Are you aware of the danger?

Are you aware of the danger?

It is like we are living on top of a powder keg ready to explode at any moment.

Even the slightest disagreement suddenly turns into a serious and bitter debate. Nobody is listening to anybody else. We all look as if we are ready to fight at any moment; we are ready to snap.

This has become a social disease and it is stemming to a great extent from Turkey’s political atmosphere.

The polarization of society over vote calculations is threatening social peace, causing tension and fights in our daily lives.

As if those who are running the country are not aware of this at all, they come up with new reasons for polarization. Let alone assuming that half of the country doesn’t exist, they act as if they want to eliminate it completely.

I received a letter from an academic working in a university somewhere in Anatolia. For obvious reasons, the name and any reference to their identity have been deleted.

I hope our leaders read this and take it as a warning on how Turkish society is slowly turning into a powder keg.

Here is the letter:

“In fear, I’m writing to you in my capacity as an academic in Anatolia. This is not discussed in the country’s topics. It is not covered by local newspapers because the administrators and editors of local papers are contacted and the stories are obstructed. However, in many small towns, in Anatolian cities, at rural universities, there is an accumulated and dangerous energy ready to explode. 

“I’m talking about our students. The tension is scary. The recent Süleymen Shah Tomb operation and the killing of Fırat Çakıroğlu further escalated the tension.

“Some days, some departments of our university cancel evening classes and evacuate the building. Those classes that are scheduled to end around 11 p.m. instead end around 9 p.m. or even earlier. In a way, the heads of departments are trying to save themselves. The early end to classes is not done even by official communication; rather, deans and directors walk around and visit classes asking us to finish and leave the building.

“During classes, academics give lessons in fear. Especially in social sciences classes, the obligation to be careful when citing examples has turned into a nightmare.

“Some students, some from a political party, record classes. Indeed this may be fine, but fear and concern lead to the erosion of science. 

“Academic advisors to student clubs can be involved in activities that endorse the Justice and Development Party’s [AK Party] policies. I encourage my students to read the papers and ask them about what is happening in Turkey and the world. It has been only a couple of weeks since the semester started, but I am already losing control of those debates when students utter violent words to each other.

“We do not provide the best of education anyway. Frankly, we are providing a bad education. But now we are also being distanced from giving lectures with universal content.

“When answering students’ questions, if you knew how we bend the concepts you could write a whole book of. It would surely be a bestselling humor book, but probably only ‘white Turks’ would laugh at it.

“It might be easy to criticize the ‘powerful’ in Istanbul, but the story in the provinces is quite different.”