National Geographic : 1951 Aug
166 Department of Defense Turkish Foes of Communism Raise Their Flag Bravery of the star-and-crescent soldiers has become legendary among UN forces in Korea. Ambushed on a mountain road by a foe outnumbering them 3 to 1, the Turks battled two days and a night before giving ground before 20,000 Chinese Reds. Over whelmed, they rescued their weapons to fight another day. One company fought until ammunition was exhausted, then charged with bayonets. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, testifying before Senate committees, called the Turkish Brigade "one of the finest I have ever been associated with" (page 141). ed-Din Mevlana, a mystic poet of the 13th century, who pictured the universe as a sea and men as the waves of God. Around his tomb is an atmosphere of peace. During our excursion one Turkish lady was the ministering angel to all, translating for American Em bassy secretaries, lending her coat to an old lady who was cold, and sharing her food during delays. This gentle Turkish woman trans lated for me in Konya's exquisite Mevlevi Museum. Her husband, Turkish Ambassador Mehmet Miinir Ertegiin, died in Washington in 1944. After the war the "Mighty Mo" carried his body home. Dust can't obscure the main point about the Ankara-Konya road: that trucking rates are already one-tenth and bus fares one-half what they were. Cars average 40 miles an hour for the whole distance. On some stretches 75 miles an hour is possible. "The road is such a success that we'll have a hard time keeping traffic off it long enough to pave it," a Turkish official told me. Back from Konya, I was ready to share in an inspection of 1,700 miles of old and new roads. Vecdi Diker, who studied at Robert Col lege and the University of Missouri, is the Director General of Highways. Associated with him is his American consultant, Jesse E. Williams, Divi sion Engineer, U. S. Bureau of Pub lic Roads. For 11 days we traveled together. New Road Will Be a Life Line Low-slung passenger cars already make the 550-mile trip from steamy iskenderun to chilly Erzurum in two days. Hundreds of men were laying new roads, chipping off moun tainsides, or burrowing through tun nels to fit the road for winter travel. At one end of this road, ma chinery from American factories is landed at the rapidly improving Mediterranean port. As American products come in, nearly 200,000 tons a year of much-needed chrome, from the richest deposits in Turkey, leave for America. If war comes, the highway from Iskenderun to Erzurum will be a life line for all. But the roads east of Erzurum will not be improved until the highways to the west are good enough to serve Turkish defense.