At my age, my far-sightedness has long corrected my myopia. But, on learning what a European Consul said about Turkey and Instanbul, I suddenly realize the extent to which my glasses must be fooling me. Because France whose influence still shines all the way to Istanbul is always right, isn’t it?
Here are the words spoken by the French Consul in Istanbul. Excerpts :
The Turks haven’t changed. Their generosity is always on display just as are their hospitality and their affection toward children. The Turks are still as proud of their country and of their history, and they are right to be so. Turkey hasn’t changed but it has evolved and has considerably modernized itself.
All one needs is to see how incredibly Istanbul has grown in every sense of the word. It has become a truly world-class city that attracts every talent, every energy. Istanbul is filled with energy, be it in the realm of creativity, of art or of entrepreneurship as demonstrated by the country’s economic expansion.
Turkey remains faithful to itself but continues to renew itself. It is a country that looks ahead. This can be explained, notably, by the faith the Turks have in a better future. That is the great strength of this country and of its population.
The Turks haven’t changed
I confirm this… Their nationalism goes through paroxysms, true, and in this the school system has done its job well. For generations, it has formed flag bearers pleased and proud of being Turks since earliest childhood. And Erdoğan knows how to remind them of this permanently. In terms of generosity and hospitality, the armchairs at the Palace are welcoming, visibly, and consular rear ends must feel comfortable there. I suppose he isn’t referring to the little people whom he does not meet much although he sees them filing through his consulate, days on end, seeking visas that are refused. France is much less welcoming and hospitable. One point for Turkey !
Turkey has evolved and modernized itself
True, it has progressed recently in its affection for children. It no longer kills children other than Kurdish or Syrian. For others, it lowers the age of their sexual maturity and gives them work in clandestine workshops. This is a progress for everyone, especially for exploiters… All right, I know, I kvetch all the time.
We have a subway, bridges, a tunnel, supermarkets that open, close and re-open elsewhere. Buildings and towers that grow like mushrooms, roads and highway exchanges leading to airports that replace forests, we also have power outages…
Modernity is here, and well established. On the bus, turbanned chickies read the Coran on their I-Phone and talk loudly while staying seated as old folks like me look elsewhere. The flags aren’t made of cotton anymore but of synthetic materials and take on incredible dimensions… All this, I can see very well. Turkey is becoming Europeanized now that the Sultan is taking care of it.
And the talents, the energies… All those « ignorant and obscure » university professors suddenly attracted by the murkiness of jail cells, with the help of the oh-so energetic hand of policemen. He’s right again there, the Consul is. Why leave their passport to those who, fired without indemnities and with no right to their pension, might find their talents attracted elsewhere and might hop off to Europe ? Yes, those talents, how Turkey knows how best to keep them in the shade, where they can’t get damaged…
And entrepreneuship, aaahhh, entrepreneurship, inch’allah, how it lays out the concrete, how free and entrepreneurial it is, how well it belongs in the family…How it fills up the shoeboxes, the entrepreneuship ! And how the Bilal knew how to pass them on to Italy in the old days. Now, with modernity, it’s French banks, a way of remaining faithful to one’s self and renewing the accounts.
The Sultan looks ahead to 2023, centenial of the « national revolution ». He envisions it liberal, Ottoman in its manner of dominating the world, bigoted and truly nationalistic, his Turkey. We could draw him in profile, with a crescent behind him, looking toward Mecca via Swiss banks…with the figure of a « mother » at his side. Oh no, not one of those searching for her lost son or daughter, but one who promises to make children, as befits her « function ».
I don’t know on what occasion this witholder of French visas pronounced his ode to modern Turkey, but I have the feeling he would have been better advised to shut up rather than to present his wishes. I sense I’ll look at the Consulate with another eye when I walk past it. I know some who will present their thanks by depositing portraits of Erdoğan there.
But, come to think of it, perhaps he figured that by saying all those nice things, he’d avoid the bullets of a grumpy policeman.
If you want to know more about it, and most of all, in order to read this, « But this attempted putsch also demonstrated the democratic maturity of the Turkish people as well as the strength of its institutions, » still out of the Consul’s mouth, have a look over here and you’ll see we can say that he’s « remained French1».
Brief note from Kedistan : we can easily understand the anger since this was not part of a conventional « diplomatic » declaration in an official meeting, but part of an interview given to a local rag aimed at French-speakers in Turkey, where nothing forced him to lay on the praise and where he could have been satisfied with talking about his life.
Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
In French : Turquie • Quand le Consul de France cire les pompes