You cannot make it up: mature, educated or as has become the new buzzword ‘learned’ men and women of all backgrounds, walks of life, various beliefs and other personal preferences all off a sudden turn into little terminators.
Granted, short of rifles but well equipped with verbal warfare intent on harming other people’s reputation by highlighting ones’ apparently own impeccable sense of judgement whilst all along the way backstabbing former friends supposedly in the name of democracy.
In case you might wonder whether this November article is about a brand-new episode of House of Cards perhaps: far from it, it is about reality as is unfolding some one thousand and six hundred air miles away in a city called London.
Luckily when over here in Turkey with her splendid autumn sun there are ways to get away from it all, referring to newspapers and television programs. Yet whenever visiting the United Kingdom the only escape route is heading straight to bed making sure that your Twitter and other social media accounts are solidly put into sleep mode, too. Now you are on the right track dear readers – this column’s observations are about the B-word, more commonly known as Brexit. Actually, in principle this piece is about the huge advantages residing in Turkey would bring along to all us happy expatriates; the B-word is simply used as just another albeit the most drastic example of underlining this statement further.
And as our editorial line (and your friendly contributor fully agrees) implies that we refrain from making any (party-) political commentary not a single either pro or against Brexit – line shall surface here at all.
It is much more a general assortment of issues which sprang to my mind whilst being in transit early in October after a conference in London. Point taken – working as a journalist makes it possible to rather frequently travel between here and there, trying to be in two fine places at the same time if that is ever possible. The upside is that I call myself a lucky man to have many Turkish acquaintances, colleagues and friends in town thus one never really feels too far away from Turkey despite the distance. Then there is our fantastic and many thousand strong expatriate community here on the southern Aegean shores hence you are always ‘back home’ as well. It takes a lot of time to cultivate those two-way contacts but believe me, it pays off.
On to the downside you are of course allowed and required to not only observe day to day life but as a matter of fact add your ideas and comments and this requires enormous balancing act capabilities. You constantly have to be a goodwill ambassador for the other side so to speak, always taking in a myriad of others’ viewpoints before making your very own modest statement.
And most probably the most shocking recent observation is that debating freely and openly in the clear knowledge of that your conversation partner is a) listening in good faith, and b) you do the same has all but become impossible in one of those two countries I am writing about today. Yes indeed, we talk about the one which is 1 600 miles away from Kusadasi.
Which brings me back to Turkey: our local neighbors and shop owners and teachers and minibus drivers and hospitality industry workers and so on and so forth and most definitely our elected representatives are role models for how to engage in a decent conversation, how to make your opposite number feel accepted, how to convey the message of that whilst they of course defend their way of life our imported traditions are equally tolerated and even embraced. Living with each other instead of simply side by side!
Turkish society appears to have mastered the very difficult task of not neglecting obstacles or challenges but to tackle them head on. My own Turkish family and written with all my ever growing admirationcan best be described as ‘the tour group family’ as when every one of the inner circle plus their children and grandchildren would visit we need to hire a 50 seater overland coach. We are certainly a very diverse assembly. But regardless of which approach to a specific problem at home or in society someone favors at the end of the day there is harmony, at times we disagree in harmony if that terminology is correct.
And Turkey’s young(er) generation were raised in exactly thatgood spirit from which other nations could learn a lot.
Every time upon returning from abroad and ideally before even hitting home unless with heavy luggage I try to reserve one or two hours of ‘me time’ in a sense of visiting a café, bar or restaurant where the owner and fellow guests and myself know each other what feels as if for ages in order to reassure me that all is well, that nothing has changed, that peaceful and happy coexistence was and is the order of the day even if my trip only lasted for a week or so as what one experiences elsewhere makes one wonder.
Talking about that very much appreciated Turkish order of the day, what a difference from shouting ‘order, order’ which will for sure enter modern English dictionaries as exclamation of restoring calm amongst a group of arguing individuals; and so will the B-word; some already argue that a leading university might soon add that topic onto the list of history or modern politics degree subjects, respectively.
We should not close our eyes to the outside world, the hectic and at times chaotic and undesirable outside world away from Turkey. But are we not allowed to just every now and then close our eyes for a minute or two and lean back and refresh our mind that having moved here was, and is, the right thing to do?