Number 4281 in the register of the United Grand Lodge of England
Izaak Walton Lodge of Freemasons
It is said that Turkey is where East meets West. Despite differences in culture, language and society, Freemasonry easily bridges the gap between these two different worlds, as Hirendra Raval (Rav) discovered on a recent visit to Istanbul. He writes;  “In November I joined six brethren from The Scientific Lodge No 88 in Cambridge to visit Lodges in Istanbul Turkey. The trip was organised by Bro.Ali Chimen and coordinated with Bro. Cem Tuncel in Istanbul. Having obtained the proper clearence from UGLE we set off to visit Kardeslik (Brotherhood) Lodge and Erguvan (Judas Tree) Lodge in Istanbul. Both Lodges meet in the Grand Lodge of Turkey buildings in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul. Franz List stayed for five weeks in part of this building during his visit in 1847 to the Otoman Empire. One of the best attributes of this venue is the roof top bar with fabulous views of the Bosphorus. The most moving impression of the visit was the warm welcome and hospitality we received from the Brethren of both Lodges. They changed the dates of their meetings to accommodate us and put in an enormous amount of work in conducting the meetings in English for our benefit. At the Kardeslik Lodge we witnessed a passing ceremony of five young Brethren. To assist us in following the ceremony we were presented with English translations of approved Turkish Ritual of the Initiation and Passing Ceremonies. We were also presented with a Jewel of the Kardeslik lodge and a certificate of attendance countersigned by the President of the Foreign Relationship Committee. WM Aykut Kocatürk presented Past Deputy PGM of Cambridgeshire, VWBro. Tim Higgins with a reed Flute.
December meeting The prospect of traditional Christmas fare and a round or two of Carol singing was enough to prompt an excellent turnout for our December meeting. The Festive Board was a little subdued after pressing family matters meant Bro Jonathan Howarth (who had been passed to the second degree) had to leave early. However, Tom Harris’s excellent hosting of the carol singing lifted the spirits and left us all slightly hoarse! Particular thanks are due to W.Bro Andrew Ridal, ProvDepGSec, visiting us from Cumbria, who was able to provide the beautiful instrumental backing for the singing from his ‘phone! Thank you Andrew.
At the Erguvan Lodge we witnessed an initiation ceremony for two candidates. Again most of the ceremony was conducted in English which we followed reading a folder presented to each of us. The WM Özcan Özmen then presented us with a Lodge Lapel Pin. At the Festive Board W Bro Mark Long sang the Entered Apprentices Song followed by a toast with our Masonic fire. To the Worshipful Masters of both lodges we presented an Entered Apprentices Apron symbolising the Badge of Innocence and a Bond of Friendship together with a History Book of the Scientific Lodge No 88 founded in 1754. During the day we were taken to all the historic sites and museums in Istanbul assisted by our own personal guide. In between the evocation of ancient history and the sights and sounds of Istanbul, we charged ourselves with food and drink at hostelries specially selected by our hosts. I would like to thank all the brethren in Istanbul for their hard work and generosity in hosting us and making our visit memorable. A special thanks to Bro. Ali Cimen of the Scientific Lodge without whom this tour would not be possible and as important, Arzu Cimen, his wife and Bro.Cem Tuncel of the Kardeslik Lodge for ensuring our daily itinerary ran smoothly.”
W Bro H Raval & Bro Aykut Keskinturk