Their Daily Bread

The momentous political upheavals in North Africa and the Middle East have prompted a number of concerned messages and calls from friends in Blighty thinking that the winds of change may blow next towards Turkey. After all Turkey does have an unenviable history of military coups. They needn’t worry. Whatever I may think of the current Government, my host country is a functioning democracy, not the personal fiefdom of some murderous dictator, mad mullah or medieval monarch. However, Turkey does share the same demographic time-bomb with her Arab neighbours. Half of the population is under 30 and with too few jobs to go round the Devil might make work for idle hands. Young people across the Middle East are fighting for their daily bread as much as for political freedom. Turkey mitigates the risk with strong economic growth, conscription to keep the restless boys onside, a rudimentary social security system to dodge destitution and European Union ambitions to export spring-loaded surplus labour. Lonely ladies of Europe be afraid.

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