1. Where did the idea of making a program called “Ayna (Mirror)” come from? How did Ayna news program has changed into Ayna documentary-travel program?
First in 1992, we thought to reflect all events and news with all their real aspects, just like a mirror. With this program, we planned to show whatever we saw and observed just as it is onto the TV screen. In 1995, gradually we started to record foreign program files. The lacking in travel-documentary programs in Turkey has lead us to making this program. When we dived into the subject, we realized that there was a great need in this field, in our country.
2. You have traveled to many countries in the world. Which countries affected you most and why?
I think we have been mostly affected by the African countries. Exploited African countries who still suffer poverty among all that natural beauties. African countries are the most explicit examples to what colonial regimes can do to a country. All their possessions have been taken away, local people themselves have been emancipated and now suffer terribly from hunger and poverty.
3. You are going to many different countries. Did you ever experiment a situation in which you fell into a conflict with local legal codes? Did you go through such a dangerous case? Have you got an unforgottable memory?
As Ayna team, we carry out a thorough investigation before we go any country. We take necessary legal permissions beforehand. We prepare all we need in advance. If we had not do all these preparations, we would have experienced great difficulties during our filmings, because, especially in some certain countries, legal permissions are extremely important.
4. Did you go in war zones?
We had filmed in some war zones. We were in battle front day and night in Afghanistan. We have witnessed the situation of children aged only 14 who were holding submachine guns. They were holding heavy weapons with the hands that were supposed to hold pen, pencil, books and notebooks. There, Taliban sent 4 bombs targeting our Ayna team. We were saved by the help of Allah. While battle was going on in the fronts, the rest of the country was striving to stay alive. The public was straining against hunger and poverty. Naturally, all educational services were halted.
5. How is the perception of Turkey in relation to the EU membership process?
We witnessed that in countries which you least expect, our struggle in becoming a member to the EU is closely observed. For example, even in Mauritius, a tiny island country with a population of 1 million and 200 thousand, we have heard official statesmen congratulating us by saying “OOOh, Now you are within the European Union!” In Madagaskar also people regard us as Europeans. These two countries are situated in the middle of Indian Ocean, very far from Turkey. However, they follow the developments related to us surprisingly closely. I think these two examples are adequate for the expectations from the other countries.
6. How do you think the situation of expatriate Turks?
Our people are eager initiators all around the world. You come across Turks in places you would never imagine. From Phillipines to Uganda, from Kenya to Colombia, our Turkish people have gone and represent us and seek an answer to the question of “How can we contribute to the economy?” in these countries. If you meant the Turks who are not citizens of Turkey, then I would like to say that we have seen Turks in many different countries from Moldovia to Yakutistan, in Mongolia, in Turkic republics, in Afghanistan andin many other countries. It has been very difficult, though, to communicate with Yakut Turks in our Turkish. Because their language has been greatly affected by Russian and contains many Russian words and prefer speaking Russian most of the time. But whenever you ask them to count they straightaway start counting in Turkish. They still believe in Shaman religion. The language that Gagavuz Turks use is very similar to ours. They mostly live in Moldovia. Gagavuz Turks are mostly Christians.
7. You met many people from various faiths and religions. Do you think that faiths have a common ground?
I must initially state that all the religions have got one common ground, that is, worshipping God. I saw people in a Buddhist temple in Korea performing countless prostrations. No matter what faith they follow, all religions are founded upon worshipping. I witnessed similar prostration actions in China and some other countries as well. All religions involve reverence to God, respect to human, prohibitions like not telling lies, not to obtain things illegitimately and so on.
8. What is our deficiencies in advertising our country and tourism?
Despite being very rich in touristic resources, Turkey does not make full use of these values. We see that other countries make much more investment for tourism. When we do not see the advertising activities held in other countries are not carried out in our country, we always ask “Why not our country involve in such works?”
9. Where on the world that you did not go, yet? Where are you planning to go in near future?
We have visited most of the prominent countries of the world. Next year, we are planning to visit countries of South America. Also, we are thinking to film in Greenland. By the will of God, we are thinking to stay in ice hotels and reflect our audience the excitement of travelling on sledges pulled by dogs.
10. Are you thinking to make a book from your experiences, or write articles for periodicals?
There is a very keen interest from both my friends and from our audience in publishing a book containing all our travel experience. Time to time, I share my observations with an audience through some conferences. Although not very regularly, but my travel articles are published in Zaman newspaper's Sunday addition. I am planning to publish a book in the future.
11. Which of the cuisines of the world you liked most? There are some theses claiming that level of civilization is closely related to the cuisines. Do you agree with this?
Since we really love and used to the very rich Turkish cuisine, we sometimes have difficulty when tasting foreign meals. But I must say that nations with very ancient historical background, also have a very rich cuisine. Chinese cuisine or Arab cuisine has outstanding tastes. But my choice is always the Turkish cuisine.
12. After some time, the work life becomes a routine. Is it the same for a person whose work is traveling?
It's not routine, but very difficult and tiring. We want always present high quality programs for our audience. We want to raise the bar all the time. For this, we are always traveling and strive for producing something really worth to watch. We want that our audience, after watching our program, to have a good taste in their minds, completely contented, both visually and in information-wise. For quality audience, you need to produce quality programs. We never thought that our work is traveling, for when you are working by traveling, it is not like traveling for fun. We are engaged in constant search for new subjects. Moreover, we face with many troublesome difficulties in relation to visiting some countries, such as, contrast weather conditions, lack of hygiene or frustrating bureaucracy. Apart from all this we have to race against the time. We have to complete all our program in a short time and return Turkey and make the program ready for its broadcast date. In short, it is exhausting, but it is also very satisfying.
13. You are married and for at least a week of each month you are abroad. How do you keep the balance between your work and your wife?
And this is the sore point. Sometimes for 20 days in a month I have to stay away from Turkey. Sometimes this covers the whole month. It is very difficult to stay away from my wife and my son and this is an ongoing situation. As it is difficult for me, it is also difficult for them. I try to compensate as much as I can during my stays in Turkey. Since we work in the same profession, my wife understands me very well. Although it is very difficult for her, she still give the all support that she can. Next to her self-denial efforts, my sacrifice remains very little.