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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Ten More Turkish Things

Did you know that...
  • ...the end of the Middle Ages is marked by the year Turks entered Constantinople? The fall of Constantinople in 1453 marked the end of East Roman Empire and the beginning of modern history.

  • ...the celebrated 18th century poet Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689–1762), brought smallpox inoculation to England having learned of the practice in Constantinople (now Istanbul)? It would be during her stay in Constantinople that Montagu would write her Turkish Embassy Letters, too, a collection of witty correspondence that, when published after her death, would become her major contribution to English literature.

  • ...some Turks fought in World War II on the side of the British?

  • ...one of the first Turkish modern ecological activists in the early 20th century was a man known as Ahmet Bedevi (1888-1963)? Living in the mountainous city of Manisa, western Turkey, the honoured war veteran was affectionately known as the Tarzan of Manisa by the locals for his eccentricities of always wearing shorts even in winter and speaking with the trees and plant life. He became a symbol for the region by greatly contributing to raising consciousness for protection of the environment across the country, and by preserving and enriching the surrounding forests almost single-handed. His leafy legacy survives to this day.

  • ...a Turkish film won an international film award in 1964? The drama "Susuz Yaz" (Dry Summer) won the Golden Berlin Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival over forty years ago and was shown as part of the classic films section at the 61st Cannes Film Festival in 2008.

  • ...Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan has been honoured by the Cannes Festival three years in a row? His third accolade was for Best Director for his family drama "Three Monkeys" in 2008. Ceylan, almost 40 and already winner of a batch of awards for his first four features, is regarded as one of the most distinctive film-makers of the last decade.

  • ...Stanford University's 32-year-old anthropologist and biologist Dr Cağan Şekercioğlu won two awards at the 2008 Whitley Awards in London, including the prestigious top prize, the Whitley Gold Award? It was for his work in the Kars province of north-eastern Turkey, which provides the setting for Snow, the best-selling novel by Nobel Laureate, Orhan Pamuk and was presented by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne. Dr Şekercioğlu is Turkey's first ever Whitley Gold Award winner.

  • ...the youngest person in the past century to attain a status of professor at the age of 28 at the prestigious American University of Yale was Turkish scientist of theoretical chemistry and molecular biology Oktay Sinanoğlu? He has been nominated for the Nobel award in chemistry twice, but is now more well known in his home nation for his works to preserve the Turkish language.

  • ...prominent and pioneering Turkish painter Osman Hamdi Bey's (1842-1910 ) works have frequently broken records for an Orientalist artist? In 2008 his "A Lady of Constantinople" was sold for 3.38 million sterling pounds at an auction held by London's auction house Sotheby's, where it was the top piece of the Orientalist sale. Hamdi Bey was the first Turkish painter to adopt the western style of painting, and his works are much sought after in Europe.

  • ...the emphasis of Turkish cuisine is on seasonal freshness?

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