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Sitting pretty -- pigeon love and hate in Turkey
1.       Roswitha
4132 posts
 09 Apr 2008 Wed 04:02 pm

Greek Member of the European Parliament Yiannis Glavakis caused a furor in Turkey this week by asking the EU to step in and pay for pigeon prevention measures at the Aya Sofya Museum in the heart of historic İstanbul.
According to the motion he put to the Parliament, during his last visit to the former Byzantine church Hagia Sophia -- as it was known until 1453 -- the aforementioned birds were damaging the structure of the building and creating a stink inside. He said that he had witnessed large numbers of pigeons around the building and some nesting inside the main dome. He explained the great spiritual importance of Hagia Sophia to the Greek people and tried to persuade the EU that, despite being outside their current borders, the mosque was “a work of art that constituted a bridge between civilizations -- Hagia Sophia belongs to all humanity.”
According to his research the building’s lifespan could be reduced by up to 50 percent if it continues to be a place where pigeons gather. He claimed that the windows, architraves and ground floor have already been left to the mercy of the feathered pests. Glavakis asked the EU to fund wire barriers, similar to those already used in London and Venice, to prevent the birds from nesting.

While these aims may be noble, the plea was soured for the Turkish population when he added that the building had sustained other “major damage during the Ottoman period.” An unnamed source on the staff at the museum admitted that there were two or three pairs of pigeons who had entered through broken windows, but said they posed no threat to the ornate internal decorations. He stated that Glavakis had exploited a legitimate problem for political ends. Whether or not his motivation in drawing attention to the plight of the Hagia Sophia is innocent of political motive, one cannot deny that pigeons and their mess pose problems all over Turkey. Doves may well be an international symbol of peace and goodwill, but pigeons droppings seem to create exactly the opposite atmosphere. In February of this year Nuray Güleç finally won a two-year case against her upstairs neighbors whereby they were ordered to pay her YTL 6,000 in reparations and to remove the basket that she claimed was a feeding box for the flying vermin within a period of five days.

The defendants, the Haraçcı family, protested their innocence insisting that the basket was a clothes peg holder and adding, “Our balcony is shuttered and closed off, we are not bird breeders but our local area is full of trees -- it is the seagulls and pigeons that perch on these trees and the roof that create the mess.” Güleç, who claims to have suffered at the hands of the family for 14 years, took exception to the excuses offered to her and sued them for damages. Despite having won the case, the basket at the heart of the dispute is still in place as the Haraçcı family are appealing the court decision against them.

Güleç should consider herself lucky that her neighbors are settling their differences through the legal system, Şaban Ölker from İstanbul was not so fortunate. In the same month that Güleç won her case, he lost his life after a fight over a pigeon. He had gone to visit his friend Adnan Sezgin and in an act of sadistic cruelty ripped the wings off of one of Adnan’s pigeons. The furious Adnan swung at him and punched him in the head. Şaban returned home with a bruised face and depressed spirits and told his wife about the argument over the bird. He went to bed shortly after eating his dinner and never rose from his bed again. His wife Nurhan found him dead the next morning and Sezgin was arrested pending a post mortem to ascertain cause of death. Sezgin is not the only Turkish person to hold pigeons in great esteem. In Konya in central Turkey, Sedat Koçak has recently set up the Şebap Pigeon Lovers Society, which already boasts 194 members. The tumbler pigeons they breed were first imported to Konya from Syria a few years ago and in auctions held by the society, the birds have fetched prices ranging between YTL 250 (around $18 and YTL 25,000 (the purchase price of a modest new car). Koçak claims there are 10,000 people breeding pigeons in Konya alone.

There are even those who claim that pigeons can be a tourist attraction rather than a repellent pest. In Giresun, Dursun Taşdemir is fighting to save the public toilet that he runs from demolition. Earmarked by the council for destruction since it was built on land designated as a green-belt site, the toilet is considered by Taşdemir to be an addition to the tourist attractions of the town. He has taken a building formerly in ruins, renovated it, kept it clean and neat as a pin, festooned the wash basin area with ivy and flowers, and installed two aquariums, 30 canaries, a pair of parrots and seven pigeons; no wonder tourists can’t miss this eccentric photo opportunity. With demo-lition imminent Taşdemir is asking the council to give him an alternative site to relocate his latrine menagerie. Perhaps the Hagia Sophia pigeons should ask for the same?


Zaman
09.06.2007

2.       Roswitha
4132 posts
 09 Apr 2008 Wed 11:06 pm

Why are they not experimenting with some kind of sound pitches which humans cannot hear. As an example they use them for dogs on private properties.

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