For the past couple of days, I’ve had several friends and teachers asking me “what’s going on, buddy?” with the same reserved but sympathetic look on their faces. I was a bit surprised, but ultimately delighted – they knew, and they cared. “I had no idea the situation was so dire in Turkey,” one of them said, “it’s weird, because Turkish people are usually… so outspoken.”
In a sudden moment of clarity, I thought, “That is exactly the problem.” We stopped talking. The middle class in this country was so busy surviving, they didn’t have the time to stop and actually do something about the wrongs they saw or the injustices they encounter. A prime minister who thinks he’s entitled to do anything to his heart’s desire (“it’s my religion’s command,” he would say), a media that is forced into a pathetic state of self-censor, students locked down in jail because they protested high university fees, journalists sentenced, mind-blowingly high levels of nepotism in government offices… a nation that lost its ability to show tolerance and kindness to one another – where the religious dislike the non-religious, the rich dislike the poor and the educated dislike the uneducated.
But now it’s changed. Now we’re talking again.
A couple of friends asked me what’s going to happen next. I said I honestly don’t know. Turkey is a vast country, with a population of seventy-five million people. Some of them probably don’t understand the severity of the situation as well as my international friends do. And some of them won’t even allow anybody to speak ill of Erdogan, the poster boy of devout Muslims, the great leader who can make no mistake.
But we’ll keep talking. I’d like to believe that as long as we talk to each other, we shall prevail.