Wednesday, 24 July 2024
People of Konya have pure hearts

People of Konya have pure hearts

Famous food critic and gourmet Vedat Milor said that “I grew up with my grandfather and grandmother, who are from Konya. I proudly say ‘I am from Konya’ wherever I am. I would love to take my daughter to Konya and let her breathe the spiritual atmosphere of that place. I grew up with the teachings of Mevlana.


Who is Prof. Dr. Vedat Milor? 


I was born in İstanbul in 1955. My parents are from Konya. I have graduated from Galatasaray High School and graduated from Boğaziçi University, Department of Economics with high honours. I did my doctorate in Sociology at the University of California, USA. In 1986, I stayed in France for one year for my doctoral thesis. After completing my doctorate, I went to the military for national duty. After military service, I started working at the World Bank. My duty here lasted 2 years. Later, I joined the Department of Sociology at Brown University in the USA as an assistant professor. I studied Law at Stanford University in the same country. I graduated from this school with honours. I taught international relations at Koç University in Istanbul. I am married with one daughter.


First of all, can I learn about your connection with Konya? 


Even though I spent my childhood and youth in Istanbul, I was raised by my grandfather and grandmother, who are originally from Konya. I do not have any ties with Konya for now. I grew up with the teachings of Mevlana.


Do you feel like you are from Konya? 


Definitely. Because my grandmother and grandfather are from Konya, I grew up listening to the teachings of Mevlana and eating Konya’s food since my childhood. Of course, I could not understand the teachings in question at that time, but the spiritual values of Konya have influenced me greatly. Also, all our relatives are from Konya. Homemade sausages, roasted meats, mushroom varieties from Konya, daily home-cooked meals from Konya, pastries, etliekmek (bread with meat), etc. My grandmother knew these. She cooked these for us for years. We ate it with pleasure. 


Do you say ‘I’m from Konya’ whenever you have the opportunity? 


Of course. More than just expressing it, I want my daughter to see the spiritual values of Konya and that air. 





Your surname also sounds interesting. Does it have a story? 


During my grandfather’s time, he wanted to turn Mecidiyezade into Mecidiyeoğlu. However, his request is not accepted. Then he looks at the dictionary. He finds the word mile. He says ‘Let it be Milor’ for rhyme. Milor is a word originating from Turkish. 



You express that you especially want to take your daughter to Konya. Is the spiritual climate of Konya different than other provinces? 


Yes. Konya is also a place where Turkish culture is kept alive, as it is the centre of the Anatolian Seljuks. Konya is the most beautiful place in Central Anatolia. It is the cradle of our culture. 


When you come across someone and listen to his speech, would you say ‘oh, he’s from Konya’? 


It is not possible for me to pronounce it as ‘bang’ from the accent. Indeed, real Konya people are straightforward and honest. 


Didn’t your grandmother and grandfather, who raised you, speak with a Konya accent? 


Of course. I’m familiar with Konya idioms, but I can’t quite place them. Basically, there is a purity of character in the people of Konya. There is a reliability in its people, which must be due to the city’s climate. 


Even though you did not spend your childhood in Konya, you grew up with a family from Konya. Are you from Konya? 


Those who know me can tell. It is actually absurd for a person to talk about himself. Because a person can never see himself as he is. 


What do people say about you? 


Everyone who knows me calls me a copy of his grandfather. That’s why I was inspired by my grandfather as a character. They compare my character so much to my grandfather that I say, ‘So, I have a side from Konya.’ My perspective on life, my evaluation of events, my moral system, my style of raising children are obviously filtered through the culture of being from Konya. 


I DO NOT WATCH TV 


Was it difficult to come to this day? Have you experienced many difficulties and troubles? 

No, I can’t say I have had much trouble. The work I did is like my hobby. Never in my life did I think that I would be a media person. In fact, I am someone who does not even watch television. I always wanted every job I did to contribute to my own mental and conscious development. That’s why I read the novels I like. I buy good movies on CD and watch them. Television culture always seems to me as a mechanism that makes the mind lazy and numb. I don’t like appearing in the media.


Believe me, I could not deny your request because you come from Konya. 


I am an Amateur


My hobby has turned into a semi-profession. I say semi-professional because I do it as an ‘amateur’. I think I mostly contribute to food culture. In other words, revealing forgotten dishes in Turkey means revealing that culture. Just as our culture is in serious danger of degeneration, our cuisine is also in serious danger of degeneration. Our beautiful dishes are being forgotten, the people who make them no longer exist. Most of it is unwritten. Restaurants and houses don’t cook those dishes anymore. Unearthing forgotten dishes seems like an archaeological field of study to me. Therefore, I get a feeling of emotional satisfaction. 


We see that you specialize in different departments. How did you get into the food industry? 


I am a person whose emotional side is dominant. For this reason, I have been interested in all areas of art. 


Was this interest of your own volition or was there a familial guidance? 


It is a product of the culture I received. My family also gave importance to all kinds of art. I have been interested in food since my childhood. I am comfortable with the work I do now. Materialism and money are very unimportant things in life. When you don’t have it, you feel the lack of money, but greed for money prevents you from seeing other beauties. 


“THE ISSUE IS SPIRITUAL SATISFACTION”


Can we then say that the whole point is ‘health, wellness and spiritual satisfaction’? 


We can say. You expressed it well. Indeed, spiritual satisfaction is at the forefront of everything. Unfortunately, lately, as a society, we have been blinded by greed for money. It prevents us from seeing other beauties. Okay, money is essential for us to survive, but we need to keep this balance well. 


As you know, Mevlana has 7 famous pieces of advice. Not holding grudges, being humble, etc. Would you try to pay attention to these recommendations in your life? 


I must have made a mistake. Nobody is perfect in life. It would be better if someone who knows me answers this question. 


When ‘Konya’ is mentioned in some speech you are in, what comes to your mind at that moment? 


When Konya is mentioned, the first thing that comes to my mind is Meram vineyards. The gathering of friends there, the nights with long conversations. I still remember the beauty of Meram like it was yesterday. 


Would they take you to Konya during summer holidays? 


I went a few times. But now Konya has changed. When you say ‘changed’, do you mean in a positive way? In a positive sense. Since Konya is a very conservative place, they see it as reactionary. 


When we consider your past, we see that you had an unhappy childhood. Can I know your thoughts on this subject? 


The early deaths of my grandfather and grandmother affected me. It made me sad that my parents also lived separate lives. Since I was always separated from my parents, I longed for love towards them. After my grandmother passed away, I felt lonely. 


Do you have any ties with Konya now? 


No. Unfortunately, my father sold all our assets in Konya. Now don’t reopen that old wound of mine. 


Have there been moments in your life adventure when you felt hopeless? 


There were moments when I felt bored and overwhelmed. There have been moments when I wanted to change jobs, but I have always been confident in myself. So, I have never fallen into despair. 


How do you relax yourself when you feel overwhelmed by work? 


The best thing is to change jobs. What scares me most in life is becoming dissatisfied and grumpy when I get older. 


Have there been times when you regretted it? 


I just thought, ‘I wonder if I should have studied cinema?’ I would love to be a movie director. Of course, I didn’t beat myself up about it. It is chance. 


We see that you are a student and teacher at the best universities both at home and abroad. Do you make a connection with your past and make judgments from time to time? In other words, ‘I came from these points to here’. 


My idea is to leave good works behind. I did not see myself outside the general family line. One of the values I inherited from my grandfather is to do what you do well. So, whatever you do, you should take your work seriously. You will be serious and you will be responsible. You will do your best. 


Would you like to live in Konya one day? 


Let’s call it chance. But I would like to have a place in Konya. 


Do you generally live abroad?


I don’t always stay abroad. I’m always in Turkey in the summer.