Noah’s Pudding or Ashure by Ayhan Ozer

Ashure is an authentic and unique dessert widely known in the Middle East, and made by the Christians, Jews and the Muslims alike. It is also called “Noah’s Pudding” a reference to the legend of Noah’s Ark. Traditionally; it is made on the 10thof the Islamic month of Muharrem. In Arabic “Ashar” means Tithe, a tenth part of something; so it may have acquired its name from this connection.

Noah’s miraculous journey on a boat is a shared belief by the three monotheistic religions. Legend has it that thousands of years ago societies showed sign of corruption.  Persistent problems of violence, injustice, oppression, crime, immorality vexed and exasperated people. Prophet Noah, a wise man, with an unwavering belief to one God, urged his people to amend their evil and wicked ways. Yet, people refused to listen to his injunctions, even made fun of him, and scoffed at him. [Read more…]

Hiroshima Anniversary Commemoration at Toy Museum, Istanbul

Atomic bombing of Japan

Atomic bombing of Japan

While attending Tarsus American High School in the early 50s, one of our teachers Frank Stone would hold debates on various subjects. One of these was on “Whether US was justified in using atom bomb to end the World War II.” Two groups would be picked, but our teacher knowing my views on the subject, including the belief that this was a crime against humanity, would not allow me to participate in the debate. Since than, I have kept my interest on the subject and attended many commemorations in the US, Japan and Turkey.

Americans and some others defend the dropping of atomic bomb at Hiroshima and later at Nakasaki stating that it ended the second world war although many believe Japan was ready to surrender before the horrible act, probably the worst in the history of mankind. Over 250,000 people at Hiroshima and 150,000 at Nakasaki, including many children, died and many villages and towns disappeared. Many children were affected after the bombing. [Read more…]

Anatolia in Armenia – A Documentary called “Nor Anadolu – New Anadolu”

A two page article, complete with a large photograph of Yerevan (Erivan) with Mount Agri (Ararat) in the background tells the story of a documentary on cities established in Armenia with Turkish names – Arapgir, Maras, Malatya, Van. The article, written by Alpugra Bahadir Gultekin in Radikal newspaper (July 27, 2011), states that GPOT and Canfilm working with Internews Armenia has produced documentaries to further the dialog between the Turks and the Armenians.


Burak Pekgezer, an Armenian Turk and 5 other Turkish directors, has toured Armenia and produced 6 documentary films, starting in Yerevan. Burak Pekgezer’s documentary, “Nor Anadolu – New Anadolu” tells the story of three different characters and stories. The documentary opens with a panoramic photograph of Yerevan, one of the oldest cities of the world, a peer of Rome and Carthagenos in Tunusia, believed to be found in 782 BC (1). Names of some of the districts in modern Yerevan include Malatya, Maras, Antep, places where Armenians migrated from during and after the First World War.

[Read more…]

Architect Sinan and Selimiye Mosque in the World Heritage List

Selimiye Camii, Edirne

Selimiye Camii, Edirne

UNESCO added Selimiye Mosque and its social complex in the Thracian province of Edirne to its World Heritage List on June 27, 2011, the 10th from Turkey. This magnificent structure was built by Sinan, a famous Turkish architect, when he was 90 years old after being commissioned by Ottoman Sultan Selim II. Selimiye Mosque is one of the most important works of Ottoman Turkish architecture and was called a “masterpiece” by Sinan.

Achitect Sinan was a Turk with Armenian heritage, just like Frank Lloyd Wright was American, whose parents on her mother’s side were from Wales. In fact, Frank Lloyd Wright, considered the greatest American Architect, declared that Sinan was the greatest Architect of all times. Sinan was born in village of Agirnas near Kayseri in 1490. Quite by coincidence, Wright died on April 9, 1959, on the same day that Sinan died in 1588. [Read more…]

National World war I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri

National World war I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri is the only museum in America dedicated to the memory of millions who died, including over five million Turks, both before, during and after the tragic war, and to the veterans from around the World (1).

One of the mightiest empires of all times, the 600 year old Ottoman Empire, came to an end in 1922 and the Republic of Turkey was proclaimed on October 29, 1923. Close to 30 new states were established on the  territories that were once part of the Empire that spanned three continents following the WW I.

There is a great deal to explore and experience at the WW I Museum, housed in a semicircular building both below ground level and street level. The visitors enter the building after walking over a glass bridge and a poppy field and watch a 15 minute film on the causes of the war. Although the 28 June 1914 of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria is stated to be the reason, the guide questions this theory as he leads the group into the building and invites everyone to watch another movie on the other side. [Read more…]

Turkish Library and Museum Report 2

TLM’s second progress report has been published. This report is in Turkish. You can download it from here –> . You can also read the report below. An English version will follow.


Türk Kütüphanesi ve Müzesi – Dostluk ve Barış İçin – TKM projesi, Amerika’da ve dünya çapında öngörülen kapasitede bir kurum olarak, tam kapasite 2015’te dünyaya kapılarını “resmen” açması planlanmışdır.

20. yüzyılın başlarından itibaren pek çok ülkede yayınlar, filmler, tiyatro oyunları, sempozyumlar ve üniversitelerde yapılan konuşmalarla gittikçe büyüyen bir Türk karşıtı propaganda olduğu bilinmektedir. Bu durum New York’ta bir Kütüphane ve Müze kurulmasının ilk kez teklif edildiği 28 Ocak 2011 tarihinde Adana’daki Çukurova Üniversitesi’nde yapılan sempozyumda ele alınmıştır. Bu Bildirinin amacı hem Türkiye ve Amerika Birleşik Devletleri’ndeki ve hem de diğer ülkelerdeki tüm üniversiteler, medya organları, özel sektör şirketleri, kentsel kurumlar ve bireyleri bu inisiyatifi desteklemeye ve geçici olarak yapılması planlanmış olan toplantılarda önerilerin görüşülmesi için davet etmektir. Aynı zamanda yabancı ülkelerinde katkıda bulunmalari sağlanacaktır. [Read more…]

Museum Week in Turkey, 18 – 24 May 2011 and Past Exhibitions

Rezan Has Museum

Rezan Has Museum

The Museum Week in Turkey is being celebrated in Turkey which started on May 18 with special events at Istanbul Modern, Sakip Sabanci Museum and many others across Turkey. New Museums opening in many cities, including Gaziantep, known as the Museum City, and  some of the existing Museums are also celebrating this significant week with new exhibitions. Some of these include “New Works New Horizons, Paradise Lost and Yao Lu’s New landscapes at Istanbul Modern.

Among others are Rezan Has Museum, in Cibali, Istanbul, which last year brought together “The Silent Witnesses” of past civilizations and the present day. As stated in the article below, the process of civilization of mankind that began approximately ten thousand years ago, with their daily life, beliefs, social and commercial relations, struggles against nature and even the wherewithal they developed to resist death, were all on display. The June issue of National Geographic Magazine has a 15 page report on the first Temple in the world, the Gobekli Tepe, which the archeologists claim to have been built over 12,000 years ago. The area surrounding the Temple near Sanli Urfa wil be the site of a new Museum soon. [Read more…]

Cengiz Han and His Heirs The Grand Empire of the Mongols, An Exhibition at the Sabanci Museum in Istanbul

Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan

(7 December 2006 – 8 April 2007)

One of the books that I have always carried with me on my job assignments (including Japan, Mexico, Korea, many States in America) was ‘’50 Great Turks’’ published by Yedigun Nesriyati in the 50s. The large book, prepared by Ibrahim Alaeddin Govsa and painter Munif Fehim, opens with Attila and ends with ‘’Mehmetcik’’. Major Sultans, Literary Figures, Musicians, Soldiers and Ataturk are included with a picture of each. The 6th great Turk is ‘’Cengiz Han’’, although most will admit that he was Mongolian and not a Turk. Therefore, when advertisements appeared all over Istanbul and many newspapers on the exhibition, I visited the Sabanci Museum in Emirgan on Wednesday, Dec 27, located in a magnificient building in the middle of a beautiful garden that was once the private home of the late Sakip Sabanci.

The visitors are greeted with the sound of running horses and directed to the exhibition that covers three floors. A large panel on the wall states that the exhibition (sponsored by Garanti Bank in cooperation with Bonn, Munich and Vieanna Museums)  is being staged as a commemoration of the 800th anniversary of the founding of Cengiz Han’s Empire, the largest and the grandest that the world has ever seen, stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the center of Europe. There are many large paintings, replicas of monuments, archeological finds, gold and silver pieces, books, Chinese manuscripts, dresses from the various stages of the empire between the 13th and 14th century. It is a well organized exhibition. [Read more…]

Oldest Sanctuary In The World Gobklitepe, ŞANLIURFA, TURKEY, Dates Back 12,000 Years

Urfa Sanctuary

In 1986, a local man discovered a statue while tilling the soil in his small field in a place called Göbeklitepe – The Hill With a Belly. He took the statue to the Şanlıurfa Archeology Museum where experts determined that it was perhaps created between 6000 and 7000 BC by the ancient people who lived during the Neoloithic Age (1). Other statues were also found when the ancient temple was unearthed in the center of Harran Plain , 17 kms from Şanlıurfa(2). Further studies indicated that the temple dated back to 10,000 BC, making it the oldest place of worship in the world. Before the discovery in Göbeklitepe, the worlds oldest temple was found in Malta, dating back from 5000 BC.

The photograph in the Attachment was taken on March 24, 2010 during a visit where we also met the son of the discoverer of the first statue at Göbeklitepe. An exhibition on Gobekitepe at the Turkish Library and Museum in New York would bring thousands of visitirs to Sanliurfa.



(1)  Chronology of Major Events in Richard Stoneman’s excellent book “A Traveler’s History of Turkey” identifies the dates between 12,000 BC and 6,500 BC as the Mesolitic Age.


(2) Şanlıurfa is known as the City of the Prophets, competing with another historical city Diyarbakır. Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim), considered the father of the three religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, was born in Şanlıurfa.

Yuksel Oktay

An exhibition for Mustafa Kemal Ataturk – The 130th Anniversary of His Birth – 19 May 2011, and His Contributions to Humanity, 1881 – 1938

An Exhibitoon of Photographs, Posters and Books and Presentation on the Life of One of the Greatest Leaders of the 20th Century.By Yüksel Oktay, PE

Exhibition – May 1-31, 2011 Presentation – May 21, Saturday, 13:00 – 15:00

Hunterdon County Library, North County Branch, 65 Halstead Street, Clinton, NJ 908 730-6135

This year marks the 130th anniversary of the birth of a towering figure of the 20th Century and the Creator of Modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. A great military hero at the Battle of Dardanelles in 1915 against the Allied Forces, the commander-in-chief  at Kocatepe in 1922 war against the invading Greek Army , the President of the Republic of Turkey in Ankara in 1923, a world leader honoured at his death in İstanbul in 1938. (1).

[Read more…]