There are thousands of villages like mine dotted about all over Turkey. What is most noticeable about a lot of them is the ageing population.
The neighbour to the left of my house and also the one on the right, are both elderly widows. There are many such women in this village. My personal opinion is that Turkish women are used to working hard all their lives. They raise families, take care of their husbands and their homes, as well as working in the fields. They have immense stamina and they seem to live longer than men. In my experience the men don't do as much work on the land as the women do. They seem to spend an awful lot of time sitting in the men-only teahouses, drinking tea, playing tavla (backgammon), Okey (a game with numbered discs) and cards, in between watching TV and putting the world to rights.
In this particular village there is a history of alcoholism amongst the men. One of the main contributors to their early demise. Good muslims of course don't touch alcohol. My father-in-law often comments on how bad the men are in this village. He says they drink too much and when he is visiting here he tells me that the mosque is almost always empty. He, of course, is a good muslim (she says with tongue firmly in cheek) because he doesn't touch alcohol and he prays the requisite five times a day. Although I do recall a conversation I once had with him about religion, where I expressed the opinion that even if people attend mosques or churches on a regular basis, it doesn't necessarily make them good people.
We have an infants school and a secondary school in the village, but the youngsters wanting further education have to go away to obtain it. And it does seem that parents here do their utmost to achieve this for their offspring. When they have finished college or university they seldom return to the village because there is no work suitable to their qualifications. Even those young people who don't go on to further education no longer have any interest in farming, so they set off for the tourist areas to find work, perhaps returning for the winter months, but more often than not moving to the big cities to find work until the summer season starts again.
So we are left with people who are getting old, and farming isn't easy for the elderly. My FIL mentioned when he was here recently that some years ago all the olive trees were on the hillsides, and the farming land from the village to the main road 5km away was completely flat and given over to vegetable crops. This is no longer the case. The elderly can't manage to harvest the olives on the hillsides, so now a lot of the farming land is filled with olive groves.
My next door neighbour has two cows, two goats, a donkey and chickens. She has problems with her back and legs but still she struggles on. Her son and family visit every couple of months, but they work and live in Milas. When she passes on, there is little chance that he will take over her house and livestock. No doubt the house will lie empty for years. There are many of these dilapidated dwellings all over the village. No-one wants to buy them.
Mr A mentioned recently that there is a golf complex being built on the other side of the airport, due to be completed in two years time. His source tells him that this will be good news for villages such as ours, because people will buy up old properties and land, and maybe they'll even build a hotel or two.
I don't always trust Mr A's sources. It's very common for men in the teahouses to start such rumours.
Although I would hate to see this village commercialised and overrun with tourists, I have to admit that this could be a good thing. It's very sad to see the village dying slowly, and maybe it needs something like this to bring it back to life.