Turkey in a bad science fiction thriller

Turkey in a bad science fiction thriller

Belgin Akaltan - belgin.akaltan@hdn.com.tr
Turkey in a bad science fiction thriller

People wait behind a police barricade near the Sur district of Diyarbakır on February 3, 2016. AFP Photo

I wish I lived in a peaceful, peace-loving and serene country with peaceful, peace-loving and tranquil people. With no wars going on in the region, with no war-like clashes going on in towns, with no planes shot down because of airspace violations of 17 seconds. But, as luck would have it, it is just the opposite here, in Turkey, on this February day in the year 2016. 

Like a horror movie or a science fiction plot that is hard to believe, we are sadly living with a mindset as if we were in the medieval times with the technical means of the 21st century. 

I work in a modern office; I live in a modern home; I drive a good car (well, for me, it is good); my husband and I have good jobs, our son has graduated school and is about to begin a good career, our city Istanbul is full of problems but it is one of the most beautiful and characteristic cities in the world, it gives its residents pleasure and pain at the most unexpected moments…  

Sorry for the strange stream of thoughts this week… What I mean is we are blessed with the best of everything and it would take a lot of effort and extreme stupidity to ruin all this. And sadly, we are doing the latter. As I said in the title, like in a very poorly written science fiction scenario. 

The life we live here is nice. This part of the country is fine. There are other parts that are not fine and are in a war. People are dying over there. At the same time, there is a new wave of migration at our southern border. We are already hosting 2.5 million refugees. 

While writing, researching, reading, while looking up, sending and receiving information, while communicating, I have limitless means, an endless variety, but at the same time I am expected to think and act according to certain religious values that are not necessarily suitable for this century. Somehow our advancement has stopped there. Nobody feels the need to update our religious references. Nor have we ever reviewed and upgraded our nationalistic, security and military references… We keep going back to the tried and failed methods…  

At the same time, I cannot write what I exactly think because of several reasons. Even asking for peace has become dangerous in these times. So maybe I can only dream of peace… 

Severe clashes are going on at the southeast of my country. How many times we have seen this over and over again? This time I have a son who has reached the age of compulsory military service; he will be asked to shoot and kill a brother when he is drafted. 

I’m sorry for the rambling thoughts of my head, but this has also brought something else to my mind. You will remember that there was a time when Israel was bombing the hell out of Gaza, killing civilians… The whole world, including Turkey, was protesting because of civilian deaths and the use of unproportioned force. We were outraged. We were angry; we were sorry for Gaza. The reason Israel was attacking Gaza was “terror.” I was curious what the “clever people” in Israel were thinking.  Were they not seeing what was going on? 

Then somebody, a former classmate, wrote from Israel saying that this was all self-defense and it was because of terror. She had two sons serving in the Israeli army. 

I think, now, I am that person. 

Here, now, maybe there is a slight difference. We at least know what is going on and we do not support it. Our hearts are bleeding. But, it is very limited what we can do.

Very limited...