Good Sign for the Future – Turkey

I learned the true meaning of “Turkish hospitality” during the aftermath of
the tragic terrorist attack on the United States. My husband Keith and I
discovered how kind and compassionate the Turkish people are when we visited
the city Konya, located in the central Anatolia region. Konya is a devoutly
Muslim city in Turkey.

We first heard about the tragedy when we were in Pamukkale, a small town near
the west coast. We spent our days in Pamukkale watching the news in shock,
along with other tourists and Turkish locals. Although we were terribly
saddened, Keith and I finally decided the best thing to do was continue with
our scheduled travels with Konya as the next stop.

On our first morning in Konya, the somber sounding Islamic prayer call woke
us up. I looked outside our hotel, to the top of hill and saw Alaettin
Camii, a grand mosque. After listening to the prayers, Keith and I left the
hotel and started to walk to the east side of Konya. The road was lined with
several carpet, handicraft and Turkish candy shops and their owners were
ready and waiting outside. My first thought was the shop owners would
immediately approach us in attempt to persuade us to buy their wares. I was

A shopkeeper, an older man, came up and asked us where we were from. We told
him “America.” He then shook his head and said, “I am very sorry for what
happened. That is a tragedy.” Then he walked back into his shop.

We continued our walk. We went into a bus ticket office and inquired about
bus tickets to Istanbul. We decided not to buy the tickets and began to walk
out the door. The man working there stopped us and I thought he was going to
try to persuade us to buy the tickets. Instead he said, “I do not have the
English words to express how I feel about what happened in your country.”

We asked another man for directions. After explaining to us how to find the
Information Office, he told us that whoever committed the terrorism in
America was evil. He then told us that if we needed any help of any kind
while in Turkey, to come find him.

During the day we visited the Mevlani Museum, former lodge of the Whirling
Dervishes. As I explored the museum and its intriguing sights I noticed
teenage girls, dressed in school uniforms, following me. After I exited the
museum I sat in the courtyard to relax. The girls came out of the building
and saw me sitting there. After much whispering to each other they decided
to approach.

One of the girls smiled at me and asked, “Are you English?” I told her “No, I
am American.” She looked at her friends and another of the girls spoke, “We
are so sorry for what happened there. It is terrible.” The three nodded and
had the most sincere looks on their faces. I thanked them for their thoughts
and felt a surge of faith in the next generation.

Selimiye Camii

Selimiye Camii

Keith and I then approached Selimiye Camii, an Ottoman style mosque. We were
unsure if we could enter when a man approached us and told us we could peek
inside. We took off our shoes and I covered my head with a scarf. When we
entered the mosque I was immediately taken in by both its simplicity and
grace. The inside was basically a large room devoid of furniture. On the
ground was a red carpet divided into squares – each square for a person to
kneel on as they prayed facing Mecca. Although it was not yet prayer time,
there were people already in the mosque praying. As I prayed my own prayer,
they prayed their Islamic prayers. I felt we were praying for the same thing
– peace.

As we watch the news Keith and I see the goodness in Americans as they help
and support one another through this crisis. In our past year of travels
through Asia, Africa, Australia, and now in Turkey, we have experienced the
goodness of people throughout the world. This gives me great hope for the
world’s future.