Perfect weather ends in rain


Turkish Airlines rolls a cart with national and international papers down the aisle — including the international New York Times — and on the flight into Ataturk last night there was an editorial by a senior adviser to the president of Turkey.

As recently as 2015 the A.K.P. was short 20 seats for a majority, resulting in a very unstable Parliament because of extreme disagreements between Turkey’s major political parties.

Unstable for whom? In other places minority governments are called democracy.

That’s something Canadian politicians and media, a parochialism brigade, also get their heads around wrong. But at least Canadian parliamentary deadlocks are not solved by upending the system of government. The page three article was more moderate, I suppose they ran two pieces for balance, but it was also short on precise language.

Describe the nitty of the changes the referendum was deciding, I say, because basically no one knows the details. Was this done anywhere in any media?

The next morning there was a Tulip festival in Istanbul and news from Al Rashideen, Syria. I do not have reason to doubt the reports of cooperation between first responders, of mixed confessions, political opponents, saving those children they could.

And every Syrian I spoke to, in wake of the latest tragedy, had no rush to delineate the confessions of the dead, so as to attach different weights to bodies. Maybe I am predisposed to find myself surrounded by the humane, I hear a cynic arguing. But I don’t always see evidence of this supposed fatigue of the moral instinct.





I would have never found the tulip festival were it not for my friend, who took me on a Bosphorus tour. We played with some Turkish children on the second half of our trip around. When their mother learned we were Canadian and Syrian, there was no hitch, stutter, or issue. The weather was perfect. How can you not love Istanbul? 20170416_162348(0).jpg

We met up with some Syrians thereafter who were, let’s say, a bit more aggravated with their Turkish experience. I think, despite the truth, these men are aggrieved, there has been a great, long-standing, long-lasting campaign against Turks and Turkish culture. Every culture is maligned and misaligned and everywhere is parochial. The only escape from this is patience and revision through experience.

After dinner the results were confirmed. We took coffee at a young, liberal cafe in a liberal neighbourhood. Everyone there seemed crestfallen.

Less than four years ago, in one of Turkey’s en vogue, extremely gauche, apartment compounds, the Gezi Park protests had spread throughout the country, and at night, the clatter of pots and pans and spoons on aluminium balcony railings harmonised in the hours after dinner. Waking up one could find a broken bowls and spoons fallen from some balcony above. There was some sense of unity against encroachment.

As we walked to the Metrobus, talking of the awful experience of Assad’s political prisoners, the perils of dating (or trying to kiss) Turkish women, and so forth, the same began. It was comedic in a way, the progression of the cacophony — culminating in a burly middle-aged man throwing open his window and thrashing a spoon around inside big cooking pot as hard as he could.

“They still have some rights!” one Syrian yelled smiling, taking out his camera phone.


He also made the point that a 51% margin, at one stitch in time, to change everything, is a big leap to make. Everyone with experience of the Assad regime would vote hayir, he claimed.

By the time my friend and I got home the perfect weather gave into rain. The enormous ochre moon of the night before was nowhere to be seen. And everywhere, from The Economist to the Toronto Star, people won’t learn everything the Turks voted for, but they’ll know how to feel about it.

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