I loved Turkey very much. I really respect and love Turkısh tradition, memories, historical artifacts and sincere people of Turkey.
I visit Turkey for a long time. Because of my job, which is Ethnology Expertness, the common points of Turkish and Hungarian folk culture and especially customs and traditions awaken my interest. In my travels, I adored rich Turkish mores. I have written different articles and books on this topic, and these inspired my other works.
I have a lot of Turkish friends, most of them are my colleagues, who work at Ankara University, Hacettepe University, and Eskisehir Osmangazi University. In addition, all my friends from Edirne to Izmit and from Izmit to Gaziantep always come to my rescue, whenever I need something. All these give me the feeling of being in my hometown when I visit Turkey.With the Turkish Hungarian joint project, which we realized with the support of UNESCO Turkish National Committee in 2016-17, we examined the common points of Turkish and Hungarian folk cuisine. This great project made me more familiar with the Turkish world.
In addition, I am very grateful to Turkish people because of the importance they give to the protection of the memories, which belong to Hungarian history. As the Hungarian nation, we will never forget, that Hungarian heroes, who fought for the independence of Hungary and were defeated, were protected in Turkey. In the 17the century Imre Thököly and Ilona Zrínyi, in the 18th century II. Ferenc Rákóczi and in the 19th century Lajos Kossuth and the refugees with them were invited to the Ottoman Empire and protected. Firstly, the bravest woman of Europe Ilona Zrínyi, who protected the Castle of Munkáç personally, took shelter in İzmit after this fight. The house, where she lived at that time, have been transformed by the Hungarian-Turkish Friendship Association into a very beautiful memorial house, which attracts a lot of visitors
The second big migration occurred after the Szatmár Peace, which was signed after the Hungarian Liberty War of Rákóczi had failed, and Prince Rákóczi and his whole court took shelter in Rodostó (Tekirdağ). Their memory has been cherished with the Rákóczi Museum in Tekirdağ, Magyarok (Hungarian) Street and the statue of Prince’s clerk Mikes Kelemen, which was made by the famous sculpturer Sándor Györfi, who lives in my village. Another Hungarian, whose memory has been cherished is İbrahim Müteferrika. Müteferrika, who was a student from Kolojvar, has been held in high honor and has been given the name of “Turkish Guttenberg” by the Turkish people because he established the first Turkish printing house. Müteferrika, who published 17 works including dictionaries, geographical and astronomical works, and maps, was one of the most educated and cultured people of his age.
It is a great happiness for me to see that Hungarian citizens are held in such a high honor in Turkey. Lajos Kossuth and his court had lived in Kütahya for a while; their memories have been also cherished in the museum, which was opened for them. Of course, I visited these places for a few times. As a Hungarian, visiting the Hungarian monuments in Turkey is like a holy duty of pilgrimage to me. Among my travels to Turkey, East Anatolian travel, which is 3000 km far away, impressed me at most. I had the opportunity of seeing a lot of beautiful cities and very interesting places. For example, I visited Trabzon, where the Christian Church Aya Sofya was once, and the artifacts of Hattusas in the rich museum in Çorum. I visited Sümela Monastery, I adored its walls, and I wished for living long in the holy spring. I traveled to Barhal in order to see a huge Georgian monastery, that serves as a mosque, the praying area of which is still standing and which was built in the 9th century. Afterward, I visited the city of Sivas, which is a Medieval University, Divriği Grand Mosque fascinated me. I breathed the sweet smell of Fırat River… And I fall in love with Turkey. Forever.
By: Dr. Julia Bartha
* University of Debrecen, Ethnography and Museology / Hungary
*This article was published in the January– February issue of Marmara Life.