Can we not have a mutual dream?
It is almost impossible for us to face each other anywhere merely as humans by removing all of our identities and labels.
I found myself while looking for the common points we share as a society in the two cities, the eastern provinces of Van and Adana. Whether we are Turkish or Kurdish, Sunni or Alevi, rich or poor, female or male, Eastern or Western, the lines between the groups get deeper as you go further along, in a time when people think they only share mutual interests with the section of society they think they belong.
The “Mutual Values of Turkey – Let’s Discover Our Collectives and Walk Together towards the Future” project first started as a personal dream by Doğan Holding Chair Begümhan Doğan Faralyalı, and turned into reality by starting the Mutual Values Movement (Ortak Değerler Hareketi), which takes initiative for various meetings.
The polling company KONDA did a World Values Survey (WVS) of Turkey. The outcome was interesting. Because no matter what our background or identity, the values we cared about and longed for were almost the same.
Recently, I joined the meeting of the Mutual Values Movement in Van.
I sat at a table formed of only women. First, each of us chose the values most important to ourselves and said why we chose them.
Later, we shared memories and wrote stories all together, and we received points each time our memories and stories overlapped.
While sharing the memories and the stories, we became so involved, we even forgot it was a game that had a winner.
The foremost value at our table was “neighborhood.” The memories and stories shared were either from our homes or neighborhood.
According to the research done in Turkey, 80 percent of the population say they “do not want to be a neighbor with those who vote for another political party.”
There were supporters from every political party in the room in Van. When all the prejudgment is taken away, I can say everyone in that room could be neighbors.
The other meeting was in Adana. I sat at a table with young people. The new generation’s social sensitivity showed itself immediately. Values such as justice, human rights, environment sensitivity and equality were the most spoken.
The stories came from school and work life. This table was also competitive; there were those who wanted to win the game. Many different things were spoken at the table but politics were never a subject.
After all, the language of politics often serves to separate and not unite. Our political climate does not offer us ground for our values to grow.
Being among the individuals of this society who possess different opinions, we only discuss and fret over our differences for quite a long time under the shadow of political ideologies.
In an environment like this, people may feel like they have nothing left in common with each other.
It made me feel very good to see it was not exactly like that in reality.
The goal of the Mutual Values Movement is to grow slowly and set a mutual dream in society.
Or maybe to remind us of the mutual dream of Turkey, which already exists but has been forgotten.