Jan and I became friends over the internet few years ago when I was working with Golden Corral in an effort with the Veteran’s Day. He has a website called www.merhaba-usmilitary.com with pictures and memorabilia from American veterans who had once served in Turkey. I loved his website full of good thoughts and memories of soldiers of my age, talking about my home country. And of course a big fan of Turkey Jan loved my web site www.istanbullite.com and we both gave cross links to our respective sites. We occasionally write to each other on our mutual subject :Turkey and I follow him from facebook .I don't have a facebook page, but Jan and my wife are “friends”.
During my upcoming Istanbul trip in November I was planning to make several exploration stops in the Pera district including some cemeteries. I wrote to Jan that since I will be in the neighborhood, I will try to look for his long lost friend Lütfiye Duran, aka “Lulu” ’s grave. He seemed to be delighted. Following is all I know about Lulu from Jan’s 6 or 7 e-mails addressed to me, all in his own words; slightly edited, cut, copied, pasted and arranged into a story form.
Jan I never met you in person. But I feel you were one of my best friends. I will miss you dearly. You were an American patriot who always said Turkey was your second homeland. I always admired you how you loved life and got so much out from little things: From a cow, a bird or a plant. You always loved your wife. Now you are back again with her.I will miss you .Your Turkish friend in Columbus Cem.aka istanbullite
E mails to and from Jan
Oct 21, 2010, 9:35 PM
Merhaba. I am a Turkish American living in the United States since 1972. My non commercial web site consists of several nostalgic writings about Istanbul and Turkey . I have very vivid memories of the Tuslog, Merhaba Palace, American Hospital and our American friends who were stationed in Kavaklidere/Kucuk Esat/ Ankara Turkey.
I am deeply impressed about your web site. Please allow me to give a link to your web site in Istanbullite .com. I have tentatively put the link in our homepage under the heading: USA MILITARY IN TURKEY.
Please check this link and the whole web site to see if this can be approved by you.
Oct 21, 2010, 11:10 PM
So good to meet you!! Thank you for the link! We always appreciate our many Turkish friends especially including our Turkish-American friends, as well.
I am on my way to a friends house, and as soon as I return home I will read your website thoroughly. May we link to your website as well?
The day I arrived at Karamürsel, Turkey for a two year stay on the U.S. Navy & Air Force base there. Ahhhh the beach on the Sea of Marmara, and the jaunts up to Yalova to catch a ferry to Istanbul - nearly every weekend! Two great years, and I'd do it again in a New York minute!!
Don't want to leave the wrong impression. I'm standing out by the pasture behind our house, NOT in a field in Istanbul!. Kathleen was in a picture-taking mood today.
Fri, Oct 22, 2010, 12:45 AM
I have added links to your website both in our FEATURES section, but also used your logo and created a link at the top of our ISTANBUL listings, as well.
I have read only a couple stories on your site but will continue further after I write this.
I lived in Karamursel during my U.S. Navy "TUSLOG" experience, but spent nearly every weekend in and around Istanbul. A friend of mine, a college instructor named Lutfiye Duran, was my "tour guide" and we took many trips to places like Kilyos and Sile up on the Black Sea, and she made sure she showed me - and many of my friends - all the historic and educational sites around Istanbul. She was older than I by 20 years or
more, had been married and divorced. Her father was a well known cartographer whose books on the Aegean coast are still used today in educational institutions. I spoke Turkish at the time thanks to the U.S.
Naval Language School where I spent time before going to Turkey (and have since forgotten most of my Turkish as I have never run into someone who spoke the language since that time). This led me to having friends at Radio Istanbul and my building a radio station to entertain the American troops on our base near Karamursel (now a Turkish military base, but also many new homes have been built on the property we once
occupied - and a big arena, as well!)
Thanks to "Lulu" (Lutfiye), I was able to call "Istanbul" my other home!
She passed away, I heard from Mary Berkmen, a noted author who lives in Istanbul and was her friend. Another friend, from Netherlands, visited Istanbul and did some research for me. He found she was buried
in a Catholic Cemetery in the Bomonti section of Istanbul. But that is all we know. No dates, no circumstances. Her friend, Mary, has been difficult to contact lately (I'm sure she's in her 80s by now) so I haven't been able to find more out about Lulu. I owe her a debt of deep gratitude for being my teacher about all things Turkey, and I operate MerhabaTurkey.com in her honor.
My website was originally called "The American Military in Turkey" and the idea came from Chuck Maki, a U.S. Navy friend from Karamursel who started it originally in 1994, but soon tired of it. In about 1997, I
took it over and renamed it MerhabaTurkey.com since I was in the Internet business and could purchase domain names. I have run it ever since, and it has grown enormously, some times having 650,000 viewers
per week, and we have now heard from viewers in all the continents on earth - including Antarctica where we have a small "fan club" among scientists at the McMurdo Station. About 60% of our viewers are from the
U.S., and there are about 30% viewing from Turkey with the remainder scattered around the world.
I am thrilled to make your acquaintance, not only because we operate websites, but because I have always believed that there is no better friend than a Turk! One of my American Turkish friends, Tanju Bayramoglu
operates another website: http://www.helloturkey.com and he and his wife live near Phoenix. We have been to visit them (my finest Turkish meal since leaving Turkey in 1961!) and they are wonderful. He and I
have owned our websites for the same amount of time...and he once had a Turkish restaurant in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
A few years ago, I spoke at the Turkish American "Turkfest" in Seattle and had a joyous time associating with hundreds of Turks - which I call "being in heaven!" We had a marvelous time, and there were many musical
features, Turkish dancing, and a concert by Yeni Turku to round out the week. I also try to attend the Los Angeles and Monterey, California TurkFests, as well. On my Facebook page are several great Turkish
people who contribute to my page so it is nice to keep in touch that way.
Again, I am so happy to meet you...and if you visit Tanju's website, go to page three. My picture is about halfway down on that page! Or you can just visit my personal website: http://www.janclaire.com
Hi Jan, I have really enjoyed reading your detailed e-mail. I have not lived in Karamursel but was born in Gölcük ın 1947. You know the Naval base. My Father was a Naval Engineer. Graduated from Naval Academy in Heybeliada (one of Prince Islands), went to Germany with a Government Scholarship. War broke, came back to Turkey. Learned English in Roberts College , went to M.I.T. , after finishing his Master's degree he came to Golcuk. http://www.istanbullite.com/cartepostalenostalgia8595/kartpostalturkiye321944.html I went to Şile several times with my parents when I was in middle school. Went to Kilyos once before I came to United States in 1972. My dad died in 1996 and my mom in December of 2009. Dad died in Turkey, Mom was living with my brother in Chicago. We fulfilled her last wish , she is resting in a cemetery overlooking Marmara sea on the Asian site. If I go to Istanbul next year, I will try to go to Bomanti visit Lulu's grave, pour some water on the Grave (tradition), take a picture or two, maybe write a little story about this? I was a bank auditor in Turkey, have been working in restaurant business last 32 years here. I am Operating partner of Golden Corral Restaurant in Columbus Ohio. Please check my other website: http://www.goldencorralcolumbus.com/ Also please check this, every year every Golden Corral treats every Veteran and active duty to a free meal at Golden Corral: http://www.goldencorral.net/military/ Please feel free to advertise this to our service man who served in Turkey. Maybe I will have the pleasure to meet one of them in my Restaurant at 3710 West Dublin-granvillle road Columbus Ohio. I am expecting over 1000 service man in my restaurant that day, I am usually off Monday and Thursdays , I will have more time to write on these days. Again it is a pleasure to correspond with you. And finally; I loved the links, thanks. I am so happy to bring good memories to people who sacrificed so much for this country. On my next e -mail I will talk about what I remember from my early years in Ankara, American Friends, the Merhaba Palace etc. There is a good story in there about my Father's life written by my brother . In the story there is a part about an incident with an American kid. Please disregard that part, I don't agree the way he commented about this. And there are some stories about my Mom, my grand daughter etc. I am very impressed about your web site and your resume. Sevgiler, selamlar
Jan Claire Attachments Fri, Oct 22, 2010, 11:46 PM to me Hi Cem, Wonderful thing you do for our military guys! I put the notice up on our New Features area on our main page (http://www.merhabaturkey.com/index2.html) so take a look and make sure I worded everything correctly. I honestly don't know who, or how many, of our guys live in or around Columbus, but we'll sure find out. Thank you for your kindness regarding "Lulu." A friend, James Candon, who is senior counsel to IBM in Brussels, Belgium, attended a conference in Istanbul a couple years ago. He is the one who found Lutfiye Duran's gravesite in the Bomonti Catholic Cemetery. Further, he knew from having read my page on MerhabaTurkey.com that I, and many of our Americans stationed at Karamursel, participated in a fundraising effort for an orphanage and old folks home in Istanbul (Kocamustafapasa Orphanage) in 1960 and he went to the Little Sisters of the Poor headquarters. They were our go-betweens in arranging the presentation. There, (see attached photo) he found an elderly nun who remembered us, and he took a photo of her standing on the left, along with the "head nun" there now (on the right), and in the middle is James' wife. Funny thing is that I remember her too!! (Somewhere I have a Turkish newspaper article where she appears in the picture!) I have also attached a picture of a bunch of us at the presentation in Istanbul. I'm the one in center at the rear holding a youngster on my shoulders. It was a wonderful day. Then, not long afterward, the earthquake struck in Erzurum, and I and the same group of guys traveled by every means possible to go back east o help move concrete, wood, and whatever we could do to help in the earthquake relief effort. Somewhere in there, was a Coup d'etat in Istanbul, and several of us spent a night transporting people from the Istanbul side of the Bosphorus over to their homes in Uskudar. Some of our guys actually rowed boats (we had an outboard motor on ours!). Many of us are still in touch today, and we frequently have memories to share with each other about these things we got involved in during our time in Turkey, and, oddly, every one of us continues to do that sort of thing here in the U.S. It's like Turkey taught us the value of helping others! And I see YOU do the same. You are a giant among men! If you "do" Facebook, join my page and meet my pal Mehmet Ekizoğlu who went to college in Wisconsin, but has returned to Turkey and works with the government in Ankara. A great guy. I've attached a photo of his wife and their two children, and a picture of Mehmet with his daughter. (I hope the number of photos didn't break your email-box! ) So great knowing you! Cheers, Jan Claire MerhabaTurkey.com janclaire.com
It is so much fun "talking" with you and hearing names and places that were familiar to me. I enjoyed, also, the links you sent, though the one of Esra's video requires a password to see it. But the Heybeliada information was wonderful - AND it brought back the Turkish word for "Island" which I had long forgotten! Ada. I shall never forget that one again! I used to love the Princes Islands - it was always our ferry stop, and most of the time it was tourists getting on and off at that (Büyükada) stop.
Funny you mentioned trains. Probably my most frequent contributors to MerhabaTurkey.com are good friends Fred and Carol Moore. They live in Adana. He was in the U.S. military like most of us stationed in Turkey and grew to love it so much that he and Carol elected to stay, working as civilian contractors for a company there. The two of them take off on magnificent weekend - and sometimes longer - trips, then detail their experiences on our website. (http://www.merhabaturkey.com/1MOOREFindex.html). When you mentioned the thing about the tunel in Beyoglu, it jogged my memory of an article they submitted consisting of nothing but pictures of train tunnels they have visited. The old "narrow gauge" railways they are so fond of traveling. All the pictures were taken as the train was entering or leaving tunnels. I doubt there is anyone who loves Turkey more than Fred and Carol. Recently, he was notified they would not be renewing his contract, so they are going to have to leave the country where they've lived for more than 40 years now, and come home to the U.S. which, they admit, is better for "getting to know their children better." But I know how hurtful it will be for them to leave their beloved adopted country. I still feel guilty that I didn't return to live in such a heavenly place.
When I got my orders to leave Turkey and return to the U.S. to work for the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon, I spent many trips to the White House as a courier of intelligence materials and got to know President Kennedy, and his personal secretary, Evelyn Lincoln. Evy had been to Turkey several times, and she spoke often of returning for an extended stay. She was simply fascinated by my having been able to live there as a 19 year old! Unfortunately, she got cancer and as she dealt with it, and aged, she died following a cancer surgery (1995) and never got to return to Turkey. She was most fascinated by my stories of visiting the "ghost city" of Kayaköy, which I explained to her was emptied when Turkey and Greece concluded the agreement that the Greeks would be returned to Greece in return for the Turks being returned to Turkey. (I realize that was a VERY simplistic explanation and I went deeper into the political ramifications at the time). A week or so after that conversation, I got a nice, handwritten note from President Kennedy thanking me for my work, and telling me how fond he was of Turkey, and how much he enjoyed Evelyn's stories of our brief chats.
(Somewhere in my 1974 divorce, the note disappeared and I'm pretty sure my ex wife may have it! <grin>)
We have Greek friends who own a produce market here in Oakhurst, though they live "down the hill" in Fresno, 45 minutes from here, and Maria's great grandparents had lived in Kayaköy. She accepts that I enjoyed living in Turkey, though I sense she's not happy talking about the place. But she DID teach me how to make Baklava! I told her about being fresh out of Turkish language school when I arrived in Turkey barely two weeks after graduating (Syracuse University 47-week cram course which is why I've forgotten nearly all my Turkish over the past 50 years!) and how the first time I visited Istanbul, I noticed bean salad on a restaurant menu and I ordered it. Nobody had taught me exactly what a Beyin Salata was. But it WASN'T beans!! You can imagine how big my eyes got when the waiter put it on the table in front of me!
ABOUT PRESIDENT KENNEDY AND A BOOK
just had a historic find! Going through papers and found a shot of my bosses (Joint Chiefs of Staff taken at the White House back in 1962.) Left to Right: U.S. Marine Corps General David Shoup U.S. Army General Earle Wheeler U.S. Air Force General Curtis LeMay President John F. Kennedy Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Maxwell Taylor U.S. Navy Admiral George Anderson
Joint Chiefs of Staff meeting 5/27/1961 - taken by Robert Knudsen of the White House staff - includes General Lyman Lemnitzer and General George Decker of the army, my boss, Admiral Arleigh Burke, Chief of Naval Operations (standing, hand on back of the President's chair), General Curtis LeMay of the air force, and General David M Shoup of the Marine Corps, 27 May 1961. Photograph by Robert Knudse...n/White House, courtesy of John F Kennedy Presidential Library, Boston, MA. It was a tense meeting as these were his military advisors. Russian missiles were being shipped to Cuba. Potential outcomes and dangerous threats made this a VERY tense time worldwide, and for sure within the White House and the JCS. A little over a year later, I finished my Navy tour and could breathe normally again.
About a Book
Tue, Feb 17, 2015, 3:52 PM
I hope everything is going well with you and Kathleen.
I have a question to you since you were in the Navy in the Kennedy era and you know a lot about him.
I bought an old hard cover-book today from the book sale at the Upper Arlington Public Library for two bucks. It is a beautiful book titled: THE WORLD'S GREAT SPEECHES.It has the speeches of all famous people and leaders all the way from Pericles to Roosevelt.On the inside of the front cover there is a signature which reads John P Kennedy , March1943 US Navy. The middle initial to me looks like P instead of F. The date fits the time when Kennedy was on the ship in the Pacific. Please check the attachment. I thought may be it could be Joseph Patrick Kennedy, but then the first name looks like John. What do you think is this authentic ?The book is by The Book League of America edited by Lewis Copeland , copy write1942, published by Garden City Publishing Company.
Please let me know what you think.
Tue, Feb 17, 2015, 5:26 PM
President Kennedy had a military award on his office wall in the West Wing of the White House, related to the PT109 incident, which I still remember said, "John Fitzgerald Kennedy" His middle name came from his mother,Rose's father,JohnFrancis Fitzgerald, the Boston Mayor popularly known as "Honey Fitz." His father was named Joseph P. Kennedy. Perhaps somebody got them confused?
While President Kennedy and I talked occasionally, it was always on Navy-related business, though I never really got much personal time with him. Consequently what everyone else knows is what I know. My more frequent dealings back in the1959-1961time, were with Evelyn Lincoln, his secretary, whom I saw at least once a week, delivering material to the White House (mostly dealing with the Cuban Missile Crisis - something I only recently got permission to talk about as I'm writing my own book, and I submitted what I had written about the Cuban Missile Crisis and was told to go ahead as most of that material has now been de-classified.) Occasionally, I would accompany my "boss", the then Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Arleigh Burke (who also served in World War II and was a Kennedy favorite pal.
You probably learned on Facebook that President Obama recently wrote a nice letter to me thanking me for my service during the Cuban Crisis. Cool, eh?
Hope all's going well and that you are holding Columbus together!! Doing any traveling?
About the Armenian Issue
Dec 16, 2010, 5:39 PM
I really don't have a clue what possible answer there could be which would satisfy Armenians. They are not the only ones who suffered at someone else's hands, nor is anyone living today who was responsible for what they suffered. There is not a country on earth which didn't have to rid itself of enemies, and there is hardly a person on earth who lives in a modern day country that their ancestors didn't travel to from some other place. I hear complaints from my Greek friends along the same lines, as well.
I always say, "Turkey made a conscious effort to modernize and to become a free country", and anyone who cannot deal with that should return to the place where their family's roots are. But, if one's ancestors back in the day of İstiklâl Harbi made a decision to stay, then they MUST support the ideals of their new country and enjoy the riches of having done so."
It's all I can think of. I do not think it is the modern day Turks' responsibility to placate anyone, because as of October 29,1923, everyone choosing to live in that beautiful country became a Turk first, just as I am an American first, but at one time my family was British and French. At least Armenians have a country they could return to...but I suspect they make more noise by complaining. (Gozden irak, gonulden de irak olur.)
Jan with his beloved wife Kathleen
My Dear Friend Jan,
I will always remember you as a kind hearted person, who loved people, who loved life and nature, who was a patriot who loved his country and also loved Turkey (and Turkish people) where he was stationed in Karamursel in the U.S. Naval Base as a young 18 year old Navy Man long time ago. I always admired your intellect, your knowledge of history especially your expertise in the Kennedy era. My wife Sitare, your facebook friend, always was looking forward your little anecdotes and pictures on Facebook.
I know when your beloved wife Kathleen passed away you were so heartbroken and wanted to join her in the other life. I am sure you are back hand in hand with her again. As you always ended your emails,