More observations of Turkey
Trip Start May 16, 2006
30Trip End Aug 16, 2006
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Hmm... observations. Well, they love that Ataturk. Ata = father, Turk = turkish people, you can put 2 and 2 together. His real name is Mustafa Kemal, and he pretty much is the father of Today's Turkey. He brought Turkey from its Ottoman roots into the secular, western-looking state it is today. I will avoid going much further than that, I could blather on and on about my take on the whole political situation and history, but I will cut to the chase. They just love this guy too much. Idolization is an understatement. It is law that every business of any kind have a big Ataturk painting. Often there is one on each of the four walls. For a democratic state, it all has a srikingly communist Mao/Lenin/Stalin feel. One simply does not talk negatively about Ataturk in Turkey with Turks. One simply does not do it. It would be like telling a Jewish immigrant from Germany that, you know, Hitler wasn't THAT bad, was he? One simple does not do that.
The people in general... quite great, really. There was only person in my classes that I can think of that I just really, really didn't like and... he was Albanian. They are all incredibly friendly and kind people. The people in Japan were extremely good-hearted as well, but their society was so conservative that people were just a bit too uptight about life, and I felt a little bit sorry for this aspect of their culture. The western world, on the other hand, grows up to fast. We become jaded, selfish, unfriendly. Turkey is somewhere in between. This is, of course, only the geographically western, more industrialized, more modern, more wealthy, urban Turkey. If I went to a village a few hundred miles from the Iraqi border I would be talking of a different people with different qualities for me to ponder. Regardless, the Turkey I was in retained the sort of good-hearted traditional value system, but was also fairly easy-going and social, a very pleasant combination.
Anyway, that's enough writing for today, I will continue with V3 another time.