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My Trip to Ankara

July 3, 2011

From May 27 to June 3, I left Nicole in Istanbul and traveled to Ankara. I was hoping to set up contacts for when my field research (and not the background research) actually started at the beginning of July. Ankara was as advertised: very modern, wide streets, car-centric, a bit soulless. I stayed in a nice area, called Çankaya. This area is near the ministries and agencies I wanted to approach about obtaining data.

So, one of the problems with not knowing much Turkish yet, is that when you walk in cold into a ministry and ask for help, it takes about an hour to find someone who speaks a bit of English. Then that person just tells you they have no data for me. Even just data tables, let alone reports in English.

But, as always, the World Bank Public Information Office was helpful. They had several background reports on development projects in Turkey and the Southeast in particular. The Southeastern Anatolia Project also claimed to have many reports in English, but they don’t exist electronically (despite being written over the past decade), and exist only at the regional HQ in Şanlıurfa. So I have to schedule a trip there.

I also signed up for access to the National Library, which should have annual reports from many ministries, as well as provincial yearbooks that might help construct a dataset. Hopefully I have access when I return to Ankara.  Unfortunately, the library seems to be the local ‘meet market’ for high school and college students, so it is slammed packed.  Maybe now that school is out, the library will be a bit more bearable.

Otherwise, the city got the job done as far basic field research needs: cheap food and accommodations, beer, and internet access.

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