During our flight tonight, Levi could have been getting his first experience with Ethiopia. I’ve flown Ethiopian airlines several times, once or twice overseas. Great airline. Great people. Great experience.
But tonight we are on Turkish Airlines. It’s Turks for Levi, and our assessment for this cultural experience will have to come in a later post.
It’s been a stormy road with the Turks over the centuries. Our great Orthodox Byzantine empire fell after 1000 years of Roman greatness when the Ottoman Turks sacked Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 1453.
We have a lot of saints who are honored for being martyrs, for being tortured and impaled for the cause of Christ. Perhaps the greatest cathedral ever built, Constantinople’s Hagia Sophia, was taken over and turned into a mosque.
Today, things aren’t so swell with the Turks either. They used to be a solid NATO ally, but their leader has been dancing too much lately with the Russians. Then an attempted coup happened there about a year ago and President Erdogan blamed it on U.S. intelligence operatives. He purged the place of Western intelligence, and American did something bad back in return. I can’t remember what it was, but now Turkey doesn’t honor U.S. passports.
Too bad, because Levi and I have an eight hour layover in Istanbul on the way back (it’s one of the reasons we booked this particular flight and accepted the idea of a Turkish cultural experience). We had hoped to visit the Hagia Sophia, which has now been turned into a museum, some of the Christian icons recovered from being painted over centuries ago, and available for tourists to visit.
However … just a few weeks ago there was some news about Trump and Erdogan having some nice nice talk. I’ve been watching the Turkish and U.S. state department sites like a hawk, hoping something thaws for us just in time.
If nothing else, we’ll learn more about Turks.