Nearing midnight in Istanbul, on the metrobus from the airport, a man interrupted me when he heard that I loved Istanbul.
“Excuse me for eavesdropping, but can I ask you, why do you say you love Istanbul?”
I told him when I stay in Galata, I love Istanbul. There there is no public traffic nightmare and you can see all the beauty of this city. I was trying to get at the things Istanbul is great for are independent of today’s politics.
“I lived in this city my whole life, I grew up here, and now I don’t like it,” the young man said. “I go to school in Ankara and when I come back, the people, the feeling, the atmosphere. They are closed. The traffic, I feel closed in.”
“I think the problem is with the people. They are too easily manipulated. They have to change their way of thinking. But I don’t see any hope for this. I think this vote tomorrow will pass. I think bad things will happen. I can feel it coming.”
I asked him what he thought about the newspapers and journalists here.
“I am sorry to say this but they… they are ass lickers.”
He asked me a bit about Canada. Then I said goodnight in Turkish, he replied.
“Bonne nuit. Enchante.”
Your French is better than mine, I half-joked.