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Old 8th December 2004, 02:34 PM   #1
eftihis
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Default Istanbul Visit

Hallo everybody,
I am leaving for a sort trip to Insanbul tomorrow Thursday, and i will stay there untill Monday. While i have set aside 1 day for the Askeri museum, i would like to have advise for members with knowledge of other places that would be of interest. Maybe Erlikhan and Ariel have some advise?

I would also be delighted if i could find some weapons made in Crete there, since i am researching the history of Cretan bichaq daggers and Turkey must have a lot of them.
Regards to all!
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Old 8th December 2004, 03:54 PM   #2
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Why dont you ask ME?

I have been in Istabul many times. Be prepared for blade overload in Askeri Museum but you have also to see Topkapi collection.

You will find some stuff for buying in the markets. In Kapali Tsarsi you will see lot of caucasian kinjals, overpriced yataghans and if you are very lucky a good kilij.

I will send you privatly my favorite seller address. Enjoy
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Old 8th December 2004, 04:52 PM   #3
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Maybe, just maybe you will be able to find something on the Iron Market. I once found an axe from the middle age there.
Jens
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Old 8th December 2004, 05:28 PM   #4
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Default Istanbul

Hi eftihis,

In february 2004, I did exactly what you are doing: ask advice from the forumnites. Yannis gave me the same advice and you should follow it.
Here are some further advices I received :

From Yannis :
Take care of your wallet and camera in Kapalitsarci (the main market) And if you want to buy anything bargain hard. First prices are always high. There, the best antique weapons dealer is Aydin Bardakci(Serifaga Sokak N5-6). Take a look in his shop.

From Ariel I think:
If you buy an antic weapon, make sure you will be allowed to take it out of the country they can be very strict.
Once when I was in Istanbul I bought a shashqa with Arabic inlays in gold, and to make sure I could take it out of the country I had to go to the Top Kapi Museum, where the director Mr. Yncel gave me the needed documentation. Maybe it would be an idea to ask the seller to get the necessary papers before you pay if that is possible.

From Antiques (now Jens, I guess!).
There is one more thing I have come to think of, and that is whenever you see a tourist kitch of a dagger always have a look at the blade.
Years ago when I was in London, I saw, in a shop with Indian bronzes, about twenty daggers. With brand new scabbards and hilts, I did not bother to have a look at the daggers, but as my wife had good time, in my boredom I did, and what did I see. All the Indian dagger blades were 17th to 19th century I did not buy any, and I still regret it.

Istanbul is a very interesting city, with an unbelievable mix and superposition of civilisations and cultures. Enjoy

Michel
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Old 8th December 2004, 06:57 PM   #5
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I agree: Topkapi is a MUST!
While at Askeri, ask to see Ms. Gozde Yasar: very nice curator and was very helpful to me re. Laz Bicagi. By the way, remind her that I am still waiting on her translation of the inscription on the Yataghan blade. If she lost it, please ask her to e-mail me at:
abarkan@umich.edu
I asked her to join the Forum; please apply your charms to convince her we need her knowledge.
The Grand Bazaar was a disappointment: what was even remotely affordable (mind you, nothing less than $500!!!!!) was a fake. The good things were astronomically overpriced. Begin haggling ONLY if you intend to buy: otherwise, you will leave the place with some kind of monstrosity you never intended to get to start with.
Plenty of contemporary Caucasian scabbards (silvered brass) with dreadful blades.
Great food! I repeat: great food!
The people are remarkably nice and go out of their way trying to be helpful.
Have a great time: it is a fabulously interesting and pleasant place.
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Old 8th December 2004, 09:56 PM   #6
Radu Transylvanicus
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1. Whenever you start bargaining you should do it by saying: Hey Arkadash (hello my friend... they love this phrase its cristal to their ears) and dont pay attention to the tag price if exist, talk to the seller and consider yourself a fool if you pay more than a half his price (as crazy as it sounds you`l see) specially to any bazaar shop.
Dont leave until you had the lamb, the tea and the halva (or any sweets!!!). Ariel, I couldnt agree more with you and by the way, nice avatar bro`, quite chic, I would expect nothing less from the fashionable dude you are !
Yeap, like others before me besides Askeri you should pay a visit to the Topkapi, anyone who does not see the Topkapy Sarayi Muzeum when in Istanbul is a fool. As touristy as it sounds it is a must, from the swords of the prophet to the ones of the sultans, do you really want to miss them ? By the way when in Topkapi, I must ask you a favour : I HAVE TRIED FOR YEARS TO TAKE A PICTURE OF THE SWORD OF STEPHEN THE GREAT, KING OF MOLDAVIA (1457-1504) PLEASE ASK AN ATTENDANT TO POINT IT OUT FOR YOU AND TAKE A QUALITY PICTURE OR MORE OF IT AND I SELL MY SOUL TO YOU !!! It is a classic European straight crusader sword taken as war booty by the sultans army from this hero king of my native country, Romania.

Last edited by Radu Transylvanicus : 8th December 2004 at 10:07 PM.
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Old 8th December 2004, 11:47 PM   #7
Mare Rosu
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Thumbs up RADU'S reason for your help!!

Pulled out from the old Viking forum. So that you can see why it is very important to Radu that if you can get a photograph of the Great Sword.
He need his soul for other things.
Radu has helped all of us so it would be nice to reciprocate the favor.



Dedicated to my dear pal, Mr. Earl G. Beall whos contagious positive energy and hunger for knowledge have been so motivating to me lately... Thank you for being my friend, Gene ! Radu F.
THE AMAZING STORY AND JOURNEY OF THE STEPHEN THE GREAT`S SWORD

Certain unique weapons and armour pieces, most particularly the guns and swords belonging to extraordinary people have undoubtly been the subject of many fantastic stories in their time of deeds of facts but very few have transceded to raise crises or make the news headlines now, past their age of glory, such as this one...
So, here is a different lecture in the Forum, a contemporary story, a live happening and long expected event by many, including myself ...
Ever since I was a kid back in my Transylvanian homelands I was fascinated by the figur and life of one of our Romanian medieval rulers, Stephen the Great, known to us Romanians as Stefan cel Mare.
He was the quintesential Moldavian medieval ruler (1457-1504), he embodied the national spirit and the archetype of the Eastern European, at the time he was mainly famous as crusader against expanding imperial Ottoman forces but he also fought succesfully or less against other threatening neighbours like Poland or Hungary, at times friends rather than enemies however. As the very complicated web of political interests in a gothic medieval age dictated, he was friend or foe to even with his relatives, like the infamous ruler of Wallachia, Vlad The Impaler, or Dracula, as he mistankelly remains baptised by the history.
So, many battles and campaigns have been fought and won consistently by this arguably righteous and legendary autocrat in the name of his people, for posterity bringing him even the status of Saint by the local Greek-Orthodox church of Romania few years ago
and therefore named is now canonised as Stephen the Great and Holly (Stefan Cel Mare si Sfant).
Late in life, his power grew weak like his health and so was the country in the end paying tribute but not ceased to lose the soveranity of its country. However, one remarcable things he did lost to the Ottoman army (undated and untold) and that was his famous weapon, THE BATTLE SWORD.
Stephen the Great, ironically, was not a man of an imposing physique appearance, rather short but still muscular and with a pleasant face. His sword, unlike him, a very stylish monarch of Bysantine fashion, rivaling if not surpasing many courts of western Europe, was a plain and fairly large straight, classic, European medieval steel with a 102 cm blade and a total length of 125 cm. Simple, grooved, yet sober and imposing the sword was little personalised with perhaps the only exception of ring like pommel bearing the following aproximate cyrilic inscription in archaic Romanian ,,IO STEFAN, VOIVOD AL MOLDOVII,, meaning : I, Stephen, the ruler of Moldavia. This almost mythical, battle forged sword, became more or less claimed by Romanians as a national trasure and symbol; Stephen used to hold it like a cross by the edge after the battle announcing a Christian victory.
Later in time, the Turks however, took it as war booty and spectacular trophy, triumphantly presented to the sultan who deposited with the most prized treasures at the Royal Palace in Istanbul, today`s Topkapi National Museum of Turkey, where the sword still remains in display, secondary in importance to only some pieces like the swords of Prophet Mohammed, also in exhibit there.
Romanians, in this last decade, personally or trough cultural and historical societies started presurising their own government to request and negociate the retutn of this national symbol.
As a result of this much mediated national crisis, in the year 2001 situation became so critical that contacts have been made at the highest political level from both president of Romania. Mr. Ion Iliescu and his ,,adverse,, counterpart, Mr. Ahmet Necdet Sezer, the president of Turkey. Hence, international negotiations began imediatelly but even so, the only one most notable result by far was the temporary loan of Stephen the Great`s sword from Topkapyi Sarayi Museum in Istanbul to the National Art Museum of Romania in Bucharest. That happened in July 2004, exactly 500 years after the death of Stephen the Great, so after half a millenium the extremelly disputed weapon revisited homeland, alongside other two Moldavian nobiliary swords from the same period . With this bycentenial ocassion from his death other exhibitions in Paris, Vatican and other important cities were hosted.
No sign however yet from the Turkish government to announce intentions of return of this national treasures, still the festivities underwent peacefully in a happy celebration of both rich national heritages, leaving behind any historical rivalry as the president of Romania stated : "The presence in Bucharest of Stephen the Great's battle sword represents an important moment in the bilateral relations between the two countries, confirming over the centuries the ruler's vision about the need for tight relations between the two nations" ... "Stephen the Great's deeds are a model and a yardstick for his successors. He was a man of his times"...""At the moment, the sword is playing a different role. It is a link between two countries and peoples in one of the most difficult battles, that for building a world of reason, security, peace and wisdom" while the head curator of the National Art Museum Mrs. Roxana Theodorescu affirmed: ""I believe that this is the most important event of the year 2004, the year devoted to Stephen the Great" ... And commentaries went on and on from TV, journals and countless VIP`s : ministers, diplomats, historians and artists each one with its own opinion and speech... Still I wasnt there to take a picture of the sword and could not find one anywhere ...

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
The Romanian Academy Encyclopedia, Bucharest, 1977
The Romanian Minerva Encyclopedia, Bucharest, 1936
The Wikipedia Encyclopedia on-line edition
David Nicole - Armies of the Otoman Turks 1300-1774 by Osprey Publications, Oxford - 1983
Corina Firuta - Romania, Editura ZoomSoft
Nicolae Iorga - History of Romania, Iasi 1938
Grigore Jitaru - Blazoane domnesti in Tara Romaneasca si Moldova in sec XII - XV
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Old 9th December 2004, 12:40 AM   #8
Radu Transylvanicus
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Most in debt to you all , my hat falls in front of you ... Amicus Humani Generis ...
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Old 10th December 2004, 12:09 PM   #9
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lol i know Greek friends don't like the name Istanbul and not to use it , they deform it when they have to write it. I met it thousand times before on internet. A very beneficiary! idea of protesting. If the names you wrote are not this way, then sorry I don't know any of the cities you ask for information about.
About Aydin Bardakci and Crete daggers, he currently has a short Crete yataghan. A nice silver scabbarded but poor condition steel and expensive according to me.
About the Stephen Great's sword, I have seen it in real and in pictures too several times. As far as I know,it is currently being exhibited in Romania. It has been there since the last summer (if wrong, correct me). First, an exact reproduction of the sword made here was gifted to Romania, and after very short time, the original was sent temporarily for exhibition. You should be able to find its pictures on internet. If you can't, I can help you gladly, but when it returns here.
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Old 11th December 2004, 08:56 AM   #10
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Default visit Update

Good news for our Transylvanian friend. I took photos of sword of Stefan the Great, i will send them next week, but where, here or in the medieval forum?

The visit in the market was very disappointing up to now, the market was full of fakes, but they were some overpriced antiques also.

Yesterday i was in Top Kapi, i got some great photos which i wil send in the forum. Today i am going to the Askeri museum/

Erlikhan, we have a lot of things to discuss together, everybody is proud for its own country and heritage but is always good to discuss about things we have a common interest in.
I will be staying untill Sunday evening in Taksim in KervanSaray Hotel R206
It would be great for me to meet you since i am here.
Best Regards,

Eftihis
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Old 11th December 2004, 10:14 AM   #11
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Thumbs up Thank you !

Looking forward to the photos...Thank you indeed for considering my request and let me know if I can repay the favour... Wasnt it worthed to go to Topkapi ? I would say to post the pics here in ethnographic ...
I will leave for Romania in 26th of January and be there for some weeks, I will get pics from the collections of the museum I used to work for and others ... I hope plenty of local pieces plus Balkanic, German and Ottoman ...
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Old 11th December 2004, 01:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erlikhan
lol i know Greek friends don't like the name Istanbul and not to use it , they deform it when they have to write it. I met it thousand times before on internet. A very beneficiary! idea of protesting. If the names you wrote are not this way, then sorry I don't know any of the cities you ask for information about.


Erlikhan

I, sometimes, mispell Istanbul, but not in purpose!

I am used to write it in Greek "Konstantinopoli" or just "Poli" and when it comes to international name i mispell it, like i do with a lot of other words

Istabul comes from greek words "Is tin poli" that means "in the City". And it was only one City (with capital C) once

The name Constantinople was alive till 1920's when Orient Express was arriving there. Talking about swords, I have seen turkish military swords from beginning of 20th century marked with makers name and the address Constantinople.

My friend, I dont find any offence in the use of a term that is historical, but I dont mind to use the word Istanbul (with correct spelling), too
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Old 11th December 2004, 04:18 PM   #13
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Eftihis,
Do not forget to meet Ms. Yasar!
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Old 11th December 2004, 04:37 PM   #14
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Default Correct spellng

Just to say that only now, after Yiannis mail, i understood what Erlikhan meant in his mail...
My friend, i had no intention to mispell it, it was just because we do not use this name when we speak or write.
Ofcourse we use in Greek the word Konstantinopoli, but i think this is understandable, as i domt expect you to say Crete instead of Girit in your language.
By the way, i also want to say that the Byzantine theocratic regime didnt express me and i do not feel that represented Greeks.
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Old 13th December 2004, 09:17 AM   #15
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I must admit I am impacient ... Eftihis, many thanks again, I cant wait for you to post or send that (or those) picture(s) ...

The photo below is a gift for you , I hope your French is OK ... if not I am sure doesnt take much to figure whats up ...
Attached Images
 

Last edited by Radu Transylvanicus : 13th December 2004 at 09:34 AM.
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Old 13th December 2004, 09:53 AM   #16
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Default Stefan the Great sword

Here we are!
As soon as i find time i will send photos from Askeri Museum and from Top Kapi
Regards to all!
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Old 13th December 2004, 10:05 AM   #17
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Thank you so much Eftihis , I owe you big time ... On the other side, I am a little disapointed by theTopkapi curators who are generally more efficient on doing a better job on description labels (at least this is not the disastruos Bangkok museum we saw the other week).
On Stefan`s sword, the label shoud at least say : Sword of Stefan the Great, ruler of Moldavia 15th century (Romania) big difference between being Roman and being Romanian, nevermind common the heritage ... and this anarchic display next to Japanese swords and armor and the grotesque gigantic swords in the background mixed with the kilij stand is just not OK to my eye ... Bucharest is not next to Okinawa on the map and the yoroi is no match for the statuary bastard swords of Herculean size and the Indo-Persian shield unless this was meant to show the exact oposition and absolute differences in styles and dimesions of arms and armour... I dare to say that any member of the Forum would've had more common sense in composing a more apropriate panoply or is it just overly picky me that feels this is unforgiveably chaotic and not OK for one of the world class most finest museums... ?
Still, Eftihis you made my day by taking this images, I was longing for images of this sword for quite a while now ... There certainly are some amazing moments and breaktroughs in this Forum at times and I hope I put a smile on your face when I posted the image of the Cretans with their bitchaqs ...
P.S. I would love to see more pics from Askeri and Topkapi museums, I hope its on your soon ,, to do list,, ...
All the best , yours truely,
Radu .

Last edited by Radu Transylvanicus : 13th December 2004 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 13th December 2004, 11:22 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radu Transylvanicus
and this anarchic display next to Japanese swords and armor and the grotesque gigantic swords in the background mixed with the kilij stand is just not OK to my eye


Well you are quite polite, my friend. This is outrageous!

A sword of this importance deserves something better than this little corner of this variety display.

The reason that it is not turkish, ottoman or islamic is not enough for such a treatment.

Romanian people may protest via e-mail
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Old 13th December 2004, 05:28 PM   #19
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Well, my experience is that 90% of expositions in world museums become very chaotic and unrepresentative when it comes to arms and armor. My local Chicago Art Institute would be a good example.

Cheapy Shinto Wakizashi, Wakizashi being displayed _in_ its scabbard, poor lighting that does not allow one to see steel patterns, tons of halbers with not a single spear head, good wootz kiliji (or was it shamshir ? I don't remember), with no inscirption commenting on wootz, general impression of a few gifts being tossed together into the room, with no desire to make something better of it.

Well, still beats the hell out of "modern" photography they display downstairs (photographs of red squares, photographs of black squares, frames without photographs, photographs of water taken with 0.5s interval 10 times etc.), but leaves quite a troublesome impression nevertheless.
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Old 14th December 2004, 10:20 PM   #20
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Eftihis, I would like to meet you for sure. Please write the phone number of your hotel. I can call you tomorrow or day after tomorrow. If you want my phone, email me.
About the Byzantian name of Istanbul, it was used by Christian minorities and Europeans in Ottoman time. The writing on those swords belong to some Armenian workshops. Not to Turks at all. The roots of the names are not so important. Here, when a Greek uses the name Konstantinapolis everybody considers it as a claim of right on the ownership of the city. And it must be correct, as everybody else have already learned the name of the city, but only in Greece it is insisted not to be used! Eftihis and Yannis,Thanks for your kind replies even correcting it. I guess you understand what irritated me; especially different versions of errors which were not related to each other, in every single time the name of the city was typed.
About the innocency of insist on continuing to use old historical names , Greeks must be the bests to understand the problem, as it is Greece's problem too, for even not one of your own cities, but a whole different country. Greece demands Macedonia to change its name
Anyway Eftihis, I wait for your number.
regards
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Old 14th December 2004, 11:55 PM   #21
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Erlikhan, it was a very sort trip, and i am already back in Greece.
I hope we can meet next time, or if you come yourself in Greece before that.

I went to Top Kapi, i saw great things and a lot of weapons, in some rooms fotos were not permited, but i bought a book that has just been printed "the sacred trusts" and has the swords of Mohamet, of the Prophets, of the chaliphs, and all items of these rooms in superb photographs.

Askeri museum was fantastic, i took more than 300 fotos, and as soon as i find time i will dimish them so to be able to post them.

Ariel, i couldnt see Ms. Yasar, since she is not there in the weekends...

And i left my second visit to the closed market for Sunday, (but i found out that at Sunday the market is closed) and so i didnt see the Cretan yataghan.
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Old 14th December 2004, 11:56 PM   #22
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Default Forging history

Come on Erlikhan!

As far as Turkey owns Konstantinopolis has the right to name it as it wants. In international discusions we can use the word Istanbul but in greek we use the name that we used for 1650 years, and we will not change it because Kemal decided different!

Anyone who can read history can learn how Turks occupied the city on 1943 and what happend to the massive Greek and Armenian population there till 1956!

Macedonia is quite a different story. The state north of Greece got this name in Tito era (after WWII) as a province of Yugoslavia and now it claims that has origins from Great Alexander for God's shake!

If you think that names make history lets talk about Effesos, the city that hosted the Artemis temple, one of the Seven Wanders of the world. You call it Effes.

Or Ikonion, the big Hellenistic and Byzantine city, you call Konya, from where you sell as major tourist attraction the Mevlevi Dervish dancing and you seem to forget that the founder of their order, Mevlana, was not a Turk but a Persian. Would you like from me more examples about forging history and tell lies about national identities to the whole world?

It seems that some "historians" have been expert to make a bright new... past.
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Old 15th December 2004, 01:41 AM   #23
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Yannis, sorry but I only feel fun against your subjectiveness and aggresiveness. You just confirm what I told before by your attitude.
What occupation in 1943?? Do you confuse Istanbul with Greece who was occupied by Germans? No occupation occured in Istanbul in 1943 at all! And nothing happened in 1956 too. Perhaps you meant to say 1955? Vast Greek majority in Istanbul, capitol of Ottoman Turkey??lol. It never happened since 1453 when immidiately Turkish population was established after conquering the city, and in 1922 , 1 million Greeks and 500 thousand Turks were exchanged between two countries. In Istanbul ,after that exchange, Greeks were only 100000 in a total of 500000 .In 1955 some civil riots against Greek stores and estates occured, like several ones which occured to Turkish majority in "Western Trakya " region of Greece, in towns like Gumulcine and Iskece , last in a very close date:1989! Even in 90ties,an effective parliament from Turkish minority was killed in an obviously "arranged" accident,not? Do you know how many Turkish civilians were massacred in Greece between 1821 and 1913?? Hundreds of thousands. One of my old relatives always told until she died, how they ran to Turkey through mountains in 1912 winter escaping from death by Greek soldiers following them and killing when they catch. To stay alive, they ate the ones who couldnt stand the conditions and died .
Macedonia was not found by Tito. Macedonia vilayet - state of Ottomans included soil from today's Greece, Macedonia and as far as I know, little part of western Bulgaria. All this region was named Macedonia. Today's Greek part is southern Macedonia, and the other is northern.
And we call Efes, not a city that reached to Turkish period. We call just an archeological ruin and at least we keep it,like the Byzantian city walls of Istanbul. What about more than 30, some very big mosques in Athens constructed in Ottoman time or other buildings in all Greece? None survived . Athens was a Turkish ruled city for centuries, but now it is the only capitol in Europe which doesn't have a mosque . Not strange?
Konya was founded by Hittites or before, having ruins of even neolithic age.There were cities and states in all today's Turkey , before Greece itself was founded. Greeks had been living before us in some parts of the country, but there were others before Greeks for thousands of years. So what?
Mevlana can be a Turk, or Persian , or anything he wishes to be. He wrote in both Turkish and Persian but I dont care at all. You can own him too if you wish, no problem for me. As I said, I saw many examples before like carbon copied with you, being educated with systematical hatred and having logics shaped exactly same, and and can gladly discuss to spend some free time but this forum is not the appropriate place for it. If we continue it ,we will cause just pollution here. You can email to taserserzer@yahoo.com if you have something different to discuss.
regards
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Old 15th December 2004, 03:02 AM   #24
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I would ask that we do not engage in disputes about Balkans history from the first half of the twentieth century, and I would especially like to avoid the topic of Macedonia, as it is perhaps one of the most controversial topics in recent European history. I am a decendent of Macedonian Bulgarian refugees in 1918, but would like to leave this subject in the past, where it belongs. We all have our claims, argument and victoms. Let us respect the letter, and preserve the good atmosphere in this forum, which is meant for discussing ethnic weapons, not ethnic cleansing.
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Old 15th December 2004, 03:39 AM   #25
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This is an international forum and it is inevitable that there will be disagreements among the members. However, we discuss Arms and Armor here, and there is no place for nationalism. Please try to use restraint and tolerance. Civility is a requirement.

If a topic is one that upsets you, stay away from it.
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