Turkish Economy

Yesterday a friend of ours gave us a gold coin as a gift for Neve. The latest in a history of disguised acts of charity by my first real Turkish friend in the city. (There was the English conversation lessons during which I unloaded all my worries and then she took me to lunch, the gift of an oven when I wasn't sure how I was going to cook Christmas dinner.) I opened the tiny drawstring bag with beads to ward off the evil eye on the strings, and saw the tiny disc of gold with Atatürk's profile on it, and the safety pin and ribbon which is used to pin it to the new-born, newly circumcised or newly-wed. I had a fair idea of the cash value of this gift because Ville and I once tried to buy one as a wedding gift and had to leave the shop with out it because of the cost. On the few occasions I saw somebody with dozens of these coins pinned to their chests I was really moved by this investment in future hopes. Naively I imagined the honeymoon or the car that could now be afforded. Now I have a clearer idea of what it means for people here to live with so little social security. I have heard the cases of families who have sold everything, even their houses, to pay for the treatment of a sick child. When large in number the coins take on the appearance of armour, and they are insurance against life's uncertainties. In unstable economies they provide liquidity at crucial moments. I now know precisely the cash value of this gift because it was cashed in on the way home, it being rent day! I am sure we will give Neve its worth many times over and needs must, as they say. Walking home in the glorious sunshine yesterday I felt overcome by gratitude for the help we have been given while it was needed. And real pride that we have made it through. This month marks the final large payment to the solicitors for the case that finished in February 2010. Ville has a new job at least till the start of October. And this week Ruskin will be here for half term and we will finally have all four of the children together. We are wealthy indeed.

Cumhuriyet Altını = Gold of the Republic

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One thoughts on “Turkish Economy

  1. It occurred to me when reading your post Julia that I heard about another habit of this kind in Turkey when living in Nazilli (in the Aegean region). Some people there planted cypress trees when they had children or grand children. The logic was that the trees grow fast enough to be "harvested" by the time the new-born had come to university age and they could be used as a kind of savings for the future education of the child.

    Another thing I have seen is some people with families in different regions arrange two ceremonies around their weddings so as to receive the most possible "Cumhuriyet Altını".


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