#7 À travers la Turquie

Nous voilà sur la côte de la mer de Marmara près de Bursa pour le festival de musique. J’apprends avec surprise qu’il porte le nom de Otostop Festivali, référence amusante à mon mode de transport favori. Avec mes amis rencontrés à Istanbul, nous travaillons à un stand de nourriture et de boissons. On y sert principalement du thé, le fameux çay, boisson nationale turque que les autochtones sirotent inlassablement à toute heure de la journée. J’y prends vite goût également, le thé et le café remplacent la bière trop onéreuse et peu coutumière de la Turquie. La majorité écrasante des festivaliers ne parlant pas anglais, nous devons rapidement nous améliorer en turc si nous voulons pouvoir communiquer un minimum. Faute de pouvoir me reposer sur l’anglais, j’enrichis chaque jour mon vocabulaire : expressions utiles, terminologie de la nourriture, les nombres de 1 à 30, etc. Rien d’extraordinaire, mais assez pour se faire comprendre.

Bir şey ister misiniz ?

Iki çay lütfen.

Iki lira.

C’est triste à dire mais il s’agit du festival avec la pire organisation à laquelle j’ai pu assister… Tous les jours nous jetons de grosses quantités de nourriture à cause de mauvaise estimations ou de réfrigérateurs défaillants. Après quelques jours il est clair que les organisateurs sont en déficit. Les économies s’effectuent donc naturellement sur la main d’œuvre étrangère. Après cinq jours nous n’avons été payés que pour deux journées. Nous décidons d’arrêter de travailler, mais restons au festival pour profiter de l’ambiance et aussi dans l’espoir de recevoir notre salaire. Sans surprise, nous quittons le festival quelques jours plus tard et n’en avons toujours pas vu la couleur. Dommage, mais cela aurait pu être pire. Nous avons passé dix jours sans frais d’hébergement et avons profité de la plage et des concerts.

Je reprends l’autostop avec Belen, une amie argentine rencontrée à Istanbul. De la vingtaine de pays dans lesquels je me suis déplacé en stop, la Turquie est jusqu’ici de loin le plus simple. Le fait que je voyage maintenant avec une fille simplifie sans doute les choses, mais tout de même. Nous n’attendons jamais plus de cinq minutes jusqu’à ce qu’un véhicule, le plus souvent un poids-lourd ou une camionnette, s’arrête et nous prenne pour quelques dizaines voire centaines de kilomètres. Première étape : un court arrêt à Ankara, ville d’Anatolie centrale qui devint la capitale du pays en 1923 sous Atatürk, le fondateur de la Turquie moderne. La ville qui avait à peine 20.000 habitants il y a un siècle en compte désormais plus de cinq millions. Ankara est une de ces villes nouvelles à l’architecture moderniste bâties au beau milieu du désert qui semblent sorties de nulle part. Rien à voir avec Istanbul.

Personnage fondamental de l’histoire de la Turquie, on retrouve le portrait de Mustafa Kemal Atatürk partout à travers le pays : encadré à la réception d’un petit hôtel, dans le salon d’une famille lambda ou encore sur un gigantesque drapeau virevoltant au dessus de l’allée principale de la ville. Une grande partie de la population lui voue un réel culte. Et pour cause. De grands avancements politiques et sociaux furent accomplis sous sa présidence. A titre d’exemple, il instaura la laïcité : séparation des pouvoirs politique et spirituel, adopta l’alphabet latin à la place de l’alphabet arabe et donna le droit de vote aux femmes. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, l’actuel président et chef de file de l’AKP, semble malheureusement déterminé à réformer le pays dans la direction opposée. En résulte une Turquie de plus en plus polarisée entre une partie de la population qui regarde vers l’ouest et continue de célébrer l’héritage d’Atatürk et d’autre part une frange de la société plus conservative qui acclame les réformes d’Erdoğan. Cette division sociétale s’est révélée aussi éminemment géographique lors du referendum d’avril dernier organisé par l’AKP proposant d’augmenter considérablement les pouvoirs de l’exécutif, autrement dit du président. Le oui l’emporta d’une très courte majorité grâce à la popularité dont bénéficie Erdoğan dans les régions rurales et notamment en Anatolie centrale. Le non était cependant en tête à Istanbul, Ankara, sur la côte ouest, dans le sud-est majoritairement Kurde, et de manière générale parmi les franges plus jeunes et instruites de la population.

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Des amis rencontrés au festival nous hébergent pour la nuit à Ankara. Cette hospitalité, nous la retrouverons à maintes reprises durant notre traversée du pays et semble ainsi être indissociable de la mentalité turque. Je ne pourrais dire combien de fois nous nous sommes fait inviter à boire le çay, où des nouveaux amis rencontrés quelques heures auparavant refusent de nous laisser payer l’addition, nous aident à trouver notre chemin ou encore nous hébergent pour la nuit.

Dès le lendemain matin, nous reprenons la route vers les paysages lunaires de la Cappadoce, région aride du centre de la Turquie connue pour les montgolfières peuplant son ciel lors du lever du soleil. La région est extrêmement touristique, et on comprend vite pourquoi. Ce n’est pas le meilleur endroit pour s’imprégner de la vie locale turque, mais les paysages majestueux valent sans aucun doute le détour.

On me demande souvent si cela ne me gêne pas de passer tant de temps sur la route. Lors d’un tel voyage, il s’agit constamment de nouveaux trajets avec des personnes différentes, bien loin d’une quelconque routine ou monotonie. Je ne cesse de m’émerveiller de l’évolution progressive des paysages. La Turquie, grand pays au relief et à la flore variés, en constitue un bel exemple. Depuis Ankara, le climat est aride et le désert s’étend à perte de vue. Au fur et à mesure que nous continuons notre route vers Trabzon dans le nord est du pays, le paysage est en perpétuelle mutation et devient de plus en plus boisé et montagneux. Les collines jaunâtres laissent petit à petit place aux immenses forêts de hêtres et de sapins. Deux journées intensives d’autostop suffisent à rallier la Cappadoce et Trabzon, ville portuaire de la mer Noire.

Rencontré grâce au site Couchsurfing, Aziz accepte de nous héberger pour quelques jours. Nous sommes ravis d’apprendre que notre hôte possède deux hamams, les bains traditionnels turcs, dans le centre ville de Trabzon. Nous pouvons profiter à souhait du hamam, du sauna et avons même droit à un massage traditionnel ! Une pause relaxante fort appréciée après les jours sur les routes poussiéreuses dans les montagnes. Aziz nous emmène un soir sur son bateau duquel nous admirons le coucher de soleil sur la mer Noire. Une expérience de Couchsurfing aussi inattendue qu’agréable ! Trabzon s’étale de la côte de la mer Noire jusqu’aux montagnes environnantes. Le centre-ville rappelle certains quartiers d’Istanbul, et je prend plaisir à me perdre dans les ruelles sinueuses des hauteurs de la ville.

Notre généreux hôte Couchsurfing de Trabzon

J’entends un dernier appel du muezzin retentir au loin. Ainsi s’achèvent cinq semaines riches en rencontres et en découvertes dans ce pays fascinant. C’est avec des souvenirs pleins la tête que nous reprenons la route vers la Géorgie. Türkiye güle güle.

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