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i s s u e 32 o f the

anatolian voice

i n th is issue anatolian ecojustice bui ldi ng a nation


Contents issue 32 volume 10

18 Anatolian Ecojustice

15 Kültür Ocağı

28

10

Building a Nation

Open Borders President’s Letter  3 Schedule of Events  4 Letters to the Editor  4 Open Book  5 Book Club Reading Kurban Bayramı Celebration Döner Night Sertab Erener and Demir Demirkan Turkish Culture and Art Night Diversity Day at Canton Turkish School Prehistoria Kaan’s Blue Belt Open Borders Republic Day Ball

Turkish Kitchen  38 Editor’s Letter  39

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President’s Letter

It is hard to believe that a year has already passed and it is time for a new board to serve our community. It was a great year for TACAM. I had a wonderful, creative group of people I worked with this year. We redesigned our Web site and branding for presenting TACAM to the world around us. The new site and design doubled our Web site traffic and gained many new members. As you will see in our “Open Book,” we had many great events this year. Our community is stronger than ever. What a great place to meet new comers to Michigan, spend time with others. Our Turkish School was a great success thanks to Özgün Ulupınar and Beste Windes. We had two different groups of students get together to learn Türkçe and Turkish culture. Let’s not forget our Turkish classes for adults. Many of our friends loved attending these classes. We cannot forget our wonderful folklore team, who — with Özgün’s guidance and training — became an excellent dance troupe. Our Grassroots grant from ATAA was an exciting venture for us thanks to Mickey Pek, Jason Windes and Gökhan Özalp’s hard work. We hope this will continue into the following years and help build new relationships with congressmen and senators and help introduce them to Turkey and Turks in Michigan. And we didn’t neglect our cultural center: cutting dead trees, getting the water line fixed along with many other renovations this year. I am honored to work with such a hard-working group of people. I thank them for everything they did (and do) for this community. I also want to thank all of you who supported me on this job and helped me when I asked for help. Thank you very much for being a good friend and a great supporter of TACAM. It is a pleasure to know you all. I believe it is our duty to participate and give support to TACAM, our home away home. Do not be afraid of volunteering. It is a great feeling. Now, I said my goodbye I wish a great year to the coming Board. Let’s all be there and support them on their new job.

leylâ ahmed 2009 – 2010 Term

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f or up-t o-dat e i n f orm at ion v i s i t ta c a m . org

schedule of events

2010 March

April

May

12 Friday Canton Workman School Diversity Event 13 Saturday Döner Night 28 Sunday Dinosaur Exhibition

4 Sunday Sertab Erener and Demir Demirkan Concert 25 Sunday General Assembly and Children’s holiday

tba Next year’s board will have many new events planned for the upcoming year, which will be posted online and in our print publications as they are developed.

letters to the editor The Anatolian Voice is interested in what you have to say. Tell us what you liked and disliked by adding your unique knowledge and experience to the discussions in each issue. Please send your letters or e-mails to the Anatolian Voice, po Box 3445, Farmington Hills, mi, 48333–3445, or at av@tacam.org. As always, please let us know of births, surgeries, job promotions and other community news — you are our first link!

— A letter in regards to Issue 28, Volume 9

on photography in the Ottoman Empire

Yukarda belirttiğim bültende çıkan yazını zevkle ve ilgi ile okudum. Gerek ifade yeteneğin gerekse konuya bakış ve yorumların çok hoşuma gitti.  ¶   Ben 1948 İstanbul mezunu emekli bir doktorum. Meslek hayatımın büyük bir kısmı Michigan’da geçti. TACAM’da eski dostalarım, emeklerim ve hâtıralarım vardır. Meslekten bir fotoğrafçı veya tarihçi olmamakla beraber çok ilgilenmiştim. Emekli olduktan sonra Florida da TACAM da olduğu gibi faaliyetlerimiz devam ediyor. Topluma sergi ve fes-

4

events

tivallerle birşey öğretmek veya yanlışları düzeltmek büyük kaynaklar, bilgi, tecrûbe ve bilhassa gönülden çok devamlı çalışma istiyor. Bu konuya girecek değilim. Fakat bu faaliyetlerdeki fotoğrafın rolü, nasıl nerde kullanılacağını düşünürken hep çektiğimiz zorluklar aklıma geldi. Fotoğraf ve fotoğrafçılığın Osmanlı İmparatorluğuna ne zaman ve nasıl girdiğini öğrendim. Fotoğraflar niye ve nasıl ifade ediyor değil mi?  ¶   Başarlı yazılarım beklerim. —Dr. Nurettin Gökçora


f or more pho t o g r a ph s v i s i t ta c a m . org

Community News Eren (6) is quite excited about having a sister. We would like to extend many thanks to Alev Küsefoğlu for repairing and rebuilding our old TACAM sign at the Wixom Cultural Center.

On March 16, 2010, Vedat and Funda Haydın had a bundle of love, a baby boy named Koray Asim Haydın. We wish the family a wonderful, happy and healthy life together. On March 1, 2010, Alp and Müge Okuyucu welcomed Perisu Okuyucu into the world. Brother

Ela Jane Akay

Koray Haydın

Book Club Reading W ritten by beste windes and asli yashin

The International Book Club at the East Lansing Public Library read Tales from the Expat Harem: Foreign Women in Modern Turkey edited by Anastasia M. Ashman and Jennifer E. Gokmen, and met on November 17, 2009, for the book discussion meeting. 16 book lovers, from different walks of life, all female, expressed their enjoyment of the book and a desire to know Turkey better. TACAM and Grassroots Committee member Dilek Kirca was invited as a guest speaker. Two of the book club members have already been to Turkey, and the stories brought back their memories of the country and its people, and they expressed a desire to go visit

Perisu Okuyucu

Alev Küsefoğlu

again. One of them said that the reason she wants to go back to Turkey was “its people.” Many of the book club members had no prior knowledge of Turkey and its culture. They all seemed to be impressed by the warm and friendly people and the culture of hospitality depicted in the stories. Differences between high context, relation oriented (as in Turkish culture) versus low context, task oriented (as in the mainstream American) cultures were discussed. They asked many questions ranging from the ruling party to whether it was advisable to travel alone in the country. They also wanted to know about the other side of the window: they asked Dilek’s first impressions of the American culture and her experience in the US as an expatriot. They enjoyed having a taste of Turkey with spinach börek, kabak tatlısı and Turkish delights, and brought home brochures and handouts on Turkey.

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Congratulations to Tanya and Güngör Akay, who are now the proud parents of a baby girl Ela Jane Akay, who was born on November 26, 2009, in İstanbul and weighed a healthy 7 lb. 54 oz.


open book

Kurban Bayramı Celebration W ritten by erol ahmed

The tacam building in Wixom was packed on November 29, 2009. We celebrated an important religious holiday, while also welcoming the Lieutenant Governor John D. Cherry and a representative from Congressman Gary Peters’s office, Hy Safran. Many people were both eager to see the politician speak and join together eating the sacrificed lamb.

Döner Night W ritten by erol ahmed

Our community would not miss another tasty döner night — usually only occurring twice a year. With Hurol Ulupınar slicing the meat and many others providing food service, we doled out Turkish street cuisine on a cool wintry day on March 13, 2010. Nothing like warm food and good company to push away the winter doldrums.

Sertab Erener and Demir Demirkan Concert W ritten by erol ahmed

On Sunday, April 4, 2010, an intimate crowd gathered to listen to the pop and rock duo of Sertab Erener and Demir Demirkan live at the Towsley Auditorium in Ypsilanti. With people pulled out of their seats, Sertab and Demir created intoxicating melodies and played a selection of wonderful music.


open book

Turkish Culture and Art Night W ritten by erol ahmed

The Turkish Culture and Art Night was a wonderful success! We had over double the initial amount of people attend the event, and even though the venue was full of people, we all enjoyed the wonderful food and entertainment. The TACAM Folk Dance team did a wonderful rendition of a Diyarbakır dance, and our various musical guests and fasıl group greatly pleased all those who attended. A presentation on Turkish culture by Mark Farlow

helped educate everyone about the nuances of our culture. The wonderful dance music and food that carried the night into the next day kept our audiences in love with the evening. Our volunteers and community headed by Özgün Ulupınar got together to put together a first-rate evening that saw some new faces exposed to Turkish culture. It was wonderful to see TACAM put together such a night.

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Diversity Day at Canton Workman Elementary School W ritten by d İ dem Ş eyho ğ lu - H epaktan

This year, TACAM was once again invited to participate in the Diversity Day organized by Canton Workman Elementary School on March 12, 2010. Our own volunteers helped to decorate a classroom themed on the Republic of Turkey with cultural items, educational posters and delicious food prepared by TACAM members. We also had games and activities for the children so they could learn highlights of our country and its culture. Our kids were dressed in folk costume, helping a great deal at passport stamping and raffle drawing preparation, while TACAM Board member Murat Ulaşır played the darbuka for our music-lover visitors. Our room was one of the most lively, and popular, with many guests returning again and again to see more about Turkey, Turkish culture and definitely Turkish food! This was our second year at this event and was a great opportunity to familiarize other cultures with Turkey.

Turkish School W ritten by beste windes and asli yashin

Our Turkish classes for adults and children have been an important part of our mission. For our children’s class, we would like to give a special thanks to Beste Windes and Özgün Ulupınar, who volunteered to teach Turkish at the TACAM building for many months. The children taught ranged in age from 3 to 12 years. Our adult classes are mostly made up of professionals who are engaged or married to Turkish spouses, which allowed the language class to also turn into a culture class from time to time. In the picture at the top you will see our adult class members: Claudia Escobar Yaya, Timothy Drzewiecki, John Hilla, and Jason Windes (unfortunately, we are missing Andrea Şeker and Melinda Watson).


open book

Dinosaur Fossil Exhibition Prehistoria W ritten by erol ahmed

Children and adults touched, listened and saw fossils remnants of dinosaurs from over 300 million years ago at the TACAM Cultural Center on March 28, 2010. Garo Laçin’s specially prepared exhibition gave a rare glimpse into this world of nature, and we thank him for this special opportunity.

Kaan’s Blue Belt in Taekwondo W ritten by A slı Y ashın

Tijen and Sinan Laçin’s son Kaan (5) just received his blue belt in Taekwondo at Keith Hafner Karate School in Ann Arbor. Congratulations Kaan! A Blue Belt represents the sky and continued upward attainment. Blue signifies the heavens, toward which the plant develops into a towering tree as the Taekwondo training progresses. Kaan started Taekwondo when he was three-and-a-half years old and today talks naturally about his routine student credo: respecting others and never, ever lying. These are important parts of what he learned in the last eighteen months. At an early age Kaan realized the value of hard work, patience, performing in front of a crowd and being awarded and making progress. We wish Kaan a lot more success and thank him for successfully representing our Turkish-American community at the karate school he attends. Tijen and Sinan Laçin would be happy to answer any parents’ questions in case they are also considering martial arts for their children.

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Open Borders W r i t t e n b y A r m i n e Av e t i s ya n

This photo of mine was taken at the TurkishGeorgian border at Posof gate. I travel from Gumri to Kars quite often through this border gate. The frontier guards already know me by my face and are quite friendly.

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through the bars. A strong sense of separation veiled us. It seemed really wild in the twenty-first century — the age of globalization and openness, human rights, and freedom — to limit our freedom of mobility, which caused that killing feeling of restriction and lack of freedom. I address this to all who fight against the efforts of the governments of Turkey and Armenia to reconcile the relations between these two states: you are violating my rights and freedoms with your claims that nurture and increase hatred and hostility among the population. Stop poisoning the society — hatred can not be constructive and can not create — it is killing everything alive. People always think on a large “allnation,” “all-human” scale giving almost no consideration for individuals. Me, you, who cares? Who cares about my freedom? Everyone is so concerned with the “benefits” of the Armenian nation. How pompous it sounds. But, I am one of those “parts” of Armenia, who wants freedom and prosperity to my land. Why don’t you consider and respect me, my rights? Instead it is easier to go into our own shells crying out to the whole world that we, the Armenians, are the most — the most talented — the most ancient — the most tortured — yes we are even proud of being tortured — the most — most — most — and with every “most” closing more and more gates to the world, to development and progress. Pity, such a pity...

I address this to all who fight against the efforts of the governments of Turkey and Armenia to reconcile the relations between these two states

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The circumstances in this region create very close and sensitive connections in my heart toward Kars. I happened to arrive there for the first time in 2007 through a business forum. My work happened to be very much connected with Kars, and my travels became more and more frequent. I have many friends here very close to my heart — friends not only from Kars itself but from other places in Turkey and even outside. Kars is really magical in a way: it has an amazing energy that brings people together. It seems like one of the unknown spots to visit — almost lost on the map — a small unattractive, underdeveloped city and always so cold. But surprisingly I always meet people in different places from different backgrounds who know Kars and moreover have very good impressions of it, finding some specialties about it. Kars is in fact located very close to my city of Gumri (on the other side of the border in Armenia). It is only 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) away (ridiculous!). But to reach it, I need to drive 400 kilometers: spending six hours and around 200 dollars to get there. On my last visit in October 2009, like previous times, my beloved friends Mahir and Zeynep drove me to the border from Kars so that I took another car on the Georgian side up to Gumri. After saying goodbye to them, Zeynep took my photo when we were on the opposite sides of the gate: we both sensed something about this moment with each of us looking at each other


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Republic Day Ball W ritten by D İ dem Ş eyho ğ lu - H epaktan , E rol ahmed, M . K em â l G öknar , M . D.

TACAM celebrated the 86th Anniversary of the Turkish Republic on October 31, 2009. It was a great night with our honorable guests and friends in attendance. We send our special thanks to Congressman Gary C. Peters; Macedonia Consul General, Mr. Igor Dukoski; our Honorary Consul General Nurten Ural; Regional Manager of Turkish Airlines, Rengin Akıllıoğlu; President of our sister organization in Chicago, the Turkish American Cultural Alliance (TACA), Hatice Dinç; and our friends Herman Hintiryan and his company for their generous donations to our fund-raising event and for celebrating this special occasion with us. Our entertainment was a series of lovely music performed by Yağmur from Chicago. Our silent auctions items, including our 32-inch Plasma TV for our raffle prize, were also highlights of the night. Also a thanks to all those, who participated and celebrated this important day in Turkish history together. Thank you for your generosity. We would like to quote from Dr. M. Kemâl Göknar writing to us about his memories of Atatürk and the Republic shortly after the death of Atatürk in 1953: “Hard to describe the solemn love and appreciation people show, during their visit to Dolmabahçe Palace to pay their last respect to Atatürk. Then, I was 13 years old, living in Fındıklı, had visited with my family, friends or alone (but, really nev-

er alone, there were always long lines of people, from Kabataş, to the center of the Palace, where Atatürk’s coffin stood). I went for four or five times during that week. I was tremendously moved with the dignified simplicity, soldiers who guarded his coffin and people of all walks of life sharing this moment silently. When the coffin in which his body rested, covered by a Turkish flag, was taken in procession toward Sarayburnu, with the military band playing Mozart’s Rondo alla Turca, I was at Dolmabahçe Mosque’s courtyard. I never forgot the blind man who suddenly jumped to the window, held the iron bars and screamed loudly, “The only thing I regretted in life with my blindness is I could not see you! But, I am willing to die in your place, if that can bring you back!” Reflecting the mood of Turkey with tears on his blind eyes. “Then, irony may be, I was doing my military duty in Ankara around November 10, 1953, when his coffin was brought to Anıtkabir. Sometimes young people ask me whether I ever saw Atatürk in person and they become fascinated when I humbly say: yes, I saw him three times! Then, I can appreciate their fascinations. With all the progresses and revolutionary movements, political, ideological doctrinal peace, and just wars that inspired the world in my life time, none were equal to the depth of Atatürk’s accomplishments and his vision for mankind.”

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kitaplar 1 Kayıp Gül

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C hr i s Cl eav e

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Sunay Akın yeni kitabı Ay Hırsızı’nda gözünü Ay’a dikiyor ve bir arkeoloğun sabrıyla kazıyor insanlığın ortak birikiminin üzerine çöken tozu toprağı. Ortaya çıkardığı bilgiyi şair duyarlığıyla ilmek ilmek dokuyor ve okurunu hayrete düşürecek öyküler bir bir diziliyor karşımıza. Cervantes ve Mimar Sinan

hangi caminin inşaatında buluştu? Enver Paşa’nın uçağı kaç kez düştü? Piri Reis’in haritası Topkapı Sarayı’nda nasıl bulundu? İstanbul Boğazı’nı yürüyerek geçen Attila Hülagü’nün sırrı neydi? 157 yıl yaşayan Zaro Ağa’nın Amerika seferi. Atatürk neden hiç uçağa binmedi?

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Ayşe Kulin’e ait “Bahar,” Cemal Safi’ye ait “Git” adlı şiirleri kendi müziğiyle yorumlayan Candan Erçetin ayrıca bu albümde geçmişin iki büyük ustasını da aynı şarkıda buluşturdu. 11. yüzyılda yaşamış şair, filozof ve bilim adamı Ömer Hayyam’ın rubaileriyle, 19. yüzyılın taşlama ustası, müzisyen, şair ve düşünür Neyzen Tevfik’in dizelerinden oluşan “Türkü”nün de bestesi Erçetin’e ait. 16 şarkıdan oluşan albümde yer alan “Ka-

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“Nefes: Vatan Sağolsun,” Güneydoğu’da Irak sınırına yakın bir ilçedeki komando tugayında bulunan ve Karabal Tepesi’ndeki röle istasyonunu korumakla görevlendirilen bir yüzbaşı komutasındaki 40 askerin hikayesidir.

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Mevzilerde beklediler... Korudukları telsizden analarıyla, babalarıyla, sevgilileriyle görüşebilmek için telefon sırası beklediler...
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w i t h is m e t inön ü at t h e ce n t e r f ron t, a delegation of officials arrive in l au s a n n e t o di s c u s s t h e f u t u re of t h e s tat e

the

A rticles 32 • 10

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W r i t t e n by ja s o n w i n d e s

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a n at o l i a n e c oj u s t i c e


The accounts of both commons and enclosure described in the first section of this article in the previous Anatolian Voice have led me into discussing Anatolia today; but to do so adequately, it is important to elaborate on the founding of the Turkish Republic, and of the ideas of Mustafa Kemâl Atatürk. In the brief survey that defines this paper, I have found many connections between concepts of ecojustice and the thoughts and actions of Atatürk, even though he is regarded as a major influence in bringing Western concepts to the Republic of Turkey. This apparent dichotomy and ability to integrate contrasting views is found throughout a study of this remarkable individual. In an interview for a Media Education Foundation video, Henry Giroux explains his views on liberating teaching, and in doing so appears to have some very similar viewpoints with Atatürk of the necessity and power of education to produce democratic citizens: It seems to me the first place to begin is to suggest that education is so fundamental to the nature of a democracy

Atatürk had a legitimate concern in his haste to establish formal education systems, since much of the professional and merchant classes were Armenians and Greeks who fled Anatolia during the years of World War I and during the Greek invasion of Anatolia from 1919 to 1922. Atatürk saw nationalism and the adoption of Western society as the only defense against being overrun by Western foreign powers. His largest economic concern was that the country did not have sufficient manufacturing, and so the country’s resources and wealth were being sent to more powerful nations. He saw science and abstract thought as the ideal ways in which a person must live their life. However Atatürk did not feel that all solutions would come from Western nations.1 Atatürk implemented what we would now call an ethnocentric national and cultural history; which was no different than the national histories implemented by the European nations to which he was modeling and attempted to instill pride in his nation with a Turco-centric view of the world.

that it should be given as much money, as much interest, as much concern as we give the military.

1

Mango, 314.

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Turkey stands at a cultural crossroads — and it has the potential to spark a new way of thinking, doing what they do best, integrating new ideas with previous cultural traditions.

E

ven in the Republic’s negotiations with the Great Powers, the affects of Western thinking can still be viewed. One of the few conditions which existed in the Treaty of Sevres (signed by the Ottoman government) and continued unchanged in the Treaty of Lausanne (signed by the Republic of Turkey) was the designation of special rights for Turkey’s minority groups. Turkey is far from an ethnically homogenous country and has many distinct ethnic groups, but the only minorities mentioned in the treaty are Greeks, Armenians, and Jews. This has led to a lack of recognition for many cultural and ethnic groups in the country, some even to this day, including the Alevi, Laz, Kurd, Zaza, Arabs and Roma, among others. What has resulted from these treaties is the mindset of “legitimate” minorities, and other distinct ethnic identities being marginalized. The mentality towards the Lausanne minorities is often accepting they are different, but of not thinking of them as integrated into the country, similar to the Ottoman millet system where every religious group was individually responsible for administering their own people. What results is a binary of “us” (Turks) and “them” (non-Turks), similar to the concerns Sturgeon expresses with “white” and “non-white” with ecofeminism.2 This binary idea ignores the distinct and important backgrounds of a heterogeneous community, such as the people of Turkey. The result is a choice to conform to the dominant culture, or to resist and face disenfranchisement. One of Sturgeon’s solutions for ecofeminism is to draw disenfranchised people to take an active role in the movement,3 and I

certainly agree any solution in Turkey will not be meaningful without the active contribution and involvement of the many disenfranchised groups. One of the most significant educational ventures by the fledgling government was the establishment of “village institutes” by the first Minister of Education, Hasan-Ali Yücel. These institutes served as community centers where students learned a variety of subjects, ranging from farming practices, animal husbandry, Western and Turkish music lessons, as well as primary schools.4 These institutes acted as normal schools and trained other village teachers, and they also held adult education classes in child care and literacy, in order to teach the previously-illiterate population the new Latin alphabet. The degree to which indigenous knowledge was taught in place of a Western alternative would require more research to confidently state. These institutes later fell victim to the Cold War when the conservative Democrat Party rose to power in the 1950s — these institutes were one of the first programs eliminated as they were seen as being “socialist.”5 That being said, as I have attempted to point out throughout this paper, the experiences of the commons, enclosure and the adoption of Western root metaphors is hardly simple when looking at Anatolia: and Atatürk’s views are no exception. He encouraged Turks to learn the waltz, and to learn Western classical musical instruments, but his favorite songs were traditional Turkish folk music known as Türkü and Greek taverna songs. One of the largest projects he implemented for the army was the planting of millions of trees. He established

2 3

4 5

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Plumwood, 267–268. Sturgeon, 269.

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Mango, 474. Mango, 531.


model farms based on in Chicago coming to Western agricultural a complete halt for styles, but concentrated George Washington’s on crops that were or Abraham Lincoln’s known to historically birthday. This was grow in Anatolia.6 especially shocking Atatürk’s views on when one considers the the importance of utter chaos that Turkish nature may be better traffic normally is. It understood from two is an overwhelming stories that took place moment of respect, and on his model farms. It it was one of the times A dead, but still protected tree in Turkey was said that Atatürk where my mind began was “furious when an to really understand oleaster — a thorny tree of the Anatolian plateau — that there are ways of thinking that are much more was cut down in his absence. On another occasion, different than the dominant Western culture I have he insisted that some willows which stood in the known. way of a projected cottage should be move rather Respect and consideration for others was than cut down, and oversaw the job himself.”7 definitely more observable to me while in Turkey. In speaking about Atatürk, I would like to Although the United States leads the world in also recount an experience that I found to be volunteerism, this consideration and respect goes quite profound in changing how I understood beyond giving time and resources; it’s more of a a difference in culture. It was something I way of thinking, a spiritual orientation. experienced every year, but the first occasion was Another pleasantly-shocking experience I six months into my residence in İstanbul. Every encountered was seeing roads that went around year, on the tenth of November at exactly 9:05 am, ancient trees, instead of simply cutting them down everything in the country stops. Air-raid sirens can while paving the road. While I’m sure there were be heard over the hills, cars come to a complete many exceptions, and there have been some recent stop, even on the mile-long bridges that cross the issues with people attempting to develop entire Bosporus! People stand at attention for a minute forests (and cutting the trees before receiving of silence and reverence — as that is the time and permission), the symbolism of this I feel is very date when Mustafa Kemâl Atatürk died. powerful. Trees are sacred to Turks, and this As an American, I had no prior experience reverence is something which has survived from with such an event, and could not imagine traffic before Islam. Not only does one find ancient living trees, but often there are trees that have obviously 6 Mango, 260. been dead for quite some time, but still they are 7

Mango, 431.

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allowed to remain. This is certainly evidence to me of a culture that holds some non-anthropocentric views of life. Until very recently, trees were discouraged from being cut down by landowners with a very ingenious way. Municipal law stated that no building in a neighborhood could be taller than the top of the tallest tree. This interpretation means the view of the mouth of the Bosporus and the Marmara Sea are considered Commons. Even during Byzantine times there have been laws outlawing blocking a person’s view of these bodies of water, and building codes in certain neighborhoods today still include this provision.

city! One resident quoted in the Christian Science Monitor said:

W

The Roma feel like they are being marginalized, and with good reason. We are also seeing resistance, as some Roma report in the article that they are now organizing their communities in order to attempt to fight back. They also have attracted large allies, such as the most respected pop singer in the country, Sezen Aksu. The Christian Science Monitor does an excellent job of explaining the potential destruction of the commons and marginalization due to the implementation of Western economic and social mindsets, without explicitly stating it in those terms. An urban planner who is critical of the city plan stated:

hile keeping our focus on İstanbul, there is a serious threat to cultural commons and also aggressive assimilation occurring at this time as well. The historic Roma neighborhood of İstanbul has been targeted by the city municipality for gentrification. The resulting houses will be neoOttoman villas and will be well beyond the price range of the Roma residents. Most Roma that live in this area of the Fatih neighborhood near the city’s massive Theodossian walls are musicians by profession. According to a BBC article on the topic, the clubs that served as the cultural heart of the neighborhood (and provided a livelihood for many residents) were closed by municipalities in the 1990s. These residents will be forced to move to the outskirts of İstanbul, some twenty miles away. These residents do not have the financial means to own a vehicle, and their livelihoods often involve travelling the entire city, recycling cardboard and other items. This forced move will not only affect their abilities to make money in a monetized economy, the distant removal has a very real chance to disrupting cultural traditions. According to a researcher quoted in the article, there are records of the Roma living in this very neighborhood since 1054, over 400 years before the end of the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman capture of the

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Families have been here for three, four, five centuries. Think of this neighborhood as a large, large family. We are a culture here. It’s a community that shouldn’t be uprooted. We don’t have another place to return to.

In the same article, the mayor of the Fatih municipality is quoted, with his words laden in Western root metaphors: The main goal of this project is to allow the people living in this area to have a lifestyle that is in line with the 21st century and with İstanbul being the 2010 European Capital of Culture. We are offering them something more advantageous… Their way of life will be maintained, for sure. There is nothing for them to be worried about.

The application of these urban transformation projects has sometimes been very cruel, very unequal. The weak political actors are being pushed aside. In this model of [urban renewal], there is no social program or rehabilitation. There are only market operations.

Finally, the reporter quotes a man who operates a small grocery store who makes some excellent observations of his natural rights, and the forthcoming challenges with relocation: Inside his tiny market on one of Sulukule’s side streets, Mehmet Asim Hallaç tends to a steady stream of small children buying candy. At one point, a woman comes in to buy a few scoops of sugar, for which she pays the


equivalent of 50 cents.

“You think she will be able to buy a small amount of

sugar like that in the supermarket out where they want to move us to? You think they will let her buy it if she’s a few cents short? The people living here are citizens of Turkey. Is it a crime for a Turkish citizen to demand to have their lives improved without losing their culture and their community?”

The opinions of Mr Hallaç the shopkeeper provide evidence for Edward Goldsmith’s statement that “by marginalizing so many people, the formal economy will have marginalized itself.”  8

As

Turkey attempts to reform its laws while striving for EU accession, the country in many ways is at a cultural crossroads. At the end of the 1990s the country suffered an economic collapse, and the IMF came and provided generous loans, but with these loans come conditions. One of the requirements of IMF loans is to encourage privatization of government services, and Turkey has sold many profitable state-owned industries, including its telephone company, electric transmission grids, and even several ports. At the same time of these privatizations, more multinational corporations have established themselves in many areas of Turkey, especially İstanbul. Carrefour, the French equivalent to Walmart, has several stores in İstanbul, Ankara and many other smaller cities. While a grocery store is seen by many Turks as a welcome addition of a “modern” shopping facility, I would argue that this is another example of enclosure, and destruction of the commons. Another of my observations while first moving to Turkey was the extremely high rate of selfproprietorship. At times, it felt as if I was in an America which I had only heard of in the past and never seen. I go to my local bakery for bread, every day. I would buy meat on the way home from the butcher, and he would often give me leftover

8

Goldsmith, 512.

chicken skin so that I can feed some of the street cats that were our feline neighbors. If I only needed some milk, chips, or cookies I only had to walk about twenty feet outside my building where a retired sailor ran a small shop, accompanied by his perpetually sleeping cat. In the mornings on the way to work, or after work, I would often stop by and chat with my local pide-maker. He was Kurdish and would (attempt to) teach me a few words in Kurdish and tell me about his home and family in the east. I often left his shop having eaten my fill, but he would sternly refuse any payment from me for the share of food I had eaten. These are some of the people that made up my community, and who inadvertently taught me most of the Turkish I know. I cannot imagine knowing so much about a worker at a Meijer, or developing a relationship with a seemingly-anonymous cashier in Walmart. There is more occurring in these community shops than the purchase of an item, and there are many neighborhoods where such stores are rapidly disappearing. The same distance from my house as the Carrefour, but in the opposite direction, there is an enormous bazaar every Tuesday. Tens of thousands of people converge on hundreds of different vendors who set up their tents in what is six days of the week a parking lot, and at the end of the night the vendors all disappear again. But during the time of the bazaar there is a strange and exciting energy, and there are also incredibly fresh fruits and vegetables the likes of which I had never seen before. It was in this bazaar where I first saw what fresh garlic looks like, instead of cloves in a plastic mesh bag. Again I feel that I’m in a different time, not in some Orientalist fantasy, but instead in a living community. But even this location is not resistant to globalization and “development.” The textiles sold there are originating from China with greater numbers every year, even though Turkey has a significant textile industry. Although this is normally a parking lot, it is one of the last

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remaining significant open spaces in the Kadıköy section of İstanbul; and there is currently debate occurring regarding “developing” the property.

In

a city of 12 million people “development” is a common word. There are many mass transit projects currently being constructed, but many of these programs are meeting the needs of only small sections of the city. Thousands of busses run every day across the city, as well as private minibuses and taxis. Even when these current projects finish, there are thousand-unit apartment sites being built on the outskirts of the city. Many of these complexes will not even be supplied with bus routes, due to the system already being overextended, but nearly all of them will include spacious underground parking for cars. There are plans to place the third bridge far to the north of the strait, where much of the land is still heavily forested or laying in a natural state. It is only one of the last remaining parts of the strait which is not covered with houses on both sides. If the development following completion of the second bridge in 1988 is any indication, one of the last remaining natural areas of the Bosporus will disappear to residential development only a few years after the bridge’s completion. Most of the debate centers on where the third bridge should go, not if it should be built in the first place. The unchecked growth of urban development has begun to reach the sustainable limits of the land. In the winter of 2006 there was an extremely limited amount of rainfall, and the reservoirs that supply water to the Asian and European sides of İstanbul could not fully recharge. Summer almost never brings a significant amount of rain, and by June there were already severe shortages as the water supply dropped to 50% of capacity. The government’s solutions almost always rely on expanding capacity by tapping new and increasingly distant water sources. There are almost no conversations regarding a capacity of the land to sustain over 12 million people, or of

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limiting further development. The following winter brought plentiful rains and snow, the reservoirs have since filled again, and so the municipality has quickly forgotten the state of emergency they were faced with only a few months ago. As climate changes affect Anatolia, and new developments are built around Ankara and İstanbul, it will only be a matter of time until people will be faced with this problem again. I have my doubts as to if the proper questions will be asked then as well. This very recent and very real example of natural limits to unchecked and unending growth seem to fly in the face of a quote McKibbon uses from Larry Summers, the former chief economist of the World Bank, and a top economic advisor for President Obama, who stated that “there are no … limits to the carrying capacity of the earth that are likely to bind any time in the foreseeable future… The idea that we should put limits on growth because of some natural limit is a profound error.”  9 Individuals like Summers not only have the new President’s ear, but will be involved in making decisions that can influence how other nations, such as Turkey, view development and sustainability. The Turkish education system is almost entirely controlled in a top-down method by the Ministry of Education. All textbooks approved for schools receive their approval not by local school administration, but in Ankara. This system is an attempt to ensure a standard level of education throughout the country, but what gets defined in this standard is often the type of hierarchized knowledge that many ecojustice writers warn about. Helena Norberg-Hodge describes the disconnect in a Western-style education in developing countries, of which Turkey certainly is. I believe her words are relevant not only to poorly funded state schools but also to so-called élite private institutions: Today in the Third World, education has become something quite different. It isolates children from their 9

McKibbon, 24.


culture and from nature, training them instead to become narrow specialists in a Westernized urban environment… Modern schooling acts almost as a blindfold, preventing children from seeing the very context in which they live.10

Her words are especially true in cities like İstanbul and Ankara. Students are taught to view the remaining hills as economic opportunities, and not valuable (and rare) greenspace. School curriculum is not designed to explore questions of pollution, or attempt to view the environment from outside an anthropocentric viewpoint. There also appears to be a shift occurring in root metaphors regarding the value of food in the youngest generations, especially in the affluent, Western-oriented schools. My own school contained a cafeteria in every building, and the food offered was a collection of processed, pre-packaged cookies, chips, as well as hamburgers and grilled cheese. During my weekly hall-monitoring duties I saw countless students eat half of a hamburger as quickly as possible before discarding the rest in a trash bin and running to class. I also often observed those same trash cans being picked through by the working-class janitors and general-laborers, often when no administrators were looking. They would remove the buns from the garbage, collect them in a napkin so as to set the bread outside where it can be eaten by birds, or naturally decompose. Bread is sacred to Turks, and it is simply not thrown away to be added to a landfill. I struck up a conversation with one of those workers one day, he was a man of near 60 and from a village near the eastern city of Erzerum. The consumption-oriented behavior of the students greatly worried him and his colleagues. He felt these students were losing their culture, and were accountable to no one. This is especially disturbing to people like this gentleman for whom the most important unit in the culture is not the individual, but the family. There is a serious disconnect happening, as 10 Norberg-Hodge, 36.

Norberg-Hodge explains. But I also feel that all is not lost, and that there is potential for resistance. When asked about their families, nearly every one of my students do not state they are from İstanbul, although they were born and lived their entire lives in the city. The students recount the regions of Anatolia (or elsewhere) that the generations before them originated. Sometimes their parents came to İstanbul, but most not much farther than grandparents. Students who have spent their whole lives in suburban İstanbul refer to themselves of being “Karadenizli” (from the Black Sea), or from Malatya, İzmir, the Caucuses or even Turks from former Yugoslavia and Bulgaria who immigrated to Turkey. It is also remarkable how each geographic region still retains specific cuisine and customs based on traditional plants grown in the region. Kids whose parents are from Trabzon love talking about hamsi (anchovies), and even something as seemingly normal a kebab has regional varieties that are quite distinct. If one wishes to start a fight in the Mediterranean city of Adana, simply describe nearby Urfa’s kebap as being superior to the local variety. Although food is only one example, this stillexisting connection can be used as a starting point to connecting learners more to the land where these foods, and the cultures who developed them, originated. Moving the students beyond a superficial sense of place will indeed be a paradigm shift. Almost every year in my school the students would have to describe their city for a class lesson, and every year every project looked the same. There were pictures of many tourist-laden buildings, most of which these affluent students had never been to. There was no context of why these buildings were important, the learners had been conditioned that this was what the teachers wanted. On extremely rare and exciting occasions, some students would include the Bosporus, or one of the remaining local forests in their project; but this was the exception to the rule.

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If students can be challenged to look beyond the superficial, and to understand their connection to the land where they live, as well as the land their ancestors originated, we would indeed have an opportunity to reconnect Turkish students with the sustainable and non-Western ways of thinking. There needs to be a determined effort to reconnect them with actions that support the commons, such as finding non-monetized ways of spending time with friends. Even in the everyday actions of the students, one can see a difference between Western concepts of education and non-Western views. One cause for concern among British and other Westernoriented teachers is the student natural ability to work together. This often translates into Western education as “cheating,” but in their mindset the learners feel that they pass or fail as a group, and want their classmates to all succeed. Using the vocabulary of ecojustice, the students felt the individual was not the most important unit, but the group, or their school “family.” As I gained experience, I found this cultural attribute as an asset in my class, and attempted to redirect that energy towards making more constructive group work and allowing students to assist each other in answering questions. But before I realized the potential it took a small paradigm shift in understanding the existence, and more importantly value, in differing ways of learning. Students need to understand the importance of villages, not least because it will help the youth to better understand where their food is coming from and how to prepare it with traditional methods; which Wendell Berry places “at the center of the activities that create and recreate human communities.”  11 Life outside a handful of metropolitan areas is seen as boring and backwards, and this mindset combined with the pressure to enter the monetized economy has lead to massive urbanization and left the villages extremely short in the number of working-age individuals.

uring the summer, nearly all of the open park space in the city is filled with working class families who have picnics and spend the entire afternoon talking with family members and playing soccer with each other. They bring and prepare their own food, and there is no cost involved in being there apart from transportation. This is a tradition that is replicated all over the country nearly every fair weather weekend of the year, but to many Western-oriented individuals this too is seen as something backwards and out of touch with “modern” times. Finding ways to integrate this into a mandated and restricted national curriculum will be the biggest challenge, but one in which the people can not delay. As I have mentioned above, there are certain points of resistance that can be observed, which will hopefully be the beginning of larger questions about the importance of culture and the stresses the “modern” world puts on ecosystems that are already reaching the limits of sustainability. Education needs to be localized, and the community must be a part of that, allowing students to have mentors outside of their family who can teach them of their own cultural attributes. Making education localized will also empower students to see the value of the places around them, and this localization would benefit rural areas the most, which already have shortages of quality teaching staff and infrastructure.12 Reestablishment of the village institutes would be one viable way to do so,

11 Prakash, 81.

12 Norberg-Hodge, 403.

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Halting the sprawling urbanization of cities like Ankara, İstanbul, Adana and others will only occur when families feel they can build a meaningful life for their children in places other than big cities. Many working class Turks I have spoken with in my three years there would prefer to live in the land they were raised in, but nearly all of them have resigned themselves to that possibility being unrealistic once they have entered the monetized economy.

D


traditions. It also has the potential to lose much original knowledge and aspects which make their culture so wonderful. We should all do what we can to slow the tide of unquestioned adoption of unsustainable concepts of land and life.

bibliography Aprahamian, Souren. From Van to Detroit: Surviving the Armenian Genocide. Michigan: self-published, 1993. Bryce, Trevor. Life and Society in the Hittite World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Goldsmith, Edward. “The Last Word: Family, Community and Democracy.” In Mander, Jerry & Goldsmith, Edward, eds. The Case Against the Global Economy: and for a Turn toward the Local. (501–514). San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1996. Kafadar, Cemal. Between Two Worlds: the Construction of the Ottoman State. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1995. Kumar, Satish. “Ghandi’s Swadeshi: The Economics of Permanence.” In Mander, Jerry & Goldsmith, Edward, (418–424). Mango, Andrew. Atatürk: The Biography of the Founder of Modern Turkey. New York: The Overlook Press, 1999. McKibbon, Bill. Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2007. Media Education Foundation. Culture, Politics and Pedagogy: A Conversation with Henry Giroux. [Motion picture]. United States: Media Education Foundation, 1997. Norberg-Hodge, Helena. “Shifting Direction.” In Mander, Jerry & Goldsmith, Edward, (393–406). Norberg-Hodge, Helena. “The Pressure to Modernize and Globalize.” In Mander, Jerry & Goldsmith, Edward, (33–46). Plumwood, Val. “Androcentrism and Anthropocentrism: Parallels and Politics.” in Karen Warren, ed., Ecofeminism: Women, Nature, Culture. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997. Prakash, Madhu Suri. “What are People for?: Wendell Berry on Education, Ecology, and Culture.” Educational Theory 44 (1994): 135–157.

13 Noguera, 154. 14 Kumar, 422. 15 Plumwood, 350.

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the  A rticles

but with significant changes. Those village institutes that served as community centers before could once again be places where the commons can thrive, but there must be localization in order for the population to develop a sense of ownership and turn a building into a community enrichment center. These can then empower both the learners and the community at large, which is in line with what Pedro Noguera has advocated as well. As Noguera points to as well, these buildings mean nothing if there are not competent teachers filling these rural locations and empowering students.13 This itself would involve teaching ecojustice issues in the teacher education level, because up until now these institutions are only replicating, among other things, the ethnocentric and anthropocentric Western root metaphors that marginalize many citizens of the country.14 I feel teacher-education in Turkey is a great place to begin that change. As someone not of the culture, I run the risk of sounding like many Westerners do in critiquing Turkish policy and culture from a Eurocentric mindset, and it is this cultural colonization that got us into the mess we are in today. Rather, I see my role as articulated by Val Plumwood, namely “we speak as critics of our own culture or group and as supporters of the other, in the same way [as] the white antiracist or the male feminist.”  15 As someone from the Western culture, I am in a position to introduce critiques of the unsustainable actions brought by root metaphors from my culture. In this way I might be able to facilitate the inclusion of indigenous Anatolian knowledge with different but equally valid (or more valid) metaphors that encourage a sustainable lifestyle. Perhaps an ambitious goal, but Turkey stands at a cultural crossroads — and it has the potential to spark a new way of thinking, doing what they do best, integrating new ideas with previous cultural


Building a Nation

Ankara during the early years of the Republic written by erol zafer ahmed

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a k a a nr

Ankara in the early twentieth century was hardly a site fit to be the future seat of the Turkish government. Arid and isolated in central Anatolia, the new city was to become central to building a new nation. Mustafa Kemâl PaĹ&#x;a along with architects, artisans and craftsmen would shape

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a city that spoke through the land and buildings for the hopes of the new republic, as much as the speeches and writings of its founding father. These images then are not a tour of grand structures and realized plans firmly and confidently placed, but rather they are humble beginnings from the rubble.


a platform at the ankara railroad station Taken by John D. Whiting and G. Eric Matson during a trip to Cappadocia for the National Geographic Society in early November of 1935, Ankara would become a new starting point for travelers moving through Anatolia; soon, a grander station would replace this simple platform.

(opening page) detail of a monument to atatürk A figure of a peasant woman carrying a military shell on her back, which memorialized the peasant efforts at fighting during the War of Independence. In the background stands the Türkiye İş Bankası in a playful neo-Ottoman building.

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the parlaiment building in anakara The dirt still flies off the ground in a barely finished road that stretches past the humble Turkish parliament, and patiently people gather around its squat wood frame.

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urban ankara above  A bronze effigy of Atatürk sits on a horse in the space between the old and new parts of Ankara.  right  Cars bustled just feet from the monument down a renovated street in the city with only the minaret and two women giving away hints of a non-European heritage.

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One day my mortal body will turn to dust, but the Turkish Republic will stand forever.

Mustafa Kem창l Atat체rk

a portrait of atat체rk, 1924

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a monument to public security Upon seeing this structure, John D. Whiting and G. Eric Matson described it as “very modernistic.” They traveled an Anatolia scarcely populated at the time.

department of the interior buildings John D. Whiting and G. Eric Matson received permits from this fledgling office to travel and document Cappadocia. The entire apparatus of state — all the buildings, roads and houses — still needed to be finished.

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the monument to public security, 1935 After years of internal struggle, war and doubt, the nation’s new citizens are told at the base of this monument, “Turk: be proud, work and have self-confidence.” You can even see already in this image that photographers are snapping away, capturing this unfinished city.

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The Turkish Kitchen Ze y tİn ya ğlı İç b akl al ı E ng İ na r art ichoke s w i t h fre sh fava be ans in oli ve oil

Ingredients (5 servings)

Shelled favas, peeled

½ kg

Artichokes, cleaned down to their hearts and cubed Onions, chopped Granulated sugar Extra virgin olive oil Salt

5–6

Dill

1 bunch

Granulated sugar Lemon juice

2 tbsp whole lemon

2 2 tbsp ½ cup to taste

Sauté the onions in the olive oil until transparent. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add cubed artichoke hearts and allow to simmer covered for 10 minutes or until nearly tender. Add the fava beans, stir, cover and allow to simmer for another 5–8 minutes, checking frequently until the fava beans are tender. Fava beans cook quite quickly and so be sure to watch the progress. Make sure that the beans are not terribly soft. When done, remove from the heat, add the dill, cover and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve cold with a squeeze of lemon. This delicious meze dish is made with large, fresh shelled favas. Each bean must be individually peeled because their skins are tough and unpalatable. It is a wonderful and simple dish to make. To

make it easier, bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add the beans and allow to parboil for 20 seconds, then pour out into a colander to drain. Take a paring knife and slit one side of the bean and squeeze from the other side; the bean will pop out of its skin. In Turkey, artichokes are generally sold in the markets already cleaned: only the heart is eaten. If you are cleaning your own, first cut them in half crosswise to remove much of the leaves. Then cut off the stem and “peel” them, cutting along the base of the leaves to remove the heart, dipping in lemon water as you go to prevent browning. When you get to the edge, scrape the inner leaves and remove. Allow to soak in water made acidic with a little lemon juice or vinegar until ready to use.

Afiyet olsun! Written by Leylâ Ahmed 38

anatolian voice


Editor’s Letter  last word Laying a strong foundation has never been foreign to the idea of establishing something of enduring value. When we look back at the Turkish Republic in its early days, we see the fledgling Turkish Parliament building seemingly ready to fall off the hill it sits upon, while monuments of great leaders stand alone in empty city squares in places yet to be populated by eager republicans. Yet these are literal foundations — foundations built of stone and iron, laid out with planning and precision — and their steps are measured and calculated. During this time, the Turkish Republic was not only building foundations of earth and metal but rather foundations of mind and soul. Indeed, the early years of the Republic are a testament to creating the sense of identity and nation so crucial to a stabilization of a region wracked with war, dissent and opportunity. Some of these foundations were put into the ground much earlier than the Republic: the cultures, civilizations, religions and people of Anatolia so wonderfully covered in “Anatolian Ecojustice” (pg. 18) were deeply embedded into the earth. Each layer was obscured by the next, and each one above and below the other — these ancient settlements peaking through the ground in disarray. But at one time these buildings were thriving in the land. And oftentimes the buildings obscured these foundations. The history of Anatolia as we have been discovering is not part of a single narrative, nor is it so easily understood by one history. Rather it is layer upon layer, foundation upon foundation. As the buildings fall (and they have fallen for so many over the centuries) the foundations still remain. They are looked upon with curiosity, jealously, confusion and ignorance. But they are there waiting to be uncovered.

+ anat oli an voice m ich ig a n t ü rk - a m e r İ k a n k ü lt ü r de rn e ğ İ i s s u e 3 2 volu m e 10

e di t or - i n - ch i e f Erol Zafer Ahmed con t ri b u t or s Leylâ Ahmed, Erol Zafer Ahmed, Gaye Özdemir, Serkan Özdemir, Didem Şeyhoğlu-Hepaktan, Jason Windes, Beste Windes, Aslı Yashın p ub l i s h e d b y The Turkish American Cultural Association of Michigan po Box 3445, Farmington Hills, mi, 48333–3445 p  248  438  8580  f  248  626  8279 e  av@tacam.org www.anatolianvoice.org Please inquire about purchasing back issues at $7 each a d v e rt i s i n g w i t h u s Contact tacam for advertising details or visit online at www.tacam.org/sponsorship/

ta cam g ove rning b oard 2 0 0 9 – 2 0 10

e x e c u t i v e b oa rd of di re c t ors p re s i de n t Leylâ Ahmed v ice - p re s i de n t Beste Windes t re a s u re r Hurol Ulupınar s e cre ta ry Murat Ulaşır pa s t - p re s i de n t Didem Şeyhoğlu-Hepaktan b oa rd of di re c t or s 2 0 0 9 – 2010 Ferid Ahmed Cenk Hepaktan Gökhan Özalp Jason Windes Emine Zeren b oa rd of t r u s t e e s Feridun Bek 2011 Serkan Özdemir 2011 Güner Sarıoğlu 2011 Ali Kayaalp 2010 Mine Özalp 2010 Aslı Yashin 2010 au di t com m i t t e e Birsel Küsefoğlu 2011 Yesim Kayaalp 2010 Hâlide Koçak 2010 Cihangir Taşdemir 2010

erol zafer ahmed 2005 – 2010 Editor-in-Chief

All statements or comments in the newsletter are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Turkish American Cultural Association of Michigan

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Issue 32 — Volume 10

Turkish American Cultural Association of Michigan

Anatolian Ecojustice  —  Building a Nation

The Anatolian Voice is a Publication of the Turkish American Cultural Association of Michigan

on t h e co v e r A “Monument to Public Security” is just barely finished in Ankara, when this photograph was taken in 1935. The Republic was slowly taking shape with hopes for a new era in Turkish history. Story on page 28.


Anatolian Voice Issue 32