Saturday, October 14, 2006

Turkish TV Is Crap

If any of you are planning to visit Turkey don't bother watching the TV or paying extra for a room with one (unless it has international satellite channels), because Turkish TV just doesn't quite cut the mustard. This became all too evident to me whilst I was visiting Diyarbakir. The town has a rather rough reputation, but I quite liked the edginess. This is PKK heartland and the underdog is very much supported here, as I discovered if ever I decided to say I was Iranian: "Ahmadinejad good! bomb America!" Which would lead me to make a hasty exit with a mumbled "err, OK, whatever you say mate." But that's beside the point, Diyarbakir has a long and distinguished history running all the way back to Roman times, and it's impressive city walls that stretch for over 5km date from the Byzantine period. The town is also known as the Black City because not only its walls, but also many of the old houses are made of black basalt. This certainly doesn't add to the city's photogenicity, but it does give it a certain moody charm, and when this is used in conjunction with white stones you get some buildings with a unique zebra effect. But any visitor keeps getting drawn back to the city walls and the warren of alleyways in the old town beneath them. And although t is great fun to stomp around there, one is soon forced to flee due to incessant cries of "tooreest!", "hallo!", "my name is?", and, most puzzlingly, "Japon!"" hurled at me like ransom demands from the innumerable street urchins that seem to inhabit every nook and cranny of every alleyway. Not only are these little brats annoying, cloying, impolite and covered in snot, but they can be downright nasty as well when I experienced my first ever stone-throwing. Not dangerous, but certainly disconcerting and definitely very unpleasant and unfriendly. Something certainly needs to be done to stop this plague of not-quite-Biblical proportions, and I'm calling upon Turkish TV programmers for help, because if they start showing some better programmes than local, young couples will have something else to do in the evenings other than producing more rugrats. Insha'allah!

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