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OASIS IN AVANOS

Writer: Ayça Olcaytu İşçen
August 2004

When you go up to the high ground in Ürgüp, Avanos, Göreme or Uçhisar and turn your direction to Avanos you will see green area on the slope of a hill of a borough. This area which is called “Bağlar Street”, exists like an oasis in naked land, may even be the most green place of Cappadocia. After we learned that Osman Yüksel, who is the owner of Efor Tourism & Travel Agency, one of the tourism firms of this region, has connection with this place we wanted to add it to our program. Osman Yüksel explained us what he did in his vineyard and he entertained us with honor and respect, he was very hospitable. We listened the story of this vineyard with the coolness in trellis, noise of wind on the branches of tree, smell of kinds of flowers and tea. Our first question to Osman Yüksel who did journalism for long years was “Where does viniculture come from?” He answered as “I am child of this region, I am from Göre. I borned and growed in Göre. My real aim since my university years was to be an owner of farm.” He also explained as follows:

“Körlük’s”(*) story of becoming vineyard
“I established the first trip agency of Avanos in 1988. Güray Tüysüz, who is the owner of Güray Pottery, was representative of our agency on these days. On one day of December of 1989 he and his father took away me to the region, which is called vineyard of village. There were bunch of grapes in the cold month here. I was very embarrassed of course. After I ate from these grapes I decided to have vineyard in this region. After 7 years I learned that this place was on sale and by doing not any bargain I bought it. It was very bad and neglected vineyard; it was “Körlük”. We also faced with other obstacles. People from Avanos firstly did not accept us. They supposed that we will make a vineyard house and women will be danced and will prepare entertainments in there. But after they learned what we want to do they accepted us and now they consult us about everything.”
After living without any person, electricity and water next year Osman Yüksel arranged test bore to find water, but he did not get positive result from this. They brought electricity from 600-700 m. distance after that everything is improved fastly, they decreased up to 260 m. in test bores. They found mineral water, which has got good quality and taste, they made content analysis in MTA (General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration) and they learned that is good for heart diseases. In these days people are filling small pond in vineyard with mineral water and they get into it to get cure.
Kinds of tree and grape were very few in vineyard. Yüksel, who has vaccination knowledge, did different vaccinations to same tree in order to increase the number of tree and to get more than one kind of fruit. For example, he vaccinated yellow plum for jam to one side of the plum tree, plum which can not be ate before it becomes ripe to one side of the plum tree and apricot to another side of the plum tree. He explains the formula of the vaccination as follows: “Trees having one seed are family of each other, their genes are compatible. They are peach, almond, apricot and plum. You can vaccinate all of them to each other. We tried it and we were successful, now we are eating their fruits. We are eating apricot from almond tree, pulm from apricot tree. We also used mahaleb (kind of wild cherry) which can grow up by itself in forest and is very valuable according to me. Mahaleb is very nice tree. Because 90% of trees always pass from its root and give other trees from their roots and cover the garden. But if you vaccinate cherry to mahaleb tree this will be vaccinated cherry to the mahaleb tree and mahaleb tree will not progress. It does not give anything from its root and does not cover your garden. Because of this it is an ideal tree to vaccinate. Our success rate in vaccinations, which we did in vineyard is approximately 90%. Even 50% is good success in vaccination, we have passed over this rate.”

Nineteen kinds of grape
Osman Yüksel adds new kinds to his vineyard in each year. He brought “Kalecik Karası” and “Cabarnet” which is a French grape in this year. “Emir” which is the grape of this neighborhood, İzmir having no seed, “Black Dimrit” and “İsmailoğlu” are only the four of the nineteen kinds of grape in vineyard. There are not only the grapes in vineyard there are also twelve kinds of apple, ten kinds of pear, eleven kinds of pulm, apricot, cherry and even raspberry in vineyard. Outside of fruit there are eight kinds of pine, twelve kinds of rose, kinds of violet, hyacinth, lily, sweet william, velvet, garden pink, orchid and flower. Vegetables should not be forgot; tomato, pepper, romaine lettuce, radish, corn, bean, cucumber, eggplant…The new aim of him about variety is kiwi and cornelian cherry when we asked him: “Is there any kind that you tried but could not raise?” he answered as follows: “I tried the trees which are not in the region but it did not happen. For example we could not raise olive, pomegranate and fig. Why we could not raise them? They are not resistant against frost. But I accomplished to raise kinds of fruit, which were not here. For example raspberry, blackberry, “Deveci Pear” of Samsun, yellow cherry for jam. Raspberry liked this climate very much. We gave the vaccination of Deveci pear to most of the people, so it became more in neighborhood.”
When we see big walnut tree, which is 250 years old, we became anxious and asked that “When will the walnut tree be cut off?” He also says that “You can even sow walnut but it must be waited at least for 50 years to has very good pictures and veins. Walnut is sowed not for industry but for eating so when it becomes too old it must be cut off to prevent inside of it from rotting. On the other hand, because of the decisions of Forest Ministry permission is necessary to cut off walnut tree.” Moreover, he adds that  “We came here not to cut off tree but to increase the number of trees.”

Vintage Festival in vineyard
Osman Yüksel, who likes to help of introduction of Cappadocia, supported interesting organizations. Last year Vintage Festival, that consists of 500 people with the participation of 18 ambassadors and their wives, is realized in Cappadocia. In the festival grapes were plucked by ambassadors and grape molasses is made by their wives. Moreover, exhibition of picture and photograph is opened. Municipality of Avanos arranged the organization and Osman Yüksel make charged people to prepare earthen pot roast by forming places. He summarizes the importance of festival, as “We need this kind of organizations to make viniculture active in Avanos. Vineyards of Avanos spreaded out to very large lands but only this area has irrigated. Although, the most beautiful vineyards were in Avanos in the past.” He emphasized that the other things which must be protected were pottery and carpet making. Moreover, he says that “Pottery in Avanos is craft which belongs to men, it passes from father to his son. Craft of carpet making belongs to women, it passes from mother to her daughter. People do not give their daughter to man who does not know how to make pot. Girl who does not know to weave carpet can not marry.”

“To prevent public improvements I can even go to Assembly”
Osman Yüksel, who started to viniculture with the 2 thousand 500 m2 of area, has 10 thousand m2 of vineyard area now. He says that his aim is to increase the area of vineyard to 20 thousand m2 but prices are very high. We asked him that “Did you provide this?” He answered as: “There is an area close to here which is 2 thousand m2, its price is 8 thousand million. Moreover, at least 8 thousand million is necessary to repair it.”
Osman Yüksel says that his fear is the coming of public improvements here; he adds that public improvements can be very harmful to viniculture of Avanos and nature. He emphasized that “To prevent public improvements I can even go to the Assembly.”

(*) Körlük: Bad and neglected vineyard.

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Reading Reading: 3747 Eklenme Tarihi Date: 2010-01-19
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