Turks in social media: We can’t stop smiling
BELGİN AKALTAN - firstname.lastname@example.org
DHA PhotoSocial media is wonderful. I have two quotes from social media for this week’s column. One is from Facebook; the other is from Ekşi Şözlük (Sour Dictionary), the most popular website in Turkey. It is also on social media that Turkish people are these days complaining that they cannot wide the smile from their faces. Indeed it’s true, we cannot stop smiling.
The first selection is from my friend, an activist and ex-journalist (actually, a journalist is always a journalist; one cannot be an ex-journalist) Ceylan Özerengin, who cannot work in her profession for known reasons.
Interpreting the message that Turkish voters gave in last week’s elections, she wrote that if a political party that received 6 percent of the votes in the previous general election then receives 13 percent four years later, the message should be understood well:
“I won’t write what the message is for other parties. I will try to evaluate the message given to the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party [HDP].”
“The ‘one-time, entrusted, temporary’ votes for the HDP, of which we do not know the percentage, came from all directions. It is obvious that these votes were cast to prevent the majority that could have made the presidential system possible.
“But there is also another reason: The voter said, ‘If you want a peaceful resolution, if you want peace, come, let’s do it together. Don’t take to the mountains. Don’t go to the powerful of the day. Don’t go to foreign supporters. Come to me. Persuade me. Actually, I have already been convinced up to a point. Now let’s go beyond this all together.’
“There cannot be peace and freedoms in one part of Turkey and oppression and cruelty in the other part. Let peace be everywhere, together with freedom and democracy. People, hand in hand, crossing an election threshold is the guarantee of a much more permanent and preservable peace.
“We have seen over the past 13 years how easily one can lose rights and freedoms granted from the top. Let us be happy, working hard together like ants. It may take a while, it may not happen overnight, but they cannot snatch it away from us so easily.
“Now it’s your turn to do what you need to do: Call for the laying down of arms. You have the power now to make this call. You should make good use of this opportunity, because we are behind you, supporting you. We are, all together, crossing into a different phase. You should make good use of this chance.
“Don’t rely on short term solutions bound to remain on paper. Go for the peace that is caressed in people’s hearts. The signature of us millions of people with no name is much more valuable.”
That unstoppable smile is on my face again…
Here is the second quote, from a writer of Ekşi Sözlük who goes by the nickname “bisi beyi”:
“I am Kurdish, a HDP voter, who volunteered as an election observer for ‘Vote and Beyond’ (Oy ve Ötesi) on June 7. I met other volunteers on the morning when I arrived at the school to which I was assigned. The seven other volunteers and our mobile lawyer were Turks born in the western cities of Turkey. Only one said he would vote for the CHP but wanted very much for the HDP to cross the threshold. The others said they would vote for the HDP.
“I don’t want to make this a long dramatic story and play with your feelings. But just know this: We are very aware that we were able to cross the threshold with the help of your one-time votes. You have sacrificed your vote and your party for peace in our country and to make a place for us in democratic politics. We will not forget this and we will never betray you.
“Before I forget, let me tell you this: After we finished work and after handing over the vote information to the district election board, as I was heading home I gave a lift to a tiny, quiet girl who was an observer for the HDP and who lived in the same neighborhood as me. I drove back with this extremely quiet girl, but on the road she spoke to me with a broad smile on her face. ‘We crossed the threshold with the votes of the Turks. I can’t believe it,” she said. You should have seen the light, the sparkle in her eyes as she said this. Peace was in this sparkle.
“Dear brother and sister, again, thank you very much. I hug and kiss all of you, young and old. This goes not only to the CHP voter who voted for the HDP, but also to the CHP voter who wished wholeheartedly for the HDP to cross the threshold, and to all other party voters who voted for the HDP or who wanted HDP to pass the threshold. Your hands carry the scent of peace.”
Well, I would also like to thank social media for letting us get to know the genuine feelings of such a person.
I keep on smiling. I can also see and feel the peace…