Turkey – Lives In Transition
Turkey is not only divided as a country between the western and eastern cultures, but a rift goes right through the middle of it because of its rapid, and uneven, development to become an industrial nation. Continued economic growth of nearly 8% means that centres of industry and trade are developing a break-neck speed, while time, and progress, stand still in rural communities. The consequences of this transition are most visible in its economic and geographical form: young Turks leaving their villages to take on one of the many available jobs in the city while the government is frantically trying to keep up with this economic migration by building colossal housing estates that can accommodate hundres of thousands. However, Turkey’s transition goes far beyond the visible – the whole Turkish way of life is under attack. Religion and tradition are crumbling, women are discovering their rights and finding their voice, busy bazaars are being replaced by glass-and-concrete shopping malls. In the streets of Istanbul, homosexuality is starting to make first public appearances.
Life is good among the super rich Istanbullus who display their newly-found wealth willingly. Money is no object for many Turks in the overpriced shopping malls of Taksim. The mix of traditionalism and unbridled consumerism suggests a comparison with Beirut. After a hard day of shopping, dinner is served at one of the suave and lavish eateries while male belly dancers wiggle their bodies between tables.