M. Ali SULUTAS*
is my life, like most of my country fellows: we miss
homeland when we are in Canada, and we miss Canada when
we are in Turkiye. I am in Ottawa again early spring
of 2005. I knew Canadians had a hard and harsh winter
when I enjoyed the balmy weather of southern Turkiye
in Mersin. When it was -20 in Ottawa, it was +20 in
For some years now, I have been spending the
cold months in Turkiye, mainly in Mersin, by the Mediterranean
Sea. In Ottawa, in March I desired to go for a "sugar
bush" weekend. But it didn't work as I wished.
I was dreaming a sleigh ride, eating hot dogs and spicy
beans. I missed observing how the sap comes out of the
maple trees into wooden/tin buckets or containers. I
used to enjoy shoveling the boiling/bubbling raw syrup
and then pouring the ready-to-leak maple syrup onto
the fresh snow or pancake to get a taste of it.
Production methods have changed little since
those early days; it still takes 40 gallons of sap to
end up with a gallon of syrup. But unlike earlier collecting
methods, producers nowadays use tubing systems that
run from one tree to the next, which deliver the raw
liquid from each tree to a central location where the
boiling takes place.
That reminds me of my childhood, out in the country,
when we used to enjoy the early autumn activities of
syrup making from grape juice. Well, water is under
are other activities to view, share, participate and
enjoy. That's exactly what I did. I took my nephew's
two sons of 4.5 and 2.5 years of age, with their mother,
my niece-in-law to the Museum of Technology and Space.
The kids loved and played with everything there till
the closing hour...
decided to spend two hours in the morning and two hours
in the evening for health activities for a month. In
gym, stretching, body mobility and aerobic flexibility
exercises prepared me for core stability, bars and weight
lifting, muscle building activities. Use of life fitness
products, gadgets and apparatus helped me for the back,
abdominal, shoulder, chest, leg, arm, wrist, hip extension.
Pedaling on wheels and walking on the belt was the end
of such exercise.
Then came swimming in the pool at 80 some degrees F, clear water
at a length of 2-3 hundred meters at a time. Later I
was ready for soaking myself into the bubbling and tumbling
water in the whirlpool for 10 minutes at about 100 degrees
F temperature. Sometimes, I checked the sauna as well,
if it was hot enough at around 90-100 degrees F.
Our mission should be raising healthy kids, forming dependable
families and building strong communities.
Speaking of communities, the Turkish community in Ottawa has expended
from about 35 families in 1970 to about 355 families
in 2005. Their participation in the community and cultural
activities also increased considerably. One of the major
activities they are involved in is the "Canadian
Tulip Festival" taking place in Ottawa in the month
of May. This annual event is a celebration of peace
and friendship. It is worth to mention that tulips were
first cultivated by the Turks in Anatolia. The exotic
flower bulbs traveled to Holland and then were sent
to Canada as gift in appreciation of Canada's help to
the Royal family of Holland during the Second World
This year millions of tulips will accompany the commemoration of
the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second
World War and the Gift of Tulips to Canada. Also in
celebration of the city of Ottawa's 150th
anniversary, the Festival is creating the Ottawa 150
Tulip Art Festival.
I spent a day at the National Art Gallery in the new building
situated on the north side of the Major's Hill, overlooking
the Ottawa River. After admiring contemporary arts,
I visited Inuit (Eskimo) arts exhibition, mainly sculptures
of "ItuKiagatta!" This is a Labrador Inuit
expression meaning "How it amazes us!" Seeing
some of the names of the artists as Ali, family names
as Narlik, Aynalik were a pleasant surprise for me as
It was lunch time. North-west corner of the large Gallery was
the eating and drinking locations. I ordered doner and
beer. A sunny and rather warm weather allowed me to
enjoy sitting on the outdoor patio. Facing west, overlooking
the Parliament Hill and Buildings, the Ottawa River,
and the Gatineau Hills far back north was a nice set
I gained enough energy to carry on see other parts of the world
of art. Worth to visit was the exhibition of the fabulous
"The Sixties in Canada". Revisited the many
and vibrant forms of artistic expression of the decade
of "isms": Neo-Dada, Pop Art, Realism, Minimalism,
Conceptual/Kinetic Art, unforgettable "REASON over
PASSION" quilted wall hanging, photo-based works,
large format paintings, experimental films.
On a Saturday afternoon stroll up to the Parliament Hill with a
friend and his young daughter, we were greeted by a
huge crowd of protesters of "same sex marriage".
They were asking for help defeat the Liberal's agenda
to change marriage!
We dropped by an outdoor café at the Byward Market. I ordered
A cup of coffee was only 10 cents in 1970. What happened in 35
years that the cost of the same quantity and quality
coffee price jumped up 20 steps high? I am happy that
I am not an addict of coffee or tea. A study showed
that Canadians drink 15 billion cups of coffee per year,
spending CA$600 million at home and another CA$12.2
billion at coffee shops.
visiting, after so many years, the Canadian Museum of
Nature, the most striking statue of a monster and her
baby, and the amazing story behind them were my center
of interest. Did you ever make a mistake, only to have
things turn out really well, maybe even better than
you had planned? That's what happened to Canadian researchers
when they opened a plaster field jacket only to discover
they had found a new dinosaur, previously unknown to
First collected in the Alberta badlands in 1958,
the fossil of this dinosaur was not studied till '97,
officially named a new species in 2001: Chasmosaurus
irvinensis. It had a single horn on its snout; a beak
similar to the parrot's, and a wide shield on top of
its head. It was a plant-eater and lived in western
Canada some 75 million years ago...
I also learned that new evidence shows a 7-million-year-old
skull, dubbed "Tuomai", tooth and jaw unearthed
in Chad is the earliest member of the human family,
scientists said recently.
A lady on a wheelchair was waiting on the bus
stop. The bus driver drove closer the curb, stopped
and pushed a button. A metal platform moved out of the
front door step. The lady got on the bus with the assistance
of the driver. The passengers sitting on the front side
seats vacated the area. The driver pulled the three-seat
bench up and made the space available for the disabled.
She positioned herself and buckled up for safety.
runner Terry Fox was honored with a memorial and a new
$1 coin with his image to mark the 25th anniversary
of his famous "Marathon of Hope". He raised
$24 million and more for cancer research. He lost a
leg to cancer when he was a teenager, launched his cross-Canada
marathon from East Coast 25 years ago. He never made
it. After 143 days and 5,376 kilometers the cancer had
spread to his lungs and forced him to quit near Thunder
Bay, Ontario, on Sept. 1, 1980. He died less than a
year later at age 22.
Canada is in fact one of the best multicultural
countries that I know. This aspect brings the opportunity
to experience different cultural events and authentic
foods from around the world: Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese,
Indian, Middle Eastern, Turkish, Italian, French and
One Sunday evening I was out to eat some Mexican
food. I ordered first a bowl of soup which is called
"sopa" in Spanish. On the other hand, "sopa"
means "stick" in Turkish. The sopa was called
"gazpacho" and served cold. It is made out
of fine chopped vegetables in tomato juice topped with
avocado slices. But first came for appetite some tortilla
chips and slightly spicy salsa made out of chopped green
pepper, celery, carrot etc. My main dish was "enchiladas",
two rolled corn tortillas stuffed with meat of chicken
and the other beef served with rice and salad.
While mingling with the food, I was lucky to
view the Masters Golf Tournament televised at that time.
With lots of sunshine, warmer weather was ideal for
watching the game. In the playoff, Tiger Woods and Chris
Dimorco were confronting like Visigoths and Romans.
One ball of Chris landed in the snow pile.
"What happened next, though, stunned the
watching galleries before triggering an eruption of
loud applause, hollering and hooting. Tiger conjured
up a miracle birdie, holing out from 40 yards off the
green with a delicate chip that fed back 25 feet down
the slope." The ball appeared to hover tantalizingly
hesitating over the edge of the hole before, a second
or so later, it dropped into the cup."
It was a good and entertaining show for me, as
for everyone, I think. At the end, the 29-year-old Tiger
won the Masters of his pro golf career. He took home,
along with US$1.26 million, his fourth green jacket
that was put on him by his father. Tiger was "for
second behind Jack Nicklaus's six."
Canada's child ambassador for UNICEF 8-year-old
tsunami envoy returned home. Toronto's Bilaal Rajan
raised $50,000 for tsunami relief in south Asia. "I
think there should be equality and fairness in the world" was one of Bilaal's remarks...
It appears the relief was short-lived. Conditions
in most camps turned out to be barely livable at best
or squalid at worst. Harsh summer months have begun,
but for thousands of tsunami survivors there is no sign
of the homes promised...
I paid a visit to His Excellency, Turkish Ambassador Mr. Aydemir
Erman in his office. I was fortunate to have such an
encouraging meeting with him for 45 minutes. We touched
on so many issues that are crucial for the well being
of the Turkish community and humanity. I found the Ambassador
so energetic, productive and stimulating. His appreciation
of the arts and culture encouraged me to propose him
to sponsor a picture and a photography exhibition in
Ottawa of Turkish artists.
With the Ambassador, we briefly discussed two of the Embassy's
major activities. In collaboration with the Canadian
Institute for Mediterranean Studies, a lecture on "The
Hittites and the Sea Peoples" is conducted in Ottawa
in April and is presented by Dr. Tim Harrison of the
University of Toronto.
The Hittites appeared in Anatolia by 1700 B.C. as Bogazkoy the
capital of the Kingdom. The Phrygian invasion destroyed
the Empire. Migratory groups of the Sea Peoples moving
along the south coast of Anatolia caused great havoc
and upheaval. Through the ages, the Middle East and
Anatolia became the center of battlefields between east
According to the Britannica, Anatolia may be defined in geographic
terms as the area bounded to the north by the Black
Sea, to the east and south by the southeastern Taurus
Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, and to the west
by the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara. Culturally,
the area also includes the islands of eastern Aegean
On the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the Gallipoli
campaign of 25 April 1915, the Embassy of the Republic
of Turkiye, the Australian High Commission, and the
New Zealand High Commission jointly arranged for the
screening of the documentary film "Epic of Gallipoli"
in Ottawa at the National Library. This
documentary on the fascinating story of Australia and
New Zealand Army Core (ANZAC) and Turks was directed
by a young Turkish producer Kursat Kizbaz. Thanks to
the organizers that the director appeared during the
show for short remarks, answering questions and signing
the CDs of the film.
More than 300 seated, so many standing audience mainly Canadians,
Turks, Australians, New Zealanders refreshed their knowledge
of the fact or newly had an opinion of the War.
Ambassador Erman summarized the War and said, "Soldiers
suffered from both sides, they heard each other, exchanged
tobaccos and chocolates." New Zealand High Commissioner Mr. Graham
Kelly declared, "Australia and New Zealand were
new nations then. It was a massive defeat for us."
Deputy High Commissioner of Australia, Mr. Tony Huber, lastly
said, "Mustafa Kemal remembered no difference
between Jony and Mehmet. Turkey and the memories of
the War are gaining an increased popularity among the
young people in Australia."
The narration by Rutkay Aziz, Zekai Muftuoglu, Yildiz Kenter, Ziya
Kurkut, Mazlum Kiper, and music by Tuluyhan Ugurlu.
The shots were pretty well taken and expertly matched
with the historical black and white scenes. (Just
a short note: This film of Gallipoli by Kursat Kizbaz
should not be mixed up with the new controversial movie
of Gallipoli produced by Tolga Ornek.)
film was reflecting what happened during the fire exchanges.
In short, most of the aspects of the sad confrontation
were brought up. After the show, at the cocktail reception,
the red wine was provided by the Australian High Commission,
the white by the New Zealand High Commission, and together
with the soft drinks, food and baklava were courtesy
of the Turkish Embassy.
I managed to have a word from Kursat for a short meeting,
the following morning I woke him up at his hotel room.
Although our original intention was for only 10 minutes togetherness, I ended up with having the pleasure of
being his tour guide (!) for a couple of hours, before
his departure for the other engagements.
of my early questions was if the movie was presented
in New York City. Upon his "Yes!"
answer, my next questions were if he was introduced
to the group of Light Millennium and if he met with
Ms. Bircan Unver. With a comfort, his responses to these
questions were also positive. I think he felt that the
ice between us melted away. With this ease, we decided
to walk together uptown to see around and window-shopping.
is the City Hall, nearby your hotel. After the amalgamation,
the Greater city of Ottawa consisted of 22 municipalities,
like Mersin. The population of Ottawa is about 500,000,
like Mersin. That is the Ottawa Public Library with
its 33 branches in the city, unlike Mersin, where, except
the very small Culture Ministry Library, there is none.
Libraries provide members and visitors, among other
services, use of computers in numbers for word processing
and/or internet access. To my astonishment, even bikes
are allowed to bring into the library, all the way up
to the upper levels as well."
was fascinated by what I said so far. "This
is National Arts Centre which is North America's most
diversified bilingual (English and French) performing
arts complex presents live theatre, opera, dance and
music. To our left is the Sparks Street Mall for pedestrians
only. This is the War Monument of the First and Second
World Wars, and the Korean War. Over there with the
Clock Tower are the Parliament Buildings housing the
Senate, the House of Commons, the Library, the Hall
of Honor and the impressive Peace Tower and Memorial
Chamber. It is considered one of the most beautiful
government centers in the world."
was admiring all he saw and heard. While crossing an
I pulled him to the right to show him an empty canal. He was not
interested to see such a bare and dirty canal. When
I told him that this was a historical 202-kilometer
waterway built in late 1820s and early 30s, used during
the American Civil War, connecting Rideau River to Ottawa
River by seven locks at this end and by 2-3 locks at
the Hartwell Locks (Hogs Back) some eight kilometers
away, allowing small boats to sail, he was thrilled.
that was not all there was. "This Rideau Canal
is used for outdoor skating during winter. The water
gets frozen and it is maintained by the City for recreational
or competitive skatings. This world's longest (7 km)
skating rink is the location for famous Winterlude Festivities,
during first two weeks of February."
couldn't believe what I said, and bombarded me with
questions. I carried on: "This building next
to the Canal was the Railway Station which is now used
as Conference Center connected by an underground passage
to the Chateau Laurie Hotel across the street. The Trans-Canada-Railway
built in the past and the Trans-Canada-Highway completed
in 1962, contributed to the unification of the land
East to West."
passed by the Rideau Shopping Centre and came to an
old district called Byward Market. The bright and warm
weather allowed us to walk and talk leisurely. "Since
1840s, farmers have set up market stalls from which
they sell local produce, flowers, and maple syrup. Outdoor/indoor
restaurants, gourmet and coffee shops, artisan boutiques
and galleries add to the Market's lively character."
was the time that I could spare for our young film producer
Kursat Kizbaz. He and I both had our previous engagements.
I shook hands to say good bye of the famous director
of the coming years. He was a student at the University
of Istanbul at 23 when he shot "The Epic of Gallipoli".
In fact his first documentary film was 'Mevlana."
His second film Galipolli is to be shown in 40 countries.
He has projects for the future.
The name of Gallipoli reminds us the city of Gallipolis in southern
Ohio, the third oldest European settlement, founded
in 1790. The name means "city of the Gauls."
During the American civil war its strategic location
resulted in economic prosperity. Troops were channeled
through the city, and traffic on the Ohio River increased.
Going back to our main subject of Gallipoli, have a look or give
an ear to what happened 90 years ago: The first of the
European neutrals to join the fray was the Ottoman Empire.
A secret German-Ottoman treaty was signed on August
2, 1914. The Ottoman fleet bombarded Odessa and the
Crimean ports in October and sank two Russian ships.
This was the beginning of the end of the large and strong
Since Russia was effectively isolated from its Western allies,
the Ottomans also declared a holy war, inciting Muslims
to rise up against British and Russian rule in India,
Persia and Asia. Turkish forces deployed along the coasts
of the Dardanelles and on the Caucasus frontier with
Russia. When Russia requested a Western assault on Turkish
forces to relieve the pressure in the Caucasus, War
Secretary Lord Kitchener and First Lord of the admiralty
Winston Churchill promoted an attack on the Dardanelles.
By capturing Istanbul, the British could link up Russians and
knock Turks out of the war. The British War Council
created an amphibious force of British, Australian,
and New Zealanders (with symbolic Indian and Canadian
troops) to capture the heights of the Gallipoli Peninsula.
On April 25, the ANZAC forces went ashore, but their
assaults were turned back through the charismatic leadership
of the young Turkish officer Mustafa Kemal. A smelting,
bloody deadlock dragged on into the summer. Reinforcements
failed to take the rugged heights in the face of human
wave counterattacks by the Turks.
Turkish mine ship Nusrat, which had laid dreadful mines
to the waters of the Dardanelles and had changed the
destiny of the War, after her last trip to the port
of Mersin, is now being displayed in the "Dardanelles
Peace Park" in the city of Tarsus.)
opinion gradually turned against the campaign, and the
Allied forces were evacuated with a dangerous operation
conducted in January 1916. The Turks had lost some 300,000
men, the Allies about 250,000 to battle and disease.
year on the 25th of April, ANZACs and Turks,
along with other people from all over the world, get
together to remember the "sweet sorrow" of
the battles of the First World War. Among the topics
shared are the courage and humanistic approach of the
Turkish soldiers, the unknown reasons for ANZAKs coming
all the way from tens of thousands kilometers distance
to fight and die in an unknown land...
Gallipoli was, in Clement Atlee's words, "the one strategic
idea of the war." Canadian writer Paul Butler in
his article of "Poetry is such sweet sorrow"
appeared in Atlantic Books Today, Spring 2005,
draws the attention of the readers to "Four poets
lead us down a road of hope, and hopeless." Songs
of the Wounded by Gregory M. Cook that explore human relationships through
"How I Love You This Morning," the sight of
a flock of hungry seagulls and an abandoned, upturned
grocery cart becomes beautiful through the eyes of a
The poet goes on to wonder, sadly, [how many wars have been
lost, how many /
are being, or about to be waged / where all we wish is love
on the green?] ”
at home, peace in the world!" as Gazi Mustafa Kemal said.
Researcher, author, interpreter