These are more or less personal
questions I am asked over and over again. To spare you the effort to ask and
myself the boredom of repeating myself yet again, here are the most
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS about myself and our stay in Turkey...
*Where do you come from?
Now? Or originally? :-)
Because by now I am from Muğla, from Akyaka. Originally I am from Cologne,
*Since when are you living in Turkey?
I came first to Turkey in 1985 and to Akyaka in November 1986. We bought a
small house in 1989/90 and stayed here ever since. And, yes, we are here all
seasons, summer and winter.
*So, you do speak Turkish?
It was love on first sight, especially the place
we live in. People were
nice, open, friendly and Turkeys nature overwhelmingly rich and beautiful.
*You said "were"- do you find it different now?
Oh yes, very much so!
The site where our house is located was devoid of
buildings and people when we
bought it. Surrounding us were orange groves, garden and fields; the river
side was a paradise for wildlife and tourists were scarce but much interested
in where they actually spend their holidays.
Now there are houses, hotels
everywhere and not much nature is left on the riverside. Visitors are not
spending quality time here but could be anywhere else just as well, they are
not interested any longer in Turkish nature or culture, they are consumers
spending time somewhere else but home.
Reading the first issues of the Yeşil Atlas 10 years ago it has been a
joy, a tribute to Turkeys nature, wildlife and a call for civil society to
act. And act we did- a whole community of nature protectors on the move and
go...we made an effort AND an impact! The last issues of the magazine made me feel
really helpless, despite all our efforts to
halt destruction of this rich country, the question arises where we really
DID succeed. Seeing
the reality catching up with all our good work is sometimes very depressing.
Regrettably people, local people in tourist regions changed their attitudes a lot, too.
Where money for service is the motto you can not really expect people to
behave in traditional ways. Nowadays people sell hospitality, they earn cash
with their efforts, why should they provide for free?
*Why did you decide to become a Turkish citizen?
The first reason is actually an emotional one, its a commitment rather than
a convenience. I live here, I work here, I will die here.
The other reasons are the restrictions the state does put on foreigners who
want to stay and work in Turkey. I wanted to be free of these limitations
and work as effectively as I can.
The German laws finally changing the possibility to achieve double citizenship
under certain circumstances helped me to decide as well. I do have an
official permission of the German state to be a double citizen.
*So, you are having a Turkish husband?
No, my husband is German. And, no, he did not become a Turkish citizen.
Why? Ask him :-)
*Do you have children?
No, and there is nothing wrong with us either...(What
an unsettling question!). We decided out of free will
not to have no children and are feeling very good about it. And- I do love
children but rather yours than mine.
*Is your family living in Turkey?
No, they are in Germany.
*So you are going to Germany often?
No, I am not. I visit my German relatives and
some friends every 1.5-
2 years. Most of my close relatives are visiting us here regularly, though.
*What do you live off?
I work just like everybody else. (This is a question asked over and over
again by people I meet the first time. I find it rather unsettling and
unnerving. What do people think Im doing? Robbing banks?)
*Why do you not work in a sector like tourism but rather prefer NGO work?
Because I believe in an active and
effective civil society and fact is that NGOs have the capacity
and the call to do the kind of work nobody else is doing. And I believe very
much in sharing information and knowledge, the third sector is much better
organised and willing to do that than the other two.
*So how is XXX subject/ issue handled in Germany?
I honestly do not know more about German issues than anyone else in Turkey
who reads newspapers or listens to the radio.
*Living in a village/ small town, dont you get bored, especially in winter?
I have never been bored in my whole life.
*So what do you do when you are not working?
I read, I go birding, I sew, work in the garden, meet with friends- I am
*What do you like most in Turkey?
The beauty and natural richness of the country,
its vastness and variety...
Turkey's original culture and (most of
its) traditions; the things made possible by humanity rather than
To have time for a tea...
*What do you like least in Turkey?
Bureaucracy, citizen control, still handwritten ledgers
and to have to wait for the signature of a superior when your papers are done
The sell out of cultural and natural values, destruction of nature for
more and more unsustainable development...
Non durable relationships as a cultural attitude...