Terrorized Territories in 12016

by    /  January 22, 2016  / No comments

"I'm not from ODTÜ but I side with ODTÜ." Image provided by the author.

“I’m not from ODTÜ but I side with ODTÜ.” Image provided by the author.

Academics condemning Turkey’s military action without mentioning the PKK terror are targeted as the conditions for secularist and freedom of expression advocates worsen in Turkey.

12016?

By 12016 I mean this year, adding 10,000 years to refer to the end of the last ice age, after revising my suggestion to consider the invention of writing as the turning point in historiography.

  1. Wor(l)ds in Danger, a column by Tarik Günersel
  2. Life is words in action, literature is action in words.
  3. Humans are about to destroy their spaceship Earth. Some of them are aware of this and they try to change the course of events. Will they succeed? Will more humans be alarmed and do something?
  4. Literature is vital and translators are messengers of world peace.
  5. Though I shall focus on the literary scene in Turkey and its problems regarding freedom of expression, I shall not omit the other parts of our planet. Today local is global and vice versa.
  6. Tarik Günersel
  7. Poet, playwright, actor, and director Tarık Günersel worked at Istanbul City Theater as a dramaturg.
  8. His works include Breaths of Infinity (a mosaic of poems) and My 300th Birthday Speech (short stories). His Becoming consists of his aphorisms and various ideas from world wisdom.
  9. His plays include Billennium, Nero and Agrippina, Sociology of Shit, Threat and Virtually Yours. He has written four libretti for the composer Selman Ada: Ali Baba & 40, Blue Dot, Forbidden Love, and Another Planet. His translations into Turkish include works by Arthur Miller, Samuel Beckett, Vaclav Havel and Savyon Liebrecht. His presentation of World Poetry Day to PEN International in 1997 led to its adoption by UNESCO. As the former president of PEN Turkey Center he was elected to PEN International Board in Tokyo from 2010 to 2012. In 2013 he initiated the Earth Civilization Project with the collaboration of several intellectuals from around the planet.

Terrorized Territories?

Everywhere on planet Earth—including the poles—is being terrorized. The polar bears are terrorized, too. Please see Climate and Capitalism, an online ecosocialist journal.

People in big cities are terrorized, especially in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States.

In Turkey we have recently been officially warned that we should refrain from walking in crowded places or commuting by bus because five cars full of bombs are waiting to be detonated.

Blast in Istanbul

The recent blast in Istanbul killed ten German tourists and the suicide bomber. Germany has declared that he has not yet been identified.

The Turkish authorities say that it was an ISIS member who exploded himself, killing ten other people and wounding many.

ISIS keeps executing in the name of God. Just like the Inquisition did in the history of Christianity.

Sending arms to jihadists is a serious accusation. That is why the secular democratic journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül have been detained for now over two months. By “law,” they can be kept in prison for five years and then released without having been found guilty!

Singer Leman Sam in Court

Last year the leading Turkish jazz singer Leman Sam sent a tweet referring to the custom of sacrificing animals on the Islamic Feast of Sacrifice. Her comment was that there was not a significant difference between beheading people and beheading animals. Both acts depend on faith. Accused of insulting believers, she was taken to court. There is no verdict yet.

A Leading University Under Fire

ODTÜ (the Middle East Technical University in Ankara) is well-known for its secularist and left-wing (pro-labor) trend among the students, METU has been under the attack of the (still Erdoğan led) AK Party government. Some fundamentalist students have recently claimed that they lacked adequate prayer space at the university. Apparently, it was a provocation: There are a number of prayer rooms for Sunni Muslims and even a mosque. President Erdoğan and “his” (de facto) government accused the head of the university. I suspect they want to transform a progressive university into an obedient one.

Saudi America

The US strategy of trying to get rid of the secularist regimes in the Middle East has been fatal, as Huntington advocated. Looking at things from Turkey, there is an unofficial federation which I call “Saudi America.”

Saudi Arabia has spent about 130 billion dollars in the past few years on exporting the Wahabi version of Islam.

A lot of propaganda material is available on YouTube with Turkish subtitles and other languages.

Academics

More than 1100 academics have recently signed a declaration against the government’s use of the military in Southeast Turkey. They have been threatened by President Erdoğan: “Why don’t they mention the PKK terror? They are traitors!”

Some academics have been taken to court. They all might lose their jobs, never again to be eligible to work in a government institution.

A group of nationalist academics signed a different declaration, emphasizing the PKK terror and the unity of the Republic of Turkey.

Then a third declaration appeared: 610 academics led by Prof. Dr. Ayşe Buğra defend freedom of expression, bypassing the content.

Imprisoned Journalists

The Board Members of PEN Turkey Centre joined the protesters in front of the Silivri Prison against the imprisonment of the journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül. Let’s hope that they will be released before my next column.

Silivri is a town close to (and farther and farther away from) the European Union.

About the Author

Poet, playwright, actor, and director Tarık Günersel worked at Istanbul City Theater as a dramaturg. His works include Breaths of Infinity (a mosaic of poems) and My 300th Birthday Speech (short stories). His Becoming consists of his aphorisms and various ideas from world wisdom. His plays include Billennium, Nero and Agrippina, Sociology of Shit, Threat and Virtually Yours. He has written four libretti for the composer Selman Ada: Ali Baba & 40, Blue Dot, Forbidden Love, and Another Planet. His translations into Turkish include works by Arthur Miller, Samuel Beckett, Vaclav Havel and Savyon Liebrecht. His presentation of World Poetry Day to PEN International in 1997 led to its adoption by UNESCO. As the former president of PEN Turkey Center he was elected to PEN International Board in Tokyo from 2010 to 2012. In 2013 he initiated the Earth Civilization Project with the collaboration of several intellectuals from around the planet.

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