Citizen of the World [Archives:1998/08/Last Page]

February 23 1998

Dr. Kural is a professor of Mining Engineering at the Technical University of Engineering of Istanbul. He graduated with the degree in mining engineering from the faculty of mining at Istanbul Technical University in 1972. He received his MS degree in Mining Economics from Columbia University, New York in 1973. His special research interests are in the fields of coal technology, briquetting and air pollution. He is a member of the Chamber of Turkish Mining Engineers, the Turkish National Committee of World Mining Congresses, the International Peat Society, Istanbul Technical University Alumni Society and the Society of the Protection of Natural Life. He wrote a book about coal and 4 books about traveling in which he mentioned features in about 8 or 9 countries he has visited.
Dr. Salah Haddash, from the Yemen Times, talked to Mr. Kural.

Q: Could you tell us about your world travel?
A: I’ve traveled to about 160 countries. I’m against all the wars and all the money that is spent on warfare. I believe that by improving tourism between two countries they will develop better friendship and these wars will finish one day.

Q: What is the purpose of your visit to Yemen
A: Actually, I came to Yemen for the purpose of consolidating the friendship between our two countries. We all know that Turkish people had a certain image about Yemen. There was a Turkish presence here a long time ago. Many still remember Yemen’s excellent coffee. On the other hand, they still have in mind those Turkish people who were killed here during that time.

Q: Could you tell us more about your other activities?
A: I’m making two television programs in Istanbul in two channels and I’m also likely to publish a newspaper in Turkey about traveling. I’m also making on Fridays, a weekly program about tourism. I present a particular country by showing various aspects of its culture, and I might host a person from that country to talk about it.

Q: What about the travelers club?
A: I’m also the head of a travelers’ club I opened in Istanbul. I’m trying to gather world travelers in one place to exchange information. We are going to open the club’s new building in 3 months.
To be a member of our club, you should visit at least 20 countries. With us in the club there is a very famous photographer who is going to write an article about Yemen in Turkish newspapers, especially in the Sky Life, a Turkish airline magazine. I’m writing for other newspapers. I think that by these efforts more people will be interested in Yemen because they still don’t know much about it. All that they know about Yemen is coffee. We are going to tell them about the nature here, the sky, the landscapes, the buildings and the architecture. In my opinion, Yemen is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

Q: Do you have any plans for promoting Yemen to Turkish tourists?
A: In order to make traveling easier between Turkey and Yemen, we make great efforts to offer better facilities for the tourists. We have talked with the Yemeni embassy, and the officials there were very nice to us. But, still I think that we need to do more. Unfortunately, our program here is very limited this time. We only have 4 days. We did not visit Aden or Hadhramaut.

Q: What are the negative and positive things in this country?
A: I see that nearly everybody here wears a knife around his waist (jambia). This I believe is negative because when you are angry and you have a weapon, you might kill somebody. I was worried if people use them and I was really afraid about that. Another thing is that I see people here all chew qat. I have seen qat in India but I think that in Yemen they use it more.
What I really liked in Yemen is your food. It is very delicious and so we tried to learn how to make it so as not to miss your food in the future. And concerning food, you have so many things in common with us. For example, you say pamia and we have the same word.
And something very good I have seen here is that two areas of yours are protected by the UN. This is important for you because you have many beautiful old buildings which you have to protect and have yet to be repaired. In the future, I believe that many people will come here to see these buildings.