Can you knit a sock on your head?
These days, Karagöz sits with me as a make my way through the English-language Turkish press. I like to keep up to speed on Turkish goings-on as much as I can so that I can deepen my knowledge of the country as I slowly wend my way towards that citizenship examination.
The other day, Karagöz came across an article before I did – an article to which he had QUITE a response. All I heard were whoops and hollers and the word “çorap” which means “sock.”
I soon saw that he was reading about one proposed plan for the Turkish military to go into northern Syria to create a buffer zone from ISIL in response to all that has been going down on that border. The article struck me as a typically nationalistic and short-sighted approach to local conflict that has a familiar ring to it. What that all had to do with socks, however, I wasn’t sure, but you know how Karagöz is, he doesn’t often make sense right away.
Stuck, I had to go to M. for advice on Karagöz’ commentary about Syria and socks. As it turns out, when someone causes a complex problem for themselves or others, Turks use the idiom “başına çorap örmek.”
It literally translates as “to knit a sock for one’s head.”
Here is an example: “Bekle gör, senin başına ne çoraplar öreceğim!” or, in English “Wait and see, what troubles I will get you into!” This is usually used to talk about the future in a situation in which trouble will be coming to someone or something.
Well, now I understand. The Turkish military would indeed be knitting a sock on their collective head if they went into Syria in such a manner – that’s just begging for trouble, isn’t it?
Yet another twist in the road towards understanding Turkish!