Maşallah! & Allah Korusun!

'Allah Korusun' AND 'Maşallah' with melons

Way back in the mists of time and memory, when J and I used to visit Turkey for work as well as pleasure, I was drawn to the number of buses and trucks (and even the occasional car) that sported either ‘Maşallah’ or ‘Allah Korusun’. Wherever we travelled in this vast country there they’d be – plastered across the cabs or tailboards of trucks; above the back windows of coaches and dolmuş (shared mini-bus). It might have said ‘Kamıl Koç’ or ‘Pamukkale’ or ‘Maersk Shipping’

Allah Korusun in Kastamonu

along the sides of these vehicles, but there was obviously a common denominator binding them into a couple of huge, national conglomerates. And why not? After all, back then, with much of the economy nationalised and centralised, there wasn’t the variety of big companies you see today. Tekel supplied booze and tobacco and Petrol Ofisi supplied fuel – that was it!

Allah Korusun in Artvin (minibus is doing the overtaking)

It was years before I realised that ‘Maşallah’ and ‘Allah Korusun’ were not a couple of huge, nationalised logistics companies but rather a philosophical observation on the insanity of venturing out onto Turkey’s murderous roads in the company of penilely challenged, existentially oblivious male drivers.

Here are a few examples where the gods did not ‘korusun'; and some fine examples where ‘Maşallah!’ is the only appropriate response.

Maşallah, indeed!

‘Maşallah’ (variously interpreted as ‘My God!’, ‘Wonderful!’, or ‘I can’t believe what I’m seeing/hearing!’ etc) and ‘Allah Korusun’ (God Protects – or not).

Petrol Ofisi Allah Korusun
Allah Korusun in Kars - why make 3 trips . .
Dolmuş - stuffed bus Maşallah!

. . and finally, because when I used this picture in a post about the newly named ‘Bayonce Fly’ from Australia, it generated a staggering number of ‘Maşallah, Maşallahs!’ from Turkish fans who did not appear to share my interest in entomology (I have no records for English or Strine speakers).

Beyonce Maşallah!

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

Maşallah! & Allah Korusun!

18 thoughts on “Maşallah! & Allah Korusun!

  1. My goodness, it had you stumped back then. After the word “capak” (eye-booger), masallah was one of the first things I learned after asking what words I would see/hear most commonly on our first trip.

    Now I want to know what you did that brought you to Turkey in your past life!!!

    Glad to see you back to clever writing and reflection.

    Liz Cameron recently posted..Of foxes and fur shops: Karagöz negates Ataturk’s brilliant negociating lessonMy Profile

  2. Nicholas says:

    That what’s make Turkish drivers and their peculiar vehicles stand out. Too bad there will always be some road mishaps as a result of their recklessness.

  3. Christine says:

    I particularly love the ‘afro hay truck’! Imagine the loading…
    As for driving in Turkey, on my first venture in a rented car many years ago a Turkish driver explained the basic ‘rules’ of the road to me. It did the trick – after that, things seemed quite logical, à la turque of course.

  4. Margarita says:

    Have you heard of bereket versin? This means something like “Thank you, it is plenty”. In my country Bulgaria we use a lot of Turkish words for slang. Me and my family visited Istanbul last year – just 5 hour drive for us. When I told them that we were neighbors, they said “komshu”. Striking culture and historical treasures.

  5. Loved this post, Alan, and your photos are priceless. My father-in-law owned a wholesale produce and food staples business (rice, flour, other grains) so I am well-acquainted with the over-the-top, literally and figuratively-speaking, truckloads careening around Turkey. Maşallah, indeed. :-) My kids and I spent this past summer with my in-laws on the Black Sea and several times a week we’d make the hour-long dolmus ride to Trabzon. Imagine all the conversation with my astounded kids – “Why did that truck just do that? Why didn’t that car stop for the light?” My feeble response was usually something like, “That’s just how they drive here.” By summer’s end whenever my kids saw some outrageous vehicular maneuver, they’d simply say, “Oh, Turkish style.”

    Justine Ickes recently posted..There’s No Place Like HomeMy Profile

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