This morning I read an article written by Belgin Akaltan for Hurriyet Daily News. It was in English and I found it whilst browsing through Antalya Central (www.antalyacentral.com) where it was reposted from the main newspaper so that more people could digest it in all its literary glory.
Dağ Media Life Editor
By Nerys Anber,Antalya
It was the title, ‘Seaside manners of Turks’ that attracted me enough to click through. Following reading I felt so full of disgust at the banality of the writing it compelled me to search the Internet for Belgin Akaltan, whom I found under the Hurriyet Umbrella.
For it was here that I would have the ability to comment on the article in question and give my opinion, upon which I found not only would I have to sign up to the online newspaper to be allowed to comment, I would be restricted to only 500 characters when I did so. And quite frankly Belgin, I had to get through much more than 500 characters of your drivel, so therein lies the motivation for my offering. To serve as a reply to your ‘findings’.
Our dear Belgin starts her article by first verbally assaulting Turkish people, accusing them of having no ‘seaside manners’. Then she decides that some of us (presumably that includes her, otherwise she would have to be included as a target in her own mud flinging) have acquired certain manners, but they are mostly bad manners, not only at the beach but everywhere.
Turkish people have manners or don’t have manners? They have some bad manners at the beach? Or some of them have bad manners all the time? Say what?
Lets just presume that this is all about Belgin herself, existing in the right side of the elitist divide that prevails on the beaches she deems good enough for her posterior to press upon. I bet her beach has dark brown wooden sun beds with white soft cushions and matching umbrellas and waiters in uniform. I can’t picture her sitting on just any old riff-raff beach.
Why do I presume this? I quote Akaltan;
“When you approach the seashore from the sea or from the land, you can figure out immediately whether or not there are Turks on the beach through the peculiar “blee blee blee blee” sound only Turks can make while they are swimming, half-filling their mouths with sea water and squirting it. If the beach is filled with litter, here in Turkey or in any other international beach, just call out “Merhaba,” and be sure to get an answer. Exactly as the sound effect above, this nonstop littering of any collectively used venue that is not their home is an unsolved mystery of Turkish people. Why they do it is a good issue to research. Lack of a civilized approach? Selfishness? The result of living under the Sultan for centuries and not being able to take responsibility? How hard can it be to comprehend that the fish do not particularly like your coke can?”
Note she accuses Turkish people of being uncivilised, irresponsible and unable to comprehend logic. Oh, and they are selfish too. All this to go with bad or no manners. To escape this kind of behaviour I am positive she searches for a better beach to sit where they have bins, away from the seawater gurglers who are probably trying to wash the turkishness out of their mouths.
Doing well so far Belgin, don’t forget you are one of ‘us’.
Following her completely biased opening she continues to delight her reader with her take on ‘CHARACTERS ON THE BEACH’.
“Anatolian girl: She comes from a smaller town but fits in perfectly. She looks gorgeous; she has the most fashionable swim suit; she knows all the jet set gossip. She also knows how to chat, joke and flirt with guys. She is adorable. It is better to avoid them or you have the risk of ending up marrying her (and be unhappy for the rest of your life.) Don’t ask me why. It’s a package deal; no girl who looks that perfect on the beach will make you happy forever. Especially if you are the kind of guy who falls in love and marries a girl you have met at the beach.”
Jealous much? The Anatolian girl, who whilst being adorable, well dressed, attractive, funny and intelligent enough to hold conversation IS A TRAP. According to the writer you can’t have all this and be happy with it at the end, ergo her opinion is attractive woman = unhappy marriage. Well, that escalated quickly. So Miss B, only ugly women who can’t be social can make men happy after the nuptials? Better put a bag over my head then, and pretend I can’t read, otherwise my marriage might prove you wrong. I didn’t fall in love with my husband at the beach, but it’s not the worst place you could meet someone. Possibly the worst place you could meet someone is the office where you work, Belgin. It seems that it might be crawling with semi-feminists who slag off their own nationality. Take note, readers.
Ah, and now to one of my favourite parts of the article; its the ‘insult the people with children’ paragraph.
“They have one or two children. Sorry, prime minister, I have not seen anybody with three children this year. (People are not listening to you? There must be a foreign conspiracy in this. Or an Israeli one.) As a matter of fact, the number of children does not seem to matter. One is just about enough to ruin any beach activity. These people arrive on the beach. They feed the baby, they play with the child, they change its t-shirt, they put sun cream on it. They change the t-shirt again. And again. If they have time, they build castles, they play ball… These poor grownups think they have come to the beach but they have actually extended their child care services from their living room at home to the beach. The only change is the addition of the sun, sea and sand. They come and stay at the beach but have absolutely no fun and go back with a feeling of, well, like any other day spent with children. They of course ruin the beach for all the others within a 100 meter radius.”
Ah, you make it so easy. First of all for reference, I have four kids, three of which are under five. The ‘poor grownups’ that bring their children to the beach do so to get them outside in the fresh air. To help them socialise, learn to swim, feel the heat on their skin, giggle at the water running through their hands, squeal excitedly at the waves chasing them and to tire them out. T-shirt changing and sun cream are just part of the deal. As a mother of four it is not a big deal to do this for the children I have carried, birthed, cradled, fed, grown and loved. I presume you have a mother? Didn’t she ever take you to the beach? Part of the fun for them is the freedom, and this includes interactions with other people on the beach. For social development. To build good manners. (The things you claim Turkish people do not have). After the day is done we take them home, they collapse into bed and we have all the time in the world to sit together to live, love, laugh and reminisce about how rubbish it was to be single without purpose, with nobody to talk to, to love you. Then we might have a chat about that horrible girl that was scowling 100 metres away from us who made faces at the children like an old witch, shouting ‘Merhaba’ at people who had any rubbish and throwing stones at that nice Anatolian girl who was minding her own business.
Anyway, there’s more. Apparently we should also avoid “People with a lot of newly earned money: You wouldn’t want to be around them.” May I inquire as to exactly how you decide that they have newly earned the money? Do you go round them checking for new bank notes? Is there a test? Do they give off a certain aroma?
The next gem;
“People who arrive on a boat: They are absolutely different. They are sea people. They appreciate the sea and life seems to have appreciated them a lot.”
So all you have to do to escape criticism is buy a boat? And that makes you different? It makes you a sea person?! What happens if you buy your boat with new money, jump off it into the sea and spit out water making a ‘blee blee blee blee’ sound, whilst your Anatolian girlfriend throws coke cans into the sea? Its ok, life is appreciating you. Miss B, stop please, you’re killing me.
Now, seeing as this article is in English it is for the enjoyment of international readers, otherwise the English would be a waste of time. In fact the whole article in its gratuitous nature is somewhat confusing, but that is another point entirely. I am guessing that the next paragraph refers not to Turks, but to dirty, drinking foreigners.
“Drinkers: How much alcohol can a human body consume under the sun, I am always surprised. They drink and drink and drink. And they don’t seem to be affected. It is always fun to watch them. And listen to them. They have the most fun.”
I am surprised you can hear anything they are saying over the ‘blee blee blee blee’ and the sound of boats. You should try a drink by the beach sometime. It might loosen you up. Or there is always the national drink, but that might get lumpy in the heat. I myself enjoy a beer next to the sea, it is wonderful. Two at most, i don’t want to get dehydrated of course and plus I need to keep a control on my children. Also like to be alert, because there are always those stalker types that lie close by, watching and listening in on our fun conversation.
“Turks with Islamic suits at the beach: Wait for some 50 years; they will grow into becoming any one of the other categories you see in this article.”
What on earth does that actually mean? Are they going to grow into midday drinkers??
“Foreigners who happen to be among Turks at the beach: They are totally lost; they are in a huge shock. They genuinely want to fit in but their nature prevents them from making so much noise on a beach, to litter the environment so much and their respect for others gives them away as non-Turkish.”
My my, we do like to stereotype people, don’t we Miss B. I think you must be talking about the foreigners on holiday, but to be honest they don’t try to fit in, they are here for such a short time that they really don’t care. The only foreigners who try to fit in live here permanently, like myself do fit in as much as they can, however I have never been in shock on the beach. Or in general, until I read your shockingly bad writing/thoughts you must have scribbled down on loo paper whilst passing the time. Foreigners that don’t make noise? Have you been to Marmaris lately? Apparently they are all noisy. Apparently.
“Turks at Bodrum beaches: Bodrum is not Turkey; so it does not count.”
Ok, this I will accept. The next one, not so much.
“People without enough money: They are in the same category as people with children.”
Really? You’re going with that one? What do they have in common? Are you saying that all people with children have no money? What a horrible person you must be. The few pleasures left to a)people without enough money and b)people with children who may be short of money includes the beach, a bonus when living in a country with sun, sea and sand as you pointed out. Activities, summer schools, art, dance or sport might be something that is out of reach for many people, for themselves or for their children, thanks to the economy in Turkey and the state of the education system. Both these classes should be applauded for keeping positive, not succumbing to depression and getting their backsides out in the fresh air to keep life worth living. With the disgusting prices of crèches and the lack of any kind of free playgroups in this country the beach is a solution many parents enjoy. People without money are not necessarily poor. Oscar Wilde is quoted as saying, “Who being loved, is poor?”
Is it over yet? Not quite. Not content with berating the rich, the poor, the families, the religious types, lest we not forget the beautiful people.
“People with perfect bodies: They have a parallel universe. They walk and act as if they are in another world. They should have their own beaches. People playing beach volleyball: They should also be banned from regular beaches.”
Ahh. I would like to have disappointed you so that you could believe that I am just a married old hag with four kids who has stretch marks everywhere and an ugly boring husband but alas, it is not to be. My body is not perfect but I can appreciate those people that take care of themselves, as I do too.
It seems you dislike people who have their lives together on the whole. If you yourself had a perfect body then you would not feel the need for beach segregation so therefore you must find yourself wanting. People who have perfect bodies do act like they are in another world, because they are. They are in the place that most of us want to be, where physical issues don’t take a moment of their time, mainly thanks to all the volleyball I expect. Be careful, nobody likes a jealous old maid.
And finally, the only thing deemed worthy enough to be on The same beach as Miss B; Lifeguards. They have nice bodies. They have nice colours. When she says colour, she means skin tan plus the colour of their shorts and t-shirts.
The question she has is, “Do they wear t-shirts?” (Yes people, this is the question most of us lose sleep over, I can tell you. Why, just the other day the Prime Minister himself couldn’t sleep for such a conundrum).
“Plus they have very nice helping, caring attitudes. I think we can kick everybody else out of the beach and only allow lifeguards. How about 50 lifeguards for every 20 meters? That would be perfect.”
(By this point my suspicions have been confirmed that you must not be married and do not have children, Miss B.)
As you have pointed out, they have nice, helping, caring attitudes. Something you don’t seem to possess. Next time we bump into you on our day out at the beach I think we should kick you off and use the 50 lifeguards to make sure you don’t come back. Well, not without a rubbish bag at least. You could start by putting your article into it!