Russian wives returning to Turkey after normalization with Russia
Gülden AYDIN - ANTALYAMany Russian women who are married to Turkish men have returned to Turkey as the diplomatic normalization between Ankara and Moscow continues.
A number of Russians in Turkey left the country after a Russian Su-24 jet was shot down by Turkish F-16s in the Turkey-Syria border area on Nov. 24, 2015.
Some 60,000 Russians are living in the Mediterranean province of Antalya, the majority of whom are women. Some 40,000 Russian women are married to Turkish men, with around 80,000 children.
İrina Balcı, the head of the Russian Arts and Culture Association, stated that the crisis between Turkey and Russia did not just affect tourism, it also affected marriages between Turkish men and Russian women.
“Marriages were put in order after the crisis was fixed. Women started to return to their husbands after leaving,” Balcı said.
Balcı said approximately 2,000 Russian women had left their husbands, along with their children, in the days of Russian crisis.
Anna Doğanyılmaz, the founder of the Kids Castle Kindergarten in Antalya, said 17 children registered to kindergarten had left Turkey with their mothers, adding that seven of them had returned.
Russian Consul General to Antalya Oleg Vasilyeviç Rogoza said she did not want to comment on the crisis between the two countries, but gave Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu credit for his efforts.
“Our citizens were not abandoned. No complaint was made to us about discrimination. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu met with our citizens and showed his love and supports in hard times. We saw our real bad-weather friends,” Rogoza said.
“Antalya is a special and sensitive place in Russians’ hearts. We have real estate investments worth $2.5 billion in Antalya. The summer of 2016 was a total disaster, with only 600,000 Russian tourists coming to Turkey. But a resurrection has occurred since before this season. Russians have taken first place in early reservations and overall 3-4 million tourists are expected to come to Turkey according to tour operators,” he added.
The Russian Olympiad is due to be held by the Russian Arts and Culture Association in Antalya on April 9, welcoming at least 150,000 Russian speakers. At least 500 children from Russian mothers and Turkish fathers between the ages of five and 15 will attend the Olympiad, while Turks who can speak Russian between the ages of 15 and 35 will attend the second round of the Olympiad.
Meanwhile, a local drama group in Antalya that was formed by Russian women, Reflection, will stage a play about May 9, 1945 Victory Day, which commemorates the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War on May 9.
Russian women will perform as women fighters who lost their lives during the war on the Turkish State Theaters stage in Antalya.