TIME Diet/Nutrition

A Tale of Two Turkeys: Wild vs. Supermarket

turkey
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Which bird is better?

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Whether you like yours brined or unbrined, stuffed with cornbread or sausage, in drumstick or leftover-sandwich format, it all starts with the turkey. Today’s turkey-lover has two choices: The supermarket bird, an artificially giganticized product of careful breeding and industrial farming methods, and the wild turkey, which hasn’t evolved much since the first Thanksgiving. Here’s a quick visual guide to help you decide which is best for you:

a tale of two turkeys

This article originally appeared on World Science Festival.

TIME politics

Biden Will Push Turkey to Step Up Role in Fight Against ISIS

Smoke rises from the Syrian city of Kobani, following airstrikes by the US led coalition, seen from a hilltop outside Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border, Nov. 17, 2014.
Smoke rises from the Syrian city of Kobani, following airstrikes by the US led coalition, seen from a hilltop outside Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border, Nov. 17, 2014. Vadim Ghirda—AP

Biden is the latest U.S. official to meet with Erdogan as divide between the coalition and Turkey grows

ISTANBUL — Vice President Joe Biden on Friday will become the latest in a parade of U.S. officials trying to push Turkey to step up its role in the international coalition’s fight against Islamic State extremists.

His visit comes after weeks of public bickering between the two NATO allies. The Turkish president insists that if the U.S. wants his help, it must focus less on fighting IS and more on toppling Syrian President Bashar Assad. Erdogan wants the U.S.-led coalition to set up a security zone in northern Syria to give moderate fighters a place to recoup and launch attacks.

The U.S. has no appetite to go to war against Assad and has said a no-fly zone against Syria’s air force is a no-go.

Turkey has pledged to train and equip moderate Syrian forces on its soil, but no details have been announced by either side. U.S. and Turkish officials have discussed the coalition’s desire to use Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base for U.S.-led operations against IS militants, but Turkey has made no public decision about Incirlik.

“From the no-fly zone to the safety zone and training and equipping — all these steps have to be taken now,” Erdogan said on Wednesday. Then he echoed the same line he’s been saying all along: “The coalition forces have not taken those steps we asked them for. … Turkey’s position will be the same as it is now.”

That’s after a U.S. military delegation spent two days in Ankara last week trying to hammer out details to implement Turkey’s pledge to train and equip moderate fighters. That’s after top U.S. military officials visited Incirlik in the past few weeks. And it follows two visits in two months by retired Marine Gen. John Allen, the U.S. envoy for the international coalition.

Allen told the Turkish daily Milliyet on Wednesday in Ankara that fighting extremists in Iraq was the “main effort” right now, but that’s not the only effort and “we’ll be doing that in Syria as well.”

“Eventually, of course, our policy intent for the U.S. is that there be a political outcome in Syria that does not include Bashar Assad,” said Allen, who left Turkey for NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Now it’s Biden’s turn.

He plans a dinner meeting Friday with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. On Saturday, Biden is to have an extended meeting with Erdogan, and plans to fly back to Washington on Sunday.

The obvious compromise would be if Washington shifted its policy on Syria to do more to force out Assad, and Turkey agreed to do more against IS, said James Jeffrey, former U.S. ambassador to Turkey and Iraq who is now at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Jeffrey is not holding his breath.

“Erdogan is a tough customer to reason with, but Turkey is already a major source of stability and support in region and could be better if we play cards right,” Jeffrey said. “But Erdogan is, at this point, troublingly unpredictable.”

Turkish officials say Turkey is an active partner in the coalition.

Besides pledging to train moderate Syrian forces, Turkey gave Kurdish fighters from Iraq permission to traverse its soil on their way to help Kurdish fighters in the besieged Syrian town of Kobani near Turkey’s border. That was an unprecedented step for Erdogan, but Turkey’s military has been inactive regarding the IS advance on the town.

Turkey has good relations with the Kurds in Iraq, but it views the Kurds in Syria as an extension of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party. The party has waged a 30-year insurgency against the Turkish government and is designated as a terrorist group by the U.S. and NATO. Asked if more Kurdish fighters from Iraq would be moving through Turkey, a Turkish official said: “Yes, we might see them again.” He spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about Turkey’s policy on Syria.

Turkey also is hosting 1.6 million Syrian refugees. Washington acknowledges that Ankara has worked to stem the flow of foreign fighters into Syria, although it’s still easy in some places to move across for a price. U.S. officials also say Turkey has cracked down on oil smugglers. Analysts estimate that IS earns up to $3 million a day in revenue from oil fields captured in Iraq and Syria.

Still, the U.S. and Turkey are not in sync about Syria, and Biden’s visit follows weeks of misunderstandings and harsh rhetoric emanating from both capitals.

Locals in Istanbul have dubbed one flap the “apology-no apology,” which began over something Biden said in a speech at Harvard University.

Biden said that early in the Syrian conflict, Turkey assisted extremists because they were seeking to depose Assad. Erdogan demanded an apology; the White House said Biden called Erdogan to apologize, but Biden said he didn’t.

There was more disagreement over whether Turkey had decided to let the U.S. use Incirlik base for operations against extremists in Syria and Iraq.

Aggravating the tension was an incident last week in Istanbul where three American sailors from the USS Ross were roughed up by anti-American demonstrators.

MONEY groceries

Rumors Are Flying of a Thanksgiving Turkey Shortage

Turkeys in a grocery store
Richard Levine—Alamy

You may have heard that there's a turkey shortage, and that prices are rising just in time for Thanksgiving. Hogwash.

Supermarkets have plenty of turkeys, and prices are incredibly cheap right now. How cheap? How about 79¢ per pound? That’s what the Kroger chain of supermarkets is offering in a special deal valid through Thanksgiving, so long as the customer buys an additional $35 or more in groceries.

If that’s too pricey, check out the offer from Meijer: When a customer spends at least $20 in the store, the chain’s own brand of turkeys are 50% off, which translates to 54¢ per pound for frozen birds and 98¢ per pound for fresh ones. In competitive markets such as western Michigan, meanwhile, some local grocery stores are selling turkeys for as little as 49¢ a pound. The latest Stop & Shop circular is advertising frozen turkeys for 59¢ per pound with a $25 purchase, and the chain says it will match the turkey prices of any grocery competitor. Yet another large player in the grocery field, Hy-Vee, has a coupon valid for a free 10- to 14-lb. Honeysuckle White Turkey for customers who purchase a Hormel whole ham. And ShopRite is giving reward club members a free turkey once the customer meets certain spending requirements (usually $400) over a period of a few weeks.

So why are so many headlines are making the rounds lately indicating that turkey is getting expensive?

It’s true that production is down, and that wholesale prices are up for turkey. But the important takeaway for shoppers is that neither of these factors is necessarily translating to rising prices in stores.

Due to long periods of drought and rising prices for feed, production of all manner of livestock has been on the decline in recent years. Beef prices, for instance, have increased to the point that consumers needed smart strategies to keep barbecue costs down over the summer. The Associated Press recently reported that American farmers will produce a total of 235 million turkeys this year, “the lowest since 1986, when U.S. farmers produced roughly 207 million birds.”

It sounds pretty dire. And yet, there’s nothing remotely true about the idea of there being a turkey “shortage,” as some have called it. A shortage means there’s not enough to go around—that the supply can’t keep up with demand. But as no less an authority than the National Turkey Federation noted that Americans collectively consumed 46 million turkeys at Thanksgiving 2012, and 210 million turkeys during the year as a whole. That, combined with the fact that there are ample supplies of turkeys at supermarkets all over the country, should dispel any claims of a “shortage.”

As far as prices go, wholesale prices may be rising—reportedly up 12% in October compared with last year—but, as USDA agriculture economist David Harvey explained to the AP, “There’s really no correlation between what grocery store chains are paying and what they’re selling them at.”

This year—and every year around this time—supermarkets use turkeys as “loss leaders.” The stores advertise exceptionally low prices on turkeys, knowing that doing so will be a draw for customers. The grocers don’t care if they make little or no money, or even if they lose money, on turkey sales; shoppers who come for turkeys almost always buy plenty more groceries when they’re in the stores, especially when they’re required to do so, as the best deals stipulate, and it’s in these purchases where the supermarkets make their money.

What’s more, the idea that there is a turkey shortage and/or that turkey prices are soaring is a myth that pops up regularly around this time of year. Last year’s “shortage” turned out to be hype because, once anyone read past the headlines, it was clear that even as the supply of one particular kind of turkey had declined, the vast majority of turkeys (and consumers) were completely unaffected.

In a story published today by the New Jersey Star Ledger, Ashley Myers, co-owner of Ashley Farms, is quoted laughing off the idea of there being a shortage of turkeys. “They say that every year,” she said.

And every year, everyone who wants to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving is able to buy a turkey very easily, generally at very low prices—or even free. This year is no exception.

TIME curiosities

Here Comes the Bride, All Dressed in Turkey Feathers

Photos from a 1948 wedding in which the bride and bridesmaids rocked turkey-feather dresses of the bride's own design

If you thought most bridesmaids’ dresses were hideous, imagine having to wear one made of turkey feathers. For the 1948 wedding party of one Barbara Orr Ehrhart, Oregonian and turkey enthusiast extraordinaire, this unlikely scenario was, in fact, all-too-real. As the Feb. 9, 1948, issue of LIFE magazine made plain, in an engaging article titled “LIFE Goes to a Turkey Feather Wedding,” turkey was the theme of the evening at Ehrhart’s nuptials — not merely on the menu, but turkey on the attendants and on the happy bride herself.

Ehrhart had a longstanding fascination with turkey feathers, for years using this unconventional fabric to make hats and accessories before spotlighting it in her own wedding dress. Half a century before Lady Gaga hit the red carpet in her infamous meat dress, Ehrhart displayed her feathered creations at local poultry shows.

After obtaining permission to get married at the Far West Turkey Show in California, the bride gathered 37,500 plumes for her dress, which was constructed over the course of several months. Her bridesmaids’ dresses were also crafted out of feathers, which she dyed pink, blue, yellow and green.

Instead of throwing rice, guests showered the newlyweds with — what else? — feathers as they exited the ceremony. And after all the talk of and emphasis on turkey had whetted their appetites, guests chowed down on a turkey dinner to cap off the night.

Today we might consider Ehrhart an early pioneer of the now-trendy “nose to tail” cooking philosophy, which seeks to eliminate waste when butchering an animal. This turkey lover clearly made good use of the birds’ feathery raiment in addition to the meat. Ehrhart did not slaughter the birds specifically for her own sartorial gain — she asserted that the 300 birds she plucked feathers from were already dead or fatally wounded.

LIFE reported that the morning after the wedding, even newlywed bliss couldn’t keep Ehrhart away from her beloved birds. She traveled to a movie set for her part in a short movie, in which she would be filmed standing amid what LIFE called “a sea of turkeys.”

Finally, if today’s readers have any concerns that Ehrhart’s proclivity for the birds would somehow overshadow (or even undermine) her marriage, they need not fear. The original LIFE article points out that the groom, Fred Ehrhart, who was a lumber grader in Oregon, gamely helped his fiancée create her gown. Birds of a feather, it seems, do indeed flock together.

Allison Berry is a contributor at TIME.com. Follow her on Twitter @allisonrberry.

TIME

Pictures of the Week: Nov. 7 – Nov. 14

From Putin’s “coatgate” moment with China’s first lady and the funerals of Kurdish fighters killed in clashes with ISIS, to One World Trade Center’s 69th floor rescue and Brad Pitt’s selfie, TIME presents the best pictures of the week.

TIME Turkey

Turkish Youths Attack American Sailors in Istanbul

The Americans escaped without serious injury and their shore leave in Istanbul has been canceled

A group of Turkish youngsters assaulted three American naval officers in Istanbul on Wednesday, calling them “murderers and killers” and demanding they leave the country.

The youths belong to a nationalist group called the Turkish Youth Union, or TGB, which released a video of members flinging balloons filled with red paint at the soldiers before grabbing them and putting white sacks over their heads, the New York Times reported.

Turkish authorities have arrested 12 people for the assault, and Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgic issued a statement condemning the “disrespectful act, which is in no way tolerable.”

“These attackers are a great discredit upon the Turks and Turkish reputation for hospitality,” said Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren, telling reporters that American and Turkish authorities will investigate the incident.

The sailors immediately returned to their ship, the U.S.S. Ross, and their shore leave in Istanbul has been canceled.

TIME world affairs

Europe Has a Jihadi Superhighway Problem

Michael McCaul is the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Extremists are exploiting EU security gaps to exit Syria and Iraq and return to the West undetected, leading to a “terrorist diaspora”

Foreign fighters headed to the Middle East are not deterred by U.S. bombing in Syria and Iraq. According to recent reports, 1,000 fighters from countries across the globe are pouring into the conflict zone each month to fight with ISIS and other fanatics, adding to the 16,000 already estimated to have gone there.

The bad news is that Westerners are among their ranks, including Americans and Europeans, who are only a plane flight away from our shores. More troubling is that security gaps in Europe—and Turkey in particular—make it easier for them to return to the West undetected once they decide to leave.

The threat from “returnees” is real and growing. These battle-hardened, violent Islamists have the training and extremist networks to plot deadly terrorist attacks against our homeland. We’ve already seen returning fighters conduct attacks in places like Belgium, and with a continuous trickle of extremists departing the conflict zone, the danger is getting greater each day. In testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security in September, FBI Director James Comey warned that we need to brace ourselves for a wider “terrorist diaspora” out of Syria and Iraq.

It has always been a challenge to disrupt terrorist travel, but I believe some of our European partners are not moving quickly enough to confront the return of foreign fighters. Extremists have already managed to exploit Europe’s security gaps and transform it into a jihadi superhighway. The inbound lane to Syria is clearly busy, but it is the outbound lane we should be especially worried about.

Turkey, which straddles Europe and Asia, is the biggest concern. It remains the primary foreign fighter transit point. Some Turkish officials acknowledge their long, porous border with Syria is used by foreign fighters to get to the battlefield, yet their recent efforts to enhance border security do not instill confidence that they will be able to stop the foreign fighter flow anytime soon.

The Turkish government has beefed up its terror watch list. But the list is useful only if Turkey is screening against it, and the country’s air passenger screening capabilities are not where they need to be. Moreover, it is unclear how rigorously Turkey is screening outgoing passengers to identify possible foreign fighters headed back home from Syria, and even when they do, some Turkish officials say they are not getting enough information from European partners about who they should stop.

Extremists are quickly finding even more vulnerable transit points. They have reportedly begun to use cruise ships to get into the country, taking advantage of Turkey’s more lax security rules for sea passengers. This is a startlingly easy way for fighters to exit the region, too.

Equally worrisome is that terrorists might use refugee groups as a Trojan Horse to get into the West. Hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees have poured into Turkey this year, and many of them have left for other European countries by boat. It is unclear whether extremists are hiding in these groups, as few are comprehensively screened on the way out.

Unfortunately, the Mediterranean countries where these refugees are headed, like Italy and Greece, also have a disincentive to screen them. Overwhelmed by large migrant populations drawing on social services, these governments have a reason to “look the other way” and let unregistered migrants make their way into the rest of Europe to become another country’s problem. These transit routes are disturbingly susceptible to terrorist exploitation.

Wider European Union security gaps are also a problem. EU law forbids member states from automatically running EU citizens against terror watch lists when they return to the continent’s 26-country Schengen Area, a large swath of Europe in which its citizens can travel freely without border checks. As a result, only a fraction of EU citizens are screened against terror databases when they re-enter Europe. This vulnerability may allow European foreign fighters—many of whom can travel visa-free to the United States—to make it back to the West without drawing attention.

Other EU security deficiencies can also make it easier for American extremists to travel back from the conflict zone, including the lack of an advanced EU-wide air passenger information screening system and inadequate fraudulent document detection capabilities.

In all too many ways, Europe is in a pre-9/11 counterterrorism posture. Many countries have legal barriers that prevent law enforcement and intelligence agencies from cooperating effectively, EU member states often share information in an ad hoc and decentralized way, and a number of states lack the necessary laws to prosecute foreign fighters even when they are detected.

The EU has begun to discuss how to fix some of these gaps. But it is tough to reach consensus in the EU, which is why individual member states need to begin building up their own capacity to combat this threat with or without the Union. The United States stands ready to provide assistance and share lessons learned from our own post-9/11 experience improving terrorist “tripwires.”

We also have our own work to do. The U.S. government has not released a strategy for combating terrorist travel since 2006, and watchdog groups have identified vulnerabilities in everything from U.S. biometric information collection to visa security. The Obama Administration has taken positive steps to reconcile some of these deficiencies, including recently enhancing security at overseas airports and requiring more information from foreign passengers prior to travel, but we need to do much more.

Accordingly, the House Committee on Homeland Security is launching a comprehensive review of U.S. government efforts to deter, detect and disrupt terrorist travel. This investigation is also looking closely at foreign fighter travel routes and security gaps our foreign partners can help us fill.

Connecting the dots to catch terrorists is not an easy task for a single nation, let alone a group of them like the EU. But if we do not work together better to improve our defenses—and quickly—we will be meeting the threat face-to-face at home, not overseas.

Michael McCaul is the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Turkey

Islamist Militants Are Setting Off to Wage Jihad by Boarding Cruise Ships

Cruising jihadists aren't ponying up for some wholesome, organized fun — they're en route to Syria and Iraq to fight for groups like ISIS

Interpol says foreigners seeking to join Islamist militant groups are beginning to take cruise ships to their war-torn destinations rather than go through airports, where the security is comparatively much tighter.

“There is evidence that the individuals, especially in Europe, are traveling mostly to Izmit and other places to engage in this type of activity,” said Pierre St. Hilaire, director of counterterrorism at Interpol, reports the Associated Press.

Izmit is a coastal town in Turkey, which is a popular gateway into Syria and Iraq for foreigners bent on joining militant forces like ISIS.

Seeking to close the loophole, international police speaking in Monaco also announced plans to expand I-Checkit, a program that lets airlines, banks and hotels screen customer passport information against Interpol’s database of Stolen and Lost Travel Documents.

I-Checkit has been tested at AirAsia, a low-cost airline based in Southeast Asia, and has since June led to 18 people not being allowed to board their flights because of security concerns raised.

Read more at the Associated Press.

TIME Turkey

Here’s How Much Turkey’s Lavish Presidential Palace Costs

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan leaves the construction of new presidential palace built inside Ataturk Forest Farm with the official presidency car in Ankara, Turkey on Oct. 16, 2014.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan leaves the construction of new presidential palace built inside Ataturk Forest Farm with the official presidency car in Ankara, Turkey on Oct. 16, 2014. Anadolu Agency—Getty Images

Critics say President Erdogan's extravagance is a sign of his self-righteousness

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s presidential palace, over 30 times the size of the White House and four times the size of Versailles, is costing Turkey $615 million, the country’s finance minister said Tuesday.

The lavish residence, which had an expected price tag of $315 million, comes with a $185 million Airbus presidential jet tailored to Erdogan’s design preferences, according to Bloomberg.

For years, the former Turkish Prime Minister had been accused of abusing taxpayers’ money when he helped design the extravagant, 1,000-room building known as the White Palace. Several court orders were ineffective in stopping the construction and expansion of the building, which totals over 3.1 million square feet.

Erdogan’s critics believe the mega mansion is a sign that he feels superior to the law that governs the country, an economist at GlobalSource Partners told Bloomberg. Other critics have likened Erdogan’s palace to the People’s Palace built by Romania’s communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who was infamous for his brutal and repressive regime.

[Bloomberg]

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