White Turks, black Turks and Kurds too

White Turks, black Turks and Kurds too

BELGİN AKALTAN - belgin.akaltan@hdn.com.tr
White Turks, black Turks and Kurds too There are no white Turks, just as there are no black Turks either. Don’t believe what others say. Believe me. There are people who call themselves “black Turks,” thinking they are making sense but they are not making any sense at all. They are only trying to make you feel sorry for them. Don’t fall into that trap. Don’t feel sorry for them. They use that sentiment and step on it to rise above all of us, later to step on all of us.  

There are also some people who call some others “white Turks” in a condescending manner. “Black Turk” is an offshoot of this condescending approach. It is the declaration of being a certain type of a loser; someone who has a rural background, with non-educated parents, who has recognized and resents the gap between himself/herself and the other big city kids at school… They hate this other group and inflate hatred for them in society in their future lives…   

The best way to let this steam off is to be anti-white by inventing artificial concepts like “black Turk.” But I don’t think anybody is buying it anymore. 

On the other hand, there are Kurds, our “mountain Turks,” whose existence was denied for many years.

Here is an entry from ekşi sözlük, the most popular website in Turkey. Its writer’s username is “ginger root,” the title: “voting for hdp.” The HDP is the Peoples’ Democratic Party, the political party focusing on the Kurdish issue. 

The writer said, “It is not easy for me, actually, to vote for the HDP. I mean, until very recently, it was so.” 
“Ginger root” wrote: “I am 30 years old. I am from the Aegean. I am Turkish. I guess I am from the group of what they call white Turk. I attended a private school; I speak a couple of foreign languages… Sometimes, they call us city slickers but this is how it is; I was born into this… 

“For the first 25 years of my life, I have not met any Kurds, in the real sense. There were no Kurds where I lived. They were not in my hometown, not in my school… They were not in my social environment. What could I do? They were not… 

“The first Kurd I ever met in my life was named Türk. I was in vacation in Spain with my friends. Because of the non-smoking rooms in the hotel, I had to go outside to smoke. In the middle of the night, I went down in my track suit. Normally my lighter would be [on me]. But it was not. An old man with a Del Bosque mustache was on the other side of the door. I approached him and asked him in Spanish if he had a light.

‘Here, son,’ he answered in Turkish. ‘Aaa,’ I said, ‘Are you Turkish?’ He said, ‘No, I am Kurdish.’ ‘Well, you are Turkish, right? From Turkey,’ I asked. ‘No, son. I am from Turkey but I am Kurdish,’ he said. I said, ‘Aaa, amca [uncle] how does that happen? How come?’ I was 23. And who do you think I was talking to? The Democratic Society Party (DTP) chair Ahmet Türk. I guess he was the last man in Turkey to who you would make this comment…”

“Well, he did not beat me up, this uncle. He invited me for tea, we sat in the lobby… He was Kurdish but he looked so much like my older uncle. He did not look like a Kurd, any Kurd I knew of. Well, I had never seen a Kurd in my life. I only saw ones on TV and they were all terrorists from Diyarbakır... 

“He said he was here to attend the European Socialist International…do I know of it? No I said. He said they were invited to make a speech: ‘We wanted to talk about freedoms as a party. Nobody hears our voice in Turkey; we thought we should at least speak here. But the schedule was tight we were not able to talk. We are returning, having done nothing.’ When he mentioned freedoms and stuff, I shuddered. I was afraid… I thought maybe this nice guy was a bit too problematic to be seen sitting together with. I made up an excuse, said good night, wished him a nice trip back and went back to my room.” 

“He gave me his business card. He told me to call him if I was in his town and he would treat me to a meal, specifically liver. I looked at his business card: Ahmet Türk. After I parted from him I realized then who he was; otherwise, would I have asked such stupid questions? 

“The other Kurd I met when I was 25 was the sweetest, cutest, most beautiful and sexy girl from Diyarbakır who was doing her master’s degree at one of Istanbul’s best universities. I met her in a seminar. I thought I was complimenting her when I said, ‘Hey, you don’t look like a Kurd at all. You are so sweet and so nice…’

She snapped at me ‘Well, I am hiding my tail. Did you not hear about it yet?’ That was a one good fine correction… [There are people, even today, who believe Kurds have tails.] We saw each other for a while and when things started getting serious, my first job was to ask someone I knew to look for her criminal record…

I was an imbecile, I told you. I was raised this way and plus, I was an idiot. I did not know of the concept of freedom… School, education, university, etc…They do not really make you aware of such things; you have to live, suffer and by understanding other sufferers, by drawing lessons from pain, that’s how you learn life…” 

 “Ginger root” wrote many more memories: nice, funny and very realistic ones of a white Turk before enlightenment. This guy was enlightened at Gezi Park incidents when he was beaten, gassed and chased by police and shown as a terrorist by certain media outlets… 

Maybe I have told you many times, my enlightenment was in Kosovo, when the Turkish state was tellig the Turkish community in Kosovo to never give up their constitutional rights, their language, their education in their mother tongue… Excuse me, WHAT? They were arresting the Kurds here in Turkey who were demanding exactly the same rights. 

Our state seemed to change position and character once it stepped outside the Turkish border at Edirne… Well, well, well, don’t I like this integrity? 

Why did I start talking about white Turks and black Turks, and Kurds too? I don’t remember… Did anybody mention black Turks this week?