Che Guevara is a popular figure among certain groups in Turkey, especially political leftists and Kurdish nationalists (there’s a lot of overlap between the two). College students pattern their hair styles after his and his words are quoted in young adult literature. So it’s natural to run across his picture on a visit to the southeast, as here where he guards the door of a souvenir shop in Gaziantep’s downtown market area. Che is joined here, in a thought-provoking tableau, by Ali the nephew of the prophet of Islam, and Ataturk the founder of the Turkish Republic.
School children prepare to perform a dance under a banner depicting Ataturk in Ankara, Turkey.
All state holidays in Turkey are marked by elementary school programs featuring various groups of children singing, reading poems, or performing dances (both modern and traditional). This first-grade class (including my son, who is not technically Turkish) delivered a spirited rendition of several folk songs and anthems in praise of Ataturk.
A man walks down the street in Ankara, Turkey, with sesame bagels stacked on his head.
A Muslim man performs the namaz prayers on a rooftop in Diyarbakir, Turkey. Many people in the predominantly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir are religious, especially the older generation. Part of being religious usually means faithfully performing the daily prayers at the sound of the ezan from the mosque minarets. Although performing the namaz at the precise time of the call to prayer is not required, doing it five times a day is. When a Turkish person wants to say someone is religious, he might often just use the expression, “he does the namaz five times.” The elderly gentleman in this picture seems to fall into that category.
Midwestern advertising on a funnel cake stand at a small town county fair in Indiana. To bring some international perspective, in most Turkish villages I think there would be no need for the encouragement written on this lady’s apron. One time I went out and visited a village around here with my wife, and the first thing the ladies of the village did was to take her down and weigh her on the grain scale. I guess to see if she was plump enough. No word on the verdict.
Of course in Turkey people don’t have the option of getting plump on corn dogs and funnel cakes. The midwesterners have the advantage there.
An Assyrian Orthodox priest walks through the courtyard of his church in Mardin, southeast Turkey.
Hand-painted pottery and handmade dolls sit outside a store in the town of Avanos in Cappadocia. Avanos is a small town of about 100,000 people, well known in central Turkey for pottery handmade there from the rich red clay in the banks of the river that runs through the town.