Thursday, October 21, 2010

Crescent Fertile and Cotton King

In the 1980s, the Turks began implementing a plan (GAP) to dam the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, both of which rise in Turkey's mountains, for hydro-electric power and irrigation. Some two dozen dams have been built, thousands of square miles flooded, and some cultural treasures lost; but some found, as we'll see in Gaziantep. It is impressive to compare an irrigated field, in these parts, with an non-irrigated field next to it. Undoubtedly there has been much new employment and economic gain. The fertile crescent, at least this northern-most part of it, is fertile once again. Cotton is everywhere. And so we cruised along through southern Turkey, not Louisiana nor Texarkana, still hoping to find a Shorty's or a Sonny's or a Bubba's or some other BBQ, Vicki singing "Oh when those cotton balls get rotten/You can't pick you very much cotton/In them old cotton fields back home." I was still crooning "I left my heart in Nemrut Dagi."
The Ataturk Dam, on the Euphrates, near where we spent
Sunday night, at a sort of lay-by; said to be the world's 4th

An irrigation canal in Harran

An irrigation channel and a green field of cotton behind it,
near Ackakale, on the Syrian border; everywhere, people
were out in the fields picking cotton

The roads were crammed with over-loaded trucks carrying
cotton to market

The highways themselves were cotton-lined as the stuff
blew out of the bags on the trucks; and there were gleaners,
apparently, picking up the loose stuff, re-bagging it, and
selling it on from highway stands with their own scales

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