Posted in Turkey

Remembering 20 Years Ago Today: “Can anybody hear me?!”

When I woke up in the middle of the night on August 17, 1999, in our 3-bedroom apartment in Ankara, Turkey, I realized somebody was knocking on the door like crazy. I walked through the living room and saw my mom looking outside the window to understand what was going on. I opened the door to see our older neighbor couple holding burning candles in their hands. They were terrified: “There has been an earthquake! Are you OK? It’s not safe here, you need to get out!” I woke my then 9-year old brother up. The power was out. We grabbed our radio and our shoes and we left our apartment in less than 3 minutes. The whole neigborhood was outside. I remember a woman had just a robe on. Another man was barefoot. There were kids crying, they were all so confused and scared. It was only 3:10 AM in the morning. The only light in our pitch dark street were the flashlights and cigarettes that our neighbors lid to relieve their stress. The radio said the epicenter of the earthquake was Izmit, which was at least 200 miles away. I thought to myself: “How come we felt it so strongly from this far away?” Then the news continued and I got my answer: It was 7.4 of magnitude and it lasted 45 seconds…

I don’t know if you ever experienced an earthquake. If you did, you probably know that even 10 seconds feel like a life time during the shaking and rumbling. I thought to myself: “A 45-second-long earthquake must have destroyed a lot of homes with people in them. The earthquake had happened at 3:01 AM, the radio said, when everyone was at home, sleeping. Oh, God! This is bad!”

The deadliest earthquake in Turkish history took place in Erzincan, in 1939. The 7.9 magnitude earthquake started shaking the ground at 2:00 AM and it lasted 52 seconds. The calendars marked December 27, so the weather was extremely cold, temperature varying from 23 to 27 F degrees. This lead more than 32,000 dead and more than 100,000 injured, several hundred thousands homeless.

I thought to myself, it could be as bad as Erzincan one… We all stayed outside until the sunrise. Then some of us got inside to get some sleep. The after shocks were scary but we knew that they wouldn’t be damaging. The most difficult one was over and thankfully, no one had a single crack in their walls, It was just ‘scary’ for Ankara. But the next day we were going to learn from the news that Izmit was not as lucky as we were: it was ‘devastating’.

Although I’m not a structural geologist, I’m still a geological engineer and I know a lot about earthquakes. The North Anatolian Fault is an active right-lateral strike-slip fault (transform fault) in northern Anatolia between the Eurasian Plate and the Anatolian Plate. As you can see below, Turkey is under a lot of pressure from the Eurasian plate pressing on one side and the Arabian plate from the other. Due to these constant continental movements, Turkey is a very tectonically active country.

Picture
  <http://www.air-worldwide.com/Publications/AIR-Currents/2010/Earthquakes-in-Europe–The-Case-for-Kinematic-Modeling/> “Earthquakes in Europe: The case for kinematic Modelling.” Dr. Shentu. Bingming, June 23rd 2011. January 13th 2014.
The Red dots showing where the Izmit Earthquake happened and where my home was.

Later we were going to learn that Izmit Earthquake was the 12th high magnitude earthquake (above 6.5) recorded on the North Anatolian Fault and the second deadliest one after Erzincan:

Wikipedia

If you are not familiar with the earthquake magnitudes, you can check out the below chart. There is a myth that there could be mega quakes which can go up to 12, USGS debunks this by stating the facts:

“Earthquakes of magnitude 10 or larger cannot happen. The magnitude of an earthquake is related to the length of the fault on which it occurs. That is, the longer the fault, the larger the earthquake. A fault is a break in the rocks that make up the Earth’s crust, along which rocks on either side have moved past each other. No fault long enough to generate a magnitude 10 earthquake is known to exist, and if it did, it would extend around most of the planet.

The largest earthquake ever recorded was a magnitude 9.5 on May 22, 1960 in Chile on a fault that is almost 1,000 miles long…a “megaquake” in its own right.” (USGS Website: click here for the link )

Image result for earthquake magnitudes
Illustration by Ernest Fiestan

Turkey was not prepared for this at all. Although the international help arrived the next day and all the civil people volunteered to dig up the ruins to save people, there were A LOT of ruins and not enough man power. An AKUT (non profit rescue organization) member reported when their team of 12 first arrived at the scene, a neighborhood in Golcuk to be exact, there were 6 buildings collapsed and in each one of them, there were expected to be at least 40 people living. He said: “There were screams, groans, cries under every ruin, some of them weak, some of them strong. I could hear them yelling “Can anybody hear me?!” We were just 12 people, though. We were frozen. How would you choose who you will save and who you will have to let die?”

An Akut member Nasuh Mahruki says: “Sometimes their arms or legs were trapped under the rubble. Maybe amputating might have been a solution but we didn’t have the medical support we needed. Those were tough decisions to make.”

When the excavators and loaders arrived in the affected neighborhoods, it was already 4 days after the disaster. The voices were already silent at this moment. It was hot, like 110 F degree hot, and the smell of death was heavy in the air.

Because of the large number of injured victims, the hospitals had to use the parking lots. There weren’t enough blood ot bandages. People were in line to donate their blood.

Deads weren’t buried right away since they needed to be identified first. As a quick solution, they were kept on the ice skating rings nearby.

There have been thousands of deaths. But luckily there were also hundreds who were rescued. All the people you see in the photos below were rescued from this heart wrenching disaster, alive.

The Poster Child of 1999 Earthquakes, Omur Kinay had lost her mother in the earthquake, lying next to her. She was rescued by cutting her hair that was trapped under the concrete blocks. She cannot walk anymore but she didn’t give up on her life. She finished her masters and now she is working towards her PhD degree in one of the big universities. She is an inspiration for everyone.

One of the survivors, Erkan Isik, became famous since he had squeezed Bill Clinton’s nose during his visit to the earthquake site. That cute moment made everyone forget about the terror they had been living for days, even for a few seconds. Now he is 20, and he is volunteering in AKUT rescue organization:

Image result for erkan isik 2019
Erkan Isik, one of the survivors had touched Clinton’s nose and this had created at least a moment of smile on everyone’s faces in 1999.

There were many coasts went under water after the earthquake: Istanbul was one of them. This created strange scenes like these:

The survivors were happy to be alive but their struggle had just started. They had lost everything: their homes, their valuables, some of them had lost their businesses. There were many camps around the city with thousands of tents. One of the biggest problems they were facing was an epidemic; Many dead bodies were still buried under the wreckage and each time it rained, there was a pollution risk of the underground water.

Besides homes, there were other damages in the city structure as well such as mosques, rail ways and gas stations. I would like to show you something here so that you could understand how the North Anatolian Fault, a strike slip fault, works. I will try to explain it as simply as possible, I promise.

Think about our earth with cracks everywhere, like an egg shell. Along those cracks, the pieces of the shell can move in different ways: up or down OR left or right. These types of movements along the cracks form different kinds of faults. For the strike slip ones (Remember, the North Anatolian Fault one is a strike slip one), the movement is horizontal as it is shown in the rectangle with red arrows:

Now, to give you a real life example, I will show you two photos below that are from the 1999 earthquake showing where exactly the fault line (the egg shell crack line) passes:

You can easily see the offset the fault created
You can easily see the offset the fault created The yellow arrows show the corners that used to be next to each other before. Now they are more than 10 feet apart.

What is Awaiting

The scientists confidently say that the next earthquake will probably happen in Marmara Sea because there has been a westward progression in the big magnitude earthquakes on the North Anatolian Fault line so far. The part that lies under Marmara Sea hasn’t had a big tectonic movement yet. The scientists are expecting an above 7 earthquake here someday until 2029. Because the average time that the stress is accumulated and finally released on a big active fault line like this is maximum 30 years.

Image result for where is the istanbul earthquake going to be

Without the recent undocumented Syrian immigration, and other undocumented residents counted, there are currently around 15,000,000 people living in Istanbul: This number is 10 times bigger than the population of Izmit. If we are not prepared, this earthquake will have devastating results: It is going to be a catastrophe. Istanbul is an old city with a lot of old buildings, historical sights and monuments. It has two international airports, three big bridges and an underground metro which goes through Marmara Sea, called Marmaray:

While remembering the pain the 1999 earthquake inflicted on Turkish people, I also wanted to emphasize the fact that we need to realize the severity of the potential danger that Istanbul faces right now. There are many ways to fix this and the below documentary mentions these methods at the very end.

I highly recommend you to watch this documentary if you are interested and want to hear more about what happened on August 17, 1999. The two things that break my heart even more after watching this: Aykut Barka, the geoscientist you will meet at the end of the video, died in a car accident 2 years after this documentary was shot, leaving a wife and two children behind. Also, a hero, co-founder of AKUT organization, Iskender Igdir, who saved tens of people’s lives during the 1999 earthquakes, lost his life just months after the earthquake while he was climbing to Mount Ararat.

May the peace with you, the wonderful men.

The Documentary of 1999 Izmit Earthquake

On November 12, 1999, very close to the same area, this time Duzce was shaken by another big earthquake: 7.2 magnitude, at 6:57 PM causing 845–894 dead; 4,948 injured; 55,000 displaced. The cost of the damage to the North west of Turkey was now about 10 billion USD.

I never forget. I hope our government does the same.

Hoscakalin!

-Ece

Posted in Turkey

Neden Ekrem Imamoglu Kazandi?

Ulke demokrasiye, secimlere olan inancini kaybetmis. Lakin, yine oy vermeye gitmis. Ne guzel de yapmis. Bugun gosterdi ki Turk halkinin cebinden alinan milyonlarca belki de milyarlarca lira harcanarak yeniden yapilan Istanbul yerel secimleri halktan uc onemli mesaj vermistir:

  1. Haksizligi sevmem. Hakedene hakettigini veririm.
  2. Demokrasi’yi silmeye hazir degilim.
  3. Yasli, milleti bolmeye yonelik, tek adamli sisteminden yoruldum. Daha genc, dinamik ve birlestirici bir lider istiyorum.

Istanbul secimleri disaridan sadece yerel bir secim gibi gorunebilir ama dogru degildir bu. Toplamda sadece %14’u Istanbul kutugune kayitlidir Istanbul nufusunun ( https://t24.com.tr/haber/istanbulda-kac-istanbullu-yasiyor,251188 ) geri kalani gocebedir. Anadolu’nun her bir yerinden is bulma, ailesi icin daha iyi bir hayat kurma, kendisi icin daha iyi bir egitim olanagi olusturma amaciyla gelmis kesimdir. Sendir bendir, Istanbul. Aslen Ankara’li olmama ragmen sevdiklerimin cogunu icine almistir bu sehir. Beni de Amerika’ya tasinmadan once 4 yil konuk etmistir en guzel semtlerinde. Yani demem o ki, Istanbul secimleri Turkiye’nin her kesiminden insanini yansitir. Zamaninda tarlasini, bagini bahcesini, koyunu, dernegini, ana ocagini birakip bin bir turlu hayalle gelen, cogu esnaf, Anadolu insanidir.

Binali Yildirim’in bu secimi kaybetmesi ne ‘ogretmen’ yazamamasindan, ne de bire bir muzakerede basarisiz olmasindan ne de detone sarki soylemesinden kaynaklandi. Bu secim sonucu Yildirim’in basarisizligi degil, Imamoglu’nin basarisidir. “Her sey cok guzel olacak” deyip, uzun zamandir ozledigimiz bir iyimserlik ve birlestiricilikle her kesimden, her inanctan insani elele tutusturup demokrasiye dogru son hiz yurumemizi sagladi. Yillardir ayristirila ayristirila bitirilemeyen millet, bugun yan yana, omuz omuza kutlama yapti. Ilk defa Gezi olaylarinda kendini gosteren gonullerde birlik ve beraberlik filizi bu secimlerde tomurcuklandi.

Artik Istanbul’un parasindan faydalanamayacak olan AK Parti, bakalim nasil ve nerelerden kaynak bulacak? Mansur Yavas’in bir bir ortaya doktugu yolsuzluklarin bakalim Istanbul ayagi nasil olacak? Yoksa, bu secimlere de golge dusurecekler mi? Memleketce paranoyak olduk sayelerinde.

Imamoglu’nun liderlik vasfi cok on planda. Yas ortalamasi 70 olan siyasetciler tarafindan yonetilmekten bikmis bir millet onun genc, dinamik, saygili ve sevgi dolu halini sevdi. Gozluguyle zeki ve guvenilir, sicak gulusuyle candan, hafif gobegiyle de baban gibi, amcan gibi, senden benden bir insan oldugunu hissettirdi bize. Bir gun yan odada televizyon acikken ses tonunu Erdogan’a cok benzettim, bu bile AK Parti tarafinda sempati yaratmis olabilir. En azindan durup dinlemeleri icin bir neden olmus olmasi mumkun. ‘Cibanin basini buyumeden ezelim’ (biraz mide kaldiran bir deyim ama cuk oturdu, kusura bakmayin) mantigiyla, bu kendini herkese sevdiren genc lideri, kendilerince sessizce gommeye karar verdiler. Belki ilk secimde mazbatayi verselerdi, Ekrem Imamoglu ismi bu kadar buyumeyecekti. Ama secimlerin iptali, haksizliga alerjisi olan Turk halkini kizdirdi. Cumhur ittifaki taraflarinda bile rahatsiz olanlar, ayri dusenler oldu. Millet Ekrem Imamoglu’na daha cok ilgi gostermeye, onu daha cok takip etmeye basladi. Imamoglu’nun sosyal medyayi %100 etkili kullanisi, yandas medyanin karalama kampanyalarini geri plana itti. Her zaman, her elestiriye guzel ama nazik bir cevabi vardi ve bunu aninda yapti. Onun bu spontene rahatligi, halkta guven algisi yaratti.

CHP, Muharrem Ince’yle bir atilim yapti. Ince iyi konustu, guzel konustu, guzel stratejileri vardi ve AK Partiyi elestirdigi yonler tam nokta atisiydi. Ama Ekrem Imamoglu gibi halka inmedi: dertlerini dinlemedi, caylarini icmedi, sofralarina oturmadi, yuz yuze elestirileri yanitlayip, cocuklarin ellerinden tutup ‘Her sey cok guzel olacak’ demedi. Ilimli, dostane bir politikadan cok hircin ve kizgin bir politika izledi. Gerci belki de o donem onu gerektiriyordu. Evet, her haksizligi gumbur gumbur televizyonlarda acikladikca, icimizin yaglari eridi, erimedi degil ama bu hircin tavri ister istemez tedirginlik yaratti. Kaybettiginde bile hircin hali onu anlik ve yanlis kararlar vermesine yol acti (Bknz: “Adam kazandi”)Simdi, kabul etmek gerek: Muharrem Ince, Kilicdaroglu’nun yerlerde surukledigi CHP’yi ayaga kaldirmis, sahlandirmis, tekrardan guvenilebilir, sevilinebilir, ortak olunulabilir kilmistir. Bugun diger partilerle omuz omuza verilebiliyorsa, insanlar her turlu katakulliye ragmen hala secim sistemine guvenip gidip oyunu kullaniyorsa, bunda Muharrem Ince’nin payi buyuktur.

Dikkatinizi cekerim: ne hakkiyla kazandigi belediye baskanligi elinden alindiginda, ne hakkinda yalan haberler cikarildiginda, ne de Yildirim’la birebir tartismasinda her sozu kesildiginde cizgisinden odun vermedi Imamoglu: Saygili, sakin tavrini korudu ve bu yapici hali, herkesten ovgu aldi. Sevgisini kazanamadigi secmenin bile en azindan saygisini topladi. Secim gezilerinde Cumhur Ittifakina hakaret eden yuhalayan gruplari tum nazikligiyle susturdu. Kisacasi bize dogru siyaset nasil yapilir onu gostermis oldu.

Bugunki kutlamalardan

Ne diyorduk? Hah… Guzel Insan Ekrem Imamoglu… Istanbul Buyuk Belediye Baskani oldun bugun. Umuyorum ki siyasetin cirkin eli o kollarini heyecanla kivirdigin beyaz gomleginde, temiz yureginde kirli izler birakmaz, seni de curutup, bozup, digerlerine dondurmez. Biz seni sevdik. Istanbul’a kendini sevdirmek zordur, nazli bir hatun gibidir o sehir. Ama ikna oldu mu da seni alip bas taci yapar. Biz, sadece Istanbul olarak da degil be yav, tum Turkiye olarak sevdik. Sen bir Belediye Baskanligindan cok daha yuksek mertebelere gelebilirsin, isigin var. Diliyoruz seni rahat birakirlar ve saglikli uzun bir omrun olur da seni TURKIYE CUMHURIYETI DEVLETI’nin basinda goruruz belki, ne dersin?

Loading: Her sey cok guzel olacak – Part 2! 🙂

-Hoscakalin

Ece

Posted in Turkey

ODTU Through the Eyes of a Cat

I have always considered myself lucky for being a Middle East Technical University (ODTU) graduate. Although they included many sleepless nights, lots of stress, tears and sweat, my school years were also so much fun. Being one of the best universities in Turkey and maybe the best technical one, ODTU has special significance. In addition to being a university that accepts only the top 3% of the potential candidates, it also has a tough curriculum, difficult professors and demanding lab or project hours.

Me and my best friend Ozlem graduating from ODTU in June, 2005

But for somebody, ODTU is even more valuable and important…

Cats.

In every cafeteria or classroom, it is very usual to see a cat roaming around, sleeping or looking for food. Many compassionate ODTU students will happily feed them, play with them and care for them. They will even name them. Like this one:

Meet Pakize, the cat of Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences.

Meet Pakize, the ODTU cat.

Now she will walk you through the beautiful ODTU campus and share all the campus secrets with you 🙂 Enjoy!

Meow! My name is Pakize. I speak English very well because the education language is in English here and I go into every class, well… In some of them I am not awake, but I picked up English here and there. Let’s cut the crap, here we go. First thing first, this is glorious me:”

Image result for pakize odtu

“They have recently elected me as the ambassadors of the ODTU cats. It has been an honor, I should admit. As the ambassador, it’s my duty to introduce this university to you. I have been literally everywhere on this campus in and out. So, trust me when I say I know what I’m talking about. Another reason why you should take me seriously: I have my own Twitter account and I can respond to Trump about cat rights if I want to!”

Image result for pakize odtu

Let me take you to our first stop, the Math Department. It has the tiniest cafeteria but it has the best carbonated tea and warm pogaca which is a delicious Turkish pastry that students sometimes are kind enough to share with me. If they don’t, I attack them anyway. Muhahaha! I have my ways 😉 “

When you get out of the Math Department, the library will be right across the cobblestone path. I have no idea why, but a lot of students stay over night there, studying. The amount of food they eat and the tea/coffee they consume would blow your mind! The quiet part is where I’m not allowed in, but I can enter and wander around in the group work section. I saw people studying, sweating, crying, fighting and even kissing! Telling you, they literally live here!”

ODTU Library

“But one thing I like about these kiddos is that they also value friendship, chit chat and fun. They lay or sit on grass and talk. These kinds of groups are my favorites because they usually like to play with me or feed me. Their butt get all grassy and green afterwards, but they don’t care, the sun light and the smart chat were all worth it, they think. Silly but cute.”

ODTU people love sitting on grass 🙂

“Before I show you my favorite part on Campus, let’s stop on the way by the Physics Department. This is where Erdal Inonu was a teacher for a while and this another famous guy, Levent Ulgen, graduated from, with 4 GPA *gulp*. This department is basically where all cray crays are- just saying.”

“Physics is a department that almost all Calculus takers must go to. When I stepped in to the A3 auditorium, I could see 250-300 students trying to understand Calculus on the board. They had the look of pain in their faces most of the time. Especially in the Prof. Sitki Irk’s classes. Don’t know why that was the case but their tortured faces looked really funny. Anyway, let’s talk about most important thing now: Food. Physics cafeteria is where magic happens for me, because they have my favorite food, patso: a fries sandwich!”

Image result for patso
Patso: Fries in a sandwich bread with ketchup and mayo

“Their outside sitting area is actually quite fun. Because many Turkish people have the habit of smoking, they usually prefer outside and that works perfectly for me!”

Do you know the answer?

“Alright, we are done here. After physics department, we take a very nice path with full of trees. Variety of trees create variety of smells here. Lovely, very nice smells around. But we are approaching to the most boring building on Campus. I gave you the fair warning!”

“I called this one a nice path because sometimes I see beautiful flowers here.”

“Which one is the most boring building you wonder?…

The tallest building on campus: ‘MM Building’. Students who want to go abroad with Erasmus come here a lot. I don’t know the others. But also there is a sad story about this place, There have been many suicides reported at MM. Some students couldn’t cope with the competitive environment and pressure. So, they jumped from the roof to death. It is really sad. Not a lot of people talk about it here.”

“PS. I tried once but somehow I landed on my four feet. They should name me ‘lucky’ instead of Pakize”

MM Building

“Ladies and gentlemen. Pakize proudly presents her favorite place on Campus: Yemekhane (Cafeteria) With its incredibly cheap prices, there is always a fixed menu with soup, main meal and dessert. When I used to hang out here I had gained 5 pounds but now I have a job, as you all know. And I’m a responsible cat. I have to run around the campus a lot, so thank God that’s how I lost weight. But man, their food, especially the Keskul
dessert is just so perfect for my tummy”

ODTU Cafeteria

“I will come back here after we finish our tour, it smells like fried chicken is on the menu today. Yum!… OK. Move on! If we take a right turn after the cafeteria, we’ll see one of the most popular cafes on Campus: Çatı (pronounced as Cha-teh ) Their variety of food and awesome sitting area outside lead to long wait lines. But who needs a line when you are as small and cute as me? Hehehe”


How I see Çatı Patio on a full tummy

How I see Çatı Patio when I’m hungry!

Çatı Patio -How it actually looks

“Just by this Cafe, you will see the ‘Industrial Engineering Department whose design is not appreciated by its own students. Me, on the other hand, I don’t care. Really. As long as I can sneak in through the open doors, the design is perfect for me. The students in this department are as generous as the other ones, so why would I care?”

Department of Industrial Engineering

“I have to mention my biggest enemy here since he hangs around this spot a lot. This silly dog keeps going around cuddling people on campus and stealing my food! I don’t know his name yet but I named him ‘deceiver’. Don’t buy into his cute looks, he is a fraud, I’m totally real. Totally.”

‘The deceiver’ sitting with students

“There is a recent addition around here: a sculpture that I don’t know of what. The only thing I know is that it provides a perfect shade for 4 hours in summer. do you think it looks like anything? I can’t tell… Human beings are weird, they call everything ‘art’ these days”

“I would take you farther away but I started to feel tired so I will show you just a few more places then I will head back to the main cafeteria, if you don’t mind *Grin* “

“So,here is the second most boring building on Campus!: The Registrar office. I have never, ever seen a student or an employee leaving this place with a happy face. They all look grumpy. So, I usually avoid bothering anyone around here. I suggest you the same. Signed by: A friend”

ODTU Registrar Office

“Our upcoming stop is actually really fun. They sometimes hold very loud and fun events here. They are fun to watch, too. Sometimes some serious looking people come here to give important talks. I think the other day the president of Turkey came or something -well, I didn’t go for personal reasons, I have heard not a lot of students attended , either. I’m curious why. But you know what they say: “Curiosity killed the cat” and I want to stay alive for at least 9 more years. Thanks! Anyway, this place is called the Culture and Convention Center.”

ODTU Culture and Convention Center

“If you walk towards Çarşı, where the banks, restaurants, post office, stationery and copy center are, you will see this large, beautiful green wooded area first. It looks really pretty and usually this is the best place to hold a spot during the Spring Festival on campus (because they build a stage right in the middle for concerts) Its tiny pretty stream sometimes smells like dump, though. I’m just a cat, so I don’t question things but that smell even cuts my apetite. Yuck!”

Beautiful green area right across Carsi

“And of course Carsi is the place we have to mention here, since it is the place where usually the shit happens – inner thoughts: “or in stadium? Or food engineering back yard? Anyway”- This place has everything from shopping to banking. They have a billiard cafe , where you can play pool,backgammon or chess. They have good kebab places plus some other nice restaurants and cafes. I would take you up to where dorms are now but as I said, I really need to go as I way passed my lunch time 😀 I’m heading back to cafeteria, if you don’t mind. I hope you enjoyed this tour. If you ever happen to come and visit, please find me! I will be around the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences . Chiaawww!”

Because Pakize was really hungry – which I can totally resonate with – she forgot to mention one of the best places in ODTU. I can’t let you go before I introduce you to ODTU Stadium. More than the graduations, concerts, festivals and sport events it hosts, what makes this place even more special is the message it gives: A message from the students to the world.

This message was written on the stadium steps in 1968. It says “Revolution” and it gives a different message for everyone. Some claims it represents the founder of Turkey, Ataturk’s positive revolutions on education, justice and social system. Some claims that this represents being against the status quo is not always a bad thing, Change is good if it is positive for the nation. Despite many attempts to erase it or paint it over, for some reason (obviously a smart combination of chemicals or application method) it remains to this day indestructible. Here is a picture of me standing in front of it. Mind you, taking a selfie in front of a stadium takes a lot of effort and so the letter ‘D’ didn’t show itself very well. Not my fault!

I hope you enjoyed the tour of my university!

Hoscakalin!

-Ece Gurler

Posted in books, Turkey

Mahfi Eğilmez’den “Değişim Sürecinde Türkiye”

İtiraf etmeliyim ki bu kitaptan çok şey öğrendim. Hem tarihimize hem insanımıza hem de kültürümüze dair. Şimdi her şey çok daha açık ve net. Altını çizdiğim o kadar önemli nokta var ki, hepsini buraya sığdırmam imkansız. Ama en can alıcı noktalarından kesinlikle bahsedeceğim. Bence bu kitap, ders mufredatlarina alinip okullarda okutulmali.

Bu muhteşem kitap 6 ana bölümden oluşuyor:

  1. Değişim
  2. Yirminci Yüzyılın Öncesi ve Sonrası
  3. Yirmi Birinci Yüzyılın Getirdikleri
  4. Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’ndan Türkiye Cumhuriyeti’ne
  5. Türkiye’deki Değişimin Sosyo-Ekonomik Analizi
  6. Geleceğe Bakış

Bir zaman makinesi dusunun. Ben surucu koltugundayim, sizde arka koltuga atlayin, Turkiye’nin neden bugun geldigi yerde oldugunu hep birlikte gecmise yolculuga cikarak anlamaya calisalim!

zaman makinesi

Oncelikle degisimi tanimlayalim. Paradigma, mevcut durumda bir alan icin gecerli olan kural ve yaklasimlarin tamamini ifade eden model. Eger bu kural ve yaklasimlarda temelli bir degisiklik ortaya cikmissa, buna paradigma degisikligi ya da paradigma kaymasi deniyor. Boyle bir degisimin ortaya cikmasina karsin eski modeli korumaya yonelik tavir gosterenlerin de paradigma felcinin etkisi altinda kaldigi kabul ediliyor.

Turkiye’nin 2000’lere gelinceye kadar dis politika alanindaki paradigmasi ‘Yurtta baris, dunyada baris’ politikasiydi: ‘Kavgaya karisma, disaridan bak ve gerektiginde arabuluculuk yap’.

Turkiye dis politikasinda paradigma 1990’larda Sovyetler birligi dagilinca basladi, ama asil  desisikligi 2000’lerden itibaren olustu ve Turkiye, Amerika’nin tesvikiyle Ortadogu agirlikli bir bolgesel liderlige soyundu.

Donusum, paradigma degisiminden daha kapsamli ve koklu bir degisimi ifade ediyor. Paradigma degisimi: anlayislar, kabuller sisteminin degismesini anlatirken donusum, bu paradigma degisiminin ardindan gelen yapisal gelisimi de kapsiyor. Ornegin, Ataturk’un yaptigi reformlar, mesela kadin erkek esitligine iliskin adimlar bir paradigma degisimiydi. Bunun toplum tarafindan benimsenmesi ve kadinlarin gercekten erkeklerle esit konuma yukselmeye baslamasi ise donusumu ifade ediyor. Her paradigma, donusumle sonuclanmayabilir. Sistemin yeni paradigmaya ayak uydurabilmesi lazim. Mesela Iran, ikinci dunya savasindan sonra Ataturk reformlarina benzer paradigma degisikligine gitti ancak 1979 ta eskiye geri donduler cunku paradigmayi donusume ceviremediler. Asagidaki Fotografta ustte bugunun Iran’ini, asagida ise 1942-1979 Iran’ini gorebilirsiniz.

ZAMANDA YOLCULUK

1648: Avrupa’nin buyuk devletleri ‘Otuz Yil Savaslari’ na son veren ‘Vestfalya Antlasmasi’ yasamimizda yer eden bircok kavram ve kurumun dogusuna kaynaklik eden bir antlasmadir. Bu antlasmayla birlikte Avrupa, modern caga gecis yapti: din ve devlet isleri birbirinden ayrilmaya basladi, egemenlik, sinirlar, baska bir devletin icislerine karismama ve elcilik gibi kavramlar dogdu. Insanlar birbirlerinin sinirlarina saygi duydukca ‘ulus kavrami’ ortaya cikti.

1789: Fransiz Devrimi sonrasi Ulus Devlet dusuncesi iyice one cikti: Feodal yapinin yikilmasi ve ekonomide kapitalist sisteme gecilmesi de asagi yukari ulus devlet modeline gecis donemine denk gelir.

1789: Fransiz Devrimini ‘Sanayi Devrimi’ izledi. Fransiz Devrimiyle baslayan paradigma degisimi onu izleyen yapisal donusumlere yol acmistir.

Osmanli Imparatorlugu bir ‘Ummet Devlet’ idi. Hic bir zaman Ulus Devlet olmadi. Osmanli devletine bagli Avrupali kralliklar din farkliligi nedeniyle bu ummet devletinin hic bir zaman bir parcasi, bir unsuru olmamislar, bu karalliklarin halklari da kendilerini bu devletin halki olarak gormemislerdir.

1829: Mora Ayaklanmasi ile Osmanli Imparatorlugu’na karsi ayaklanarak kendi bagimsiz devletini kuran ilk ulus Yunanlilardir. Ardindan Balkan halklari tek tek Osmanli’dan koparak kendi ulus devletlerini kurmayi basardilar.

1923: Osmanli Imparatorlugu’nun yikilisiyla birlikte Turkler de kendi ulus devletlerini, Turkiye Cumhuriyeti’ni kurmayi basardilar.

DUNYADAKI EKONOMIK DONUSUMLER

1800’lere gelinceye kadar dunya’ya hakim olan sistem merkantilizmdi (disa kapali, korumaci ve mudaheleci bir ekonomik yaklasim). Bugunki kuresel sistem ise kapitalizm.

Sanayi devriminin en onemli donusumlerinden birisi, esnaftan (zanaatkar, atolye uretimi yapan yari sermayedar yari emekci) sanayi ve ticaret burjuvasi yaratmis olmasidir. Zamanla atolyeler fabrikalara donustu ve onceleri esnaf burjuvasi iken zaman icinde, kusaklar degistikce sanayi ve ticaret burjuvasina donustu. Boylece aristokrasinin karsisinda guclu bir yeni sinif dogmus oldu.

1970’lerde baslayan otomasyon (Insansiz uretim) ve onu izleyen dijital devrim, sanayi kapitalizmini cok daha hizli bir buyumeye itmistir.

Osmanli Imparatorlugu’nda temel ekonomik guc, tarim ve sanayiydi. Sanayiden kastimiz kuskusuz esnaf duzeyinde sanayidir. Asagida Osmanli zamanindan esnaf fotolarini gorebilirsiniz

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Osmanli Imparatorlugu tarima ve esnaf uretimine dayali yapisini degistirebilecek bir donusumu yasamadi. Ise alinan ciraklar, usta yaninda meslegi ogrenirler, yetismelerini tamamladiktan sonra esnaf birligine kabul edilirlerdi. Ise giren ciraklara, meslegin inceliklerinin ogretilmesinin yaninda, ahlaki ve dini degerlerin ogretilmesi de konu olurdu.

Avrupa’da sanayi devrimine giden yol ve sanayi devrimi sonucunda sanayi ve ticaret burjuvazisine donusen esnaf, Osmanli Imparatorlugu’nda boyle bir donusum yasayamadi. Cunku bu donusumun olabilmesi icin Avrupa devletlerinde oldugu gibi Osmanli imparatorlugu’nun da  aydinlanma cagina girmesi, egitim sistemini degistirmesi, kesiflere ve icatlara acik bir topluma donusmesi gerekiyordu. Bunlarin hic biri olmadi. Olmamasinin bir cok nedeni var kuskusuz ama temel neden, imparatorlugun bilimden uzak kalmasidir. Yuzyillar once medreselerinde okuttugu bilimlerin cogunun yerine din dersleri koyan Osmanli Imparatorlugu, bilime ilgisini kaybetti. Bu yapi, imparatorlugunun sanayi devrimine girememesinin temel nedenlerinden biridir. Sanayi devrimine giremeyen Osmanli Imparatorlugu, tipki ummet devlet yapisini kaybettigi halde ulus devlet yapisina gecemedigi gibi, merkantilist yapidan kapitalizmine de gecemedi. Daha cok kapitulasyonlarin etkisi altinda yabanci devlet tuccarlarinin ve finans uzmanlarinin gudumunde hareket etmek zorunda kaldi.

Dunyadaki Krizler ve Turkiye’ye Etkileri

1918 – Birinci Dunya Savasi sona erdiginde Versailles Antlasmasi Almanya’yi agir savas tazminatlarina mahkum etti. Almanya’nin mali bunalimi Hitler’in ve Nazilerin Almanya’da iktidara gelmesine zemin yaratti.

Birinci Dunya Savasi, Osmanli Imparatorlugu’nun sonunu getirdi. Bunda eskiden hocalar esliginde bilim, dil, sanat, kultur egitimi alan sehzadelerin ilerleyen donemlerde kafes arkasinda yetirstirilmeye baslanmasinin da onemli etkisi vardir. Fatih Sultan Mehmet’in bilgisi, gorgusu, dunya gorusuyle son donem padisahlarinin bilgisi, gorgusu ve dunya gorusu arasinda daglar kadar fark vardi.

Osmanli, yikilisindan 70 yil kadar once “Avrupa’nin Hasta Adami” benzetmesiyle tanimlaniyor, topraklarinin nasil paylasilacagi hesaplaniyordu.

1929- Kapitalizmin yasadigi ilk kriz 1873’te Viyana Borsasi’nin cokusuyle olmustur. Turkiye, Batili gelismis ulkelerin finansal altyapisina sahip olmadigi icin bundan cok etkilenmemistir. Ikinci buyuk kriz, ‘Buyuk Depresyon’ 1929 yilinda milyonlarca insani isinden etmis, ulkelerin milli gelirlerini geriletmis, ekonomileri kucultmus karsilikli ticareti sekteye ugratmistir.

Turkiye, Cumhuroyet’in emekledigi, hala Osmanli borclarini odemeye calistigi yillardi. Bir de Lozan Antlasmasiyla kaldirilan kapitulasyonlarin karsiliginda uygulamaya soz verdigi serbest ticaret (ithalati kisitlamama) baskisi altindaydi. Ama sansliydilar ki bu antlasmanin taahhut suresi 1929’da bitiyordu. Bu surenin bitmesiyle, daha mudaheleci bir politikayi uygulayan Turkiye, Turk Parasini Koruma mevzuati’ni yururluge koydu, dis ticaretini duzene soktu, sanayilesme icin plan yapti ve bu alanda ilerlemeler sagladi. Boylece dis borclanma yapmadan carklari dondurebiliyordu artik.

1945 – Ikinci Dunya Savasi sona erdiginde, Avrupali devletler buyuk guc kayiplarina ugramisti ve bu savastan 2 dev cikmisti: ABD ve Sovyetler Birligi.

Turkiye, ikinci Dunya Savasi’na girmedi. Bunun temel nedeni, Ataturk’un temel gorusleri arasinda yeralan ‘yurtta baris, dunyada baris’ yaklasimini temel ilke edinmis olmasiydi. Sava girmese de, Turkiye savasin olumsuzluklarini yasadi. Savas hazirligi yapmak zorunda kaldi ve bu sanayi planlarinin rafa kalkmasina neden oldu, enflasyonu yukseltti, butce aciklarini arttirdi. Bu donemde cikan iki yasa hala bugun tartisilmaktadir: Azinliklarin vergilendirilmesi amaciyla cikarilan ama sonradan piyasadaki etkilerini azaltma amacina donusen ‘Varlik Vergi yasasi’, ve piyasaya devlet mudahelesine gecise kapi acan ‘Milli Korunme Yasasi’.

Savasin getirdigi butun olumsuzluklara ragmen bu donemde Koy Enstitulerinin kurulmasi onemli bir girisimdi. Asagida o zamanlarin  koy enstitulerinin fotograflarini gorebilirsiniz.

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1957 – Ikinci Dunya Savasi’ndan sonra dunya iki devin soguk savasina tanik oldu. ABD ile Rusya arasinda ya da kapitalizm ile sosyalizm arasinda amansiz bir mucadeleye sahne oldu. 4 Ekim 1957’de Sovyetler Birligi uzaya ilk araci gonderdiginde (Sputnik 1) yalnizca Amerika degil, butun kapitalist dunya ayni telasa kapildi: Ruslar uzayi ele gecirirse oradan dunyaya egemen olabilirlerdi. Bunun ardindan NASA kuruldu ve Amerika egitim sistemini ve mufredatini bastan asagiyeniledi. Fen bilimlerine agirlik verilmeye baslandi. Uzay projelerine ayrilan mali kaynaklar arttirildi.

Soguk savas 90’larin basinda kuresellesme modasiyla silindi gitti. Yarisa onde baslayan Sovyetler, Amerika’nin Ay’a adam indirmesiyle geriye dustuler. Sonra da fark iyice acildi. Bir cok neden var kuskusuz ama en onemli nedenlerinden biri Sovyet sisteminin elektronik devrimi tam olarak yakalayamamasidir.

Turkiye’nin Amerika ve Avrupa’ya Yaklasmasi

Sovyetler Birligi, Ikinci Dunya savasi baslangicinda bogazda ve sinirda bazi insiyatifler istemis, Turkiye hayir demisti. Savastan sonra Sovyetler Birligi bu kez de Kars ve Ardahan’in kendilerine birakilmasini istedi. Bu gelisme Turk Dis Siyasetinde en onemli kirilma noktalarindan biridir. Bunun sonucunda Turkiye, Sovyetler Birligi karsisinda yalniz kaldigini hissederek Avrupa ve ABD’ye yaklasmaya yoneldi. ABD, Sovyetler Birligi’ne Turkiye’ye yonelik bu isteklerine karsi bir nota verdi ve Akdeniz’e savas gemilerini gonderdi. 1947’de kabul edilen Truman Doktrini’nin ardindan Turkiye’ye Marshall yardimi yapilmaya baslandi.1948′ de ABD ile ekonomik is birligi Anlasmasi imzalandi. 1949 yilinda Turkiye, Avrupa Konseyi’ne girdi. Boylece ABD ile Avrupa devletlerinin olusturdugu Bati blokuna katilmis oldu. Turkiye NATO’ya da uye olmak istiyor ancak Ingiltere’nin muhalefeti yuzunden giremiyordu. Haziran 1950’de Kore Savasi cikip da Turk hukumeti Kore’ye asker gonderince bu muhalefet kalkmis oldu ve 1952 yilinda Turkiye NATO’ya uye olarak Bati blokundaki yerini netlestirdi.

Buna karsilik Bati bloku Turkiye’yi yaninda tutmakla birlikte hic bir zaman tam olarak arasina almadi. Bunun en tipik ornegi Gumruk Birligi Antlasmasi’nin yapilmis olmasina karsin Turkiye’nin Avrupa Birligi uyeligine alinmamasidir.

EKONOMIK KRIZLER

1990’lardan itibaren kuresellesmeyle birlikte Turkiye de kapitalizmin daha etkin hissedildigi bir modele dogru yavas yavas ilerledi. Ne var ki bu gidis, ekonomi yaninda demokrasi, yargi bagimsizligi, hukukun ustunlugu, erkler ayrimi, ozerk universite, bilime dayali egitim gibi sosyal ve siyasal alanlardakiileri standartlarla desteklenemedigi icin varilan nokta cogu gelisme yolundaki ekonomide oldugu gibi ‘Ahbap Cavus Kapitalizmi’ oldu.

Turkiye 1990’lardan bugune kadar ikisi kendi yonetim kusurundan, birisi de kuresel sistemin kusurundan kaynaklanan 2 ekonomik kriz yasadi: 1994, 2001 ve 2008 krizi.

2008
2008 Krizi

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1994
1994 Krizi

 

1994 ve 2001 krizlerinden IMF destegiyle cikti. 2008 Kuresel krizin etkisini de IMF destegi olmaksizin atlatmayi basardi.

Turkiye, sadece 2001 krizinden sonra yapisal reformlari yasama gecirdi. Bankacilik sektoruyle ilgili bir cok duzenleme yapti. Kamu mali disiplinini saglamak yonunde de duzenlemeler yapti. Bunlarin sonucu olarak ekonomi daha saglikli bir yapiya kavustu. Ancak, bu duzenlemelerden sonra Turkiye hic bir konuda yapisal reform yapmadi. Oysa ekonominin sosyal, siyasal ve okonomik alanda bir cok yapisal reforma ihtiyaci var. Bunlarin arasinda:

  • Egitim sisteminin bilim temeline oturtulmasi
  • Yargi bagimsizligi
  • Demokraside daha ileri adimlar atilmasi
  • Universitelere ozerklik verilmesi
  • vergi sisteminde dolayli vergilerin agirliginin azaltilmasi,
  • Tesvik sisteminin dogru kullanilarak yerli uretimin rekabetci bir bicimde gelismesinin saglanmasi
  • Enerjide yerli kaynak kullaniminin arttirilmasi ve dolayisiyla cari acigin dusurulmesi.

Ahbap Cavus Kapitalizmi

Kapitalizmin temelini olusturan serbest piyasa ekonomisinin ozelliklerini tasiyor gorunen ama aslinda siyasal iktidara yakinliklari olanlara farkli ve ozel uygulamalar yapan ekonomik sisteme ahbap cavus (es dost) kapitalizmi adi veriliyor.

Yasal olmayan ya da kurallara aykiri isler bir veya birkac alanda bir veya birkac kez tekrarlaniyorsa buna ahbap cavus kapitalizmi yerine yolsuzluk demek daha dogru olur. Eger bu tur iliskiler sureklilik gostermeye baslamissa, siyasal iktidarla veya onun gorevlileriyle cikar iliskisine girilmeden ihale alinamiyorsa ya da kamu ihalelerini almak icin siyasal iktidarin yakininda olmak gerekiyorsa yani olay sistemlestirilmisse o zaman o ahbap cavus kapitalizmi yerlesmis demektir.

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Ahbap cavus kapitalizminin onlenmesinin bir tek yolu var: Hukuku ustun kilmak. Bir ulkede yargi bagimsizsa yani hesap sorulabilirlik tartisilmaz bir noktaya gelmisse o ulkede ahbap cavus kapitalizmi yayginlik kazanamaz. Belki tek tuk olaylarla ortaya cikar (Amerika’daki 2008 Mortgage krizi gibi) ama sistemlesemez. Hukukun yalnizca bireylere karsi degil devlete karsi da ustun kilindigi ve hesap sordugu, siyasetcinin hic bir istisnaya tabi olmadan yargi karsisina cikabildigi yerlerde denetimler dogru yapilir, onlemler alinir ve ahbap cavus kapitalizmi yerlesemez.

Ornek: 2014 yilinda Manisa’nin Soma ilcesinde komur madeninde yasanan ve 301 iscinin olumuyle sonuclanan facia, ahbap cavus kapitalizminin bir urunu. Siyasal iktidarla ve kamu gorevlileriyle ic ice oldugu icin yeterince denetlenmeyen ve bircok eksikligine ragmen calistirilmaya devam edilen bir maden ocagi isletmesi sonucta bir facianin ortaya cikmasina yol acti. Olaydan once hic sesi cikmayan sendika, olaydan sonra bile sesini cikaramadi.

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Turkiye’nin Sosyokulturel Yapisindaki Degisim

Bazi ulkeler buyuk cogunlugu ayni irk, din ve ulusal kimlige sahip bireylerden olusuyor. Bunlarin birarada yasamasi, birbiriyle anlasmasi cok daha kolaydir. Cunku inanc, gelenek, aliskanlik uclemesi bu toplumu olusturan kisilerde birbirine cok yakin noktalardan gecer.Almanlar, Italyanlar, Yunanlar boyledir. Dolayisiyla bu toplumlari olusturan bireylerin birbiriyle kavgaya, savasa girme olasiligi dusuktur.

Bazi ulkeler de karisik toplumlardan olusur. Sorun yasama riskleri yuksektir. Buna ragmen, ulsu devlet yapisina sahip devletler kurmus olan bir cok ulke farkli inanc, gelenek ve aliskanliklara sahip gruplari ayni toplum icinde birarada tutmayi bir sekilde basarabiliyor. Ornegin Ingiltere, Iskocya, Galliler ve Irlandalilari birarada tutabilen birlesik krallik. Ama baska tarafta sorunlar olmuyor degil: Yugoslavya mesela, 1990’lardan itibaren 7 parcaya bolundu:Sirbistan, Hirvatistan, Bosna-Hersek, Makedonya, Slovenya, Karadag, Kosova. Her biti kendi ulus devletini kurdu.

Turkiye, farkli farkli irklardan (Turk, Kurt, Arap, vb.) farkli mezheplerden (Sunniler, Aleviler ve daha az sayida olmak uzere Ermeniler, Suryaniler, Hristiyanlar, Yahudiler, vb) ver farkli bolgesel kimliklerden (lazlar, cerkezler, vb) gelen bireylerin olusturdugu gruplara sahip bir ulke. Bundan 50 yil oncesine gelinceye kadar cesitli baskilar nedeniyle Turk olmayanlar ulusal kimliklerini, Sunni olmayanlar da dinsel kimliklerini aciklayamiyordu. Dolayisiyla Turk toplumu, disardan bakildiginda, sorunsuz bir toplum gibi gorunuyordu.

Bugun artik Turk-Kurt ayrimi, sunni-Alevi ayrimi dile getiriliyor ve kimligin temel ogesi olarak ortaya konulabiliyor. Ozellikle Turk-Kurt ayriminin rahatca ortaya konmasiyla birlikte Kurtlerin ayrilik istekleri de gun yuzune cikti. Turkiye’de Turklerden sonra en buyuk topluma sahip olan kurtlerin bir bolumu kendi ulus devletlerini kurmak istiyorlar.

Bugun Turkiye, bundan daha da tuhaf bir durumla karsi karsiya: Bolgesel kimlik farklililari ve dine bakis acisindaki farkliliklar son derece buyuk bir kopmaya yol aciyor. Turkiye, bolgelere, kentlere, semtlere gore farkli kimliklere sahip insanlardan olusuyor. Hepsi musluman gibi gorunen buyuk cogunluk, kendi icinde seriat isteyenler ve laikligi savunanlar olarak ikiye ayriliyor. Sonra bu ayrilanlar kendi iclerinde parcalara bolunuyorlar. dinsel devlet yonetimi konusunda ayni dusunceyi savunuyor gibi gorunen tarikatlar is iktidar meselesine gelince kavgaya giriyorlar. Ayni evde yasayan insanlar arasinda bile bolunmuslukler var.

Bu cerceveden bakildiginda Turkiye, bugunku yapisiyla hic bir topluma benzemiyor.

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Ahbap Cavus Demokrasisi

Ozellikle gelismekte olan ulkelerde bir cok demokrasi ilkeleri anayasa ya da yasalarda yer aldigi halde uygulanmaz: Secimler gorunurde kurallara ve ilkelere uygun bicimde yapilir. Kuvvetler ayrimi var gibi gorunur. Yasalar gorunurde herkese esit uygulaniyormus gibidir. Cogunluk, azinliga saygi duyar gibi gorunur. Ama bunlarin hic biri gercek anlamda soz konusu degildir. Yasama, yurutmenin dediklerini yapar, yargi da bu yolla yurutmenin emrine girmis olur. Secimler gercekten yapilir ama secimlerde hileler olur. Bu hileler yargiya goturulur gibi gorunse de yarginin bagimsizligini yitirmis olmasi nedeniyleaykiri bir karar vermesi mumkun olmaz. Karsi goruse saygi gosteriliyor gibi gorunse de gercekte boyle bir durum soz konusu olmaz. Yani demokrasi rejiminin temelini olusturan ilkeler uygulanir gosterilir ama uygulanmaz.

Bu ulkelerde bir suru yolsuzluk, haksizlik, yasa disi uygulama gorulebilir. Be var ki iktidar partisi iktidarda kalmaya devam ettigi surece , yarginin bagimsiz olmamasi basta olmak uzere bir cok sebepten, bu uygulamalarin hesabi sorulamaz. Gelismis demokrasinin egemen oldugu ulkelerde parti iktidarinin ve uyelerinin yapmis oldugu yolsuzluklar iktidar surecinde ortaya cikarilir ve hesabi sorularak cezalandirilir. Esasen iktidarda iken hesap sorulamamasi ayricaligi, iktidardaki partinin iktidardan ayrilmamak icin her seyi yapmasinin da temel nedenini olusturur.

Avrupa Birligi Bizi Neden Istemedi?

2004 yilinda AB, o zamana kadar ayak surudugu iliskilerini hizlandirarak Turkiye ile tam uyelik muzakerelerini baslatma kararini onayladi. Ne varki zaman ilerledikce Turkiye’deki hareketin demokrasiyle o kadar da ilgisinin olmadigi, askerin gucunun zayiflatilmasinin sivil gucleri egemen kilmaktan cok din destekli bir ahbap cavus kapitalizmini ve ahbap cavus demokrasisinin pekistirmek  icin altyapi olusturmaya yonelik oldugu yolunda Bati’da kuskular uyanmaya basladi. Bu kuskularin artmasiyla birlikte AB, Turkiye’nin uyeligi meselesini geciktirmeye yoneldi. Bugun geldigimiz noktada Turkiye, iki yuzyildan beri aralarina girmeye calistigi Avrupali ulkelerle tarihinin en kotu iliski donemine girmis bulunuyor.

Amerika’nin Buyuk Orta Dogu Projesi ve Turkiye’nin Odedigi Bedel

ABD, kendisine rakip olabilecek Rusya gibi ulkelerin onunu kesmek, bir yandan da enerji deposu konumundaki bolgede soz sahibi olabilmek icin Ortadogu’ya ozel bir onem vermektedir.  Boyle bir duzenlemede isi organize edecek devlet olarak Israil, bolgedeki ulkeler icin model alinacak ulke ise Turkiye olarak belirlenmistir.

Ilk asamada Turkiye’nin Bati’yle iliskileri saglamlastirilmaya baslandi. AB ile muzakerelerin baslamasi bu asamadaki donum noktasidir. Ikinci onemli asama olarakTurkiye’ye G 20 ulkeleri arasinda yer verildi. Boylece Turkiye’nin itibari yukseltilmis oldu.

Sonra Turkiye’nin islami kimligi one cikartilmaya baslandi. Cunku Turkiye o zaman kadar laik kimligiyle one cikmis tek Ortadogu ulkesiydi ve bu yonuyle Araplar tarafindan kendilerinden bir ulke olarak kabul edilmiyordu. Islam kimliginin one cikartilmasi Turkiye’nin Ortadogu halklari uzerindeki kredibilitesini arttiracakti. Buna hizmet edecek bir yontem de Israil ile iliskilerin sogutulmasiydi. Cunku Araplar, ABD yuzunden Israil’e ses cikaramiyorlar ama cikarani da icten ice destekliyorlardi.

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‘One minute!’ Crisis at Davos 2009

Turkiye’nin Israil’e kafa tutmasi, Araplar nezdinde itibar elde etmesi icin onemli bir adim olacakti. Bu proje devreye sokuldu. Buhamleler sonrasinda Turkiye’nin Araplar nezdinde eskiden oldukca dusuk olan kredibilitesi yukseldi. Araplar, Israil’e kafa tutan Turkiye modelini benimsediler ve Turkiye’ye “Dusmanimin dusmani benim dostumdur’ yaklasimi cercevesinde bakmaya yoneldiler.

Buyuk Isadamlari Neden Goruslerini Savunmadigi Iktidari Destekliyor?

Bati standartlarina gore yetismis, hukuka saygili, ulkesini seven, laiklikten yana, birlikte is yapan iki is adami dusunelim: A ve B. A ve B mevcut hukumetin yaptiklarindan mutlu olmasalar bile bu hukumetin degismemesini, begenmeseler de mevcut siyasal ortamin devam etmesini isteyeceklerdir. Cunku bu siyasal ortamin bozulmasi, hukumetin dusmesi, yeni hukumet arayislarininortaya cikmasi gibi haller, istikrarsizlik yaratacak ve finansal piyasalar; borsadan kurlara, faizlerden diger getirilere kadar kayiplarla karsilasacaktir.

A ve B buyuk bir celiski icindedirler. Bir yandan begenmedikleri, desteklemedikleri, icinde bulunan sosyal, kulturel ve hukuki ortami bozdugundan sikayet ettikleri hukumetin gitmesini istemekte, bir yandan da hukumetin gitmesinin yaratacagi boslugun olusturacagi para kayiplariyla karsilasmak istememektedirler.

A ve B’nin sayisi bir ulke nufusunda cok yer tutmayabilir. Ne var ki kararlari piyasayi fazlasiyla etkilemektedir.

Son bir kac yilda bu kadar buyuk ve sik soklar yasanmasina ragmen (17 Aralik, ISIS saldirilari, Suriye gocu, vb) piyasalarin tumuyle cokmemesinin temel nedenlerinden birisi; insanlarin kazanclariyla dusunceleri arasinda yasadigi bu celiskinin genellikle kazanclar lehine cozulmesidir.

Venezuella’dan Alinacak Ders

Venezuella, dunyanin en zengin petrol rezervine sahip ulkesi konumunda bulunuyor. Bir zamanlar bolluk icinde yuzen bu ulkenin su anda enflasyon orani %350. Peki Venezuela bu duruma nasil geldi?

2002 de bir darbe girisimi sonrasi tekrar baskanliga geri donmeyi basaran Hugo Chavez, Ulusal kalkinma fonu – Fonden adinda, tumuyle Chavez’in talimatlariyla isleyen, parlemanto’nun onayinin disinda ve denetiminden uzak bir butce disi fon kuruldu. Fonden, ulkenin petrolden gelen milyarlarca dolarlik gelirini sorgusuz sualsiz, denetimden uzak bir sekilde cesitli yatirim harcamalarina yonlendirdi. 2012’ye gelindiginde Fonden kamu harcamalarinin yarisini yapar hale gelmisti. 2005-2012 yillari arasinda 100 milyar dolar dolayinda para tamamlanamayan insaatlara harcanmis bulunuyordu. Chavez bu fondan kendisini destekleyenlere para dagitiyordu. Fonden kanaliyla bir yandan ulkenin yoksul bolgelerinde bircok hastane, okul  yapiliyordu,

Chavez, cesitli defalar referandumlar yoluyla anayasa degisiklikleri yapti. 2004 yilinda Venezuella’da kuvvetler ayriligi fiilen ortadan kalkti. Son asamada yuksek yargi da Chavez’in denetimine gectikten sonra yargi bagimsizligi tumuyle ortadan kalkmis oldu. Yargiclar, hukumete sormadan karar almaya basladilar.

Petrol ihracatindan elde edilen gelirle her sey ithal edilir oldu, uretim durdu. Petrol fiyatlarinin yuksekligi, Venezuella para birimi Venezuella Bolivari’nin asiri degerli olmasina yol acmis bu da ulkenin uretim yerine ithalata yonelik bir ekonomi haline gelmesine yol acmisti. Uretim dusunce, GSYH buyumesi durdu.

Chavez olup yerine kamon soforu Maduro gecince isler karismaya basladi. Petrol fiyatlari 100USD/varil duzeyinden 30UDS/varil duzeyine gerileyince sistem iflas asamasina geldi. Ihracattan yeterli gelir elde edemeyip, ithalati da yeterli duzeyde yapamaz oldu. Gerekli mallarin uretimi de yapilmadigi icin fiyatlar artmaya basladi. Maduro, populist politikalari degistirip onlem almak yerine, politikalari iyice one cikardi ve tavan fiyat uygulamasina basvurdu. Bu durumda mallar raflardan cekildi ve karaborsa basladi.

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Ulkenin icinde bulundugu siyasal, sosyal ve ekonomik sikintilari gundeme getiren muhalefet liderleri degisik suclamalarla tutuklandi. Medya sansure tabi tutuldu ve elestiri yapamaz duruma geldi. Bir sure sonra medyanin buyuk bolumu el degistirerek hukumet yanlisi ellere devredildi. Bircok olayin yayimlanmasi yasaklandi. Yonetime karsi halktan gelen her tepkiyi Maduro, karsi devrim girisimi olarak nitelendirip cezalandirma yoluna gitti.

Osmanli’dan Gunumuze Turk Ekonomisi’ni Olumsuz Etkileyenler

Bilim ve Din: Bati dunyasi Protestanlarin cikisi, ronesans ve reformlarin gelisiyle karanlik ortacagdan cikip, akil ve bilimin, inancin onune gecmesinin yolunu acan laiklige dogru ilerlerken, Islam dunyasi tam tersi bir yola girip bilimi terkedip dine dondu.

Osmanli Imparatorlugu, kuskusuz bir din devletiydi. Amaci, Islam dinini yaymak, onun bayragi altinda insanlari toplamakti. Buna karsin bilime de agirlik veren bir yapiya sahipti. Bir sure bu ikili yapiyi korumayi basardi. Medreselerde din egitiminin yaninda matematik, fen ve felsefe egitimi de agirlikli olarak yer aldi.

Bizans, Selcuklu ve Orta Asya (Semerkant, Buhara) birikimi Osmanli’nin bilime bakisini ve bicim verisini en fazla etkileyen kaynaklardi. Buna ek olarak Bati’dan kovulan ve Balkanlar’a Istanbul’a ve Misir’a yerlestirilen ve cogu sonradan Musluman olan Yahudiler, basta tip olmak uzere butun alanlarda bilimsel ilerlemeye buyuk katki yaptilar.

Ozellikle Kanuni Sultan Suleyman’dan sonra Osmanli medreselerinde bilimin agirligi azaltilip dinsel egitimin agirliginin arttirilmasi ve felsefe geleneginin yavas yavas terk edilmesiyle birlikte Osmanli’nin bilimden uzaklasma sureci basladi.

Egitim Altyapisi: Eldeki en ciddi verilere gore 1897 yilinda okuma yazma bilenlerin toplam nufusa oraninin %10 dolayinda oldugu goruluyor.

1916 yilinda Osmanli Imparatorlugu’nun nufusu 19.043.000 kisiydi. Buna gore kabaca nufusun %3’u okulda bulunuyordu. Cumhuriyet’in Osmanli’dan aldigi egitim altyapisi oldukca zayif bir altyapiydi.

Ekonomik Yapi: Kapitulasyonlar, bir baska degisle diger uyruk halklarina taninan ayricaliklar, Osmanli Imparatorlugu’nun ve sonrasinda da Turkiye ekonomisinin kokunu kurutmustur.

Osmanli, dis borclanmayi ilk 1854 yilinda Kirim Savasi’nin finansmanini saglamak icin yapti: Neden 1: Osmanli, sanayi devrimine giden yola girememis, sanayi urunlerini disardan almak zorunda kalmisti. Eskiden kendi imalati malzemeyle girdigi savasa simdi Bati’dan aldiklariyla girmek zorundaydi. Neden 2: Madeni paranin yerini kagit para almisti. Osmanli, para ihtiyacini madeni parayi tagsis ederek karsilayamaz hale geldi.

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Sanayi Devrimi ile birlikte 1900 larin baslangicinda Avrupa’da bir cok fabrika kuruldu.

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1900 lerin basina Osmanli Imparatorlugu ise Sanayi Devrimi’ne girememis, hala esnaf ekonomisine bagimli olarak yasiyordu.

1500 ile 1700 yillari arasinda kisi basina gelirin artmamasinin nedeni buyuk olcude Osmanli Imparatorlugu’nun Ronesans, Reform ve Aydinlanma Cagi’nin disinda kalmasidir. Bati’da yavas yavas dinsel egitimden bilimsel egitime gecilmesiyle baslayan kesifler ve icatlara Osmanli Imparatorlugu’nun yabanci kalmasi ekonomisinin gelismesine de engel olmus gorunuyor.

1820 ile 1923 arasinda kisi basina gelir artisinin son derece sinirli kalmasinin altinda, Osmanli Imparatorlugu’nun sanayi devrimine girememesi yatiyor. Bati’da her gun yeni buluslar yapilir, teknolojide yeni gelismeler kaydedilirken, Osmanli Imparatorlugu bunlardan uzak kalmistir. Bu donemdeki toprak kayiplari da gelir kayiplarina yol acmislardir.

Petrol ve dogalgaz gibi para getirecek kaynaklari bulunmayan ekonomiler icin cikis yolunun bilime dayanan egitimden gectigi cok acik.

1948 Marshall Plani Ikinci Dunya Savasi sonrasi, ABD Disileri Bakani George Marshall’in Avrupa’ya yardim paketinden Turkiye’de nasibini almisti. Yalniz Lozan Antlasmasiyla kapitulasyonlardan kurtulan Turkiye bu yardimla yine Bati’nin mali egemenligi altina girdigi iddia edilmektedir. Bu donemde, Menderes’in de baskisiyla, koy Enstituleri kapatilmisti. Ayni zamanda bazi mallarin uretiminden vazgecilmis, bir cok alandaki girisim yarida birakilmis ve imam hatip okullari acilmisti. O zamanlarda Marshall yardimiyla ilkokulda tenefuslerde sari penir ve sut tozu icerek buyuyen Turk genci 20li yaslarina gelince 68 kusagi denilen bu kusak ikiye bolunecekti: Amerikaya baskaldiranlar (Deniz Gezmis kusagi) ve Amerika politikalarini destekleyenler.

1960 Darbesi Ilginc bir darbedir. Demokrat Parti’nin Marshall yardimiyla baslayan Amerikan hegomanyasina girmis ekonomi cercevesine karsi asker-sivil aydinlarin yaptigi bir darbedir. Turkiye Cumhuriyeti tarihinin en ilerici, en ozgurlukcu anayasasi bu donemde yapilmis olan 1961 Anayasasi’dir.

12 Mart 1971 Darbesi 61 Anayasasinin getirdigi ozgurluk ortami ne yazikki Turkiye’de yanlis yorumlandi. Dunyada yayilan modanin da etkisyle 68 Universite olaylari patlak verdi ve solcular sagcilar olarak ikiye bolunen gencler birbiriyle savasti. 1971 darbesi, 61 anayasasinin tanidigi ozgurlukleri rafa kaldirirken, 1960 da solcu subaylari iktidara tasiyan askeri darbe, 71’de bu kez sagci subaylari iktidara tasiyarak tuhaf bir bicim almis oldu. Darbe sonrasi ekonomik sikintilara alinan onlemler sivil yonetimde bir butun olarak devreye sokulamayinca bu karisik donem 12 Eylul 1980’de bir kez daha askeri darbeyle sona erdi.

1980 sonrasinda iktidara gelenler Cumhuriyet’in ilk kusaklarinin dis borclanmaya karsi soguk tavirlarini hata olarak gormuslerdi. Bu cercevede dis borclanma, yap-islet-devret gibi Osmanli’nin basvurup da iflasa kadar gitmesine yol acan yollara yeniden ve buyuk bir hevesle girdiler.

Cumhuriyet’i kuranlar, imparatorlugu batiran nedenlerin en basinda mali bagimsizligin kaybedilmesinin geldigini gordukleri icin cekilen bircok sikintiya karsin ulkeyi dis borclanmaya sokmamaya ozen gostermislerdir.

Bir toplum, gecmiste cekilen acilari hatirlamaz, yapilan hatalari degerlendirmezse, ayni acilari cekmeye mahkumdur. Tarihini dogru okuyamayan kusaklar, gun gelir o tarihi baskalarindan dinlemek zorunda kalirlar.

2001 Turkiye, tarihinin en buyuk ekonomik krizlerinden birine girdi. Ancak krizden cikisi, IMF nin de yardimiyla hizli oldu. Bu kriz iki onemli sonuc yaratti: 1. Isini kaybeden bircok insan icin para kazanmak en onemli deger halini aldi. Bu insanlar bunu gecmiste belki de hic bu sekilde dusunmemislerdi. 2. Krizin faturasi iktidari paylasan merkez sol ve merkez sag partilerine cikarildi. AKP’ye iktidar yollarini acti.

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AKP iktidarinin ilk 10 yillik gecmisine bakildiginda, bir cok makroekonomik gostergede duzelme oldugu gorulur. AKP iktidarinin 2012 yilindan sonraki doneminde ivme kayiplari ortaya cikti. Ozetlemek gerekirse: eldeki kamu mallarinin ozellestirilmesi, satilmasiyla kazanilan ivmeyle son 14 yilda onceki 14 yila gore GSYH’sini ve kisi basina gelirini ciddi bicimde arttirmis, buyumede potansiyel buyume oranini yakalamis,enflasyonu ve butce acigini onemli oranda dusurmus, buna karsilik ayni donemde issizlik artisini ve cari acik yukselisini kontrolden kacirmistir.

Borclanmayi bu sekilde arttirarak ve eldeki mallari satarak bu buyumeyi surekli kilmak mumkun degildir. Turkiye, Menderes ve Ozal donemlerinden sonra bu donemde de yine borclanarak ve mevcut varliklari satip paraya cevirerek ivme yakalama politikasini denemis gorunuyor.

Blogcu notu: Bu kanayan yarayi yara bandiyla kapatmak gibi gecici ve uzun vadede ise yaramayacak bir cozum gibi geliyor kulaga.

ABD Merkez Bankasi (Fed) Ekim 2017’den gecerli olmak uzere bilanco kucultme operasyonunu baslatmis bulunuyor. Bu gelismenin, Turkiye ve benzeri dis finanasmana bagimli ulkeler acisindan sikintilara neden olmasi kacinilmaz gibi duruyor. 2018 yilinda fazla etkisi olmasa da sonraki yillarda piyasada likidite azalmasi baslayacak. Bu da Turkiye gibi ulkelerin dis finansmana erisimini zorlastiracak ve pahalandiracak.

Esnafin Iktidara Gelisi

Turkiye’de gecmiste asker ve sivil burokrasi, sanayi ve ticaret burjuvazisi, tarim burjuvazisi iktidarda yer aldilar. 2000’lerde esnaf burjuvazisinin iktidara gelmesi Turkiye’deki diger kesimler icin surpriz oldu. Bu surpriz giderek soka donustu. Cunku esnaf burjuvazisi iktidarinda Turkiye’de cumhuriyetin ilanindan beri gorulmeyen degisimler yasanmaya baslandi.

Esnaf iktidari aslinda ciddi bir baskaldirinin sonucudur. Kurtulus Savasi’yla baslayan ve Turkiye’yi Bati’ya entegre etmeye yonelen baskaldiri bu kez tersine, Turkiye’yi Ortadogu’ya entegre etmeye yonelmis bir baskaldiriya dondu. Bunun sonucunda Turk toplumu pek cok acidan farkli dusunen, farkli davranan, bu farkliliklara saygi gostermeyen, birbirini anlamayan gruplara bolundu.

Esnaf Sosyolojisi: Bugun hala enaf yanina meslek ogrensin diye verilen ciraklar ‘Eti senin kemigi benim’ yaklasimiyla gonderiliyor. Usta (Baba figuru) cogu kez mutlak otorite, cirak da cogu kez kul konumunda bulunuyor. Boyle bir ortamin en belirgin ozelligi ustadan gorerek yapmak, ondan ogrenileni uygulamaktir. Bu tur bir egitim, genellikle degisime kapali, sorgulamayan insanlar yetismesine yol acar.

Butun bunlar, esnafin gelisime kapali, tutucu, dinsel degerlere bagli, bilime uzak bir ortamda bulunmasi demektir. Kentlesmenin gelismesi, zincir magazalarin ortaya cikmasiyla birlikte esnaflik yavas yavas kaybolmaya baslamis olsa da esnaf kulturunun kaybolmasi esnafligin kendisinin kaybolmasi kadar hizli olmuyor. Cunku burada bahsettigimiz esnaf kulturu, halkin esnaf olmayan tum halka yayilmis bir kulturdur. Bu kulturel altyapinin her ulkedeki gorunumu farkli olabilir. Bizdeki gorunumu:

  • Dinsel inanci en onde tutan
  • Bilime genellikle kapali
  • Dusunce ozgurlugu gibi konulara uzak
  • Demokrasiyi tam olarak anlamamis
  • Sandik ve secimi demokrasi olarak goren
  • Hukuk kurallarindan cok din kurallarina baglilik, seklinde ortaya cikiyor.

Esnaf kulturune bagli insanlar, cocuklarinin buyuklere saygili olmasini, kizlarinin kapali olmasini isteyen, ekmek parasi kazanmayi her seyden onemli goren, guzel sanatlara, tiyatroya, edebiyata fazla ilgi duymayan insanlardir. Esnaf adi altinda toparlasak da aslinda bu cerceveledigimiz grup, esnaftan cok daha buyuk bir grubu olusturuyor.

Esnaf 2000’lere gelinceye kadar gucunun tam olarak farkinda degildi. Daha cok dinsel motifleri one cikaran sag partilere egilim gosteriyor ve oy veriyordu. 2000’lerde kendi iktidarini yaratabilecegini farketti ve sahneyi aldi.

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Turkiye’deki Degisimi Etkileyen Faktorler

Nufus ve Goc: Ilk nufus sayiminin yapildigi 1927’de Turkiye’nin nufusu 13.6 milyondu ve bu nufusun %25’i kentlerde, %75’i kirsal kesimde yasiyordu. Bugun Turkiye’nin nufusu 80 milyon dolayinda ve bu nufusun %80’i kentlerde, %20’si kirsal alanda yasiyor. Buradan anlasiliyor ki son 90 yilda hizli bir nufus artisi yasanmis ve kirsal alandan kentlere cok buyuk bir goc gerceklesmis.

Koylulukten kentlilige gecis kolay degil: Insanlar koyden kente goc edip kentlerde yerlestiklerinde birdenbire koylulukten cikip kentli olmuyorlar. Koyden getirdikleri kulturu terk edip kent kulturulerine uyum saglamalari icin yaklasik olarak 3 kusak gecmesi gerekiyor.

Uyum Saglayamama: Cogu insan goc ettikleri kentlerde gecekondular yaparak oralara yerlesmis bulunuyor. Kulturel farkliliklarin yani sira boyle egreti bir yerlesim icinde olmalari nedeniyle kendilerini gittikleri yere ait hissetmiyorlar. Oyle olunca kent kulturunu benimsemeye, oraya ait olmaya caba gostermek yerine, ait olabileceklerini dusundukleri tek yer olan camide bulusarak gelceklerini orada belirlemeye yoneliyorlar.

Dogum Kontrolu: 20. yuzyilda gelismekte olan ekonomilerde bir yaklasim cikti ortaya, az cocuk yapip ekonomiyi bozguna ugratmama. Bu akim Turkiye’de de etkili oldu. Hali vakti yerinde olmayan aileler meseleyi kadere baglayarak birden cok cocuk yaparken, durumu goreceli olarak daha iyi olan aileler, cok cocuga yeterli ve nitelikli bir egitim olanagi saglayamayacaklarini dusunerek dogum kontrolune basvurdular. Bunun sonucunda cocuklarini yeteri kadar iyi yetistiremeyecek ailelerin cok cocugu oldu ve dusuk egitim duzeyindeki nufus artti.

Kurt Meselesi: Osmanli’dan bu yana bu topraklarin onemli meselelerinden birisidir. Osmanli da Turkiye Cumhuriyeti de Kurt meselesini cozemedi. Bunun temelinde yatan sorun, Turklerin cok uzun bir sure  Kurtleri ayri bir halk olarak kabul etmemesinden, her iki halkin da agirlikli olarak Islam dinine ait olmasinin boyle bir ayrim yapmaya gerek olmadigi yorumu yapmasindan kaynaklanmis olsa gerek. Oysa Kurt halki oteden beri kendisini dinsel kimlik cercevesinde degil, ulusal kimlik cercevesinde tanimlamaya calisiyor. Turkiye cumhuriyeti son donemde Kurt meselesini cozmek icin yeni bir yaklasim denediyse de, fiysakoyla sonuclandi.

Kurt meselesinin cozulememis olmasi, Turkiye icin milyarlarca TL tutarinda harcamaya ve insan kaybina yol acmakta, ayrica moral olarak toplumun yipranmasina neden olmaktadir. Turkiye, eger en bastan bu kadar parayi ve emegi Kurtlerin yogun yerlesim bolgelerine harcasa ve oradaki halkin is ve as sahibi olmasiyla ugrasabilseydi, bugun buyuk olasilikla boyle bir sorunu olmayacakti.

Devrimler: Uc onemli kuresel devrimden ilki  yani topraga yerlesim, Neolitik Devrim, bu topraklarda ortaya cikti.  Turkiye ikinci onemli devrimi yani Sanayi Devrimini zamaninda yakalayamadi. 1800 lu yullarda baslayan devrime Turkiye anca 20. yuzyilda dahil olabildi. Devrim cok onemli bir gelisme. Devrimin baslangicinda disarida kalininca sonradan yakalansa bile etkisini yerli yerine oturtmak kolay olmuyor.

Turkiye 3. Devrimin, yani elektronik iletisim devriminin disinda kalmadi. Gelismis ulkelerke karsilastirilinca geride kalmis gorunse bile kendi kategorisinde iyiye yakin bir konumda.

Kulturel Degisim:  Turkiye’de iki farkli insan grubu iki farkli ulke insani kadar birbirinden farklidir: Turk kulturu, nufusunun buyuk cogunlugu itibariyle Ortadogu kulturune yakin bir toplum olarak dusunulebilir. Bu kulturde, kadinlar ikinci plandadir. Genellikle evde otururlar, cogu bir iste calismaz, ev kadini olur. Kiz cocuklari baski altindadir. Cogu kisa bir okuma yazma egitiminden sonra okula gonderilmez, Kuran kursuna gonderilir. Insanlar bilimle pek ilgilenmezler, kitap okumazlar, tiyatro ve operadan uzaktirlar. Kadin ve erkek bir arada bulunmazlar. Lokantalar, kahvehaneler sadece erkeklerle doludur. Erkekler duzenli olarak camiye giderler. Kimisi inandigi icin, cogu da orada gorunmesi gerektigini dusundugu icin gider.

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Buna karsilik, toplumun az sayida insani Bati kulturune yakin egitim almistir. Bu insanlar kadin ve erkek birlikte gezerler, kadinlari dislamazlar, lokantaya kadinlarla birlikte giderler, icki icerler, kitap okurlar, tiyatroya, konserlere giderler. Kizlarini okuturlar, erkek cocuklardan ayirmazlar. Bu grupta camiye gidenler az sayidadir, gidenler de bayramdan bayrama gider. Bu grubu kentsoylular diye adlandirmak mumkun. Kentsoylular terimiyle kastettigimiz, en az 3 kusaktan beri buyuk kentlerde yasayanlardir.

Birbirleriyle bu iki grup zaman zaman farkli alanlarda catisma icine girseler de genellikle baris icinde bir araya yasamaya calisirlar. Ancak bu cabada son yillarda oldukca zedelenme oldugu goruluyor.

Tasralilarin demokrasi, dusunce ozgurlugu, yargi bagimsizligi, bilimsel egitim, laiklik, hukukun ustunlugu gibi konularla pek ilgisi yoktur. Daha cok is bulup bulamadigi, evine ekmek goturup goturemedigi gibi temel sorunlarla ilgilidirler.

Kentsoylular icin demokrasi, dusunce ozgurlugu, yargi bagimsizligi, bilimsel egitim, laiklik, kadin-erkek esitligi gibi konular, en az is bulup bulamadiklari, eve ekmek gourup goturemedikleri kadar onemlidir. Bu tur kavramlardan uzaklasilmasi onlari is bulup bulamamak kadar rahatsiz eder.

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Ilk gruptakiler, kolaylikla ikinci gruba dusman hale gelebiliyorlar. Boylece din, dil, irk, koken gibi farkliliklara bu tur bir gruplasma farki da ekleniyor. Ilk grupta yer alanlar, sehir efsanelerine, safsatalara, dogru gibi gorunen ama aslinda hic bir bilimsel temeli olmayan soylemlere, kiskirtmalara, propogandalara cabucak kapilip ona gore tavir alabiliyorlar. Bu grubun ikinci gruba gore cok daha kalabalik olmasi secim sonuclarinin da bu grup tarafindan belirlenecegini gosteriyor.Bu grubun onemli bir bolumu uzerine dini soylemler oldukca etkili. O nedenle ikinci grubu temsil eden siyasal partiler bile din konusunda farkli soylemlerde bulunmaktan kaciniyorlar.

Egitim: Turkiye’nin en parlak ogrencileri, en cok para getiren islere girmeyi tercih ediyorlar. Yani egitimde asla planlanmamis ama ekonominin isteklerine gore belirlenmis bir yonelis soz konusu.

Son donemdeki duruma bakildiginda, en buyuk talebin fen liselerine yonelmesine karsilik, yonetim, imam hatip lisesi acmayi tercih ediyor.

Turkiye, dunya ortalamasina bakildiginda egitim dalinda cok basarisiz. Arastirma sonuclari gosteriyorki, diger ulkelere nazaran daha cok zaman harcamalarina ragmen ogrencilerimiz daha dusuk basari elde ediyorlar. Buradan 2 sonuc cikiyor: 1. Bizim cocuklar verimli calismayi bilmiyor. 2. Calistiklari seyler dogru seyler degil.

Bir baska neden de su:bir sonraki asamadaki sinavi esas alip ona gore calismalari. Yani ogrenmek, analizde kullanmak amacli ogrenmek yerine sadece ezberliyorlar. Oyle olunca akil yurutmeye dayali sorulari cozemiyorlar.

Ozetle, Turkiye, ogretim sistemini ilkokuldan baslayarak, tumuyle bilimsel temellere oturtmadikca ve bunu yaparken ozgur, sorgulayici bir ortam yaratmadikca, okul sayisini arttirarak, her semtte bir universite acarak ortalama IQ duzeyini yulseltemez, IQ duzeyini yukseltemezse bulus yapamaz, bulus yapamazsa da dunyada iddiali ekonomiler arasina giremez.

Biat Kulturu: Arapca bir sozcuk olan biat, yoneten ve yonetilenler arasinda yazili olmaksizin var oldugu kabul edilen itaat anlasmasi anlamina geliyor. Osmanli’dan gunumuze gelen biat kulturu hala etkisini surdurmektedir. Bunda bilimsel, sorgulayici, analitik egitimin bir turlu tam olarak yasama gecirilememesinin buyuk etkisi vardir.

Turkiye, biat kulturune dayali bu sistem cercevesinde refah artisi oldugu butun donemlerde yeni bir bulus yaparak ya da teknolojiyi gelistirerek degil, onceki donemin birikimini ya da gelecegin gelirini harcayarak refah artisi saglamistir. Erdogan iktidara geldikten sonra ilk 7-8 yil refah artisi yaratmis gibi gorunen modelde, ozellestirilecek kamu kurulusu azaldikca ve ozel kesimin ve hanehalklarinin borclanma sinirina gelip dayanmasiyla gelismenin hizi kesilmis, Turkiye oteden beri hep icinde bocaladigi orta gelir tuzagindan cikmayi basaramamistir. Ulkemiz yukte hafif parada agir teknolojik mallar uretip satarsa ihya olur. Bunun ise tek bir yolu var: Bilime dayali ama yalnizca bilime dayali egitim.

Bilim disi egitimle yetisen insanlarin arasindan bulus yapan, teknoloji gelistiren insanlar, dunya capinda sanatcilar, edebiyatcilar, yazarlar, muzisyenler istisnai olarak cikar, onlari da sistem harcar. Ornegin: III. Murat, Takiyuddin’in kurdugu gozlemevini cesitli dedikodulara inanarak 1 gecede yiktirmistir. IV. Murat, kendi yaptigi balmumu kanatlarla Galata Kulesi’nden Uskudar’a ucan Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi’yi ‘tehlikeli’ bularak surgune yollamistir. Turkiye, dunya capindaki sairi Nazim Hikmet’i ‘komunist’ oldugu icin hapislerde surundurmustur. Yetistirdigi sayili klasik Bati Muzigi bestecilerinden Fazil Say’i, ‘Omer Hayyam’ a ait oldugu sanilan bir rubaiyi sanal ortamda tekrarladigi icin, bir kalemde silmistir. Biat kulturunden cikilmadikca, ilerlemek mumkun degildir.

Hukuk: Toplumu yonetenlerin kendi cikardiklari ve uyulmasini denetlemek durumunda olduklari yasalara uymamalari toplum icin olumsuz bir referans oluyor. Turkiye kurallar acisindan son derece zengin bir ulkedir. Sorun, getirilen yasalara, kurallara uymama gelenegidir.

Bir baska mesele de af yasalaridir. Ozellikle vergilerle ilgili olarak zamaninda odeme yapmayanlar ya da bir sekilde kural disi davrananlar icin sik sik af cikarilir. Sonucta vergisini zamaninda odeyenler cezalandirilmis, zamaninda odemeyen odullendirilmis olacagi icin kurallara uyan insanlarin da kural disi davranmaya ozenmesi soz konusu olur.

Kurallar yalnizca yasalara saygi gosterenleri ve sesi cikmayanlara uygulanir hale geldikce, bu sekilde davranan insanlar da kendilerinin aptal yerine kondugunu dusunerek digerleri gibi davranmaya yonelirler ve toplum giderek kurallara uymayanlarin cogunluga ulastigi bir yapiya donmeye baslar.

Turkiye’nin Gelecegi

Buraya kadar sayilan devrimlere baktigimizda iki durum dikakri cekiyor:

  1. Devrimler arasi gecen zaman kuculuyor. Tarim devrimiyle ilk sanayi devrimi arasinda yaklasik 12 bin yil gecti. Endustri devrimleri arasindaki sureler 100 yilin altina indi. Endustri 3 ve endustri 4 arasinda gecen zaman 70 yildir.
  2. Insan emegine ihtiyac azaldi.

Endusti 4. Devriminde Turkiye’nin rolu bu devrimin gerektirdigi makine ve robotlari onlarin yazilimlarini yapmak degil, bunlari satin alip kullanarak gerekli uretimi yapmak olacak. Turkiye’nin bu devrimin yaratacagi tsunamiye hazirlanmasi gerekiyor:

  1. Sanayi odalarinin onderliginde yuksek kalitede eleman yetistiren bilim liselerinin kurulmasi gerekiyor. Burs verilmeli ve kayitt tesvik edilmeli.
  2. Universitelerde bilim dallarina donus yapilmali.Iktisadi Idari bilimlarin kontenjanlari dusurulmeli, cunku ihtiyac azalmakta.
  3. Bu devrimle olusacak issizligi azaltabilmek icin tarim ve hayvancilik politikalarini, bu alanlarda verimliligive uretimi arttiracak bicimde ele almak lazim.
  4. Butun bunlari yapabilmek icin insaati birakip cevreye bakmak gerek.

Siyasal anlamda da yapisal reformlar gerek: anayasa degisikligiyle baslanmali. Sistemi Bati ulkeleri duzeyine ciakrabilmek icin demokrasiyi, ozgurlugu, dusunce ozgurlugunu, hosgoruyu, kisi haklarinin korunmasini en ust duzeye cikaracak ve kisitlanmasi halini savas gibi cok zorunlu hallerle sinirli tutacak duzenlemelere gidilmesi gerekiyor. Anayasa kuvvetler ayrimini tam olarak vurgulamali. Yasama, yurutme yargi erklerinden birinin otekine ustunlugunu onleyecek bir yapida olmalidir. Secim sisteminde baraj uygulamasi kadirilsin, milletvekilliginde sure sinirlandirilmasi ve dokunulmazliklarin kaldirilmasi bu degisikliklerden sayilabilir

Turkiye’nin bugun ki egitim sistemini kokten degistirmek gerek, tumuyle bilimin egemen kilinmasi lazim.

Hakim ve Savcilar Yuksek Kurulu tumuyle siyasal iktidar disinda kendi mesleki sinirlari cercevesinde sistemi, atamalari, terfileri yonetecek hale gelirse bu alandaki tartismalar onlenebilir.

Ekonomide buyumenin ithalata bagimli yapidan kurtarilmasi ve cari acigin dusurulmesi ekonomik alandaki yapisal reform adimlarindan en onemlisidir.Ic tasarruflari arttirmak veya uretimin ithalata dayali yapisini yerdi girdilere yoneltmek.

Enerji kaynaklarinda gunes, ruzgar eberjisi ve biyoenerji gibi alanlarda adimlar atilmasi gerekiyor.

Turkiye son 15 yilda 2 tren kacirdi. Biri 2001 krizi sonrasi duzeldiginde ikincisi de 2005 yilinda Avrupa tam uyelik muzakerelerine baslandiginda. Mali durumumuz bu iki donemde de iyiyken yapilmasi gereken sey Egitim, huku, vergi, dis acigi dengeleyecek yatirimlarin tesviki gibi alanlarda yapisal reforma girismek. Ancak olmadi.

SON SOZ: Ilginc bir bicimde bugun esnaf, kendi iktidarina son verebilecek en onemli guc gibi gorunuyor.

 

Hoscakalin,

-Ece

Posted in Must See Videos, Turkey

Lost in istanbul by Brianna

Ladies and Gentleman, meet the Romanian singer, Brianna, who is getting widely popular in Turkey.

Her last single back in March 2018 was ‘Lost in Istanbul’. It is a great video if you want to talk a short walk along Istanbul streets (Mostly in Istiklal street, Taksim, Karakoy and Besiktas). Her voice is also very very nice, I can see that this is going to be a real hit this summer in Turkey.

Enjoy!

Posted in Turkey

Stray Cats and Dogs of Istanbul

Any tourist that has been to Istanbul, Turkey will tell you the beautiful stray cats they saw. ‘Both the dogs and cats are so friendly and calm’ they would say.

While I was staying at an Airbnb in Cevahir, Istanbul last June, I had the chance of portraying some. These pictures are all from my camera. What is noteworthy is how healthy they look. I think Turkish people constantly feed and build shelters (see pics) for them. I know the dogs look drugged but actually they are not. They are just super lazy. They are everywhere: on streets, on motorbikes, at coffee shops, at restaurants. Here is a picture story of Istanbul’s street cats and dogs during one day.

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Posted in the USA, Turkey

What I wish I had known before coming to the USA

When I came to the USA in 2008 for the first time, I was in so-called ‘honeymoon stage’: Everything was new and exciting. Even my jet-lag. I was ready to explore, meet new people, eat new food, buy new clothes. However, after about a month, I started to feel frustrated, lonely and tired. Everything was so different that learning curve was painful. So many things that I had to figure out ‘by myself’ and when I couldn’t figure it out, there was no one to cry to.

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I was really depressed for the first 4-5 months in the USA. I had constant headaches and dark circles around my eyes.

In this post, I would like to share with you the things I wished I had known before I arrived. Although I believe that learning these by experiencing on your own would be challenging but fun, also I know that a lot of people eventually go back to their countries because they can’t cope with these challenges by themselves, especially in the first critical 1-3 months. Statistics say that around 34% of all new college students will drop out in the first year. One of the main reasons is homesickness.

If you want me to define ‘homesickness’, it is not just missing your parents or best friends. It is losing the sense of ‘belonging’, also the fear of  the ‘unknown’ and lacking the strength to fight with ‘problems’ as they hit hard one after another. I remember one day I missed the bus to school which was running  every 30 min. I was running late for the class, so I had to walk to the class in snow. But half way to the school, I realized that my cute looking boots that I bought from Turkey were not suitable for snow. By the time I arrived my class, my socks were soaked in snow water. The very same day I learned that for my thesis, I needed to go on a field trip and camp for at least 40 days. The problem was, I hadn’t had a car or driver’s license at that time, I hadn’t camped in wild at all, not even for one day. Then of course in the evening I felt sick because of the cold and I remember shivering and thinking to myself: If I die here, nobody will know. I’m so alone.

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The car I had to buy with the help of my American family and my campground for my thesis work. I camped 40 days alone in Wilson, KS. There were stormy nights and weird animals around. My allergies were killing me and sun was burning my skin no matter how much sun screen I applied. 

Now, let’s talk about the most important things before you move to the USA:

CULTURE SHOCK, HOMESICKNESS AND HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM 

As I mentioned, it was very difficult for me to adapt the host culture. It took me 5-6 months to start feeling normal. I was home all the time, watching movies and doing homework. I wanted to make friends, go out and explore. But I needed a car to go anywhere in Kansas and it was too hard to make friends. Americans seemed like they were communicating among themselves very effectively and confidently. Yet, I felt like I was left outside. Masters students at Geology department were doing projects together, were going to a bar (Henry’s in Lawrence, KS to be exact) every weekend but nobody was inviting me. That made me feel rejected… How was this even possible? The social butterfly in Turkey (me) had turned into a caterpillar.

Then, we went to this Spain field trip. I was staying with 5 other friends in the same hotel room. We finally started talking about things that are different than geology. We went out at night and we chat about everything. We were laughing, dancing. The whole week we spent in Almeria, Spain, I had gained a part of me back. I thought to myself “I’m still lovable and respectable”. After we returned to KS I joined their gatherings a lot more. When I confessed that I was waiting for an invitation, they were puzzled. They asked me why I waited for an invitation. They said they were discussing about where to go right in front of me, that meant I was automatically invited! Oh boy, how could I know that?!

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Geology friends and I in Almeria, Spain, 2008

Then as I read about it, I realized that it wasn’t only me! There was a science behind it. They mapped the psychological ups and downs. Now, you can learn about it too here and I hope that it will help you during your journey.

Below is a chart that shows the stages of adaptation process to a host culture:

During the first stage, Anticipating Departure, you go through mixed feelings. You are anxious about leaving your family and friends behind. You are trying to be excited but the fear of the unknown still makes you feel on edge.

homesickness

Upon entering the new country, your excitement will be at its top level. This level is called ‘Honeymoon Stage (Emotional High Point)‘. This stage lasts about 1-3 months. Everything is new, there are so many things to explore, so many things to take picture of, to taste and to smell. I still remember the smell of the BBQ sauce on the first ribs that I tried. And the taste of fried pickles. The smell of Britney Spears perfume (There were so many cheap perfumes everywhere). Also, I remember taking a picture of birds and bugs. They looked and sounded different. At this stage, I was like a tourist and I was enjoying it!

Then comes the Critical Low Point. This was the time when I first realized that I didn’t have anyone to share this excitement with. This was the period that I realized, in order to buy a toothpaste or a loaf of bread, I had to drive to Walmart which is 10 minute drive from home. There was a little problem though: I didn’t have a car. I didn’t even have a drivers license. Then I realized my masters program was way different than what I was expecting (It is way different than Turkish education). So much homework, so many lab and field reports. Proposal, poster presentation, application for scholarships and funding, everything had strict deadlines. Besides, my adviser was horrible, so it didn’t help my adaptation process at all. I remember crying in front of her once. I truly think she didn’t care.

Then comes the ‘Initial Adjustment‘. When I met my Turkish neighbors, Fatih abi and Zeynep Abla, I felt so happy, they were letting me borrow their car so that I could do groceries whenever I wanted. I had figured out the school’s system better, so I was finally meeting the deadlines and I was made aware of the danger called ‘plagiarism’ (please read more about it here: http://www.plagiarism.org/article/what-is-plagiarism).  On the Spain trip  I mentioned earlier, I had gotten closer with my American friends, I had joined ISA (International Student Association) which was the best decision I have ever made. In this organization, I met so many international students who were going through the same stages as me. This was such a good relief. Besides, we were having so much fun while we were learning about each other’s cultures. For the very first time, everything seemed to be working… Until the next stage…

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Our Turkish community in Lawrence, KS. My best friend, Aslihan, who helped me adjust my new home, is sitting right in front of me. The fourth one from right standing is Zeynep Abla and the first one from right sitting is Fatih Abi, who helped me a lot during my adjustment period.

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Being a part of the International Student Association and International Student and Scholar Services was the best decision I have ever made.

Confronting Deeper Issues‘ is an interesting stage. Because this is the stage after which you decide to stay or go back. Also, if you decide to stay, this is the stage that will make you more mature than ever. This is the time period that your communication with your home country gets little disrupted: Some friends of yours stop talking to you, or they get really busy with their own lives that they become not as available as they were before to chat. Suddenly when you look around, you see that you are living in a dorm or in an apartment with used furniture, your school work is a constant struggle, you are still trying to figure things out: You are trying to understand why your new friends are not checking in even though they know that you are sick. You are still trying to figure out how to open a bank account and call the bank when a problem arises. You, for the first time in your life, shovel the snow. You can’t figure out why your engine is not working after a freezing night. What is that scary storm alarm? Why do you have to make reservation for a taxi 24 hours in advance?? What is a social security number and how do you get it? What is credit history? Why do you even need it? How do I pay taxes here? While working on those complicated issues, your friends and your relatives in your country are getting married, getting promotions, celebrating birthdays, having babies. Your family members are having health problems, and you can’t be there. This feeling of ‘helplessness’ -can’t help anyone, can’t even help myself- is a real struggle. Because of these negative feelings, you will tend to focus on negatives, so you will start using phrases like “This is easier in my country” “This tastes better in my hometown” “In my country, they do this way differently! Ugh” So this is why it is called ‘deeper issues’; you question everything: your family and friendships, YOU and your country’s weaknesses and strengths. This is the stage you analyze all the ups and downs you had.

‘Adapting and Assimilating Stage’ is the best. You realize that you can enjoy the new culture while still keeping your core values. You accept the difficulties, find ways to solve them. You accept the good sides and bad sides of your own country and the host country. For example, I really like how people respect you as an individual and give you your own space in the US. Also the fact that the system rewards you if you work hard. But I still miss the warmth, friendliness, helpfulness and randomness of people in Turkey.

In this stage, your small circle of friends and acquaintances keep you occupied. Finally, you start traveling or focusing on your hobbies. Finally, you think about buying new furniture for your apartment, maybe some plants, some photos and paintings? You start to invite people over and cook for them. You start to find what to discuss with Americans since you know the local sports teams, TV shows and local news. You enjoy the cultural exchange; learning about their culture and teaching yours.

Finally there is this ‘Reverse Cultural Shock‘ stage which is labeled as ‘re-entry adjustment‘ in the chart. After you adjusted yourself and accepted your host country as your ‘home’, going back will be a different experience. Your people will be more different than where you left them. It will be hard to explain them what you saw, what you experienced. Some of them won’t understand very easily. They might underestimate the difficulties you went through and think that what you encountered could not be such big deal because you live in the strongest country in the world. You are finally in your country, the food is great, you go to the places that you missed, meet up with people that you love but then you can’t help but focus on rude people, traffic, long bank lines, smokers, governmental procedures, so many things that will annoy you, and you wished that were different. You will have difficulty adjusting back to your own culture. Frankly, I think this was the weirdest feeling that I experienced in this all adjustment period.

MY SUGGESTION:

If you are going through any of the above stages, I have a few suggestions for you:

  • Get involved! Socialize. This is crucially important. Put yourself out there. Sign up for a student organization, or find your country’s cultural group, or join meet-ups. Go to school gatherings and talk to people. Don’t be afraid about your English. People in America are used to accents. Also, you are the one who knows two languages! I have found it easier to socialize with international students or expats rather than Americans because we all were going through the same issues.
  • Make your living space unique, your style. Place things that will give you positive energy around your room: Pictures of your family, your best friend’s gift, your favorite book, a Star Wars poster, a fish tank or a cute little plant. Make your living space your ‘shelter’ your own ‘peaceful space’.
  • If you are a student, contact your school’s international students services office. Learn about activities, deadlines, etc.
  • Talk to your family and friends back home via Whatsapp, Facetime or Skype regularly. It really helps.
  • Stay connected with your peeps on social media. If you don’t have one, open a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account.
  • Get hobbies! You can keep the old ones or you can find new ones. You can read a book, write a blog, take drawing or dancing lessons. It is always great doing something different than papers and work.
  • Get an on-campus job if you can. It keeps you busy, allows you to meet different people, besides you make some pocket money!
  • Save money for your future trips! There are so many places to see in the USA! You would like to visit these places before you leave.
  • Exercise! When you start exercising (at gym or at home) you will be in a way better mood.
  • Eat healthy food. Eating crappy food everyday will also make your mood crappy.
  • Be careful about parties. American colleges are party lands. They start partying on Thursday and it continues till Sunday. Of course it is your right to join these parties and have fun, but do not forget about your reason to be here. Do not get side tracked, or alcohol poisoned.

SHOPPING

Have you ever spent 1.5 hours in a supermarket? It is ridiculous. It was my first time in Walmart: It was like going to IKEA, but for food. That is how big it was. Now another question: Have you ever spent $100 for food for 1 person? I did. I was so curious about the new brands, new tastes that I realized I bought too much stuff. Plus, back home, I used to shop for 3 people: my brother, my father and I. I guess I just didn’t know how much a single person would eat (Bloggers note: Also, do not go grocery shopping when you are hungry)

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Walmart is the world’s largest company by revenue – approximately US$480 billion according to the Fortune Global 500 list in 2016. Its grocery stores are humongous. 

LEARN ABOUT YOUR AREA

Public Transportation

In the US, most cities do not have a good public transportation. This wasn’t a problem for my Saudi Arabian students who mostly drive anywhere back home, but if you are from Turkey, you might have a difficulty getting used to driving everywhere. When I lived in Chicago public transportation was great. There were two trains running 24 hours. You could go anywhere in the city by buses or train/metro (known as ‘L’). In Boston, also the public transportation works pretty well. You can definitely see public transportation in New York City, Jersey City, Washington (in Seattle), Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. But other places are usually a hit or miss. So please arrange your budget accordingly: Are you going to need a car? How much are second hand cars? How do you get a driver’s license?

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Chicago L system. ‘Brown line’ goes through downtown loop area.

Learn About Crime Rate in Your Area

It was around midnight when I woke up from my sleep with sounds of gunfire in my apartment in Uptown, Chicago. Someone was killed in our backyard. It was a gang crossfire. Then I couldn’t help but think ‘What if I was taking the trash out at that exact time?” I wished I had lived in a safer area. Bear in mind that the less safe neighborhoods will have cheaper housing options. So, if you are going to live in an apartment, and you are looking for cheap rent, make sure to check the crime rate online. One of the options you have is here:  Go to http://www.mylocalcrime.com to check the crimes around the area you are planning to live in. Don’t forget, there will always be some sort of crime reported. Americans are pretty good about reporting a crime.

Check the Weather

Please check the climate and weather information about the city before you arrive. Some people cannot really survive in cold and in some cities in the US it is brutally cold, especially if you are from a country that has warm climate. My students from Turkey, Brazil, Colombia, Saudi Arabia were complaining about how cold Chicago and Boston were. But my students from Northern Europe and Russia were totally fine with it. Also, don’t forget to check the weather everyday before you leave home, because it might change pretty quickly.

Here are two videos about two extremes: A little girl Mila is talking about Arizona summers (42 Celsius-average, 49 Celsius recorded) and in the second one you see a news report talking about last December’s arctic wave.

What is the City Like?

Some of my friends confessed me that before they arrived in Kansas, they were expecting to see skyscrapers, expensive cars, bars, restaurants and cafes everywhere (In other words, they were expecting to find a replica of New York City). They imagined lots of people in the streets. Instead, this was what they got:

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Lawrence, KS downtown (city center), Mass Street. Doesn’t look like New York City, does it?

Learn what your city offers and what its limits are. For example, if you live in a bigger city, your chances of finding a market that sells ingredients for your cuisine are high. Also, if the city has colleges and these universities with international students, then you are lucky. Again, you probably will find some international markets or restaurants in your city. But frankly, don’t expect to find Iskender kebab in Idaho, or grape leaves in a market in Mississippi. However, one thing I learned about America is that it can surprise you. So, I cannot speak for sure.

ELECTRONICS

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Converter that you need for the USA

Do not bring your electronics here other than your computer and phone charger (if you need to). Because of the voltage difference, your electronic devices will break down. While it is 220-230 V in most European, African and Asian countries, it is 120 V in the US (https://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plug-voltage-by-country/). It happened to me with my toothbrush charger, hair straightener and epilator. First they worked slowly, then they completely stopped working. Besides, you will need a converter (see the image) if you are using a device from your country in the US.

EXPENSIVE HEALTHCARE

Do you remember those days that you had a migraine or persistent stomachache and you couldn’t help and went to emergency room? Well… You can’t do that in this country unless you are wealthy enough. Let’s look at this hospital bill of Peter Drier, 37,  who had a neck hernia surgery in 2013:

hospital bill

You can read his full story here: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/21/us/drive-by-doctoring-surprise-medical-bills.html

As you can see ‘ER General’ Says $976. Let’s say your insurance will cover half of it. You still will need to pay about 500$. Also, let me remind you, monthly insurance payments vary but they can go from 150$ to 500$ a month. So, please do not get sick in the US.

Dentists are also another story. These numbers are taken from the website: http://www.phoenixendodontist.com/blog/root-canal-cost-vs-cost-of-implant

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The most pricey ones are implants, as you all know. So, let’s look at this comparison:

Dental-Implant-Cost-by-Country1

As you can see, there is a huge gap between the medical costs in the US and in other countries. One might argue that the equipment used is the highest technology and that is why the costs are high. Although I believe this is partly true, there is also the fact that hospitals are trying to find ways to get more of your money. If you are rich, you get the best treatment. If you are poor, you might get a below average treatment and we don’t care if you die in 10 years. I’m not talking about doctors or nurses here, I’m talking about the health system. Insurance is also such a complicated issue that (deductibles, in network versus out of network, HMO PDO plans, etc) I still have many questions and confusions even after 6 years I spent here.

BE AWARE OF SCAMS

When you are looking for a room to rent or a car to buy, be aware of scams. They will try to get your money or credit card information by sending genuine-looking emails. Especially with Craigslist, you have to be extra careful. One of the ways you can understand if the email is scam or not, scam ones tend to have too many personal details or many grammar or spelling mistakes. Let’s look at this example:

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As you can see from this email, the person is in Alabama and he will ‘mail’ the keys to them once the buyer sends the security payment. Do not fall for this, my friends. No realtor, no landlord will ask for your money without meeting face to face. They would NEVER mail you the keys, either. Look at all the grammar mistakes he made! Especially in the last paragraph: “My job factor” “very saddened (without ‘I am’)” “very perfect (no native will say this)” “you meet up with application process?? (haha application process is a person’s name I guess)” “my keys will be mail to you (Wrong passive voice usage)” and nobody will use “God” in their ads. This is also a big red flag.

Another thing that you should be careful about is the phone calls you will get while in the US. I remember one time a person called me and said they were from “Credit Card Protection Services” and my card needed to be protected. They had a jingle and everything when they put me on hold. They sounded real! But then he insisted on learning my credit card number. I was trying to be polite but at that moment I understood that they were just a scam.

Your phone or internet company, maybe AT&T, Xfinity, etc. They will keep calling you as well. They will try to convince you to upgrade your plan, which means you will have to pay more. I remember when I first moved in the US, I got a call and the person was speaking English with a heavy Indian accent and he was so fast that I had no idea what he was talking about. After saying ‘Could you repeat please?’ like 2 times, I gave up and I started to say ‘Yes’ to everything he said. After about 3 and a half minutes, we hung up. Oh Lord, at that moment, I was so relieved. Well… The following month my telephone bill came and it was 250$. Apparently I had upgraded my internet and phone to the most expensive plan!!! It was painful to call them back and fix everything again.

LEARN ABOUT YOUR VISA (STATUS) AND ITS RESTRICTIONS

Some students come here with the wrong idea that they can both go to school and work. For student visas J-1 and F-1 you cannot work except campus employment. There is also a myth that your SSN (Social Security Number) allows you to work legally in the US. Again, this is a myth. If you are working without a valid work permit, you will get in trouble. People who are caught working illegally are deported and they can never come back to the US again. Please read the below link carefully:

https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/students-and-exchange-visitors/students-and-employment

LEARN ABOUT AMERICAN CULTURE

Before you come tho the US, you have to learn about American culture. While most western countries have similar cultural elements with Americans, when you compare Asian, African, Latin and Middle Eastern culture to America, you get a very different picture. I can only speak for my own cultural experience, of course.

  • Americans prefer indirect communication in one sense and direct one in another. For example, it is not OK to ask about one’s salary, their personal life or their illness. You cannot comment on their hair looking messy or the pimple on their nose (unless they are your best friends). Before giving any criticism, you have to make sure that your words are encouraging and friendly. While discussing about racism, gender inequality, you have to be extra extra careful not to offend anybody. On the other hand, when they ask a question, they usually want a straight answer. They appreciate honesty. Let me give you a funny example. My first year in the States, we went to a bar with my friends from Geology department. My friend asked me if I wanted a beer. Because I was culturally programmed that way, I said ‘No, thanks’ Even though I would, of course, want a free beer! (duh) In Turkey, when someone offers something, it is polite to refuse it for the first time. That’s why you should keep offering till the person finally says yes. Well, after my first ‘No’ my friend said ‘OK’ and just left!!! Haha. I was like: “But… But…How about my beer??”

  • Americans will have this distance from you that is called “personal bubble”. Forget about getting intimate on the train, in the movie line or restaurants. Forget about giving a warm friendly kiss to your friend on the cheek. Forget about giving random hugs to your colleagues. Oh and of course, forget about hand jokes including hitting on the head or back. My American friends walking down in Taksim Square, Istanbul were so confused with the fact that guys were walking arm in arm, girls were holding hands but they weren’t gay or lesbian. They were just showing friendly affection. Also, not only at work or school but be aware of the personal bubble in the customs at the airport. One day, one of my students with a very low level of English was trying to tell the customs officer her purpose of visit. The envelope that she handed to the officer included some complicated paper work. So, my student wanted to help and leaned towards the officer and put her arm through in the glass. That moment was the scariest memory of her. The officer went for his gun in a tiny fraction of time and yelled a ‘Put your hands up!’. She was questioned for half an hour after this incident.
  • Most Americans are religious. All Protestant denominations accounted for 51.3%, while the Catholic Church by itself, at 23.9% is the largest individual denomination. God is the Father, Jesus Christ is the Son and there is Holy Spirit. This is what they call ‘Trinity”. In Catholic belief, Virgin Mary is holy. Christians’ holy book is holy Bible and they worship every Sunday at church. Unfortunately, I’m not a very knowledgeable person when it comes to religion, but please do some research before you come to the States. I highly recommend going to church one day, it is a remarkable, interesting experience.
  • When you are driving, if a police officer stops you, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CAR. Pull your car off the road, stop your engine and wait. There might be an awkward 5 minutes that you are sitting in your seat and the officer is sitting in his seat. What he is doing is that he is communicating with the main office and trying to gather information about your license plate before he talks to you. Also, don’t even try bribing. Bribery is one of the biggest offenses in the States. You can literally go to jail.

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When the police officer stops you, just pull over, roll down your window and wait in your seat.

  • Americans love socializing and entertaining people. You will find yourself eating and drinking out a lot. Watch those pounds on the scale! I have personally gained 22 pounds (10 kilos) here! Their burger, fries, BBQ and pizza are the best! Make sure you exercise daily! Although Americans are famous for the high obesity rates, they are also aware of self care. Most Americans that I met don’t smoke, and more than half of it exercise daily. It is such a great motivation (!) when you open your mouth to eat that juicy greasy slice of pizza, you see those runners outside running in snow with their perfect bodies. Another reason why it is easy to get fat here is the amount of variation. Variety of snacks, alcohol, soups, sauces, Indian food, Viatnemese Pho, Chinese dim sum, Korean BBQ, Italian lasagna, Brazilian steak… You want to try all. Then you get fat.

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Choices, choices, more choices. A liquor store in Chicago, IL.

I hope this article will help you before your adventure begins in the USA or in another country! Make the most of it! Many wonderful memories are awaiting! Enjoy this incredible experience 🙂

Hoşçakalın!

-Ece

HPIM2397
Thompson Canyon, Utah, the USA-  Indian Petroglyphs, 2009

Posted in Turkey

Crazy Turks

When you ask any Turkish person what they are proud of about being Turkish, they will mention:

  1. Their food
  2. Their country’s history
  3. Their country’s nature

None of them will talk about how ‘practical’ their minds are or how they all have a good ‘sense of humor’ because they were raised to be modest (at least, most of them). But as in every culture that once experienced prolonged times of poverty, Turks are very resourceful and they are hilarious. Let me define resourcefulness first. Google says:

re·source·ful·ness
rəˈsôrsfəlnəs/
noun
  1. the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties.
    “his films show remarkable technical resourcefulness”

It totally makes sense actually; the more you come across with problems, the more you think of different ways to solve those issues. Sometimes it becomes so crucial to solve the problem immediately that you don’t feel the urge to care about the safety measures. Because if you don’t finish that task fast or right away, you won’t get the money or you will get fired.

Let’s look at some examples:

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Even flood cannot stop me from serving tea!

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Scooter-limo? Why not? 🙂

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They for sure packed everything

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BBQ comes first!

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Who cares about a stool?! This is more fun!

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“Well, they told me I have to have my plate number in the back, so I did”

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This looks actually fun!

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when the bucket doesn’t fit in the sink!

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This is my favorite! Smart kiddo!

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Portable shower and showerer

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One wheel is missing? Who cares? My wife will put her weight on the side. Physics 101.

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When you have to serve tea nonstop during the day, this invention comes in handy

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That circling light bulb though…

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work shouldn’t stop just because you forgot your mask at home

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Music shouldn’t stop just because you forgot your speakers at home

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I’m sure this picture above terrifies most of you, and the guy standing must agree with you haha

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If you didn’t understand yet how much Turks care about their tea, maybe now you do?

 

 

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If the heater is broken, that doesn’t mean we can’t warm up!

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Boarding school, dorm solutions 1

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Boarding school, dorm solutions 2 (making popcorn)

 

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Again, there is no time to wait for security precautions, “We got this!”

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When the AC is not working well enough in the bus (look up)

 

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Let’s see how much I can carry…

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Not to worry if there will be enough seats, wherever you go 🙂

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I don’t know how to explain this. Haha. I think he is the painter who is painting the walls of an abandoned bank. But the way he is looking at you is like “I can do your ATM work manually, and half naked.” haha

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When you are tired of the rain and grab a beach umbrella from an ice cream station

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When the conversation takes longer than expected

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As long as it doesn’t hurt… Like, anybody.

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Bowling requires a perfectly globular watermelon!

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Who said we cannot fit everybody??

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Let’s cool down together with our little and happy home-made fountain

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I don’t care about how I look, it is too sunny, OK?

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This teyze turned her old washing machine into a hencoop.

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The very first selfie stick in the world was invented by Turkish shepherds.

HUMOR TIME

When you meet a Turkish person, 75% chance that they will have a good sense of humor. I really did not study the reason why or how this has become a part of our culture, but it is. Even in the toughest times we manage to smile, make people laugh. Maybe when you have a history full of rough times, this is the only way to deal with the problems as they come along. Most Turkish jokes are cultural or caricatures are written in Turkish but I thought these pictures below might give you a tiny glimpse of it.

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Former governor of Istanbul Huseyin Avni Mutlu was in headlines during the Gezi Park events-pictured top right  (Which I will discuss in my future articles in detail) and he was criticized by this funny analogy with Saruman from the LOTR

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Real 3D?

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Teenager focusing problems…

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A funeral ceremony with Imam and people praying. They had so much free time I guess 🙂 RIP

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seed art

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When creativity has no limits…

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This restaurant must have signed a contract with Ronaldo… NOT.

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Hope it doesn’t jump on him

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They buried themselves and somebody else secretly planted those grave stone looking stone blocks.. HAHAHA

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Dreams…

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I don’t think this meant to be a joke 😀 Why not personalizing your product?

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Because he needs to warm up? I guess?

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‘Kar’ means ‘snow’ in Turkish 🙂

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We can still make it look pretty

Hope you enjoyed this post! I will see you next Wednesday, with my new article!

-Ece

Posted in Turkey

Turkey’s Identity Crisis

Think about a country that is 96% Muslim (I believe in reality this number is way lower than the official one), and although alcohol is forbidden by their religion, their national drink is ‘Rakı’; a hard liquor with 40% alcohol. Imagine a country that ranks in the top 5 most Facebook users, top 10 most YouTube users, and top 6 most WhatsApp Users  in the World, and yet still prefers socializing mostly by going out with their friends, no matter how broke they are, and paying random visits to their neighbors or family members. A country that follows the latest technological trends, buys the latest version of their favorite cellphones, but still uses a printed plane ticket rather than a QR code at the gate because it feels ‘safer’.

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Think about a country that admires, respects  their gay and transsexual music stars deeply, but when their own family member admits that they are homosexual, it is (in most families) absolutely unacceptable.

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Two famous stars of Turkey, Bulent Ersoy (on the left), who is the first very well known transsexual singer in Turkey and Zeki Muren (on the right), who was openly gay.

When I tell you ‘think about China’ or ‘Think about the USA’ or ‘Think about Kenya’ or ‘Think about France’ what do the people look like? What is the religion like? How about the culture? Which continent are they located in? You have most of the time a somewhat clear picture in your mind. But when it comes to Turkey… The picture gets a little blurry for everyone.

My country, Turkey, has been in so-called identity crisis since its birth in 1923. This makes me sad because Turkey has SO MUCH potential to thrive, to be unique, to be successful in many many ways. However, In my opinion, it is this so-called identity crisis that is preventing it from moving forward.

I’m pretty sure some people will be surprised or maybe even upset that my very first post about Turkey is not about how breathtaking its nature is or how  its history is mind-blowing. I will talk about those later for sure. But first, I chose an issue that I have been wanting to write about for a long time. I’m not a historian, politics major or sociologist. Thus, only my opinions are discussed here. I just want to make sure that nobody gets offended  since I’m going to touch on some sensitive topics here.

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Little Turkish girl smiling at the camera 🙂

Turkey is one of the two countries in the world that has its soil on two different continents (the other one is Russia): Europe and Asia. So can we count Turkey as one of the eastern or one of the western cultures? Culturally speaking, it would be safe to say my country is a lot closer to Asian cultures than European ones; highly hierarchical, collectivist, and engraved with very old roots of traditions. Turkey was the home for some of the oldest civilizations that are known:  Hittites, Lydians,  Ionians, and Urartus. Also, it was home to Byzantines, Romans, and finally, Ottomans. Each of them worshiped different Gods, lived under different rulers with different rules. Years of immigration from Asia – including east Asia and the middle east-, European countries such as Macedonia, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Hungary created such an interesting mixed blend.

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Two completely opposite faces of Turkey. Of course there is a grey area in between. But this picture illustrates the two ends.

Since the Republic of Turkey was founded by one of the greatest minds ever existed on Earth, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a lot of things have changed. When he ended the monarchy and brought democracy, I think Turks were not ready for this change yet. It was a huge step forward, which I will explain here later. Ataturk changed the alphabet from Arabic script to Latin alphabet so that we could improve in world literature, science and technology. He shut down religious schools so that the focus would be science and there would be equality between women and men. Ataturk reformed the clothing style from a traditional to a western look, so that we could set our eyes on more modern. He knew that how we look represented how we think. So we needed to change. He gave voting rights to women before Italy, France, Switzerland, Japan, or China did.  By the time 19th Amendment granted the ballot to American women, it was 1920. But let’s remember, the USA was founded on July 4, 1776 and when demand for the enfranchisement of American women was first seriously formulated at the Seneca Falls Convention, it was 1848. So America waited 144 years whereas Ataturk did this in just about 10 years. That is why these quick changes were not very welcomed by some traditional and/or conservative Turks.

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Ottoman Fashion Before Ataturk’s Clothing Reform

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Fashion in Turkey After Ataturk’s Clothing Reform

His reforms, victories and patriotism are the reasons why most of the Turks have been thankful to him. Unfortunately I said ‘most’, because there was a considerable amount of Turkish people who didn’t like what Ataturk did. They didn’t like this change at all. They felt like they were suppressed. Even though there was the freedom of religion, freedom of thought, this group of people  didn’t like the fact that religious schools and institutions were shutting down, the religious outfits were gone, and Arabic script, in which the original language Quran was written, was all gone. All happened in a relatively very short period of time as well and that created uneasiness among people.

Another possible reason for Turkey’s identity crisis might be the ‘Nationalistic Indoctrination’ that Ataturk had to implement those days in order to build a republic from scratch. Because he needed a reason to unite everyone against the Monarchy (Power of Sultan) and knowing the behavior and culture of the Turks very well, nationalistic approach was the best way to go: modern nation had to become homogeneous in terms of culture, religion, language and national identity. This meant bad news for minorities. Especially for the Armenians, Greeks, and Kurds. They paid a price while Turkish Republic was being born. It’s my belief that with the early death of Ataturk at the age of 57, a big void had opened in Turkey’s heart. People in charge thought to themselves: “Everything is still new, Ataturk would have known what to do, how to run the country, how to bring back all those minorities together, but now… He is gone!! What the heck are we going to do??”. This early loss and the dependence of the baby republic to its father created a big big problem later in shaping the identity of the nation.

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The mourning Turkish nation after ‘Father of Turks’ Ataturk dies on November 10, 1938.

Without a ‘father’ figure, Turkey was lost: the baby republic had just lost the only parent it had. Now, it was going to grow up with self-esteem problems, and it will have painful, angry adolescence years… Actually by the end of this post you will have realized that Turkey would never learn from its mistakes or, in other words, would never actually be a grown up due to its relentless search of another ‘father figure’.

1960, 1962, 1971, 1980, 1997, 2007, 2016… Marks the military coups and military coup attempts in Turkey. In one of which, the president of the country was hanged in public. Many arrests, torture in investigations, lost jobs, soldiers wandering around the streets with machine guns and tanks. These caused instability and fear in the nation and as we all know, fear eventually leads to wrong decision making.

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Leftovers from the Coup Attempt on July 15, 2016

Since the beginning, we have been divided, constantly: Students fought with police, ‘Sunni’s fought with ‘Alevi’s, leftists and rightists killed each other, military was against the government, Kurdish vs. Turkish, women with veil vs women without veil,  and now, pro-government conservatives versus anti-government democrats. We have been always and we still are…DI-VID-ED.

The assassination attempt for Pope John Paul II took place on Wednesday, 13 May 1981, in St. Peter’s Square at Vatican City. A Turkish extreme nationalist Mehmet Ali Ağca was the assassin who murdered left-wing journalist Abdi İpekçi on 1 February 1979, and later shot and wounded Pope John Paul II in 1981, after escaping from a Turkish prison. This opened a whole can of warms. Later, in the light of a highway accident, the Turkish nation learned about the existence of ‘Secret State’: a combination of nationalists, mafia, police and the rich: On the surface, the government was ruling, but the secret state was the one who was actually running the country.

Journalists who attempted to investigate ‘Secret State’ later, were all going to be assassinated so that nobody else could dare to write about them again.

Many singers, journalists, writers, poets (including the writer of the Turkish National Anthem) were forced into exile. Most of them died far away from their own land.

Now for the past 15 years, the same single party has been ruling us; The conservative ‘Justice and Development Party’ won the elections in 2002, 2007, 2011 and 2015 with almost 50% of the votes (again you can clearly see that we are divided). My country is clearly deteriorating in the hands of a dictator leader and this 50% is OK with that. The current President, and 3-times-elected former Prime Minister Erdogan knows how to manipulate Turkish nation, so well that in every speech of his, he mentions ‘us’ and ‘them’ and each time, the number of his supporters grows. He says: “We are the good ones (conservatives), we are hard workers, we are villagers, laborers, farmers, and they (meaning democrats) are mocking us! they are terrorists, anarchists, OR alcoholics, atheists, OR they are rich and educated, they think they are better, smarter than ‘us'”

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Why I mention Erdogan here is the fact that how well he used this ‘identity crisis’ of Turkey for his own good to become the absolute power:

  • He knew that with the failing coalitions and the former disastrous female prime minister, and for the obvious historical reasons, Turkish people would vote for a ‘self sufficient’ ‘male’ figure with a ‘strong personality’.
  • In the beginning of his term he was talking about reuniting with minorities; he played us well. The first time he was elected, he re-opened an Armenian church in Van after 100 years, he lead the way to open a Kurdish TV channel and a radio station. He seemed friendly, fatherly, kind of liberal-conservative. Economy was improving and unemployment rate was diminishing. Then in just a few years, everything has turned and he revealed his and his party’s real identity. He started to suppress the media, arrested people as he liked, tried to raise drinking age to 24, made the relationship with Kurds worse, opened more and more religious schools, stole money from the government assets, made the judicial system corrupt, and so on.
  • He was aware of the fact that we had been going through self-esteem problems: We were not ruling the world like once Ottoman Empire did and we were not as strong anymore as in those times Ataturk brought us together, we were weakened by military coups and fights between divided groups. Having been rejected by European Union so many times, we were feeling frustrated, degraded. He saw this status quo as an opportunity to promote himself as a hero and in his hate speeches he made it clear that: “We don’t want Europe, we don’t need European Union”. Suddenly everybody was in agreement with him as if they were all hypnotized: “Yeah! Why do we need Europe?” He literally finished almost our all relationship with the West and he pushed us towards the Middle East, where people adore him and he could reign like a king.
  • He was aware of that suppressed anger people had towards Ataturk and his democratic republic. He used this in his speeches, everywhere he went.
  • He knew well that he could divide us pretty quickly. With the chaos he created each time, he knew he would split the opposition parties’ votes.

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I feel like Turkish nation has been in some sort of Stockholm Syndrome, which is a condition that causes hostages to develop a psychological attachment with their captors as a survival strategy during captivity. Psychologist, former FBI agent Thomas Strentz states, “the victim’s need to survive is stronger than his impulse to hate the person who has created the dilemma.” A positive emotional bond between captor and captive is a “defense mechanism of the ego under stress”. Some of the people who voted for him in the first place want to keep him in power because they are afraid that without Erdogan, everything will be worse, they will lose their jobs, their food, their lands. The sad fact is, everything has already been going downhill, but their denial is blindfolding them.

Turkey’s Problem Explained

Final words… Here comes the question: Now what? When is this problem with our identity will be solved? My answer is when we stop looking for one. Maybe we don’t need to belong west, or east. Maybe we should create our very own identity. Call it ‘Turkish Way’ of doing things. An identity that cares for others, value family, respect people, works hard,  thrives for advancement, improvement, production, believes in religion and respects non-religion, sees people through without labeling them, known as being self-sufficient and self-confident. But most importantly, an identity that doesn’t require a savior, a leader, a father figure to function…

As Ataturk said: “If you feel desperate one day, don’t wait for a savior. Be the rescuer yourself.”

“Şayet bir gün çaresiz kalırsanız, bir kurtarıcı beklemeyin. Kurtarıcı kendiniz olun.”

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

 

-Ece