One cannot view culture as a trade

One cannot view culture as a trade

Calculating how much the state/government spends on culture is a mentality I cannot understand.

The state/government should spend money on culture and it must spend money on culture!

It is culture and art that prepares young generations for the future.

Those who cannot recognize this truth will feel remorse in the face of future generations.

Former President Süleyman Demirel emphasized the value of the Turkish Republic in a speech at the opening ceremony of his museum over the weekend.

The foundation of the Republic is culture.

Everybody except those with amnesia would remember how much money the state invested in art and culture during the founding years of the republic.

Another issue that I don’t understand is the fact that politicians only evaluate other politicians in terms of political platforms. If there is someone who remembers a politician that criticized his predecessors from a cultural point of view, please inform me.

I suggest to present-day politicians that the preceding generation should be an example for them on this issue. Mere ideological and political challenges limit a person’s vision. They imprison people in a vicious circle from which they cannot escape.

Today, everybody should ask themselves what would have happened if there was no republic and try to determine the answer!

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Had it not been for the republic, a village boy from İslamköy, where Demirel was born, could not have advanced step by step and become the president.

Had it not been for the republic, village children could not have ventured beyond the borders of their village; there would not have been Village Institutes; and there would not have been a “village literature” composed by those that were educated in these institutes.

Had it not been for the Republic, there would have been no “Halkevleri” (People’s Houses); a generation would not have been able to read books from literature to theater plays and their aesthetic tastes would not have developed.

Had it not been for the republic, polyphonic music would have stayed within narrow spheres and wouldn’t have been disseminated to larger masses.

Had it not been for the republic, young musicians sent on state scholarships would not have been able to work with the best musicians of Europe.

Had it not been for the republic, our painters and sculptors would not have been able to go to the West or Europe to develop their talents.

They did go, and on their return, they showed a genuine effort to develop the republic on a cultural level.

Musicians composed folk songs and made us like them.

Our painters reflected Anatolia on canvas.

You need to know this generation with strong faith.    

Politicians are valuable for me to the extent of the importance they attach to culture and art.

Let me give you some examples.

The picture I like the most about the republic’s second president, İsmet İnönü, is the one in which he is
posing with performers Suna Kan and İdil Biret. Celal Bayar, another former president, would make his foreign guests listen to Leyla Gencer, our only diva at that time.

The Democrat Party government used to send the masters of Turkish music to the Arab countries, like Mesut Cemil.

One day the director of the Beyazıt Library, Muzaffer Gökman, went to Ankara to the prime ministry. He went to the prime minister’s private secretary without taking any prior appointment and said he wanted to speak with PM Adnan Menderes. Menderes immediately saw him, said yes to his request for an additional building and, after a couple of phone calls, provided a building for the library.

Once Yıldız Kenter, a prominent female theater player, asked for an appointment from Demirel’s secretary. Demirel’s answer was simple. “She does not need an appointment; she should come whenever she wants and we’ll meet.”

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New generations should think of these gains and make efforts to avoid losing gains that were acquired with such difficulty.