Twitter banned briefly, again: Her kuşun eti yenmez

Image by Ebert at

Turks are truly mad for Twitter. According to the New Yorker’s review of data from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, “fourteen per cent of Turkey’s eighty million people use Twitter—a relatively high figure for a country where only forty-five per cent of the population uses the Internet.”

Well, lately, the Karagöz puppets have been assisting me in learning Turkish again – this time through the sharing of idioms.  I keep telling them that idioms are the last thing to be learned, that sentences should come first, but those puppets are really stubborn.

In any case, this week, Karagöz started cackling in earnest, telling me that the Turkish saying (below) might remind one of the famous microblogging service that was, once again, banned at the request of Tayyip himself.

Karagöz explains “This idiom is for when someone might think that due to their power or status they can make everyone do what they want but sooner or later they will have to find out that not everyone will bend to their will.”

“The phrase for this in Turkish is “Her kuşun eti yenmez.”

It literally translates as “Not every bird’s meat is edible.”

In a metaphorical sense it means “Not every bird is a game”

Here is an example: Herkesi kolayca kandırıp istediğini yaptıracağını sanmasın. Her kuşun etin yenmez öğrensin.

Last year, Turkey lifted its ban on Twitter – releasing it from the list of only two countries in the world to block Twitter entirely. (The other is China.)  Pundits suggest that recent moves on the part of the government may suggest future such bans … meanwhile, in response to the idiom, I am sure that the Twitter bird is NOT edible!

Other recent Twitter news from Hurriyet Daily News on 1/14/15:

Turkish authorities have warned that all websites publishing alleged records related to Syrian-bound trucks belonging to the Turkish intelligence agency that were stopped by a prosecutor last year will be blocked, presaging a possible new ban on Twitter and Facebook. The two largest social media networks, however, quickly complied and removed the content Jan. 14.

On Jan. 2, 2014, two Syria-bound trucks belonging to Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) were stopped by a prosecutor who sought to have the gendarmerie search the vehicles. The following month, a Turkish court issued a ban on the publication of news related to the incident.

A number of documents on the search were leaked online yesterday. The signed proceedings related to the search initially leaked through Twitter, allegedly show that arms belonging to MİT were found in the trucks. Speculation has been rife that the arms were destined for jihadists in Syria.

On Jan. 14, Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) recalled a March 2014 government decree that banned the coverage of the issue, referring to Law No. 6112.

According to an article in the law, Turkey’s prime minister or a cabinet minister has the authority to impose a gag order on the media “in cases obviously required by national security or when public order is very likely to be broken.”

Turkish officials, now equipped with the authority to block websites even without a court ruling, warned Jan. 14 that the gag order would be strictly imposed on the Internet. Several websites, including Facebook and Twitter, quickly withheld the sanctioned content on Jan. 14, dodging the possible Turkish ban.

“There are several court decisions against the websites that published the signed proceedings,” a Turkish official told daily Hürriyet, stressing that the “procedure is ongoing.”

Turkey blocked access to Twitter, hours after then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed to close down the social media platform on March 20, 2014.

YouTube was banned in Turkey on March 27, hours after a top-secret government meeting on Syria was leaked allegedly depicting government officials discussing a possible false-flag operation on Turkey in an effort to drag Turkey into Syria’s war.

The Constitutional Court unblocked Twitter on April 2, 2014, and YouTube on May 29, 2014, citing freedom of expression, but the rulings drew the ire of the government.


Posted in Visits from the Karagöz puppets | 3 Comments

Bread, salt and love: Happy Valentine’s Day from the Karagöz puppets (and Nazim Hikmet)


Ever the agent-provocateur, Karagöz kicks a “skunkentine” out of the way (Image by Liz Cameron)

Happy Valentine’s Day to all – the Karagöz puppets’ gift to you today is the sharing of a Nazim Hikmet poem which likens love to dipping bread into salt…relayed here in English and then in Turkish…


A close-up of Karagöz’s valentine, dubbed “the skunkentine” (Image by Liz Cameron)

I love you
like dipping bread into salt and eating
Like waking up at night with high fever
and drinking water, with the tap in my mouth
Like unwrapping the heavy box from the postman
with no clue what it is
fluttering, happy, doubtful
I love you
like flying over the sea in a plane for the first time
Like something moves inside me
when it gets dark softly in Istanbul
I love you
Like thanking God that we live.


Ooops! He’s got a real valentine under his hat, that Karagöz never stops surprising us! (Image by Liz Cameron)

Seviyorum seni
ekmeği tuza banıp yer gibi
Geceleyin ateşler içinde uyanarak
ağzımı dayayıp musluğa su içer gibi
Ağır posta paketini
neyin nesi belirsiz
telaşlı, sevinçli, kuşkulu açar gibi
Seviyorum seni
denizi ilk defa uçakla geçer gibi
İstanbul’da yumuşacık kararırken ortalık
içimde kımıldayan birşeyler gibi
Seviyorum seni
Yaşıyoruz çok şükür der gibi.


Khadijah and Celebi celebrate their love with a floating silver valentine (Image by Liz Cameron)





Posted in Turkish Art, Visits from the Karagöz puppets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Izmir köfte on a cold winter’s day

Izmir köfte

Izmir köfte with red pepper, dried thyme and black pepper on top – stewed peppers ,stewed tomatos and spiced lamb meatballs in a delicious light sauce (Image by Liz Cameron)

Snow crazy! That’s what those puppets are.  They are afraid to venture out into the 60+ inches of snow we have seen in the past month.  For little puppets made of camel hide colored with vegetable dyes, I suppose the snow makes them a bit nervous. And just as the parents of young children run out of things to do on snow days here in the Northeastern part of the United States during snow season, so too do I run out of things for the Karagöz puppets to engage in during these long and chilly days and nights.  So, we have turned to cooking.

Specifically, I sent the puppets off into M.’s ears to get him cooking.  A fine cook he is, when it comes to Turkish food, but rarely does he break out his talents.  I thought that perhaps those puppets could secretly inhabit his head (or whisper ideas in his ears at night) so that he could make our house fragrant with the smells of home.  And for months, they have been engaging in this nighttime whispering – until he was primed and ready to accept my offer of switching off on cooking duty now that M’lady is back to work.  He accepted galantly and gladly, and for this I know I should be truly grateful.

And so it was, that during yesterday afternoon’s snow day, Izmir köfte came to be in our humble kitchen.  M. made the dish from his culinary memory – hazy with images of his Anne (mother) and Babane (grandmother) shuffling about the kitchen.  He substituted ground lamb for much of the ground beef – as it is so hard to find fatty ground beef in this country…the result was fabulous.  We also eliminated the potato element as our doctor has advised us to cut down on carbohydrates (which, while blasphemous to the ears of a Turk, has been embraced in this Turkish-American home).

For a traditional approach to Izmir köfte, you can visit Binnur’s Turkish Cookbook for a recipe, or you can go over to A Seasonal Cook in Turkey for another great approach to this dish.

Afiyet olsun!

Izmir Köfte pre-cooking

A casserole of carb-free Izmir köfte before heading into the oven (Image by Liz Cameron)




Posted in Gendered moments, Turkish Food!, Visits from the Karagöz puppets | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment