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Tara’s father: Hamdi Bilsel

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Tara’s Grandfather Orhan Hamdi Alisbah

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TURKISH HANDS

On a mountain trail in Ihlara valley in Goreme, a handsome mountain goat of a man explained to my eight year old son the porousness of the rock, the geology of the valley, and the need to take care on the smooth stones… I couldn’t hear him through the wind, but I could understand almost everything he said.

I was watching the phenomenon of Turkish hands. The physicality of Turkish people is unmistakable and, without question, one of their most impressive features, at least to their more awkward Western cousins. Still, after four years in Turkey, it took me until that moment to realize how loaded their gestures actually are--each has a specific use and meaning, and if you know them, you almost don’t need to know Turkish in order to get around. There are, of course, other fiercely gesticulating cultures; excitable

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Tara’s Greatgrandfather Cemil Bilsel

Tara’s  Great Great grandfather Turhan Pasa

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