Nobody can tear me from this country
Nowadays, everybody is talking about “leaving.”
The first plan I made for myself in life was leaving. Since my childhood, I always wanted to leave places; to live like I had no roots and never to form any roots.
I did go away. I went to every place I could go; sometimes for six months, sometimes for a couple of years. For many years, I regarded every place as a stopover. If anybody had told me at those times that I would finally be stuck in Turkey, I would have committed suicide!
Well, life is not to be learned from books. All those routes I drew for myself from novels with plane tickets and railroads brought me to Istanbul. Again, I never thought of settling. I didn’t know then that people do not take root in places but rather in people. Well, I took root in people here.
Those roots now are joined to each other, in such a way that I cannot pull out and separate the ones that belong to be. Now, I am like those trees in tropical islands that have eight trunks.
I learned here to leave life to its flow. This place has taught me that I cannot control everything. I did not make plans; I took roads randomly. I was not judgmental toward myself, and this has taught me to not be judgmental toward others.
In this country, I learned to believe in people. All people who have a brain in their head are capable of learning more than they know and all who have a heart in their chest are capable of feeling much more than they assume. I learned this from people I met here – mostly from volunteers who moved heaven and earth to defend the rights of others.
If I had continued to live without interpenetrating anywhere and anyone, if I had not taken root in this place so full of pain, I would not have learned any of this.
This country has taught me to feel the pain of others as my own pain, to accept the victory of others as my own victory, that people can be people only when they do things for each other.
I made my biggest mistakes here. I cried in stairwells, sometimes I lost the ones I loved the most; sometimes I was given a second chance; sometimes very beautiful, flowery roads were opened ahead of me. Sometimes I apologized 50 times a day; sometimes I couldn’t do it.
But I have seen the biggest mercilessness, evil, cruelty, lies and hypocrisy here. What I witnessed did not make me the best person in the world, but they made me try to be a better person. I learned here to harmonize with change of all kinds, to fight, to not accept being the victim, to laugh at what I cried for, to pay prices…
I am not equipped to move humanity forward. I cannot cure cancer or start a new era in space science. That’s why I cannot consent to leaving this land altogether…
As long as I am here, I know my place; I know that I and a few friends similarly as silly as me are not sufficient to pull this country from the quicksand. But maybe the voice of these couple of people can shoulder some other heads; I may be able to share the pain or joy of a group of people…
For this reason, no matter what Nov. 1 brings, no matter what kind of bloodshed my country encounters, I am here.
Let alone leaving the ship, if things come to that stage, I am ready to drown in the deepest cabin of the ship, because I did not find myself in this country, I became myself in this country. Even for this reason alone, I owe this to this place and to its people of all colors.
Whoever said, “One person less or one person more, it does not make a difference,” is terribly wrong.
Hopelessness is the most fatal of all diseases.
We, here, will multiply one by one like this.