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Beyond the Coast

Middle East – A powder keg…


Beyond the Coast Events in the Middle East are heating up rapidly and will most probably be coming to a conclusion; one way or the other very soon. In order for the readers to connect the dots and make their own conclusions, I will list my interpretation of the latest events and the countries involved. SYRIA By far the most dangerous situation of all is playing out in Syria. Dictator Bashar Al-Assad is taking advantage of the rudderless and leaderless West and has been indiscriminately killing his own people for the last year or so. The latest news as of ... Read More »

A most memorable Thanksgiving…

Turkey merchant in Istanbul.

  BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun Thanksgiving 1975, will remain as one of the most memorable and strange Thanksgiving holidays for my wife and me. We were living in Istanbul, Turkey while I completed my compulsory military service in the Turkish Armed Forces. My wife and our one year old son lived in the first floor of my childhood home while I was stationed in the small western town of Bornova. Since I could not communicate directly with her from our base, we had to wait until weekends when I could call her from nearby hotels where I spent short ... Read More »

On Heroes and Cowards

Sean Smith.

          A hero is defined as someone who deliberately and courageously overcomes obstacles for the benefit of others without regard to personal consequences. A coward is defined as a person who shows disgraceful fear and shameful lack of courage or fortitude under difficult conditions at the expense of others. This week, as we learn more and more details of what happened in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012; we as Americans must get to know more about and celebrate the lives of our American heroes and condemn those cowards who let them be murdered by a ... Read More »

A real and growing danger…

BEYOND THE COAST  Tarik Ayasun When the last US troops left Iraq, Al-Qaida terrorists were believed to have around 1,000 fighters remaining in the area. The last intelligence estimates clearly indicate that there are now more than 2,500 fighters; and various new terrorist training camps have opened all around the desert areas of Iraq and the numbers of these terrorists are growing daily. In Afghanistan, the Taliban is re-organizing and getting ready to take over as soon as our combat troops leave sometime during 2014. We will be leaving approximately 30,000 Special Forces and other military personnel behind, however it ... Read More »

What Is Going On In Mali?

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun Most readers may not be familiar with Mali, a landlocked country in interior Western Africa, twice the size of Texas, divided into three natural zones; the Southern, cultivated Sudanese area; the Central semiarid Sahelian; and the Northern, arid Saharan. It is located to the southwest of Algeria, north of Guinea, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, east of Mauretania and west of Niger. It is important to note the history of Mali in order to grasp the importance of what is going on and what it means to future problems in the region caused by the ... Read More »

Primitive Savages… Sept. 11, 2012

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun Exactly eleven years to the day, primitive savages in Libya attacked the American Consulate in Benghazi and assassinated our Ambassador Christopher Stevens along with three others; two of whom happened to be former SEALS. Earlier in the same day more primitive savages in Cairo, Egypt attacked the American embassy, climbed over the walls, entered the embassy grounds, shredded our flag and burned it. Further attacks followed on September 12 and 13, in Yemen and Tunis as well as Bangladesh, Pakistan and Morocco. Official reason given was the showing of an obscure movie; a 15 minute ... Read More »

No Better Friend… No Worse Enemy…

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun I am visiting my family in Northern Virginia. Sitting by a small spring-fed lake in this very peaceful neighborhood on the outskirts of our Nation’s Capital, I am reading the local papers, following international news on the internet and talking to some of my old friends on the phone as I catch up on world news. Hearing and reading the almost daily news stories about Afghan soldiers killing our troops who are there to train them for a better future; hearing the fascist leader Ahmedinejad of Iran hatefully declaring “The Zionist regime and the Zionists ... Read More »

United Nations out… United Democratic Nations in…

BEYOND THE COAST  Tarik Ayasun After two issues where I did not have my column, I am back. There are so many things to write about, one needs to be choosy, not by choice but by circumstance. One of the most important events of the past two weeks was the Syrian Government’s shooting down of a Turkish F-4 reconnaissance jet. Syria claimed that the jet was violating their territory and Turkey claimed it was not. Nevertheless, the plane was shot down and two young Turkish pilots were killed. Their bodies were retrieved by an American company (Nautilus) and their nationally ... Read More »


      By Donna Fiala Shirlee and Brian Barcic report that they went to the new, upgraded and upscale Sam Snead’s Tavern located in Lely Resort! They were so impressed with the service, the atmosphere, the cleanliness, the prices and the great food that they will invite their friends to go with them the next time. They tell me the Creamed Mushroom and Spinach soup was just fantastic, but they only serve it on Monday, I guess. They have different home-made soups every day of the week, so call ahead to ask what their soup of the day ... Read More »

68 hour non-visit…

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun Before the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, we were able to travel freely and do business with our customers in Tehran. In 1976, I was working for an export company located in New Jersey. My sales territory included Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt. I had to make frequent trips to these areas to visit our customers and take orders. While traveling to the area was difficult at times due to complicated flight arrangements, it was not considered dangerous. My company had two major distributors located in Tehran who purchased tractor tires from us ... Read More »

A World View…

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun I read a number of international newspapers, magazines and watch and listen to international news every day. It is important to be aware of the international environment because one way or the other all international events affect our day to day lives here in America. We do not live in a vacuum and every decision we make at work or at home needs to take world events into consideration. I follow the speeches given by world leaders, their interactions with other world leaders and make my own mind up about where we are headed as ... Read More »

What happened to humanity?

BEYOND THE COAST  Tarik Ayasun There is a railroad box car perched upon a trailer in the parking lot of the Marco Island Charter Middle School. It belongs to the Holocaust Museum & Education Center of Southwest Florida. The day it was brought to the campus, I walked around it, looked under it, walked up the stairs to the door and touched the wooden siding. However, I was unable to bring myself to go inside it. What this railroad car represents is a most horrible time in human history. As I kept looking at the railroad car, images of young ... Read More »

Dulce et Decorum est…

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun Spc. Dennis Weichel, 29, of the Rhode Island National Guard died in Afghanistan last week with what the Pentagon news release said was “due to injuries received in a noncombat related incident.” I did not know Spc. Dennis Weichel. I do not know his family or the three young children he left behind. However, I decided to write this piece about him because I think he is an American hero who embodied everything our country stands for and more. In the aftermath of the incident where a US Army Sergeant allegedly massacred nine Afghan ... Read More »

Living with traditions and proverbs

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun My friends and my business associates are used to it by now. I still remain faithful to a lot of Turkish traditions I grew up with and use hundreds of proverbs which apply to daily life. I learned these traditions and proverbs through my interactions with the elders in my family, especially from my dear grandfather who had barely escaped the wrath of the Bolsheviks during the Communist Revolution in his homeland of Tblisi, Georgia back in 1917. He would never directly give his advice or opinion on matters; instead he would tell you ... Read More »


BEYOND THE COAST by Tarik Ayasun Since the March of 2011, news from Syria sometimes dominated the news and other times played second fiddle to the domestic political scene here in America. Unfortunately, most Americans may not be able to locate Syria on a map of the Middle East, let alone on a world map. The geographical location of Syria is important not only to her immediate neighbors; Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon but to the rest of the region. Syria has a long coast on the Eastern Mediterranean hosting at least three major ports which would provide ... Read More »

THE VIRGIN MARY’S HOUSE, Miracles and more

Tarik Ayasun There are a few traditions and places which are holy to both Christians and Muslims. One such place is “The House of the Virgin” in Western Turkey located in a nature park between Ephesus and Seljuk and believed to be the last residence of Virgin Mary (Meryemana or Mother Miriam in Turkish.) This place is considered sacred and is visited by many tourists and pilgrims every year. As a young man growing up in Turkey I had a number of opportunities to visit this location since my mother was a true believer in the miracles of Virgin ... Read More »

Moving to Marco Island…

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun It was a cold and dreary New Jersey February in 1985, when I flew down to sunny Trinidad and Tobago to visit my customer and personal friend Everard Scott. He met me as usual at the Port-of-Spain airport and drove me to the upside down Hilton where I would spend the week. The hotel is called upside down because it sits atop a hill and all the floors are built along the edge of a cliff below the lobby level. Floor numbers start from 1 and go to minus 12 as the elevator takes you ... Read More »

Connecting Continents… Crossing Bridges…

BEYOND THE COAST  Tarik Ayasun Everyone must know by now that I was born and lived the first 20 years of my life in Istanbul; a mysterious, photogenic and historic city on the shores of the Bosporus Straits, that divides the continents of Europe and Asia. As a young boy growing up in Istanbul, the only way we could get across the Bosporus to see our family members who lived on the “other side” or to go to any city which was located in Anatolia (Asia Minor) which comprises 85 percent of the land mass of the country; we had ... Read More »


BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun We are coming to the end of another year in our lives. In a few days, it is going to be a new year; it will take at least a month before we get used to writing 2012 on our documents; we will all be a year older and hopefully a little wiser. I am a believer in the importance of how our knowledge of history determines our future. So, at the end of each year, I sit down and make a list of the important international events of the past year and save them ... Read More »

Who will dominate the middle east?

Tarik Ayasun A new and strange battle for domination of the Islamic world is being fought in the Middle East. On one side is Shiite Iran, on the other side is Sunni Turkey and the battlefield is Syria. Why is this an important battle and what will it mean for the geopolitics of the area? Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, two Middle Eastern dictators, want to form a united front against their neighbor Turkey, a NATO ally, which on this issue seems to have the silent backing of the US Government. Both Iran ... Read More »