Turkey looks like a different country on each day of the week…

Although every little corner of Turkey has its own reality, the country itself actually lives each and every day in an almost identical way. If I remember correctly, I wrote an article titled “Turkey looks like a different country on each day of the week” one year ago today. And as far as I can see, things remain nearly intact.

Interestingly, things written by Tolstoy, who served as the Grand Duchy of Moscow’s ambassador to Istanbul back in the day, in the 18th century about Turks is no different from the set of characteristics we have today. But don’t mistake this Tolstoy for the author of “Peace and War”. There is almost 100 years between the periods in which they lived.

Neither inflation nor economic growth or markets would be the topic of the day if any critical statement hasn’t been made on Monday. Daily conversations usually evolve around the football matches that had taken place during the weekend. From referees to football coaches, footballers to club presidents, all are evaluated and criticized one by one. That’s the case in general all over the visual and social media. People on streets, at work or home, they make stinging attacks, acid remarks to each other on the match results. As Champions League matches are televised on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, people talk a lot less about the Turkish league. So, a typical Monday in Turkey is pretty much the same as a typical Monday in Italy.

As for Tuesdays and Wednesdays, people seem more focused on domestic and foreign political tensions, which are immediately followed by exchange rate discussions involving the measures that should be taken by the Central Bank. TV stations broadcast live a number of discussion programs on politics, economy, technology and social life. Audience hooked on television series give critical reaction to the main characters, or gossip about them as if they were real people. The prime time is the period when people send each other lots of WhatsApp messages. You can see people talking about the last night’s series while they’re on their way to work on the next morning, except for the parity. . If USD/TRY has risen, it becomes the trending topic even among the ordinary households. When it comes to Gold, however, people don’t bother each other too much about the issue, because, they choose to bother people like me. No one in Turkey likes to show off their wealth or, for that matter, make known their financial needs. Working overtime doesn’t pose much of a problem for these people. They can spend at least 2 to 3 hours in traffic every day. When considered from the standpoint of everyday life, Turkey is very similar to almost each country in the world, from Japan to the US.

When Thursday comes, everyone slowly starts to get into the Friday mood. Stock market may get a little attention, provided it performed well during the week. However, people don’t get too involved in markets as many of them consider it “dangerous”, for a variety of reasons. If you are living your Thursday in May or September, you already got into the mood of “long weekend”, provided you have the financial resources to afford this mini vacation, of course. When the weekend comes, people let go of the negative energy and emotions.They prefer to rather focus on other things like scoring a ticket for the derby or the concert of their favorite pop star, choosing the hippest place for a Saturday night fun, finding a table at some popular restaurant. People at different income levels live the weekend rush. And the motivation for making more money is only based to become more capable of providing the means for accessing such fun and trendy activities. You can’t see anyone trying to generate a value-added activity like launching a rocket into the space. When considered from this point of view, Turkey is much more similar to Greece.

“Weekend is something different…”

Friday ends in a heartbeat. Everyone waits impatiently for the end of their shifts. I mean those who can’t afford a holiday in resort towns on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. On Friday, people living in Istanbul and Ankara begin their journey on Thursday. As for the Izmir-dwellers, they depart for Çeşme early in the morning. In summer, a large part of business is entrusted to watchful and cautious professionals and in winter, it is being carried on through the shared wisdom and common sense of executives and professionals. If USD/TRY keeps on rising prior to weekend, markets always close with the hope of “CBRT would definitely intervene in markets during the weekend”. People generally spend their free time in shopping malls, catching a movie, eating in restaurants and cafés, as there are a great deal of options in malls for different income classes. . Saturday traffic jam continues throughout the day until evening and into the night. When considered from this point of view, Turkey is quite similar to Dubai.
Turkish people never give up spending time in malls over the weekend. That’s because malls are the most reasonable choice especially if it’s cold or raining outside. During the summer, malls are still the most convenient places among people as the temperature inside is cooler thanks to the air-conditioner. That’s where people do the most of their shopping, mostly consisting of shoes, bags, electronics, food and drinks. After all, public consumption is the main driving force behind Turkish economic growth which has always turned out to be higher than expected. Turkish people help domestic economy survive through their consumption habits. In this regard, Turkey and the rest of the emerging markets are very much alike.

In short, from Monday to Sunday, people living in Turkey talk about the fun topics on the country’s agenda. Knowing that life is hard enough as it is, they usually try to ignore the bad news or incidents. A majority of people choose to stay out of issues that they think they have no power to change in the first place. Only a few people continue to discuss those issues so as to find remedies to get rid of them. For that reason alone, it doesn’t seem very strange to anyone in Turkey when a political figure makes different statements at different times about the same issue; because, people tend to forget such things. In conclusion; crises, economic bottlenecks and troubles are too easily forgotten in Turkey. Every week is the same and ends the same.
I know for sure that some of you will get mad at me for making a sweeping statement. “I work like crazy! That’s not the way I live my life!” they will say. I send my deepest appreciation and gratitude to all the people who work hard. Heroes who work for the good of society never have time for vacation or feeding their own egos like others do. I hope I didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.