14 November 2017

Is this an update?

As I have mentioned many times throughout this blog, I created this as a fun side project (and never took it seriously most of the time). It seems like many people did and I made many friends (and enemies) with the things I have shared here, most of which were my own personal funny or tragic experiences in my life beyond iron curtain. Some of you people still keep on living in Russia or ventured beyond the evil empire to (re)build your lives elsewhere where democracy and human rights are not only in posters...as the old saying goes, жизнь продолжается (life goes on)

I would still like to hear about how you enjoyed reading these posts or how you may relate to the same stuff after all those years. However, I would like to kindly tell you that I will not be able to answer questions about how to use moscow metro (really?) or meet a Russian girl online (seriously?) or take some of the profane virtual assaults seriously any more. I am sure there are many better blogs out there (if any one still care to blog rather than snapchat)

Looking back (5+ years now), it has been a good ride...I am not planning to retire this blog and will keep it as long as the gods of internet let me. Greetings from the other side of the iron curtain btw, they have cookies here....

OK. Show is over...time to go home

01 March 2012


I said I will be away from Soviet Union for good but you can't stay away from something you hate for so long...it will eventually happen.

You can call it fate; but wherever I go and whatever profession I choose (regardless of congruency) Russia finds me. This time, my customer wants to go international (kudos to that), and like all Turkish companies who want to go international with the least minimum cost, chose Russia as its next market. I, as a trusted adviser and a domestic salesman who possess the sad fate of doing business in Russia, of course stepped in gallantly and offered my services. Let's see where that goes and I will keep you posted comrades...

Another thing is that I have already started a novella project loosely based upon my experiences (as falsely depicted with satire in this blog for 3+ years)...but it will be in "Turkish" since I have no logical means of publishing it abroad, after my lacklusting sponsor from X Embassy (X is a country in Europe) left to India for his next assignment and do not reply my mails :) Maybe he thinks I am asking for money...indeed I am; but not for sponsorship but for the zillions of beers I bought him through his extravagantly lavish expat life in Istanbul where he never had money for booze but spent healthy sums to court shady women and use my presence as a perfect alibi against his wife. YES YOU KNOW YOURSELF MISTER :)

Here is something that Turkish Invasion could never miss...A Russian vodka with the name "Khokhlushka" (literally meaning "Ukrainian Girl"; but in a derogatory way). And you are not wrong, the bottle cap is the Ukraine's most beautiful evil political mastermind, Timoshenko herself. I have happily distanced myself from Ukrainian politics, economics and cuisine so I guess she is still in prison. If not, she will be eventually after laundering billions of dollars where her fellow citizens waited in the cold for her gas deals with Russia to be concluded. I was there in Kiev myself and know how cold an apartment flat can get...

18 October 2011

We Love Russia

That spirit never dies in this country...watch and get inspired :)

04 October 2011

New Job..again?

2011 is a year of changes and the status-quo changed twice for me both business and extra-business matters....and all for good!!!

You are right, as the title suggests, I have a new job now for a couple of weeks. Everything is fine but don't expect anything fresh from Russia or the other failed slavic countries that I spent so many fruitless years of the most fruitful times of my life. Why? Because I have no intention or plan to go there..at least, on business :) I will keep this blog alive by feeding your hunger by a couple of stuff from my archives or my comments on anything that would happen. But you know that nothing will change in Russia, because they have wasted their token of revolution and used it unwisely (just like the French).

So this is not a farewell..by the way, I have said three farewells in this blog so far and this will surely not be the last....

17 September 2011

14 September 2011

Men in Action

No need to hide the fascination for Vladimir Putin, "the man in action". This web site sums up his adventures well, including the employment of a former Miss Russia as a personal photographer...
Another web site has documented another man of action, Kim Jong-Il. North Korean Leader looking at things :) he does it pretty well...

23 August 2011

They keep on trying and I keep on posting...

Although it is a bit old story, I recently caught up with it and yeas I enjoyed to the last bit of the story. It is about a new model of Lada (as you all know is one of my all-time industrial mass production disasters) but this time Putin gets to experience the epitome of Russian manufacturing first hand.

Putin: Dear comrade, what is the inspiration for "Granta"?
Factory Manager Comrade: Simple. We wanted to make a "automobile-non-grata" then named it as "Granta"
Putin: Cool. Does it work?
Factory Manager Comrade: Hell yeah it does...but it is 5000 euros!
Putin: Cool....but you are fired!
Ex-Factory Manager Comrade: Why?!
Putin: I want it cheaper...do I look like I give a damn if that works or not? Russian people need to keep their technical stills sharp and make their cars in workable condition. I call that "Rule of Technical Preparedness". Remind me to include that in the constitution next year, will you.

The 58-year-old prime minister has traditionally gone out of his way to plug the struggling Russian brand and with it his own patriotic credentials. He owns a military-style Lada jeep, and last summer drove a canary yellow Lada across Russia's Far East on a heavily publicised road trip.

But his latest stunt backfired badly when he got behind the wheel of a new Lada Granta and tried and for a long time failed to start the engine.

Video footage of the incident on Wednesday showed Mr Putin anxiously trying to start the brand new cherry-coloured Lada but failing to do so at least five times.

Reporters on the scene, at the Lada factory in the Russian town of Togliatti, said Mr Putin had also struggled to open the car's boot, and that at least two executives had to get involved to help him.

Wearing sunglasses and casually dressed in a shirt and a sports jacket, Mr Putin pronounced himself satisfied with the Lada Granta nonetheless, calling it "a good car".

Conceding it had been a struggle to start its engine, he blamed himself, saying he had pressed down on the accelerator too sharply because he had not known that the car was fitted with an electronic accelerator that needed to be only gently pressed.

The new car, that will cost the equivalent of less than £5,000 to buy when it is released later this year, is being touted as "the people's car" that millions of Russian motorists have been waiting for. Mr Putin has adopted a noticeably more public profile in recent weeks, fuelling speculation that he is seriously considering running for the Russian presidency next March.


Everyone knows that a Lada, though fresh from the assembly line, is never a "complete" car. My fellow invaders who have bough these machines, out of pure fiscal misery or masochism-a-la-turca, pointed out to the fact that the cost of a Lada easily gets doubled on its painful evolution from a mobile piece of crap to an automobile look-alike. It is rumored that there is an industry, on comparably same financial size of Lada factories combined, that is producing replacable parts for Lada automobiles, mostly the ones that the hapless drivers have in vision such as dashboards, clutch pedals and gear sticks. That is also an answer why "no Lada is like another"...some ultra patriotic and hopelessly drunk Russian friends compare that analogy to a handmade Ferrari but the resemblance is in words only.

Putin: Very nice ride...reminds me of my Trabant days in East Berlin
New Factory Manager Comrade: Mr.Prime Minister, I have prepared new plans to build station wagonsand sport coupes out of this model. Our Russian youth shall beam to their dachas with this delightful car and will be proud of their heritage!
Putin: Yeah! Down with western consumerism!...But you are fired!
New Ex-Factory Manager Comrade: Why?!
Putin: I hate the color
Newest Factory Manager Comrade: But sir, you chose it...
Putin: You are fired too!

26 July 2011

New job, new post and cows

Ok people, there are a lot of things changed since you last checked on this page. First of all I am not an avid traveller anymore, hopefully and not subject to increased doses of radiation, sick business ethics, mud and alcohol and, most of all, I will not be seen on the streets of any Soviet capital for a while...at least for work though. Please stop emailing me for Kazantip this year..we are getting old for this..seriously.

My new assignment lets me sit comfortably in Istanbul, breathe in morning&evening traffic exhaust, sip tasteful tea in the morning to a glittering view of the golden horn from my sleek office, manage a platoon of highly educated supermodels on high heels, command an unaccountable corporate credit card and join the cream of the nation's white collar workforce in their sleek company cars...well...some of those things obviously do not reflect the real situation but I leave that to your imagination.

My new job, which is simply working for the competitor (a global giant call center company which you may never heave heard its name but obviously got into contact to one or more of its employees around the globe and had ,hopefullyi good encounters over the phone) now daily takes me to the European side office from my crib on the Asian part of town. That is 3 hours of bumper to bumper traffic on equal terms with Moscow's Sadovoe Kaltso ride during "chas pik".

The days of wandering in the "land of the plenty" (not the US) may seem over but I still have some drafts hidden here and there and check back regularly to see what I have in store for you...anyway, You must be doing that since you are reading this post, the first one I have written in ages.

Another thing is that I applied for a US visa almost 3 months ago ato visit my sister and still waiting for the "administrative process" to be completed...do you think they do read my blog?...if they do, receiving a visa will be of comparable success and luck to Dinamo Minsk winning against Barcelona in the Champion's League Finals...

Let's get back to why you are reading this blog...stories...This one is about the cows and -isms...

No one really knows how the two-cow joke known as "Parable of the Isms" came about, but most students of Political Science 101 have likely come across some variation of the following definitions:
Socialism: You have two cows. The government takes one of them and gives it to your neighbor.

Communism: You have two cows. The government takes them both and provides you with milk.

Nazism: You have two cows. The government shoots you and takes the cows.

Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.
Satire it may be, but the essential truth of the "cow jokes" is what makes them funny.

The former Soviet republics are no longer defined so much by being formerly Soviet, as by what they have become after twenty years of independence. Yet the old categories - socialist, communist, capitalist, fascist - don't easily work to describe a region where political cultures draw on everything from Rome and Byzantium to Baghdad and Beijing. Let's see how the "parable of the isms" might offer a convenient shorthand guide to the fifteen states that once made up the USSR.

You have six cows and four bulls. Two of the bulls die from alcoholism, and the remaining two form a "tandem" to take the cows' milk and sell it to Germany and China.

You have four of the most productive cows on the farm, two of which allow themselves to be milked by Russia, which upsets the other two so much their milk goes sour.

You have two cows and one prize-winning bull. The bull is so distracted winning prizes that Russia runs away with both cows.

You have one cow which you savagely beat until it produces milk. The milk dries up after your last savage beating, so now you must sell the cow to Russia.

You have two cows and a calf, but the cows live in Italy and Russia and send milk home by Western Union. You ferment the milk into wine, and launch a frenzied campaign to join the EU. Meanwhile, the calf is stolen and sold by rustlers.

You have four cows, but three of them live in Los Angeles and think they are horses. They send money for you to build stables.

You have one cow that produces lots of excellent milk. You sell the milk to Farmer Browne and buy cattle prods from Israel and Turkey.

You had one cow but you sold it to buy a golden statue of a cow that rotates with the sun.

You have two cows that produce vast quantities of milk. You sell the milk, buy each cow a gold-plated cow bell, and declare yourself bull for life.

You have two cows: one Kyrgyz and one Uzbek; they hate each other and refuse to be milked. Instead of hay, feed them tulips. Then sell one each to Russia and the United States. After six months sell them again.

You have three cows: one Tajik, one Uzbek, and one Russian. You beat the Russian cow until it runs away, and use your misfortune to plead for international aid. Meanwhile Iran milks your remaining cows.

You have four cows. You let them drink all the water in the neighborhood swimming pool. Now no one can go swimming. You blame this on "corrupt and lawless elements," and volunteer to remain in power until the problem is solved.

The Baltic States
You have lost half your cows, for which you blame Russia and demand an apology. As consolation, the EU gives you a sleek Scandinavian-designed barn and NATO farmers teach you advanced milking techniques.

...and why not add Turkey?

Waiting for your additions :)

27 January 2011

New URL?

Yes I have bought a new adress for the blog...and a very imaginative one: www.theturkishinvasion.com

I will let you all know when I carry all the content (new and old) there...

Otherwise nothing has changed...new countries I visited and collected a lot of nonsense (a la turkishinvasion) for your enjoyment.

10 September 2010


I am designing a new page..a brand new website that does not necessarily focus on my travels and fun stuff but where I can also share my new music, mixtapes, stories and photos...and a bit more employer friendly :)

I will post the link here soon...but it will be hosted by wordpress...

Thanks for the loyal following

30 May 2010

Stakhano White Mixtapes

Some of you know that I have been producing mixtapes for a while...there are some alternative ways to reach those stuff now

1. Stakhano White Fan Page @ Facebook

More updates on my latest trip to Moscow will follow this...

29 March 2010

Some questions about the bombing

First of all it sounds quite easy for a person to wear a 2 to 4 kg of TNT on a belt and take ride through Moscow Subway, since there are no metal detectors (and no easy way to put on every single exit for a metro system of around 180 stations and up to 8 million passengers daily). So I can believe that some suicide bombers (regardless of their ambition) can easily sneak into the trains. Nobody would quite catch on a woman with a big belly on a Moscow train since most of the thin-bellied supermodels you are accustomed along with the russian image would sure prefer their husband- or lover-sponsored SUVs up above the crammed roads of Moscow. But the security is not that lax, of course. As I have written in this blog for a number of times, the passengers with a darker shade of hair (the darker your hair gets, the more crosshairs you can feel on yourself) are more prone to regular passport checks. Although comparable neatly clothed than many terrorist wanna-bees from Northern Caucasus, I was treated like one of them several times by Metro police and trust me, they are not joking (or were joking but not showing, since they let two real bombers do their job).

Some eye witness reports I have seen on the Russian web claim that the "terrorists" were wearing traditional muslim womenwear (or simply, black cloth covering all but eyes) on the train. That witness must be on some narcotics or having post traumatic stress. Dress up like an Afghan woman on Kabul bazaar and hop on the Moscow Metro; I am sure the loyal babushkas (old Russian laides) would gladly hand you over to the police on the next station, let alone the free roaming skinheads or neo-fascists (I call them the cossupt grandchildren of the generation who fought fascism). So it is almost impossible for a suicide bomber to look like a "suicide bomber from Chechnya" and walk free during a Moscow rush haour (which is the closest audition for the Armageddon). It is also not easy to brand a woman as such, since during rushhour almost every single member of the nations walking on this earth are represented in the Moscow Metro trains: From Nigerians of the African deserts to the deer hunter Yakuts of Siberia. So you cannot say that the woman with black hair is a suicide bomber; otherwise I would be a thousand times blown to pieces before.

As a result, branding the Chechens (although I have no intention to fraternize with them or whatsoever) may not be to blame. First of all, their cause is already lost one, with a stab in the back (the clans which united against the crumbling Red Army and mass decapitated untrained Russian recruits during the 90s, are now fighting a quasi-civil war between themselves and El Presidente Kadyrov is the game master) and the remnant hardline terrorists have been either one by one hunted by FSB (Russian Secret Service or KGB-renamed) in their hideouts in Turkey or the Gulf, or already presented their loyalty to the Russians in fear or gold (You may have seen them fighting fellow Georgians in the latest Ossettian War). These bombing will not , in my opinion, add some popular support to their cause (because the extremist islamic hordes are the bad guys of today). They were already losing ratings after they slaughtered children in Beslan Shootout.

I think of a deep-state bombing frenzy that would make the lazy Russians regain their Stalin-era "consciousness": Create an enemy (preferrable an internal one), polarize the nation and hide the agenda....that worked before (ask Stalin or even Putin).

Let's see what they are hiding now. Maybe the oil wells dried up or the natural gas just went natural...I would start saving some foreign currency if I was Russian.

Bombing the Metro

By a strange twist of fate, while guiding my colleagues around the not-so-crowded metro last week, I had to think for a while to describe the crowd that gathers underground during the rush hour...

I think someone else was also thinking about the same things; but with more evil deeds. This morning two bombs blasted in two central (and equally crowded) metro stations (lyubyanka and Park Kultury) in Moscow. The result (although not clear yet at the time of writing) is an undeniable carnage.

My condolences...
Note: Lyubyanka metro station is near/under the notorious KGB building...that makes me wonder. And Park Kultury station boats the longest escalator ever (which makes you think you are in a coal mine in Kuzbass), so escape from the blast would be a hard job.

18 March 2010


How can I agree more with Tim Newman (of White Sun of the Desert Blog) when he says:

...And of course, I love hanging out with Russians. You’d strangle them in an instant when you have to deal with them in a bank or governmental authority or company HR department, but meeting a Russian socially is always going to be a hoot, especially once they learn you’ve lived in Russia and can speak a bit of the language...

01 March 2010

How can you tell if you are in post-Soviet Union?

Normally I post my own writings here but I just could not resist this hillarious post by Carpetblogger. "How Can I Tell If I am In Crapistan?". I prefer not use the word "Crap" for the countries that I currently make business with but (excluding Baltic States) all post-Soviet Union countries may adhere to this list. Examine the list carefully, since it may give you a hint about what you will face (if you already have not)
Do passengers applaud after the plane lands?

Do passengers jump out of their seats just after the plane touches down (before the applause, even), grab their bags from the bins and run toward the front? (There is an inverse relationship between the likelihood passengers do this and the importance of the activities those passengers are rushing off the plane to get started doing.)

Are most bags on the carousel swathed in high-tension plastic wrap or held together with packing string? (Again, there is an inverse relationship between the amount of plastic wrap used and the value of the bags' contents.)

Can you see any signs, advertisements or instructions written in Cyrillic, even though you are in a country that does not use the Cyrillic alphabet? (But! It is axiomatic that if you are in a country that uses Cyrillic, you are in Crapistan. Don't even try to argue otherwise because you are wrong.)

Are you struck by the talent of local (Chinese!) designers in the medium of Bedazzling?

Pointy shoes. On men (that's sort of a gimme -- if you can't recognize this, you probably aren't ready for Crapistan). Shiny suits, too.

Do you see more than ten people carrying rainbow-colored "Rave Girl" plastic shopping bags?

Is Nescafe marketed as a superior alternative to coffee?

Can you buy beer in sidewalk kiosks? In the morning?

Do you fear for your safety? Crapistan is not particularly violent. The biggest danger is becoming collateral damage in a bar fight over prostitutes.

Is the Duty Free shop cash-only?

26 January 2010

Gas War Time

No it is not an article about Ukrainian Elections...We have to wait until 7th February to see who will be the next ruler of the almost-failed state of Ukraine. It is for sure that someone from the Eastern Ukraine Clan will be in office, either the hard boiled, Russo-backed Yanukovich of the Donetsk clan or Blonde Pitbull Timoshenko, the Gas Princess or the woman who isn't as beautiful as her deeds. It is clear that there will not be any Orange-ish Revolution-ish talk anymore; (CIA+Soros...You failed this time) but Russia also isn't in a big brother position either. I think only the loser is determined (even before the elections began) and it is the Ukrainian people.
When I was walking (or actually hopping on 30cms of hard ice on the pavement with -17 degrees weather) in Kiev last week, I came by a FX bureau with latest rates of 8 UAH for 1 USD. Thinking that it as a mere 4,5 UAH for 1 USD made me think that there is almost a 50% devaluation in a couple of months. The upscale restaurants which denied us tables for business dinners last year are now almost empty and, although hard to believe, 3 tip-ambitious waiters tended our table enthusiastically (almost beating Turkish ones) last Friday in a steak restaurant that had only one more table whose guests only drank wine and tasted a single cheeseplate for 5. Where has the glamour of the easy slavomoney gone?
Now back to the gas war. As you all know, Russia polishes its ultimate weapon every time temperature falls below zero: the gas! This is on the headlines for years now, but no sound alternative has broken Europe free from significant dependancy on Russian energy sources. We are used to the bloodless catfight between Russia and Ukraine every year and even the Ukrainians would inevitably welcome another winter with sporadic gas cuts, Russia now hits back his nearest cousin, Belarus, with the same stick.
I have witnessed no animosity in Belarus against Russia and I believe that no uneducated eye can see the differences between any Russian town and a Belorussian one (because there are none at all). The only difference may be that Belorussians are nicer, kinder , more civilized and cuter (Hello to all my colleagues in Minsk!); but Belarus seems not very comfortable with its "the only dictatorship in Europe" position and want to make their showstand against Russia for some benefits (or hopefully some hard cash in crisp euros) from EU. I don't know what they have received from EU so far except middle aged Italians looking for cheaper paid-sex in Minsk clubs; but it seems that Belarus will be receiving some friendly advice from Uncle Putin this winter in terms of some gas cuts.
Turkish Invasion never concludes an article without a solid suggestion:
Dear Belarussians, dial any Kievan number from the directory and ask how was the last winter, because you will be facing it too. Unless Almighty Lukashenko drills a hole in the pipelines to feed the state funded central heating system....and he needs some big drills since Minsk really gets cold in winter.
Also for those who are still craving some more to read, check this article from Washington Post if you are looking for a better English and a more independent viewpoint (I know I am a Russophile).
...and here is a beautiful comment Dinc received last month (but was too busy or lazy to post)

Dear Dinc, Belarus is not the only dictatorship in Europe, Russia would not
let Belarus to surpass itself in any field so they built a political system to
get rid of BElarus adjective...and they did it. Belarus isn't the only
dictatorship in Europe. Russia also is one.

Note: Turkish Invasion supports all current (and future) governments in which Dinc has (and will have) business interests. The term dictatorship in any text in this blog applies to dictatorship of the people and has a similar meaning to democracy as we know it in West.

30 December 2009

Happy New Year

Wow...what an amazing year! Let me continue my tradition and get personal about 2009 (just like I did last year)

1. What did you do in 2009 that you had never done before?

Going to a DJ-course, discovering that I am talented in mixing. (Here comes DJ Stakhanov White)

2. Did you keep your New Year resolutions for 2009?

Yes I did..at least I tried to be a better man

3. What countries did you visit?

Germany, UK, Ukraine (and the beloved autonomous republic of Crimea), Russia, Syria and Belarus. We tried to complete the "Axis of Evil Roadshow" this year but couldn't go to North Korea and Iraq (hopefully in 2010)

4. What would you like to have in 2010 that you did not have in 2009?

Peace and a DJ mixer

5. What date from 2009 is etched on your memory?

9.2008. I started my MBA courses...it is pain in any language

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Staying alive, employed, healthy, well off, well fed and beloved.

7. What was your biggest failure?

Ignoring simple human factors..both at work and at private life

8. What was the best thing you bought?

My new desktop PC. Some of my IT guys claim that it is faster than most of the servers at the office.

9. What did you get really really really really excited about?

Thinking that I really like my job

10. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Outsourcing the chores at home...and at work whenever I could

11. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Making people happy, unrequited...keeping to the "Always Can Do" policy

12. Did you fall in love in 2009?

Should I get that personal? Who cares about that?...even I don't

13. What was your favorite TV program?

Lost and How I Met Your Mother...and the funny thing is that I never watched them on TV. God bless Internet...

14. What was the best book you read?

"Comrades" by Robert Service. Reading this book simultanesously with MBA course books made me think that Kottler is a militant bolshevik.

15. What was your greatest musical discovery?

LeBatman...I love french house

16. What did you want and not get?

A tattoo...and I think I will never get one (I cannot deceive my senses that much)

17. What is one thing that made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

My cumulative net salary...I think I am paying more taxes than an affluent businessman in Turkey.

18. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

Suits...like a second skin

19. What kept you sane?

Dreams of a better future and my father's unbelievable moral support

20. What political issue stirred you the most?

I am living and working in or near the most stirred up political climates in the world. Am I clear with that answer? But I think Turkey is currently ina reprogramming phase where old players are discarded to make way for new ones. We will definitely see some shaking ground under our beliefs. Nobody seems innocent.

By the way check back what I have posted in 2008, 2007 and 2006 (and more here)about this...I think I am getting old and so does this blog.

I hope 2010 will bring the best for all of us...at least better than 2009 was.

Keep safe, sane, sober and away from Russia and any anarcho-communist tendencies...


Turkish Invasion Team
Dinc and Unemployed East German Cosmonaut Trainees

06 December 2009

Some things about Syria...

Ok I admit. I am either so lazy to write a picturesque guide to Syria or so busy with MBA and work . Well I know you won't go to that country either so you don't need a deep down guide. As you already know The Turkish Invasion Team had a brief getaway before the rest of the Turkish pour down like spring rain to capitalize on the recent cancellation of visas between two countries and start offloading cash to chinese made ornaments sold in oriental bazaars.

The strange fact is that one can find almost every good aspect of Syria (food, scenery (most of it desert), chinese products and history) in Southeastern Turkey without adhering to Syrian Hygene and Language. Since Turks are recently behaving like a caged animal because of the visa barriers that almost every civilized nation in the galaxy is imposing, now Syria, with no visas and daily tours, seems like a hot tourist destination. I am sure that many eager tourists will be disappointed to see local sights and sounds that they loathe in their own country and even pay money for this nonsense.

Another thing is the brief moment (what I call a Turkish Hesitation) before introducing yourself to locals. In Russia and Ukraine (and Belarus) the first reaction to my nationality is a mixture of feelings of dislike (I don't blame them after what we have done after 1991), in Europe it is something like fear (mixed with a bit of disdain) but in Syria (in direct contrast with another Arabic country Egypt) the feelings were almost friendly.

It is true that the distance to the imperial capital always counts in vast empires (like Ottoman Empire) and Syria, which was no less decently governed than an Anatolian region seems to have benefited more than average because it lies as a borderland between the Arabic Realm and the Turkish lands and a first foreign post and watering hole on the way to Hadj. One can see this from the blossoming architecture and the attitude of locals to Turks. In Egypt, where there was a vain vassal state, Ottomans or their puppets ruled with iron fist (with "take all,give none" policy) whereas Syrian locals and merchants benefited from the graces of the imperial trade and culture. That may explain our rather mild conversations with the locals (including the indigenous Turks who were born in Syria but schooled in Mother Turkey).

I am already so bored about writing this country and out of ideas so let's get to the part where I had most fun. The Q&A's

Here come the questions bombarded so far to my inbox:

So is Syria a dictatorship? (by Kemal)

Yes. Since no Arab country is a full fledged democracy or a sensible place to live a sensible life, Syria doesn't break the rules. Nevertheless, the people seems to be so happy with the government that the millions of state induced photo billboards of Essad family do not suffice the citizens that they handpaint their faces on every stone wall (and some of them look more like Obama than Bashar Essad). Although Turkish Invasion supports democracy or Jedi rule, I think we must leave the Syrians be happy with the demi-god Bashar in office.

What is the best gift from Syria? (by Ekaterina)

A safe return home without the bacteria that is yet to be discovered by modern science. Syrian Hygiene, especially in the toilets, defy any scientific achievement that mankind has made during the last three centuries. If you can manage without toilets, handshakes or touching any hard surfaces, the next best gift would be the Aleppo Sweets (a stylized version of baklava)

When is the best time to go to Syria? (by H20freak) (I loved that name)


Can you compare Russia with Syria? (by Jules)

An English friend once said "Russia is the Zaire of the North"...I can say that "Syria is the Zaire of Middle East" (without reference to Iraq, which is de facto an American enclave). Think of Israel; delete all Jews (Syrians would love that idea) and abolish all science and production; add dirty toilets and ta-daa you have Syria.

Can you compare Ukraine to Syria? (by Jules and John Sinclair) (My old comrade John is Ukraine's No1 fan because he thinks Ukraine is more corrupt than his inner mind)

Ukraine has better looking women and Syria does not have women. We recognized that we were not in an artificial male community when we saw some highly colourful women underwear in the local market. (I still think thet they are worn by men though.)

Can you compare Belarus to Syria? (by Jules)

Belarus cannot be compared to any country. It is Belarus (and I love it there)

Is it true that they have "pound" as a currency? (by Anonymous)

Yes but they prefer to call it "Suri". Don't worry if you have some Turkish liras crammed up somewhere in your pocket; liras rule in Aleppo. The only foreign land where Turkish lira is makes mroe value than the paper it is printed on.

Are there camels in the street? (by Ali)

Yes (really) they even butcher camels in the middle of the market so beware of the blood stains on your sneakers after a ride in the market (or Souk as they call it)

Are there livebombers in the street? (by John Sinclair)

Maybe but they prefer to stay lo-profile before their final exams in Israel.

What is the best food in Syria? (by Lelo)

Hummus. I guess this is the best food between Ankara and Addis-Ababa. No need to say that it is vegetarian. The other option is the falafel (deep fried vegetableballs)

...ask Turkish Invasion any more questions and I will be adding to this post.

07 November 2009

Coming soon on Axis of Evil Roadshow

Don't be surprised...I have been to The Arab Republic of Syria a while ago (we came from The Turkish Republic of Turkey). Hopefully not for business (fingers crossed for a North African country that I may visit soon for work) but leisure* with a couple of good friends to expolit the latest non-visa agreement between Turkey ans Syria (to remind the irony that Turkey had a Casus Belli against Syria roughly a decade ago and now we discover that we are buddies again.) I am not not a buddy to any Syrian and after my visit, I will not be in the near future (until they reach Europen Medieval levels of civilization)

The Axis of Evil Roadshow continues with Syria..invasion report coming soon...

Meet Team K.i.r.w.e
Field Commander Dinc Arslan and Saim Refig (King Refigius IV and inventor of Refi-Yoga)
Photo taken in Aleppo Citadel, Syria (somewhere near Iraq)

Turkish Invasion Blog is proud to be the web sponsor of Axis of Evil Roadshow by Dinc Arslan and Saim Refig (Team K.i.r.w.e), with the unshakeable determinism to visit all enemy (of USA) states aka Axis of Evil. Belarus and Syria already visited...next Cuba, Iran and North Korea (Iraq is delisted because it is a de facto American colony now, see the cartoon below)...and hopefully Afghanistan if the Team K.i.r.w.e loses their remaining sanity and will to live.

20 October 2009

Da, Mi Gavarim Paruski (Yes, We Spik Russian)

Ok, I gave up after some mails with boisterous comments to my Yes, We Spik English post. Of course the abuse of English is not only happening in Russia or Ukraine but I came to see that a lot of people have serious understanding problems (or maybe this is the majority of my readers' profile)

So, with this in my mind, I was wastingmy precious Sunday time in a newly opened shopping mall in Istanbul in my neighborhood (Yes, we have a shopping mall in every neighborhood in Turkey and we are still lagging somewhere in the middle between Bulgaria and Syria, both geographically and in a sense of economic provess) and I have seen this in a French supermarket...I am speechless

Welcome to carrefour, where prices are as right as we welcome you

First of all, I would expect a French store to at least write it correctly in "French". It must be Bienvenue not Bien Venu(and think, I don't speak French) and the funnier side is about the last one. It is in Russian. But why Russian? It is a well known fact that my suburban neighborhood houses an oblivious female slavic community who enjoy their trade away from the suspicious eyes of the traditionally close packed neighborhoods of Istanbul. So the French or their Turkish henchmen store manager must have thought to add a slavic welcome to their store...but they did it so French. They looked up in the dictionary for "welcome" and have written not "Welcome" but "to welcome". "приветствовать"is the verb...

I now understand that why the Parisian Spring of 68 started as a democratic revolution but ended up in a couple of months with half of Paris devastated and the workers who watched the students got beaten in the streets from their TVs got a 40% raise...the students? they got their mixed dorms after all...so French :)

07 October 2009

Another Comparison

A good friend of mine asked me about the difference between socialism and capitalism some time ago. Is it representative enough?

Turks in Ukraine, Part 4

I have seen this obscure hotel-cafe in Evpatoria, Crimea (which happens to be a part of Ukraine but acts like in Russia)

Meet CAFE PRYATNAYA VSTRECHA (~Pleasant Meeting), where pure Ukrainian beauty meets hot Azerbaidjani spice with silky Turkish hospitality.


Although Turkish Invasion is a non-profit entity with minimal backing from the funds of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Moldova, Dinc hereby presents his first discount for his loyal readers:

The owner of Pryatnaya Vstrecha will be glad to offer you a %7 discount with a pint of beer diluted with Black Sea water and an additional +4% discount if you are a good looking woman ,or you are with one, when you tell him that you are a fan of Turkish Invasion.

...and also please don't forget to add 50 hrivnas to the bill for the pistachios we forgot to pay for last time and drink responsibly, don't insult any locals and if you do...run.

Yes, We Spik English

"There is no debate that English is the global language that will serve you well in any country for any of your basic and survival needs; however things get a little messy when you end up in a country where not only the language is weird but the alphabet looks like it was created by a clown on acid" said one of my associates when he first landed in Ukraine some time ago.

For a russian speaker (with a hint of Ukrainian in it), I sometimes tend to overlook the joy of public communication in post soviet union and the agony that the non-speakers suffer. This suffering is alleviated by the "legendary" hospitality of the natives, some of whom owe this hospitability to their lack of language skills. They simply cannot reply back because they cannot understand English or they simply do not care about you (this includes the front line service personnel whose main job definition is the "care" for the customer)

But hopefully there is some awakening through the new generation who lived their pre-adolescence with a soviet passport and a pioneer badge; but had enough youth left after 1990 to reap the benefits of the newcoming capitalism. Since there are tourists and expats who have money to spend lavishly, they should deserve some care and here comes the notorious sign "Yes We Speak English" on the doors to some high street pharmacies and bootleg DVD stores. The former is a good sign for a non-russian speaking person on the urgency for a drug but the latter also works fine when you end up chatting for an hour with a ukrainian guy with a receding hairline who had his post-doctoral dissertation on French New Age Cinema but ended up selling pirate DVDs in a forgotten corner of a shady supermarket in Kiev.

But don't take this as an upheaval of the age long brutality of soviet customer service, it is just a minor breakthrough. Still don't believe me? Check out these gems I have collected...still more to come

This sign is up on The Minsk Airport walls for months, WELCOMing us to the slavic wonderland

The radiation shelter-cum-internet cafe in Kiev

No wonder this place is our favourite lunchtime hideout in Kiev...it is the only place to grab some decent food in 20 miles!

When you come to Kiev, try Cabbage Salad with "Green"...

22 September 2009

When you blog...

I don't know about Stalin but I am a bit hesitant to blog about Belarus when I am (still) in good terms with the government...

Anyway...my Minsk issue will be up this week.

19 September 2009

Kiev Nightlife (by Popular Demand)

I have received many positive and equally derogatory comments and mails after my testament against the sex tourism in Kiev and I think it is high time I paid my homage to the normal tourists and expats who have the best intentions to visit Kiev (for the churches, crumbling apartments and stinking Dnyeper beaches). This list is not, of course, a complete list of clubs because I am getting old and not a nightlife expert (anymore though), I also come to Kiev often but with a loaded business calendar (that would make Erich Koch's seem like a weekend trip) and hardly have energy to go back to my flat.

First of all, I knowingly disregard the gentlemen's clubs (or strip bars as you may call it anywhere else except Moscow and Kiev) because I am not a fan of this kind of entertainment and one can find a deep down analysis on the back of the "tourist" guides distributed democratically in the airport.

The first club of mention is Arena and it is conveniently located at the third floor of the entertainment complex of the same name. Normally an overpriced but interestingly affordable venue famous for its beers and its location in Mandarin Plaza, the very center of the city near Bessarabsky Market overlooking the newly defaced Lenin Statue on the crossing of Khreschatyk and Tarasa Schevchenko avenues. Arena is almost packed on Friday and Thursday and the packing material varies from prostitutes to the lost expats, the prices of drinks are over average and face control is said to have denied entry to many which verifies the aimless crowd wandering in the Mandarin Plaza terrace inside. It usually hosts guest DJs that you may never have heard if you don't spend your early teenhood in an industrial backyard off Arkhangelsk but the bpm is kept relatively high in direct relation with the prices.

Barsky, a chic neighbor overlooking the entrance of Arena, is a club that was hiding itself from the hordes of tourists last year but this year seems to have come to senses to steal some of the rich customers of Arena by live dancers near its entrance which is practicalyy 6 floors down. Past the face control there is a lift ride to a flavishly decorated club, which suggests that the owner of the club is either Russian or has been brainwashed somewhere deep in the Arabian desert. Another suggestion of the decoration with expensive looking gold and jewel clad furniture is also the pricing (though below Russian chic standarts) which is the highest in Kiev among its standarts. Be prepared to pay a 120 UAH for a cocktail and meet a lot of women with varying standarts of dignity and self-shame. The patrons of this club are (told to be) celebrities and debutantes so it may be a bad destination for a place to observe local entertainment. I have even witnessed a live vocal performance to a DJ set, which still denies my musical perceptive capabilities...if I have studied music theory, I would definitely find a term for this but I can sum up by saying that it was awful and equally absurd.

The Mandarin Plaza, view from Krasnaya Armeyskaya (Red Army)Street. Veterans of Red Army should still be sobbing to see this gigantic monument to capitalism rose in the center of Kiev.

Interior of Barsky

From the terrace of Barsky, watching the city sleep. I have met a bunch of "celebrities" there who welcomed and enjoyed my indifference to their celebrity-status

Patipa, a club with a weird name, is located at the other end of Khreschatyk and near the Dynamo Stadium. The proximity to the stadium should not deceive the reader because this club is a curious hybrid of all chic-wannabe clubs and a kindergarten. I personally think that a club should be personalised with its style of music so I don't usually go to clubs that host different kinds of music every other night. Patipa is a good example of such clubs which my partner-in-crime Jon would call "calenbars (short of calendar bars)". Every wednesday is a "Diskoteka 80-x" party where you can enjoy a delicate mix of soviet pop and europop of 90s (which I adore since the dark days of Moscow). The next day is a RNB party and dont go there unless you have a masters degree on slavic rap (some of my colleagues still have a curse on me for inviting them to Patipa on a Thursday night...what a mistake). Fridays and Saturdays are packed with a groovy crowd and the music choice varies from Tarkan to Tiesto.

Patipa Dancefloor...where all disco filth of Kiev accumulates

Another club is the notorious Decadence situated somewhere in the center on Shota Rustaveli Street. It is practically an expensive restaurant which surprisingly has a small dancefloor compared to its competitiors but this place has a flavour that invites almost all expats and locals with high paychecks to this place like flies to a streetlamp. I would definitely advise to networkers to dwell into this club on weekends to collect some business cards (if they can stand the drujm beating music, drunk millionaires and their equally sober golddigger girlfriends who seem like teleported from Milano Fashion Week seconds ago). Decadence is rumored to have the strictest face control policy (Check my facecontrol issue about Moscow) but any business suit or a ballroom dress would guarantee a way in and this attire would not flash in the club since everyone is dressed accordingly. The drinks are overpriced (just like Barsky) but I can say that they are also not watered down as expected.

Looks can be deceiving: This lavish restaurant becomes a decadence house where sinners are the winners

Avalon, a highly advertised multi-storied entertainment complex, houses a casino, a restaurant, a kalyan-bar (simply a floor full of cushions and a lot of hookah smoke) and two-story bar with a giant casette player decoration on the disco wall. It surprisingly gets full on even weekdays after 2 am and the crowd is a mixed one, ranging from Turkish "engineering" students (who cannot even speak Russian though they are "studying" there foır 2 years) to post office girls celebrating a birthday. The drinks are not expensive but the music is always a weird mix of soviet pop to Britney Spears.

Let's not overexaggerate the talents of DJs

Other clubs that I know of are Caribbean Club (advised to all mehikano-latino looking guys to dance salsa with local middle aged enthusiasts), Tsar Project (an obscure chic club near the Water Museum in Marijnskiy Park)and Hidrozone in the scary Hydropark area. Nobody advises to go to Hidrozone but it is still on the night club lists.


Note: Turkish Invasion strongly suggets you eat your vegetables, get some fresh air, go to bed early and stay out of drugs, alcohol and any other misconduct thet the former two may bring in Kiev.