Get Over It!

Cemil Ozyurt
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I don’t know whether it emanates from our educational system or our interest in being superior, but we live in another dimension in Turkey. We consider ourselves to be living in the most beautiful country of the world and repeatedly claim that we have the best landscape, the best beaches, and the best food.
Frankly, I also used to be one of those people for quite some time, although I still do think that we have the best food. The song titled “Bir başkadır benim memleketim! (My Country Is Like No Other!)” was one of the songs which made me believe that Turkey was a special kind of country.

However making friends from many different countries around the world helped me realize that we all live in our own peculiar and virtual world. Similar beauties, which we believe to be owned by us only, exist in many places in the world. For instance; when Colombians talk about their country, they emphasize that it is the only country in the world that has shores on two different oceans.

The Ecuadorians refer to Galapagos Island as a place where the greatest variety of species exists, and Brazilians take pride in having the richest subterranean resources and the largest unexplored jungles. The Mauritanians have a country that is very important in connecting the western part of Africa with the northern part; the Egyptians possess thousands of years of history and heritage.

El Salvador is the exporter of the best quality cotton; Peru is the cradle of the Inca civilization. Argentineans merged more than a dozen ethnic groups in one country; Poland has the thousand-and-one colors of nature in its countryside. Mexicans are proud to say that Cancun, one of the most beautiful shore lines of the world, is in their country.

Everybody believes that there is one thing that makes his or her country unique. Can you see now how uninspired the definitions we use to describe Turkey are, like “surrounded by three seas” and “the bridge between Asia and Europe?”

The most important question here is, what you, as a citizen, have contributed to your country. What else could you boast about, if God, when creating the world, had not put your country between two oceans or surrounded your country with the coasts that you brag about?  

It is not a big talent to possess beauties, which have been given to us. What is important is how much you contributed to your country with human power and labor. For example: What is the per-capita income in your country? What is the world ranking of your country in infant mortality? What is the distribution of your domestic income? What is the number of educated people in your country? How many people suffering with a college education are unemployed? How long are your highways, how many kilometers of railroad do you have?

The skill is to build hotels in the middle of the desert, like in Las Vegas, which generates $7.5 billion dollars per year; to bring all the world to your feet by building 18 resorts and theme parks in an ordinary city like Orlando; or to build a shopping mall (The Mall of America) in a city like Minneapolis which would annually attract 40 million visitors.

The beauty of the place we are living in gains meaning only with the use of human power. Otherwise your ranking in the world or the people’s attitude towards you doesn’t change. What do you think? Is our country still like no other?  

(June 2004, 13th Issue)
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07