Monday, September 18, 2006


Once I wrote somewhere that your country is your fate. Your country plays a prominent role among the cards you get, and overlooking its role in your life (and your role in the life of your country) will probably prove to be a bad strategy.

My country has been a natural focal point for my interests. Of course first I had to move far from it to identify it as an interest, kind of a natural specialty. Because when you live in your own country, you are hardly special. In fact, I wouldn't be your average, typical Turk, many would think I grew up in a protected caccoon. I come from a middle-class entrepreneur family, lived all my life in the liberal western city of Izmir, never traveled to the east of Ankara, went to a private high school and went abroad for college. However, I did live in Turkey for 18 years, went back for every possible vacation (which made the differences between Turkey and the other places more striking), and even if I don't struggle with some of the difficulties your average Turk goes through, I do observe. (Am I getting self-defensive here?!)

When you move far away, on the other hand, your country, its culture, politics and economy becomes a subject that you know more than anyone else. They become your specialty, especially if you are studying international politics or economics. This is exacerbated by the romanticism of being away, and some unrealistic idealism: You can employ your education to tackle your country's problems and become a national hero :P

So the next few posts are dedicated to Türkiye - with all its beauty and ugliness and energy and annoyances!

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