The wedding crashers

The wedding crashers

Let’s admit it, everyone loves a little gossip about weddings, especially about the high and mighty ones. As a child I remember how I was glued to the TV screen during the Lady Diana -Prince Charles Wedding. Much of this is about what to see, who to expect, etc. Most of it though, if you leave it to women, is about the dress, the hair or the turban; very little is about the groom, (Sorry guys).

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Mrs. Emine Erdoğan have an empty nest now. Their only single daughter, Ms. Sumeyye Erdoğan, who is known to be very outgoing, politically active, charming and almost a feminist, got married to a very respected young engineer, Mr. Selçuk Bayraktar over the weekend. And Turkey talked more about the 45-minute ceremony than any other wedding in recent history. Hey, there was the much publicized, much gossiped, TV stars Kenan İmirzalioglu and Sinem Kobal’s wedding on the same day and nobody seemed to care. That is why I miss the wedding pages of the NY Times.

To come back to the sober realities of Turkey, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) killed eight soldiers before the day of the wedding. Two officers died when their helicopter crashed, and there remains suspicions that it was possibly shot down. The mood on the streets was sad but not dark. Neighborhoods like Etiler and Bebek in Istanbul did not cancel their non-stop partying and drinking binges. The well-off in the secular neighborhoods of Nişantaşı or Bostancı did not run into their homes to read a bit of the Quran to calm their sorrow. No, nobody cared. Nobody but their families. 

And that is the ugly truth about our hypocrisy. Here is a question to all twitterati that got mad on Saturday.

You can type all you can on Twitter against the Joint Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and his presence at the wedding ceremony. But ask yourself, if Selçuk Bayraktar was getting married to another young woman and Gen. Akar were his best man, would you still be so critical about it?

Selçuk Bayraktar and his family have spent more time in places like Şırnak than all those who sit in the cafes of Istanbul and type about his marriage. His efforts to build an all-Turkish drone will be appreciated more in the days and years to come. Another surprising detail emerged in an article Barış Terkoğlu wrote on yesterday. According to Ret. Gen. Ahmet Yavuz, a family friend, Bayraktar’s father, Mr. Özdemir Bayraktar, and now the in-law of President Erdoğan, regularly visited the soldiers and officers jailed in Silivri during the Sledgehammer and Ergenekon trials. He personally went to the trials and greeted them during their release. 

Now here is a question to keyboard heroes: How many of us dared to do this? 

Gen. Akar’s presence at the wedding was not a problem until the General Staff made a written statement about “state protocol.” Let me note this: the wedding of a son/daughter of an elected person in high office IS NOT STATE PROTOCOL. State protocol means “state business.” That means international agreements, dinners, speeches, etc. Real state stuff. This wedding was a nice and modest event but not state protocol. A statement about a human gesture could have been more than enough.

Let Sümeyye and Selçuk be happy, for heaven’s sake. These two young souls do deserve our blessing.