Saturday, May 24, 2008

Turkish law enforcement on drinks and cigarettes...

I’ve always find the word ‘Turkishness’ a little bit vague. But since yesterday evening, I know better.

A Dutch student/journalist, Eva, asked me this week for some insight in the Turkish society at large. So, yesterday, I drove her around for a couple of hours through some neighborhoods and districts of Istanbul while we talked about the ins and outs of Turkish politics. For 7 pm I had a drink and diner planned with some Turkish co bloggers. That would be nice for her.)

To be sure that we were on time, I parked my car in Macka and we took a taxi to Taksim square where we planned to meet up. This takes most of the time 45 minutes but not yesterday, so we arrived there 6 pm. Too early and thus time for a drink and smoke. Since the new laws don’t allow smoking in closed areas, we settled down outside of the new brasserie of the Marmara Hotel. I lighted a cigarette and relaxed. Suddenly a waiter came over to tell me: 'sssssmoking was not allowed where we sat down'. On the terrace there were two sections, one smoking and one non-smoking. But…inside the brasserie we could smoke freely…huh?

Enfin, our drinks were transported inside, and yes, everybody was smoking there!
First, I didn’t understand the rule that outside there were two sections; one for smokers and one for non smokers and second, inside it was mainly ‘smoke allowed’ signs. I asked the maitre of the brasserie what was going on. He simple answered: ‘I don’t know’, 'but you got your glass of whiskey instead of buying a whole bottle of whiske' what some journalists of the Turkish press try to scare the Turks and tourists with..)
Replace the word Turkishness now with ‘uniqueqeness’. ..and yes, then you will understand Turkey a little bit more...

Day Openıng - May 24

Raffaello Sanzio 'St Michael and the Satan'