2015 is turning out to be a big year for us, with lots of change to get our heads around. Normally I only post when I’m in Mersin but it would seem that the time I am allowed to be there is getting less and less. Mixed feelings on that score, but with the temperature rising over there (even if hats and scarves seem to remain firmly on until it’s blisteringly hot) and them staying doggedly ish here, I do fancy a bit of consistent warmth.
So far this year: I have been made redundant, which has turned out to be more of a blessing than a curse; found a new job that I am excited about starting but also is the reason I am now more restricted than previous years; and have been trying to regain my interest in politics that has waned over the years for a number of reasons, because this year is election year.
I’m not sure about M, who will be voting later this month, but I certainly have spent the last few weeks and days answering the boys questions on what government is, why it’s important, what political parties there are, and how I plan to vote. This morning we all trooped off to the polling station together, after learning (thank you BBC) that it’s perfectly acceptable to take your brood along with you. This then led to a discussion of why they couldn’t actually watch me vote but then the ladies at the polling station seemed happy enough to coo over them so that made them feel special.
For the first time in a long time I’m actually looking forwards to watching it all unfold tonight, whilst praying that constituencies don’t turn purple (UKIP – the party who blame all the UK’s ills on immigration). I’m nowhere near as engaged or informed as I used to be, which feels strange because it was of great interest to me once, so much so that I did my degree in it. I’ve watched as a Canadian friend was busy in recent weeks posting loads of political stuff and campaigning in the run up to elections there. I have friends here who are involved in party politics and standing as candidates. I married an ex politician. So how did I get so disconnected from it all? I have no idea.
Tonight, the next step for the UK will become clear. Next month thought it’s Turkey’s turn. For M to vote he’s going to have to go down to the consulate in London to cast his vote. This may become a family day trip, it may be a Nottingham Turkish Community trip. Haven’t quite decided that yet. But whereas Britain is heading for probably yet another coalition, Turkey’s future could be yet another single party majority government. Funny how things can shift in just a few years. Not particularly brilliant for either country it would seem.
These days I only vaguely keep up with events in Turkey via the things that people post or send me. Whereas once I actually contemplated taking my studies further, and developing my interest particularly in the feminist movements of Turkey, my interest was pretty much drummed out of me before I left several years ago. Things had started to get sticky after Erdogan won his first majority, but even before that I had often been give the ‘you’re a foreigner, you can’t possibly understand’ speech/looks. Then it escalated to ‘you only think that because of your husband’, which infuriated me. It didn’t matter that I was an intelligent, educated woman, it all boiled down to the fact that I must be too stupid to form my own opinion and so easily influenced by the man I was with. No matter that I had studied Turkish political history, my ideas were simply those of my husband? Funny how I had previously been told that I didn’t know what M really believed because my Turkish wasn’t good enough.
It wasn’t all bad, before I left I had lunch with some work colleagues and they asked me the rather dangerous question ‘what do you think?’ Dangerous because at that time my employer had actively encouraging staff to go on the anti government demonstrations-technically against the rules and regulations of the institution, but hey. Had it been other colleagues, I would have refused to answer, but I was leaving anyhow and one was an Australian Turk and another a Northern Cypriot. And that was pretty much the last time I really engaged with politics in Turkey.
I have friends who are now Turkish citizens, and this will be their first time to vote. I’m rather glad I’m not enfranchised because I only have opinions on who I wouldn’t vote for rather than any idea who I would, and M and I most certainly do not agree.
So while I shall be watching post election analysis tonight, it will be M’s turn in a month. As for the kids, they’ll probably forget it all quite quickly.