Late in the night I woke up screaming: “Selim!”
In the light of the incredible events that Turks have been going through since 2007 with Ergenekon, the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) case and other such matters, nightmares must be the norm for every “normal” person in this country of the tall, bold, bald man with all executive, legislative and judicial powers.
“You exceeded yourself! Why are screaming the name of that man? What’s going on?” my wife Aydan joked, while she was half asleep.
“Nightmare … It was a horrible nightmare,” I responded.
She quipped, “I told you not to eat that much food before going to bed … You asked for it.”
After a glass of water, my pulse returned to normal, the anxiety subsided and I decided to send a note to my lawyer friend, Selim Sarıibrahimoğlu, and ask him why he didn’t come to my aid when I needed him. “Selim, where were you? I screamed your name when they were taking me away, but you didn’t come. I screamed your name when they were torturing and interrogating me, you were not there … It was a nightmare.”
The next morning Selim phoned. “Why are you sending me such messages in the middle of the night? Have you gone mad? What’s the matter with you?”
I explained to Selim the nightmare that woke me in the middle of the night with cold sweats. “We were talking with some friends. As always, I was not sparing my criticism of the man who is trying to become the absolute ruler. Apparently someone in the group betrayed our confidence and recorded everything, or somehow someone eavesdropped on our conversation. After we left the meeting, some plainclothes men abducted us. I was last detained in the early 1980s, and I sincerely believed that many things would have changed since then, however, the detention center, conditions, interrogation tactics and torture were all the same or even worse compared with before.”
Selim laughed… The ordeal you went through shows how you remember that you are living in an extraordinary country, through some extraordinary times. This is healthy my friend, but rather dangerous. Don’t let such phobias chain your ideas. Rest assured that I would immediately rush to your help wherever I am. How lucky I am to have friends like you…”
He then explained the background of developments within the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the upcoming convention and prospect of our friend from Yalova taking over the party leadership from Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu… “No way,” I said, but Selim apparently believed this was a possibility. I believed Kılıçdaroğlu will use the convention to cleanse a little bit more of the nationalist-Kemalist flank in the party. Will that be for the good of the CHP and Turkey? I doubt it, but it appears that this will happen.
Selim was not the best person to soothe me, but he was the one whose name I screamed for during my nightmare. Indeed, his words helped a lot. In the afternoon, my wife came back from her university, asking whether I returned to normality. I said Selim called and we spoke for a while, most of it on why the CHP was a “monster of a failure.”
My wife appeared satisfied, but I thanked God I screamed out Selim’s name and not that of a female friend… otherwise I would have been a martyr from a nightmare by now.
P.S.: It was so sad how our colleague James Foley was murdered in the hands of Islamist zealots, who the Turkish government so far has not condemned as a terrorist group. I am very much concerned over the fate of our 49 citizens in the hands of the same group.