November 21, 2010 |
ISTANBUL, Turkey - In Turkey, Allen Iverson has brought basketball to the masses. He has been welcomed by millions, embraced by a star-starved Istanbul as the star-crossed superstar that he once was - and hopes to one day become again. Visions of AI billboards (sipping a Turkish soda, perhaps?) dance in one's imagination. He is the fresh prince of this ancient city. This is reality . . . is it not? Not really. That depiction is distorted. On game night inside BJK Akatlar Arena - home court of Iverson's new team, the Besiktas Cola Turka Black Eagles - the image of Iverson hysteria is pure and true, but the arena seats 3,200 in a city of about 13 million.
November 20, 2010
No need to fly all the way to Turkey to catch Allen Iverson play basketball again, you can do it from the comfort of your home. NBA TV announced yesterday that it will televise the game featuring Iverson's Turkish team, Besiktas Cola Turka, tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. Iverson's team will face the defending TBL champion Fenerbahce Ulker from Istanbul. Calling the game for NBA TV will be Rick Kamla and Chris Webber. Iverson, who returned to the 76ers for 25 games last season before leaving the team because of his young daughter's illness, scored 15 points in his Turkey debut on Wednesday.
November 9, 2010 |
THE ANTICIPATION in Istanbul has been immense. Allen Iverson is coming. The news has been swirling for weeks. It does not seem to matter that Iverson is 35, that his best days are behind him, that he struggled last season in three games with the Memphis Grizzlies and 25 with the 76ers. All that matters is, Allen Iverson is coming. In true Iverson fashion, he was supposed to be there Saturday, to be greeted by throngs of people, to sign autographs, to be introduced to his new teammates with Besiktas.
April 12, 2009 |
I always wanted to explore Turkey, but when it came time to board my flight in October, I had a bad case of the blues. Lucky for me, the sights that awaited me and my group of Americans, Australians, and New Zealanders in Istanbul (capital of empires), Ephesus (a classical site with a wealth of spectacular ruins), and Cappadocia (unique cave cities and churches) changed all that. Who cannot be touched and awed by the Wall of Wishes near the Shrine of the Virgin Mary outside Ephesus?
October 15, 2008 |
Americans who explore the wonders of Istanbul rarely visit Turkey's capital, deep in the plains of Anatolia. It is a city of nondescript high-rises, government offices, and new shopping centers that reflect Turkey's growing prosperity. Ankara is known mainly for two things: a stunning museum that highlights Turkey's ancient Anatolian past, and the vast hilltop mausoleum of Ataturk, Turkey's founder, whose stern face is visible on huge banners throughout the city. But Ankara is becoming known for something else that's of great strategic interest to Americans: an active foreign policy that may help resolve conflicts in critical regions where the United States has faltered.
October 15, 2006 |
Thursday, it was announced that Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk had won the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature. When I interviewed Pamuk on the Columbia University Campus last year, rumors were circulating that he had been short-listed for the Nobel. But he was already focused on his new memoir, Istanbul: Memories and the City, which was still in galleys. The day before, an advance copy of Istanbul had helped me stay awake for the 11-hour flight home from that city. We'd originally been scheduled to meet at his flat overlooking the Bosphorus.
October 5, 2004 |
It's midnight at Roxy, and a young, eclectic crowd is chatting and drinking under colorful lights as a diverse m?lange of rap, dance and pop thumps though giant speakers. There are long-haired guys with nose studs and tattooed women with bared midriffs. Beer and drinks are flowing. It could be any big city in the United States or Europe - but it happens to be the intellectual and cultural capital of the world's fifth-largest Muslim nation. If Turkey is indeed a European country - and many argue it is, even though at least 90 percent of its population lives in Anatolia, the Asian portion of Turkey that lies east of Istanbul - then Istanbul is the epicenter of its Europeanness, a potent symbol of its commitment to winning a place in the European Union as that organization's first Muslim member.
October 3, 2004 |
To understand how much this strategically important country has changed in a single generation, look no further than the Melek family. Yusuf Melek, 57, grew up in a tiny eastern Anatolian village with no electricity or running water. Though he never attended a day of school, he toiled his way into the merchant class, eventually moving west to Istanbul to set up a now-thriving carpet dealership. A devout Muslim, he prays five times a day. His wife doesn't leave the house without a head scarf.
June 30, 2004 |
Standing at the historic gateway to the Muslim world, President Bush yesterday sought to assure Muslim nations that he does not want to force American-style democracy on them, as hundreds of protesters clashed with police nearby. In a speech to university students in Istanbul, Bush said Islamic countries should shape democracies that fit local cultural and religious values. He delivered his remarks the day after power shifted to an interim government in Iraq, but his focus was on a far more ambitious plan to spread democracy throughout the Middle East.
June 28, 2004 |
President Bush worked yesterday to smooth over past differences with Turkey, but a large antiwar demonstration in Istanbul and the threatened beheading of three Turkish hostages in Iraq cast a shadow over his visit. Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets to protest against Bush and Turkey's role as host of a 26-nation NATO summit that begins today. The NATO leaders are expected to approve Bush's request for help training Iraqi security forces so that they can take over from U.S. troops.