The state of affairs in my country

The state of affairs in my country

In our country, we lose track of events if we don’t watch the newscast for three hours. I took three weeks off to distance myself from the news. 

I have not looked at social media, TV, or wherever hot news there was, because if a journalist cannot put some distance between herself and the incidents, then at some point a collapse is inevitable. Adopting the problems of others as your own outweighs your strength. 

I do not have adequate experience on Turkey because of my age and also because of my background. I lack past experience to say, “Sept. 12 was like this but not to this extent” or “Sept. 12 was worse.” Even though what I have read and what I have listened to have drawn a picture in my head, it is different to have lived in that era. For this reason, this is my first “tough Turkey” experience.  

Like everybody else, I turn right, then I turn left, and nothing fits. Desparation, hopelessness, concerns and fear invade my soul. 

When I said I was staying away from the country’s political situation for three weeks, there were things that happened in the meantime that you couldn’t keep out even if you wanted to. On the very same week I opted to stay away, possibly the most terrifying developments of the past months occurred. In the operation conducted against daily Cumhuriyet, all those senior people, all those colleagues and friends of mine who since the very first day I joined this profession I have shared so much with, were detained or arrested. They were referred to as “terrorists” and charged with “aiding terror.”  

Journalists are like a family. If one is hurt, the other also feels the pain, especially if it is unjust and unfair. 

These incidents not only affected journalists but also those who are trying to do their jobs, wounding their pride, wiping away the last shred of belief in justice.  

As if that was not enough, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies, a political party that millions of people have voted for “to represent them,” were arrested on terror charges. This question has been asked a millions times – there is no harm in asking again, “Is this a democracy?”

No, of course this is not a democracy.

Well then, what regime are we living in? 

A realtor was explaining, “Everybody has put their houses up for sale. When they are on sale all at once, then there is no demand for them. This time, they want to rent it out and leave the country.” 

Everybody around me has no hesitation about trying to leave the country; one out of three people have done it or are about to do it. 

Young people abroad are not coming back anyway. Young people here are looking for ways to leave the country for a school or a scholarship. 

Those who have little children are expressing their fears for the future over their children and are attempting to sell their assets; they are planning for a future in other countries.  

Can you blame them for their efforts when in Turkey one day a school principal bans girls and boys from sitting side by side and, on another day, a school administrator scolds girls for their skirt lengths, where primary schools are given teachers from religious schools, where there are attempts to incorporate religion into secular education?

Not only the middle class, even a taxi driver who works for 2,000 to 3,000 Turkish Liras a month, who has fought in Iraq and has been wounded several times, thinks this is too much for him; he is planning to take his mother to join his brother in Germany.  It is the same fearful sentences everybody utters: “A civil war will start. This place will be like Syria or Iran. Bombs will explode at every corner. Our end will be like the refugees sailing in the sea for a new life.” 

This is the worst-case scenario. When you ask what the good one is, everybody is silent. 

Our lives, even in our secluded zones, are surrounded with words such as “explosion,” “bomb,” “terror,” “war,” “operation,” “detention,” “prosecutor” and “judge.” It seems like if we take one step out of our zones, that whirlpool will also swallow us. 

Everything that we believed would not happen, has happened. 

If you say the survivors are good enough; really, are they good enough for this country?  

Will this country develop without talented people, without people being able to express their views freely, without people debating what is wrong and right and without the public being aware of what is going on?

Would that be a desirable place to live in? 

Of course not. One actually does not need to be old or have much experience to see this.