My first call to the first Davutoğlu government

My first call to the first Davutoğlu government

If I were to use the academic language of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, I would say my criticism comprises one item only. But it does have two clauses, both of which include objections to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Article 1 Clause (a): It is not a good idea for writers to have secret sponsors.

The state, just as it patronizes the arts and artists, just as it provides incentives to cinema and theater, should also support literature and writers. If it is possible, however, this should be done without causing a stir about “What is happening up there?” in the literary world…

This year, for the first time, the Culture Ministry has granted money to 40 of the 290 writers who applied for assistance. However, there are literary persons who have responded to this support with concern. Are they not right?

There is nothing to be ashamed of. On the contrary, financing the writing world and patronizing the writer is a matter to be proud of.

But what is the point of hiding which book projects are supported with the public budget, which criteria are used, who is on the selection board, and how much money has been given to whom? There is no explanation for keeping secret both the judges and the literary pieces worthy of grants. It is pointless meddling. This service can be done transparently; if the ministry tries it once, it will see the advantages.

Article 1 Clause (b): It is not a good idea to nominate Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Winter Sleep” for an Oscar.

If you think it will win the Best Foreign Film Oscar just because it won the Palm d’Or at Cannes, then, oh my God!

There is neither a meaningful statistic to support this assumption, nor a serious parallel between the Cannes judges and Oscar judges in their understanding of art.

As far as I know, among the 66 Best Foreign Film Oscars awarded up to today, the number of those who have laughed at Cannes but were shunned at the Oscars is definitely a few times higher than the number of those who have grabbed both.

It is different, of course, if you think “Winter Sleep” is another “Black Orpheus” or “Cinema Paradiso,” or if you think it is equivalent to a “Life is Beautiful,” or to “Amour,” all of which are splendid, shocking and exceptional cinema revolutions. It depends on the flying capacity of your imagination.

After all, with the ministry’s linear logic, if “Winter Sleep” gets an Oscar, I will break my tooth. Even if it is in the short list of five films - even if it is in the nine-film-long list - I will eat my hat. 

If any of our films would make the long list, it would have been Yılmaz Erdoğan’s “The Butterfly’s Dream." It was magnificent, from the costumes to the lighting, the visual quality, the performances, the music and the story.

Instead of opting for being a tough competitor, why hold it with the tip of the finger? I hope Minister Ömer Çelik takes care of this wrong state of affairs in the new term.

Not really, general

Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel sent a message to the government through journalists at the Aug. 30 reception. The theme was the “resolution process.”

He said they did not know the road map and their opinion had not been sought yet. This could be true, but the military cannot have the right to complain about it through the media.

He mentioned "red lines," but in democracies it is only up to the governments to draw the red lines. The military does not and cannot have red lines separate from, or contrary to the government. If they do, then it is lack of order. The military knows best what this means.

What General Özel has done can be likened to a force commander communicating with the Chief of General Staff through the media. Constructing an open letter to the government that he reports to is a violation of the democratic army principles. It is contrary to the nature of civilian-military relations in democracies.

The kind of discord took place in the past, but it is seriously disturbing at the stage where Turkey has reached today. General, sir, please take note that this does not suit the care and stance that you have demonstrated up to now.