Sunday, April 10, 2011

Where my parents are from

My parents are from Turkey.

Turkey is often mistaken for an Arabic country by less-traveled people, or people who don't like to learn about Geography or History.

This mistake might be because the majority of Turks are Muslim. There are also Christian and Jewish Turks.

Turkey is a secular country. The State is very well separated from any religion. In fact, it is forbidden to wear a religious veil, for example, in school or while working in a government building.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey is seen as a hero, and his portrait is everywhere: on bank notes, framed on walls in homes, businesses and schools, on flags, and you can also find many statues of him about everywhere.
I might talk about him in another post. I'm very grateful for what he did for my country.

My parents are both from the same area: in the region of Afyon (which comes from the word "opium", because there are many, many poppy fields in the area).

My dad's village is right next to my mom's, but the villagers in my mom's village will say that my dad is a "foreigner", and those of my dad's will say that my mom is a "foreigner" :D
There is some kind of rivalry between the two villages and it's funny to hear them trying to top each other in their conversations ("yeah, but we have a gendarme station" "of course you do, you're hooligans and you need them!)

In the 70s, many Turks answered the call for more workers coming from France and Germany, who were still rebuilding their countries after WWII. My dad and his older brother wanted to go to Germany, but then his brother died just a couple of days before getting his letter saying that he can go there.

My dad had to serve in the military, and by the time he finished, it was too late for Germany, so he went to France, where a job and a home were waiting for him.

My older sister was born a few months later. She and my mom joined my dad but had to wait a bit because of the unrest in Cyprus.

Finally, when they arrived in France, my sister was 6 months old.

They lived in a very small village in the north of France.

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