29th May 2016
Love weekends!! No schoolwork and back to Koca Calis! Windsurfing again today. I haven’t been since October, and when I was in Tenerife I spent more time surfing than windsurfing, so getting back into it took me five minutes or so. Like a duck to water, in minutes I remembered what I was supposed to be doing, and unlike the ” high school spring breakers” who were falling about in the breakers, I was off, out across the bay with Resit. It’s lovely being back on the ocean even if it isn’t quite sailing……yet!
Even though there’s no school – as such – I’ve still been set a project for the weekend which is to find out what I can about the origin of the name “Fethiye”. There is a statue placed in front of the ancient Telmessos theatre which is apparently a Roman 6000 seat theatre which dates from the second century BC.
There are serious restoration works taking place and eventually Fethiye will recieve a show stopping centrepiece. Nestled infront and amongst all this restoration, looking out across Fethiye bay is the statue. It is the statue of a Turkish Pilot called Fete Bey. He is the reason That the town got this name, it is named in his memory.
Navy Captain Fethi Bey and Lieutenant Nuri Bey were two Ottoman aviators and had been chosen to pilot two monoplanes on an history making flight. They were to take part in a 2,370km expedition from Istanbul to Cairo. The plan was designed to impress the West, and prove to the rest of the World that Turkish pilots were just as skilled as the Europeans. They aspired to go down in aviation history.
Nuri Bey was attending a gala reception in Damascus as his friend attempted the trip. Nuri received a telegram which informed him that Captain Fethi and his co – pilot and navigator Sadik Bey, who had both left earlier in the day for Jaffa, had crashed off the “Golan Heights”. It is said that there had been a sandstorm in the Teberiyye Desert which had helped to create the disaster, and Fethi and Sadik had come down to meet their deaths.
After the disaster Nuri Bey decided to push on with the challenge, for the glory of the Ottomans. He never made it to Cairo either. He also crashed and drowned off Jaffa, near Tel Aviv.
Fethi Bey did make aviation history before his fatal crash though; He was the very first aviator to ever fly over the Taurus mountains which are the mountains you see surrounding Fethiye and Calis. He had landed in Scham and rested for two days before attempting the fatal leg of the expedition, Fethi and his Co – Pilot are also remembered in history as the first Turkish men to die in military service.
Fethi Bey was born in Ayazpasha/ Istanbul. He graduated from his Naval School in 1907 and became a Second Lieutenant. He then went to complete more training, this time in Britain and returned in 1911 as a Captain.
For the final expedition Fethi and his Co pilot Sadik flew in a Blerlot X1/B plane, it was called Muavenet – i Milliye, which could have been named after the Ottoman Navy destroyer built prior to the First World War, of the same name. They flew from Istanbul to Egypt on Febuary 8th 1912 – His plane crashed and they died on Febuary 22 no 1912 between Damascus and the Sea of Galilee in a place named ” The Valley of Hell”
Fethi and Sadik were buried in an honourable place in Damascus, next to the mausoleum of Salahadden Ayyubi near to the Umayyad Mosque. This is still where they rest and although there is an aviational monument erected to them and others in Istanbul, the statue in Fethiye was erected solely in his honour and after the accident the town ( formerly known as Megri ) became Fethiye, which means ” place of Fethi”
Sources; virtual Tourist ” Fethiye, The place of Fethi”
The Jerusalem Post: ” Those magnificent Turks in their flying machines ”