APRIL (Nisan, nee-SAHN)
During April in Turkey, you may get some rain, or a lot of rain, but there may also be virtually none, and in any case the wild flowers and cherry blossoms will be out in the Thrace/Marmara, Aegean, Mediterranean and Central Anatolia regions, which is more than fair compensation for any rain showers. (Imagine an entire kilometer sweep of brilliant yellow or blue color!)
In Istanbul, the city's Tulip Festival produces 30 million tulips in a riot of color. Everyone thinks it's a great time to visit the city, which means that boutique hotels are often fully booked, at their highest prices, particularly at Easter, if it falls in April.
The waters of the Aegean and Mediterranean are approaching a comfortable temperature for swimming at their beaches. Prices at beach resorts and for Blue Voyage yacht charters are low, and crowds are not a problem.
Temperatures in the west and south are relatively mild, but in the mountainous East it's still cold. The Southeast (Gaziantep, Urfa, Mardin, Diyarbakır), so torrid and parched in high summer, is very pleasant now, but there may still be snow on top of Nemrut Dağı south of Malatya.
The International Istanbul Film Festival is in April.
The big national holiday is National Sovereignty Day (Ulusal Egemenlik Bayramı, April 23), when the first Grand National Assembly, or republican parliament, met in Ankara in 1920. It's also Children's Day. An international children's festival, with kids from all over the world, is centered in Ankara with celebrations throughout the country.
In April, the storks arrive in Istanbul's Gülhane Parkı and in Selçuk, next to Ephesus, to repair their nests, lay their eggs, and raise their young until September, when they all fly away. In the meantime, their presence brings good luck, beauty, happiness, guano, and a lot of squawking and bill-clattering to the town.
—by Tom Brosnahan