Local elections are looming and in March 2014 the existing 11 municipalities in the Bodrum area will merge into one large Bodrum authority with the current total of 11 mayors being reduced to one. There are six months left to woo the voters and the race is on. Outlying villagers now have a vote that will count in electing the local government for the whole Bodrum area and are enjoying the benefits of this new situation. In our village the dirt roads are still sparkling with their new coat of tarmac and gravel thanks to the Social Democrats, whose candidate personally delivered wheelchairs to the needy. The next village has a new drinking water system from the Nationalists and I've lost track of who delivered 20 new rubbish bins. The Pınarlıbelen graveyard has acquired a much needed water supply and taps. You get my drift.
With the above in mind, I attended a breakfast meeting for foreign residents with one of the front-runners in the election race, the present mayor of Konacik, Mr Mehmet Tosun a member of MHP, the right wing Nationalist Action Party. Friends are probably falling off their chairs at this, but the prospect of a nationalist party holding a meeting for foreign residents could not be ignored. There was a good turnout at the beautiful Dibekli Han Art Village and after much mingling; catching up with old friends and being introduced to new, a delicious breakfast was served. Having lived in Turkey for over 30 years, just the initials MHP strike fear in my heart, but I resolved to put the person before the party and listen to what the guy had to say. Mehmet Bey is a local chap who comes from a village just down the road from Mumcular, he trained as a planning engineer and was voted mayor of Konacik in 2004. One of the more dynamic leaders, he wins points in my book for sponsoring the archaeological digs at Gümüşlük and Pedasa and has turned the latter from an inaccessible site to a very enjoyable monument to visit. I asked him if relocating the ugly Bodrum industrial site and restoring the underlying stadium and hippodrome were on his agenda should he win and he confirmed it was.
|Photo from Debikli Han|
The main theme of the meeting was that although the majority of the room had no vote, they should have a say in the running of their municipality, an opinion which went down very well with his listeners. As each guest briefly (in most cases) introduced themselves, it was noticeable what a diverse group the foreign element in the area has become and that only good would come from tapping their pool of combined experience.