Thursday, January 19, 2006

The turkish files - 1

Because I have no burning desire to be struck off my inheritance, I shall not say much about my parents’ house except this. It does not seem to be a place, to inspire people wishing to possess it, to go on sprees of wars, murders & random killings to achieve their ends. I did not find this to be the case with Turkey.

I am sure that there must be places in Turkey, which must be oasis of peace & love. Places where poets & lovers converge to indulge in the others profession without much success. Places where the sun shines through the morning mist on the diamonds of the dewdrops floating on the ocean of green grass. Places, which I have simply not seen. Not with my own eyes, not on TV, not in the movies. As far as I can categorically say, like rendition, it simply does not exist.

My deep research over the past month, through the above-mentioned media, have led me to have much greater insight into this fascinating country that I never had. Simply said, Turkey is one angry country. Few places probably other then those like India, Jerusalem, and the sets of Terminator have seen more bloodshed then that of Turkey. You have but to look at the world map, nay, simply give it a bare glance, to know that if you want to go anywhere in this world, you have to kill a few people in Turkey. And that precisely is the reason for the resentment out here. Throughout history, people have fought, died, killed, pillaged, plundered, looted, razed, murdered, plotted and all that, in Turkey, simply so that they could go to some other place. Unless you have had a life like mine, where women constantly mob you, so that they can get your pals phone number, you can barely grasp the deep trauma that this nation has gone through in its tumultuous history.

Whether you were a young Greek upstart who wanted to rule the world, or some wizened Pope, who wanted a flag to fly over Jerusalem, or a sailor who wanted to fill up his ship in the Black sea, you had to cross Turkey. We shall concern ourselves with the latter.

The US Navy refers to the Mediterranean as ‘The Lagoon’. But for some reason, some of the worst weather I have experienced, has been in the Med. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that in the confines of the Med, you find yourself unable to even alter your course & dodge the meandering lows. So it was with a sense of relief that I left the relatively open waters and entered the Aegean Sea. To get from the Aegean Sea to the Black sea, one needs to pass through two very narrow straits in Turkey with a small mass of water between them, about a hundred miles wide, called ‘the Marmara Sea’ Tired of ships making a mess of matters in their territorial waters, just to get to the other side, the Turkish authorities have taken the managing of the maritime traffic into their own hands & made pilotage compulsory for large ships. Inspite of that, mess-ups do happen. Take for instance the fact that for the last five days, traffic in the Canakkale straits is blocked because one of the ships ran aground at a tricky bend. Thus causing the rest of us to wait at the mouth of the channel. Something like a huge truck breaking down in the middle of a narrow bridge, piling up traffic on either side. So while the Turks sip their tea & pull with their tugs, the ships keep piling up in their coastal seas, spewing up sewage & category five garbage, waiting so that they can go some place else.

You know, sometimes I really feel for these people.