“Mid-1970s Ankara was a grim place. At times the air was so polluted you had to wear a mask, there were long queues for basic necessities, and political strife had become so common, our favorite game as children was “communists versus fascists.” Still there was room for magic. Going to Youth Park on a weekend for a ride on the roller coaster or eating ice cream at the city’s foremost recreation area was a special treat. I adored the two mascots of the city, the Ankara goat that produces the soft wool Angora and the Ankara cat, famous for its long, silky fur and blue eyes.”
In the three years since my family returned from a two-year posting in Ankara, Turkey, this is the first article I have seen about the city. That’s shocking when you consider that Ankara is the capital of one of the world’s most dynamic, geographically strategic countries in the world. Although Shafak discusses an Ankara I never knew – it was placid and it’s pollution problem mostly gone by the time I got there in 2007 – I must admit this article left me slightly homesick, even for a city that I never quite embraced.