Semih İdiz, "The Uludere raid and pickled cabbage", Hürriyet Daily News 5/25/2012:
The American Ambassador to Ankara, Francis J. Ricciardone, made the headlines in Turkey, shortly after taking up his post in Ankara, when he used a local saying which is not easy for foreigners to understand, let alone pronounce in Turkish, as he bravely did.
“Bu ne pehriz, bu ne lahana turşusu” he said – much to everyone, except Prime Minister Erdogan’s, amusement. He was referring to the banning of a politically controversial book by journalist Ahmet Şık before it was even published.
The Turkish saying roughly translates into “How do you tally eating this pickled cabbage pickle your diet.” In other words it is meant to highlight a contradiction or an odd situation that simply does not add up.
That's how the start of the story read in the paper version, which I read over breakfast. And the cited Turkish saying, as translated there, is certainly hard for foreigners to understand: "How do you tally eating this pickled cabbage pickle your diet."
The online version offers a less inscrutable translation: "How do you tally eating this pickled cabbage with your diet."
Still, I felt that something in the original was missing, given the parallelism "bu ne … bu ne …". I'm sorry to say that I don't know any Turkish; but using various online sources, my guess at an interlinear gloss is something like the following (replacing the HDN's "pehriz" with the apparently correct spelling "perhiz" = "diet"):
|What's this diet? What's this pickled cabbage?|
The culturally-appropriate meaning of the saying — the suggestion of inconsistency — is indeed not completely transparent. Perhaps the "bu ne X bu ne Y" structure has a general implication in Turkish of "given X, what's the story with Y?"
The "pickled cabbage" here is a statement that Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan recently made in Pakistan, urging a full U.S. apology for the mistaken air raid that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at the Salala border post last November. The contextual "diet" is the Turkish government's refusal to apologize for the mistaken air raid last December that killed 34 Kurdish civilians from the Uludere district on the Iraqi border.