We are all of the same opinion of our cultural assets have a very important place in the world. Today, thousands of years of Anatolian civilisations’ accumulations have taken their place in every aspect of our daily lives unconsciously. Being a geographical bridge, cultures of China, India, Persia, Egypt, Arabia, Russia, Middle Asia, Balkans and Europe have ingrained the depths of Anatolia. There is no place on earth such an intense and long run relationship. A homogenous structure is being encountered within the geographical and political regions of Asia, Europe, America and Africa. Either the domination of a certain religion or sect’s, or an ethnic structure or political authority’s can easily be recognized. Yet one can find the three sects of Christianity, five sects of Islam, all nations of Balkan, all the micro ethnic characterizations of geography of Kaskaskia, Jewish people coming all over the world have been mingled in nowhere but Anatolia. By any means, all the cultures have succeeded to live together for some thousands of years. Small or big, all the conflicts have been lived in between should be considered as a state of the world.
There may be those who claim what we have lived through for the last hundred years are just the opposite. However, our cuisine, carpets, rugs and woven fabrics, ballads and songs, beliefs and historical structures would support our thesis and give more clue.
Undoubtly, the most of the tourism activities in the world are being done to see those differences in their actual places. All countries prepare souvenirs in order to show its cultural assets. Sold souvenirs are big sources of income and can be regarded as export items. Turkey has sold sea, sun and sand in order to earn foreign Exchange. When it is understood that as the number of beds were not sufficient for increasing number of tourists, with big incentives, construction of big hotels have been accelerated. In fact it is obvious that, it is possible to come to Turkey for almost 300 Euros by plane, stay in all included hotels and go back home. What we have left is only the subsistence wage. Recently, ‘Master Plan of Tourism Consultation Meeting’ was held by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. It was emphasised that, for each tourist 600 Dollars is spent for them to come and from each tourist we receive 585 Dollars of income. It is clear that we are still in loss. A participant stated that tourists wouldn’t come as we don’t have an Opera Building. Another claimed that, less Europeans are coming since they cannot find their cuisine.
They are the expressions from which it is obvious that we still haven’t understood movements in world tourism. They were effective statements that we are unaware of not only tourism but also sociology. Actually, short outline of our 200 year history is hidden in that phrase. Because of the dominant culture of Europe, we constantly humiliate our culture implicitly. We left our food, clothes, household appliances, objects, symbols one by one. Turkish coffee served in porcelain cups replaced by concentrated coffee in pepper cups or mugs. Brewed tea used to serve in thin glasses replaced by tea-bags in thick cups. We are not serving tarhana soup, keşkek, eritse, yaprak sarma in touristic places. Neither lavas nor pide are served with meals. Our hand-made ambers, caretta rosaries Oltu beads are not being sold. In a city like İstanbul there is no constant art, folk a Sufi music are being held. There are no concert halls for Turks and foreigners.
How can we introduce any of our cultural assets to other nations and talk about our superior qualifications, under these conditions? Cheap Chinese souvenirs are all over. A product that a rich tourist is able to buy is not sold everywhere. We are trying to sell simple stitched, leather confection that are not products of a designer with great pressure. The only worthy products are carpets and rugs that were woven 40-50 years ago. A source from the villages all over the Anatolia that hasn’t been finished. It is unknown what we are going to do after they will have finished. Besides, we sell them off far cheaper that cannot be compared with contemporary worth. As we don’t have a real book of our rosary processing or rug and carpet weaving, we cannot tell their standardisations to foreigners.
It is quite late to get rid of our 200 year inferiority complex. In this respect not only authorities but also individuals have roles. More effort is needed to tell Turkey is not composed of Topkapı and Dolmabahçe Palaces and St. Sophia Museum of İstanbul, Cappodacia and Sumela Monastery of Anatolia. Altough a lot of cities in Europe are similar to each other, each cities even districts in Turkey has its own characterisations. We even don’t have enough books that reflect these differences.
Whole word shares the same opinion of Turkey is economically a rising star. Then, we have to re-arrange our lives by being aware of our all, historical, cultural and artistic accumulations. If we start to embrace our cultural characterizations that have long been ignored, it will be easy to introduce them off the boarders. In recent years, Turkey prefers to be peaceful in every field. We are making up with our history, getting rid of our fears, making up with our people. It is now high time to make up with our culture as well.