Permanent summer time the wrong decision
Before anything else, let us correct a mistake. Since the morning of Sept. 8, almost all media organs and internet sites have announced an “end to winter time,” while what we call “winter time” is the “normal and closest to natural” time.
What is abnormal is the “summer time/daylight saving time” that is implemented so that we make use of the daylight more and consume less electricity.
In other words, since 1972, we do not switch to “winter time” by “falling back” at the end of each October; we are actually ending “summer time” and going back to the time that is considered “normal.” Thus, the decision of the cabinet does not really end the “winter time” practice; it only makes the “summer time” practice permanent.
This is a wrong decision exactly for this reason. This could as well be worded as “The cabinet has changed the time zone of Turkey.” We are now not in the GMT +2 zone, but in the GMT +3 zone. (Currently, the time difference between us and GMT is two hours but this is because they have moved their clocks one hour ahead for daylight saving time; the difference will be three hours as of the end of October.)
Well, why is it wrong to change the time zone or, putting it differently, to enforce summer time all year round? In Istanbul, in winter months, the sun will rise around 7:30 a.m. Besides the unpleasantness of waking up in the dark, we may even leave the house in the dark.
Indeed, it is a debatable subject whether or not the summer time practice we have been engaged in for a long time actually guarantees any energy savings.
Maybe in old times, when the main tool for illumination in homes was electricity, this practice insured a certain saving; but it is not the same anymore.
Nevertheless, instead of making summer time permanent, in other words instead of switching to GMT +3; it would have been more correct to all together give up the summer time practice and stay at GMT +2.
Thus, the time difference with Western Europe, where we conduct more than half of our commercial relations, would not increase; on the contrary, it would decrease.
As a matter of fact, in 2012, the cabinet passed a similar decision that was published in the Official Gazette that once we switched to winter time, the summer time switch would not be practiced.
But later, this practice was reversed and the summer time/winter time switch continued.
Today, we certainly do not know how the same Energy Ministry reached a decision exactly the opposite of the one in 2012 and how it convinced the cabinet.
I was among those who hoped that the decision published in the Official Gazette on Sept. 8 would be revoked and that we would go back to the winter time/summer time switch; or even after switching to winter time for the last time at the end of October, the summertime switch would not be implemented. The reason is that to stay permanently in the GMT +3 time zone for Turkey is not right for the Turkish economy and Turkey’s geographic location; our time zone has to be GMT +2.
Telling the time, clocks and watches are modern concepts, actually. The standardization of time is one of the inevitable consequences of the same modernism.
All through pre-modern times, the time of the day was a significant portion of
governing power. Church bells or the “muvakkithane” (the office at each mosque where the precise time for the call to prayer was determined) in mosques were the signs of the manifestation of power.
This national and local power was transferred to an international, as a matter of fact, supra-national, power when a carpenter in the United Kingdom developed a precision clock, an error-free one.
Today, the entire world accepts that the prime meridian, the 0 meridian, is the one that crosses the famous Royal Observatory at Greenwich near London and everybody adjusts their watches according to this imaginary line 0.
The GMT abbreviation stands for “Greenwich Mean Time.” While the time is 0 there, until Sept. 8, Turkey’s time was +2, but now it will be +3.
This is a lucky day for those who would love to draw an analogy saying that Turkey has moved one hour away from the West while adjusting its clocks to those of Arab countries.