In fact it means many things to be a Turk. To be a Turk means to pay the debt of Ottomans, like the son of a raffish father who inherits difficulties created by the father. It is to give an account of the long standing problems in Kosovo, Bosnia, the Western Thrace, and Macedonia. To be a Turk is to be blamed for an uncommitted genocide, while being subjected to genocides in Cyprus, Hocali, Anatolia, and Balkans. To be a Turk is to be a fascist, when he looks after his country, his land and history. It is to be a democrat and modern, when he does not look after his country, his land and history. To be a Turk is prohibition of his language in Europe, and it is also not to express himself. To be a Turk is to be looked down upon in Europe. It is not to be tolerated because his ancestors besieged Vienna centuries ago, or for not having demolished all Vienna like Napoleon did. TO be a Turk means to pass in front of the Pontus monument in Thessalonica, the janissary pulpit in Vienna, the replica of Turkish flag, which is scorned by Maltese priests. To be a Turk is difficult, hard and painful. It is to retreat from three continents, and then to be treated as a guests in a small peninsula. To establish many empires is to be a Turk, and also it means to demolish many empires. It is to wait for foreign capital to develop in the country of the first horse drawn vehicle with wheels, of the first written agreement, of first money, of fertile lands. To be a Turk is to live with a short memory, even though he has blossomed since Sumerian and Trojan times, even though he has had very high values through all these times. Having destroyed both Eastern and Western Roman Empires, to be a Turk is to desire to get into the EU, which is the New Rome. To be a Turk is a bridge in Mostar, a castle in Kerkuk, a Maiden’s Tower in Istanbul, wheat in Anatolia, cotton in Cukurova, tobacco in Aegean, hazel nuts around the Black Sea region and sunflowers in Thrace. To be a Turk is to die in Dardanelles. It is to give water to the enemies and take the injured enemies to his own hospital. It is to pray for his enemy after the enemy’s death. It is to ask for absolution from the opponent. It is to open windows in the morning to fill the room with mercy. It is to think the of homeless when it snows instead of thinking skiing. It is to put crumbs of bread in winter and water in summer in the corner of the balcony for birds. It is to consider rain as a blessing, and consider snow as divine gift. To be a Turk is to challenge the seven major powers, opposing colonialism, even though what he has to share and own is nothing else but his poverty. To be a Turk is to send a person off to military service with celebration, knowing he may not come back. To be a Turk is to be a mother saying “If I have another son, I will send him too for military service.” It is to a father saying “it doesn’t matter as long as the country lives long,” blinking back his tears in his son’s funeral. To be a Turk is to live with lies, such as “Radiation can not affect the Turkish tea crops.” It is to be in a country where every government takes over a disaster, but none of them leaves a wreckage. To be a Turk is to give back to the waiter the extra sugar with the tea because his ancestors went through famines. Again for the same reason, it is to feel guilty to waste food. It is to share the little food with guest. To be a Turk is to sleep on the floor while his guest sleeps on the bed. To be a Turk is to cry for his national football team. It is to sing for the bandit. It is to swear at his folks, but not to let anybody else swear at his folks. It is to know Yunus, to love Asik Veysel. It is to keep Mevalan, Betash Veli, and Hoca Yesevi in his heart, even though he may not read any lines from them. To be a Turk is to feel a pain in the deepest part of his heart, when a saz is being played, a reede flute is blown, especially when the song “Yemen” is sung. It is to call what life gives “foreordination,” and what it does not gives “destiny.” It is to refrain from laughing instead crying. To be a Turk is to get a reaction in Asia for being a westerner and in Europe for being an easterner. It is to live without knowing what race means; it is to love all creatures due to their creator. To be a Turk is to punish those who are responsible for an economic crisis by voting them out while in Argentina people were looting the stores in response to the less severe crisis. To be a Turk is to challenge the world in even his weakest days. To be a Turk is to resign himself into God’s hand, knowing that worst days will end one day. It is tough to be a Turk. It is to thank God for every drop of rain and to praise God for every blossoming spike. To be a Turk is to stand up in Anatolia, the grave yard of civilizations.
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