Crisis with US less known to the public
A Washington-based journalist posted a tweet the other day. Even though there were some mistakes in terms of dates, it recounted an interesting historic incident.
It revealed a lesser-known crisis in the 1930s between Turkey and the United States, a situation very different and far more interesting than the present-day crisis.
In those days, Münir Ertegün, father of Ahmet Ertegün – the famous music magnate who founded Atlantic Records – was the Turkish ambassador to Washington. He served as ambassador from 1934 to 1944. In the 30s, Ahmet Ertegün, together with his brother Nasuhi, hosted African-American (black of skin) jazz musicians in the ambassadorial residence. Blues and jazz were performed in the residence during jam sessions.
These events violated the U.S. segregation law of those times. According to the law, which was in force until 1950, blacks and whites were forbidden from being together in public places, such as public transportation, schools, the army and even entertainment places.
Apparently the Senate warned the Turkish Embassy about this issue, a warning which the Ertegüns disregarded by continuing to host black Americans in the residence.
That’s how Turks and Americans entered the 1930s vis-a-vis issues of freedom and equality.
A new trend in right-wing politics?
National Movement Party (MHP) head Devlet Bahçeli has inaugurated a park in Osmaniye. He could not stay on for the subsequent concert, which featured singers Murat Boz and Hadise.
On his way back from the ceremony, he spoke to journalists, answering questions calmly. When asked about the decisions regarding jailed journalists Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay, he spoke about the hopes of release, the expectations and the psychology of those trapped behind bars.
Then something interesting happened. He called Murat Boz and said how sorry he was for being unable to stay for the concert. Then, responding to a question, he quoted a lyric from a song performed by Sibel Can. The whole troop then proceeded to listen to the song from a cell phone.
What is happening? Has there been a rapprochement between the MHP and pop culture, art and art people?
Tea as counterweight to tobacco smoke
You may disregard the five o’clock tea time for the Brits, along with the Chinese tea ceremonies, and the spiced milk teas of the Indians. Turks consume 3.1 kilos of tea per person annually and are the world’s most voracious consumers. The United Kingdom comes second with 1.9 kilo per person followed by Russia with 1.3 kilo and Egypt with one kilo. The Chinese consume a mere 560 grams per person and Indians 320 grams. Apparently they do not like tea nearly as much as we do. One has to look more closely at this highly consumed substance.
Turks consume black tea every day. The anti-oxidant qualifications of black tea are less than white tea. But some claim black tea helps to protect the lungs from smoke. That’s interesting. As you know the Turkish track record on smoking is terrible. We rank 11th on the world scale. If the claim is true, drinking black tea could help to balance out the other, unhealthier habit of smoking tobacco.