Forty years ago the donkey was an everyday part of village life in Turkey and they could be seen everywhere unlike now.
We wrote some time ago about Enver Yalçın’s (owner of Kargı’s Yörük Museum) wish to see donkeys play a more prominent role in tourism in Fethiye.
We really miss the donkey as an everyday part of village life in Turkey. Forty years ago they were everywhere.
I remember once visiting the ‘Donkey Market’ held monthly on a Sunday on open ground just outside Milas, north of Bodrum.
Thousands of donkeys, mules, horses and even the odd camel, all spruced up by their owners being offered for sale.
No-one wanted baby donkeys because they needed feeding and couldn’t work.
In 1972, when I was living in Bodrum, I was in a minibus one day when the bus passed a female donkey being followed by her foal.
A man on the bus started talking about the problem of the baby, and I innocently chipped in with “Oh but they are gorgeous, look at their eyes.”
Two days later I came home from shopping to find a baby donkey tied to the handle of my gate.
It wasn’t difficult to find where I lived as I was the only resident foreign female in Bodrum at that time.
It took several days of placating neighbours (donkeys are noisy), and struggling to feed and house a small donkey in my courtyard, before I found someone with a farm who was willing to take the donkey off my hands.
But even that experience hasn’t changed my love of the animals.
Let’s hope Enver Bey succeeds in raising the profile of the donkey and, in the meantime if you head inland you will soon reach areas where the donkey is still going strong.
And There’s More
Such as the picture below where donkeys are used to carry fuel for rotavators, strimmers and chain saws.
If you can’t read Turkish the sign on the little donkey says – ‘Live Broadcast Vehicle’ for a TV station in Canakkale.
Is this a new meaning to HD ‘High Donkey’?