The trouble with words
by Bernard KENNEDY
“Turkey always cooperates against all kinds of terrorism because Turkey is top of the list of the countries which suffer from terrorism. In the past, when we tried to explain what a big threat terrorism was, the world did not show the proper interest. But after the September 11 incident, the world understood how dangerous terrorism was. Now there is major cooperation… For as long as you go on making distinctions between ‘my terrorist’ and ‘other people’s terrorist’, you cannot succeed in defeating terrorism. So everybody should cooperate in the fight against terrorism without making any distinction… Our government comes out against all forms of terrorism. We vigorously condemn these acts, regardless of their aim or who they are carried out by.”
These were the comments made by Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül in his home town of Kayseri on July 7, as news of the latest London bombings came in. Similar remarks have been made over the years by many commentators and politicians, and there is little doubt that the majority of Turkish citizens would subscribe to them. The message is: Ankara is equally opposed to all varieties of terrorism, but does not feel this is always true of other states. A week later Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made very similar remarks, and went on to complain that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the British news agency Reuters “describe the PKK terrorist organisation as a ‘militia’”. He called on the world media to be “objective”.
What is terrorism?
Avoiding the words “terrorism” and “terrorist” is not getting any easier, but it probably remains less difficult than defining them satisfactorily. One academic definition contains no less than 22 elements. Key issues which may require clarification are the perpetrator (an independent group, an individual, a state, a state-affiliated group?), the nature of the action (violence against people? against property?), objectives and motives (to frighten a population, or part of a population? to discredit a government? to draw attention to an otherwise unheard cause? to exacerbate ideological divisions? to provoke a war?), the target (innocent victims? non-combatants, however defined? a state, as indicated in a proposed 1937 League of Nations definition? the status quo?) and the legitimacy of the action (What is the difference between a campaign of terrorism and a war – international or internal – in which civilian casualties are inevitable or deliberately inflicted? What makes a “War on terrorism” a war and terrorism just terrorism?).
In November 2004 a UN panel defined terrorism, rather unconvincingly, as: “Any action intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians, non-combatants when the purpose of such act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population or compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act.”
A long-standing and ingenious proposal made many years ago is to define terrorism as the “peacetime equivalent of a war crime”. However, war crimes are generally committed by the powerful or temporarily powerful against their captives or against the people of the countries they have invaded. So for obvious reasons this definition is unlikely to become mainstream. Should all violence against prisoners, for example, be classed as terrorism?
The debate on the use of the terms among journalists dates back at least as far as the campaigns of Palestinians and some West European extremist movements which began around 1970. Given the lack of a satisfactory agreed definition, many journalists prefer to speak of assassinations, massacres, (suicide, car) bomb attacks, armed raids, hi-jacks, hostage-takings, gunmen, militia and so on. They are inclined to conclude that “terrorist” is just another word for “enemy” and “terrorism” a word for whatever the enemy does. They do not wish to become part of the politician’s battle for linguistic territory.
The flexibility or manipulability of the words becomes all the more apparent when it is recalled that they were first widely employed, at least in English, to refer (a) to the policies of Robespierre during the French revolution (and hence arguably to what is today referred to as “state terrorism”), and (b) to Israelis fighting against the British in Palestine in 1947. In retrospect, Zealots, Assassins, Russian anarchists and Fenians have also been labelled terrorists in Western popular writing and academic syllabi – not, perhaps, without some ulterior motive of rooting present-day political violence in the Middle East, Russian leftism and Irish nationalism.
Turkey legally defines terrorism as any act making use of pressure, force, violence, intimidation, duress, coercion or threat carried out by a person or persons who are members of an organisation which has the purpose of changing the characteristics of the Republic as stated in the Constitution or its political legal social, secular and economic order, of spoiling the indivisible unity of state, country and nation, of endangering the existence of the Turkish state and Republic, of weakening, destroying or seizing state authority, of doing away with basic rights and freedoms or of upsetting the internal and external security of the state, public order or public health.
This definition highlights a wide range of motives, while insisting that the perpetrator must be a member of an organisation. “Membership of an illegal organisation” has been the basic catch-all terrorist offence, requiring prosecutors to offer only minimal proof either of the existence of an organisation or of membership. To be convicted under the Anti-Terrorism Act (introduced in 1991 to replace Cold War era anti-communist provisions of the Penal Code), it was not necessary to commit a violent act, or to commit any offence at all, and propaganda was also outlawed. All this changed only in 2003.
The PKK phenomenon
Turkey has witnessed a wide variety of non-state ideological violence from the intensive assassinations, bombings and massacres of the “pre-1980” era to the long list of diplomatic assassinations and airport attacks involving extremist Armenian and Greek organisations between the 1970s and the 1990s, from the killing of 22 by gunmen at the Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul in 1986 to the Sivas hotel massacre of 37 in 1993, from the multiple assassinations of secularist writers and academics between 1990 and 2002 to the al Qaeda-linked Istanbul bombings of November 2003, from hostage-taking by pro-Chechnyan militants to the hundreds of killings carried out by the Hizbullah organisation in Southeast Turkey mostly in the early 1990s, the same organisation’s later orgy of torture and killing and its assassination of Diyarbakır police chief Gaffar Okan in 2001.
In political, media and public parlance in Turkey, the word “terrorist” has nevertheless come to be used primarily to denote Kurdish nationalist PKK militants or assumed militants, whether or not they are actually guilty of any offence, violent or non-violent, against a civilian or non-civilian target. The PKK has, and to some extent continues to fight, a guerrilla war against Turkish forces in Southeast Turkey. According to official sources, the war caused 30,000 deaths between 1984 and 2001, of which 6,000 were those of soldiers, police and village guards, 5,000 those of civilians and 19,000 those of militants themselves. The PKK has from time to time been or been held responsible for acts of violence in urban and tourist areas as well – such as the Istanbul Tuzla train station bomb attack of 1994 which killed five military cadets, and the Istanbul Mavi Çarşı molotoff cocktail attack of 1999 in which 13 people including shoppers died.
Clash of definitions
Aside from the PKK, its alleged alter egos and related organisations, Ankara has made efforts to have the DHKP/C, successor to the former Dev-Sol, listed as a terrorist organisation on the international plane. The DHKP/C has been held responsible for several fatal incidents in major cities including suicide bombings and other surprise attacks on members of the security forces, police stations and similar targets. The suspects in the 1996 Sabancı Center shootings are also linked to the DHKP/C. But there is no doubt that Foreign Minister Gül’s comments earlier this month, like Erdoğan’s, were pronounced with the PKK in mind.
The government and Turkish public opinion regard the failure of the US to act against the PKK in northern Iraq as a direct contradiction of its declared policy of opposing international terrorism. This sense of contradictions stems from the fact that Ankara and Washington are using the same word with implicitly different definitions – or at least different connotations. In addition, the international denouncement of the PKK (and its recent alter ego KADEK) as a terrorist organisation may mean more to Turkey – with its organisation-based approach to defining terrorism – than it does to other parties.
In less emotive language, it is natural for governments to wish to collaborate with other states against those whom they perceive or declare to be their enemies – particularly where those concerned have a multinational character. But it is also natural that other governments may or may not regard the enemy in question as an equal threat to themselves. If these governments do share the same enemy, one would expect them to agree to cooperate, unless some major disagreement emerges over the form of the proposed collaboration. Otherwise, however, cooperation is likely to depend on whether the foreign government finds the source of the threat in question conducive to its own interests, whether it believes that its cooperation will be reciprocated when it faces a different threat of its own, and/or whether it wishes to use its cooperation as a bargaining chip in connection with some other goal or goals.
Against this background, aside from the general inequality in power between Ankara and the West, an asymmetric situation appears to exist in which Turkey feels more threatened by al-Qaeda than the US or Europe feels threatened by the PKK. Strategists can decide how to play their cards according to such considerations. But once the word “terrorism” has been used, moral outrage sets in on all sides, and the next move becomes less predictable.
Ambassador Wolf-Ruthart Born: A special embassy
by Bernard Kennedy
A lawyer by profession, an inveterate traveller, a patron of the arts, and a history addict with a taste for the oriental in carpets and civilisations… These are just some of the many dimensions of Dr. Wolf-Ruthart Born: He is at the same time a diplomat whose career has taken him as far afield as Sudan, Pretoria and Buenos Aires. And since July 2003 he has been Germany’s Ambassador to Turkey. The job leaves no time for playing the guitar, but the Ambassador clearly finds it both challenging and rewarding. DIPLOMAT spoke to him about recent developments in Turkey-EU ties, the work of his Embassy and the extraordinary relationship which exists between Turkey and the Federal Republic.
Q You have spent almost exactly two years as ambassador to Turkey now. Did you also have previous experience of Turkey?
A Yes. My previous post was as Ambassador to Mexico for four years. But before that I spent seven years in two different positions in the legal and consular department, where I had a lot of contact with Turkey. All the nationality issues, all the questions of re-admission, crime-related issues, political asylum… all these crossed my desk, not to mention Kaplan and Öcalan. So I have been in touch with what’s going on in Turkey for a long time. I consider myself to be something of an “old Turk”.
Q What do you think have you achieved in your two years here?
A Well I don’t like to personalise. We work as a team. It is a question of continuity not personal interests. I think we have kept relations with Turkey and Germany at the highest level. Of course we have incredibly close relations. About three million people of Turkish descent live in Germany, of whom 700,000-800,000 have acquired German citizenship, so statistically speaking maybe 2.2-2.3 million are still Turkish nationals There are a couple of hundred thousand dual nationals whom we would consider to be Germans. Whatever happens in Turkish politics here is also reflected in German politics to a certain degree. There are 100,000 mixed marriages. This is really very special. We are also Turkey’s largest trading partner and one of the largest foreign investors. Our German Turks are investing in Germany too, in 60,000 small, medium-sized and in some cases large businesses. We have close cultural relations, and we are also the largest nation of origin for Turkish tourism; the number of German visitors may surpass 4,000,000 this year.
Q Visa applications might be one area…
A Yes that was one achievement but I would attribute that to the teamwork of my colleagues at the Consulate. In February they introduced the “data system” which our colleagues at the Consul General in Istanbul had already tried out. It means you get an appointment and information by telephone. It’s done by outsourcing. It’s a marvellous system and it has worked so well that all the queues have disappeared. People just come ten minutes early and within an hour the application is processed and we can send their passports by UPS. Between 80% and 90% do get visas and so we have a very high success rate. I have asked people sitting in the waiting room whether they are satisfied with the customer service – because we are service-oriented – and the answer is always. “Why didn’t you do it before?” So anyway that is visible progress which affects individuals.
Q How do you and the Embassy divide your efforts between all the various tasks?
A It’s very difficult to attach percentages to the various items. For example, if the Federal Chancellor is coming with a big economic delegation, then of course the preparations and implementation take up almost 100% of your time. We get many delegations. Within the past two years the Chancellor has visited Turkey three times and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other ministers have visited on various occasions. I guess last year saw the most intense exchange of visitors in both directions. More generally, we certainly concentrate on politics a lot. Like everybody else, we follow Turkish-European and European-Turkish relations very closely. But consular and visa issues are also important; they are political too because they have an immediate impact on the lives of people. Then there are cultural relations. We have got German schools here and there are Turkish schools which educate in the German language. We have got three Goethe institutes as well as cultural associations.
If you ask for a little item on which I’ve been working personally I would mention the creation of a cultural foundation of German and Turkish business. This embryonic organisation is about to spring to life. The money has been raised and we hope to obtain the necessary legal judgement and to be able to start work to intensify certain aspects of our cultural co-operation soon.
Q The past few months have been an interesting time, first the euphoria about Turkey getting a date for EU accession talks and then recently perhaps some disappointments…
A I must say I do not share this recent despondency. One has to look at the realistic schedule and proceed step by step. The next step of course is October 3. I think everybody stands firm that we do start negotiations on October 3, unless something very unforeseen occurs. Then we will see how the reform process continues and how the implementation of the various chapters of the acquis proceeds. So in that sense I remain realistically optimistic. The goal is membership but it is an open-ended process. It is up to Turkey whether she wishes to become a member or not. Since the horizon is far in the future I would not give a forecast now. The important thing is that we do start and that Turkey continues on her path to further democratisation, modernisation and improvement of the lot of the Turkish nation.
Q Do you feel a sense of despondency around you?
A Let me comment on one item for instance. Yes it’s certainly not a good omen that we could not agree on the finances of the European Union at the last summit. But again let’s be realistic. There is still time for an agreement. We have the British and Austrian presidencies ahead, and we have until 2006 to decide. It would have been nice to have decided now but within the European Union and European Community we have always managed to find a compromise in the past. So I am fairly optimistic that we will also manage to find a compromise on the financial issues. Normally it happens at the last minute. This is European procedure.
Q What about the European Constitution?
A I would have liked to see the constitution being approved. At the last European Council meeting, there were two opinions. One group said ‘Let’s continue the ratification process according to national procedures’, and the other said ‘Let’s interrupt it’. Now I would rather belong to the first group and say, ‘Let’s continue and see how many of the 25 ratify it’. I think it would be a majority and then we could take up the issue again even in those countries which for the moment have not ratified. There are other options. For instance, the fundamental charter has been on the table for many years and this charter could very easily be adopted separately. But I don’t think one should just tear up the Constitution.
Q How is all this affecting you in your work?
A Well of course you read everything that is said and all the decisions that are taken. As a European who has been working with European issues for many years, I wouldn’t go so far as to say all this is normal, but it’s part of the game. There is no cause for despair. I think we will always get our act together but of course we have to think a little bit deeper on the issue of past enlargement and whether we have digested it, and how to proceed with what we call vertiefung und erweiterung – deepening and enlargement. Sometimes the capacity is not sufficient to do both things at the same time and we have to proceed according to our capacity and the level of political will. Public opinion is an important factor in the possibility of doing things politically.
Q If there are uncertainties in Turkey-EU relations, do relations between Turkey and Germany also suffer?
A No. I don’t think so. The two are closely interconnected – there is no doubt about that. Chancellor Schroeder has very strongly backed Turkey on its European path, and this has helped to intensify bilateral relations. But the odd hiccough in relations with the European Union does not necessarily have a negative impact on bilateral relations, because these relations are so strong, so historical, so fundamental that one should be able to differentiate between one issue and the other. As I described at the beginning, bilateral relations are extremely close in the political field, the economic field, the cultural field and the human field. I suppose we are the nation which is most closely related with Turkey.
Q The recent Armenian resolution in the German parliament suggests there are still some misunderstandings…
A I would say we do understand each other’s concepts. We are very much aware of the sensitivities of Turkey. And I am sure you have observed that the reaction in Turkey was a fairly – how should I put it? – realistic one. The Armenian resolution will not cast more than a passing small shadow on our relations – not even a shadow.
Q In practice, how do you cooperate with other EU embassies and the Commission delegation in Ankara?
A We have a very regular intensive dialogue with the other ambassadors of the EU. We meet at least once a month under the chairmanship of the acting presidency. During the Dutch and Luxembourg presidency this was taken care of by my Dutch colleague Ambassador Sjoerd Gosses. He did a marvellous job and I must thank him for all the efforts he has undertaken. There is a calendar of similar meetings at all functions and levels: head of missions, deputy heads of missions, economic counsellors, consular officers… The EU Commission also takes part in these meetings. This is standard procedure worldwide.
Q What kinds of issues do you cooperate on?
A When it comes to the issue of EU negotiations it is the Commission which is mostly involved in preparing all the documents and liaising very closely with Brussels. I would say the most important issue on which we exchange views is the reform process in Turkey. We follow this very closely and analyse it and weigh it against the acquis. In this way we contribute directly or indirectly to the report which is drawn up in Brussels. And then we brief each other on our bilateral relations – for example if there has been an official visit you tell your colleagues about what has been discussed. In economic terms we have mutual interests, for instance in making sure that the customs union regulations are being observed in Turkey. This is something which affects industries and businesses in several EU member countries. Sometimes we undertake common demarches in other respects – not necessarily all together.
Q I know that meetings are also held between the EU ambassadors and the Foreign Minister or even the Prime Minister. Is this also a standard procedure? Do you find this a useful form of diplomacy?
A Well they host us for dinners and lunches. This is done in all capitals in one way or another. For example our Minister or Undersecretary meets regularly with EU ambassadors in Berlin. In some capitals the dialogue may be more intensive than in others. Given the very particular situation in which Turkey finds herself, particularly after securing the date of October 3, I think it’s only natural for us to exchange views on a regular basis at the highest level possible. This way you obtain the political view of the decision-makers in government.
Q How has the possibility of elections in Germany affected you at the Embassy?
A In terms of visitors coming we have had a hiatus because of political developments in Germany. But once that is a little clearer, we will continue our political exchanges, with visitors coming and going in both directions. Economic relations continue unaffected. I have just taken part in the opening ceremony for an additional investment by Daimler Chrysler, which was opened by Prime Minister Erdoğan. Many, many German companies go on investing here. We are at the height of the tourism season so you see Germans everywhere. Our cultural cooperation continues. So it’s business as usual in all these respects.
Q What else is on your agenda going forward?
A We will go on following the practical implementation of the reform process. This is one of our major tasks… Then there are so many areas of cooperation. If we look at international relations outside the European Union, we have cooperated very closely with the Turkish armed forces in Afghanistan and we continue to do so. We have a common approach in trying to help stabilize Iraq in its democratisation efforts. Both Germans and Turks are concerned about the nuclear issue in Iran. We are a member of the group of three EU nations seeking to convince our Iranian partners not to build nuclear devices for non-peaceful purposes.
Q How is the Turkish community in Germany getting on?
A I think we have made headway in the process of integration but there is still some way to go. There are German members of the Bundestag who are of Turkish origin, and increasing numbers of political representatives at the regional and municipal level. We have got Turkish doctors, lawyers and entrepreneurs. This is our new community. They have enriched the German cultural scene as well as the culinary variety. Tarkan is possibly one of the most famous singers. In the cinema, Fatih Akın is one of the famous directors and sometimes touches on these bilateral issues. Novelist Orhan Pamuk is nominated for various prizes in Germany, where he is probably even more widely read than in Turkey.
Q How do you find living and working in Ankara?
A I would say Ankara keeps you very busy. Access is very easy. The doors are open. Our Turkish colleagues are very friendly and forthcoming. They do give you the information you are asking for. In this context I would like to express my gratitude to the staff of the Foreign Ministry in particular and also to members of other departments. People in general are very friendly, very hospitable. There are ways in which Istanbul is still the secret capital – the centre of cultural and business life. But I think Ankara is an easy place to live. The diplomatic community here is very closely knit. You meet colleagues from other embassies every day. In human terms it’s easy to live here and in professional terms certainly challenging.
Q Is there anything else you would like to add?
A We have a very good team at the Embassy. I would like to express my thanks to all of them. Two-thirds are of Turkish origin. This cultural mix makes it a very special embassy. Not many of our embassies would have such a high proportion. Without them we couldn’t do our job. This is also an expression of the very good relationship between the two countries. This is one of the top ten German embassies around the world in size and we think it’s a very special one. But of course it’s for others to judge how we are doing.
Lasting value of the Lausanne Treaty
by Prof. Dr. Özer OZANKAYA
In commemoration of the victims of terrorism in London and throughout the world
July 23 and 24 July are the anniversaries of the two important breakthroughs which helped to lay the foundations of the Republic of Turkey. On July 23, 1919, the Erzurum Congress convened against the occupation by the Political West. And on July 24, 1923, the International Lausanne Peace Treaty was signed.
The strategy which was launched at Erzurum and succeeded at Lausanne is of pioneering value for all civilisation in the fields of democracy and peace. It demonstrated that military colonialist attacks could be confronted not by terrorism but through an administration which is the real representative of the nation and which is accountable for every action. It also sets out the political, social, economic and cultural conditions which are required if the nation is to be truly liberated and not attacked again: “No oppression or protection of any foreign power can be accepted. The country is a whole within the national borders; it cannot be divided. These targets can be attained only by the strength and will power of the nation.”
In today’s world conditions, in which colonialism and terrorism have taken on global dimensions, this initiative of a democratic culture is exemplary in its national and international dimensions.
Source of strength
According to the architect and builder of the strategy, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk: “I believe that the best policy is to be as powerful as possible in every field. Do not think that being powerful refers only to force of arms. On the contrary, I believe that this force comes last one among the factors which constitute the whole. I believe that being powerful means being strong in the scientific, technical and moral areas. For if a nation is devoid of these values, even if we imagine all its members are equipped with the most advanced arms, it would be wrong to regard it as powerful. To be armed is not sufficient to take one’s place as a human being in today’s community of humanity… I believe that for my country and my nation to achieve the progress of which I am well aware and of which we have gone without, it is necessary to work hard and continuously – in peace and tranquillity, and above all while establishing freedom and independence.”
German philosopher Herbert Melzig describes the Kemalist strategy in the following way: “Atatürk gave a magnificent example to humanity via the war of independence, which he launched together with the Turkish nation, and via the peace which protected the rights of other nations. With Atatürk, the New Turkey has not only surpassed the Islamic mentality and views but also the European way of thinking. Turkey pursues a policy of honesty, sincerity and realism, and for this reason it has not met with any opposition or failures.”
Prisoner of capitulations
The victory which the Turkish nation won at Lausanne on July 24, 1923 under the leadership of Ataturk is a veritable monument of democracy and peace. Ataturk himself noted that “The Ottoman State was the prisoner of a series of capitulations. The Christian people had many privileges and priorities. The Ottoman State did not have the right to try foreigners on its own territories. It was barred from collecting from foreigners the same taxes which it collected from its own kind. It was prevented from having recourse to the means that would enable the Turkish nation which founded it to live in a decent manner. It could not carry out public works. It could not build railways. It was not even free to construct schools. The foreigners always got in the way…
“I had no doubt that the basics which the Turkish nation was obliged to secure, whatever the cost, for the sake of its existence, its independence and sovereignty would be approved by the world (at Lausanne). Because, all we asked for at the Conference table was nothing other than the recognition and approval of the rights which we had in any case acquired in reality. We had the power to safeguard and defend our rights. Our biggest strength and most reliable source of support was the fact that we gained our national sovereignty, and placed it directly in the hands of the people, and proven through deeds that this right would remain vested in our nation… This Treaty is a document, which speaks of the collapse of great act of destruction prepared against the Turkish nation for long centuries and thought to have been completed by the Treaty of Sevres.”
Defining land and people
The concepts of the democratic “Turkish nation” and the “Turkish Homeland”, which form the basis for the International Lausanne Peace Treaty on the national plane, constitute a whole with the principles that it pursued on the plane of international relations: The definition of the Turkish nation is based on the principle that: “The Turkish people, who established the Republic of Turkey, is called the Turkish nation.” This definition does not discriminate on the basis of ethnic origin, religion, sect or social position. The concept of “Turkish homeland” is defined in the National Oath Document as the piece of geography on which the nation has lived in history with its legal, cultural, economic and spiritual values, and upon which it has earned the right to live, so rejecting any kind of expansionism and irredentism. These definitions – the way in which the Turkish nation perceives itself and its homeland – have been cleansed of all the Turanic and Islamic expressions, which the British and German states in particular, in line with their colonialist goals, had sometimes encouraged the Ottoman State to follow and sometimes punished it for whenever they so saw fit.
This definition of democratic homeland and nation, recognized by the world in Lausanne, made the Republic of Turkey the greatest factor of peace and security in the Middle East. It also enabled the Turkish nation live in peace uninterruptedly for 82 years, becoming one of the rare nations of which the political borders have remained unchanged. Today, the political West, for the sake of its own global aims, wants the Republic of Turkey to assume a leadership role as a “moderate Islamic democracy” in its Great Middle East project – a role which is in conflict with the definition of the democratic nation and homeland which ensured the liberation and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. It is well to remind the political West, and those who have taken it upon themselves to pursue its policies, such as the advocates of the Turkish-Islamic synthesis who only recently sought to deceive the Turkish nation with the demagogy of placing one and taking three” of the comments made by Atatürk 85 years ago concerning Pan-Turanism and Islamism. Atatürk described these two approaches as “duplicities which run after great and empty dreams, and appear to achieve things which they cannot achieve.”
Dreams or peace?
“For running after great and empty dreams, we drew upon this country and this nation the hatred and antagonism of the whole world. Instead of running after the concepts of Nationalism (Turancılık) and Islamism, which inspire fear and agitation to the world, and doing our best to multiply our enemies, let us live within our natural and legitimate borders and know our limits. We are a nation which wants to be free and independent and we will expend our lives only to that end.”
The foreign policy of the Republic of Turkey, which won a victory in Lausanne, is a realistic foreign policy, which never forgets to say: “War is murder unless the life of the nation is threatened… Peace at home, peace in the world… I am the merciless enemy of those who want to make my nation a prisoner until they abandon their aims.” It is also a policy which acknowledges that full independence – a real liberation from international colonialism – cannot be restricted to the political and military spheres. It realizes that complete independence cannot be limited to the political and military spheres but that it also requires full freedom and independence from the economic, financial, judicial, educational and cultural angles.
The culture of democracy is what makes it possible for a nation to be the master of its own house, so to speak. The Turkish delegation at Lausanne, headed by İsmet İnönü, was guided by two basic principles which can be summarised using Atatürk’s words as follows:
First, a nation should base its foreign policy on legitimate aims which it determines freely for itself on its own territory. It should not seek to adapt the internal structure of the nation to – or make it a vehicle for – a foreign policy shaped under pressure from other nations or formed in accordance with the personal assessments of certain administrators.
Secondly, no concession should be made unless the problems which prevent the establishment and maintenance of peace or stand in the way of cooperation and partnership are solved, or unless evidence is prevented to support the belief that they will be resolved, in a satisfactory manner. If the nations with which we are in disagreement or wish to cooperate are not willing to solve problems of vital importance to us in a way that will serve our interests, this means that they intend to drag out the talks for as long as possible, to wear us down with various issues and finally to force us to make concessions for their own benefit. Moreover, in such circumstances, it should be known that there is no end to demands for concessions.
The waiving of these principles in the solution of disagreements with Greece and with the Greek Cypriot Administration and in efforts to achieve full EU membership have led the Republic of Turkey and the Turkish nation into difficult and embarrassing situations such as the one-sided Customs Union Agreement, the disregard of our rights in Cyprus based on the 1960 London and Zurich International Agreements and the open-ended nature of the EU accession talks, replete with permanent exemptions.
Bangladesh, Nazrul Islam and “Kemal Pasha”
Prof. Dr. Türkkaya ATAÖV
I recently returned from attending the “First International Nazrul Conference”, held in Dhaka, the capital of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, on June 12-13, 2005. My participation was not accidental. I was barely twenty years old, in the early 1950s, when I first came to know of the Bengali people and heard the name of their great son Nazrul Islam (1899-1976), the rebel-poet, lyric song-writer, novelist, story-teller, playwright, and political activist against slavery, communalism, feudalism, colonialism, and imperialism. Any one of these attributes would have made him a national figure in the eyes of his people and attracted the attention of a reader like me.
What specifically fascinated me, more than half a century ago, was his long epic poem, of some 258 lines, entitled “Kemal Pasha”. He had written the poem in 1921, within a matter of a fortnight, and immediately had it published in his native tongue in a Calcutta periodical, as soon as he received the news of the Turkish victory over the invading foreign army near the River Sakarya. The newly-formed Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara had duly authorised Mustafa Kemal and placed him in full command of all arrangements to meet the enemy assault. After a field battle that lasted for more than three weeks, a Turkish counter-attack put the enemy to flight. This decisive victory was followed by the final Grand Offensive that would end at the Aegean port of Izmir, from where the remnants of the invading army would soon be shipped back.
The success of the Turkish struggle was a source of hope for the other peoples of the continents of Asia and Africa, then chained to colonial oppression. As the Turkish example proved, powerful enemies, and imperialism in general, could be rebuffed and defeated by the fighting force of an Oriental society. Mustafa Kemal believed that Turkey defended not only its own rights, but also those of the entire East. Sakarya had been a field battle that influenced history. Nazrul Islam – from geographically far away Bengal – was the poet who first diagnosed it as such. Nazrul’s poem was a monument in the history of anti-imperialistic world literature no less than a sincere tribute to the accomplishments of our nation and its just struggle. The poem combined the ingenuity of Nazrul’s powerful lines with the music of Bangla. Moreover, it was the first poetical acknowledgement of an anti-imperialistic victory even before any Turkish poet produced a similar masterpiece. This creation of the “rebel-poet”, was a pioneering work, not only in the local tongue, but also in world literature, by virtue of its heroic call to defy occupiers and oppressors.
When I first read about Nazrul and his poem, about six years after the Bengalis had helped to bring British colonialism to an end, I immediately wrote an article, translating some of his lines (from English), and introducing him to the Turkish reader. My article was to be reprinted in several other papers and periodicals, especially on national holidays. There were other occasions, principally one in 1968 (thanks to the initiative of Asadul Haque, then working at the RCD headquarters), during which the poet was remembered in Ankara with his songs and poems. I also introduced the subject to Özcan Davaz, my former student, who took up his first ambassadorial post in Dhaka, and who upon retirement published a book on the Bengali muse.
Freedom and sorrow
Nazrul, born in a West Bengal village but later a pioneer of post-Tagore modernity in the poetry of his native land, was a very colourful personality of undivided Bengal between 1920 and 1930. While his lyrics freed Bengali music from its medieval mould, his patriotic writings expanded in scope to articulate the aspirations of the downtrodden people. He played an active role in the formation of a workers and peasants party. During his early years, his nickname had been “Dukhu” (sorrow) Mia. The poverty-stricken poet wrote, against all odds and obstacles, for social re-awakening, national consciousness and the emancipation of the poor, until he was attacked by serious illness in 1942. Gradually he lost his power of speech and spent 34 years in silence. His condition was diagnosed as incurable. The great poet was buried near the Dhaka University mosque, where his mausoleum now stands.
On account of my early association with the Bengali people I have visited Bangladesh no less than three times – on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of our Republic; accompanying the Turkish President (S. Demirel); and now to deliver a talk at the first Nazrul conference. While inaugurating the international meeting, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia said that “the Bengali people hear Nazrul’s songs, concentrate on his poems, and are inspired by his literature in sorrows, pain, happiness, struggle, peace, construction, love and contemplation.” Addressing the concluding ceremony, President Dr. Iajuddin Ahmed said that the poet “had made a strong contribution to the development of the nation’s own identity and culture.”
The function was also addressed, among others, by two ministers and the Turkish Ambassador Ferit Ergin, who also sang a Nazrul song to the accompaniment of his guitar. The souvenir book included my article entitled “My Early Introduction to the Poet and His People.” The Turkish Ambassador’s reception on the occasion gave me another chance to suggest proposals for the future, such as the preparation of a book abroad, and the designation of new roads and avenues in other countries honouring the poet’s name and deeds.
Nazrul Islam’s glorious as well as tragic life and the vast literature that he left remain as sources of inspiration for the Bengalis. With his creative talent and powerful pen, he was one of the leading architects of the independence movement of the Indian sub-continent.
The Renaissance coast
by Bernard KENNEDY
All Mediterranean countries offer their own blends of sun, sea and sand, activities and ancient civilisations. But small-is-beautiful Croatia, now drawing the crowds again as the war years retreat into history, can claim a few extra attractions.
European holiday-makers have been discovering Croatia in droves this century – and finding it to be more than just the latest summer venue. In terms of its curious map, its varied geography, its extensive coastline and its 1,200 islands (only 66 inhabited), Croatia can only be compared to Greece. Yet its cultural heritage places it closer to Italy. In fact, everybody – Turks included – can find something familiar here.
Central European castles, palaces, cathedrals and spas await tourists prepared to take their time and drive or cycle from town to town and village to village in continental Croatia and in the environs of nineteenth century Zagreb. For those who prefer to ride, climb, raft or balloon, the mountains offer fresh air and dramatic river valleys. But the astonishing Dalmatian coastline remains by far the best-known and most valuable attraction.
Croatians have long been accustomed to tourists and to making them feel at home. The present boom is a post-war renaissance, assisted by some practical improvements. Chief among these is the completion of the Zagreb-Split motorway, halving the journey-time to three hours. By 2008, the road will go all the way to the living open-air museum of Dubrovnik.
And where better to start our tour? The harmonious walled city jutting out into the Adriatic bears ample testimony to the long history of a medieval city state which survived with and against Venice right through to the age of Napoleon. Today, its ducal palace, monasteries, bell towers and museums can all be visited on foot. Simply follow the Stradon, the central artery and meeting point. By day the age-old stonework offer respite from the sun; by night a mild breeze accompanies the region’s unique wines and songs. The summer festival is not to be missed.
A short detour from Dubrovnik takes you to the reconstructed Mostar Bridge and the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. Northwest along the coast are three more of Croatia’s five UNESCO-certificated world cultural heritage sites: the city of Split, the early renaissance island-city of Trogir with its thirteenth century cathedral and other monuments, and the much-photographed cathedral to St James at Sibenek. Split is famously built around the palace which the Roman Emperor Diocletian built for his retirement around 300 AD. The unusual palace has been built over and over in a continuity of architectural styles from classical, Gothic and Renaissance to baroque. The emperor’s octagonal mausoleum has been combined with a romanesque bell-tower to create one of Europe’s strangest cathedrals.
Meanwhile the major holiday islands are already shooting past: forested Korcula, billed as the birthplace of Marco Polo, and Brac, where on the sandy promontory of Bol, the wind and waves forever shape and reshape the beach. Opposite Brac lies Makarska, its mountains towering over the coastline – one of numerous conservation areas (Check out the “seashell museum”). Each town and island has its speciality: the sea village of Kastel Gomilica near Split, the Blue Cave on the island of Bisevo, cliffs, carnivals, trout streams, dolphins…
The Kornati zone, a natural park of 140 rocky islands, and the entire central Dalmatian coast are ideal for boat trips or for learning how to sail – and how to recognise the dry bora, the bracing biokovo, the playful maestral and the troubled scirocco winds. Still to come are the island of Krk, the resort nearest to Zagreb, noted for its famous beaches and eleventh century church, and finally the Istrian Peninsula.
This last region is famous for the Roman amphitheatre of Pula, said to be the third largest in the world, and the summer palace of President Tito on Brijuni, now a natural park. In a country of few five-star hotels, Istria also offers some of the most luxurious resorts, with facilities for golf, riding and even polo (which could be described as a mixture of the two).
Tiny Istria is studded with ancient, medieval and renaissance towns – more than a dozen of them, stone crowns adorning green hilltops. The distribution of the towns is far from random. They are arranged so that their inhabitants could quickly report news of approaching ships and pass it on from East to West. The sixth-century Byzantine basilica of St Euphrasius in Porec on the west coast is the last of the UNESCO sites mentioned.
The way we were?
Almost 10m tourists are expected to visit Croatia this year ranging from day-trippers from neighbouring Slovenia to luxury cruise line passengers from half way around the globe. This figure is more than twice the size of a dwindling population. Many drive their own cars from Germany, the Czech Republic and elsewhere in central Europe to what is their nearest corner of the Mediterranean. But the northern European package holiday industry has also discovered Croatia in a big way.
Learning from the experience of some of its larger rivals, Croatia has imposed a strict ban on coastal construction. The apposite slogan of the Croatian National Tourist Board is “the Mediterranean as it used to be”. The challenge for Croatia will be keeping things that way under the pressure of sheer numbers, economic realities and private short-term interests.
Keepers of Ankara’s memories
by Bernard Kennedy
Long after their novelty wears off, the monuments of any capital city reflect and contribute to the nation’s identity and values, its folk memory, social ideology and taste. But at the same time they are the works of artists with beliefs and preferences of their own. How did Ankara get its best bronzeware, and how has it treated it since?
Ankara’s monuments and memorials form an eclectic but unpretentious collection. The images of Turkey’s leading citizens and cultural pioneers are preserved as busts more commonly than statues. A range of modest sculptures, plaques and allegorical compositions celebrate and mourn historic moments, pay respects to foreign leaders or remind us of the brave, the good and the beautiful. Most of these, however, stand shyly in the corners of parks, at shady entrances to public buildings – or even inside the buildings.
The city’s central thoroughfares contain but a handful of major national monuments such as might suggest to the wider world that it is the capital of a proud nation. Most were erected within little over a decade of the declaration of the Republic. These works strongly influenced the iconography of the new nation-state. And all were created by foreigners.
The Victory Monument at Ulus – also known simply as “The Statue” – was paid for by popular nationwide subscription following a newspaper campaign, and the whole town turned out for is unveiling in 1927. The original specifications (in Turkish and French) foresaw a life-size bronze statue of Atatürk dressed as a civilian president. But the more epic proposal of competition-winning Austrian sculptor Heinrich Krippel proved irresistible.
The founder of the Republic appears mounted, larger-than-life, in marshal’s uniform, on a high, multifaceted marble pedestal decorated with scenes from the War of Independence and with rising-sun and tree-of-life motifs. Despite its name, the Monument symbolises not so much victory as national unity of purpose. It watches over the first parliament building, in a neighbourhood named after the “Sovereignty of the People”. And substantial complementary statues of two young soldiers and a woman bringing up ammunition form an integral part of the tableau.
In the same year, two sculptures of Turkey’s first president were commissioned from Pietro Canonica for the new Victory Square two kilometres south of Ulus, and the gardens of the new Ethnographical Museum. The Italian sculptor’s life-size statue of Atatürk in uniform, incorporating the wreaths of victory, is still the focus of Victory Day ceremonies, though the contours of the “square” are barely discernible for town-centre clutter, and the traffic grinds past in either direction within metres of the pedestrian chief commander’s curved ceremonial sword. Canonica’s mounted Atatürk has a commanding view of Ankara’s mid-riff, but is itself hidden from sight in almost all directions.
These were classical works of a style that had long caressed Western eyes. Canonica has well-known monuments to his name in several cities from Rome to Buenos Aires as well as Istanbul and Izmir. Krippel portrayed Atatürk several times, including the classic horseback sculpture in Samsun. Ankara’s next monument was to be much more complex and ambiguous.
By the 1930s, another Austrian, Clemens Holzmeister, architect of the current Parliament building, had embarked on the construction of the General Staff, Ministry and High Court buildings in the district further south that would become known as Bakanlıklar (“The Ministries”). At the approach to this new administrative zone, he imagined a pink Ankara stone structure, incorporating several reliefs and statues. Completed in 1935, it is officially entitled the Güvenlik (Security) Monument, but also referred to as the Güven (Trust, Confidence) Monument.
The centre-piece, by Holzmeister’s accomplished compatriot Anton Hanak, was originally to have been a modern family protected by the forces of law and order. But once again Ankara got more than it bargained for – in this case, two near-naked, giant, rounded, male individuals, possibly stepping out of ancient mythology, but sporting well-trimmed moustaches – and, in the case of the elder, a beard – and wielding reduced but modern-looking weapons. The theme is the satisfaction of the nation with its police and gendarmerie, who are depicted going about their business in reliefs to left and right.
All this evokes güvenlik. However, the monument also bears the large inscription, Türk: Öğün, Calıs, Güven, exhorting Turks to take pride in themselves, work hard, and be confident. There are south-facing reliefs of the nation’s farmers and professionals. And the surrounding park, now on a corner of Kızılay, is known as Güven Park.
The landmark has a controversial association with Josep Thorak, known (despite his troubled personal relations with the Nazis) as the sculptor of National Socialism. Many of Thorak’s works in Europe were later destroyed. Upon Hanak’s death in 1934, Thorak contributed the reverse-side high-relief of Atatürk flanked by symbolic, homogeneous comrades. This happens to be Ankara’s first statue of Ataturk in civilian attire. A cursory glance suggests a significant influence on subsequent portrayals.
Only pigeons have treated the Ulus and Kızılay monuments equally. While The Statue is in good shape after restoration in 2002, the Güven Anıtı is unlit and unrestored, crumbling and eroding, and marred by graffiti. The Victory Monument is the only one in Ankara which you are likely to see, even occasionally, being admired by tourists – or, for that matter, Turks. The Trust Monument is part of the furniture – there to be clambered on amid concerts or New Year celebrations. On its steps and around its ornamental pools, summer evenings are whiled (and even slept) away. Neither the anguished sculpted hands of Abdi Ipekçi Park nor the Human Rights Statue in Yüksel Caddesi – both meeting points of protestors and petitioners – can claim to be more “used”.
Krippel’s composition stands in Ankara’s sole remaining recognisable “square”. The square was created deliberately when the surrounding early modern offices were designed in 1947, and the entire composition was removed into it from the centre of the crossroads. The work of Hanak and Thorak began life in a park of its own, but the headlong development of Kızılay has left the park moth-eaten by encroaching concrete, bus-stops and police barriers.
Seventy years on
The second fifteen years of the Republic coincided with the design and construction of the Anıt Kabir, a monument par excellence, with Turkish artists in charge, working mainly in marble and stone. Sculptures of Atatürk spread across a country which otherwise found statues hard to accept. Ankara eventually acquired statues of other figures, including the Ottomans Mimar (Architect) Sinan (outside the Ankara University Language, History and Geography Faculty at Sıhhiye) and Mithat Paşa (outside Ziraat Bank in Ulus). Istanbul has no similar memorial to Sinan.
Most modern political leaders have merely had their names given to avenues and parks. Even İsmet İnönü only got his statue – well up the hill near the İnönü family home – in 1990. Sculptures of Atatürk in various roles multiplied again around 1980 (Parliament, Education Ministry, Agriculture Faculty) and again around 2000 (figures outside the Confederation of Small Traders and Artisans – TESK – and monument to Atatürk’s entry into Ankara in Cankaya).
If all the capital’s citizens are equal after Atatürk, perhaps its most appropriate statues are those of ordinary street traders and children scattered disconcertingly by an imaginative municipal administration of the 1990s. Most of these are now the worse for wear. Giant teapots, loaves of bread and still more fountains have since had their vogue.
One of Ankara’s most striking symbols is the so-called Hittite Monument at Sıhiyye – in fact an outsize replica of an object found at a probable Hatti funeral site in Alacahöyük and preserved in the Museum of Ancient Civilisations. Manufactured in 1974, it occupies an ideal prime site at Ankara’s centre of gravity, about 200 metres north of Victory Square. Its antlered beasts suggest locating national roots in ancient Anatolian soil, and have therefore been bitterly opposed in some quarters as pagan and/or un-Turkish. They appear to have weathered the storm. At the same time, they serve as a belated reminder that the art of sculpture has a long indigenous history in these parts.
Rakoczi Museum: House of exile
by Recep Peker Tanıtkan
In a corner of Eastern Thrace, Turkey and Hungary are preserving precious pieces of one another’s history: the civil architecture of the early 18th century, and the legend of Ferenc Rakoczi II.
“We have a home here now; we have reached peace and quiet. I like Tekirdağ very much but I cannot forget Zagon.” So wrote Mikes Kelemen on May 28, 1720, from his new abode in Tekirdağ in the most northwestern corner of today’s Turkey. The celebrated Hungarian writer’s words did not merely commence a letter but also opened an early chapter of what would be his most famous work: Letters from Turkey, a series of 207 unsent dispatches to a fictitious aunt, the last of which would flow from his pen a full 38 years later. Published in 1794, the letters shed light on the futile exile of the Hungarian nationalists, detail a running personal battle between faith and frustration, and provide future generations with vivid glimpses of eighteenth century Ottoman folklore, ceremony and social life.
March of time
The lonesome scribe Kelemen makes a solemn foil to the intrepid hero to whom he owed his presence on Ottoman soil, his employer and leader, Prince Ferenc Rakoczi II. From 1703 to 1711, Rakoczi led a struggle for independence from the Hapsburg Empire. Though it ended in defeat, he was to secure himself a lasting place in Hungarian folk memory – complete with a marching tune that inspired romantic composers Berlioz and Lizst a full century after his death.
After taking refuge in Poland, England and France, Rakoczi and his entourage arrived in Turkey in 1717 aboard a vessel provided by Sultan Ahmed (Ahmed II). Rakoczi was welcomed with pomp in Gallipoli and Edirne, and received by the Sultan. But Austria was rolling back the Ottoman expansion into Europe. In 1718, the two empires signed the treaty of Passarowitz (Pasarofça). Thereafter, upon a complaint from the Austrian ambassador, the Hungarian exiles were to be accommodated not in Istanbul but in a street of 24 houses purchased for them by the government from members of the local Greek Orthodox community in Tekirdağ.
Rekindling the past
The gratitude tinged with nostalgia expressed in Kelemen’s missive was equally valid for the prince. He spent his days receiving visitors, organising dinners, hunting, praying and petitioning the Ottoman government. In 1735 he passed away, his dreams unfulfilled, to be followed gradually by the remnant of his loyal followers. One gallant survivor is the house which Rakoczi used as his headquarters, now owned by the Hungarian government and preserved as the Rakoczi Museum.
The museum contains a collection of period furnishings and artefacts. The chattels used by Rakoczi himself were eventually repatriated, together with the prince’s ashes, to Kosice – then Hungary, now Slovakia – in 1906. The three-storey house preserves the Ottoman civil architecture of its era. The ground floor consists of a selamlık, entrance hall, kitchen, store-room and servants’ room. On the first floor are the low-ceilinged winter quarters, warmed by hot-coal braziers where a bitter Turkish coffee might simmer. The high-ceilinged second floor summer accommodation includes Kelemen’s office and a guest room decorated with stained glass windows and fruit reliefs – a style inspired by a dining room at Topkapı Palace and once popular in the nearby Ottoman “summer capital” of Edirne.
Three centuries on
In recent years, Tekirdağ has acquired touching monuments to Rakoczy and Kelemen symbolising the friendly relations between Turkey and Hungary. In 2003, a week of Hungarian cultural exhibitions and performances was staged to mark the third centenary of the start of Rakozcy’s ill-fated resistance. It proved so popular that it is being repeated every year in the first week of June, at least until 2011. Hungary has an honorary consul in Tekirdağ. An initiative to restore several more of the Rakoczy houses awaits attention.
Ertuğrul Mahallesi, Barbaros Caddesi, Tekirdağ
Open: 9.00-12.00 and 13.00-15.00 (except Mondays)
Curator: Ali Kabul
Tel: 0282 263 85 77 or 0282 293 20 87
Consular Agency of the Republic of Hungary (Erdoğan Eken)
Orduevi Sokağı, Günaydın Apt. No: 7, Tekirdağ
Tel: 0282 261 15 49 or 0282 263 03 13
by Recep Peker TANITKAN
One can imagine Istanbul without its minarets, Dubai without its creek or Brighton without its pier. But surely not Bodrum without its very special boats.
Sunshine and beaches, blue skies and turquoise water can be found all along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. Yet the Bodrum peninsula has a flavour of its own. Its name alone casts a spell in the flats and offices of Turkey’s major cities. For many, it soon becomes a passion. These visitors are familiar not only with the town itself, its white box-shape houses and thronging shopping streets. On the contrary, they recognise every bend in the road, and every cove and cape. They can tell you where to stay, where to swim and where to bathe, where to exchange the relentless heat for a cool summer breeze, where to watch the sunset, which summer house to rent, where to take the children for kebab and where to sport the latest sunglasses. They know the townships of Türkbükü, Yalıkavak and Turgutreis like the backs of their hands, and are no strangers to the blue-flagged beaches of Bitez, Aktur, Ortakent and Gümüşlük.
What makes the lure of Bodrum so unique? Why the urge to be a part of it time and time again? Is it the legend of the “fisherman of Halikarnos” (Halikarnassos), Cevat Şakir? Is it the magnificence of the beautifully-illuminated medieval crusader castle, wedged against the sea, with its seven gates, its gardens and multiple exhibitions? Is it the concerts and shows at the ancient theatre, the blend of Turkish and foreign visitors somehow sharing common customs? Or is it the human buzz of those narrow streets, the endless open-air bazaar of jewellery and junk? The welcoming shade of the bars, with their vivid names and cosy characters? The chance to step through the pages of lifestyle magazines and rub shoulders with the rich and the famous?
One thing is for sure. Bodrum is unthinkable without its water-craft. King Mausolos of Caria (Karya), who moved his capital to Halikarnassos in the fourth century BC, was the first but not the last to build his warships here. Maritime commerce thrived in ancient times, as now exhibited to award-winning standards in the castle. In Bodrum harbour and in marinas and breakwaters all around the coast, tiny fishing vessels, lobster boats and bareboard racing yachts ride the waves with ketches, schooners and power yachts up to 75m in length. They are not just pretty faces: their labours bring in visitors and fish, and they make possible the diving and the day trips round the islands.
Some twenty-five years ago, the well-developed local craft of boat-making forged a happy marriage with the rising tourist tide. The result has been a range of steel and wooden boats – most outstandingly the gulet, a single or doubled-masted motor yacht 13-35m in length, typically built of pine and styled with pointed fore and rounder aft. World-wide they are known as “Bodrum-Type” yachts or “Gullets”. Offering accommodation for 6-18 passengers, they have become the mainstay of Bodrum’s trademark ‘Blue Voyage’ cruises to Marmaris via Datça and Bozburun – magic days at sea during which friends and families come together, or new and lasting acquaintances are struck.
Içmeler, just outside the town of Bodrum, is said to be the site of Europe’s largest wooden yacht-yard. A typical gulet, also sometimes referred to as a “caique”, takes 12-18 months to build. Each is distinguished by its size, its design, its workmanship, its suitability for sailing and the luxury of its furnishings and fittings. Larger new or restored gulets have bars and air-conditioning. All are designed for maximum comfort, with spacious double-bedded en suite cabins and wide sun-decks. With a hospitable crew on hand, it is hard to resist the temptation to sip one’s drinks on deck instead of diving into the transparent waters of deep bays or exploring the woods behind uninhabited coves!
During the summer season, hundreds of these boats are hard at work as charter yachts. Their owners and captains have their well-deserved fling comes later in the year, as temperatures cool off a fraction, and shorter days draw in. For it is on the third Sunday of October that the Bodrum Cup Wooden Yacht Sailing competition is held. The regatta is designed to promote the wooden yachts and encourage their use.
Uniquely, this is a competition in which professionals, amateurs and even babies can take part. Passengers, invited or paying, may join in the manoeuvring and learn the art of sailing – or simply enjoy the spray. Even while the race is on, there is always enough time to relax in the evenings. The gulets follow the Blue Voyage route, until finally everybody returns to Bodrum for the prize-giving party in the huge Halikarnos Disco, itself a night to remember.
Daver Darende: A Colourful Diplomat
by Sibel DORSAN
Although his career as a diplomat has carried him off to many parts of Europe and Asia, the focus of self-taught painter Daver Darende’s paintings has long been his beloved Istanbul. His warm blue world has won him an extraordinary popularity at home and abroad. Much of the credit must go to admirers in Poland – and under his own roof.
He is known as the “Painter Diplomat” or the “Istanbul Painter”. In fact, Daver Darende is a complete intellectual and artist. For 36 years from 1967 onwards, he worked for the Foreign Ministry at various levels. Now in retirement he is busy not only painting but publishing books and articles. He also has very close interest, as a listener, to music.
Şermin and Daver Darende’s home is a cheerful, cosy place. The atmosphere of love, respect and peace engulfs you straight away. The ambiance is furthered enhanced by the many beautiful paintings which cover the walls – and by the positive energy diffused by the murmuring of the pretty house-cat. It comes as no surprise to learn that Darende’s adventures with paint began on a domestic occasion.
From Munich to Warsaw
“I have always been sensitive towards all branches of art but it was a birthday surprise of my wife that caused me to begin painting,” he explains. “In 1980 when I was Acting Consul General in Munich, my wife made a copy of Van Gogh, which impressed me very much. I started to paint portraits of women. I continued to make sketches and portraits. Later, when we returned to Ankara, I showed my paintings to a friend who simply could not believe that they had been done by me. He convinced me to exhibit them, and I opened my first personal exhibition at the Mungan Art Gallery. That was in 1982. I didn’t expect to sell any paintings but as it turned out, twelve of my forty paintings were sold.”
Appointed to Warsaw as first secretary, Darende was to strike up a friendship with the famous Turkish artist Nejat Devrim, who encouraged him further with the words: “Welcome among us”. Darende has held a total of 5 exhibitions in Poland. The first opened in the city of Gliwice. Later his work was displayed in Cracow for two consecutive years. The Poles were particularly attracted to his brightly coloured compositions on the themes of Istanbul, the Bosporus and its waterfront villas. He received an honorary diploma and bronze medal from the people of Krakow. In 1985, he exhibited in Warsaw.
Darende was subsequently appointed consul general in Tebriz. These were the years of the Iran-Iraq war. His paintings of this era, more abstract in character, were exhibited in Gdansk in 1986. Again his wife took a hand in his career. There was one painting that he was initially unsure about exhibiting, but which she insisted should go on display. It was bought by the Gdansk Academy of Fine Arts.
Home thoughts from Dubai
A posting to Dubai constiututed another turning point. For a lower of Istanbul, the waters of the Gulf could not fail to conjure up images of the Bosphorus. The disappearing Istanbul of Darende’s childhood soon came to dominate his canvases. The songs they sing are of the fascinating shore of the Straits, of a trip to the Islands, of motor boats and takas (small Black Sea boats). Among them are paintings reminiscent of old Istanbul street-plans; displaying the Bosporus in bird’s-eye view, with echoes of traditional miniature paintings. In the eye of the mind, Darende traverses the entire Istanbul shoreline, embellishing it with very slim minarets. But the mood is not one of nostalgia or loss, but of cheerful expectation.
The artist’s exhibition of forty paintings at the Dubai Hilton in 1990 attracted considerable interest from the local media. During this period, he also participated in joint exhibitions at the Mitsukoshi and Sogo art galleries in Tokyo. Two of his paintings, both featuring Istanbul, attracted the attention of Prince Tomohito Mikasa. They were presented to the prince as a gift, and took their place in his personal collection.
The fascination of Paris
For a “painter-diplomat” there could hardly have been a more fortunate assignment than Paris, where Darende became Turkey’s permanent representative to UNESCO in 1996: “Paris is a city moulded by art. I enjoyed being there very much. Many Turkish writers and artists of whom we are very proud also live in Paris, and it was a great pleasure to share their experiences and become friends with them.”
Apart from his primary tasks, Darende opines, one of the most important duties of a diplomat is to support those people who are the natural culture and art envoys of their country. In his work with brush and pen, he too placed great importance on the promotion of his country. His Paris exhibition “Istanbul on the Seine” and his book “From Maiden’s Tower to the Eiffel Tower” are monuments to this approach. Besides his sweeping Bosphorus landscapes, the canvases exhibited show red trams carrying passengers in bunches from Tünel to Beyoğlu – a theme which he had started to work on in the 1990s.
But look again closely. The two cities are literally intermingled with one another. Istanbul and the Bosphorus have become united with Paris. Is it Beyoğlu? Or is it the Champs-Elysees? The Eiffel Tower and minarets are inseparable, and takas are flowing down the Seine. Viewers are enthralled by the vividness of its all.
Painting to music
An impressionist? “I am an autodidactic painter. Although I sometimes work in an abstract way, I prefer the impressionist style, I express myself better thought this technique,” he says. He depicts objects the way he wants to see them, paying great attention to colour and light. When he first started painting he used gouache and watercolour, and warm earth colours like orange and yellow dominated. But later he took to oil paint and acrylic and the supremacy of blue became unquestionable. He likes working with acrylic very much: “It dries rapidly and it helps me to put across what I want to say”. The resemblance of his paintings to miniature art does not appear to be deliberate: “Everybody develops a style in time, this is mine.”
The Istanbul gentleman has held 22 personal exhibitions and taken part in 16 joint exhibitions. Many of his paintings are to be found in famous local and foreign collections. While working, he listens to classical music, especially Mozart and Beethoven. “If I were asked what I would want to become today, I would answer an opera singer or conductor without hesitation,” he says. Meanwhile, his fourth book is on the way. It is inspired by the passion for Istanbul shared by such geniuses as Loti, Flaubert, Gide, Cocteau, Duhamel. “Using old postcards as a starting point, he explains, with a twinkle in his eye, “I decided to bring together the opinions of foreigners about Istanbul and my ideas about its historical architecture. There are some really nice things. For example, in 1917, someone wrote in a postcard sent to a relative how much he missed Hacı Bekir’s lokum.”
Kekova: Unhurried holidays
by Recep Peker Tanıtkan
Stretched out along 640km of the Mediterranean coastline, Antalya boasts 118 recognised archaeological sites and dozens of natural beauty spots. Rather than taking in everything and seeing nothing, why not soak in the atmosphere at just one location – say, Kekova?
West of the sun-drenched heart of Antalya lie the realm of Santa Claus and the Olympian gods, the Lycian rock tombs of Myra and ancient Phaselis and the household-name beaches of Adrasan and Patara. Beyond these lie the K-resorts: Kalkan, Kaş, Kekova. To some, the region remains a sleepy backwater of a province bristling with life and action. But to others its canyons and coves are the essential Mediterranean, where the waves can still be heard and the salt still smelt.
Change comes everywhere. Kalkan has long exchanged its fishing-village atmosphere for a busy yachting harbour – though small is still beautiful among its narrow streets and shady shops, and the Thursday market is not be missed. In Kaş, the bougainvillea goes on scaling the white walls. But the district centre is also now Turkey’s most popular destination for divers.
From here, the village of Kale or Kaleköy – the ancient Simena – is only a short drive away. It takes its modern name from the fortress that stands watch over the Kekova region, dotted with ancient settlements, and defined by its long, bare island. The island is renowned for its sunken city. Like others in the vicinity, the city is thought to have been the victim of an earthquake in the second century BC. The remains of streets, houses and steps are clearly visible below the surface of the sea adjacent to the island. At the point known as the Shipyard or Boathouse Cove, the ruins of a Byzantine monastery catch the eye.
Taking your time
Kekova is no place to be in a rush. It must be explored minutely by boat and on foot. The night must be passed in one of the guest houses at the top of the hill. You must be woken by the first rays of morning, and must breakfast on village cheese and bread, with tasty fresh tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. You must then spend some minutes staring down the slope and into the huge natural aquarium, as if to read the inscriptions on the half-submerged tablet that defies the ravages of time. Only then must walk the route your eyes have taken, down to the waterline, to splash in the water which looked so blue and sparkling from above.
All along the path the village women knit and crochet, and display the fruits of their labours, which they sell for a tiny sum, to earn their families a living.
Nowhere will you eat fresher fish. The pocket-size restaurants along the shoreline catch and cook them before your very eyes. There is really no need of wine, because you are already drunk with the sun and the sea air, the scenery and the swimming.
Turkey, Belgium in joint issue
by Kaya Dorsan
The Turkish Post Office (PTT) and the Belgian Post Office (La Poste-De Post) have jointly issued a series of stamps. The joint issue went on sale on June 22, 2005. The series consists of two stamps depicting examples of carpets from the two countries, which are Europe’s leading carpet manufacturers.
The stamps issued in Turkey are worth YKr60 and YKr70. The former shows a Hereke carpet with a modern design. The latter bears a picture of a wall carpet thought to have been produced in Brussels at the beginning of the sixteenth century. This carpet has a design which symbolizes the conflict between good and evil.
Of the stamps issued by Belgium, the Turkish carpet appeared on the €0.60 stamp and the Belgian carpet on the €0.44 stamp. The stamps issued in both countries have identical designs by MVTM & Jean Libert.
A long tradition
The tradition of joint issues is not new either in Turkey or in Belgium. Both countries have for a long time participated in joint issues with other European countries under the CEPT (Conférence Européen de Poste et Télécommunication) umbrella. Belgium first took part in 1956 and Turkey in 1958. In recent years, these stamps have become known as the “Europa” series. In the past, Turkey also issued joint stamps with its RCD partners Iran and Pakistan.
Since 1998, Turkey has issued stamps jointly with New Zealand, Kazakhstan and Hungary, for example, while Belgium has produced joint issues with many countries, notably Portugal. This year, the two countries’ philately paths have crossed.
Joint stamp issues are unspectacular but significant activities which strengthen and consolidate the friendly ties among the countries. They also add variety to the lives of collectors. Any philatelist who collects only Belgian stamps will have at least one Turkish series in his collection too, and vice-versa.
Meanwhile, the PTT clearly intends to continue with joint issues. It is known to be preparing to produce joint stamps with Iran and Syria within the present year.