Yesterday as I was walking through my neighborhood, I decided to stop and appreciate the flowers you see above. Right now the area is bursting with them, and has been for over a month. I was thinking to myself, what a paradise Turkey can be with its abundance of flowering trees, fruit and fresh produce. I continued to walk in a large circuit around my neighborhood before going home. The slanting evening light was nice and there’s a sloping street I like with lots of vines like those above spilling over the high stone walls on either side of the road. You have to be a bit careful on these roads because there are plenty of Range Rovers and Mercedes tearing through the lanes at high speed, usually with drivers nattering away at equally high speed on mobile phones.
Mindful of this, I proceeded to take some pictures of the vines spilling over the high stone wall, but couldn’t get the exposure quite right. As I was adjusting my shutter speed, I heard the electronic whirr of a gate swing open behind me and moved out of the road. But it wasn’t a Range Rover or a Mercedes that issued from the gate. It was a security guard. I was promptly and quite rudely told that I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of this street. My response to the security man was that I was taking pictures of flowers, which I offered to show him. He told me to get off the street — a public street. My Turkish isn’t quite good enough to retort with anything that wouldn’t have simply been vulgar and escalate the situation, so I retreated, burning not from the summer heat, but from indignation. I live five minutes walk from the spot.
I was in a public street taking photos of flowers. Then I realized what stops this place from being paradise. Fear. Despite high walls, expensive security, razor wire, and plenty of wealth for those who dwell behind the high walls, the fruit that swells from the abundance of flowers is fear. What a bitter fruit.