The two main news stories of the past month in Turkey concern the spread of the bird flu through Turkey and the release of the convicted murderer Mehmet Ali Agca.
Bird flu has infected 21 people in several areas of Turkey and claimed the lives of four children from the far eastern town of Dogubeyazit, bordering Iran.
Even though well-cooked chicken eggs and meat are still safe to eat, the Turkish people have reacted with alarm and panic.
One day at Umut’s large supermarket, they sold less than a kilogram of chicken meat in total! Yasemin’s hotel took chicken of their buffet and my local tantuni place in Mersin now does not cook chicken tantuni.
The chicken producers and retailers are suffering and Prime Minister Erdogan has urged locals to eat chicken. I’m doing my bit as this week I bought a roast chicken and happily ate it with Natraj.
The bird flu threat now seems to be fading so that is good news.
Mehmet Ali Agca is a nasty piece of work with powerful connections. He murdered a prominent Turkish journalist and after escaping jail attempted to murder the late Pope John Paul II in 1981.
His release from a Turkish prison is highly controversial as he only served five and a half years for the murder of the journalist. Upon release he was due to conduct his military service but today was found mentally unfit to serve. He has now been re-arrested and should remain in prison until 2010.