We are all familiar with the yellow straw broom sold locally but this one is very different.

We are all familiar with the yellow straw broom sold locally – which by the way are recommended for brushing Turkish pile carpets – but what about the one in the picture?

It’s a ‘sorkoylu’ made and sold in Sarıkamış and, before you reach for your dictionary, don’t bother, as the word is also peculiar to that region and not recorded.  The sorkoylu pictured above, and one other, were acquired by members of Ovacık Folk Dance Group on their trip to Kars in February and, as always, their acquisition and transportation makes for an interesting story.

Regular readers will recall that, on the Monday we were due to return home, we visited Sarıkamış Market in the morning.  Walking from the Market to the town centre we passed a tiny corner shop with a range of handmade brooms outside including several sorkoylu.  This writer has long had an eye for an interesting ethnic souvenir and could picture the above propped in a corner of her village house.  However, wiser counsel said “How on earth would you get it back?”  And, ignoring suggestions that she don a pointy black hat and fly it home, the sorkoylu was left behind.

Half an hour later the whole group met up in a caf矴o wait for the minibus.  One of the other women in the group, on hearing about sorkoylu, said she’d like to see them so back we went to the shop.  On arrival it was quickly agreed that we would buy two, one each, and parcel them up to go with check-in baggage.  But there was no-one in the shop so this writer began her usual tactic of shouting in Turkish “Where is the man from the shop?  Have you seen the man from this shop?”  Of course an instant crowd gathered and when the man appeared and I said “How much are these brooms?”  He answered “4YTL” and a man in the crowd shouted “Are you stupid?  You could have charged more.”  To which I replied “He’s not stupid, you are.  Why say that when you know I speak Turkish and can understand you?”  The shop man then added “Why should I charge more when the normal price is 4YTL”.  We wished he ran a shop in Fethiye. 

So for the princely sum of 8YTL we bought two sorkoylu and for the story of how we got them back to Fethiye, come back tomorrow.