Thursday, January 17, 2008


January is one of those sad months for us. I can't begin with Mustafa Suphi and his 14 friends, even my parents were not born yet. Though mom used to transfer quotes from grandpa's stories about them during her own childhood, they are just a light shining in our far history for me.

It is not possible to count all we lost so far, better not to loose my self in the dark labyrinths of the history. The years we lived, witnessed our selves are hard enough to describe.

It was the first week of January 1976 when I get acquainted with death. Şükrü Bulut was a Hacettepe University Medical Faculty student murdered by fascist. It is not possible to forget how the news spread to all universities in Ankara, how thousands gathered, shouted slogans and walked after his coffin in respect and determination.

His name is one of the dozens which are still in my mind because his murder was the first after March 12th Military Memorandum. Fallowing years took so many from us that we are not able to remember all their names any more.

Sometimes memories of a death or funeral rush out from darkness. It is possible to remember every detail closing your eyes only for a second. It is not hard to remember everything from the marches sang to the routes fallowed but mind fail when it comes to names. I don't know why, may be because they were so many. So many that days came when the news begun to give numbers instead of names.

The dark forces, fascists couldn't satisfied with the murder of students, youth who was in love with their country and freedom. Mass murders are another story. Their bullets were/ are always hungry for the blood of our academicians, teachers, intellectuals too. Dr. Orhan Yavuz, Dr. Server Tanilli, Att. Doğan Öz, Dean Prof. Bedri Karafakioğlu, Dr. Necdet Bulut, Prof. Cavit Orhan Tütengil, Writer Ümit Kaftanoğlu were some of their targets.

So came and passed September 12th, 1980 Military Coup. But treacherous murders don't end. January is one of the months of loss. So many anniversaries we have to remember, so many we have to show respect in memories..

Last week it was young journalist Metin Göktepe's anniversary who found dead after his arrest at January 8th, 1996. His elder, writer and journalist Onat Kutlar lost his life a year before him, a bombing to The Marmara Hotel took his life at January 11th, 1995.

The day after tomorrow, January 19th people will meet at the same place, at the same time for Hrant Dink. Time made us accept the death of others but Hrant is so new. Journalist Hrant Dink was an Armenian origin citizen of Turkiye, editor of Turkish/ Armenian newspaper Agos, writer in many newspapers and defender of human rights and freedom of speech.

It is as only yesterday I learned his assassination from TV. Getting dressed in hurry and calling friends with my wounded arm in hanger, rushing to the area to meet the people mourning for him. One by one people from all ages gathering under the rain, night falling on the candles in their hands.

The lines in my note book; "I lost myself at the flame of the blue candle in my hand last night. I found myself at a peace conference 3 years back, then I step to an interview ten years ago. Than, suddenly; I realized the candle in my hand don't have only one flame, as if it has hundreds of reflections around it. And every single lightened candle, every single fading light, every single life shot behind I witnessed during the last 32 years passed in front of my eyes one by one. I wished our country's lights don't fade, dreams don't end any more. Gandhi said "God don't have religion", I wanted to shout "Does humanity have nationality?" Mercy and grace upon you Hrant Dink!"

And notes to a friend from his funeral;

"That was one of the slogans of the crowds last night; "Shoulder to shoulder against fascism". "We are all Turks, we are all Armenians", "We are all Hrants " and many more. People carried flowers, candles, poster, peace flags. I first called a close Armenian friend, other than family friendship who was a member of the Party which we were both member and worked together during last elections. He was already at Agos newspaper's building, told there will be a march from city center at 8 pm. Then I called another Armenian friend when I get closer and see the crowds already gathered. To my surprise she rejected to came. It made the reality hit me once again; it is not a matter of nationality but who you are. Hrant Dink was so courageous in his beliefs that he didn't hesitate to criticize the Armenian diaspora and even the Patriarch in Istanbul as well as the governments of Turkey and Armenia. There were also many Armenians against him as well as the ethnic fascist Turkish groups. It surprises me to the reaction of Armenian diaspora now, he was the first one who oppose the genocide laws in France etc. criticizing them hard.

It was too cold. Though I put on the thermal underwear my son used at military, I freeze to my ass. At first it was possible to enter the cafes etc but in time they closed. I should seem so bad that some friends insisted to turn home. I left nearly 10pm but I saw from TV that the crowds were still there at midnight. It was the most emotional event of the last years. I wonder how his burial will happen. He was a patriarch, who ever shot him shot Turkey. Shot Hrant and us from BEHIND."

"This assassination may seem something extraordinary to many but not to us. We lost so many of our people, students, professors, intellectuals in similar cruel murders. I even forget how many times I walked behind coffins, how many funerals I attended, how many slogans I shouted at uncountable marches in the last 32 years. Only difference is; it was more during mid 70s - 80s. When one witness so much, she can remember only the first 2-3 but last one always make you remember all one by one again. I was only 17 when I witnessed a friend's death and marched that city square for the first time, and here I am still marching, still shedding tears, still attending to funerals of people who only wanted peace, human rights and freedom. Some call my generation as "the lost generation" in my country, but I don't think so. We still managed to live and go on. I saw two old friends yesterday, one said his son is in prison because of an event in the university. It seemed so ironic; we went to prisons ourselves for the future of our future children. And look, that future already come and those children we sacrificed for are in prisons now. Same prisons which hosted us decades ago."

And next week it will be Journalist Ugur Mumcu who we will remember once more. He assassinated January 24th, 1993 with a bomb placed under his car by Islami Cihad. He was the courageous columnist of Cumhuriyet newspaper and writer of many books about the dark relations behind terror.

At the last day of January we will commemorate our Law Professor at Political Science Faculty of Ankara University, Muammer Aksoy. He shot in the backhead in front of his house at 1990, like many of his former students.

Than we will welcome February with the assasination of journalist Abdi İpekçi, editor and general director of Milliyet newspaper. Though, unlike others world knows his assassin very closely. World acquinted with the assassin Mehmet Ali Ağca when he tried to assassinate the Pope, John Paul II in 1981, two years after murdering Abdi İpekçi.

In fact January is not guilty. Losts don't belong only that month but all months of this country...

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