Kara Deniz, Seçım Mevsimi & The Beginning of the End

Batumi, Georgia, Izmir, Samsun, Trabzon, Turkey

And now where am I at? Yesterday was the election of the 25th National Parliament of the Turkish Republic, and as Turkey turns an uncertain new leaf I can’t help but feel it marks the beginning of the final chapter of our stay here. Yesterday evening I followed results from afar, ducking into tekels (convenience stores) to look at vote counts on televisions shop keepers were watching. I watched fireworks being lit off from a distance across Izmir’s bay. The menial amount of them indicated uncertainty. Every passing person was discussing the results and how they thought it would impact them. The level of political engagement here is a testament to a younger nation, one that’s identity was incredibly reliant on a fiery resistance to those who desire to influence and control anatolia for themselves. Izmir still retains its’ own category. It is the Castle of Ataturk’s founding Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi and a bastion of patriotism that can only be partially shown to someone who hasn’t visited like this:

But now the country dips into uncertainty. Does the result mean a fragile AKP minority government, a coalition between fierce rivals, or a new election? it remains to be seen.

From our perspective the election looks like millions of ads and vans driving around playing loud music. Building size posters proclaim the infrastructure programs that the ruling AKP have completed in their 13 years in power. The distrust of AKP doesn’t expand far outside Izmir. As we bussed toward Karadeniz on the far side of the country there was tremendous support. We crossed the entire country over our Kara Deniz tour, from Izmir to the Georgian port of Batumi. We traveled on a tour bus with Turks, us, and some Turkish Romanians, remnants from the old Ottoman Empire. We toured the sites of the Area and saw tourists and workers from Syria, Iran, and Iraq. I talked to a waiter who worked most of the year but every summer brought supplies and fought in Aleppo near his family home. Stories like this make Turkish work learning.

I hope you will enjoy these videos from our trip, I don’t want to take too much time away from my last 3 weeks to write out what video can describe far better and more efficiently. There are more posts to come over the summer as I work through footage and reflect on the experience. I can also now say that next year I will be studying International Relations at American University’s School of International Service Global Scholars Program with the aim of a Master’s Degree in three years. I’m excited to live in the capital and take advantage of the opportunities for me there. Before I go to school I will be in Bellingham from July 1st to August 21st.

Watch Part 1 of our Kara Deniz Trip below:

My approach to these videos was different from before where I took specific sites and made montages. These are truly video logs of what we were up to as I had time, memory cars, battery, and availability to film. In Part 2 and beyond I use a different camera (My Canon T3i) from what I’ve used the whole year (Nikon Coolpix s9500) up until this point. I promise it’s a good difference.

Click to enlarge pictures from the trip!

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Extra Video: Hiking and Biking in Izmir:

Izmir Air Show: