Turkey: Random Facts and Trivia
Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Turkey, the conflict with Greece over Cyprus, Whirling Dervishes and Opium.
In recent years Turkey has been at odds with Greece over the island of Cyprus and war broke out between Turkey and Greece over this issue in 1974 when Turkey successfully occupied much Cypriot territory.
In 1974, despite the objections of the U. S. Government, Turkey resumed growing opium, from which heroin is derived. Another sore point between Turkey and the U.S. is the presence of several thousand U.S. military personnel within Turkish borders. At times this has been the cause of widespread demonstrations. At one point, the entire population of Istanbul was confined to their homes while the Government searched door-to-door for dissidents.
Whirling dervishes dance to abandon themselves to God's love and free themselves from earthly bondage. Specific rules govern every move in the dervishes' dance. The ritual begins with prayers and meditation. Then flutes play an introductory melody which symbolizes man's desire for mystic union, and the dance begins. Each dance consists of 3 stages; the 1st is the knowledge of God; the 2nd, the seeing of God; and the 3rd, union with God. The conical hat the dervish wears represents a tombstone, the dervish's jacket represents the grave, and the dervish's skirt is the funeral shroud. As the dervishes dance they remove their jackets to show they are shedding earthly ties and escaping from their graves. As they whirl, the dervishes raise their right hands in prayer and extend their left hands toward the floor. The meaning of these gestures is "what we receive from God, we give to man; we our-selves possess nothing." Their whirling symbolizes the rotation of the universe in the presence of God.
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