An anecdote on the prime minister’s character
I am not fond of it but I will be a gossip columnist this week because this is an anecdote that confirms my presumptions about the prime minister.
I listened to it from firsthand witnesses. It was six years ago when then Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım and a group of 15 to 20 people accompanying him went to a small but famous restaurant known for its seafood on the Aegean coast. They made reservations in the morning. The restaurant staff made preparations anxiously for the entire day. Since it was already a small place, they reserved the entire venue for Yıldırım and his guests. The group came to the restaurant via a boat from the sea.
However, Yıldırım and his friends did not know this detail: This restaurant had a delicious kitchen but it had only mastered shellfish such as mussels, oysters and langoustes. They don’t even cook fish!
I did not know this but a portion of the Islamic segment does not eat shellfish. Probably for this reason, most of the guests at the restaurant that evening did not order shellfish.
Well, since they did not say, “We do not eat any of these,” what happened? As I said, that restaurant in question did not do classic dishes, not even fish.
Yıldırım did not suggest going to another restaurant or ask the chef to bring in fish from another place and cook it or etc. He said, “Why don’t you make a nice menemen [a Turkish omelet done with tomatoes, green pepper and optionally onions] for us? We would love to eat that.”
A giant menemen was prepared. Beside it, there was goat cheese, olives, tomatoes and several other foods brought from a nearby restaurant. Some kind of a breakfast table was set.
They ate and were ready to go when Yıldırım shook the hand of the restaurant owner, warmly thanking him by saying, “I have eaten the most delicious menemen of my life.” He asked how the restaurant was doing, if they needed anything, etc. He and the group departed smiling, in very good spirits.
When I heard the story, I could not stop myself from telling it.
We need a reconciliatory, solution-oriented, smiling and a polite person. We need that person now, desperately.
How to get rid of $1 bills?
What is happening with this business with $1 banknotes?
The other day a friend of mine who is absolutely apolitical, who does not even watch the newscasts, admitted because she was on a trip to Miami a couple of months ago, she had plenty of $10, $5 and $1 bills at home.
One evening, she was so irritated and self-traumatized she burnt all the $1 bills. It is certain that she does not know anybody from the Fethullah Gülen community. I even have doubts about whether she knows what FETÖ (the Fethullahist Terror Organization) stands for.
We asked her, “Are you insane?” She replied, “I was not sure, I don’t know. I was just intimidated in any case.”
We went on, “Why did you burn the banknotes like a billionaire? You could’ve at least given it to a poor person?” She said, “Do you know who’s who these days? That poor guy may be an idiot and go to the police. The police may become suspicious, oh, I wanted to avoid this.”
We asked her how many dollar banknotes she burned; she calculated they must be worth around $20. She became sorry afterward when she thought that two people could have eaten a meal with that money.
We laughed a lot and made jokes but obviously there is a severe paranoid atmosphere dominating society. One official should come out and tell society that a $1 bill alone is not FETÖ evidence, or being neighbors to the aunt of a student who attended a Gülen community school does not constitute a reason to be jailed. As far as I understand, this fear has gotten that big…