Living in Turkey for the last two months, I’ve gotten used to seeing a lot of construction oddities. There is a lot less regulation, which sometimes also means a lot less planning when it comes to construction. For example, last month, thruway tunnels that were built under Ankara’s heavily used Ataturk Boulevard to reduce traffic were in danger of being closed. Why? Safety reasons, no. Paperwork, yes. It turned out the tunnels were built before all authorizations went through, and the mayor of Cankaya (a borough in Ankara), was threatening to close the tunnels in his district. It was all a political move, and public opinion for keeping the tunnels open has held out in the end. But still, because the construction happened without all the permits, the threat is there.
However, it’s not just the occasional road work obstacle that crops up. When I moved to my second apartment in Ankara, one of the first things I noticed was a shining, glistening, modern skyscraper at the end of Üğür Mumcu Cadessi, the trendy boulevard near my apartment. I said to myself, “Wow, this is a perfect example of Turkey’s rapid development. This skyscraper is the perfect image.” Little did I know how perfect it was as a few days later, I learned from my British expat friend that the building is a twenty year-old incomplete debacle.
The bottom of the building is still gutted, and the building appears hollow inside.
According to my friend, the group or groups overseeing the construction kept running out of money sporadically, so the construction has been in spurts. According to him, nothing has been going on for at least a few years. Meanwhile, a huge crane continues to sit precariously at the top. Thankfully, Ankara is not an earthquake zone!
So, yes it is true that Turkey has seen major development during the last ten years including immaculate new malls, tall high rises, and more, but at the same time a number of construction projects around lie stalled, or worse. This is just another one of Turkey’s forgotten buildings, and this week’s Friday find.
I’m kicking off what I hope will be a regular Friday post, “The Friday Find!” Since arriving in Turkey, I’ve stumbled upon a number of surprises, quirks, funny signs, and other interesting segments of Turkey that do not necessarily need a full blown article.
For example, I never expected to find a Popeye’s in Turkey, never mind the fact that you’ll find them in nearly every big city mall. A lot of these finds may have absolutely nothing to do with Turkish culture or have any significant value, but hey, it’s Friday. Let the miscellany begin!
When I switched locations for my Turkish classes, I began walking by a huge McDonald’s with advertisements in Turkish for the McDonald’s Breakfast all over its windows. I’m not a big fast food person, but I am a die hard Mickey D’s breakfast supporter. So after walking by images of Pancakes, “Donut”, and the Big Breakfast, I had to give it a go.
After ordering, I was asked by the cashier to go sit down. I thought, “Why…it should only take a few minutes for my hotcakes to come out?” But a few minutes later, I actually noticed them cracking an egg and whisking in the kitchen. Suddenly, I knew I was in for more than the average McDonald’s hotcake.
So, here I was waiting at in a Turkish McDonalds for my hotcakes, hash brown, and tea to be brought to my table by the staff. Only in Turkey! And that’s today’s delicious Friday Find.