In a typical village like Sakaltutan, which lies 32 kilometres southeast of Kayseri, the importance of agriculture to the average household has declined steadily over the past generation. With mechanisation, producing a wheat crop on a small plot of land requires only a few weeks labour each year. Most families have acquired other sources of income, particularly seasonal construction work. The village muhtar, Cuma Belik, estimates that, at any given time, 150 men from Sakaltutan's 136 households are working on construction sites around Turkey or in the Caucasus, providing the family's most important source of income. As a result, traditional agriculture has become less attractive. Before 1990, the village had around 3,000 head of sheep, which were tended by young or landless men over the summer months. Now, the young men prefer other work, and there are only 250 sheep left.

Analysis on Turkey's current affairs, in partnership with ESI. Latest issue: Turkey & the EU – Stronger Together?.
Return to Europe film
ESI Turkey reports
Turkey picture stories
Background information
Recommended reading
Literary walk