I think it is important for me to share my feelings toward Turkey and it's citizens. I'm not sure if everyone understands that I had a wonderful vacation here. We were treated very nicely and we made friends with so many polite and interesting people. We had such a great time enjoying our meals at Turkish restaurants and observing the culture of their country.
The landscape and scenery is beautiful. I've seen some of the most gorgeous mountains and breathtaking coastlines.
The Turkish people are so polite, you are often invited to sit and drink tea with shopkeepers. Smiles are genuine and handshakes are long lasting and sincere. There's real courtesy here and I really enjoyed that.
The Turkish people also have a strong national icon, a hero of the people, the first president of Turkey. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. He was truly a man worthy of the title hero and is still revered and respected to this day. We saw his statues and likenesses in many places but perhaps most remarkable is that many Turkish people have his portrait or likeness hanging in their homes or offices. There's a strong value of morals here and I found it extremely interesting. Read more here on wikipedia.
Besides all of the things that I already loved and appreciated about Turkey, it's been very nice to receive messages from Turkish people who've been following my case and are sympathetic to my family. I'd like to share a few quotes and I'll do that anonymously:
I just wanted to indicate that I'm sorry for what happened. Do not want to get to know the country is wrong. - Turkish Male on Facebook
No worries! I love Turkey!
I have met so many wonderful people here and I've enjoyed the country a lot. I understand that it is very unfortunate what happened to me but I do not feel anger towards Turkey. Thank you for your message! - Jason Dement in reply
Hi Jason. I just saw you on turkish news and wanted to keep up with the updates about your life. I'm so sorry for what happened to you & it made me smile that you cope with all these regulations with your sense of humor - Turkish Female on Facebook
Thank you so much for writing back. Your kind words mean so much to me and are very appreciated. I had a great time in Turkey until I was detained and then I was very scared. Now, things are better again. I have made some friends locally and I am getting to know even more about the country and I love it. This whole ordeal will not ruin my opinion of Turkey and it's wonderful people - Jason Dement in reply
Someone wrote me privately:
I am a frequent newspaper reader in various languages and read your story today from Turkish newspaper. I would like to start with apologizing for my intrusion by sending you a message. I would like to continue by saying most comments I have read online from general public of Turkey is positive and compassionate towards your case.
I do not know if you are aware but sometime during early years of Turkish Republic lots of Historical Artifacts smuggled and sold all over the world. After loosing so much from every part of the country laws got really strict as you are experiencing.
There are going to be some people who will approach skeptical and assume you were indeed trying to steal and I would like to tell you to close your ears to them because I believe you havent done anything wrong.
I will follow your story and I am fluent in both English and Turkish. Please do not hesitate if you have any questions.
Those stones have no value. Dont fool yourselves. If it was really historical artifact he wouldnt have tried to smuggle it out on a plane. Even coins that are sold for a dolar becomes "historical" artifact in Turkey. These laws needs to be changed, they need to be clarified
It is unbelievable. Do you just realize stones lying around on a beach are artifacts at the customs? If they were historical artifacts what they were doing on the beach?
Even the stones and dirt is gold in this country :)