Παρασκευή, 22 Αυγούστου 2014

The Turkish Left (Murat and Eran)

The Turkish Left arrived at the hostel a day later than I did. They had first met on board the flight to Belgrade, and that had proved useful to Murat, who did not speak o word of any language other than Turkish and Kurdish. Murat, according to Eran was the stereotypical Kurdish guy. Left-leaning, thin, bespectacled, bearded, and with reactions and reflexes caused by centuries of warfare and persecution. Mourat is from Konya, but is currently residing in Istanbul. Always ready to absorb any kind of information translated to him by Eran, and almost always ready to respond in a humorous way. For example, when, on the way to Zemun, our bus passed by the grounds of the Belgrade Beer Fest, he said that his lifelong dream was to organize a big beer fest in Konya, just to spite the local Islamist authorities. Mourat proved himself to be remarkably democratic, secular and ready to calmly walk any minefield in any kind of discourse, during my stay in Belgrade.

The presence of Eran, on the other hand, was quite different. Towering hight, blondeish complexion, beard and glasses, and a very good command of English. Eran has gone through a lot. Last year he was almost expelled from the University where he was doing a PhD on Law, because of  his involvement with the movement of Gezi Park. It proved to be a close call, but the political climate in Turkish Universities is, probably unfavorable for people like him. Life as a leftist scholar can be quite difficult, when the University elites are dominated by Kemalists, Grey Wolves and Islamists. But thank god, the infighting between Kemalists and Islamists, resulted in Eran and his case being put aside, for the moment. On the night of Erdogans electoral triumph, in the presidential election, he expressed a reserved feeling of defeat, especially because the leftist parties, being lead by the Kurdish parties (and their political elites), supported Erdogan. Once, the left was especially strong in Turkey, but now, many mistakes and wrong turns later, it is a shadow of its former past. And that makes people like Eran feel a bit disappointed. He kept saying that the political climate, in Turkey, was bad for him too. And he has prepared a way out, continuing his studies in Berlin, or Belgium, or the Netherlands. Nevertheless, talking to him, especially about the subject that agitates him, that being Turkish politics, can be enlightening. He has a very solid idea about most things. Gulen, the Army, the police, the Unions, the National Questions, etc. He also has a very extensive knowledge of the minorities and their cultures. And that, because, despite being Turkish, his dad comes from the Kurdish regions. At one point, when describing the contrast between Mesopotamia and Anatolia, he showed me a picture, in order to show the stark contrast between the two regions. It was the border between them. The Anatolian side hosted a dense forest, while the Mesopotamian side was just some bare, dry and rugged terrain. Turkey is full of contrasts.

Anyway both of them seemed like they wanted a way out of their everyday lives. And that because being a Kurd, or a leftist scholar who has also dabbled as a paralegal in human rights cases,  makes your life in Turkey a little harder, day by day.

In short, both of them seemed to be running away from trouble back home. Like too many a backpacker. But, on the other hand, when thy return home, reality is going to come back, slapping them across the ways, the ways that it does, especially to dedicated fighters like Eran. I seriously hope that Eran goes over his disappointment with the situation in Turkey, and stays there, so that he can bring the fight to both evils besieging the turkish working class. His sworn enemies, capitalism and political islam. The road of the fighter is a perilous one, and they have both realized that. Hope that the wisdom of the seasoned leftie prevails, and they keep on fighting in spite of bitter defeats and disappointments.

1 σχόλιο:

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