SQUIZ THE WORLD (1400 × 700px)

Squiz the World goes to… Turkey

Map of Turkey: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Map-of-Turkey-http-pasinexcom-location-maps_fig1_272493266
Top 10 tourist attractions of Istanbul: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwmjJvM_rLs
The Trojan Horse story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTTRjZAOFrI
Manti recipe: https://www.giverecipe.com/turkish-dumplings-manti/


Each week, we give the world globe a spin, and see where we land. Then we take the kids of Australia on an audio excursion to visit that country and its people.

I’m Amanda Bower, and today on Squiz the World we’re visiting a country that does not love its English name. You see, a “turkey” isn’t just a flightless bird –  in my opinion, not the prettiest bird in the world. The word is also used to describe someone or something that is completely unsuccessful. You know, “that movie was a real turkey.”

So it’s perhaps not surprising that in 2022, the government of Turkey asked the rest of the world to call them by the name they call themselves – Türkiye. It doesn’t sound all that different, but the spelling has changed a bit – Turkiye. And of course, there’s so much more to a country than its name! Let’s strap ourselves into the Squiz Kids Super Fast Supersonic Jetliner as we take off and take a squiz at Turkey.

Turkey is what’s known as a transcontinental country – which means its population of 85 million people is spread over more than one continent. The west is in Europe, and the east is in Asia. I’ll put a map in your episode notes. Turkey’s biggest city, Istanbul, is the only city in the world that straddles two continents.

Istanbul—which has been known by many other names—is a huge city that’s been important throughout most of world history.
It was the capital of the Byzantine Empire, from the year 395 until the 15th century. When that Empire was defeated, Istanbul became the seat of power for the Ottoman Empire, which covered huge parts of southwest Europe, east Asia, and even Northern Africa.

All those different influences can be seen in Istanbul – there’s an Ancient Roman Hippodrome where chariot races were once held… there are Egyptian obelisks… a 6th century mosque… and rare Christian mosaics. I’ll put a link in your episode notes to a video showing some of the highlights.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Istanbul is still the capital, but when the Republic of Turkey was established after WWI, a city called Ankara became the capital. That’s where its government meets, and its president lives.

The entire country of Turkey is littered with important historical sites, including the city of Troy – I’ll put a link in your episode notes to the story of the Trojan horse, which personally I find a bit hard to believe – and Mount Ararat, where many Christians believe Noah’s ark may have come to rest.

Whenever you travel, it’s important to learn a few words in that country’s language. It’s a great way to show respect. So, let’s….

The Turkish constitution states that the only official language in Turkey is Turkish. So, it’s the only language used in schools, in government, and in the media. That can be tricky for people who speak one of the 30 other languages found in Turkey!

We have a very special Squiz Kid here to teach us some Turkish… take it away, Laith!
Laith, thank you so much! And Squiz Kids, in case you were wondering… the Turkish word for the bird turkey is “hindi”…
Now that we can communicate a little bit, it’s….

Remember we said the city of Istanbul is divided between those two continents… so some kids live in Europe, and take a 25 minute ferry ride to Asia to get to school! And, of course, vice versa. How cool is that?

School is compulsory in Turkey from the age of six to 14 – four years of primary school and four years of middle school. Then, kids can take an exam to go on to either a high school that leads to university, or a high school that leads to a job.
From grade 1 to grade 3, there’s a compulsory subject in Turkish schools called Hayat Bilgisi. The literal translation of Hayat Bilgisi is life knowledge… it’s all about having a good attitude, being emotionally intelligent, and learning how to behave in a kind way. It’s kind of like you’re studying how to be a good human. I wonder why that isn’t compulsory everywhere?

Here’s one thing that IS studied by kids in Australia and Turkey… and also in New Zealand. It’s something that happened back in World War One, and we remember it every April 25. Can you guess? Let’s get into the Squiz Kids time machine as we head to a beach in Turkey called Gallipoli…

During WWI, Turkey was allied with Germany, which means it was on Germany’s side. Australia and New Zealand had joined England to fight against the Germans and Turks… and in April 1915, ANZAC troops were supposed to land on, and take over, Turkish beaches.

On April 25, the ANZACs landed. But they’d been sent to the wrong beach, and instead of having an easy passage up the beach and onto land, there were cliffs looming over them… and Turkish machine guns on top of those cliffs.

On that first day alone, 2,000 ANZACs were killed. The battle for Gallipoli went on for eight brutal months, with about a quarter of a MILLION casualties on EACH side. Instead of it ending with the British and their allies marching into Istanbul, it ended with them admitting defeat and retreating.

Fast forward more than 100 years, and the battle for Gallipoli is still a very important event in the histories of Turkey, Australia, and New Zealand. The battle helped those countries get a stronger sense of their national identity – remember, back then, Australia and New Zealand had only been their own countries for a few years, and the Turks had not yet fought their war of independence from the Ottoman Empire.

After being bitter enemies, Turkey and Australia managed to find peace, and friendship. Turkey was the first Middle Eastern country that Australia signed an immigration agreement with, in 1967, which allowed Turkish people to come and live and work here… and today, there are almost 100,000 Australians with Turkish heritage.

Mmmm… just thinking about the Turkish people I know in Sydney, who run a restaurant, has my mouth watering. I think it must be…

Have you ever eaten the stuffed flatbreads called gozleme? The flaky pastry called baklava? Or a lamb kebab? Then you’ve already eaten Turkish food.

The national dish of Turkey, though, is something called manti. It’s a type of dumpling filled with lamb or beef, and topped with garlicky yogurt and spicy butter sauces.

Yum yum yum yum yum! There’s a recipe in your episode notes.

This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening.

Question 1. Turkey is spread over which two continents?
Question 2. What is the name of Turkey biggest city? Extra point if you can also name the capital.
Question 3. What is the name of the beach on which the ANZAC troops landed?