Turkey has been a republic for more than eighty years now, and Turkish women have had the vote since the 1930s, but reality has so far failed to dent Western fantasies about harems, odalisques and terrible Turkish husbands.Even today, a Western woman who so much as hints at the possibility of a move to Turkey will meet with wails of anguish from unenlightened family and friends. Why would she want to give up all her hard-won liberties and privileges? What could she possibly hope to gain?
These anxious prejudices form the backdrop to Tales from the Expat Harem. Though its first readers will undoubtedly come from the ranks of the converted, it has larger ambitions.
Think of it as thirty-six letters home.Most are writing to worried loved ones in Europe and North America. Most went to Turkey as wives or wives-to-be, but whatever their marital status, they define themselves by their work. There are teachers and executives, archaeologists, artists and journalists; psychoanalysts, designers, hotel managers, systems engineers...
Valuable today as an antidote to bigotry, it will, I am sure, serve as an even more valuable corrective to the blinkered historians of tomorrow.
Causes Anastasia Ashman Supports
Vipassana Meditation Instruction (dhamma.org) Ashoka Organization of Social Entrepreneurs (ashoka.org)