If I Could Turn Back Time

The Powers That Be here in Turkiye took it upon themselves to ignore the way the rest of the world operate and have done away with turning back the clock announcing an end to daylight savings.  This means that we are forever on summer holidays which is nice I guess but for today, and perhaps for a few of us dopier peeps, it also means total chaos as we try and decipher what time it really is.

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Right now in our house every single clock says its 6:16am … except that it is actually 7:16am.  The reason I know it is 7:16am is that my FIL has already started screaming for his breakfast and, despite the fact that every single clock in our house says its 6:16am and we all should be slumbering it is daylight outside (albeit a little overcast which will no doubt burn off into another stinking hot day).

For sure this bureaucratical bundle of bok will cause chaos over the next 24 hours (or 23 depending on which clock you are looking at).

Turkiye is now at Greenwich Mean Time plus 3 hours.  So for those of you in the UK you are now of course 3 hours behind, for those of you in Down Under you are 8 hours behind and for those of you in the US you are … fecked … and I’m not just talking about your presidential candidates.

And why did they do this you ask?  Officially it is to save on electricity (truely this is the official word).  Unofficially I wonder if this is a religious decision to bring Turkiye in line with Saudi Arabia and Mecca for prayer and Ramadan timing.

Just to prove that this is a real kerfuffle think of Cyprus.  Northern Cyprus is 1 hour ahead of Southern Cyprus.  What about Nicosia?  It’s a half / half city!  And what if you live in Northern Cyprus and work in Southern Cyprus.  Or go to school in Southern Cyprus?  Can anyone say cock-up???

Regardless whatever time you think it is check with someone who does not spend their life attached to a phone or a computer because I reckon they are the only folk who actually know what the feck is going on around here!

Update!  Daughter’s new Iphone 7 did NOT change time.  She has just dragged herself out of bed wondering what all the fuss is about.  “You people are all technologically stupid”!  Direct quote.

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Dear Türkiye

I am not standing by your side today for I am far, far away but I know that you are suffering and I weep for you.

image1I know you must feel manipulated and bullied by those who want you for their own personal gain. Those that feel that they can control you and own you. I see you being scrutinized and gossiped about by your so-called friends and neighbours who twist their own hateful words to the world until you feel that there is no hope left. And I know there are those that wish you nothing but harm with wave after wave of attacks against your countrymen by an enemy wielding instruments of death. You have been overwhelmed by the hatred when you yourself have been so generous and opened your heart and your arms to welcome so many less fortunate. It must be hard to hold your head up high with so many wishing you harm.

Fighting for your life can be painful and God knows you have suffered. We are all witness to your pain. I know that you have tried to be strong. I see your brave attempt to take control of your future but you just weren’t strong enough today. Don’t give up Türkiye. Don’t let the hate and the negativity win.

A great man once said, “Peace at home, peace in the world”. You and I know that great man as your father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. He once made you strong. He once made you proud. And if you just remember Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in time of pain you will become a strong and proud nation once again.

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I am Ankara

On Sunday night a car bomb exploded in Turkey’s capital city of Ankara, killing 32 people and injuring more than 100.

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In February a car bomb exploded in Turkey’s capital city of Ankara, killing 28 and injuring more than 61.

Sound familiar?  Let’s keep going.

January 2016 – Istanbul 12 killed and 14 injured.

October 2015 – again in Ankara 102 killed and over 500 injured.

July 2015 – Suruç with 22 killed and 104 injured.

Enough yet?  Are you surprised by the numbers?

Maybe we should put a few faces to those that have lost their lives.

On the right is Deniz.  Deniz lost his life in the bombing in Ankara last October.  On the left is Ozancan who lost his life in the bombing on Sunday night.  Did they deserve to die at the hands of terrorists?

Ankara bombing

This is Elif.  She was 19 years old and going to University.  Why must her family suffer for the belief of another?

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This is Mehmet Emre.  He was 16 when he died on Sunday night.  Why must his family shed tears for their son who was merely waiting for a bus?

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Sunday night’s attack was on a busy street, at a metro hub filled with people young and old enjoying the springtime evening weather.

I will not point fingers or give opinions on what is right and what is wrong with the world.  I will say merely this – no political, cultural, or religious belief is worth the lives of these kids.  Kids with dreams.  Lives with real meaning to those around them.  Families shattered.  Devastation.

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BLOCKED!

Yep it seems that my humor definitely does not translate into Turkish because as of last night JaneyinMersin.com has been blocked in Turkey.  I am up there with Twitter, Blogloving and FunnyorDie.  Frankly I think this is the highest accolade I have ever received being blocked by a Government!

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Hopefully in the coming days sense will prevail and the powers that be realise that I am but a stupid Aussie who runs off at the mouth on occasion.  They will see that I am merely an over opinionated, middle aged woman who could hardly be a threat to national security.  I mean really!

Look don’t get me wrong perhaps it is not the Government that has blocked me, perhaps it is merely a glitch in the system and I will come back online completely on my own and if that is the case then … oops sorry to the powers that be.

So for those of you “outside” I will continue to blog in my sporadic way but for those of you within Türkiye, well you can’t read this anyway so doesn’t really matter what I wanted to say does it?   LMAO!

Oh and just to really be difficult go ahead and share my blog to your friends so my voice gets carried just that little further today.

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CSI Cyber – Turkish Edition

I have now watched a couple of episodes of this new CSI show and I think I am more than qualified to investigate “the Great Turkish Blackout of 2015”.

After lengthy investigation I have 3 main suspects:

  1. A terrorist plot. Who could it be?  Bilmiyorum.
  2. A pimply faced 12 year old boy trying to obtain the schematics of NASA’s space station for his bedroom wall … oh wait wrong program.
  3. Türkiye forgot to pay the electric bill – most likely.

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Here’s what I know.

I went into the city yesterday to meet some friends for lunch.  There was no electricity in the village.  I shrug my shoulders (there is never any electricity in the village).  As I reached Çarşı there is no electricity there either.  Oh well.  I catch my next dolmuş and continue through Mersin.  Pozcu – no electricity.   At this point I am like “Woah all of Mersin!  Sucked in!”.  As I reached Mezitli and my destination and there was still no electricity I realised “damn lunch is going to be cancelled” but no – bless Mersin Marina for their own electricity supply!

Lunch was lovely.  I drank too much and got too much sun.  I suffer for that now.

One friend from Adana told me her electricity was out too.  “How funny is that?  Two cities, no electricity”.

I finally got home completely sloshed and feeling no pain but there was still no bloody electricity.  The Turk informed me that the electricity was, in fact, out all over Turkey including Istanbul and Ankara and that it was a terrorist plot or a military coup.  My first thought was “Yikes”.  My second thought “that movie War Games”.  Do you know the one?  Matthew Broderick starred in it, like, 50 years ago or something, and he nearly started WWIII with the click of a mouse button.  Someone should check the whereabouts of Matthew Broderick.

Officially Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said all possible causes were under investigation “including terrorism”.  Conveniently enough President Erdogan was out of the country as was the Electricity Minister.

It has suggested to me that it was an April Fools joke.  That’s seems to be a pretty elaborate joke, well done to you, however check your calendar before you pull a prank you goose!

We finally got our electric back but not before The Turk suggested we make our own – bada bing bada boom.  Daughter said that the electrical outage was “a current event”.  You see we are all fecking comedians in this household!

My CSI investigation is still underway so keep checking back for when I finally arrest my suspect.  It will be exciting.  Seriously though, if Turkiye did forget to pay the electric bill someone should diarise this shit because it was bloody inconvenient yesterday.

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My Letter to Özgecan

I never had the pleasure of meeting you Özgecan.  I never had the chance to hear you laugh with your friends or sing along to your favorite tune.  No I did not know you at all but I know you now.  Your name will forever be etched into my heart and into the hearts of millions of others here in Turkey and around the world who woke on Valentine’s Day, the day of romance, to the sickening news of your death at the hands of a monster.  We are shocked beyond words hearing of your suffering and of knowing that the simple task of stepping on a bus is no longer safe here in Mersin.

Aslan

What happened to you happens to other women every day, all over the world.  Whether it is in New Delhi or Melbourne monsters can be found everywhere.  But with your death comes the news that tens of thousands of people are marching in cities all over Turkey angry for your pain and suffering.  They are angry that this has happened to you.  For too long women have not felt safe as they stand in their kitchen, walk down the street or even step onto a bus.  For too long society has looked the other way at certain behaviour but today it is time for Turkey to change and you are an important part of that change.  What happened to you Özgecan and the reactions of people here in Mersin and all around your beautiful country prove that they too want things to change.

I watched with tears of pride as your friends and family defied the imam as he told them to “let the men” carry your body.  Hayir.  They stood by you and helped you to your final resting place.  These women will never forget you Özgecan and they will stand up for you and yell your name with honour.

People no longer want to hear that women are secondary to men.  We no longer want to listen to politicians who outlandishly state that “violence against women is just about selective perception (thank you Fatma Şahin, AKP Family Minister)” or “equality between men and women is against nature” (thank you Recep Tayip Erdogan, President). No Özgecan we will no longer allow politicians to sprout nonsense that should be basic human rights.

Today people are calling for much needed change and, although you had to lose your life, I hope that the powers that be will realise that changes must be made to ensure that no one else must spend their last moments in fear at the hands of another.

Özgecan your soul is now soaring in the sunlight.  You have no more pain.  We will remember your name and we will remember you.

I am reminded of something Maya Angelou said, “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

Rest in peace Özgecan.

Let’s Pretend that Today Never Happened

Everything I type in today’s post can be filed under the heading “Shit Happens”.  It does you know.  Shit really does happen. All the time.   To good people and to not so good people.  To people who, you might say, deserve a karmatic (this is a real word) explosion of diarrhetic (alright this may not be a real word) deuce and it also happens to people who are as heroic as Ghandi or as pious as the Pope.  But today I feel like I was handed a bucket load of bok and I am hovering pretty close to the edge right now.

Shit Happens

Let me set the scene.  Candles?  Romantic music?  No people, this scene requires more dark clouds and depressing music.  Possibly elevator muzak playing Depeche Mode.  Is it muzak or music?

Wait!

I was on the dolmuş yesterday when a tiny Turkish man with a rather hairy moustache sat down beside me … and sneezed.  All over me.  I felt his germ-filled gust of Turkish breath whoosh over me and I could feel his festering microbes invade my throat, my eyes and my nose.  Ick!  I wiped my face as he apologised but it was too late.  The damage was done and within 8 hours I was coughing and sneezing.  I was a Codral tablet away from death.  Bastard!  So now I have the dreaded grip.  Again.

Now you can imagine my state of mind when I woke this morning after a night of snot and phlegm.  Adding to the joy of the grip I awoke to the bonus of no electricity.  “Shit happens” I hear you cry.  Yes, too true but I won’t be beaten by the lack of electricity.  This is just a blip on my day.  Soldier on.

I made myself a cup of tea and opened the refrigerator to grab the milk.  No milk.  “Shit happens” the Gods from above declare.  Maybe, but maybe Daughter could have left me a mere drip for my tea this morning.  I made a mental note to pull out my voodoo doll with her name on it and I left the house to go to the market.

Of course it is pouring with rain and I cannot find my umbrella so I ran through the rain dodging the puddles only to find that … the market wasn’t open yet.  Yep, “Shit happens”.

My next “Shit happens” moment needs a little background – The Turk has arranged to build yet another apartment above ours (because you can never have too many apartments) however as one of our lovely neighbours complained about the building work the belediye (Council) recently handed us a stop work order.  We now have a partially built apartment above us but this isn’t the “Shit happens” moment, not for me anyway.  My “Shit happens” moment is the fact that because the building work has been cut short by this jealous, asshole neighbour today’s downpour is allowing a stream of water to pour into every room in the house through the partially built walls and holes in our ceiling.  As I run around placing buckets and pots to collect the rainwater I can be heard yelling, “Shit happens!”

So here I am, suffering from the grip with no electricity, no hope of a cup of tea and water pouring through the roof.  It’s not even 9am.  At that point I contemplated purchasing a hallucinogen, maybe I could find a Turkish equivalent to LSD or some mushrooms, to take me away from myself.  I could float off to my very own magical Willy Wonka-esque world filled with unicorns and fairy floss.  No, I cry, soldier on … plus the electricity came back on.  Bonus!

And can I just amend the above statement, thankfully the electricity came back on as Daughter came rushing down the hallway yelling that she needed to straighten her hair before school.  Oh the horror, the trauma, of leaving the house with frizzy hair!  It shall not be!

I finally got my cup of tea (with milk) when my father in law arrived at the door.  He arrives on my doorstep every – single – day.  Without fail.  From breakfast to dinner he is here.  Except Sundays.  On Sundays he can be found at my sister in law’s (SIL) home, after all her food is better than mine and she puts up with his crap.  Plus she bathes him.  I would rather eat my own toenails than bathe him.  Anyway my father in law arrives complaining.  Yagmur!  Really?  It’s raining?  I look out the window in feigned wonder.  Oh?!  It is raining?  Thank you for stating the obvious.  He then proceeds to tell me it is cold and that he needs a blanket.  And a cup of cay.  Drop everything folks.   Get Dede a blanket!  Get Dede cay!  Go on, say it – “You wanted this life.  Shit happens!”

Finally it is noon and Daughter leaves for school, with perfectly straight hair, but still complaining and my father in law is quietly snoring on the couch.  Finally.  Peace.

I grab the television remote and started flicking through the channels.  The telephone rings.  Oh no.  Please.  God no.  I looked at the ID on the telephone.  SIL’s work.  I contemplated not answering it.  I knew what would happen if I did.  I sighed as I reached for the telephone.  It seems that the Cabbage Patch Kid is crying – again – and her older sister has had enough of her whining.  Oh wonderful, so now I get to enjoy the whining!  “Shit happens”.

I am now sitting at my desk with my earphones on.  They are blasting Beyonce (don’t judge me) to drown out the crap going down behind me.  The Cabbage Patch Kid has thrown herself on the floor and is sulking – loudly.  Her sister Tatli is ignoring her and yelling down the telephone at her mother.  My father in law is asleep on my couch with Planet Turk blasting away and the bucket in the middle of the salon catching the dripping water is nearly full.

Yep.  It really is true – shit happens!

Addendum – I actually wrote this yesterday but after I finished tapping out the last exclamation point my SIL arrived on my doorstep.  She too had had a terrible day and she sat at my kitchen bench and cried.  She is tired.  Tired of working hard for little thanks, tired of her family (which probably includes me), of her children (which I for one totally understand) and definitely tired of her shitty life.  As I handed her a glass of cay I realised just how lucky I am.

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Turkey Today

Over the past few days I have had no end of calls from worried friends wanting to know how safe it is in Turkey at the moment.  Yes there is anger and frustration in the streets of many cities.  Thousands of Kurdish people are protesting across the country including in its capital Ankara and Istanbul.  They are furious that Turkey seems to be standing by as Islamic State advances on the Syrian town of Kobane.  They say that Turkey’s failure to help the Kurdish fighters there will no doubt lead to the city falling to IS.

I have learned from writing this blog to keep my opinions to myself as I do not have sufficient knowledge or education on the complicated relationship between Turkey and the Kurdish people.  I will only say that Turkey is in an extremely difficult situation.  They are, of course, a powerhouse in the region and they will vigorously protect their land and their citizens (including their Kurdish citizens).  Should Turkey cross the border into Syria they are entering foreign soil and crossing that border would be considered a hostile act by Syria.  Should a Syrian or Kurdish citizen be injured or killed at the hands of a Turkish soldier then I suspect all hell will break loose.  Turkey also has the underlining concern of keeping peace within its Kurdish communities which can prove a difficult task particularly when Erdogan is comparing the PKK to IS.

The Australian Government has today emailed its citizens living or visiting Turkey and have advised against all travel to the towns of Akcakale and Ceylanpinar.  They have also advised against all but essential travel to areas within 50km of Turkey’s border with Syria.  You should remember that each countries give their citizens their own advice with the UK Foreign Office advising against all but essential travels within 10km of Turkey’s border with Syria.

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Friends, where we are in Mersin it is perfectly safe right now.  We are approximately 4-5 hours drive from the Syrian border.  There have been no protests however there is a heavy polis presence in the city.  If I feel in any way that the situation has changed or that Daughter and I are no longer safe here we will make arrangements to leave the city and, if necessary, the country immediately.

Remember if you intend on travelling to Turkey in the coming days I suggest that you check with your own Foreign Office.  If you are travelling to Marmaris or along the western coast of Turkey you are 12 hours – I repeat – 12 hours from the Syrian border.  Of course your personal safety and the safety of your family is paramount but do not let the remote possibility of terrorism by Islamic State (or by any other terrorist organisation) control your lives.

If you are interested in reading more about what is going on – here are a few links that I found interesting.

4 Questions  /  The Prize and Peril of Kirkuk  /  Smart Traveller  /  UK Advice  /  Ankara on Alert

Please share this page to your family members who are concerned about safety while travelling or living in this beautiful country.

Finally I will add that Turkey is one of the most amazing countries in the world with its magnificent beaches, glorious scenery and its surprising history.  The Turkish Government will do everything in its power to control the situation along its borders and to protect its citizens and its visitors – that means you!

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A 60 Second Political Update by Janey

As expected Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now the President-elect of this great country of Turkey picking up 52% of the vote.  Incidentally he had a crushing defeat the area that I live in Mersin.  But the battle for Erdogan has only just started with him now wanting to change the constitution that has stood in place since Ataturk was named Turkey’s first President on 30 May 1920.

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So what does that mean? 

Simply put the role of President in Turkey is seen as more of a ceremonial post but Erdogan now wants to change that role to make it a more executive decision-maker as seen in the US. 

How would he affect the change?

For Erdogan to change the Constitution he is going to need two-thirds of the vote in Parliament and right now I cannot see him getting that many votes although I guess only time will tell.

Accepting his win he spoke about “old” Turkey no doubt putting in first seeds in people’s minds about the need to change the Constitution:

“Today is the day that we initiate a social reconciliation process.  Please leave aside the old discussions, old disputes, old tensions in the old Turkey. “

A nice speech but let’s remember this was the man who attempted (and for a period achieved his intention) of banning Twitter and Youtube (and for some strange reason the website Funny or Die is still blocked damn it!) as well as the recent corruption scandals and anti-Government protests.  Turkey’s economic growth has now peaked and to be honest I think the Government is going to have its work cut out for it over the coming years.

Conservative or Secular?

With Erdogan becoming President and wanting to make executive decisions I see a huge change coming in Turkey’s future.  A more conservative and religious future which will only polarise the more westernized secular Turkish person.  

What happens now?

On 28 August Erdogan will take an oath in front of Parliament in which he promises to abide by Turkey’s principle of secularism.  With his own Islamist leanings and his penchant for restricting rights such as freedom of speech may prove difficult for Erdogan to balance.

The result of the election was never in doubt but whether he will succeed as President and with his reforms still is.  In our little village, however, there was still fun to be had with one enterprising person putting himself up for vote with little placards placed around the village.  If only this vote counted.

I promise my next post will be a little brighter and giving you something more than political dribble. What is that old saying?  Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.  Some such nonsense anyway.

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The Village

I have now been living in the Village for 10 months and have decided that it is not really a köyü (village) it is more of a şehir (town), in fact that way that it has been growing you could even say it is a suburb of Mersin proper, an outer suburb but a suburb nevertheless.

When I first started coming to the Village 13 years ago it really was a köyü.  There was more farmland than houses, more farm animals than people but in the following years the urban sprawl that is Mersin has spread and, like a disease, taking over the quaint köyü and turning it into part of a spreading metropolis.

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Although we are still surrounded by farms the view of the sea has disappeared behind apartment blocks 5 stories high.  There are still farm animals but they are a rarity now (except for my damn nemesis that lives behind us) and what was once grazing land just west of us is now streets full of little houses (and some not so little) being built at a speed that astounds me.

It is lovely and warm now (in fact I would go so far to say it is hot) which means I spend more time going on walks or riding my bike around in the köyü (or şehir).  I did not realise just how big the Village is.  To ride my bike around the whole köyü would take me a good hour or two and walking would probably take me a full day (taking into consideration stopping for chats).

I often ride my bike from Atasyolu to the north right around to the deserted beach east of the Village.  The Turk and I sit at this beach and dream (well he dreams and I lie on the sand and enjoy the sunshine).  He wants to win the lotto and buy the land here, turning it into a resort (so, you know, adding to the urban sprawl).  The beach really is exquisite, so clean and the sand is like soft, white snow.  This beach could give some of those resorts on the west coast a run for its money.  Again anyone who does eventually get their hands on this land (assuming we don’t win the lotto) would definitely be onto a winner particularly if the Council start to realise just what a beautiful spot it is and utilised the potential instead of squandering it by allowing industrial filth to be built there.

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Honestly just look at this beach!  It could be Fraser Island – in fact here is a photo of The Turk on Fraser Island a couple of years back.  Amazing!  This beach east of the Village is pristine beach.  Unpolluted.  Unsullied.  A dream come true.  The Turk and I can sit on this beach for hours and not see a soul.

Not Turkey I repeat not Turkey!

Not Turkey I repeat not Turkey!

 

Frankly it is a little sad that the modern world has caught up with my quaint köyü and tainted it (slightly) for me.  But such is life is it not?  If you don’t keep up you will only be left behind.

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