The blog has been silent for the last days. There are some reasons behind this situation. After spending my Christmas weekend in Berlin with close friends, I decided to spend the New Year´s Eve holiday in Turkey -with my family. During the last ten days, almost every morning I am waking up with another big news at national level. Everyday there is another big thing happening here; so I am changing my mind about the next post. Rather than the incidents, it might be the political atmosphere here what makes us feel out of focus.
I decided to write a long one like a journalist-journalist.
First, the Interior Minister of Turkey, Mr. Sahin´s recent statements dominated the political agenda. He was accusing BDP (Pro-Kurdish peace and democracy party) as the extension of PKK (a Kurdish armed struggle against the state for an autonomous Kurdistan and greater political rights for the Kurds) referring to artists, poets, universities, associations and NGOs, without naming names as the “backyard of terrorism”. By describing terrorism as expressions of culture, arts and literate, he annoyed many people, who have been fed up by the same attitude that continues since the 80`s military coup. The mentality can be simplified as G. Agamben´s “State of Emergency”. According to him, any critical perspective on the governmental issues is a potential danger for the state, so directly for the society.
Then, my news-feed page on Facebook has been dominated by invitations of the same petition, which is about a case of censorship at one of the private museums of Turkey. During the process, ten artists have pulled their works from an exhibition in the Istanbul Modern after the work, by an artists called Bubi—a wooden chair with a chamber pot for a seat—was pulled from their annual auction. According to the official explanation, it did not meet “proper criteria.” The petition is still circulated by the art community in Istanbul, calling on the Istanbul Modern to apologize to Bubi.
During the last days of 2011, we received the saddest news from the southeast border. The air strike from Turkish army killed 35 innocent people (19 of them are children/teenagers), who were mistaken for armed militants. They were crossing the border for smuggling in order to survive since it is not possible to earn their breads from agriculture or livestock anymore due to the war between the state and PKK. My family, friends along with myself –and most of the country- were highly disappointed by the government´ attitude. Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arinc said that “Turkey will pay reparations to the families of the victims, but will not officially apologize.”
For the first time, I am ashamed of being a citizen of Turkish Republic. One can say that there could have been many other cases, or there is no reason to feel like this. Through witnessing the -12 hour- silence of the mass media –after the “accident”-, and the response from the state authorities, I have no word to say. It is pure silence. Neither a museum nor an artwork can replace this discussion for me. The world has stopped for me for the last few days. Innocent children, who were left to smuggling without another option for earning their living were killed by their own state; accident or incident, it is reality.
The day before yesterday, at midnight, a former military chief, who has been suspected of leading an Internet campaign to stir military coup was jailed in an ongoing investigation.
I think, this could be interpreted as the historical moment for us in terms of imagining our country not only as a post-modern militarist regime negiotiated with Capital but a civil society.
But I am not sure if I have any hopes left for tomorrow.
The photo is taken by me at my home town, Karaman. The kids are playing football.
Petition for Istanbul Modern case: http://www.change.org/petitions/sanat-kltr-evreleri-art-and-cultural-society-sansre-hayr-no-to-censorship
Petition for "backyard of terrorism" case and public demand for the Minister´s resign: http://www.durde.org/2011/12/hukumete-cagri-icisleri-bakanini-gorevden-alin/ (Only in Turkish)