin
said to me 'you killed me and married my sister. Do I deserve such
things?' After that I went to the police and confessed everything."
When wife Suphiye heard the news she was shocked: "he kept
saying that he was having bloody dreams. When I learned that
my husband is my brother's killed I was shocked.  From what
I've found out, he has a record for robbery and assault."

When Hacı A. was turned over to the Istanbul police, though,
he changed his statement, saying that he made up the whole
story because he was angry with his wife (!).  Nevertheless,
Hacı A. was taken to jail.

Two guys from Muş were army buddies in Elazığ. 

Image result for muş haritası

28 Ocak 2016 Perşembe

Mosques II: 86,000 Course Corrections

türkçe links to original Turkish article

(HaberTürk Newspaper, 28 January 2016)

Image result for hata iddialarına karşı 86 bin caminin kıble tespiti yapılacak
                        One direction.

The matter of the wrong-way kıble ('qibla' - angle facing Mecca
in mosques) has come up twice in just the past week. When
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was at the funeral for Lt. Uğur
Taşçı, who was martyred in Cizre in southeast Turkey, he noticed
that the kıble was wrong and alerted the imam. It also came out
that the kıble angle in the Kakaç mosque in Kütahya was 69
degrees off.

Meanwhile, the 2016 budget for the Religious Affairs Ministry
has been accepted by the Parliamentary Plan and Budget Committee.
A section of the budget is related to kıble work and according to the
draft text, almost 86,000 mosques in Turkey will have their kıble
angles checked anew.

The Religious Affairs Ministry will also provide training to personnel
in every province to ensure that the kıble angles are true in all newly
constructed mosques.  Electronic systems will be installed on
Karakaya Hill in Erzurum for continuous observations of the horizon.

Image result for kıble
             When in doubt...

Religious Affairs officials stated that training in kıble determination,
namaz (prayer) times overseas and crescent moon observations will
be provided to personal heading to overseas assignments by
astronomers. The officials noted that "we have personnel in Africa,
America, Europe and Australia. We want the calculations that we
make  to conform with the observations that our personnel make."

The Religious Affairs Ministry will arrange a congress in Istanbul
in 2016 under the name "hicri calendar unification" (the hicri or
Muslim calendar is based on the year 622 A.D., the year of the
hegira - Muhammed's journey from Mecca to Medina).  'Fıkıh'
(Muslim canonical jurisprudence) scholars and astronomers from
Europe, Africa and America will be invited to the congress. The
aim of the congress will be to formulate a common hicri calendar
for all Muslims.

Theologist Abdülaziz Bayındır noted that people living in Turkey
must turn south for the kıble but that "it doesn't have to be absolute
Mecca.  It can be southeast or southwest...so it doesn't affect the
prayers.  Even if the mosque doesn't face south there's no problem
with the prayers.  Those who pray must only think (!) that the kıble
angle is true. Even if they're 100% backwards they can pray with
no problem if they think they're facing the kıble angle."

Image result for mecca map


27 Ocak 2016 Çarşamba

'Quidditch Cup' Tournament in Adana

türkçe links to original Turkish article

(HaberTürk Newspaper, 27 January 2016)

Türkiye’de ilk kez uluslararası Quidditch turnuvası yapıldı!
Add a couple more rings and it'll become an Olympic sport.

The Adana municipality has hosted Turkey's first international
'Quidditch Cup' tournament.  The game gets its name from one
played in the Harry Potter series.

Image result for olympic rings

      Growing rapidly around the world, they say...

Ten teams participated in the Adana tournament, with representatives
from Norway and France, along with teams from ODTÜ (Middle East
Technical University, Ankara), Boğaziçi University in Istanbul,
Bilkent and Hacettepe Uninversities in Ankara, and from Uludağ
(Bursa) and Uşak universities.

Image result for harry potter quidditch
Legendary 'Michael Jordan' of Quidditch.

The ODTÜ Unicorns took the championship, with Norway second
and the ODTÜ Hippogriffs third. Hacettepe came in fourth.  Fahri
Durukan, the head of the Adana Municipality Youth and Sports
office, expressed his pleasure at being able to host the sport of
quidditch, which is spreading rapidly around the world (!).

The real-world name for the game that was played in the Harry
Potter series is Muggle Quidditch.  In Harry Potter, 'muggle'
refers to people who do not have magical powers.  There are 7
players on each team and four positions.  At most, 4 players can
be of the same sex. Each team has three rings of various heights
and the aim is to get the 'quaffle' (ball) through these rings to
score points.

Image result for adana haritası
                       Adana province

26 Ocak 2016 Salı

American Edition: Wild Goat and Baklava Hunters

türkçe links to original Turkish article

(Hürriyet Newspaper, 26 January 2016)

We're not in Indiana anymore...

Nancy Schindler (42) and Eric Schottens (48) came 10,000
kilometers from Danville in the U.S. state of Indiana  to Artvin
province to hunt for wild goats. The couple spent 20,000 USD
but failed to bag any goats.

Both Schindler and Schottens said that they loved the eastern part
of Artvin and would come again in the year ahead. They came to
Turkey through a travel agency in Anatlya that won a contract from
the Forest and Water Affairs Ministry's Nature Protection and
National Parks Directorate to encourage hunting tourism.

Image result for yaban keçisi
      One of the ones that got away.

The couple hunted for wild goats eight hours a day for 10 days in
the rough and rocky terrain 2,000 meters up in the area of Ortaköy.
They were accompanied by Gökhan Soydan, the head of the Çoruh
Hunters and Bowmen Club, and their hunting guide was Ahmet
Aygün Şimşek.

Schottens had a number of chances to shoot a goat but missed
each time. A realtor back in Indiana, Schottens said that "the land
was rough and climbing was difficult. Nature was beautiful, though.
We got close to the game but it didn't work out this time. We're
thinking about coming again next year."

Image result for artvin haritası
                            Artvin province

türkçe links to original Turkish article

(Hürriyet Newspaper, 26 January 2016)

Hey, U.S. taxpayers, next time you're in DC get some baklava. 

While U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was meeting with Turkish
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his wife Jill and granddaughter
Naomi were in Karaköy, Istanbul, buying 40 kilograms of baklava
and Turkish Delight candy to offer to guests back at the White House.

Image result for baklava turkish delight
Worth a trip, even if you have to pay your own way.

The Biden ladies were accompanied by Holly Holzer Bass, the wife
of U.S. Ambassador John Bass, and Selda Şerifsoy Çakır, the
coordinator at the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul. VP Biden
is said to be quite a fan of baklava.

Image result for karaköy istanbul haritası