Monday, 31 March 2014

What to think - How to think

There is an air of amazement among the recently settled foreign community in Turkey.  How can a government that is embroiled in scandal still pole an overwhelming majority of the vote?  How can a government that bans Twitter and You Tube and threatens to eradicate all social media still win the hearts of the people?  Lack of a strong opposition is a creditable answer but the education system in this country should take either a bow or the blame depending on your political outlook.  I decided to take my daughter out of the Turkish school system  early on when I realised it was an indoctrination rather than an education.  Learning is by rote. Points are gained by memorising. There is no room for creative thinking.  Kids learn to do as they are told and more importantly to think as they are told.   When you have trained your population this way it's easy to get them to vote for the guy who shouts the loudest. They've spent their whole lives doing it.  If he has also given them better living conditions how can you expect them not to.  They have not been trained to look for consequences or ulterior motives.




If you look at the map, you'll see why the present incumbent's claim that foreign interests are against him will be believed by the people living away from the borders.

What of Bodrum - this area has always been at odds with whatever government is in power.  It was, after all, where political exiles were sent to keep them out of the way.  It's very name is synonymous with free-thinking in Turkey and has been home to poets, artists, musicians, sailors and everyone for whom the desk-job was not an option.


A resounding success for Mehmet Kocadon, voted in with 52% of the vote for his second term as Mayor, the AK party fielding just 9% of the vote.   Three cheers from this household!

30 comments:

  1. Last night was difficult to watch and I think the future is going to be difficult to bear. Three cheers to the coastal region for their small victories however!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. More difficult for those in the cities

      Delete
  2. I feel apprehensive reading your words about the Turkish education system because it sounds very like the Spanish one. Although Franco is gone, (and speaking of the area where I live) there´s a general apathy towards politics from the majority of the population, particularly the young, which I find quite shocking. Similarly, the lack of creative thinking - unless given the opportunity - is probably the one reason I sometimes wish we were back in the UK...
    I am glad that your area is so in tune with your own thinking - I have been impressed with the glimpses of Bodrum you've shared with us. I don't have the same hope for the rest of Turkey (perhaps I should have left me typo...I put 'Turdey')!
    Axxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Until a few years ago it was compulsory to vote here so at least most people still do.

      Delete
  3. Education and looking for consequences - two very big misses.. so rightly sad BB and so very sorry to witness yet again..Joining your cheers for Bodrum from us,
    ozlem

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are well placed to comment as you have experienced both Turkish and foreign education.

      Delete
  4. B to B, This one was really difficult to call. We were surprised by the outcome but when we were talking about it with a friend today, she reminded us that in America, for example, people who vote Democrat Party just can't see their way clear to do anything different (besides the fact that there is almost no difference between them and the opposition). At least in Turkey, there are more choices. I think the leaks have frightened people as well so that the PM's description of what happened to his party as being a coup strike a chord, especially since most people remember past military coups. But I think we'll be debating this one for a long time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An American friend said a similar thing to me last night.

      Delete
  5. Well, what a perfect title. We watched the results come in last night with Turkish friends and it was so sad to watch their faces - as well as grappling with our own feelings. One of them stormed out of the room. It feels like all bets are off now, doesn't it. We're fortunate to live in Muğla. Mayor Behçet Saatçi was re-elected in Fethiye (he's a great mayor) but we're happy Muğla is CHP. BUT the other parties do need to be a better opposition, offering a viable alternative. The important thing is, the youth are politicised again... Let's see. Good for Bodrum! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The local elections are more local personality based, God help us in the general election

      Delete
  6. . . looks like there has been massive recording fraud with thousands of complaints - activists are still keeping guard over 250 uncounted boxes in the CHP heartland in Ankara. Also in Ankara just heard that 13000 votes have been added to CHP so far as a result of appeals and evidence of fraud - it ain't over just yet!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Spot on. A hugely depressing (if not surprising) result. Surely change will come eventually? Interestingly, I heard several women in Istanbul (on Radio 4) say that they didn't at all approve of the current government but feared instability if there was a change. "With him we have money and we have jobs. We need to think about those things."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't fail RTE's first two terms - it's the last one we are having problems getting used to.

      Delete
  8. I was just going to mention the issue of fraud but Alan beat me to it. Interesting to see how this turns out.

    I think in many countries voting for the same party continually becomes a habit which seems difficult to break. I think we may have to wait for future generations to make changes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The status quo has changed and it will take decades to change. Democracy used to equal secularism, it doesn't any more.

      Delete
  9. I still can't find a definitive result for Selcuk, though there were lots of fireworks earlier this evening. I know it went to a recount. It may have gone to more than one recount and... well, I have seen all kinds of allegations. There are certainly less than 20 votes between the CHP and the AKP but I have seen it called both ways. The CHP Mayor had three continuous terms in power. Not sure whether he will be back.
    But yes, we were sitting up late last night watching the results come in...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let us know what the final outcome is

      Delete
    2. Finally.... (at least Hurriyet is now saying they have counted all 93 boxes) a victory for the AKP candidate by 21 votes. So it looks like the Mayor who served for 15 years will not be back. Interestingly this leaves us as one of the very few AKP areas in Izmir. We rode past the Belediye buildings about 90 minutes ago and there was a large crowd outside.

      Delete
    3. This will be interesting - we can look forward to seeing how Selcuk and Bodrum compare in 5 years time.

      Delete
  10. Vote rigging aside, part of the answer may lay in the fact that, to misquote Macmillan, "They've never had it so good." Many of the AKP's supporters don't tweet or use Facebook but they have done relatively well from Turkey's recent economic prosperity. I'm a bit of cynic and think most people, in the end, vote with their pockets (In Britain as well as Turkey). A faltering economy may be the biggest threat to the AKP.

    ReplyDelete
  11. A disappointing result but hardly unexpected...Turkish friends in France who had intended to go home to retire seem to be changing their minds as the country changes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd still rather live here but keeping fingers crossed.

      Delete
  12. What do you know of the other parties? Despite the corruption of AKP that has come to light recently, voters are going to vote out of immediate self-interest (as they do in every country). It is no small thing what AKP has done for the economic well being of a substantial proportion of Turkey in the past decade (particularly the stronghold that is central anatolia where much of the vast economic growth has been). You preach for critical thinking but you don't demonstrate much of it in your thinking, which sadly reads as poorly thought out criticism of the turkish people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting roastedpatlican. I quite agree that the AK party has done great things for Turkey, I have no complaints over the first 10 years. I was a supporter myself. I also don't blame anyone for voting for AKP. These are the people who have been overlooked for years, why would they give up the advantage now just when someone is giving them what they want. As I say "If he has given them better living conditions, how can you expect them not to vote (for him)". My criticism is not of the Turkish people - (I've been one for 30 years ), it is of the past many, many years of a dictatorial method of education which doesn't give training in standing up to a leader who is turning from a statesman into a bully.

      Delete
  13. It all starts with education! If a majority of your population is not educated, then they will follow like lambs. One of my Turkish friends worked one of the polling locations in Sisli in Istanbul and says she encountered more than 20 people that couldn't even read the ballot! That's sad! :-( So they just vote with the name they know.

    ReplyDelete
  14. You wrote this post perfectly...yes it does start with education. My husband's cousin worked at one of the polling stations in Bergama and she said it was incredible how many people came up and couldn't read a word......my husband's dream was always to retire in Turkey ......but he now has changed his mind and said as long as the Government is now in power there is no way he will go back.

    ReplyDelete
  15. You wrote this post perfectly...yes it does start with education. My husband's cousin worked at one of the polling stations in Bergama and she said it was incredible how many people came up and couldn't read a word......my husband's dream was always to retire in Turkey ......but he now has changed his mind and said as long as the Government is now in power there is no way he will go back.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This is fascinating and gives a lot of insight into why there has been this result. As a complete outsider I was amazed at how big the majority was and am sure your explanation points to the heart of the matter. An education system which gives people the ability to think for themselves is crucial, but it doesn't look as though Turkey will be getting one of those anytime soon.

    ReplyDelete