Sunday 29 March, 2015 by Uncle Spike
Western influences continue to transform Türkiye; now whilst some are for the better, that does not account for everything of course, and sometimes I cringe at the needless westernisation that heavily line the vast pockets of the very few – corruption here is a national sport, and one at which we very much excel.
Of course, the populous remain very much Turkish at heart, such as majority blind acceptance of authoritarianism and one of the highest ratios of military/police to population, limited freedoms most westerners cannot fathom, educational challenges you’d scarcely believe, and a highly polarised society which is bordering on levels that raise interesting questions about our future security; particularly considering our regional conflicts that seem to be escalating every week and surround our borders.
But on balance, and having lived in a few countries over many years, and here for a decade, I find the moral fibre of the culture surpasses the negatives. We have unparalleled respect for family, seniority and authority that set the it quite apart from the west (although that may be a contributory factor to some of our challenges too).
If you see six young lads walking down the street, there’s no sense of surprise at all when they greet you with formal politeness, or offer to help an elderly person. When we are out, our only child (7) is readily accepted by much older kids to join in their play (it’s the same on the school bus). But in turn, he automatically greets then as abi/abla (elder brother/sister); such is the cultural difference.
Teachers are revered, as are the elderly. Homes for the elderly… what are they? Never heard of one. Here we look after our own, just as they did for us. That is almost without exception, and something I really value, and probably on the long list of reasons for my immigration. On balance, the financial and political hardships experienced are outweighed by the very Turkishness of daily life.
BUT… as much as changes creeps through, there are some things that don’t change, like roadside services away from the metropolitan areas. Happy weekend folks.