ENHANCING YOUR TRAVEL PLEASURE AS YOUR TRAVEL COMPANION FOR THE PAST 30 YEARS, SKYLIFE INVOLVES THE EFFORTS OF MANY PEOPLE. AS A VALUE-ADDED CONTRIBUTION TO INTERNATIONAL PUBLISHING BY TURKISH AIRLINES, TURKEY'S FLAGSHIP CARRIER, IT INVOLVES THE DEVOTION AND EFFORTS OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE FROM ITS WRITERS AND PRODUCERS OF CONTENT RIGHT DOWN TO ITS READERS. WE TALKED WITH SOME OF SKYLIFE'S DISTINGUISHED CONTRIBUTORS ABOUT THE MAGAZINE AND ITS 30TH ANNIVERSARY.
SKYLIFE, MY TRAVEL COMPANION
A “walking encyclopedia” with his vast knowledge of Turkish Airlines, Dr. Suphi Ayvaz is the author of a book, “Forty Years of Friendship and Beyond with Turkish Airlines”. He was last our guest in the January 2007 issue of Skylife with his article: "Airplanes and those who fly them".We talked recently with Dr. Ayvaz, who has been a friend of Turkish Airlines for forty years. Ayvaz, who has flown 1,794 times since his first flight in 1969, has kept a record of every flight down to the model and registration number of the plane and the names of the cabin crew as well as carefully preserving all his tickets and boarding passes.
Do you read when you fly?
A plane is a great environment for reading and writing in my opinion. And Skylife is the first thing I look at after I settle into my seat.
Does Skylife magazine influence your travel plans?
It is useful that Skylife includes Turkish Airlines’ new flight destinations. The newly opened routes whet my curiosity, and the new articles about cities I’ve been flying to for years also arouse my interest with their novel content. Informative articles of that nature are a real guide for me when I travel for pleasure.
Turkish Airlines has diversified its publications as it expanded. There are now magazines like Skylife Business for Business Class and Curiocity for children. What do you think of them?
In terms of content, Skylife Business is addressed more to businessmen, and the advertisements have a different audience as well. When I saw an ad for a watch for pilots, for example, I found it to be a great birthday present for my pilot son. And the magazines for children on Turkish Airlines keep them happy and occupied.
The Skylife website is now operating. How did you find the site?
It is impossible to deny the opportunities brought by electronic communications. I am now able to read a magazine for which I was impatient on the first day of the month without having to wait for my date of flight and am able to track previous issues. Before this application, I could only read Skylife once on the plane. Electronic tickets and magazines have simplified our life. However, the sensation of the paper is something special and I do miss the coupon tickets that I have carefully kept and was used to for so many years. But it is comforting to know that we can access Skylife magazine electronically as well as in its original form and turn the pages.
How do you see the relationship between Skylife and its readers?
In the past, passengers were so enthusiastic about Skylife and its style that they saw the magazine as Turkish Airlines’ most important sub-brand. I see the same enthusiasm now among the younger generation of travelers.
“PEOPLE SHOULD TRAVEL AND ENJOY THEMSELVES”
Making valuable contributions to Skylife’s 30-year adventure with features like “On Istanbul and Love”, “Kites of Times Past” and “Kumkapı”, Hilmi Yavuz has penned pieces about Istanbul in particular that have
etched themselves in our minds and souls. We chatted briefly with him about Skylife.
Who is better informed, a reader or a traveler?
Borges says, “I have not lived, I have read.” In other words, living is not important for a writer. Great lives do not produce great novels, and a writer can be very happy sitting at a desk.
Is that true for this writer? And what about an ordinary person?
If he’s not going to be a man of letters, a person doesn’t need to read. He should travel and enjoy himself. I myself favor living. I don’t agree
Did people travel more in the past?
We don’t know much about how much people traveled then. There are travel books and it is thanks to them that we know people did travel.
When you go to a city, what do you do there?
To tell you the truth, I would not take off on a trip on my own. When I go somewhere, it’s usually because I’ve been invited. After the 1960 coup in Turkey I went to the U.S. on an invitation. I went to England both for study and to work at the BBC, so I was like a tourist. I traveled around on VIP itineraries. I followed the tour guides out of courtesy. I’m a conservative man, so whatever the program is I follow it. Every now and then I also go outside the plan, and if free time is set aside I go to the bookshops. I love to sit in cafes and read books.
My entire childhood was spent moving from one provincial town to another because of my father’s transfers and appointments. You settle into a town and make friends but two years later you have to leave. Every trip seems to me like a separation.
Do you remember the days when you wrote for Skylife? How do you find the magazine today?
I wrote for Skylife as a free-lance writer. Today it’s more the interviews that grab my interest. The book column is very nice. Skylife is a magazine that everybody flying on the plane definitely looks at. What’s more, you can take it with you, so it’s very influential. And the English is perfect too.
Skylife is a window on the world of the history and cultural values of the cultural geography to which we belong. The full nature and extent of our potential become evident when our world is viewed through that window. This vital mission undertaken by Skylife merges with the responsibility to move forward with the most sophisticated visuals and quality content as we compile our features. The whole team that put the magazine together share the same sense of responsibility. Until we meet in the next Skylife, the best Skylife is the one you hold in your hand.
HASAN MERT KAYA-History Editor, Skylife magazine
READER AND TRAVELER
Murat Belge wrote travel and gastronomy columns for Skylife in the 1990’s. Recently we asked him who is better informed, a traveler or a reader. As an academic, he of course answered, “A reader”. We hope you enjoy this brief interview.
Does reading what other people write about the places you’ve seen, or plan to see, whet your appetite? Do such writings determine your itinerary?
I haven’t read much actual travel writing and still can’t say I have a particular interest in it today. On my earlier travels I seem to have avoided reading. I preferred to see things with my own eyes. Then I realized that was silly and pointless. I tend to read guidebooks now, but I choose the ones that are close to being travel books, books that include the views and opinions of the writer. In the end, even if I don’t reach the same conclusions as the writer, that subjectivity is still a good thing. At the same time, it’s useful to do a little homework before going to a city. Actually, if you have no concept of a city in your mind, it doesn’t make much sense to go there. In other words, looking is one thing, seeing another. I’ve therefore gone back to the opposite of my younger years and I now go places knowing a thing or two and learning from others. If we also include Skylife in that, I find it a good magazine among airline magazines in general. In other respects, it might even be more successful than some airline magazines, which are often totally trivial in content. But Skylife is good.
Who is better informed, a traveler or a reader? Which do you see as more important?
Because I come from an academic background, I would say reading. Marquez answered this question in his book, A Hundred Years of Solitude. There are two brothers. One spends his life gadding about and having a good time, the other goes to the library and reads for hours. When the two brothers meet after many years, they know exactly the same thing about the world. I do both, so it’s good.
We are aware of the responsibility that goes with being in the Skylife kitchen. To coin a simple phrase, we combine Turkish ingredients to make a dish that is enjoyed all over the world. Team work is of course very important for a tasty dish. We believe that all of us, from the editors to the printshop, understand one another very well. And when everybody plays his instrument correctly, some beautiful listening material emerges. I would compare Skylife to a cultured, modern time traveler. I wish it a happy 30th anniversary and many happy returns…