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Beyond the Coast

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 »


Tarik Ayasun Before I leave my house on the way to work every day, I go through the kitchen and walk into a pantry which then leads into my garage. There are no windows in the pantry; therefore I do have to turn on the pantry light to see the garage door. Last Monday morning when I switched on the pantry lights I could hardly see in front of me. Wondering why the room was still dark, I looked up at the light fixture on the ceiling. The two bulbs in the fixture resembled two flickering candles in a glass ... Read More »

236 years old and still kicking… Semper Fidelis

Tarik Ayasun  The United States Marine Corps turned 236 on November 10, 2011, and my wife and I had the honor and privilege of attending the Commandant’s Birthday Ball at the Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Center on the historic Potomac River in Washington, DC. We were the invited guests of our daughter Major Suzan Thompson and our son-in-law Major Gary Thompson. This was a black-tie event for the civilians and evening dress or dress blues for all the Marines who were attending the ball. It was a picture perfect Washington, DC fall evening, a bit chilly for us Floridians. ... Read More »

America’s secret (!) weapons?

Tarik Ayasun  I received anxious email messages and telephone calls from many of my friends, as well as a number of readers of this newspaper last week, wondering if any members of my family in Turkey were affected by the earthquake which devastated a city in Eastern Turkey. Some emails came from people I have never met. This was so very American and so very heartwarming to say the least. The only thing some of these emailers knew about me was the fact that I was born and raised in Turkey until I decided to come to America and become ... Read More »

Israel, Palestinian Statehood and the USA …

Tarik Ayasun If you pick up a map of the Middle East and see how tiny the State of Israel is; try looking at a map of the world and try and find Israel on it. This is a truly daunting task because Israel is indeed a very small yet very significant little democracy in the Middle East. In effect, it is the ONLY democracy, surrounded by countries run by dictators, kings, emirs and sultans. Israel is an ally of the United States and at the present time in grave danger of attack from her so called neighbors. Yet, the ... Read More »

Pearl Harbor to September 11

BEYOND THE COAST  Tarik Ayasun  It has been ten years since America was attacked by a band of terrorists who on that day wanted to destroy America; kill as many Americans as possible and fire the first shot in the Holy Jihad which they declared against America. Despite recent efforts on the contrary by some who are trying to re-write history, this was neither an attack on Western Civilization nor the West in general. This was an attack on America, a cowardly attack on American exceptionalism and a vicious attack on our fellow Americans by Al Qaida terrorists acting in the ... Read More »

The Ultimate Sacrifice…

By  Tarik Ayasun Saturday morning we woke up to the grim news that we lost 22 of our “best of the best” Navy SEALS, members of the tough Seal Team Six in Afghanistan. While others debate whether the Taliban shot down their Chinook during a night raid or whether it was mechanical failure that brought down their helicopter, we as Americans must mourn the loss of these young men who dedicated their lives to protect all of us so we can continue to enjoy being Americans, live in a free country and continue to feel free every morning we wake ... Read More »

Che Guevara, Angela Davis, Coastland Mall and beyond…

By Tarik Ayasun I am a shopaholic and a shameless people watcher. So what do I do when I have a free Saturday when my wife is out of town helping our daughter move into her new home in Washington, DC? I spend my afternoon shopping and people-watching at Coastland Mall in Naples, of course. That is exactly what I was doing on a recent Saturday afternoon. After purchasing a number of polo shirts I did not need; two pairs of pants I probably will never wear and a pair of shoes I have no place for in my closet, I ... Read More »

Independence Day July 4, 2011…

By Tarik Ayasun I was not yet living in America when on August 28, 1963, a young preacher in Atlanta named Martin Luther King Jr., uttered the following words: “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. . . . I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out ... Read More »

From Arab Spring to Persian Summer

By Tarik Ayasun What is correctly named “Arab Spring” is continuing to heat up the Middle East without an end in sight. As predicted earlier in this column, Muslim Brotherhood started to show its strength in Egypt; elections hoped for by all Tunisians have been delayed; President of Yemen has been injured in an assassination attempt and moved to Saudi Arabia for treatment leaving Yemen in the hands of various tribes and rebels who have no definite plans for the future; protesters have been subdued in Bahrain; and an undeclared, aimless and leaderless war continues to deplete our resources in ... Read More »

Obsession with details…

By Tarik Ayasun We as Americans in general are obsessed with “details.” Sometimes this obsession may be educational as it increases our knowledge of many different things around us; sometimes it may be entertaining as we get to read about all the minute details of the lives of our favorite Hollywood stars and sometimes it may even be interesting to find out about how things work. There is one occasion when our obsession with details is neither necessary nor useful. That is when it comes to details of military operations. Last week, I wrote about the operation to find, terminate and ... Read More »

Do you know where Syria is? School days…

By Tarik Ayasun Last Friday afternoon, I went to the Barnes and Noble store at the Waterside shops. My intention was to check out some new books and just sit in peace, type a story on my laptop and have some strong dark coffee. I must confess I also like the smell and feel of new books and there is no better place than a book-store to smell and feel as many books as possible by walking through the many aisles. After my walk-through, I sat down, turned on my laptop and started to look up current news items in ... Read More »

Words of wisdom….

By Tarik Ayasun Whenever I am overwhelmed with world news and think there are no solutions to the problems that surround us, I sit back in my chair and travel back to my childhood in the streets of Istanbul. I think of all the sunny summers and snowy winters, allergy filled springs and sad days of fall. Memories of those simpler times soothe my senses and bring back some joy to my otherwise busy days. Growing up in country full of traditions and strict rules covering our everyday lives, it was always refreshing to be with grandparents whose unconditional love and ... Read More »

They are coming to…

By Tarik Ayasun It is 5 AM Saturday morning on Marco Island, March 19, 2011. Everything is still, there is a full moon over the Island and other than some distant sirens, it is absolutely quiet. My Rhapsody music program is in full swing and I am listening to Frankie Lymon singing “Only fools fall in love”… Life is good; I say to myself and watch a newspaper truck deliver the Saturday paper. I walk out and pick up the paper. All of a sudden I find myself in Sendai, Japan. It is the aftermath of a devastating earthquake and an ... Read More »