[21st July 2016] It was something that I still know by heart because I thoroughly memorized it when I was young. Over the last few days, I, too, have been receiving various messages of anxiety and emotional support from international friends and colleagues, including oblique queries, between the lines, about where I might stand. The following has been my standard response.
Hi (X). Many thanks for your concern, and sorry for not replying earlier, but these last
five days have been extremely hectic, and tense, and sleepless, as you might imagine.
Now, though, our initial rush of adrenaline is subsiding, and we are back on a more
normal sort of daily routine.
We are all, of course, jubilant over the defeat of the coup (if it had succeeded, I probably would not be here writing these lines), as well as over the role played by the many millions of people who took to the streets to demonstrate against a mélange of Gulenist and Ataturkist plotters. Even then, you cannot believe just how much, as Wellington said after Waterloo, it was“a damned serious business (…) the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life.” If I had only been twenty years younger, not more, I would have liked to be among the waves of ordinary citizens who advanced bravely against and eventually surmounted the tanks blocking the Bosphorus bridge. Of course, since I am almost at the limit of my Biblically allocated “three score years and ten,” and not very fit or agile either, this is rather dubious bravado. Instead I have had to content myself with writing several articles (for our Serbestiyet collective), as well as signing at least two public statements in support of that truly heroic mass movement (by far the biggest and most vibrant that I have ever witnessed, and that includes Hrant Dink’s silent, solemn 2007 funeral).
As for what the future might bring, I am hopeful that the democratic solidarity so far displayed by all four political parties in parliament will continue to grow and flourish, creating a firmer foundation for a more consensual, less polarized politics. Whether that is the case or not, I am likely to stand by the legitimacy of democratically elected civilian government at every turn, and also to be critical of every misstep by the AKP. Need I add that we are also disgusted by the hypocritical reporting of the NYT, the BBC, and most other Western media — which seem to have been hoping that the junta would actually come to power? I don’t know if you have noticed, but the least that can be said is that they were portraying it all along as a struggle not between militarism and democracy, but between “Erdoğan’s supporters and opponents.”
Well, anyway. Sorry to have carried on for too long. Much, much love from all of us. — Halil.