ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ
πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν·
πολλῶν δ᾽ ἀνθρώπων ἴδεν ἄστεα καὶ νόον ἔγνω,
πολλὰ δ᾽ ὅ γ᾽ ἐν πόντῳ πάθεν ἄλγεα ὃν κατὰ θυμόν,
ἀρνύμενος ἥν τε ψυχὴν καὶ νόστον ἑταίρων.
ἀλλ᾽ οὐδ᾽ ὣς ἑτάρους ἐρρύσατο, ἱέμενός περ·
αὐτῶν γὰρ σφετέρῃσιν ἀτασθαλίῃσιν ὄλοντο,
νήπιοι, οἳ κατὰ βοῦς Ὑπερίονος Ἠελίοιο
ἤσθιον· αὐτὰρ ὁ τοῖσιν ἀφείλετο νόστιμον ἦμαρ.
τῶν ἁμόθεν γε, θεά, θύγατερ Διός, εἰπὲ καὶ ἡμῖν.
[Note: If you can't see the characters above correctly, this font should help.]
"Ándra me, énnepe, Moúsa, polýtropon, ós mála pollà... "
These are the unforgotten words in classical Greek with which Homer's "Odyssey" begins.
Here the English translation:
Tell me, o Muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide
After he had sacked the famous town of Troy.
Many cities did he visit, and many were the nations with whose manners and customs he was acquainted;
Moreover he suffered much by sea while trying to save
His own life and bring his men safely home;
But do what he might, - he could not save his men,
For they perished through their own sheer
Folly in eating the cattle of the Sun-god Helios!
So the god prevented them from ever reaching home.
Tell me, too, about all these things, o daughter of Jove,
From whatsoever source you may know them.
This Confluence, 40N 26E is close to Troy, the ancient city and its heroes of which all of us have already heard or read.
Geographically it is located north of Tenedo, the today Turkish island Bozcaada and east of İmroz Adası (Island). ESE of it there is a small rocky islet - Tavşan Adası.
And in the East, finally we have the famous Strait of the Dardanelles, which in Turkey is known as "Çanakkale Boğazı" (boğaz means "pass") and in Greece as "Hellespontos" - and which we are going to enter in about half an hour.
Here Europe meets Asia. The European side is formed by a long peninsula extending NE-SW - Gallipoli Peninsula or Gelibolu Yarimadası. The Asian side is the Turkish mainland.
South of the entrance of this historically and strategically extremely important passage we see Kumkale Burnu (Cape "Sand castle") with its prominent modern traffic control tower. All ships bound for the Dardanelles, the Marmara Sea, the Bosporus and finally the Black Sea have to report first by VHF to "Sector Kumkale" and request permission to enter the Strait.
North of the entrance is the village of Seddülbahir on Gallipoli Peninsula (Gelibolu Yarimadası). A little bit farther east of Seddülbahir we see the Turkish War Memorial, the most prominent object in the area.
Looking again to the southern shore of the Dardanelles we see the typical landscape of the area. Has Troy probably just been located here?
But what had happened at Troy?
Well, we all know Ulysses, according to the legend the King of Ithaca and the Greek hero of Troy. He was the protégé of the Goddess Athena. He tried to settle the extradition of Helena, being captured in Troy, first by diplomatic means. He travelled to Troy but did not succeed. Then Agamemnon could finally persuade Ulysses to join the military campaign against Troy. Ulysses participated as the commander of a fleet of twelve ships. Under his command the Greek heroes secretly entered Troy after ten years of besieging, - hidden in the body of the wooden horse of which the Trojans believed to be a present. After the destruction of Troy he was erring around at sea for ten years prior to reach his home in Ithaca. This "odyssey" was the punishment of the offended Gods for he had denied their help during the victory over Troy.
The largest town in the Dardanelles is Çanakkale.
Turkey lies almost entirely in Asia. The European part comprises only 3% of the territory. The two parts are separated by the Bosporus (İstanbul Boğazı), the Marmara Sea (Marmara Deniz) and the Dardanelles (Çanakkale Boğazı). The Asian part is called Anatolia (Anadolu) or formerly Asia Minor; the European part is called Thrakia (formerly Eastern Thrace). During the first millennium B.C., Asia Minor was part of many of the principal empires of the classical era. In the eighth century B.C., Greek colonies were established on the Black Sea coast of Asia Minor and in the sixth century B.C. Alexander the Great crossed the Hellespont (Dardanelles) and after his defeat of the Persians, the area became part of the Macedonian empire. After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C., his empire was divided between his warring generals and in Asia Minor the result was a confused situation out of which arouse a number of independent Hellenic states of which Bithynia and Pontus, on the Black Sea coast, were amongst the most powerful. In the middle of the second century B.C. the expanding power of Rome began to make itself felt in Asia Minor and by the end of the first century A.D., the whole area became part of the Roman Empire. In the third century A.D. the Roman Empire, which had reached its maximum extent, became increasingly difficult to govern and was divided into two parts. The provinces of Asia Minor formed part of the Eastern Roman Empire, which, after 330 A.D., was governed from the new imperial capital of Constantinople (today Istanbul). When the Western Roman Empire finally collapsed in 476 A.D., the Eastern Roman Empire continued as the Byzantine Empire for nearly another 1000 years. For the next 500 years, the area now known as Turkey formed part of the Byzantine Empire although at times, large parts of it were occupied by Arab invaders, who on two occasions laid siege to Constantinople.
During the middle of the eleventh century the Byzantine Empire began its long decline which was to end in 1453 when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks. In 1071 the Central part of Anatolia was lost to the Seljuk Turks, who had emerged from Central Asia in the previous century. The Empire also suffered grievous harm from its fellow Christians, culminating in the sack of Constantinople in 1204 by the armies of the 4th Crusade.
The Seljuk triumph was short lived. In the middle of the thirteenth century occurred one of the most devastating invasions in world history, the onslaught on Western Asia and Eastern Europe by the Mongol hordes. The effect on Asia Minor of this invasion was to end the dominance of the Seljuks, and after a brief Mongol occupation, to leave the area under the control of a number of Minor Turcoman states. In 1281 Osman, after whom the Ottoman dynasty was called, became the ruler of a small state in Western Anatolia. Under his leadership this state began the expansion, which was to become the Ottoman Empire. Initial expansion was largely directed into the Balkans (SE Europe), most of which had been occupied by the end of the fourteenth century.
The Ottoman Empire, which reached its maximum extent in the second half of the seventeenth century, continued to control large areas until the end of the eighteenth century. However, in the nineteenth century a decline began to accelerate and by the outbreak of World War I, the Ottoman Empire had lost most of its European provinces. During World War I Turkey entered the war on the side of Germany and Austria. In 1915, in an unsuccessful attempt to gain control of the entrance to the Black Sea, Allied forces landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula (Gelibolu Yarimadası). With the defeat of the Central Powers in 1918, the Ottoman Empire lost its remaining non-Turkish lands. Nationalist forces under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (Atatürk means "Father of the Turks") resisted the punitive terms of a peace treaty and in 1922, at the end of a bitter war, in which invading Greeks were expelled from Anatolia, the Ottoman Empire formally came to an end and the Turkish Republic was established.
Kemal Atatürk, who became the first president of the Turkish Republic, introduced sweeping reforms to modernize the country's institutions and reduce the influence that Islam had on the life of the nation. Turkey remained neutral for most of World War II, only entering the war in 1945 so as to become a charter member of the United Nations. After World War II, Turkey sided with the West in its conflicts with the Soviet Union, well and vigilantly protecting the Dardanelles and the Bosporus and avoiding the Soviet Union gaining free access to the Mediterranean Sea (a Russian dream and desire many centuries old). It sent troops to fight under United Nations command in Korea and joined NATO.
The 1960's and 1970's were troubled times politically for Turkey as the Armed forces on a number of occasions assumed political control of the country. In 1982 a new constitution was introduced which restored parliamentary rule.
Turkey has about 65 million inhabitants. About 98% are Muslims. In Izmir and Istanbul there are Christian and Jewish minorities. Islam, however, ceased to be the official religion in 1928 and the constitution guarantees freedom of religion but forbids its political exploitation or any impairment of the secular character of the republic. Especially in these days of expanding Muslim fundamentalism all around the world we can easily understand how much explosive material and extreme danger potential such a rule does contain. This is the stuff revolutions are made of. Let's hope the best for Turkey!
Turkish is the official language of the country. Until the mid 1920's it has been written by using Arabic characters. Since then only Roman characters are allowed.
Turkey is rich of coal, chrome, iron ore, copper, boron and oil. The main industrial products are textiles, foodstuffs, iron, steel, cement and leather goods.
Turkey and the European Union: A word about, even knowing to tackle a hot issue...
Turkey is very keen to become a member of the European Union and during the last decades it has applied for membership again and again. Always the country has been refused, and the Turks, - probably justly - meanwhile feel themselves very snubbed.
What speaks for a membership? Turkey argues and reasons to be a very valuable and reliable partner in the NATO. Now they want to be compensated for their loyalty also with the economically very remunerative EU-membership. Especially in today's expanding Muslim fundamentalism the secular state of Turkey fears to not being able to control and avoid a probable Islamic revolution, if they were not integrated fully in the democratic system and alliance of the European Union.
What speaks against a membership? Europe argues Turkey not to be ready for a membership, as the country's economy is still comparatively week. Turkey suffers a rampant inflation and does not fulfil the required high economical parameters and standards. Further Europe reproaches Turkey not to respect human rights. In Eastern Anatolia the Turkish government since many decades has serious problems with the minority of the Kurds, who claim more rights and autonomy, and Turkey is not prepared to really grant these privileges, - or not to the extent the Kurds do require them.
And this is the major concern and fear of Europe, for when Turkey becomes a member, all Turkish citizens will be free to travel to any other member state. An exodus of about 4-8 million Kurds to the wealthy Northwestern European countries is expected, as soon as Turkey has become a member. And this is indeed a horror vision. Turkey will loose ten percent of its population, virtually overnight, and what to do with all these unwanted immigrants in North-western Europe, where unemployment is anyway already an extremely serious problem?
The present stage of this discussion is that membership of Turkey has been postponed after 2010, and Turkey is very disappointed about that. A solution has been offered to make Turkey a kind of conditional member, and the visa-regulations for travellers will remain in force. This has been strictly rejected by Turkey, which only wants to become a full member and not one subject to special conditions.
We will see, what happens.
Information about Turkey obtained partly from Nautical Publication Nr. 24, "Black Sea Pilot", 13th ed. 2000, Hydrographer of the Navy, Taunton, England