I grew up with an immense feeling of admiration and pride for the Turkish Armed Forces. My childhood and my youth years were filled with this feeling. During my executive years in the paper, I spent the utmost care not to use one ugly photograph of a Turkish soldier.
I have held leftist ideas since my high school years. I have been against military coups all through my life, but the place the Turkish army holds in my heart has always, and I mean always, been different. The consciousness brought by the region I am living in, plus the sentiment that was created in me and in my family because we immigrated to this land from the Balkans, made me love our army at all times.
I consider it above blame.
What about now… My feelings at the moment are chaotic. I wander with confused feelings that swing from one end to the other. On one hand, there is still the consciousness of this region; on the other side, my trauma.
I experienced the first major trauma in the incident of the memorandum concerning Cengiz Çandar and Mehmet Ali Birand. I am still recovering from the rage of being deceived.
This rage was followed by the things I learned in the past four or five years and the things that were revealed after this: Coup allegations, Internet memorandums and others.
* * *
And I have reached these days…
Unfortunately, the Turkish army is not the same old Turkish army in my eyes anymore. Those keen and active SAT commandos, those heroic kids with bandanas tied to their heads, the photos of whom, once upon a time, I selected with my own hands…
The heroes that finish a task in 10 minutes in Kardak… (The disputed island with Greece.)
Unfortunately, they are each a ghost for me now…
* * *
We have cluttered the Turkish army all over the place. They, some soldiers, that is, themselves, from inside…
With some mistakes they did, with those incredible mistakes… With conscious, unconscious, stupid things… Some others, from outside; they are conscious, with a hundred percent conscious strikes…
All together, we have beaten hollow one of the most successful armies of this century. They were not beaten at the front; they were beaten hollow at the barracks. For that heroic army, we even denied an honorable retreat.
We have reduced them to such a miserable state that they could not defend the secrecy of their most secret meetings. We all joined forces; some soldiers from the inside, some civilians from outside.
Some of them with the churlishness of, “I am a soldier, nobody can do anything to me,” and some others with the pretext of supposedly, “bringing democracy…”
We have defended our own army… We have defeated our own army. That same army was the pride of the brand-new nation fresh from its Liberation War. That army fought in Korea and returned decorated with medals.
That army, when world giants of the past century were falling apart against tiny nations, was able to accomplish an overseas operation in Cyprus despite all the impossibilities. That army was able to silence, at the beginning of this century, one of the strongest guerilla movements in the world. That army had put its signature to social campaigns fascinating other nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Somalia and Afghanistan.
Yes, that was our, our Turkey’s army.
We all together joined our forces and downgraded that army, even at the eyes of its Chief of General Staff personally, to a miserable community. Some of us might take a special pleasure from this.
I don’t. I am only in a deep sorrow.
Because of the region I live in, my family’s history, the land we left behind and the very near and very dangerous history in front of us that has started being written now, all tell me the same things.
This country still needs a strong army.
And at a moment when we need it the most, the soldier is trying to heal its wound with a gauze bandage in his hand.
One day, history will write today like this…