Beautiful Karamursel


Karamursel Today

With the passing of time comes the marching of progress.  Things change!  Sometimes it is hard to push aside fond memories to make way for today's reality.  Beth and I have so many precious fond memories of living in Turkey that we like to think of it a certain way that was 50 years ago.  The area where the base was located has always been prime real estate through the ages.  Now  near the site of the base Turkey has built the fourth longest suspension bridge in the world across the Bay of Izmit.  The landmark used to be the 5 story high Antenna, now it is the Bridge.

 Here is the link to the Wikipedia page

 Here is the link to the animation of driving across the bridge

 The animation starts on the North side of the Bay of Izmit and drives south to the Base.  At the end of the clip is an animation of driving through the new tunnel shown on the map down below.

The new bridge was opened for traffic the first week in July 2016.  It is now completed.

 Link to Beautiful Karamursel Video

The above video brings back the sense of romance, beauty, and adventure that Beth and I remember!  This is one of the Beautiful places in the world; what a place to be when one is young and full of passion.  There are modern views of many of the wonderful landmarks and scenes; including the chimney.  You do not want to miss seeing this video.

Link to another wonderful video of Karamursel

The other video above is a new one that we ran across online.  It gives great aerial videos of Karamursel - oh what a beautiful place!

 Link to another great video of Karamursel

 This is a 30 minute flight over Karamursel.  The new technology for photography is great!

Bay of Izmit - the bridge now spans the narrow part at the top of the picture.

The shore line and mountains near Karamursel

Looking past the Sail Club towards the Ferry Boat Landing at Karamursel
Below we jump back in time to the base in 1973

 KCDI 1973

The area on which the base existed has an interesting history. The U.S established Karamursel Common Defense Installation in 1957 and finally operations were suspended in 1979.  Down through the decades this site has been an important piece of real estate, even more so with the new suspension bridge on the site.  Through the years it has been called different names; Karamursel Air Station, Karamursel Navel Station, and earlier even more.  Personnel from all branches of our military were stationed there.  The base has been home to their dependents and also included a high school where military dependents from all over that region would attend.  Over this period of 22 years a lot of military people and their dependents moved through this base.  The landmark of the base was the huge array of antennas called the Elephant Cage.  Since it was 5 stories high it could be seen from surrounding hills and towns.  The antenna remained until the 1990's until it was dismantled and removed.    The base was transferred to the Turks and is now used as a Turkish naval base.  My wife Beth and I were stationed there from 1972 to 1975, some of the best years of our lives.

A lot of things change in a period of 45 years.  Many of you who have visited this website have expressed interest in wondering what the area is like now.  In the 1970's during the height of the Cold War there were around 25 Common Defense Installations scattered throughout Turkey.  I believe the only one left is Incerlik, an air base located on the southern end of Turkey near the coast.  The advancement of technology has removed a lot of opportunities for travel and adventure.  As satellite capabilities increase, there is less need of ground based operations. What a shame!  Just think of the adventures, friends, and travels that we experienced in that earlier era  because technology then was nothing like it is today.  We would have missed those opportunities if we were in today. Those ground based operations spread a lot of good will, appreciation, and understanding between cultures.

You are aware of the powerful earthquake that hit this area in 1999.  Al Skyler and his family visited there just days before the earthquake hit. Return in 99 The epicenter was close to Izmit which is just a few miles from Karamursel.  The earthquake was terrible.  The base suffered little damage.  There was a lot of damage in the town of Karamursel, but still the damage was less than the surrounding cities like Golcuk, Degirmendere, Izmit, and Yalova.  Remember, most of the structures were constructed using reinforced concrete.  The ground underneath Karamursel is mostly rock, so the ground only shakes when there is an earthquake, it does not collapse or the surface does not move around as if on sand.  Therefore the buildings on them, if they are constructed properly will survive well.  There were though somewhere between 150-200 deaths in Karamursel alone.  In general the newer buildings were constructed poorly.  They did not survive the enormous shaking of the earthquake.  The apartment building where Al and Liz Sykler lived, in the Eski Fabrika neighborhood and constructed so many years ago, had no significant damage to it.  There was little damage on that street actually.  No deaths on that street occurred.

The earthquake destroyed most of the pavement in the coastal line of the town, so the city had to reconstruct the seawall.  Below is a  you-tube video clip of the earthquake destruction near Karamursel.

1999 earthquake Video

 Karamursel in the year 2010 below

Gokce Tepe


Mt Karamursel is known as Gökçe Tepe. Tepe means hill in Turkish. Gökçe is pronounced as Goekche, it has various meanings:

Sky color (blue); sky like,  beautiful, celestial, pretty, sky blue,

Beth looking down on Karamursel and Eski Fabrika from Gökçe Tepe in 1974.  The base KCDI is the faint white buildings on the upper horizon approximately 1/4 the way accross the picture.  On a clear evening you could watch the sunset over the huge antenna array from our beach at Eski Fabrika.

Looking down on Karamursel and Eski Fabrika from Gökçe Tepe Today