A Message of Peace by Haydar Ergülen

Poet Haydar Ergulen has penned on behalf of PEN Turkey a touching call for peace in occasion of the World Peace Day, 1 September 2016. Here is a preliminary English translation of the text (original here: http://www.pen.org.tr/tr/node/2134):

“The days are heavy/ days come carrying news of death”, wrote the world poet Nazım Hikmet in 1941. Exactly 75 years ago. No doubt that he was dreaming of a world of peace, of people living in freedom, of happy people, both young and old, men and women and children. Utopia means a bit to dream. But nowadays the pain for what we witness does not allow us to even close our eyes. We cannot dream. Because everything is too real, too concrete, too bitter, painful, burning.

While trying to survive amid so much suffering, the putsch attempt directed against democracy has frustrated our hopes even further. The Parliament house, a symbol not only of the parliamentary regime but also of democracy and secularism has been bombed. However, for the first time in the history of Turkey the people has resisted against the putsch. This unforgettable rebellion has reawaken the hope that our country can live and should live in democracy, in a parliamentary regime, in respect of secularism, within the [frame of the] republic.

While we were rejoicing for the victory of democracy, the proclamation of the State of Emergency resulted into arrests of journalists and writers, shutting down of press and publishing institutions, dismissal of thousands journalists, annulment of their press cards and requisition of their passports.

The take into custody of Hilmi Yavuz, one of the greatest Turkish poets, a figure of intellectual and philosopher, was followed by the arrest of novelist Aslı Erdoğan, among the most important writers [of Turkey], well known abroad and appreciated for her consciousness. Undoubtedly other writers and journalists are shut down in prison, deprived of their most basic right, the freedom of expression.

And it is equally beyond doubt that the fraternity between the Turkish and Kurdish people is one of the founding principles of Turkey. Every attempt to weaken this foundation is hindering our common future. In this respect, the bombing of cities of our country, the appropriation of our fellow citizens’ most basic living rights, the actions and the attacks by PKK are diminishing day by day our hopes for peace. It is impossible to describe the picture coming out of the Gaziantep bombing orchestrated by ISIS. With such a course, the kids whom every 23 April [National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, n.v.] we have sit on thrones, and who represent the future of our country, will never grow up, they will stay kids forever, bombs will take their beautiful souls away.

We invite those who have power and those who have not, all our fellow citizens, to live and take action for democracy, for the Republic, for freedom, peace, secularism and for the mutual respect of our differences. We call for more understanding of each other, for the defence of the supremacy of law, and for living in accordance to the teaching of our immense poet Yunus Emre: ‘I did not come to fight,/my mission is about love’”.

Haydar Ergülen – PEN Turkey

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