Anatolia Diaries, Approximately 3000 km in Anatolia - 1973
"Years of meeting and understanding Anatolian people" Yashica Mat 124-G and Zenith E cameras
When I was a senior student in high school, I made some money with the photos I took at school. When the summer vacation started, I wanted to visit Anatolia and take photos. When my mother supported me, I went to one of the workshops that made tents in the market and ordered a backpack from the same fabric. I also made the drawing myself. Back then, there were no shop that sells backpacks like today in the city where I was. In the following years, other friends of mine also used that bag.
By using trains, buses, hitchhiking, anything, I was able to go as far as a village in Eastern Anatolia, by doing about 2800 km. What I went through during that trip were unforgettable memories for me. There were young people returning to Diyarbakir from the university entrance exam in Istanbul on the Sivas train. I shared the same compartment with them. They saw a girl walking in the walking hall. Someone went right after him to speak, and when he came back after a while, I never forget the words he said. "The girl has a ring on her finger." Other friends, "Then he is our sister." they replied. How clean thought and clean people were. Anatolian people were like that in those times.
One night, I am waiting for a train to go to Samsun at Sivas train station. I am the only stranger at that time in train station. A villager approached me and we started talking. After a while, he said, "I' want to host you in my village." His village was Sivrialan village, where the minstrel Asik Veysel lived. I politely declined. Looking back years later I realize how big a mistake I made. Who knows what beautiful photos I would take.
I swam in Lake Van, made new friends, and went with one of them to the village of Guzelsu in Van. He was a village doctor. Villagers were making a kind of firewood with straw and cattle dung mixture.
One friend I met there was a village teacher in Nigde Ulukisla. After the summer break, he invited me to his village where he works. It was a new place for me in Central Anatolia. I visited him during the winter season. I watched how difficult conditions they were teaching in single-classroom schools. The students of the first five grades were in the same room together. The teacher was teaching and listening to each of them according to their level of education. For a person living in big cities, these were unusual images. These trips created a great empathy in me, maybe they changed my view of life in later years.
Some of the photographs took in these trips place was in my third exhibition in Izmir 1974 and the fourth exhibition in Istanbul Cinematheque 1975.