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How Cem Özmeral Helped Jan Claire
Find an Old Friend in Istanbul

Jan Claire

© 2013-2014 by Author

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Sık sık bizi ziyaret eden Türk dostlara hos geldiniz diyoruz!

(Welcome to Our Turkish Friends Who Visit This Website)

Istanbullite.com finds an old friend

Cem Özmeral, (left) so closely associated with our friends at Golden Corral Restaurants, became a valued friend of Jan Claire, the previous owner/publisher of this website at MerhabaTurkey.com.  (This website is now hosted at GoDaddy as Merhaba-USMilitary.com.) Over the years, Cem's organization has supported our military veterans with free meals on Veterans day, and, being born a Turk who emigrated to the U.S., Cem ("Jim") and his friend Jan have become best friends.

In the course of daily conversation, Jan has related his continuing interest in Turkey, and over time he spoke with Cem about one person whom Jan and his friends were close to in Istanbul, a four hour ferry boat trip from their base at Karamursel.

As Jan related more and more tales of Lulu's hospitality, her life as an english teacher in Istanbul's major universities, her parties and the many tours of Istanbul she gave to her U.S. military friends.  Lutfiye "Lulu" lived on Siraselviler Caddesi (Cypress Street) in a small home with a large garden.  Her friends joined her in wonderful dinners at popular Istanbul restaurants, and good times traveling around the Bosphorus area up to Black Sea's resorts.

Cem became fascinated by Jan's frequent question:  "Whatever happened to Lulu (at right, in 1959) after I left Istanbul?"

So Cem did what Jan never could do:  He recently flew to Istanbul, nosed around, found that Lulu had died back in 2003 at age 89, is buried in a cemetery (above) in the Pera area of Istanbul, and he took pictures of the gravesite, found old pictures of Lulu taken before then, and even information about her mother "Mumzy" (Corrinne) who lived to 105 years of age!

The full story of Cem's adventure is found on his popular website HERE.  You will find many photos of Lulu and her family, as well as a great story about the family.

Cem discovered information, as well, about Lulu's famous father, Faik Sabri Duran, a noted geographer whose Buyuk Atlas has been the predominant geography text in high schools and colleges for a long time.  Duran did much in the mapping of the Aegean areas of Turkey and Greece as well.

As Jan told us upon receiving the many photos Cem has now posted on his web pages (link above), "Cem is my Turkish God.  He has done the biggest favor one would ever receive, and I will never be able to repay him because knowing the rest of the story which took place after I left Turkey is beyond valuable to me."

Thank you, Cem, from all of us here at "web central."

Marie Donnelly, Sr. Intern
MerhabaTurkey.com (Now named Merhaba-USMilitary.com.)