Battle of the Three Turkish Beauties and the Swimsuit King

Swimsuit King goes down!

Anyone who knows anything about women's designer swimwear is familiar with the Zeki Triko brand -- whose retail bathing suit prices make us blanch. The Turkish company's founder/owner, Zeki Başeskioğlu is internationally famous, his bathing suits routinely show up in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and he has boosted the careers of any number of world-class super-models including Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, and Eva Herzigova.

Now in his 70's, Zeki has been cast by some in the media as a 'professor of beauty' -- and the other day he let it go to his head. In an interview for Hafta Sonu Dergisi (one of Turkey's largest selling weekly magazines), he said that 3 of Turkey's most beautiful and popular female mega-stars were over the hill and too fat to wear his bikini bathing suits anymore. And he named names...Hülya Avşar, Gülben Ergen and Sibel Can. Ouch! You can't get any bigger than that.

"To wear a bikini well you need to be tall, elegant -- and to have beautiful, upstanding breasts," he said. As for Hülya, Gülben and Sibel, well... the professor advised, "The bikini age for those 3 is past. They've all become too fat. Because of that, they each need to switch out of bikinis and into one piece suits -- which are much more appropriate for them."

Rumors of volcano eruptions in the camps of the 3 beauties surfaced immediately in the Turkish press, but five days passed before just one of the ladies offered up a public riposte to the Zeki Bey insult. And it was a zinger. Asked by a Hürriyet Gazetesi reporter about her opinion of 'Professor' Zeki's remark, Gülben Ergen said, "I really can't say -- because I don't wear (cheap) locally-made bikinis like his." You could almost hear the cheers from the other two beauties as 'the Professor' sank below the surface, in flames.

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Jim and (co-author) Perihan Masters are a husband and wife team, living on the Aegean Coast of Turkey just 50 miles south of Izmir. Jim was born in Shanghai, China -- of American military parentage. Peri was born on the Black Sea coast of Turkey near Trabzon, of Turkish military parentage...Enticed by a Financial Times advertisement, Jim joined a NATO sponsored enterprise in Ankara in 1974 where he met the beautiful and brainy Perihan, a rising young Turkish banking executive. Settled now in the heart of what was once the ancient Ionian Empire -- the couple live an idyllic life by the sea.. writing, drawing and painting, teaching English, and providing computing service support to local businesses. They also sponsor the MSNBC award-winning Learning Practical Turkish Website which has built an enthusiastic international following of devoted Turkophiles and inquisitive language students of all ages.