Rural Turkish women all wear Chanel no 5
BELGİN AKALTAN - firstname.lastname@example.org
An AKP rally in Siirt.Especially women from Bingöl smell of Coco Chanel, while Siirt women prefer Miss Dior. Istanbul’s Bağcılar men smell of sandalwood and women in my former neighborhood, Ünalan Mahallesi, in Üsküdar, have a scent of iris with a base note of white roses.
What am I talking about? My piece last week was about how half of the female voters in Turkey were being guided, forced, dominated by the male members of their family and were not able to vote freely.
There were comments from independent polling station observers, as well as my own observations. All of them were regarded as my own opinion. You know, not all of my readers are smart. The “rural smell” part, especially, was noted as “offensive.”
I also wrote how the two worlds were apart from each other, the ones who vote for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the ones who do not vote for the AKP.
As always, some readers loved it and got the message, and I love them. Some others, of course, did not like it so much, did not get the message and I love them less.
One reader said: “The caliber of your writing is that of a high school student.” Yes, exactly; you got it right. I wish I could write at the fifth grade level. This is my style. I call it reader-friendly. It is easy reading. I use short sentences. This is a weekend column. It is light hearted and entertaining. Don’t expect serious stuff from me. I write simply, understandably, direct and if I can, funny. English is my second language. I don’t think I will ever get the Pulitzer Prize or the Nobel. Fine with me.
One reader said there was zero research and that it was purely anecdotal. True, I am not an academic or a researcher. I think we are full up to our chins with research and political analysis, election analysis. Let me not add another one to them. This is street information that Turks living abroad and diplomats living in their premises say they find very valuable.
Some say I am opinionated. Of course, I am. Others say that I am not politically correct. Well, precisely. Some comments include, “Sick elitist snobbery, a serious problem marred by bourgeois pseudo-concern, no person in his right mind ... it’s written in a very politically incorrect style indeed, but still this piece has a lot of truth in its content.”
Many found the piece offensive. The offensiveness comes from the fact that I said there was a rural smell in the AKP dominated polling stations, where voters had village origins. I’m so sorry for that. That was a poor observation. Of course, there is no such thing as rural smell in Turkey or elsewhere in the world. When you go to a village, the place smells of lilacs. Village people never stink. The smell of sheep, cow, dogs, the smell of the feces and urine of animals is like the mixture of lavender and jasmine. You can smell this wonderful aroma when you go to a village or meet a village person.
I am also very sorry that I forgot to state that Turkish people are the best smelling people in the world. They wash regularly and change their clothes regularly, never forget to put on deodorant. They are the cleanest species of all. Go into a public bus in a rush hour in summer. You will see what I mean.
Also, all polling stations look alike in Turkey; wherever they are, in Istanbul and in Van; in Üsküdar and in Nişantaşı. There is no difference in the manners of people; their family relationships are the same, they dress the same, they smell the same. Gender equality is observed at every corner of Turkey. My bad.
One reader said his wife from Bingöl has three languages… That was because I quoted the comment of an observer when she said an Istanbul polling station where voters from Bingöl were registered, women had “no name, no thought, no education, no brain, no political affiliation and actually no language” (in fact, she meant no tongue). I think he meant his wife speaks three languages. I’m so sorry for that also. Of course, Bingöl women “have three languages” and maybe three tongues.
But why is it that their husbands are writing on behalf of them? And probably vote for them? Dear Cafer, why doesn’t your wife, with three languages speak for herself? So we can communicate, her and I, without you in between?
For morons who insist on misunderstanding: This piece is a satire of those who insist Turkish people smell good. It is not mocking Turkish people, Bingöl women, Siirt women, village women, Üsküdar women or AKP voters. It is not even mocking those who smell bad because of poor living conditions. It is mocking those who refuse to see all of that…