Bahar Suseven

 Expert for “Sustainable Solutions”

Cognizance, Mobility, Communication


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FAQ's

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, Germany.

*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?

Of course.

*Why Turkey?

It was love on first sight, especially the place we live in. People were nice, open, friendly and Turkey’s 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 Turkey’s 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, it’s 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 I’m 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 NGO’s 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, don’t 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 always busy.

*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 efficiency...

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 since hours...

The sell out of cultural and natural values, destruction of nature for more and more unsustainable development...

Non durable relationships as a cultural attitude...