Turkey is beginning to face its past. The coupe of September 12th 1980 has been a tormenting event in the lives of Turkish people. There is an art exhibition in Istanbul nowadays that brings together a number of artists and their sufferings of the 1980 coupe.
Hurriyet Daily introduces the exhibition:
With an eye to creating an artistic protest, the exhibition, running from Oct. 23 to Nov. 25 at the BM SUMA Art Center in Istanbul’s Karaköy district, displays works using techniques ranging from photography and pictures to statues and videos.
Many internationally known artists cooperated in the making of the exhibition, including: Yeşim Ağaoğlu, Hakan Akçura, Evrensel Belgin, Neriman Polat, Murat Morova, Fulya Çetin, Nalan Yırtmaç, Canan Beykal, İlhan Sayın, Hakan Gürsoytrak, Erdag Aksel, Murat Başol, Burak Karacan, Aktif Kollektif, Çağrı Saray, Extramücadele and Serpil Odabaşı.
The exhibition presents themes such as social violence, the culture of hate and discrimination, democracy, peace, the loss of social awareness and the perception of truth. Through their works, the artists have tried to demonstrate how people should brace themselves for their “dirty” stories, while attempting to demonstrate a path toward broadened freedom of speech that takes place in the political and public realms through art.
I don’t remember much of those days. My father hesitates to speak about those times and dismisses the topic by saying: “We used to halt at street corners hiding you so that you would not to get harmed if something happened.” That has been most of the information that I knew about those days as my father was an officer in the Air Force and most of the people that I knew were related with the military–so this topic was not a popular one in family and friend meetings. Then I–following my predecessors–went to the military high school and after that Air Force Academy, until I quit all my connections with all governmental institutions altogether.
I am telling you these because I am a person, who did not know anything about what happened in those days, however I lived in this country among all these people who suffered and people who were members of the armed forces which was responsible of that suffering.
Such topics and significant events in recent Turkish history have been mostly have been silenced and kept away from public conscience as much as possible as a governmental policy. With the AK Party’s coming to government in 2002 elections, this policy began to change, as the Islamic front had mostly been the primary target that was reprimanded in events like these.
Now, we have feature series on mainstream TV that are depicting the suffering of those times–love stories intertwined to the main story… These kind of artistic, political and literary works are increasing in number–with the blessing from the AK Party, of course.
The lawsuits and secret files that are coming out as a part of a master-plan (Ergenekon case, a secret plan to bring chaos to the country in order to establish suitable conditions to stage a coupe d’etat against the current government) that is claimed to be staged by special units within the headquarters of the armed forces.
In short, the military influence over Turkish democracy is being repressed under a grand project called Democratic Initiative. It is for the most of the people regarded as a positive happening, but on the other hand, the skeptics are wondering if they are repressing them so that they can unveil the secret agenda to Islamicize the country.
That part of the story is yet to come…