How one man desires to convey extreme sports activities to Turkey


Cengiz Kocak, Turkey’s most prolific BASE jumper, has leaped off high-upward thrust buildings, phone towers, and hills. He says he does it to remind himself that he’s no longer dead. Next on his list is Istanbul’s ancient Galata Tower.ISTANBUL, Turkey — When Cengiz Kocak was seven years old, his father took him to a pageant in Ankara, where navy planes flew many feet above the floor. At a few points, Kocak looked up at the clear blue sky and saw tiny dots, which the idea had been toys. They turned out to be skydivers. Their show mesmerized him.

The next day, he improvised a bedsheet for a parachute, climbed over the balcony of his parents’ 2d-ground rental railing, and jumped. He woke up days later in a sanatorium with non-lifestyle injuries. Kocak, now forty-four, is a professional BASE jumper. BASE jumping is the extreme shape of parachuting that includes many risks and few rewards besides what he says is “an exhilarating feeling of being alive.” Over the years, he has amassed some 650 jumps.


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A BASE is an acronym for buildings, antennas, spans (every other phrase for bridges), and earth. High-upward push inns, mobile towers, hills, and caves are known as ‘items’ by BASE jumpers, who visit intense lengths to climb and bounce from them. In Turkey, the trend is still new. Kocak, who says he’s the simplest expert BASE jumper in the country, wants to trade that. Kocak intends to create a map of journey spots in Turkey.

Lately, he has been making plans for half a dozen jumps as part of an advertising campaign for the European Outdoor Film Tour, which celebrates severe sports activities. The first leap from the Galata Tower, the seven hundred-year-old observatories, was purported to take vicinity on October 28. However, it has been postponed due to terrible weather. If leaping from Dubai’s Burj Khalifah, the arena’s tallest construction, may be risky, then plunging down the Galata Tower is even more so. The height of the tower’s terrace, from where he’ll attempt the bounce to the ground, is most effective at 37 meters, making it one of the lowest jumps for Kocak.

“You have handiest a split 2nd to open the parachute. Many things can move incorrectly,” he says. He plans to land on a nearby avenue. His lowest bounce was from a cave known as Prohodna in Bulgaria. That came from a peak of 27 meters. “I will by no means try that again. That is something I can do just once in a lifetime.” This isn’t the first time a person could have used Galata Tower as a launchpad. Kocak desires to position Turkey’s most exciting places on the map of adventure sports.

In 1632, Hezarfen Ahmed Celebi, an Ottoman technology scientist, is stated to have jumped off the tower. He then glided to the neighborhood of Uskudar on a different facet of the Bosphorus Strait and used a hen-like hold glider — making it record’s first intercontinental flight. The Bosphorus cuts through Istanbul, dividing the city into European and Asian parts. Istanbul is the world’s most effective metropolis, spread over two continents.

Kocak says it’s impossible to make this type of lengthy flow despite the twenty-first-century generation. “The high-quality gadget, the satisfactory drift ever invented, can provide a flight ratio of fifteen to at least one,” he says. But the simplest manner to do this is by getting a lot of elevation — much more than what Galata Tower offers. In that method, the glider loses one meter in the peak for every 15 meters traveled in the air. “Considering the distance from the tower to Uskudar, that’s impossible.”
Nevertheless, Kocak says he considers Celebi the primary man or woman to have jumped from Galata. “I am happy with being the second one simplest in 385 years,” he says. As part of the movie excursion, his final leap will attempt to emulate Celebi’s feat.

To fly to Uskudar, he plans to leap from a peak of 500 meters from a helicopter sporting a wing fit (a wingsuit is complete-frame flying equipment with a sturdy cloth below the palms and among the legs). “I’ll flow right down to the tower’s height and be available very close to it at a pace of 200 kilometers in keeping with an hour. That’s the factor once I set up the parachute and try to land on the other facet of the Bosphorus.”

Unlike skydivers with a reserve parachute and the right tools, BASE jumpers get their thrill by being prepared at the drop of a hat. “A BASE jumper is a vagabond. I don’t abide by regulations. I am seeking out new gadgets to jump from anywhere I am journeying. These days, cellphone towers trap my attention,” Kocak says.

This rebelliousness is in stark assessment with the strict recurring of the army in which Kocak spent more than 20 years as a skydiver for Turkey’s Airborne Brigade. During that length, he served in Afghanistan and Bosnia. “As an infant, my parents might hush me whenever I mentioned my want to become a parachute. So I did the subsequent satisfactory component, which changed enrolling in the navy and doing what I like most.”

Kocak became a lively member of Turkey’s national skydiving group in 1998, clocking in more thanoverydives and a countrywide record for jumping from 25,000 feet without an oxygen mask. However, BASE leaping, which he professionally took up in 2011, required drastic lifestyle changes. “I even have daughters. But the wedding didn’t close because I rarely changed at home. Then, in the future, my more youthful daughter didn’t realize who I had become and was referred to as my uncle. That’s once I advised my spouse we must separate.”

Kocak would not continually disclose the places of his leap-off factors – in step with an unstated code among BASE jumpers. He has been primarily living out of a minivan for the past couple of years, which is simply huge enough to accommodate him. “If I had been just a few centimeters taller, it’d be impossible to stay in it,” he says with fun. Money, or instead, the shortage of it, is a steady hassle for BASE jumpers, he says. “I am on the move. I had been to many countries, and often fellow jumpers have paid for my tour and resort.”

The primary supply of profits for BASE jumpers is sponsorship earnings. Kocak says that even as he constantly searches for stimulating places to jump from, he keeps some details to himself, keeping with the code that jumpers observe worldwide. Once he unearths an item, he jumps; however, he does not publicize its region. That’s a trendy practice among BASE jumpers who don’t want to draw a note from the authorities, which may implement regulations.

Kocak says he has been to forty-three international locations, often not knowing how he’ll have the funds for the air tickets and other journey costs. One year, for instance, he accrued over eighty 000 kilometers in tour time. He has also had his fair share of trouble for jumping without professional permission; a formality BASE jumpers typically avoid because they understand they’ll nearly never get it. Once, this happened when Kocak was in Poland. “I went to this lodge and advised body of workers that I turned into looking for a room. I took the elevator, observed the roof, and jumped. I was arrested and spent nights in prison.”