Prof. Dr. Türker Savaş (on the right) during his visit to Denizli with my dear friend Iskender Damgacı.
I had a chance to visit Denizli on my summer vacation this summer. I can't say anything before mentioning how hospitable the people of Denizli were, foremost Iskender. Every loft we had a chance to visit, we were greeted with worm welcome and offerings. In the mean time I would like to mention how much I was effected by the pigeons I watched and the pigeon keeping culture that was present. I can say the pigeon culture is rather old in Denizli. In fact this becomes evident quickly with a visit to the Denizli Güvercinleri / Pigeons of Denizli site.
Even though, I raise döneks, we did not visit the dönek fanciers in the town. We got to see one loft where they kept döneks, the way it should be kept. However, my main goal was to see the real dolapçıs and watch their flight qualities. First thing I can say about the dolapçıs, they are an "incredible breed". Hit the stick to the floor they fly, open the loft door they fall (dive to land). Do you like to fly your birds one at a time? OK dolapçı will fly. No, you want to fly 20-30 bird kits. You need to have dolapçıs. Do you like to fly a small kit? Throw 3 or 4 dolapçı and let them fly. Do you prefer to fly for a short time? As soon as your dolapçı kit fly, open your loft door and let them fall. Longer flight? Is 2 hours enough? How high they fly is also under your control: let them fly so high that you can't see them anymore or include an Azman to the kit and keep them at a medium height.
Yes, dolapçı must be the only breed which you can do all these with. Their spin, I should say "dolap" (wheeling or circling), is very different than döneks. You might say there is no difference between a wide spinning dönek and dolapçı's dolap but, if you look carefully, you will see very clear differences between them. One of these is while spin diving dönek closes and opens its wing, whichever is to the side of the spin direction. However, dolapçı will dive and spin with its wings fully open. In relation to this, while dönek spins on a strait line with its wing tip and tail corner becoming an axis for it, dolapçı draws an open coil. It looks almost like the inner wing's tip stays in a strait line.
As soon as you see them it becomes very obvious that the dolapçıs are better fliers than döneks. While döneks look rather relaxed, dolapçıs give a more agile impression. You can read the other qualities of dolapçı in the website dedicated to the breed of Dolapci.
I have couple of words for the dolapçı breeders of Denizli: There have been a stray move from the traditional breeding. It looks, the importance of color has come ahead of performance. I guess, one of the reasons of this is the constant comparison of dolapçı's wheeling (dolap) and dönek's spin (dönmek). Unfortunately, their is completely different breeding and flight styles between the two. It is sad to not to be able to see this. Really sad. I could not comprehend how some dolapçı breeders say this one is a dönek and this one is a firtikci (a local terminology for out of form performer). No. It is not a firtikci. It is dolapçı. Dolapçıs that perform out form are the firtikçis.
Dear pigeon friends of Denizli, fly your dönek like dönek and your dolapçı like dolapçı. Dolapçı breeders, don't envy the black bold heads (common color of dönek). Follow the rules of traditional dolapçı and your historical pigeon keeping rules. Before the colors, test your birds flight qualities, intelligence and performance. Color? That is easy.
P.S.: I would like to thank Iskender Damgacı and his family for hosting us like we have been dear friends for many years (even though, we were meeting for the first time) during our stay in Denizli.