My hometown has become ‘Martyrs’ Hill’

My hometown has become ‘Martyrs’ Hill’

I was born in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district. I used to walk to my primary school from home along Barbaros Boulevard. I have been living in Maçka, in Beşiktaş, for many years. People sometimes wonder where I am from. Some assume I am from the Aegean city of İzmir, but no, I am from Istanbul, from Beşiktaş. My hometown is exactly this place, Beşiktaş, where the two bombs exploded. 

The former name of the area where the bomb exploded was called “Beleştepe” which meant “Freeloaders Hill,” because you were slightly able to watch football games at the Beşiktaş stadium from the slope of the hill. Its name has now been changed to Şehitler Tepesi (Martyrs’ Hill). Take a tour around the hill, and you’ll find my neighborhood. These are the roads where I walk the most, the places I’ve lived in and the sidewalks that I’m familiar with, inch-by-inch.

 The two bombs went off in those places where I frequently take a walk on good day. One was 100 meters away from my home, while the other one was no more than a kilometer away.
In a powerful explosion that shakes the building, one normally throws oneself on the floor instinctively; I learned that that day, this past Saturday evening.  

Was I scared? Strangely, I was not quite scared. I am no longer scared. 

Well, the bomb went off very close to my house. If it had gone off during the day, maybe it would have exploded next to me while I was walking. I am more scared of writing a bad TV serial, or doing bad to somebody, like hitting a pedestrian with my car and breaking their leg, than dying from such a bomb. 

Apologies for my language but, would I be afraid of the … (Fell free to fill in the blanks with whatever insult you want) PKK? 

I laugh at their faces. Here I am, 100 meters away from the explosion, half an hour after the bomb went off, writing a comedy screenplay in my living room, whose windows were luckily not broken.   

I am not stopping my life. Just to counter those who have done these, I cling more to my work, friends, exercising and shopping for the new year. I recommend you do the same. 

Beleştepe was a fun name, just like our neighborhood. People would sit on top of that hill and watch the games for free. Now, with its new name “Martyrs’ Hill,” when asked, I will from now on say I am from there.

 One day, everything will be good. This neighborhood, this city and this country will regain its former joy. 

Believe me, this is not the first time. Even in my life, these streets, these avenues have seen so much… But it was life that always won in the end. I know this very well. 

Because this is my neighborhood, this is my hometown. 

Citizens are hand in hand 

Those very young riot police officers sacrificed their lives to stop a suicide bomber. After the attack, fans of different football teams, girls and boys together, young people came together to give messages of unity. 
Crowds made up of voters from different parties marched hand-in-hand against terror. For me, all these people are a family.

In other words, if it weren’t for those politicians who constantly fight with each other in parliament, who, to gain votes, accuse the opposition party of supporting terror; who declare that those who disagree with them are traitors, separatists, polarizers… 

If it weren’t for the party who could not directly say “Damn the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] terror,” who could not sign a very reasonable unanimous anti-terror declaration… 

If it weren’t for social media trolls and those other trolls who walk around pretending they are journalists, who insult, who accuse with maximum ignorance and lies, those who swear and target people… 

We realize that citizens actually have no problems with each other…

I bet if politicians pull themselves together, abandon their separatist language and if parties stop their social media trolls, it only will take only a few minutes for the PKK-TAK (Kurdistan Freedom Hawks), ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) and FETÖ (Fethullahist Terrorist Organization) to cry. 

We are in need of common sense in politics more than ever…