Haggerston, 71, writes about his travels in Turkey

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A man born in Hackney has written a book about his adventures in Turkey, among which he was wrongly arrested on charges of being a spy.

George Dearsley, 71, recounted 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 magnitude 7.6 earthquake in Turkey in 1999 that killed 17,000 people.

George, who left Haggerston’s Albion Drive at the age of 21, said: “I first went to Turkey in 1972 with a college buddy driving an old pickup truck.

“I fell in love with the place and it gave me so many memories and friendships.”


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The ex-journalist returned every year on vacation.

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

George’s wife, who died 18 months ago of a sudden heart attack, at just 58, is buried in the village cemetery.

The writer’s years in Turkey have seen him judge a beauty pageant in a city, attend a circumcision, watch a man swallow a snake and watch Turkey’s most famous criminal crash his seaplane from his balcony.

George, who is now retired, added: “I was totally overwhelmed by the hospitality, landscapes and culture of Turkey.

“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 over sixty excellent reviews and sold over 350 copies in four months.

Jack Scott, author of Perking the Pansies, a similar book on expat life in Bodrum, said: “George Dearsley’s account of a long love affair with the country is a real delight – a clever and beautifully written story. of an Englishman abroad.

“What starts off as an insane road trip to Japan in a royal blue Bedford van, turns, anecdote by anecdote, into an entertaining and touching story of a backyard with the land he now calls home.”

To purchase George Dearsley’s book on Amazon, click here.


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