by Ron Coody
Since we arrived in Istanbul in April 2002, we’ve had lots of people wondering how things are going. We would like to get a little more personal in this column in the future by answering questions folks send our way. It doesn’t matter what a person would like to ask. Anything is fine, from what Turks eat for breakfast to how the government works. Since Turkey has been the seat of two major world civilizations, the Byzantines and the Ottomans, not to mention one of the first centers of Christianity, there is much to learn about the place and its people. Furthermore, Turkey borders Iraq, Syria, and Iran and gives us an overview of important issues in the Middle East. So please send your questions our way and this column will answer as many as possible. Email gets messages here most quickly, just mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are inclined to try airmail, our postal address is: Ron and Jean Coody, Hulusi Kentman Sk. 17/1, Erzurum Si., Altunizade, Uskudar, Istanbul, Turkey. Looking forward to your questions.
Turkey has been featured highly in the news lately, as the Turkish parliament voted whether to allow the US military to open a possible northern Iraqi front from its soil. Last Saturday their parliament failed to give permission by just three votes. Though lawmakers have talked of a second vote throughout the week, there has still been no change.
Once the parliament voted no, the mood of the general public changed noticeably. It seems that once the Turks felt they had the choice to say no, they were willing to rethink their strong protests against the US using force to oust Sadaam Hussein. This reflects something very important in the Middle Eastern mindset little understood by Americans. Saving one’s honor means more than life itself. After the Turks felt that they had saved their honor by acting autonomously of the US, perhaps they now feel more ready to help. Time will tell how much they still feel their honor is at stake.