Dizi 22 January, 1998
by Faruk Bildirici 
Turkish Memories of Yankees
English language translation by Ayse Kilfoy
YARIN = tomorrow's story
Chuck Maki, after finishing technical
school, went to look at the hanging 
sign that showed where he was being 
transferred.  Turkey!!  He did not
understand.  Where is that place? 
"Turkey, huh?" 
He was a youth from upper 
Pennsylvania and he 
had never been out of the country

American soldiers who worked in Turkey opened a page on the internet

American soldiers wrote their memories on the internet.  The numbers of the soldiers who wrote their Turkish memories
reached 17 in a very short time.
 (text surrounding this picture is immediately below)

This is the general look of the American base at
Karamursel.  Chuck Maki took this picture.
American soldiers are back at their homes and
they are writing their memories.

 The American bases that opened after the Korean War caused a lot of problems in Turkey.  All the American ships were greeted by "Yankee Go Home" signs in the 1970s.  When the ship the Missouri came to town, the brothels all got a new coat of paint and "Yankee Welcome" signs.  When the protesters met American soldiers, they would push them back into the water at Dolmabahçe beach.  The fate of the American bases was changed by the Cypriot War.  When the American government started the embargo, the activities at the bases were stopped by the Turkish government, starting from July 1975.  The American personnel were sent back in September 1976 and the bases got under control of the Turkish military for the first time.  After signing a new treaty in 1978, the activities at the bases resumed.  But the new satellite technology and the fall of the Soviet government lessened the need for the bases.  After that, most of the bases were closed and the number of the American personnel in Turkey went below 1,000.  The American soldiers who were greeted at one time by "Yankee Go Home" placards are now back at their homes and they did not forget their lives in Turkey.  Some of them opened an Internet page and they wrote their memories of Turkey on that page.  These memories are important because they are written from the lands that were forbidden to Turks (in other words, they reveal what was going in the bases that were off-limits to Turks). 
Your Condoms Are Being Washed!
Rick Hudson worked between 1965 and 1966 in Sinop.  He cannot forget the cook named Ali's cooking and Bafra cigarettes.  "I really liked my job in Sinop.  We young guys were doing a very important job for our defense."  But when you say Sinop, Hudson's most favorite story was about a guy who ran after (that is, eagerly sought) the American condoms.  Hudson met many Turkish people after arriving at Sinop.  Among his friends was a Turkish guy who worked at the base.  This Turkish guy was asking for American condoms.  And Hudson was being nice and was buying the American condoms from the base store and giving them to him, but the demand for the condoms was never-ending.     1, 2, 3, 5 - finally Hudson could not wait any more and asked, "Why do you demand American condoms? Aren't they sold here?"  The Turkish man said, "American condoms are very good.  The ones they sell here are not very good."  But Hudson was not satisfied with this answer.  So the Turkish guy continued.  He said "You can wash the Arnerican condoms and re-use them up to five times.  But our condoms, you just use them once and throw them out."  Is it possible to say no to this problem?  Hudson could not.  Now as he remembers this story he smiles and for sure that was a long time ago and he is sure they have improved and it was a different culture at the time. 
They opened Esenboga Airport
Ollie Cook was one of the first American soldiers who came to Turkey.  In July 1955 while working in Libya he was transferred to Ankara.  Traveling through Athens and Izmir, he reached Ankara.  As soon as he got off the airplane he met a Saudi Arabian Binbaşi (that is, "head of thousand soldiers"), Abdullah.  He was gathering the new soldiers and giving them the new rules.  "If you do something against the Turkish law, tell your mothers to sell everything you own, because your asses belong to the Turks."  This was a speech to scare them but they did not know it at the time.  Even though they saw there was an American soldier who ran over a Turkish soldier, they did not have regular court procedures for this guy.  Even though they saw that they still remembered the words of the Binbasi (that is, "head of thousand soldiers").  He also told them, "You have to find a place to live according to the Turkish economy."

Cook was an airplane engineer. He was in charge of taking care of C-47 and L-20 craft.  Their base was on Ataturk Boulevard.  They were functioning out of 2-3 small barracks.  They needed more space and Etimesgut was not enough for their needs.  Esenboga airport was already built but the Turkish government still had not opened the new airport.  Esenboga was important for military flights and Pan Am airlines' direct flight to Ankara.  Finally they (the Americans) decided to open the airport anyway.  Cook was among the American soldiers that took the trip to Esenboga.  They were stopped by Turkish soldiers at the airport border. - "You cannot go in, go back."  The Americans' insistence did not pay off.  They went back.  They repeated [the same thing] again the next day.  Same results.  Third day they had strict orders to go through the border and not stop.  The third day they did not have to stop.  There was nobody at the airport border.  That was the official opening of Esenboga.

While Flirting with The Colonel's Daughter
Cook's days were very quiet at Esenboga.  The most colorful person of the group was a pilot with a retired Korean cargo plane.  Captain Delbert Thomas was using the cargo plane as a fighting plane just to pass his time.  One day he dipped the plane down by the headquarters by Ataturk Boulevard.  He flew so low above the JUSMMAT headquarters that everyone came out with fright.  The plexiglass panels above the cockpit broke off and fell off on the grass.  Thomas at the time was going out with the Colonel's daughter.  He knew that she was going to be at the base.  He did get her attention and had her come out to look.  But among the observers (spectators) was the General and he was very angry.  He sent the pieces that broke off of the plane back to Thomas.  This was a kind of an invitation to his office.  The general scolded Thomas very harshly but could not take him off duty because, in those days, Thomas was the only pilot at the base.  Thomas went back to Esenboga, put the broken pieces back and kept on working there like nothing ever happened.  Thomas was an entertainer.  He was the sole actor of the base parties.  There were a lot of sleepless nights.  One day he gave the controls of (the plane) to Cook.  Cook was flying an airplane for the first time in his life.  This did not bother carefree Thomas. 

Kids, whose fathers were stationed at the base, went to the high school at the base. 
Their biggest entertainment was riding on the ferry boat on the weekends.

They were holding American football tournaments at the bases.
Elephant Cage at Karamursel
American officers brought their families when they came to Turkey.  New schools opened at the bases.  The High School in Karamürsel was one of these schools.  At this high school, the kids of the officers working at the bases in Greece also attended school.  Dave Councill's father was transported to İncirlik base in 1973.  Dave started school at Karamürsel.  The "school" was only a couple of barracks.  One of the classes was close to a radio tower that was built to listen to Russia.  The kids named this tower "elephant tower".  The lessons were given by the nonmilitary personnel that belonged to defense ministry.  Councill observed that the young teachers were having a great time.  Dave was also getting a great life experience.  He was away from his mom and dad.  He played sports, tennis, cross country.  He was having good days with social activities also.  Some weekends, they would take the early morning ferryboats to Istanbul, Izmir, or Yalova.  They were very happy days. During the summer months, he attended diving lessons at İncirlik when he spent the summers with his family.  He also had shark training.  A proof of his best memory is a certificate of diving from those days. 
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