'I fell in love with the place', Hackney writer chronicles his love-affair with Turkey

George Dearsley's book, Twelve Camels For Your Wife, is about his adventures in Turkey since his first trip in 1972. 

George Dearsley's book, Twelve Camels For Your Wife, is about his adventures in Turkey since his first trip in 1972. - Credit: George Dearsley

A Hackney-born man has penned a book about his adventures in Turkey, which include him being wrongly arrested on accusation of being a spy. 

George Dearsley, 71, has chronicled his 49-year love affair with the country where east meets west in a book called Twelve Camels For Your Wife.

His exploits include being wrongly arrested as a spy in Turkey in 1974 during the country's war with Greece over Cyprus. George was also caught in a 7.6-magnitude earthquake in Turkey in 1999, which killed 17,000 people. 

George, who moved away from Haggerston's Albion Drive aged 21, said: "I first went to Turkey in 1972 with a university pal driving an old van.

"I fell in love with the place and it has given me so many memories and friendships."

The ex-journalist returned every year on holiday.

He now lives in a traditional Turkish village called Kaplan in Izmir province, which is in western Anatolia, situated along the Aegean coast.

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George's wife, who passed away 18 months ago from a sudden heart attack, aged just 58, is buried in the village cemetery. 

The years the writer spent in Turkey saw him judge a town's beauty contest, attend a circumcision, see a man swallow a snake and watch from his balcony as Turkey's most famous criminal crashed his sea plane.

George, who is now retired, added: "I was totally overcome by Turkey's hospitality, scenery and culture.

"I started writing the book as a hobby. I hope people read it and learn more about this fascinating country."

The self-published book is available on Amazon and has garnered more than sixty excellent reviews and sold more than 350 copies in four months.

Jack Scott, author of Perking the Pansies, a similar book about expat life in Bodrum, said: "George Dearsley's account of a longstanding love affair with the country is a real delight – an astute, beautifully-penned story of an Englishman abroad.

"What starts as a madcap road trip to Japan in a royal blue Bedford van, twists and turns, anecdote by anecdote, into an entertaining and touching tale of a courtship with the land he now calls home."

To buy George Dearsley's book on Amazon click here.

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