29 Nisan 2011 Cuma

Cow-Man Steals and Shares Milk in Virginia

//ed. note: although our blog almost always has a Turkish connection,
one of our faithful readers was kind enough to share this blog-worthy item
from the USA. Perhaps a copycat incident is not far off in Malatya or
Artvin or Kadıköy...//


28 Nisan 2011 Perşembe

New Istanbul Canal Project's Ottoman Forefathers

canal (links to original article)

//ed. note: with the very recent announcement of the new canal project
to link the Black and Marmara Seas, some historical perspective is

(Sabah Newspaper, 28 April 2011)

In the event that the KanalIstanbul project to join the Black Sea and the
Marmara materializes then a dream that began during the reign of Sultan
Süleyman and continued for nearly five centuries will have been realized.
Prof. Dr. Said Öztürk, an economics history professor at Yıldız Technical
University, stated that the canal initiative began during Sultan Süleyman's
time and he explained the process as follows:

'The project to join the Black Sea with the Marmara with a canal was on
the agenda of the Ottomans. According to existing information, the project
was attempted seven times. In fact, it is said that The Lawgiver (Süleyman)
even had it started. Sokullu Mehmet Paşa was involved with the project and
Mimar Sinan was personally in charge of the endeavor. It is known that it
advanced some 15 kilometers from the (Izmit) Gulf.'

'The second attempt was made in 1591 during the reign of Sultan Murat III
and a ferman (order) was issued in this regard on 6 March 1591. It was
anticipated that this canal would be used by ships at Izmit. The project
came up again in 1654 during the time of Sultan Mehmet IV but again it
could not be pushed forward. Sultan Mustafa III tried twice in 1760 but
was thwarted by financial problems. The project came up again during the
reign of Sultan Mahmud II who put the effort on the agenda once again
after receiving a report on it in 1813. He even assigned a committee.'

'The project was taken up yet again by Sultan Abdülmecid in 1845 and
1857. An order from the Sultan was issued for linking Lake Sapanca
to the Gulf of Izmit and for the Sakarya River to be connected to the
lake. Studies were done by engineers Riter and Hayri Bey for the linking
of Lake Sapanca to the Gulf of Izmit in 1863, during the reign of Sultan
Abdülaziz. The main aim was to ensure a way to transport fuel to meet
the need for heating.'

'Katip Çelebi (Ottoman scholar and writer of the 17th century) wrote
quite a bit about the idea in his Cihannüma (world geographical atlas,
written 1648, 1654). There was also a project to connect the Black
and Caspian Seas in Ottoman times.'

Help Wanted: Boondocks Town Needs Shepherd

shepherd (links to original article)

(Hürriyet Newspaper, 26 April 2011)

Residents of Yeşilyurt village in Taşova district of Amasya province
have had the following announcement made from the town's loudspeakers:
'shepherd wanted to look after cattle and grazing animals; monthly salary
of 1500TL, housing, three meals a day.' The village chief, retired teacher
Fikri Seyhan, said that they are looking for a shepherd to tend about 200
animals in the 150 house village which is 50 kilometers from the district
center and which has no negative infrastructure issues to speak of.

Seyhan stated that they won't take just anyone for the shepherd job and
that the winning candidate will conform to the criteria the village has set
and will have to pass a test.  He explained their search this way: 'since
most of the people are abroad there's no one left to look after our
animals in the pastures of our village. And while raising livestock has
waned in our village it nevertheless continues. We've been experiencing
a need for shepherd to put the animals out to pasture for some years
now. That's why we've started to look for a shepherd.When we didn't
find one who met our conditions we had announcements made from
the loudspeakers in Tokat's Erbaa and Amasya's Taşova districts.'

Seyhan said that they are very fussy about who they will select for the
shepherd job and he described the kind of person they want in exchange
for 1500TL per month, housing and three meals a day: 'we want the
shepherd who starts work  to love animals. We want him to look after
the animals as he would if they were his own. He must pay attention to
providing feed and water to the animals in hot weather. Also, he should
ensure that there's no damage to the lands under cultivation nearby. We're
looking for a shepherd with these conditions.'

The selected shepherd will only work during the six month summer period,
according to Seyhan. He added that 'we've provided every kind of amenity
and comfort for the shepherd. He can come with his family. They can tend
a garden and grow fruit during the summer season. Interested persons
can make an application to our village chief's office.'

26 Nisan 2011 Salı

Just What's Needed - Gold Bus for Saudi King

magic bus (links to article)

//ed. note: this one too bizarre to translate...suffice it to say that the
Saudi monarch has seen fit to have a two million Euro, gold-plated
bus made for himself here in Istanbul. As the Middle East burns, Nero
comes to mind...//

Pitbull's Picture Lands Curious Expat in Court

pitbull (links to original article)

(Sondakika Haberleri Website, 21 April 2011)

Muhteşem Demirağ came from the U.S. years ago and settled in Bodrum.
She got a court order to change her name to that of her late husband, an
animal lover who died at the age of 65. Now she is on trial for having put
a picture on her Facebook page of the head of a baby pitbull in a bullseye
placed over the Turkish flag. Demirağ faces a jail sentence of between one
and three years.

American fashion designer Rose Mary Taramantona came to Turkey in
1983 for a vacation and met film actor Muhteşem Demirağ, eventually
marrying him 13 years later. Taramantona and her husband settled in the
Yalakavak town of Bodrum. He died five years ago but Taramantona
continued to live in Turkey. Three years ago she became a Turkish citizen
and took her late husband's name.

The fashion designer now known as Muhteşem Derirağ has conducted
festivals and other events to collect money on behalf of the Yalakavak
Homeless Animals Group, which she founded along with the Bodrum
Animal Rights Association. The collected money is spent on street cats
and dogs.

Recently Muhteşem Demirağ, who has lived in Turkey for 15 years (sic),
has gotten into trouble for putting the picture of a baby pitbull inside a
bullseye on top of the Turkish flag in order to protest the pittbul law. As the
result of a complaint, the Bodrum state prosecutor opened an investigation.
In her statement to the prosecutor Demirağ said that she has lived in Turkey
for 28 years, considers herself a citizen and loves dogs and other animals on
the street.

She stated that 'on the day of the incident the issue was protesting about
pitbull dogs. With the aim of showing that these dogs are not intrinsically
violent but are victims of their owners' wrongful training I put that emblem on
my Facebook page. There is a baby pitbull inside a bullseye in a picture on
the webpage. It's on top of a Turksh flag as a symbol. My intention was to
show that pitbulls should not be a target and I wanted to share this view.
I did not intend to commit a crime or insult our flag. Anyway, this emblem
had come to me from other people. Hundreds of animal lovers have shared
this emblem and I haven't heard of anyone filing suit about it.'

While she was giving her statement Muhteşem Demirağ's telephone rang
and the ring sound it made - that of a horse neighing - was documented in
the statement, as well.  After questioning a suit was filed in Bodrum's 3rd
Court of First Instance, requesting a jail sentence of between one and three
years, in accordance with paragraph one of article 300 of the Turkish Penal
Law. Muhteşem Demirağ will face a judge for the first time next month.

25 Nisan 2011 Pazartesi

'Topkapı' Redux - Gold Heist in Istanbul


(Hürriyet Newspaper and Haberinyeri Internet Site, 25 April 2011)

An international gang has emerged in the aftermath of the theft of 20 kilos
of gold belonging to Kapılıçarşı (Covered Bazar) jeweler Arif Üstündağ,
stolen from an armored car in Istanbul. It is understood that the gold
belonging to Üstündağ was melted down in the workshop of  his fellow
jeweler Apraham Ohanyan.

The armored car carrying 39 kilos of gold owned by Arif Üstündağ, a jeweler
for 25 years, left Kapılıçarşı en route to the mint in Beşiktaş on 12 April.
Guards in the armored car stopped it when passengers in another car warned of
a flat tire. It is understood that while the tire was being changed one of
the briefcases in the armored car went missing.

Police waded through 160 hours of images from 60 cameras and determined
that the armored car had been followed by a rented car and a taxi after
leaving Kapılıçarşı. When the armored car stopped at a red light in Eminönü
a taxi came up along side and the guards were told that one of the tires was
flat. At the same time a motorcycle rider plunged a knife into one of the tires.
While two of the armored car guards fixed the flat tire two people who had
followed the armored car opened its doors and took a case holding 20 kilos
of gold.

Leaving the scene of the incident, Venezuelans Juan Jose James Baracamonte
(42), Jose Angel Badillo Gomez (50) and Diyors Alexis Volcan Molina (28)
met with the heist's mastermind, Brazilian Al Saight (41), and his assistant,
an Italian named Plojian, at a hotel in Taksim, where the Venezuelans handed
over the case to Saight. The suspects then went to the workshop of Apraham
Ohanyan (53), who like Üstündağ has a jewelry shop in Kapılıçarşı, in the
Ikitelli section of Istanbul. Here four 24-carat ingots, each weighing one kilo,
were melted down into 22-carat form. The othe ingots were made into two-kilo

Ohanyan's specifics were inscribed on the gold ingots and the Brazilian Saight
and the Italian Plojian took the gold from the workshop. The Venezuelans
flew out of Atatürk Airport for France, while Saight and Plojian went to Beirut.
It was reported that Ohanyan, who melted down the gold, has a jewelrey shop
close to that of the gold's owner Üstündağ. The gang may have had a hand in
the theft of 12 kilos of gold in Karaköy last year.

Apraham Ohanyan, his brother-in-law Garabet Bododoğan and taxi driver
Murat Ö. were arrested. Ohanyan's partner and the workshop workers were
released. The gold has not been located. Information has been passed to Interpol
with regard to the Brazilian, Italian and Venezuelans.

19 Nisan 2011 Salı

Cellphone Deviant Can't Skirt Arrest

skirt (links to related article)

(Hürriyet Newspaper, 18 April 2011)

Barber Fikret A. (27) lives in Ereğli district of Zonguldak province.
Four months ago he was arrested based on the claim that he was
taking pictures under women's skirts with his cellular phone. He
was incarcerated by the duty court at the time but the married
father of two children was released by the court at the first hearing
11 days ago, pending trial.

The day before yesterday a police officer assigned to the district
police incident examination team noticed Fikret A. as he was
walking down the street and started to follow him, thinking that
Fikret A. might engage in another harrassment activity. The policeman
saw Fikret A. enter a clothing store, come up behind a women whose
head was covered,  and then bend over a couple of times while
attempting to take pictures underneath the woman's skirt. Fikret A.
was caught red-handed.

Fikret A. tried to run away when the policeman wanted to take his
cellphone from him. Shortly afterwards he was captured. Fikret A.'s
harrassment, moment of capture and activities in front of the store
were all recorded on the store's security camera. He was taken into

15 Nisan 2011 Cuma

Be Careful When You Co-Sign a Loan

yayla (links to original article)

(Hürriyet Newspaper, 13 April 2011)

Tailor Ali Yayla (35) lived with his wife and three children in Uşak. Two
years ago he co-signed for 50,000TL worth of credit that his friend
Güray Tıraş was planning to get from a bank.  Tıraş didn't make either the
credit payments or the interest from the first month on so when the debt
reached 70,000TL the bank started proceedings against Yayla. Explaining
the situation to his wife, Yayla said that they must divorce in order to avoid
losing all their assets.

The couple divorced amiably in one court hearing but continued to live
in the same house. Yesterday morning at 0730, however, the repossession
officials came to their house.  Yayla panicked and tried to hide himself on
the bedroom balcony but when he heard the officials and a lawyer come
into the bedroom looking for him he used his leather belt to tie himself to
the balcony's iron bars, dangling from the seventh floor. The belt could not
carry Yayla's weight and the unlucky tailor fell to his death below.

13 Nisan 2011 Çarşamba

Old Pair Going Strong After 92 Years of Marriage

//ed. note: no link available//

(Sözcü Newspaper, 12 April 2011)

Abdullah Adıgüzel is 114 years old and lives in Arguvan district of
Malatya province where he celebrated his birthday with his wife
Elif Adıgüzel who is 111 years old. The Adıgüzel couple stated that
they have been married for 92 years and that they continue to have
the same love and respect for each other that they had on the day
they met.

Free Plane Trip Too Tempting for Sevinaz Hanım

selvinaz (links to original article)

(Hürriyet Newspaper, 12 April 2011)

Entrepreneur Selvinaz Soner opened the Private Antalya Neşe Erberk
Grammer School, within the framework of the franchising system of
the modeling agency owned by Neşe Erberk, in 2006. During Kurban
Bayramı (Feast of the Sacrifice) break that year Soner took all the
money given to her by the parents of the school's children and disappeared.
She has been caught at Antalya Airport.

In order to capture Soner, about whom there were two outstanding
warrants, the police put an interesting plan into operation. The police
got an old boyfriend of Soner's, to whom she owed money, to cooperate
with them. The boyfriend called Soner and told her that he forgave her.
The man, whose identity was not revealed, said that he missed Soner,got
her a plane ticket and invited her to come to Antalya. Although she
knew that she was being sought by police, Soner accepted the invitation
and flew to Antalya. While waiting for her suitcase Soner was arrested
and taken to jail.

8 Nisan 2011 Cuma

'Pimp' Unwittingly Advertises His Services

pimp (links to a related article)

(Sözcü Newspaper, 7 April 2011)

//ed. note: herewith a splendid example of people, Turks in this case,
buying and wearing clothes with English slogans, sayings, etc. even
though the wearer has no clue what he's telling the world.//

In Antalya Mehmet Çobanoğlu filed suit when the store where he bought
a sweater bearing the words 'chic pimp fetish machine' wouldn't take the
sweater back. A court decided that the store must return the cost of the
sweater to Çobanoğülu.

Çobanoğlu said that he had become an object of ridicule around town
because of the sweater but his plea for 10,000TL in compensation for
mental anguish was rejected by the court.

6 Nisan 2011 Çarşamba

Footballers' Off-field Heroics

futbol (links to original article)

(Sabah Newspaper, 22 March 2011)

Footballers from Zonguldakspor on their way to an away match in
Ankara on the team bus encountered an accident in which a car had
fallen into the river in Devrek district of Zonguldak province. The
footballers rescued the injured passengers from the car and recorded
the rescue on video with their cellphones. One person died and three
people were injured in the incident.

A car with plate number 67 ES 984 driven by Cemal Yardım fell into
the river from an approximately ten-meter cliff on the Devrek-Bolu
highway in Mengen district. The Zonguldakspor team, one of the regional
amateur clubs, was on its way to an away match in Ankara when they
saw the accident. They then got off their bus in order to help the accident

The footballers and a rescue team learned from Yardım, who was injured
but had managed to get himself out of the overturned vehicle, that there were
three other people trapped in the car.  The players and rescuers descended
from the cliff and saved Nihal Yurtbay and Mahir Yardım. The footballers
were able to extract the wounded to the road above using the branches
of the tall trees lining the steep hill. With the help of the 112 Rescue Service
team that had arrived at the scene of the incident, they successfully extracted
82-year old Rakibe Yardım from the crushed car.

The victims were all taken to Zonguldak Atatürk State Hospital except for
the seriously injured Rakibe Yardım who was transported to Zonguldak
Karaelmas University Medical Department Hospital where she died. The
footballers, who recorded their rescue efforts with their cellphones, departed
for Ankara afterwards.

Excess Passengers Retard Elevator Operation

elevator (links to original article)

(Hürriyet Newspaper, 4 April 2011)

Following a wedding ceremony held in the wedding hall on the top floor
of the Tokat Almus District Solidarity and Assistance Association's four-
story building last night some guests descended using the stairs while others
took the elevator. But when ten people boarded the 4-person elevator it
began a rapid free-fall because of the heavy load. The incident took place
on Sırrı Çelik Boulevard in the Taşdelen neighborhood of Cekmeköy,

The passengers panicked as the elevator finally hit the basement floor hard.
Firefighters opend the elevator door and rescued those inside. Güldane
Taşbaş and Birten Aytaç who suffered cracks to bones in their feet were
taken to Ümraniye Training and Research Hospital. One of the affected
elevator passengers said in the incident's aftermath 'we're retarded. Too
many of us got on the elevator.'


Flag-burning When the Flag Won't Burn

flag (links to original article)

(Hürriyet Newspaper, 4 April 2011)

A group in Adana wanting to protest the operation directed against Libya
tried to burn an American flag. But when the flag wouldn't burn one of the
women protestors took some nail polish from her handbag and used the
acetone from the nail polish to try to ignite the flag. The acetone was lit
with a cigarette lighter and caught fire, but only for a moment before going

Despite trying this technique a number of times, the result was unsuccessful.
At this point the group gave up shouting slogans to concentrate on the effort
to light the flag. After a long period of wrestling with the flag-lighting problem
some of the protestors began to say things like 'don't print flags from this kind
of paper ever again' and 'their flag doesn't burn.'  One protestor lit the paper
on which the group's press release had been written and put the flag on top
of it, igniting the flag. Thanks to this arrangement of putting the flag on top of
a pile of papers the burning of the flag ensued.