Hello friends, I’ve been off the writing grid for a few weeks but I’m back with an update on life in Turkey. I had planned to go to church this morning but received a security alert yesterday from the U.S. Embassy warning of possible ISIL attacks against places of worship due to Easter celebrations ; I thus opted out of attending a service.
So instead of church, I went for brunch with friends to a wonderful restaurant in the Çayyolu district called Hazar Sofrası which means Caspian Supper. Look at all this food, and there was more as I missed taking photos of one or two tables!
The food was great but the company was the best part of the meal. So wonderful to get away from campus and enjoy what the city has to offer.
On a more serious note, you probably know there was a bombing here in Ankara on March 13th. It happened in a popular shopping area called Kızılay which is maybe eight miles from our campus. I have been letting you know via Facebook’s Safety Check that I am safe and will continue to do so. For those of you who aren’t aware of this tool, Facebook launched it in October 2014 so that people in areas of natural disasters could check in to let family and friends know they are ok. Since the Paris attacks in December, Safety Check has been used in other times of crisis including the most recent bombings in Ankara and Istanbul. Last weekend I was attending a conference in Istanbul when the blast occurred; it was less than two miles from our location. Safety Check wasn’t available to me as I hadn’t checked in on Facebook anywhere in Istanbul during my stay so I put the message out on my timeline.
Now a lesson: as a school librarian, I have had discussions over the years with teachers and with my students about whether or not Wikipedia should be used as a research source. I use Wikipedia frequently and look at it as a good starting point for research but not necessarily as a scholarly source. Case in point: I couldn’t remember the date of the bombing in Kızılay and after finding the information I needed on Wikipedia, decided to browse the rest of article. Wikipedia The second paragraph under Intelligence mentions a warning that the U.S. Embassy sent out regarding the possibility of an attack in the Bahçelievler part of town. The way I read that sentence makes it sound like the Embassy gave out incorrect information because the bombing took place in another area (Kızılay) which just under two miles from Bahçelievler. Correction: we DID get a warning on March 11th to stay out of Bahçelievler but just prior to that warning, ON THE SAME DAY, we received a warning about possible protests in two areas of the city for March 12th; one of those areas was Güvenpark in Kızılay where the bombing took place on March 13th. In this instance, not having all the information puts a different spin or tone on that section of the Wikipedia article.
If you are interested in what the security messages look like, see this U.S. Embassy – Ankara page with links to all the security messages sent out since 2013: Security Message Newcomers here are advised to sign up for text or email alerts such as these from the Embassy; info on that program called STEP is at the bottom of the security messages. I highly recommend signing up for the program any time you travel outside the United States.
For those of you who celebrate Easter, I hope you are having a blessed day. To all others, happy Sunday!