from the village to the city, some words from uprooted young people
2 students, Ali and Emrah helped us to interview some inhabitants in Ankara about the young Turcs who left their village to settle down in the main town :
- Gamal Gunesh left his village Kars 31 years ago. He is reputed for his faith in God.
- Erdal Binger, 18 years old, has been living in Ankara since 12 years and goes back from time to time to his village.
- Leyis Koc, his boss has always lived in Ankara and knows a lot of uprooted young persons.
- Seyma Birbilir owns a shop. She insists on the difficulties young girls can face when they migrate to Ankara. she employs one of them : Maryam.
Ankara is the main town, entirely born with the political will of Mustapha Kemal, who wished a central main town in Turkey, farer from the occidental influence than Istanbul. It is nonetheless a quiet lively city, attractin a lot af young people from the all country. For simple reasons : there are many more opprtunities to study and work than anywhere else after Istanbul.
For young people turning up here, the adaptation is painfull. Turkish rural zones are more traditional and conservative. From the clothes to the sociabilityn all the habits are turned upside down. Seyma underlines the difficulty for young girls. The spend most of their time protected form the public sphere, within a restricted neighbourhood or a family circle. All their way of living is organised in this space very isolated from the world. By the end, there is a huge gap between what they experience daily and the way of living of the inhabitants of such a modern and cosmopolit city like Ankara. In Istanbul, city authorities even organised 50 buses to bring back women who could not adapt to their new environement.
For the ones who came with their family, the adaptation can even be harder. As their only contact to the world can be the work, they often liverecluse. lonelines can be very heavy then.
All of them, boys and girls have to face cultural conflicts.
Particular customs from some regions create also lags. For example, in some traditions, father of a young bride gest money from the family of the husband in exchange of his giel. This expectation can not be legitimate in Ankara, where this social habit is perceived as a very ole tradition from other times.
Moreover, clothing style of girls and boys are not the same. In Ankara, fascination for the US is more sensible, as the will to show a kind of modernity. One dresses more freely, one shows its own identity instead of respecting traditional codes.
accordinf to Leyis, young people who can adapt to these different practices can do it only superficially. It is a mask they wear in town which they take off returning to their village. The adaptation is never complete.
Everything depends actually form the age at which those young people migrate to Ankara? erdal arrived at 6 years old and feel fully integrated adn accorded to his city. Of course, he kept in touch with people from his village and goes back their with pleasure. But it is there that he feels the gap with the young people of his age in the village :
'My friends there have the impression I am superior. And I find alos that I am more open minded than them. Our ideals and ways of thinkings are completely different. I am glad than that my parents chose to live here. Even if at the beginning they came to find a job and so that I can study, but I never could get into Unversity."
On the opposit, Erdal met in Ankara a young uprooted who never beared the cultural an mentality gap. He went back home one year later to shelter in a familiar environment.Those personnal histories are frequent.
givong the regular flow of candidates, to settel down in the main town and find what they came for looks often like a comptetion. We heard this word several times in our conversation.
There is first the unemployment, worsened by the recent economical crisis. There is also the issue of entering university where admissions are very restricted.
By combinating these objective barreers, cultural conflicts and rejects phenomenon, to integrate in Ankara looks like an obstacle course. "This competition for adaptation" lasts in genral 2 or 3 years" adds Syma.
And even if everyone seems to accpet these young migrants, rejects phenomena can make settle down of new people harder. For example, Maryam came alone to Ankara to study. She were making artificial flowers clandestinely to finance University until she has been denounces by the shop owners of the neighbourhood, although she was absolutely not competing them. "If I were in my village, everyone would try to help me. in Ankara, every one puts obstacle on my way." Still, Seyma offered her a job in her shop, so that Maryam can pay her studies.
Gamal told un a total opposite version. According to him, everyone in Turkey belongs to the same family thanks to Islam, therefor rejects or difficulties of adaptation can not take place anywhere.
To settel down in Ankara allowed him a better earning of money without negative counterpart. He felt integrated thanks to Islam and changings he can observe in his village do not bother him, as long as the inhabitants live in the peace and the love of Islam.
Of course, not everybody has the same perception of so much tolerance. But in spit of the mentionned problems, migrants generally integrate in Ankara. The adpatation is painfull but almost certain. The growing of the city is a good witness of it.
Last, one can not forget that the whole Turkey is a gathering of many cultures, different, but where 99% of the population believes in Islam. As Leyis said, the country is a "cultural bazaar".
The cultural mix and diversity, with the Islam as a federating element, seem to be important caracteristics of the country, what makes the "digestion" of these new migrants in Ankara easier.
Chach et Michaël