Police chief calls Gülse Birsel, urgently

Police chief calls Gülse Birsel, urgently

I had just reviewed some texts for my new book. I had fallen asleep in the early hours of the morning. I woke up around noon. 

Both of my phones were about to burst! I had been called from the same number about nine or 10 times. My assistant, daily Hürriyet’s Human Resources Department texted me, many times: “Gülse Hanım, the Director of Istanbul Provincial Security Department wants to talk to you urgently.”

“Wow,” I said to myself. “This is it. They are taking me.”

I cannot think of any other reason, but there should not particularly be a reason either. They might not have liked something I wrote. Somebody could have been annoyed by one sentence of mine and filed a criminal complaint, this or that… If you are writing in the paper, then you have to be ready for anything. 

While I was washing my face and reviewing the text messages, thoughts crossed my mind: “Probably they will ask for my statement. What was the most recent detention period? Was it 72 hours? How much was it?” I did not even panic. I thought, “I better pack a small bag.” I started planning that I probably need to call them and learn what issue they were asking for my statement and then find a lawyer and get ready for a visit. The reason I started planning without any panic was that there was no policemen at the door to frog march me (at least for the time being).

Meanwhile, I am wondering whether this is about my new unpublished book. As a matter of fact, we have even heard sentences such as “A book is sometime more dangerous than a bomb.” But my book is humor from beginning to end, guys. Well, whatever. 

I called the number given to me. 

They immediately connected me to the Istanbul Police Chief. He, Mustafa Çalışkan, was on the phone and he said, “How hard it is to reach you.” I experienced an instant Mata Hari pride but on the other hand I was thinking, “This means it was hard for them to find the address and right now the police is about to enter the apartment.” Then the police chief continued, “I called you to congratulate you for your piece the other day.” 

Excuse me? 

He liked my piece titled, “I do not stop life!” He said something like, “Terror is trying to change our life anyway; we should not let this happen.” I welcomed his good words, and then we hung up.

Now, in a normal world, if a normal writer is told one morning, “You have an urgent call from the city police chief,” what would she/he think? Either some support would be requested for a social responsibility project, or some wrong information in a story would be corrected, or otherwise, I don’t know, a column would be congratulated. What else can it be, right? 

But here, we are in a Turkey that has been molded differently in these recent years. Nothing is normal. There is no positive or sweet recollection whatsoever of any journalist, any writer or any artist related to the police or the justice in these past years. If the new government after the elections starts revising this catastrophic mess in the country, they can just as well start from saving the poor writers and intellectuals of the country from constantly keeping a body guard and a lawyer close by and a packed suitcase at the entrance of their homes…

We will see who is who  

Following the last elections, everyone is pointing at the other for the responsibility of the coalition talks’ failure and making us have to hold these “repeat” elections. 

Nobody is taking responsibility or paying the price of this interim period where we have lost a lot of money, a lot of time, stability, hope and even a piece of our fraternity. 

Now, here is an opportunity for you, my dear political parties. 

Most probably, one-party rule will not come out of the elections and coalition talks will start again.

Go and make a coalition and function. We will then better understand who is who. 

Everybody actually has an idea who is eager to reconcile and rule the country and who is seeking a different “lonesome” rule. 

But again, here is a second chance for your party and its image for the coming years. 

Bring it on!