Caroline Baudry (in Türkiye)
Turkey is preparing to vote on Sunday for the presidential election. After twenty years in power, the ballot almost takes the form of a referendum “for or against Erdoğan”. Nibbled by inflation, the popularity of the Turkish president is no longer so high and the economic crisis has even convinced some Turks to slip another ballot into the ballot box for the first time.
“We are living our last moments. If the government does not change, it is impossible for us to continue”. Ramazan, a 50-year-old shepherd with the appearance of an old man, has a weathered face from working in the open air. When the breeder is not running after his goats and sheep, on a road between Istanbul and Bursa, he is running after his debt: the equivalent of 30,000 euros. “Since 2015 it’s over. Everything has become expensive. What we give back is expensive, what we buy is expensive. In 2018 a haystack cost four to five pounds. Today it’s £110. I owe money to the banks, I owe money to the grain farmers. I am suffocated”, he lists.
“My only hope is Kılıçdaroğlu”
For the first time in his life, he plans to vote for the opposition to Erdoğan. His piercing blue gaze watches his animals grazing along the highway. His smile is sad and his future is uncertain. “I voted for Erdoğan in the previous elections. I should have had both hands broken not to do so. My only hope is the opponent Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu”, confides the shepherd.
Ramazan has already reduced its herd and got rid of cows that are too expensive to feed. The little herd is now guided by Princess, his favorite sheep, the only one he is sure never to part with.