Saturday, January 13, 2007

Turkish Reflections by Mary Lee Settle

I was reading Mary Lee Settle's book, Turkish Reflections on the tram yesterday and was overcome by a longing to return to the delicious people-warmth I knew in Istanbul.

Mary Lee wrote: I had forgotten Turkish manners. I was met at the airport by the colleague of a friend of a friend. Already I was being handed from arkadas to arkadas - that word for friendship, one of the most important words in the Turkish language.

It is a way of living, a self-expectation as old as the nomads, although the people who are so hospitable must have long forgotten why they do it. They just do it. It is as natural as kindness or anger.

She continued: He may never have read Ibn Battuta, the 14th-century traveler who was handed from akhis to akhis, an old Turkish word for the generous organizations of young men who followed the standards of futawwa - an ideal of nobility, honesty, loyalty, and courage - but was following, without considering anything else, the same rules of hospitality.


Tara said...

I just finished reading this lovely book too! Hopefully you had the opportunity to return to Istanbul after publishing this post. Wishing you well ~ Tara.

Di Mackey said...

I did, thanks Tara. It was so good to be back there. I'm glad you liked the book too.