What about after Turkey’s referendum?
To quote the lyrics of the popular 1979 song by superstar Ajda Pekkan: “What about afterward? What will I do after you? They years will pass mercilessly.” Later on, Pekkan sings that “there will always be tomorrows after todays.”
These words should be kept in mind these days in Turkey.
With everyone yelling “yes” or “no” ahead of the April 16 referendum on constitutional changes, I’m completely fed up with politics. I’ve lost interest in all debates and have decided to only watch films.
I have come to a radical conclusion: It does not interest me a bit whether “yes” or “no” wins the referendum. Really, it does not interest me. What interests me is what will happen after the vote. Will we continue to be polarized at this speed, building up more tension and continuing to be so aggressive?
We are all in serious trouble if the yea-sayers and naysayers keep accusing each other of being “sold out,” “bootlickers,” “terrorists,” “dishonest” and even “traitors.” We are in trouble if people keep posing for pictures with weapons captioned “We’re waiting for the naysayers,” and if the number of arsonists and vandals keeps multiplying.
We will be in trouble regardless of whether “yes” or “no” wins.
Regardless of whether the administration becomes democratized or becomes more authoritarian; regardless of whether there is an economic crisis or whether the entire 80 million population becomes rich, after the referendum we will all have to still live together here.
You will be meeting your no-voting neighbor, your yes-voting brother-in-law, and your undecided cousin. Every weekend you will continue to go on picnics together.
No-voters will not leave the country; neither will yes-voters.
Indeed, as Pekkan sung, “there will always be tomorrows after todays.” You will have to meet, work with, talk to, sit side-by-side with, salute and tolerate people with all kinds of views.
This is true for all of us. If we adopt fanatical behavior during the campaign period, if we become aggressive and turn this into a football derby, the song tells us that years will pass mercilessly: “Loneliness will set in / Regrets will pour in.”
For this reason I’m warning politicians, the media, the trolls, those who are manipulated, and those who are ordinary citizens like myself: Please don’t succumb to this behavior.
You are not facing an enemy. You are facing your own citizens, who you would embrace if you ever came across them in a foreign country. You would still ask them “Oh, are you Turkish?” before going into a warm chat, asking for directions, or advice…
There are no “traitors” here. There are only those who like or dislike the constitutional draft.
Be reasonable, logical, calm and polite. God has given us wisdom. Use it from time to time. Think in the long terms. And don’t look away when I’m talking to you!
Back when Pekkan’s song was first popular, Turkey was bitterly split between “leftists and rightists.” I saw it with my own eyes. I was only very young but I have a habit of keeping bad memories. I don’t want any more such memories.
So right now there are yea-sayers and there are naysayers. What about after the match?