Tuesday, February 13, 2007

people sketches

while in bodrum, i had to do a lot of manual and menial work in order to ready sarpa for the sea again. a few t-shirts and a totally machine oil spotted jean are now totally discarded, assigned for dirty stuff alone.

manual labor is like therapy at times. it is good to see what you are doing and coming up with, if you are wrong, to correct your mistakes and literally see how you can solve problems. i did all that in a particular mechanical workshop belonging to a particular mechanical genius called niyazi usta (maestro niyazi). bantering and joking with him i realized what an important person he is. how, doing what he must only, he can influence the lives of those around him. then i decided to devote at least some of the posts here to those people who are unknown landmarks in time. i will start with niyazi usta, but have to ask you for patience, these days are a bit hectic at school what with the registrations, haggling with the students over courses and grades, the international organizations and what not.

niyazi usta's workshop is in the organize sanayi sitesi of course. in addition to its total and perennial chaotic organization, the site is located right on top of what is believed to be the hippodromos of ancient halicarnassos. the site was built in 1986 during the heyday of özalism when anything that made money was legitimate even at the expense of law or culture or history and especially fine taste. at the time, the valid laws said you could not develop any area that is possibly an archaelogical site. to determine whether the organize sanayi sitesi was going to be erected on top of historical remains, a team of danish archaelogists were commissioned. the danes concluded after months of initial surveying that some deep research was necessary to assess what was under the earth - they were not certain it was the hippodrome, but something was there. they had to dig for three years before they could tell what it was.

that verdict practically pulled the noose tight on the site's neck. now, a site is usually built by a cooperative, usually pioneered bu local notables and again usually, it serves to provide some sort of unusual benefits for the members of the cooperative, still usually at taxpayers' expense. during özal's reign any obstacle before business was simply intolerable, especially when such local and constituent-pleasing deals were concerned. a solution had to be found!!!

so what was the solution?

simple, of course... a band of turkish archaelogists were summoned. they decreed after three days of shoveling earth that the area was clear, not a historical site and very suitable for the organize site. see how organized an organize sanayi sitesi is built in turkey?

what did the danes say? "oh it's alright," said the chief digger. "if we had begun excavating the ruins would probably end up half exposed due to lack of funds. exposure ruins archaelogical artefacts. this way, they remain buried to be taken out some day with proper planning and funds".

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