Again and again.
My visit to Turkey this year was unlike the rest. In spirit and happenings. The summer in which those who’d seen a couple decades go by here ask me sardonic questions like “Is this your first coup?” to the failed attempt around midnight 15th of July.
Our current homebase here is the little town of Gümüşlük in Bodrum (also known as Myndos, after the ancient city). The cosy teahouses scattered around the coast are infested with political conversations. There’s new-founded vigour and contempt. You can see children’s play get divided by their wish to ask questions and join in all this terror talk because it is seriously the only topic of discussion when adults gather together. Çay’s got a darker, bitter edge and the familiar heat, roasting the land more furiously than before.
My public interest in interacting with refugees was teased and I was actively discouraged from seeking them out personally whether children or families, in inner Anatolia or elsewhere. It is a sour and restless time for the Turkish folk around me, as well as the Kurdish and ofcourse the Syrian population spread out all over parts of Turkey. Sour because people are visibly growing more distant and more intolerant with every event, desensitized because they’re drowning in an overwhelming ocean of “news”.
When I am not keeping busy recording and transferring the energies I am receiving from this land I also feel this restlessness and apprehension for the future.
Parçanın bütüne yolculuğu gibi “yeniden deniz olmak” hayalimiz.. Mavinin ruhunda, suyun dinginliği gibi sessiz.. / To be the sea, again. To be one body, one feeling with the rest of the universe../
So here is one way we could interact with this pickled mix of people around us. Encouraging togetherness and tolerance. See locally; the humans around us as one and take care of the platforms upon which we physically engage with these humans- the land, the sea. Turkey is indeed a pickled mixture of rich ingredients, sometimes I thought of it as a soup, or an intricate kilim or carpet.
But not this summer. We are trapped in one jar filled up to the brim with acı the turkish word for
- pain, ache; agony, sorrow
- hot; bitter; rancid; acrid; sharp; hurtful, cutting, harsh; grievous, tragic; sour
- angle; point of view
with neighbouring jars rattling and shaking the cupboard around us.
Gümüşlük has a little sunken beauty in the sea. On the condition that we don’t harm the sea in any way with the materials we use on this weary boat, the waters allowed for my friend Emir Rıfat Işık and I to collaborate on a note we wanted to leave with the people of this town. Emir joined us from Istanbul, he is a talented calligraphy artist and multi-disciplinary designer, predominantly featuring arabic and farsi sayings and words in his works. We spent a couple of hours before deciding on a farsi phrase
“We are two spirits infused into single body.”
In choosing the sea and this peaceful boat in it, we also added in turkish “yeniden deniz olmak”, meaning to be the sea again.