Is it possible for us to reconcile with each other?
The other evening, I delivered a speech in the southern Mediterranean tourism hub province of Antalya at Akra Barut Hotel’s grand hall for businessmen.
The theme of the speech, organized by the Antalya Industrialists and Businessmen Association, was “Is it a dream for us to make peace with each other now or is it still possible?”
When I landed in Antalya in the morning, this was the atmosphere: There were no tourists on the streets. People were in a very pessimistic mood about tourism.
The other day, a businessman committed suicide. This was the third businessman to commit suicide after the crisis that started with the shooting of the Russian plane. I have been told that there is concern that with the start of summer, suicides will occur again.
Every year, the start of the tourism season is celebrated on March 1 but this year, it was postponed to June 1.
Some hotels will not be opening at all; some other hotels will open only partially.
After listening to all this, I took the podium and started my speech like this:
“The picture is dark. We are facing a night. We are at each other’s throats. I have arrived here with very pessimistic feelings. But, a little while ago, I read President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s speech on secularism.”
“Most of you may not agree with me; maybe you will find me naïve.
“I do believe we will reconcile. Maybe it will not happen today or tomorrow.
“But we will absolutely reconcile, make peace.
“Because, it will not go on like this; it cannot go on like this; it should not….”
The white beret wearers
When Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was murdered, I had written that we should be careful about young people playing the popular game “okey” in coffeehouses. A liberal colleague called me every name in the book…
Did you see the man who went down to the pitch at a football match at Trabzon stadium and beat up the referee?
Now, papers are writing that the white beret wearers have become visible again, referring to the white beret of Hrant Dink’s murderer.
They had never ceased to exist… They were always present…
I am still saying the same thing: The coffee houses and okey halls where unemployed young people gather are factories producing white beret wearers.
I advise you to send your best sociologists, pedagogics and psychologists to these places.
Tourism companies in Antalya
From now on whoever wants to topple the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria will first have to think about which tourism companies to take down in Antalya.
The person who decides to shoot a Russian plane will have to calculate where the missile he has launched will fall in Antalya.
Those who set out to topple General Sisi in Egypt will have to calculate how many Turkish companies that have invested in Egypt he will topple.
Those who send rockets to the opposition in Syria will have to know how many of those rockets will fall on the Turkish town of Kilis.
Advice to Germans visiting Turkey
A German friend asked me, “If a German person speaks against President Erdoğan in Turkey, would he be in trouble?”
“Unless he insults him, nothing will happen,” I told him.
Then I also told him: “Be particularly careful about Twitter. Trolls are very closely monitoring it and they report anything immediately.”