Saturday, September 05, 2009


Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

For the benefit of the new Kankas on the Block, let me explain briefly the significance of Genclik Park to the Kanka Group.

The Kanka Group was formed in early 1999, and in those days we used to meet outside the Stadium. However, after a few weeks of standing there in the freezing Ankara winter weather waiting for tailenders, I decided to find a warm place to meet. So, as I was familiar with Genclik Park, I chose The Sahil as our meeting place pre and post matches.

This proved a popular venue in view of its proximity to the Stadium, the standard of food and drink and ambiance, especially in the Spring, Summer and Autumn, situated as it was right next to the Park Lake.

Then 3 years ago the Mayor of Ankara (I.M.G.) closed the park for renovation and other reasons which I won't go into here !

That's when Oz Kanka Chris and I decided to move the meeting place to The Chopin which had easy access for taxis, food n'drink, and efficient and friendly waiters who made us welcome.

So, back to the present, and the 'New' Genclik Park opened on the 30th of August to much fanfare in the local Ankara press, and I believe that Connect Kanka and Phillie Kanka attended the opening ceremoney ?!

I.M.G. was quoted in the press as saying that as far as he was concerned, the restaurants in the Park could sell alcohol if they so wished. I have to confess that I found this hard to believe and put it down to his diplomatic politico talk !

Nevertheless, I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, and so I did a reconnaissance yesterday to see the set-up for myself.

I headed first for where Sahil used to be situated and there are no restaurants on that side at all. The good news is that the tree which used to be in the middle of the Gents Toilet is still there - I.M.G. did promise not to cut down any trees during the renovation and at least he kept his promise on that subject !

Actually, there are no restaurants of cafes on the lakeside anywhere in the park. They are all well set-back from the lakeside.

OK, so the park has an Altin Park look about it - very pretty and all that, but the old ambiance has disappeared. For example, there was only one tea-house cafe open yesterday, and even allowing for the fact that we are in the middle of Ramadan, that was pretty stingy.

The restaurants that I.M.G. mentioned are all on the Luna Park side of the the park and they are all lying there empty ....... for the moment. The waiter in the tea house told me that they would be opening after Ramadan but he was unsure if they would be selling alcohol !

I had a look at the 6 restaurants which are all side-by-side and they look a wee bit too small inside for winter time. So, I came away with some negative vibes about the chances of reverting to our old meeting venue.

Of course, it would be unfair to judge the restaurants until they are up and running, and I will therefore do another reconnoitre after the Ramadan Bayram to ascertain what these restaurants are offering. Normally I am an optimist by nature, but I have a feeling that the restaurants will chicken out and not sell alcohol. Any bets on that ??

In the meantime then, it is ...... as you were ........ and back to the good old Chopin Bar as our regular meeting place.

Watch this space for more details of the 'New' Genclik Park next month.

All the best from 'the intrepid explorer' Eski Kanka Jim


  1. You have summarised the situation very clear; "but the old ambiance has disappeared." They made another Altınpark in the center of the city. Gençlik Parkı was different than that "IMGmade all holy green parks". And I bet there wont be any alcohol. Pity!

  2. Connect Kanka Steve3:03 pm

    It felt like there were at least 100,000 people in the park during the opening ceremony. Philly Kanka and I were fairly certain that the entire place was going to be destroyed by the crowd. People were sitting in all possible places: trees, bushes, pretty much everywhere. I can't make comparisons to the old park, as it existed before my time in Ankara, but I think the new version is quite nice and certainly a good (re)addition to the city.

    I would agree with Eski that the restaurants look a bit small. Even if alcohol is served, I'm not sure how it's going to fit all of us and others during the winter. It also doesn't feel quite right to abandon Chopin. It has a fond place in my heart as the birthplace of my connection to the Team, and the waiters are good guys despite their football allegiances. Perhaps we could consider populating a Genclik bar before the matches and Chopin afterwards? Just a suggestion; we'll have to wait and see the offerings in the park before making a decision.

  3. Maybe the Lacivert can re-open there. How's that for optimistic, Eski?

  4. A pearl of a comment from Battle Damaged Kanka Damon which had me rolling on the floor with laughter ! However, I would say that 'optimistic' is the wrong word. I would say that it might be more appropriate to use the word 'dream' !!

    King Ziggy is obviously a careful man ! He doesn't want to take up my bet - wise decision me thinks !!! Alcohol in one of I.M.G.'s parks ??? ..... mmmmmm ..... I don't think so !!

  5. Ok, here's a dream. Gotcek finally finishes the fnnn metro and it picks up at Bilkent and drops you off in Gençlik park somewhere between the Lacivert and the team's official store where you can purchase your gear from the owner/manager Maniac Kanka.

  6. Yes, but you left a bit out Damon .......

    prior reservations at the New Lacivert necessary for the party to celebrate Ankaragucu winning the Turkish Cup in their Centenery Year

    yessssssssssssss - like it ???

  7. The latest from 'rumour control' (18 September) is that there will be zero alcohol restaurants in Genclik Park.

    However, as promised, I'm still determined to do a recce after the Bayram. So, keep watching this space.