Who is seeking this ‘Restoration?’
“The restoration movement that has been continuing for the last 12 years will continue,” said Ahmet Davutoğlu during the meeting where he was proclaimed Turkey’s new prime minister. At that moment, I felt like I heard all the people in the country ask each other, “What will continue?”
I think it was the first time the word “restoration” was ever used by a Turkish politician. “Restoration” is the British Renaissance of the 1660s, when there was the advent of theater and the first appearance of women on stage. There is another “restoration” period that occurred in Germany during the 1850s, which was horrific! The rights and liberties of people were restricted and the monarchy ended up establishing an oppressive system.
“Restoration” literally means “to establish again.” I do not know what Davutoğlu means to reestablish, but as I am a person with good intentions and Davutoğlu is a Boğaziçi University graduate, therefore familiar with English, I am guessing he was referring to the British Restoration, which implies a “bright and progressive” period.
You should be afraid of the word ‘restoration’ in Turkey
Because for us, the word “restoration” means repairing a historical building, we tend to have a negative view as the results end up being awful.
Byzantine walls covered with concrete, mosaics covered with blue plastic paint, Ottoman mosques with plastic window frames and so on… I guess that’s the reason for my anxiety when I hear the word “restoration!” That’s why, while congratulating Davutoğlu, I will explain what I am expecting from a restoration in the country or of a historical artifact:
- Restoration is a meticulous sensitive job, done by those who know what they are doing with the consultation of experts on the subject. The originality, the geography and the culture of the restored subject should be respected. The healthy parts should not be touched. They are cleansed and protected. The missing parts are completed without ruining the integrity. If the restored structure is built through the generations, every brick laid by the old masters are valued and therefore, this diversity is respected in view of the needs and conditions of the time.
If Mr. Davutoğlu has read up to this point and he is truly referring to change and evolution in this country with the word “restoration,” I will also tell him my demands.
- Our economic growth was good, but it was also problematic. Shall we restore an environment where there is more income equality, where there are less shopping malls and where agriculture is emphasized?
- What about encouraging people to get energy from the wind or sun and teach them to make their own bread instead of donating food and coal? Both their honors and the environment would be restored.
- Shall we restore democracy and human rights in accordance with the most advanced Western democracies? That would be good.
- Shall we restore the inner peace of Alevis, Gezicis, homosexuals, girls with mini-skirts and burkas, leftists and rightists, the people who pay their taxes, who don’t commit crimes but still think “Am I the other?”
- Wouldn’t a country with a restored sense of humor and justice, that laughs at sentences such as “You are mimed,” “I am being wiretapped,” “You are not allowed to work here due to favoritism,” “The exams are rigged,” sound good?
- Shall we take lessons from the war in the Middle East that didn’t leave a historical building intact and recognize what a fabulous thing secularism is and restore the deformed parts of it?
- Shall we restore freedom of the press, which is currently in ruins, and the equality of men and women, which was always left half-constructed?
- Shall we bulldoze the polarization and restore the fraternity of this nation?
- But, let’s not allow our hearts to become obsessed with statements on religious generations, the women who shouldn’t laugh, etc. Let’s stop returning back to those subjects. Let everyone do whatever they want.
If the things I have written above do happen, I would call that a “Restoration,” I would call that “an honorable walk, shoulder to shoulder.”
Finally, Mr. future prime minister, they should really properly restore the historical artifacts.