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Today's Turkey

By John Overington


            As we pulled through the Bosporus straight, I began to realize exactly why for the last thousand years, civilizations have been battling over the area that the modern Republic of Turkey covers today.  Both the European and Asian sides of the Bosporus are extremely beautiful and are covered with signs of vernacular from the past three empires that ruled portions or majorities of the whole known civilized world.  Turkey does have much evidence of transnational influence but has been able to disguise or integrate it into the pre-existing landscape.
            One example of transnationalism that was seen by most SAS students were the numerous vending machines located outside of mosques and other historical sites.  The products within these machines ranged from Coca Cola to candy bars made in France.  The ability for citizens of Istanbul to access products that are produced across the world is a good example of transnational influences leaking into to a more vernacular based society.
            Another example of Turkey being more transnational than most of the other ports that the Explorer had arrived in is the news stands that lined the streets.  As I left the Topaki Palace, a headline caught my eye from the USA Today that was sitting on the news stand.  It was the mid term election results in which the democrats regained the house and senate (thank god), and it made me realize that this is the first port in which the citizens are in touch with European and American issues.  For the first time in a month and a half, I was in a place where I could begin to relate to the citizens and their political situation.

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