Sunday, 29 September 2013

Breakfast with the Mayor of Konacık



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.  



The elephant in the room was addressed in a very eloquent manner by Mr Asım Başaran,  Bodrum MHP party chairman, who stated that they were "Nationalist" by virtue of promoting the Nation's assets; nature and the environment and not race or ethnic differences.

24 comments:

  1. Looks like a lovely breakfast, Annie, and some good intentions seem to be under discussion. I suspect you may need to keep an elephant gun at hand in future....
    Axxx

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  2. From my time in France it was amazing what local diversity came under the general heading of Front National....
    You would ask the elephant question and be assured...it's not YOU, Madame....

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    1. A change of party name may lay a few ghosts in Turkey.

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  3. Um, wonder what he would have made of us? Still, he's popular and dynamic and did stand up to the AKP. Maybe the party has evolved. We can hope.

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    1. Put the people before the politics I hope.

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  4. Reading this confirms that we were at the same meeting :) I wonder what follow up there will be via email - a definite commitment was made so we need to watch this space!

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  5. I understood that we would receive an email on Saturday afternoon, but I haven't got one yet. Have you?

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  6. That looked like a promising - as well as a delicious- breakfast meeting; sponsoring the archaeological digs at Gümüşlük and Pedasa is a huge plus too, I am impressed. Let's hope for the best. Thanks for filling us with the local news, highly appreciate it :)

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    1. Ozlem, there was a delicious mandarin conserve - the best I have ever tasted and a fried pastry/bread that tasted like a cross between a pide and and pancake which I haven't come across before.

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  7. That sounds like an interesting breakfast! I'm curious about what the results will be next March.

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    1. None of the existing municipalities are happy about this change so it will be very interesting to see what happens in March.

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  8. B to B, Ah yes, election time. Time to milk whatever you can out of the politicians and it sounds like some Bodrum municipalities are on the receiving end of some election-season largesse - good for them! Love the fact that you went to the meeting. I think right now, with so many problems facing Turkey, especially on the foreign policy front, all the parties are being shaken up. It's worth checking all of them out and putting as much pressure as possible to try to say what you think and get what you want. And how nice that Mehmet Bey, of all people, is open to listening to foreigners' opinions.

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    1. I'm sure invitations will be forthcoming from all the candidates,

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  9. A fascinating event by the sound of it....watch and wait.....watch and wait.

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    1. I was most fascinated by the fact that the majority of guests had no inkling of the MHP's background. An advantage that several old hands among us could have wished for.

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  10. '. . not promoting race and ethnic difference.' Leopards and spots comes to mind - that hand gesture and the 'Grey Wolves' stuff is a figment of our collective imaginations, then?

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    1. It wasn't really an elephant in the room, it was a lurking grey wolf.

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  11. Dear Annie, let's hope that Mr Asım Başaran spoke the truth and not with a forked tongue. So many politicians in the United States do that. They say what they know the audience wants to hear and then, once elected, they go on their own merry way, forgetting that they represent all the people of their district, not just the rich. Peace.

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    1. He seemed very earnest. We hope that principles will overcome self interest.

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  12. How many more infrastructure goodies are likely to come your way, do you think, before the election means that the bribes can stop? Me, a cynic? Keep that elephant gun loaded......

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    1. Our village elders are scratching their heads trying to think what else they could do with.

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  13. As they say in Fethiye, you don't vote for the party, you vote for the man. Our mayor is MHP and has been mayor for years. He's honest and works hard for Fethiye (which is predominantly CHP) so everyone votes for him. He also makes sure to acknowledge the foreign residents, too. There's rumours we might be losing him to a higher local govt post and that'll be sad if we do.

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