Bircan Ünver ~ Özgeçmiş 

1959 Yukarıkale/Sivas doğumlu olan Bircan Ünver, İstanbul Bankası’ndaki sekiz yıllık iş hayatından sonra, MSÜ Güzel Sanatlar Akademisi, Türk Sanatları Bölümünü bitirdi. 1984 yılında, ilk sergi haberlerini Nokta Dergisi (Gelişim Yayınları) için hazırlamaya başladı. Takip eden yıllarda ise sanat yazıları ve röportajları çeşitli dergi ve gazetelerde yayımlandı. [Read more…]

Birds Without Wings, by Louis de Bernieres

This book tells about what happened to the Greeks of Anatolia at the end of First World War. For many years the Greek version of  events misled the people, never accepting that it was a blunder on  their part and caused untold death and destruction in Anatolia and  resettlement of 1,500,000 Anatolian refuges. Louis de Berniere, a  British soldier whose grandparent fought in the Dardanelle battles, tells about this event,truthfully, including the life of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, from his birth to 1923 when the Republic of Turkey was established.

I visited Kayaköy several times, which is a wonderful place, as you have described in your book. The stories on the last days of the Otoman Empire, the population exchange and the life of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk are very moving. As you have told HDN- SW, Birds Without Wings is the Turkish ”War and Peace.” Thank you for being a friend of Turkey.

On behalf of Turkish Library and Museum in America Project Working Group

Yuksel Oktay, PE
Istanbul, Turkey and Washington NJ

Food Journeys of a Lifetime – 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe

500 Places to Eat

Food Journeys of a Lifetime

A new book has been added to the long list of excellent books published by National Geographic over the years. The latest one prepared by the book division is:

Food Journeys of a Lifetime – 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe.

The oversize book has 320 pages and begins with a section on The Taste of Travel and covers the following subjects in 9 chapters with an index and an Acknowledgement section.

1.  Specialties & Ingredients

2.  Outstanding Markets – fig harvest from Turkey

3.  Seasonal delights – includes old fashioned candy stores in Turkey and balik pazaril

4.  In the Kitchen – nothing about Turkey

5. Favorite Street Foods – nothing about Turkey

6. Great Food Towns  – historic restaurants include Asitane in Isatnbul

7. Ultimate Luxuries – nothing about Turkey

8. The Best Wine, Beer & More

9. Just Deserts- sweet shops, shops and cafes in Istanbul’s Kadıkoy district

Turkey and Istanbuare included in several sections, beginning with “Fig Harvest” on page 23. The full page article begins with: Southwest Turkey has the perfect climate and souil for growing a fruit that localpeople regard as sacred.”

Ali Muhiddin Haci Bekir store is included ion the list of Old-fashioned Candy Stores on page 56. On page 59, Istanbul’s Balik Pazari is featured which states that Istanbul’s covered fish market has a reputation for selling the best fish and shellfish available in Turkey.

The Top Ten Historic Restaurants includes Asitane in Istanbul.

A full page photograph of Kilic Ali Mosque with Topkapi Palace in the backround (mistakenly referred to as the Ortakoy Mosque,) is given on Page 296 with another full page article on Page 297, Sweet Treats in Istanbul, describing the tea houses, sweet shops and cafe’s in istanbul’s Kadikoy district.

However, there is no mention of the Gaziantep cuisine available not only in Gaziantep but in all major cities of Turkey. It is a major work with many photographs but omissions about the 3rd best known and loved cuisine in the world. Let us hope that the next edition of the book will include coverage of excellent dishes found only in Turkey.

Yuksel Oktay, PE

10 March 2011, Gaziantep

The Road Less Chosen – A Book on Rural Development by Altan Unver, 2005

Altan Zeki Unver

Altan Zeki Unver

According to the latest census, there are over 32,000 villages in Turkey located in 3,200 Municipalities and 81 Provinces. It is well known that many people who move from villages to cities never cut their relations with their roots and either continue owning homes in the villages or visit regularly. While growing up in Safranbolu, our greatest joy was to visit Cal, a village near Eflani, where my maternal grandparents used to live before they moved to Istanbul but kept their home. During my many trips to Turkey in the last 15 years, I visited Cal several times and many other villages across Turkey , including Aknehir in Hatay last week, which is one of a few with a library. Villages are wonderful places to visit even though some are in poor shape.

One of the greatest triumphs of the early educators was to establish the ”Village Institutes” . Many authors have written about the life in the villages, including Yakup Sabri Karaosmanoglu (Yaban) and Mahmut Makal (Bizim Koy.) Recently, the members of the TAC graduates were made aware of another author, Altan Unver, whose  book “The Road Less Chosen”, published in 2005, is his personal account of Rural development in Turkey from 1965 to 2005. [Read more…]

Timelines of World History

World Reference AtlasDorling Kindersley Ltd. , Sr. Editor Debra Clapson, Publisher Andrew Heritage,  (www.dk.com)

Timelines of World History is an excellent reference book, a product of fifteen years of self-study by John B. Teeple, whose great uncle, a civil engineer and a devotee of world history, gave him the idea and most of the material. Unfortunately, Mr. Teeple died in 2002 before the book was published.

The book, first published in 2002, has been reprinted in 2003 and 2006, hence thousands of copies are available at libraries accross the USA. It begins with the Origins of Life on Earth and concludes at the outset of the 3rd Millenium.. The first section covers the 10,000 to 500 BC span and advances through the years to the period from 1800 to 2005 in five year intervals, full of maps, photographs, list of dynasties and historical facts. It is a very useful reference book and I enjoyed going throught its pages, which will be a good reading material, perhaps for the next 15 years. It is close to 800 pages. [Read more…]

2015 Bitmeyen Sorun (Never Ending Issue), Part I By Orhan Urgenc, 2009

Orhan Urgenc

Orhan Urgenc

The book, first introduced during the October 2009 Book Fair in Istanbul , is new on the Armenian issue by a Turkish researcher and writer, assisted by his daughter Tomris. I started reading the book during the first leg of a month long Train tour of Turkey that started on December 17, 2009 in Ankara . It is a very long book, in Turkish, and 584 pages. It covers the Ottoman period from 1820s to 1923. The author, who also attended the   Adana 1909 Symposium in Adana on December 5, stated that the book was referred  to by several organisations as the most comprehensive book on the Armenian issue.

The book opens with a commentary on “Tarih Bilinci – The Conscious of History”, followed by 39 chapters (although not numbered) on subjects related to different subjects and the many aspects of the Armenian issue. The next 4 chapters presents some aspects of the Armenian History and the arrival of Turks in Anatolia and the Armenian resistance. Chapter 5 presents a summary of Turkish – Armenian relations and Chapter 6 describes the events in the Middle East to which the author refers to as the Centre of the Issue (Arzin Merkezi), where the pot has been boling for the past 4,000 years. The author describes the impact of the three major religions that are based on the teachings of  Prophet Abraham (Hz. Ibrahim), the aims of the Christians and Jews in the region and now the presence of United States primarily to control the flow of oil to the world markets. [Read more…]