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Exactly how conservative is Eastern Turkey?
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La Reve



Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 62
Location: Ici

PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2012 7:09 pm    Post subject: Exactly how conservative is Eastern Turkey? Reply with quote

I'm moving to Eastern Turkey and was wondering if women there really do cover themselves, hair and faces? And are four wives legal in Turkey? Just curious about what I'm getting into.
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Qaaolchoura



Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Posts: 539
Location: 21 miles from the Syrian border

PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sometimes, rarely, and definitely illegal.
When somebody tells you a part of Turkey is "conservative" it generally means 1. there aren't many bars, 2. Turks dating non-Turks is frowned on and 3. the mosques will be hella loud to make sure you know you're in Muslim territory. Turkey has a long tradition of secularism, and the most conservative parts of Turkey are still more open than the most liberal parts of Pakistan and most of the Arab world.

Admittedly I haven't been east of Gaziantep and therefore haven't been into the Kurdish areas, but I've been into some other notoriously conservative places in central Anatolia. In Konya, Kahramaras, and other such cities headscarves are common, especially among older women, but abayas (those wrap-around cloaks) are rare and niqabs (face coverings) are rarer.

The culture of your area will vary greatly locally, and you might want to specify where you'll be. From what I hear the Kurdish Alevi areas (Tokat, for example) are more liberal than Turkish Sunni areas in central Turkey, while other Kurdish areas are more conservative on account of being poorer and less educated, but still nowhere near the Arab or even Indonesian level of cultural conservatism.

Regards,
~Q
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La Reve



Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 62
Location: Ici

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 3:25 am    Post subject: Exactly how conservative is Eastern Turkey? Reply with quote

I will be in Gaziantep.... In Jakarta, the prayer call was always at 4:30 a.m. and very, very loud. Being close to the Equator, sunrise was usually the same time every day. I just hope to live a bit of a distance from mosques, especially those with electric loudspeakers.

Thank you so much for your help, Qaaolchoura.
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Qaaolchoura



Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Posts: 539
Location: 21 miles from the Syrian border

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gaziantep isn't a particularly conservative city even for Turkey, though it does have a reputation for being somewhat dull. And you're quite welcome.

I completely sympathize with your feelings on mosques and megaphones. The fact that one is guaranteed a headache at prayer time is probably the one thing I strongly disliked about Konya.

~Q
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The Steakinator



Joined: 13 Apr 2012
Posts: 71
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would say that the adhan in Turkey, particularly Istanbul, is much better than in the Arab countries I've lived in and visited. My only real experience with Turkey was Istanbul (aside from a 30 hour bus ride from Damascus to Istanbul - by the way, judging from the bus stops, from Hatay to Istanbul, the flavor of food went from spectacular to just pretty good).
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Yogita



Joined: 17 Jun 2012
Posts: 53
Location: Turkey

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Exactly how conservative is Eastern Turkey? Reply with quote

La Reve wrote:
I'm moving to Eastern Turkey and was wondering if women there really do cover themselves, hair and faces? And are four wives legal in Turkey? Just curious about what I'm getting into.


In Turkey any city you visit it's made up of the Village, the Town & the City part, anywhere you go from Izmir to Antalya to Antep, it will all depend on the part you are in. The little Villages you'll tend to come across are the most conservative, but that really has nothing to do with us. We can walk through it in shorts & mini skirts, nothing would happen.

Having 4 wives is illegal here. Only one is allowed Wink
Eastern turkey has more Kurdish Turks who tend to cover up & are more arabic-like but that type will be mostly in the villages as I mentioned before. Turkey is not like the Middle East. It's a bit more liberal. I haven't been to Gazintep but I want to visit, do fill us in on things there when you settle in. Cool
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parnett



Joined: 29 Jun 2012
Posts: 97
Location: China

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I lived in Gaziantep for one year over a decade ago. I taught at Gaziantep University with a short gig at a language school. I absolutely loathed the 10 months I spent there for several reasons:
- There was no fish, the beef tasted like liver and, of course, pork was nowhere to be found. I learned how to cook chicken 1000 different ways.
- I lived in a new apartment building. My flat was on the first floor directly above the boiler. When they filled it with heating oil in the winter, the odor was so strong I had to sleep elsewhere for 2 nights. There was also the insane manner in which the utility bills were paid. The building was given one bill each month for electricity and water. The amount was divided by the number of flats in the building which meant everyone paid the same amount. So I would pay the same amount for electricity that the family of six above me paid. In the winter, everyone had to ante up for the heating oil every month. If one person didn't pay, there would be no oil and no heat. I believe that this happened twice.
- Boredom, boredom and more boredom. If you aren't into the culture, the religion, the history etc. then DON"T live in Gaziantep. You will have absolutely no social life unless going to the movies with students interests you.
- Gaziantep is in the middle of nowhere. It's more than 3 hours to Adana (another hot, boring city).
I'm sure things have changed since I left. There is now Digiturk so you can watch TV (when I was there I got one English station-CNN). Perhaps there are more foreigners. I was fortunate in that I found a girlfriend (a doctor from Izmir) otherwise I would have surely lost my mind.
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La Reve



Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 62
Location: Ici

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:11 am    Post subject: Exactly how conservative is Eastern Turkey? Reply with quote

Thanks for the warning on Gaziantep. I've endured that isolation for 10 years in Oman. Development in 10 years makes a big difference, but basically, I guess I'm going to be socially isolated again. I really appreciate your feedback, Parnett.

I thought a city of 1.7 million might not be so bad... other than the noise. Oh well....
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Eagle Eyes



Joined: 26 Apr 2012
Posts: 121
Location: Istanbul

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gaziantep pays EFL teachers the highest salary in Turkey because it is the closest city to the Arab world...that being Syrai!. That means its more Arab in its culture, more conservative, and of course more isolated than any other city in Turkey. It is a fine place to teach if your motivation is to save money. Also the mosques are quite beautiful and worth visiting if you are a Moslem. Also the KEBAB is great and comes in many different varieties. Enjoy Gaziantep! Smile
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holoholo girl



Joined: 16 Jun 2010
Posts: 49
Location: southeast Turkey

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:43 am    Post subject: eastern turkey Reply with quote

La Reve

I don't usually post on the board, but feel compelled to at this point because you are receiving some disinformation from people that don't live/work here, just moved to Turkey, or lived here a decade ago...

Women cover themselves all around the Muslim world. Some places more liberal, and some more conservative... and within a specific area same thing applies...Generally, the east of Turkey is more conservative than the west. Same can be said of middle America (The "Bread Basket" or "Bible Belt") vs the right & left coasts...

I've found many Kurdish people to be quite liberal and well traveled.

Think of the call to prayer just like church bells. They serve a purpose to some, and not to others. I don't get headaches from the sound. If I did, I wouldn't live here. Yes there are camiis nearby the apartments.

As for walking around in miniskirts- sure nothing will 'happen' to you, but you will receive stares and unwanted attention in Gaziantep. I am from the tropics & it's not that difficult to adjust here... Go to the beach and you're fine in beachy attire.

It is likely much more 'conservative' in places like rural Indonesia than here. If you were recently in Jakarta, I think you will find this place manageable for sure...

Living in G-tep a decade ago must have been rough... I believe working at Gaziantep University is still rough, but the other university is fine enough.

If you have more questions La Reve PM me as I'm here- boots on the ground in G-tep.
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parnett



Joined: 29 Jun 2012
Posts: 97
Location: China

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I lived in Gaziantep there were 2 foreigners besides myself- a gay doctor in his 80s and a young Christian missionary with his wife and 2 children. Not a lot of fun to be had there.
There was a beautiful park near where I lived, and a movie theater showed the occasional American film (Titanic was the highlight of the year). There were indeed lots of kebap restaurants along with a McDonalds.
I went to Mersin on weekends sometimes. It was a 3 1/2 hour ride, but it's on the sea and there was some good nightlife with plenty of foreigners living there.
I recall a funny incident at a hospital in G-tep. I had an inflammation in my big toe, and went to a hospital (along with my English speaking girlfriend). A male doctor put me on antibiotics which didn't work. I went back a second time, and he told me the reason the medicine wasn't working was because I was American and because of that, I surely was infected with the AIDS virus! God how I miss Gaziantep.
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Qaaolchoura



Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Posts: 539
Location: 21 miles from the Syrian border

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Three things:

1. Gaziantep is a beautiful city. So is Adana. It's true that there's not much to do there, but if you're the kind of person who likes just hanging out and basking in your surroundings they're wonderful places to be, and for the most part they have all the modern amenities that you could want. (Well, Gaziantep doesn't have a Starbucks yet, and yes pork is unavailable, but I resigned myself to a pig-free diet when I came to Turkey.)

2. Regarding the call to prayer:
Mosques in Sivas and Adana (at least where I was in those cities) seem to do it without megaphones at all, and when there's no megaphones involved it's non-disruptive and actually kind of nice. (Especially the mid-day one. It's nice to know when noon really is.) I don't think anybody in their right mind would object to either the adhan or the church bells; it's the megaphones we object to.

Even then, only Konya has them loud enough to give me headaches, and only Konya, Kayseri, and Izmir were loud enough to wake me up from my sleep. (It's in Izmir, where I met a worshiper of the mosque in question who gave me pamphlets on the evils of atheism and told me about how much he hated Israel, that I began to suspect the megaphones are a political statement.)

3. I didn't say that Kurds are generally illiberal. I said that I'd heard that the Sunni Kurdish areas are generally the most "conservative" parts of Turkey. Gaziantep however is a Turkish area with a substantial Arab element.

I stand by my point that no part of Turkey is "conservative" by the standards of the Muslim world. By the standards of England maybe, but I'd say that holoholo girl is right: by and large it's about as conservative as most of the United States is, with about as much internal variation.

~Q
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sixthchild



Joined: 18 Apr 2012
Posts: 274
Location: East of Eden

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

well I live in Izmir, yeah there are conservative areas, you know them you stay away or behave or dress appropriately, common sense really1 Gtep sounds great to me, I love this screwed up country, so many good things to cancel out the bad, the food is just the tip of the iceberg, go for it and enjoy, any more jobs going out there , I fancy a change!
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Yogita



Joined: 17 Jun 2012
Posts: 53
Location: Turkey

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is with this school
Guney's webiste > http://www.guneyegitimkurumlari.com/

I think they need from kindergarten to high school.
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sixthchild



Joined: 18 Apr 2012
Posts: 274
Location: East of Eden

PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OOOOOOOOOOOhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS, thats it,!!!!!!!!! ELDA cuffing RADO, right out of this world, where do I sign? And I get to spend all that money to myself, can't wait to hop on the next flight out!!
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