Winds of Change


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Efforts to modernize the state and society started during the 19th century. Initially reforms targeted limited institutions such as the Armed Forces. One of the first things to go was the traditional marching band of the Ottoman Army (Mehter Takimi), the first of its kind in Europe, to be replaced by a modem, western one. Western forms of art and literature penetrated the culture and continued to flourish alongside classical and folk-art, music, and literature.

The parliamentary system was introduced more than a century ago. Following the Turkish Revolution at the end of World War I, reforms to achieve fundamental and broad-based social and institutional change were initiated by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk the revolutionary leader and the first president of the Republic of Turkey. Secularism and protection of democratic individual rights and responsibilities of all citizens by law are perhaps the most important among these reforms.

One of the proud achievements of the Republic has been the establishment of women's rights in the new social order. The Turkish woman has been exalted symbolically throughout history as the mother figure and pillar of the family. Since the Ataturk reforms, women's role in social, political and economic life has expanded dramatically. Since the early days of the Republic, well-educated women, particularly in the cities, have taken on active roles in the professions, government, and business.

Every social and institutional change eventually leaves its mark on the landscape. The reforms of the first half of the 20th century put Turkey on a course of accelerated modernization. Careful measures ensured that culture and traditions continue to live and evolve. Although the changes in the landscape were well choreographed and significant, and they were not of the order of magnitude of the changes that are occurring today.

Starting with the highway program of the 1950's culminating with the free market reforms of the 1980s, unbridled transformation of the landscape has been taking place. On the other hand, the country is electrified with vitality of the young population ready to participate in a booming economy with endless possibilities in the New World order. The generation of farmers and soldiers who used to refer to the government as the "Father" (Devlet Baba), has been replaced by a "can-do" generation of entrepreneurs. On the other hand, the possibility of breaking all ties with both the past and the landscape, which the future depends on, has never been as real as it is today. For example, the ongoing process of agricultural industrialization is taking away the apricots, cherries and the rest of the Anatolian natives, along with the happy chickens, sheep and the gorgeous eyed cows, all marching along a parade which eventually will transform them into tasteless uniformity and miserable existence.

Our hopes lie with the wise Turkish woman, who knows better and listens to her palate, searching out vegetables raised without hormones at the local market. But will she be able to pass this wisdom along to her ambitious daughter who prefers wearing Levi's?

The Turkish people are known for their ingenuity, quick wit and ability to adapt. In the current climate of democracy and local involvement, it is more than likely that the Turkish landscape will continue to reflect a harmonious and sustainable relationship with its people.



Idyll Villas
Zeybek Sokak No : 8  P.K.78 Yalikavak Bodrum TURKIYE
Phone : +90 252 385 55 90     Fax : +90 252 385 55 89


For further information, please contact :


Mr. Sonad PELIT - Bodrum (+90 542 213 81 04)

Mrs. Amanda CHESTER - London (+44 797 636 3906)

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