Turkish people in China
We are up early, April 22nd, in a darkened hotel lobby for a put together small breakfast. We fly to Izmir, the second largest port city in Turkey, next to Istanbul. Our bus driver is waiting for us and carries us overland through various cities and small villages. We stop in Karacaagac to meet a family that is expecting us for lunch.
Our bus lets us off and we get to walk through town to see what a small town is like here.
The mosque minaret towers over the village.
Our first stop is the mayor’s office. He has been mayor here for 15 years, elected by his fellow citizens, he gets paid a small stipend, but his main occupation is his farm. Like just about everyone in the village he is first a farmer. He has been asked to move to a larger village that needs a full-time Mayor, but he prefers to stay here where he feels needed and where he knows everyone and they know him.
We crowd into his office and are encouraged to ask him any question. We learn that Turkey has universal health care. Doctors do their internships in small villages, they are required to serve so that all villages have medical care. The population here is only about 800 families. He and his assistant, on a part-time basis take care of any problems. They have sewer, street lighting, garbage service, municipal water that comes under the Mayor’s responsibilities and is paid from taxes given back to them by the government. Farmers have their own wells for their crops. They have one person who acts as a policeman, but they have no crime. People here work and go to school and go to mosque. Young people are leaving the villages for big city life after they go to college. It is a problem.