Zekeriya Temizel following in the footsteps of his beloved 'Nynadu'.
Atburgazy is actually a village in the province of Aydyn; it is around 19 kilometers away from the larger municipal region of SE[micro]ke. For me, this village possesses special characteristics. The first is that it is a direct and close neighbor of the ancient ruins of Priene, the site of which was originally set right on the seashore, but now sits back many kilometers from the shoreline due to silt deposits from the Menderes River. As one of the least-damaged ancient sites in modern Turkey, Priene is enchanting.
The second special characteristic this village boasts is that it is where Zekeriya Temizel, who once raised eyebrows by terrorizing the financial bureaucracy and political world of Ankara with his tough sense of humor, was reborn. Temizel, from whom Ankara once shied away, left; he has been replaced by a warm, smiling man. With a saintly air about him, Temizel embraces his visitors, chatting easily with them and opening up new vistas for them with his words. Every conversation with him winds up sparking a new light in your spirit. He assists people to boost their quality of life.
Temizel is a striking example of how people who really wish to renew and re-make themselves can do it. He has completely cleansed himself of the politics and bureaucracy-infused air of Ankara, and built a completely new life for himself on the Priene hills. He has devoted himself to understanding and serving nature. Every morning, he sets out on a walk with his dog, PE-skE-l, through the ancient city of Priene, which is located on the hills behind his home.
One of his projects here has been overseeing the terracing of a hill overlooking Priene. This plot of land -- looking out over the SE[micro]ke basin, the delta of the BE-yE-k Menderes River, the Aegean Sea and Lake Bafa -- is Temizel's new world. He has brought plants from all over the world to this site and watched them flourish as his friendship with nature continues to deepen.
As it turns out, Temizel learned how to attain health and healing from nature from his grandmother Fatimet. He explains: "We all called my grandmother 'Nynadu.' Nynadu spread health all around her. She was a doctor as well as a pharmacist. I used to head out with Nynadu to gather wild herbs from the mountains around Sivas. When I tried to pull wild herbs out by their roots, she hit me on the head with her cane. She used to warn me: 'Just cut the herbs. Never uproot them. Don't forget that we will return for them next year, and that they are living things.' What's more, she never took money in exchange for the healing medicines and treatments she created from the herbs. She was happy with prayers said in her name. All she wanted from her patients was that they bring along a bottle for her medicines. In those days of course, glass bottles were quite expensive and valuable."
Temizel has set up a modern facility in Atburgazy to produce essential oils from herbs and fixed oils from seeds and kernels. For example, he works to obtain oils from hazelnuts and almonds. But the truth is, "Tabia" -- the name of the facility -- is not a factory. It is a lodge of sorts. Every Saturday, for example, training for pharmacists is offered here. Work is done towards solving agricultural problems encountered by local villages. Tabia also rejects advertisements; it would rather enter the market through work done in the name of people and nature. Right at the entrance to Tabia, there is a peach tree. Apparently, a pit from a peach coming into Tabia once fell here, and now a tree has grown in this spot. Temizel explains: "I have taken special care not to uproot this poor peach tree. Seeing as though God wanted it to live, it just wouldn't be right for me to remove it from the ground."
A dog in the courtyard of Tabia greets Temizel with joy. Apparently, dogs that have been accidentally hit by cars are often taken to Temizel in the hopes that he can help heal them. The dog we saw was one of these injured; he greeted Temizel with the kind of canine gratitude you might expect.
Originally, Temizel had wanted to set up his facility in Antalya. He built a greenhouse in which tomato worms were eliminated by putting essential oils into the watering system underneath. In a way, he was tricking nature. But one day, a tornado made its way through the Antalya basin, hitting just Temizel's greenhouse and one other spot. Interestingly, Temizel learned that the owner of the other greenhouse had been growing tomatoes using a "soil-free" method. In other words, two greenhouses where nature was being tricked had apparently been penalized by nature.
It was at this point that Temizel decided never again to trick nature. Temizel says, "One should not meddle with God's work."
After his daily morning walk, Temizel is careful to take one teaspoonful of black cumin oil that he produces himself along with two teaspoons of wheat extract oil. He explains, "The thing called bread that we eat every day is really only made up of flour, sugar and starch. Wheat extract, which is actually the essence of the plant, is removed from bread under the reasoning that it decreases the shelf life of bread. But when you throw away the extract, you are throwing away Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Most of the vitamins sold on the market are chemical in nature. The body does not recognize them, and over time they can even cause cancer."
Temizel and I drank some of the rose sherbet he makes, from zero-calorie Stevia, lemon juice and rose petals. It was literally one of the best things I have ever drunk in my life. Temizel says, "I have given life back to one of the lost tastes of Anatolia."
The truth of the matter is that nature and human history have given humans everything we really need. But we have managed to become playthings in the hands of anonymous international agricultural companies. Let's not forget that the very best nourishment for all soil is the footprint of that land's owner.
HASAN KANBOLAT (Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN
Copyright 2014 Cihan News Agency. All right reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. ( Syndigate.info ).