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Increase in Anti-Americanism in Turkey?

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Hi everybody,

I'm new to the forums and am considering a move this fall to Turkey - specifically the Antalya, Fethiye or Alanya areas. I've spent a great amount of time in Turkey prior to 2016 as a female on my own and fell in love the country, but haven't been there since and am not sure what to expect in these days and times. Being an American, I know we are not currently seen in the greatest light (putting it lightly) and wanted to know if any of you (American expats) have felt or experienced an increase in anti-americanism, or have not felt safe and considered leaving?

I am concerned about safety, not just for me but for my older mother who would be moving there as well. I'm especially concerned after reading the travel warnings on the govt website, which I know can be extreme but I'm not there so I don't know .Most notably this kind of thing worries me: Security forces have detained tens of thousands of individuals, including U.S. citizens, for alleged affiliations with terrorist organizations based on scant or secret evidence and grounds that appear to be politically motivated. U.S. citizens have also been subject to travel bans that prevent them from departing Turkey. 

I don't want to feel like I have to "hide" my identity or that I am under some kind of possible threat just because of my nationality.
 
Can anyone shed some light on this subject? 
 
Thank you so much!

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Hello,

I've been in & out of Turkey since 2007.  I haven't had any serious run-ins with any of the issues listed on the state.gov website.  Just like everywhere else in the world, keep your head on a swivel (I'm looking at you FRANCE)...but that wouldn't stop me from going.  although there have been some serious issues in major cities, I do not fear for my safety. 

As for Anti-Americanism...you will find that everywhere in almost every country (including the US).  But you spend your money and boost the economy...it is appreciated anywhere you go.  Majority of people who get caught up in the banning, are people who talk against the government etc.  Where you plan on moving to...you will be fine.

 

p.s. I am married to a turk from Izmir & have a son.  We are all US Citizens...if I had any fear for their safety, I wouldn't send my son to a Turkish school & we sure  wouldn't have bought a house in Turkey either lol.

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Thanks for your reply, Fener.

It's not just the govt website, I was reading things like this too:

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/anti-us-sentiment-turkey-reaches-new-high-poll-shows

https://bipartisanpolicy.org/blog/rising-anti-americanism-in-turkey/

https://www.voanews.com/a/anti-americanism-rises-in-turkey-as-us-turkish-tensions-escalate/4541086.html

So it's hard for me to tell if this is the right time or not to move over there. I know there is anti-americanism everywhere but Turkey was a country where I've always felt welcomed and I'm not sure how much that has/will change since I was there last, because of everything going on.

I read in another forum where an American man was advised to not tell anyone that he was American, not that I would brag, but if the question came up, I wouldn't feel right lying. And in others where some American expats aren't feeling that safe anymore.

Any other input out there?


Thanks!

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Firstly, I'm an American who has lived in Turkey for around 20 years.

Yes, it is true that the Turkish government has rounded up thousands of people. That's because an organization, whose leader is living in Pennsylvania, tried to overthrow the government. And it involved thousands of people. This organization killed a lot of people trying to overthrow a democratically-elected government. So personally, I can't blame the Turkish government too much for their reaction. What would the US government do in the wake of an attempted coup, where the military was also involved, in which military jets were used to attack government buildings in Washington, DC? Probably much the same thing the Turks have done. I just bring that up to put things in a little better perspective.

In all of this, yes, there were a few US citizens involved. That's inevitable. It doesn't mean they are persecuting US citizens. They are not.

I can say this with a high degree of confidence. Turks don't look at Americans and judge them because of their nationality. They may have big problems with the US government, but they don't judge the individual for it. And what is an "American" anyway? Our population is so diverse in culture, religion, national origin, and personality that it would be silly to put us all in a box and label it. The Turks know this. In a lot of cases, when I tell a Turk that I'm an American, they are rather delighted. They want to talk to me. They often tell me about a relative or friend of theirs who lives in the USA, or they have been to the USA. And the conversation is quite positive.

Right now there are some tensions between the US government and the Turkish government. There's always going to be something. It is seldom that two countries have zero issues of contention with each other.

I don't hide the fact that I am a US citizen, and I never have. I am surprised at how alike we are as people and as a culture. If they have problems with the USA, it's with the government. Heck, lots of US citizens have a problem with the US government. So personally, I really don't think you need to worry about anti-Americanism. It isn't focused on US citizens. It's about the US government, and I think it will have zero effect on you.

If I may ask, what brought about the possibility of your moving to Turkey?

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Hi Ken,

Thanks for your insight. You are right - I do remember from my time there that Turkish people don't judge you based on things such as this. I know the $/TRY economy issue does not help things either, and many people are upset and rightfully so. I was asking because I'm not sure if it's a good timeto move to Turkey.

Since it's been a while since I've been there, I'm not sure how/if things have changed in the wake of everything going on and wanted to get advice from those living there to factor into my decision making. I'm thinking of moving because I need a change in my life. But I think I may wait and see what happens in the re-election in June.

How do you like Antalya? It was one of my favorite places when I was there!

 

 

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Actually the USD/TL exchange rate will certainly work in your favor, especially if you decide to buy property. I hear some Turks saying it will get worse, that is, up to 10TL to the dollar! But who knows. It seems to me that this should correct itself over time, since if the dollar is that strong, it makes it a good time, not a bad time, to buy in Turkey. Or even just go go out to dinner. My three bedroom apartment now costs about 200 USD in rent. I'm not saying that to minimize the problems Turks are going through because of this, I am just pointing it out as fact.

I have moved to a lot of foreign places, some of them not necessarily considered totally safe, and each time I had this certain feeling of foreboding. It's the fear of the unknown. And it's probably a good thing since wherever you go, you need to pay extra attention for a while until you get more familiar with the place. I mean familiar, not inattentive. Even for things like making sure you look both ways even crossing a one-way street, which is a good idea in Turkey!

Just to help you isolate this, is this an overall fear you have, or do you fear something specific? What, specifically, do you think is going to happen? You may find yourself coming up short on an answer for that, so in that case you may just be feeling the normal sense of fear that comes from the unknown, and what may or may not happen in the future.

I was talking to a Turkish friend of mine today. He was talking about how bad things are getting. I asked him, in what way? He started talking about politics, the government, the governments, Donald Trump, etc... I ask him how much of this affected his daily life. Like, when he woke up in the morning, went to work, did his work all day, went home, had dinner and went to bed, which of these things affected his daily life.  "None of them," he said.

I'm not saying that you should stop keeping track of what's going on, but I do think "the news" should be called "the bad news," since that's what it mostly is. It's also going to depend on where you live. If you live in downtown Istanbul, you're going to have the same threat of crime you have anywhere else. If you live in Kaş, you probably won't need to worry much about crime. Or if you live in a place like Fethiye with a large foreign population, you may feel a lot more at home than you would in a place where there were no foreigners.

The only incidents I have heard of directed towards Americans were against American military. There is a nationalist group who got access to Incirlik Air Base during a community day. A group of them tried to put a bag over the head of one of the military members. It was a symbolic act which stems from something that happened back during the Gulf war. In Antalya, this group tried to throw some sailors into the sea shouting "Yankee go home," or something like that. Nobody died, nobody got hurt. They didn't shoot at or try to stab anybody, it was a symbol of protest. But this was directed against the US government (military). The incidents ended with nobody getting hurt. However, the carriers won't be returning to Antalya again. This kind of thing would not happen to a regular American just living in Antalya. I was thinking today, while talking to my friend, what would happen if somebody were to attack me in such a way. I can tell you that probably a dozen other Turks would run out of their shops and attack the attackers, in my defense!

But even in saying this, I am magnifying these two incidents beyond what they deserve. Other than what I mentioned above, which more more symbolic in nature than anything else and resulted in no harm, I have not heard of any attacks or even any ill-will directed towards US citizens in Turkey.

Antalya is a nice place to be. It's quite hot in the summer. I live in the downtown area. I don't need a car, I can get everywhere on public transportation, and everything I need is generally in walking distance. Then you have Lara and Konyaaltı, which are pleasant suburbs which are more spread out, and both have beaches, a sandy beach in Lara and a pebble beach in Konyaaltı.

What would you think of this... come to Turkey for a while, to the place you are thinking of living. Experience it in person. Walk around and get to know people and drink some tea with them. Talk to some other expats there as well. Then you would have a clearer picture in your mind about what you want to do, and be able to act on that, rather than jumping in all at once.

If anybody knows of anything different from what I've said here, please reply! :)

 

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