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Istanbul and the Aftermath - My views as a Dual Turkish/British Citizen

19th July 2016

Three and a half years and counting...... thats how long I have lived in Istanbul. 

I moved here to escape a personal tragedy which I was faced with.  I found Istanbul the perfect place to disappear and seek some solitude. I think I felt safe here.

Being a dual national of both the UK and Turkey, I found it pretty easy settling in. Though I feel I did face some cultural differences, These got easier to deal with as time went on. I still felt safe. I could walk home after a night of drinking at 2/3am and did not feel threatened. I know other women have had varied experiences but this was my experience. I never felt as if I needed to be careful of what I was wearing or doing.

Recently, I have been feeling different. 

Last week I found myself questioning the length of my skirt and whether it was appropriate. This felt weird to me as I had never even thought about my clothing. Was something changing in me or was there something in the air?

There was also the terror attacks at Sultanahmet, Ataturk airport, and most recently the attempted Military Coup. Am I rattled? Maybe just a little.

No matter where you are in the World a terror attack is possible, therefore its almost as if it does not affect us in the same way as it used to. We are always of course saddened, but we still go about our normal day to day life. We carry on using our metros and airports, and so on.

However, the attempted Military Coup on 15th July, is having a totally different affect on me. It seems to have rattled my sense of security and made me attempt to separate the good guys from the bad guys, and its does not matter which angle I try to look at it, I can't figure it out.

I agree a Coup is undemocratic, as the participants are trying to overthrow an elected government, my heartache here is that our soldiers who were no more than 22 years of age were totally savaged by the most gruesome looking of people. The group of people I saw in news reports did not look like the people of a secularist country. The soldiers which were being attacked had no idea what was going on. They were told they were participating in a training exercise. Its only when people starting climbing on the tanks did they actually realise something was wrong. The groups of people I was seeing on the news wanted to kill! When did we get here? How did we get here? What on earth is happening to my people?

My feelings are so mixed up; sadness, anger, frustration and worry.

As a Turkish woman how safe do I still feel? 

As a Turkish woman, I feel like I need to be stronger, louder, and be more politically active. I'm angrier!

As a Turkish-British woman how safe do I still feel?

As a Turkish -British woman I am everything as a Turkish woman but much warier.

'Exit Strategy'
These feelings are pretty normal I think after the events of the last few days. I have been reading people talk about the "exit strategy". These feelings are expected in such times as many of us from the west would have never felt the way we did on 15th July. Its something that will stick with us. These things do not happen to us, It only happens in countries that are at war like in Syria or Afghanistan, I can name a few more but I think you get what I mean. 

I think many of you will forgive me saying that we are on edge. The city we love is now looking at us with uncertain eyes. 

This is not the first time that Turkey and Istanbul have been faced with a challenge. It has always managed to survive, it will survive. That sense of security like in all countries will return in its full glory.

- YellAli




Turkish Residence Permit


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