Süleyman The Magnificent


Süleyman said, ‘He is six years old. Yes, six.’ Then he held up seven fingers.

‘He likes kisses. You give Pasha kisses. He give you kisses.’

Pasha skips to my shoulder and gives me kisses. Pasha is heavy. And gorgeous. And I wonder how long it was since he last pooped.

Süleyman and Pasha are a fixture along the ferry docks of Eminönü in Istanbul. The times I was there most of the tourists and locals seemed to ignore them, though I really don’t see how you can. They look fabulous.

I know that an enormous fez-wearing man roving the docks in quasi naval garb complete with medals, and carrying an enormous coloured parrot is a ploy to liberate tourists from their money, but I rather prefer to think that maybe Süleyman is a Sultan made redundant after the close of the Ottoman Empire and now sells kisses and photographs in the hope that he can make enough cash to buy back the Dolmabahçe Palace.