Okçular? Where’s That Then?

After 18 years living in the farming village of Okçular near Ortaca in Muğla province in the SW of Turkey, there are so many stories to tell; some are cautionary, some are interesting and some are downright hilarious. From the day we arrived there has hardly been a dull moment.

Adjusting to a radically different culture and mind-set will, inevitably, bring moments of gaping disbelief followed by moments of sublime insight. Some, usually middle-class, Turks will tell you with pride that they are Europeanised – they are not, and may it please any powers that be that they never should become Europeanised what they already are is wonderful; passionate, anarchic, welcoming, warm, crazy, protective, family oriented – all of the things we once thought we had in the country I used to call home. Now here, in Okçular, is where I am really at home; never in my life have I felt so strongly that this is where I belong.

Why ‘Archers of Okçular’? Well, Okçular is the Turkish word for an Archer, and the blog started life as a political blog ‘taking pot-shots . . showing reality’ so the title was appropriate.

This blog, on the other hand, will traverse time and bend reality, just like the Tardis, from present day happenings to past adventures where memories have dimmed somewhat and frequent re-telling of tales has led to exaggerated new realities. But then, what the hell – a good yarn is a good yarn! Our life in Turkey has been full of interest and J and I don’t have a single regret about coming to live here – even when in the depths of some bureaucratic black hole (as we occasionally are) we have conjured up memories that have lifted our spirits; good, positive reasons why we love it here. Every morning we look out of our bedroom window and say to each other ‘Oh no! Not another beautiful day in Turkey!’

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

34 thoughts on “Okçular? Where’s That Then?

  1. Hello,

    Dear webmaster, I visited your website is excellent, I would love to have it in my links on my web page sites of Istanbul, so my visitors can visit you too.

    And you ask me a link to my websites and so benefit both more visits.

    I await your response.


    Jackie Silva

  2. I love your description of Turkish people – I’ve only ever visited the country briefly, but the one Turkish person I know – the publican’s husband in our village pub back home in the UK – is delightful – warm, friendly, and adores my Spanish husband. Neither of them understands a word the other says, so they just drink beer together, chat and smile. I think it’s a male Mediterranean thing – some kind of bond, anyway. Marat does a mean fish barbeque every week, and my elderly parents never miss it.

    1. we have a neighbour called Recep; he and I communicate by gestures and smiles alone. He speaks a local dialect so neither of us has enough Turkish to do it any other way. Pity he doesn’t drink!

  3. Turkey has always been a land of great fascination for me because I guess I have had the privilege of having so many Turkish neighbors and friends in Germany. One of my great Turkish friends relocated back to Istanbul two years ago. She is one of those you would call the “Europeanized Turks” as her grandparents were “guest workers”-in Deutschland we call it Gastarbeiter- and she was born in Germany and speaks fluent German and English. I am not sure whether she speaks good Turkish but she tells me she is having an awesome time over there. Reading this post reminds me of the warmth and friendliness of the Turkish people I grew up with. I am definitely planning to pay a visit soon. Perhaps, when there is time I will pass by Okçular to experience the excitement.

    1. thank you Danielle and welcome to Archers. If you do come by our corner of Turkey then do get in contact it would be our pleasure. Spring with all our flowers is always the best time.

  4. I like how you end the post by saying “Not another beautiful day in Turkey” I have never been there and I’m sure that it is a really beautiful place going vby the pictures on Google. For now, all I can say is “Lucky you!”

    1. Hi CS and welcome to Archers! Turkey is indeed a beautiful place – but in common with so much of the world it is being dismantled by the greed of the economic system.

  5. Hi Alan
    Great post I love turkey we sailed our boat down the coast of turkey from just above the island of lesbos all the way down to bod rum helped by the sometimes rather blowy meltemi we had such a good time and found the Turkish people very welcoming. Will come back later to read some more of your posts.

    Great memories lee

    1. Thanks Lee, glad you enjoyed the ramblings! J and I used to sail out of Queenboro’ and had a boat here until a few years ago and so appreciate the pleasures of the Turkish coast.

  6. Actually I think this is among the most vital information for me. And i am glad reading your article. But want to remark on some general things, the web site style is ideal, the articles is really excellent. Thank you for sharing with us. I think it would be effective for all. Good job, cheers! invites you to read

  7. How many Turks knew the English word “ocular” (similar to their okcular word) means vision or optical. I’m always amazed that some words in other cultures tend to sound/written the same yet differ in meaning. We often giggles when a foreign word means something “weird” in our own.

    1. Hi HFLED! Interesting subject – words. In this case we are saying ‘Okçular’ pronounced ‘Okchewlar’ which means ‘Archers’ in Turkish.

  8. i agree that turkey has always been a land of great fascination.i am glad to reading your article.But want to remark on some general things, the web site style is ideal, the articles is really excellent. Thank you for sharing with us.

  9. when i studies in Australia. i had one friend from Turkey. He is such a nice nicenice person ever. never thought Turkish would be this nice. like seriously. i dont know why people try to say that i should hate turkish. Sry if it is not so related to the topic of the post. but really i love turkish people and i will go to Turkey one day of my life. love love

  10. I like the way you end the post by saying: “Not another beautiful day in Turkey” I’ve never been there and I’m sure this is a really beautiful place will VBY photos on Google. For now, all I can say is “lucky you!

  11. Hi Alan, Turkey is a beautiful bridge, hosting nice people like you. It’s the birthplace of agriculture, economy and philosophy. Now it’s being synthesized with Islamic cultures. All the living things are wellcomed here. Let’s make this beautiful bridge humanity’s transition place.

  12. Hi Alen wow that’s an amazing article about turkey.U made me say turkey is going to be the first new place that am gonna visit.Ur narration increased my fascination.Loved Ur article as well as turkey……….:)

    1. Hi Surya and welcome to Archers! Both Turkey and I thank you for the compliment – this country will not disappoint you.

  13. Hi Alan. That is a great contraption you are building for your friend Gulay in your back yard. Hope it goes well for you and especially for her. Will be at the Mandalinn from late next Tuesday. Do pop by with Janet if you are about. I will have my IPAD if you want to connect before you come. Don’t know if I will make it to your beautiful valley this time, my knee is the problem. Looking forward to more tales of Iran. The concert looks good. Best wishes. Mary

  14. I love that you are using This is Turkey as your by-line! I learned this phrase last year and it certainly helped me since then. I even blogged about it: mikeandyulia.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/how-to-survive-in-kayseri/
    I really enjoyed reading your post about expats – so witty and so fun to read! I look forward to reading more things on your blog.

    1. Hi Yulia (and Mike) and welcome to Archers! enjoyed your photos from Cappadoccia on your post – it’s a lovely area although it’s been a few years since we visited. Bet there are some changes – funny thing is we were offered a semi-cave house in reasonable condition for next to nothing back then. We declined, wanting an uncomplicated life – do I regret that? some and some!

  15. I am a turk have been living in Texas for the last 8 years. Originally from Bursa I miss my home dearly. I am so glad I came across to your blog Mr.Alan read 37 pages (not posts) in a single night ! My dad’s grandfather is one of the oldest photographers of my hometown therefore my father has a huge archive of vintage photos from early stages of the republic once I get back for a vacation I would like to send you one as a gift for all you guys have done to your community.

    1. Deniz, thank you so very much for your warm words. We understand very well how you miss this beautiful, sometimes crazy country – after living here for more than 18 years we have never felt more at home anywhere else. We are blessed to have wonderful neighbours who care for us as we do them. We wouldn’t be anywhere else! When you return/visit Turkey again, if you are anywhere near Muğla then I urge you to get in contact – I think it would be great to meet up.

  16. @Alan – I was in kusadasi this summer maybe next or the other summer when I come there I will visit mugla fethiye definitely to visit my childhood friend. He just opened a fishing shop there last month. It’s b.o.t fishing in fethiye. He is very knowledgeable about fishing his parents also moved to mugla in a village last year but not sure which one was it.

Leave a Reply to Alan Cancel reply