And Turkeys True Heart
4th June 2016
At seven thirty, I sprang out bed and got ready for the day that lay ahead. Today, I was going horse riding at the Desperado Stables at Yaniklya, which is just beyond Calis on the way out of Fethiye. After some breakfast Geoff and I left ECE Marina at 8:30, and we planned that we’d be there just before nine o’clock, the time my instructor, Usef and I had planned. However, the planned ETA, was bit longer than we thought, and at ten past nine, we had reached the riding stables.
The horses at this stable were very shiny and lean, and they looked as though they were very fit. There were all types of horses, Posovian, English, The Amrican Quarter horse which are the famous wild Western horses, retired race horses and many others! After saddling up my horse, called Hanya, a ” cowboy” horse, Usef and I walked her down to the school area and cautiously I got on her.
At first she was very lively, but eventually, I managed to settle her down. The horses here were very nice, but later in the lesson, when getting into the trooping postion, I think I may have tapped her slightly, this caused Hanya to get quite agitated and me to raise my eyebrows. After a short five minute break, Usef left me to walk around the school area on my own feeling the animal, listening to her whinnies and eventually, I got the hang of these brand new horses…
We headed to the Marina to collect Mum and the dogs, then headed out for the weekend reccy to Koko Calis. I love Koko Calis because the people are very friendly and kind, the food is great ( and I was starving ) and I can also practice my windsurfing. Today, I didn’t do any windsurfing because from the 2nd to the 7th of June most of the boards are being used by students from Turkish universities who are holidaying here on their spring break. Once again, today was beautiful sunny day in Turkey!
A few days before, mum had gone to the local market in Fethiye and had cycled past a new memorial park, recently built and opened at the end of Fethiye bay. It is named after the university student Ozgecan Aslan who was raped and murdered following a trip on a minibus in her home town of Mersin, in Febuary last year. The terrible crimes were committed by the bus driver who had picked her up, his father and their friend. Thankfully they were caught and are all now serving life sentences with no chance of parole. The publicity surrounding the murder in 2015 provoked nationwide outrage. Apparently It sparked marches and protests right across Turkey.
Ladies across the country united to call for the government to reform laws and address issues concerning violence against women. They called for greater penalties to be put in place for those found guilty of sexual abuse, domestic violence and harassment of women. The story of Ozgecan provoked such a response with women throughout Turkey that her name became synonymous with women’s rights. Ladies finally found the courage to voice their suffering and bring about change.
Ozgecan’s memorial statue holds a plaque written in both Turkish and English giving real meaning to the park and sculpture, The plaque reads “This has been created to give a voice to unlived lifes and their soundless screams. Here our daughter Ozgecan, who has been the victim of violence like countless other women, is being portrayed as the legendary phoenix that rises up from the ashes and reaches freedom”.
There is also a poem there written only in Turkish, Mum managed to find the lyrics and a translation.
Kimi der ki kadın
uzun kış gecelerinde yatmak içindir.
Kimi der ki kadın yeşil bir harman yerinde
dokuz zilli köçek gibi oynatmak içindir.
Kimi der ki hayalimdir.
Boynumda taşıdığım vebalimdir.
Kimi der ki hamur yoğuran,
Kimi der ki çocuk doğuran,
Ne o, ne bu, ne döşek, ne köçek, ne hayal, ne vebal.
O benim kollarım, bacaklarım.
Yavrum, annem, karım, kız kardeşim hayat arkadaşımdır.
some says that woman
is for making love during long winter nights
some says that woman is for making her dance
like a dancer with nine bells on a green threshing field
some says that she is my dream
she is a sin on my neck
some says that she kneads dough
some says she gives birth
neither that, nor this, nor bed, nor dancer, nor dream, nor sin
she is my arms, my legs
my daughter, my mother, my wife, my sister, my partner
It isn’t the only memorial to remember this young lady, there is in fact one in Mersin, a small forest of trees planted by her family and friends.
Once we got back to the boat early that evening, we sat down for a drink, and watched the sun set over the hills. Tommorow I plan to go horse riding again, and once again, we’re going back to the beach….Mum has found a beautiful, quiet sandy cove with a lagoon for bathing in, Great! I can’t wait to tell you all about it tomorrow!