Phillip Hotton's Page
Received from Phillip Hotton, June 13, 1998.
NO. 1: This shot was taken on top of a section of the old wall around the town. There was no easy way to reach this section. Three of us managed it by a combination of boosting and pulling. We hoped to reach the tower in the background. (We didnt!) We were feeling full of ourselves just for making it to the parapet. Notice the grass growing on two thousand years of windblown soil. When we reached the far end of the grass, we found a goat tethered there! A humbling sight. How did the goat get there? I have absolutely no idea.
NO. 2: This shot was taken from the third floor balcony of our apartment. We rented a hotel with our joint living funds and divided it into apartments. The hotel only had about eight rooms or so and was named the Sinop Palas Oteli (I believe). JAMMAT-TUSLOG helped us replace the Turkish "bomb sights" with western style plumbing.
It had snowed the night before the picture was taken and not much was moving in town. A very large, mostly white, wolf wandered into town that afternoon to check out our garbage cans in the courtyard. (Americans were known to have a very high class of garbage) . My apartment buddy, Wallace R. Lonsway decided to go down to snap a picture of the wolf and I decided to stay on the balcony and snap a shot of Wally being SNAPPED by the wolf. However, our cooks brother Ahmet Bas (bosh) broke up the fun by making a lot of noise to scare the wolf off.
NO. 3: Here is yours truly trying to look cool in front of a monument to a sea battle in the 1850s (with the Russians I think). Notice the small anchors on the cannon balls mounted on the corners. The shirt I am wearing has its own story. It was bought from a small store across and down the street from where we lived. A little history lesson is appropriate here, Turkey and Germany were allies during World War I, Turkey was officially neutral during World War II. Many displaced Germans moved to Turkey after these wars. The proprietor of the store was one. He was not an aggressive sort but he had an obvious dislike for the Americans in town. We only went to him when we really needed something he sold. We referred to him among ourselves as "our NAZI".
Date: Tue, 26 May 1998 08:58:59 PDT
From: "Phil Hotton" <email@example.com>
Subject: The Sinop soccer field
Sinop and Gerze, a small town on the coast about 40 km (25 miles) east, had an intense rivalry. The soccer field was not much to look at, no grass, mostly sand and a lot of very small stones.
When I arrived in Sinop in the Spring of 1955 I heard a story from the locals of a British archaeology team who had done some digging around town a few years previously. Apparently they told the town fathers that there was some reason to believe that the soccer field was covering a circa 500 b.c. Greek agora. Agoras were the malls of their time, real happenin' places. The Brits wanted to excavate but the Turks would sooner have allowed them to dig at the Mosque.
Some Pictures from Phil - - - - Received June12, 1998.
I only attended one soccer game during my year in Turkey. Like most countries in the world, the Turks take soccer very very seriously. How seriously? The refs did have the power to make arrests and, I heard, to carry side arms tho' I never saw one with a pistol.
In 1955 Gerze defeated Sinop. I don't remember the score. There was a lot of bad feeling around town but no incidents that I was aware of. A few months later most of Gerze burned to the ground with a great loss of life. Many citizens had taken refuge in the local "Turkish" bath (hamam?) There was lots of water there but no air and several men, women and children died. The cause of the fire was definitely determined to be an accident. However, for several months after, there was a faint feeling around Sinop that it was Kismet (fate) and it happened Inshallah (God willing). Different times....different places....different points of view.
Date: 11:15 AM 5/9/98
From: Phil Hotton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I was in Sinop from April 55 thru March 56. I don't think that I would recognize it today. The ops shack on the "hill" was literally a shack . There were never more that 12 of us in town at one time, usually less. Included were one GI cook who couldn't so we kept him sloshed all the time and hired locals Ali Bas to cook and his brother Ahmet as a go-pher. We could do this as JAMMAT-TUSLOG was paying us a rather generous per-diem rate. We were also given one a very good mechanic who took care of our site's diesel power as well as our lone 3/4 ton and one forlorn deuce and a half which was naturally referred to as the iki bochuk or just iki bo.
I was a 204.6 (if that still has the same meaning). I could go on and on about living off the local economy for hours. I will be glad to tell what it was like. Most times were good and many of them are pretty funny, like the week Ali Bas actually cornered the market in Sinop for all the Turkish beer and what the local Turkish "mafia" did about it. I am a late comer to e-mail and hope this works.
Date: Wed, 13 May 1998 09:03:40 PDT
From: "phillip hotton" <email@example.com>
Subject: The Sinop Mafia circa 1955-56
So who was the Mafia and what do they have to do with Ali Bas and Turkish beer? The local "Mafia" were actually three very honest, incorruptible gentlemen. The Fire Chief, the Police Chief and the Mayor of Sinop. Of these three, the "Godfather" was the Fire Chief. The currency of these men was respect. If you gave it you got it! Problems within and without local law were handled by them.
The beer.....About once a month a small ship would arrive in Sinop carrying the occasional passenger and a great deal of freight for the local merchants. Among this stuff was the towns entire month's supply of Turkish beer.
Ali Bas........The opportunity of a life time. (Ali was our cook at time) He went out to the ship, met the broker on board and bought every bottle on board......at a premium price meaning to resell it at one hell of a profit later. (This guy was one great cook but, not the sharpest knife in the drawer).
The next evening Ali was summoned to what passed as the Sinop fire house for a private meeting. The following morning Ali seemed to have undergone a spiritual awakening as he decided to sell all his beer to the local merchants at their old prices. It must have set him back plenty (bankruptville)!
I guess the boys must have made him an offer he couldn't refuse.
May 21, 1998.
In the mid 1950's Sinop was a small satellite operation HQ'd from Samsun. No barracks, no PX, no commissary, no EM, NCO or Officers Clubs. No mess hall....you get the idea NOTHING!
There were usually a dozen of us in town including one First Lieutenant the rest of us were ASA EM. We could order PX stuff and commissary supplies from Ankara once a month. A deuce and a half would deliver to us via Samsun. For everything else we had to rely on the local economy. It wasn't as tough as it may sound. We chipped in "dues" to buy canned goods from Ankara and fresh food on the local market. We also had to buy firewood, beds, sheets, blankets.....you get the idea.
Now, here is the great part. JAMMAT-TUSLOG gave us a generous perdiem in addition to our pay. I can't recall the amount but I remember that I was a PFC at the time and the perdiem was about triple my base pay. It gets better. The Turkish official exchange rate was 2.8 Lira per Dollar but in order to keep the dollars off the black market JAMMAT gave ten Lira per Dollar. This doesn't sound great today but listen up.... 1 Lira then would buy on the street in Sinop about what one Dollar would in the States in 1955........two loaves of bread or two dozen eggs, two kilos of ground mutton (God how I hated mutton!).
One Lira would cop you a haircut at Nazmi Kuru's NATO Barberi, half a Lira (50 Kurus) a really close shave. Nazmi would be in his 90's today (if he hasn't become metaphysically challenged). His son (forgotten the name) was about 13 then and could use a straight razor better than his old man. Does anyone out there know of him and if he took over the shop? He would be about 55. The next time I will cover stuff we did to blend in with the locals and their economy......some of it funny, little was exciting but we were never bored.
Copyright © Phillip Hotton, 1999. All Rights Reserved