The Odyssey
The Odyssey


Middle East Live Chats

Chat Transcript - February 24, 2000
Thursday, February 24 at 9am PST / 12 noon

Welcome to The Odyssey Live Chats! Our next chat is on Tuesday, February 29 - 9am PST/ 12 noon EST. Trekkers Brian and Kavitha are are joined by 3 Turkish students from Istanbul.

You can submit question before and during the chat. You will only be able to see the questions the Team selects and their responses.

<Moderator> Welcome! We will get under way at 9am PST / 12 noon EST promptly. You can send questions in any time before or during the chat and we'll get to as many as possible.

<Moderator> Trekkers Brian and Kavitha are here with 3 Turkish students from Istanbul. Savas, Altay and Umit are boys, they're 17 years old, and in high school. Keep sending your questions in and we'll try to get to as many as possible!

<Chris (Arbor Vitae, WI)> What school do you go to and what do you study?

<Savas> I go to Istanbul Marine Products Technical High School. It's a technical high school that prepares students for maritime jobs. I specialize in mechanical or machinery technical drawings.

<Umit> I go to Beykoz High School. It is a public high school here. I am studying electronics and mechanics.

<Altay> I go to the German Hgh School of Istanbul. It is a private high school that teaches in German and in English. My school is nature and science oriented, like bio, physics and chemistry. I am a senior and am busy right now trying to prepare for acceptance to colleges and universities. I am hoping to attend university in the United States...wish me luck!

<Matt (Arbor Vitae, WI)> What kinds of music do you listen to?

<Umit> I love Turkish rock. Some of the good ones are Cengiz Kurtoglu and Haluk Levent.

<Savas> I like Turkish rock like Haluk Levent, Arabesque music, Turkish Pop like Mustafa Sandal. I like the Backstreet Boys, Metallica, Lou Vega

<Altay> I like Turkish pop music like Candan Ercetin. I like Tarkan! He's famous all over Europe...have you guys ever heard of him, he's a legend.

<Dan Matt Dan and Bobby (Wsconsin)> What type of sports are popular In Turkey?

<Umit> I am the halfback on the soccer team. I have been playing on the team for three years. I play basketball too because I am tall. Basketball is popular, but soccer is definitely the most popular sport.

<Savas> I'm in the same soccer team as Umit, we're teammates and we live on the same street. I'm the captain of the team and I play goalkeeper. I've been playing on this team for four years. I also used to play volleyball. Here in Turkey the main sport to watch is always soccer...sometimes you'll see basketball but not much

<Altay> I play professional handball...I'm goalkeeper for my school team.

<Malate (Arbor Vitae WI)> What do you do in your freetime?

<Umit> In my free time we play sports and computer games. Chatting on the computer is also very fun. So many people chat in Turkey.

<Savas> In my free time I like to play soccer, computer games like Fifa 1999 and Fifa 2000 and Quake 3 and Grand Tourismo. I also like to chat on the internet with Turkish people already on the same chanel. I usually spend about 3 hours a day in the internet cafe.

<Eric (Hertford, NC)> What is your favorite food? What foods are over there?

<Altay> I like to collect signed autographs. I write to fan clubs and ask for signatures...I've got signed pictures from Clinton's, Kornikova's (tennis player), and many more. I also play on the computers

<Savas> I like green beans! I also like doner kebabs, macaroni, spaghetti. I like raspberry cake. I love hot chocolate too.

<Umit> Pasta and pizza are my favorite foods. Most people here eat a lot of beef and lamb. They cook it right in the shop windows where you can see it.

<Altay> I eat everything! But I love's a Turkish dish like a stew with vegetables and meat and sauce. I like's a sweet made cheese and semolina noodle-type things that are cooked in the sweet pastry

<Grade 3 (Carlsbad, CA)> A lot of Americans have dogs as pets. Do you have pets in Turkey and what kind?

<Umit> I love cats....I have a cat at home named Mavis. That means "blue."

<Savas> They just brought a panda to Turkey from China two weeks ago. It looks very interesting on TV and I will go see it soon!

<Altay> My mom has 3 cats, but I don't like them too much.

What have you studied about America?

<Umit> Clinton plays a good saxophone.

<Moderator> That last question was from W&M (Houston,TX)

<Savas> The only thing we learned about America is that they can buy our country Turkey if they wanted to because they have so much money. We also learned the dollar sign...everything is in dollars here. For example, we need U.S. dollars to buy a home computer...

<Savas> ...we also learned that American girls are beautiful. By the way we didn't learn anything about America in school

<Altay> We learned in geography class about America. We also learned in 1920's, that President Wilson's government is very close to Turkey's. That's all we learned in high school.

<Chace (Pasenda TX)> What are your favorite movies and TV shows?

<Umit> I really don't watch American movies at all. I do like to watch Turkish game shows on television, though. There is a Turkish version of Wheel of Fortune that I like to watch.

<Savas> I like American Pie, Sylvestor Stallone's Rocky 4. On Friday nights we like to watch Olacak Okadar, it's a comedy.

<Altay> I like Kahpe Byzantine...a Turkish comedy movie joking about old Turkish movies. I love Star Wars (the first one!) and the Mummy, and the Alien trilogy. I love the Simpsons!!!!

<Crystal (Hertford,NC)> What is the most popular hangout?

<Umit> I like to go down to the soccer club and hang out with friends. We also hang out at Internet cafes, just like we are doing now! We can play cards here or chat on the computers.

<Savas> After school, I'm most of the time here in this internet cafe. In the Beykoz area we hang out in parks. In Uskudar, we hang out in the mall. We go to movies and shopping centers with our friends...girls too.

<Altay> I spend 3 hours just to get from my home to school and back, so I don't get to hang out much during weekdays. Istanbul is a very large city...I have to take 3 buses to get there. On weekends, I sometimes go to movies with my friends.

<Christina (Oceanport,NJ)> Where were you during the Earthquake? How did it affect you and your friends and family?

<Savas> I was sleeping during the earthquake. During the quake though, my mom and sister were traveling, so I was very worried. They were traveling to Eastern Turkey, but they were okay. I was with my grandmom at the time. I feel very bad for all the people that died.

<Savas> My mom's brother started hearing cracking noises in the house after a week or so after the earthquake...even though there was no more quake, he was so scared from the first one he still heard them.

<Umit> I was at my Aunt's house that night. I woke up after about six seconds of the quake. I woke her up and picked up my baby nephew and we all ran out of the house. I still wake up at night; afraid that there might be an earthquake.

<Altay> I was on the 6th floor of my apartment building. It was shaking very badly, so the next day my family moved to our summer house. Our summer house is only 2 story so it is safer. We were very scared, and we still are so we still stay there. Everyone has been effected by it. We are all scared, sad, and nervous...

<Altay> seems like we're all over the quake, but for example when we had the small quake 2 weeks ago you can see how scared everyone was. Everyone left their homes and were out in the streets in fear even though it was nothing.

<Pat (Oceanport)> What do most Turkish people think of the Kurds? Do they want to give them a homeland?

<Savas> I have some very close Kurdish friends, but I think that some Kurdish people are still very mean....they refuse the land that they live on. The government is trying to protect them, but they are refusing the help...

<Savas> ...they still want to be on their own.

<Umit> I agree with what Savas said. I wish I had talked first because he said the same things I would say.

<Altay> This question is difficult to answer because we've been told that there's no distinction between us and school, by govt., by all. Although physically it is so, in popular culture you call some people Turks and some people Kurds....

<Altay> ...we've been living together for the last 300 years, in the Ottoman Empire, just because we have borders now,doesn't mean that that everyone should have their own border.

<Moderator> For those of you who don't know, the Kurds are a Turkish minority group who have been fighting for recognition. We will have some more dispatches on the subject in the next few weeks.

<Jennifer (pasadena texas, usa, st.piusv)> Do you have any girlfriends?

<Umit> My girlfriend's name is Aysegul. We have been dating for one and a half years now. We met at a shopping center.

<Savas> I have girlfriends :)...3 of them. Ozge is 17 years old. Seval is 16, and Cidem is 16. My parents don't know about them.

<Altay> No, I don't have a girlfriend right now, although I have many friends that are girls.

<Daniel (St. Pius V.) (Pasadena ,Tx)> Are any of you guys religious???

<Savas> I don't go to mosque regularly, but I obey the general rules of Islam. In school we don't stop for prayers or anything like that.

<Umit> Halfway religious. I don't go to the mosque every Friday, but I do fast for Ramadan and visit the mosque a few times a month.

<Altay> We have a mandatory religion class in all of Turkey. I'm not very religious, like I don't fast during Ramazan.

<Savas> I fasted during Ramazan

<C hris SPV (Pasadena,Texas)> I'm coming to Europe over the summer. Do you recommend stopping in Turkey?

<Umit> Yes!! We all invite you to Turkey!

<Savas> Yes definitly! We invite you. The warm people in Istanbul and the entertainment in Bodrum in Southern Turkey.

<Moderator> For those of you who wanted the time in Turkey, it's just past 8pm there.

<Altay> I completely recommend visiting Turkey, it's a unique place that mixes eastern and western culture. You won't find it like this anywhere elsein Europe....

<Altay> ...there's a lot of history EVERYWHERE. The Mediterranean coast is perfect for swimming, and the moonscape of Capadoccia is unlike anywhere in the world.

<Savas> But don't go to the really touristy places in Turkey...

<Savas> There people may steal your bags or something and you will think all of Turkey is bad. It's not at all, but if you go to the touristy towns, be careful of your things. It's safe everywhere else.

<Savas> I've got a question for you all...I want to know why everyone has such a low opinion of Turks?

<Claire (Oceanport, NJ)> What are some of your goals?

<Umit> I want to be an electronic engineer, but first I must go to the University which is very hard to attend. I will keep studying until I get into the school of my choice.

<Savas> I have 2 goals...first I want to be a Mechanical Engineer. second, I want to be a goalkeeper for Fenerbahce Galatasaray (a very famous Turkish soccer team).

<Altay> I want to get an education outside of Turkey, and then I will decide whether or not I want to return to Turkey after that.

<Umit> I'd like to know if you have Muslims and Turks in your classes?

<Jennifer (PASADENA TX ST.PIUS V)> Do you have shopping malls? What kinds of stores do they have?

<Savas> Yes we have shopping malls. They sell everything...sports stuff, clothes, music, games, computers, movies, food courts...everything. The only thing missing is they don't sell friendship.

<Altay> The same things you'll find in a typical American mall you'll find here in Turkish malls in most major cities.

<Connie (Oceanport)> Oh, no one here has a low opinion of Turkish people. I think just the opposite. You have a land with marvelous history behind it!

<Savas> Thank you Connie. I would like to appologize. I was told that outside of Turkey people think this way, it is good to know otherwise.

<Michael ST.Pius V (PASADENA TX)> What is school like in Turkey?

<Umit> School is very very hard here. Since I am at a technical high school, they push the students even harder so that we will all pass the University exams.

<Savas> School is very hard for me too since I go to a technical school.

<Altay> I go to a German high school, so all my classes are in German. That is hard, and I want to go to school in the United States so it is even harder because I must study for American exams.

<Savas> I have 10 classes a 15 different classes. Each class is 45 minutes and we have 5 minutes between class. School starts at 8 AM and ends at different times since each day we have different classes. We have 1 hour for lunch.

<Savas and Umit> We would like to chat more with you all. We use three different chat sites beginner chatzone worldchat my nickname (Savas) is Hunca my nickname (Umit) is Cobretti

<Moderator> For those of you who have just joined us - answers to many of your questions - like those about favorite foods, activities, movies, tv shows and daily life - are here in this chat. Just scroll up and see what Savas, Altay and Umit had to say.

<Moderator> Its getting late in Istanbul - so we'll be closing down this chat soon. Thank you to Savas, Altay and Umit for answering all our questions - and thank you to all the classrooms that joined us today!

<Moderator> Keep checking our homepage and updates for news about upcomming live chats from Iran, India and China!

<Savas, Umit, and Altay> Thank you guys too! We say goodbye to you all and invite you all to come visit us in Turkey!

<Chris (Oceanport, NJ)> good-bye and good-night!

<Kavitha> That was fun! Thanks for joining our new friends and sharing your questions...we're going's late!


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