Halide Edib

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 It has come to my attention that some WB  members have newly become aquainted with my namesake, the historical  Mustafa Kemal. When I first discovered him one of first things that came to my mind was “Why do so few people in the US know anything about this blue eyed Macedonian?”  Of course, that included me at the time.  Coming from a military family I asked close friends and they didnt know him either. This is a little curious since he has rather outstanding military and leadership accomplishments. As I learned about him I discovered that he had accomplished many remarkable things.  Before I list a few, just let  me mention Ottoman Centuries by Lord Kinross you will get a good view of Ottoman history. One of the first things that will happen is that it will dispell many myths you may have had of them.

Then Ataturk, also by Kinross is an extraordinary read. If you like action, drama, the struggle for freedom,  like Americans do, then you will enjoy it. 

 

Now some of his accomplishments.

 

1)Gallipoli: in 1915, disobeying orders and actually taking command as a captain he led the counter to the Allies invasion of Galipoli.  One of the things that is clear from reading about him is here is  a clear cut case of a truly charismatic character. Evidently, he said

““Men, I am not ordering you to attack. I am ordering you to die. In the time that it takes us to die, other forces and commanders can come and take our place”

 

and die they did, around 80,000 of them, defeating  the British Navy, no small feat, and the Australians, defiinitely no small feat, thus initiating their ANZAC creation mythos, celebrated every year by them.

By all accounts he was fearless, and there are accounts of the “bullet in the watch” saving his life.

Some years later here is what he had to say to the losers:

 

The heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives on this country's soil! You are in the soil of a friendly country now. Therefore rest in peace. You are side by side with the little Mehmets. The mothers who send their sons to the war! Wipe your tears away. Your sons are in our bosom, are in peace and will be sleeping in peace comfortably. From now on, they have became our sons since they have lost their lives on this land.”

 

Here the expression “little Mehmets” deserves some explanation. In Turkey there is only one Muhammed, and that is the Prophet, peace be upon him; Those named after him are called Mehmet. And “little muhammed” is their version of GI Joe.

 

2) War of Independence: After WWI, during which the present confines of Turkey lost %15  of their population ( and the US .15% )  they were invaded by the Greeks, the British, the Italians, the Russians and the French. Their war of independence was fought by a destroyed state against numerous victorious states.  

And they won,  much of it due to the leadership of this man. But much of it also due to Halide Edib, of which we will have more to say soon.

 

Indeed, Mustafa Kemal was not an idealogue, he was a practical man. His goal was the resurrection of the dying man of Europe and the creation of a healthy and prosperous state. He knew well that at healthy and prosperous state needs to be at peace and so he said that one of Turkey’s  primary directives is

“Peace at home is peace in the country. Peace in the country is peace in the world.”

 

Look at Turkey’s war history since 1924. Almost nothing except for the Cyprus war of 1975. For those of you who are outraged by such adventures ask yourself how the US war record compares.

 

3)  Modern dress: Mustafa Kemal once assembled a group of haberdashers from Europe, I think in  Smyrna( present day Izmir) and at the end of his speech about modernization he waved his hat in the air and said something like “This is called a hat. From now on you will wear  a hat; anyone caught with a fez or a turban will be arrested” And they did and they were. The changes extended to pants, womens dress, ties beards. Today Turkish men dress modestly but generally look very sharp. There are mens salons throughout Turkey.

 

4) Secularization: Kemal not only destroyed the Caliphate but helped create a form of  Republican government which did not allow religion to interfere.  

 

5) Language: Ottoman Turkish was a warped merging of old Turkish with Persian and Arabic. Only scholars could read it. Kemal completely revised the language, change the Arabic script roman,  and instituted secular educational reform so that all Turks were required to learn to read and write in modern Turkish. Today, often when you walk by a school you can hear young students singing -the sound is quite delightful.   is a photo of mine of some Turkish schoolchildren from 

Yusufeli (Joseph’s hand) near the Black Sea.

While we are on the subject of delightful things, see 

  some Kurdish women we met at the Ishak Pasha Palace near Mt. Ararat on the Armenian/Iran border.

 

6) Equality of women: during the War of Independence he spoke to the women and told them that if they would contribute their efforts to the winning of their independence then they would be able to attain legal equality with the men. They did, heroically I might add, and he kept his promise.  If you think women are second class citizens in Turkey I suggest you go there and tell them. You will receive a very powerful impression of what Turkish women are, and I would love to be a fly on the wall.   Kemal’s daughter became the first female fighter pilot in history. 

 

7) European naming convention: Kemal started by assuming the last name Atatürk. father of the Turks.

 

 

Several years ago there was the distinct possiblity that I may have to devise an alternate line of making a living. I started to prepare to write  a screenplay for a movie of the Turkish Ordeal. My big hurdle was knowing that most americans cannot watch movies with subtitles and I am not going have these Turks speak English. Anyway the opening scene was going to be aboard a British navy ship during the bombardment of the peninsula and then I would move towards the action over thousands of  fighting soldiers and come to something that looked like  this iconic  photo of Mustafa Kemal at Gallipoli.

Then we would move to a scene in Istanbul where a mother is trying to get her children off to school while worrying about her sons in the battle a short distance away.

Well, that did not come pass. If it had, I might be in a very different place now, certainly on Erdoğan’s shit list.

 

**********************

So now to Halide hanım, (Lady Halide).

Halide1 Halide2  Halide Edib was  an Ottoman intellectual. Her father was a secretary to the Sultan and her first husband was the famous Ottoman astronomer and mathematician Salih Zeki.   In the first part of her Memoires1 you will find  a very interesting view of the Ottoman world at its transition, and from a women’s point of view. For those of you who feel they know how muslims treat their women you will experience some cognitive dissonance here. For the rest there is also much to learn and enjoy. Interestingly,  having lived through her father’s  polygamy, she says something like “Polygamy is wrong, not because it is immoral, but because it does not work.” In her memoirs she gives a rather lucid account of the changes that took place when her father took a second wife.

 

In another account, she is working for the Red Crescent in Syria

and the place where they were  was jointly owned by Christians, Jews and Muslims. She recounts how the place was filthy because if any of the three groups touched the place there was bloodshed. So she called in a small group of Kurdish (as I recall) soldiers to clean up while she stood guard. Nothing happened. Then, while the Turks were preparing  to receive an attack and were trying to transport the locals to a safe place she saw a Turkish officer manhandling  some of the youngsters and she said something like “Brother, do you think that is an appropriate way to treat Gods children?” She says that the officer started to cry that “Sister, you are right. I am besides myself. These Arab children are not at all like our Turkish children.  Turkish children you can get to march all day without food. With these, I get them on a railroad car and they jump off on the other side. It is like herding rabbits. Evidently, they had a short conversation and he proceeded in a much improved mood. When I read this I asked an Arab friend of mine, who knows the Turks, about this and he responded “Have you heard of the hot temper and emotional  ways of the hot blooded Spanish?. Where do you think they got it?” The Turks dont have it. 

 

In the  second part of her memoirs,  the Turkish Ordeal

 she recounts  her experiences during the Turkish War of Independence. When the Greeks invaded is when the people’s dissatisfation with their leadership began to really mount. It hit such a feverous pitch that at one of the meetings that Halide was at they mentioned that there were 200,000 people at the Hippodrome in Istanbul demanding action and that the time was ripe to move. They all agreed it was the right time, but who was going to seal his fate and go speak to this crowd?  Initially none offered, until after some time and discussion, Halide speaks up and says “I will speak. ” In her memoires you can viscerally feel how her life is changing before your very eyes as they all walk in a group to the Hippodrome, everyone quiet, understanding that she is now preparing a speech of a lifetime and has not long to do it. And it was here that she gave a speech that was to change her life and fire the shot that began  the revolution. Here is

Halide at Hippodrome

 preparing to speak. 

 

Not long after this, a fatwa was issued against the 7 primary characters, one of which was Halide hanım,  and this fatwa indicated not only a sentence of death upon them but also that it was a requirement of all muslims that they  execute this sentence. The night before the fatwa  she began her 7 day flight, with the flu, during cold and rain up to the Anatolian pleateau to join her fellow conspirators.    A singular image I have of her is when she recounts setting her son on her lap while she writes a letter to a friend asking if he will take her son to live in America and take care of him. You can see the tears welling up in the young boys eyes as he reads what his mother is writing. As she mentions, being a well raised you Turk he behaved himself with dignity. I think he was 10.   She was thinking that this may be the last time they will ever see each other again.

 

Escorting her on this trip was a soldier she referred to as Çavuş Mehmet ( Sgt. GI Joe)

and she recounts the long horse drawn rides in the dark, rain, and cold at night where she could always tell he was there, not by his conversation, but by the fact that he held the hem of her gown the whole way. She refers to these soldiers as her Anatolian Tigers and she decribes vividly their fierce dedicated character,  the alertness and readiness to pounce and the sound of their quiet tiger feet outside where she slept.  

 

Most accounts of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk are rather complementary so one of the advantages of her account is not only that it is from a woman’s perspective but that she is not completely enamored with him. There is one scene where they are debating and he say something like “OK, let me be clear, what I want for you  all to do is say “Yes, Mustafa we will do whatever you say””. Halide, evidently prepared for this eventuality, says something like “OK Mustafa, we will do that, but be careful, the minute that we do not think that you are working in the interest of the Turkish people …………” And that is what happened, and I suspect that is partly why they defeated the Greeks at Sakarya.

She describes the soldiers preparation for the Battle of Sakarya. The Greeks had made it to the point where if they won this battle, they would then be able to move to Ankara for the kill. She said that they all prepared as if they were going to die that day. She said it was very quiet, the men writing their farewell letters and settling both their secular affairs and those with Allah, as  if most expected that  this was their last night to be alive. And lose it they almost did, but that Turkish tenacity turned the day and they won the day yet again (that is an interesting story in itself), After that was the battle of Dumlupinar which was essentially the beginning of the drive of the Greeks back to the port of Smyrna where the  had landed their invasion.  Accounts of what happend there vary, but most agree that the bay was filled with Greek bodies. Halide gives first hand accounts of what the Greeks did on their way out. And this is where it gets interesting. She was adamently opposed to revenge upon the Greeks for this. Her accounts are grueling. After destroying most of the Greek Army, instead of revenge, the first thing he did was propose a peace treaty.

 

She recounts a conversation with a senior officer  who brought her a puppy to keep her company in cold Ankara, This officer was exasperated and said

“ I know the solution to this campaign”. What is that ? “ Shoot all the officers”

“Shoot all the officers and let the soldiers do their work. They will not fail us”

I forget this individual’s name, but she recounts how sad she was when she found out he was killed, one of her Anatolian Tigers. Just after this her little puppy is found to have a terminal disease and one of the soldiers takes it out back and shoots it. Then, after all the bloodshed, keeping her composure through the loss of dear friends and family, she breaks down and cries for the first time, over a puppy.  

 

When she arrived in Ankara, she was given a single roomed building with a glass door and two blankets for her bed. That night, because of modesty standards, she had to use one of her blankets to cover the glass door and the other to sleep in. She had a very cold night.

 

During this time was also the Bolshevik revolution and they sent her to Russia to see if their model would be of any use to them. She returned with a dim view of socialism and it was never considered as a form of government for the republic.

 

This account is also filled with adventure, the high adventure of the creation of the Turkish state by one of its primary revolutionaries.  She survived two assassination attempts but according to her  she never had to use her Walther parabellum pistol, although coming close a few times. After the war and some turmoil in the opening phase of the Republic, her party was outlawed,  for being too religious as I understand it, she was accused of treason and she fled to France and then England, eventually returning home to Istanbul in 1939

 

Mustafa

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Neil Lock Added Jun 11, 2018 - 3:55pm
Mustafa: An interesting gentleman and lady, indeed. But if being "caught with a beard" is arrestable, unfortunately I couldn't have lived there.
Mustafa Kemal Added Jun 11, 2018 - 4:42pm
Neil, sorry to give that impression. beards were never arrestable. Only that they tried to encourage a western style. The fez and turban had to go though
 
 
 
Jeff Michka Added Jun 11, 2018 - 6:24pm
Nice article, expanding on Mustafa Kemal.  One other note about Gallipoli:  when the end f the Brit/allies were about to with draw, The German General who'd been put in charge of Turkish troops, handed complete command of the Turks to Kemal.  I had the chance to stand on the beaches of Suvla Bay back in late 80s, and there are plenty of signs of WWI still on the peninsula.  Remarkable times, courage and discipline.  Americans can't conceive of someone like Kemal.  Too far from America's collective memory.
James Travil Added Jun 11, 2018 - 7:16pm
Good article Mustafa, thanks for sharing. And thanks also to Jeff for the additional information. 
Pardero Added Jun 11, 2018 - 8:21pm
Jeff Michka,
Great comment that adds to this fine article. 
Pardero Added Jun 11, 2018 - 8:23pm
Mustafa Kemal,
Outstanding and fascinating article. I gotta run but will be back.
Jeff Michka Added Jun 11, 2018 - 8:54pm
Hmmm.  Okay, folks, thanks, but I've tired of how stupid and foolish most Americans are about other people from other places, particularly since such rubbish has been stated about Mustafa.  It's a choice to be that misinformed.
Mustafa Kemal Added Jun 11, 2018 - 9:12pm
Jeff, thanks for the very interesting response. I didnt really know that Liman Von Sanders gave him command afterwards. I have been through çanakkale (bowl castle), it is an ancient site with alot of history, including Gallipoli but I never got down the beach. 
 
Regarding " Americans can't conceive of someone like Kemal.  Too far from America's collective memory."
There is something in what you say.  The Turks still feel like a revolutionary people.  All families lost relatives in that struggle, many of them alot of relatives. The struggle still is part of their visceral makeup.  Something we have lost. We are not a revolutionary people any more. 
 
Mustafa
 
 
Dave Volek Added Jun 11, 2018 - 9:49pm
Mustafa
 
I had read bits of Ataturk's history before. It is amazing at how he commanded his nation, at a time when it was very broken, to a new way. While history is now kind to him, he certainly had a lot of opposition in his day. Yet he got things done with that opposition barking at his heels all the way. He was a masterful and skilled politician--in his day and ours.
 
I admire such people. They have goal for their society. They know how far and how fast they can push things to attain a good part of that goal. 
 
 
Mustafa Kemal Added Jun 11, 2018 - 10:40pm
Dave ,
re"They know how far and how fast they can push things to attain a good part of that goal. "
 
Indeed, he was masterful at this. He knew the womens rights thing couldnt come right away, so he set up the pieces and knocked em down one by one.
 
Mustafa
MEFOBILLS Added Jun 11, 2018 - 10:41pm
Mustafa,
 
Any chance of Western "third wave feminism" infiltrating?
 
 If you think women are second class citizens in Turkey I suggest you go there and tell them. You will receive a very powerful impression of what Turkish women are, and I would love to be a fly on the wall. 
 
The women of Persia are modest and feminine still, but Persia/Iran is more insulated from the West than Turkey.  
 
 
Mustafa Kemal Added Jun 11, 2018 - 11:00pm
MEFOBILLS,
re:"ny chance of Western "third wave feminism" infiltrating?"
 
I dont see it. I have read a few Turkish  and Iranian feminists and my impression is that although they have  complaints and things they would like to change, most of them think that western feminism is silly. They tend to be tougher. Similar things can be said for Iranian feminists.
 
re:The women of Persia are modest and feminine still, but Persia/Iran is more insulated from the West than Turkey."
 
Modesty is a hallmark of muslim culture, for both men and women, in Turkey and Iran. As for their femininity, in a strange way they are mostly what I would call simultaneously feminin yet very strong, confident and assertive. A very attractive mix to my mind.
 
I have a skype buddy from Konya and his fiance got wind of our relationship and wanted to skype with me. I told her my wife would not approve and she would not give up. She pushed and pushed until I dropped the hammer. Went back to my friend and told him about it and asked if we were still good. He said yes, we are still good. I said , what the hell was that? He laughed and said, you cant stop Turkish women. He was not concerned with her fidelity. My wife would have freaked out. She was fine looking too.
 
Mustafa
Pardero Added Jun 11, 2018 - 11:20pm
Mustafa Kemal,
You did a really good job here.
I had my phone out, reading the last few comments, at the grocery store. The Turkish lady(she had proudly identified her ethnicity some time ago) was working, so I chatted with her. She seems exceptionally nationalistic and proud, though she doesn't care for Erdogan and mentioned upcoming elections. 
 
She goes by an Anglo nickname. She told me her real name once, but it was many syllables, and unlike any name that I had ever heard, so I was unable to retain it.
I would have to say that such a personable and articulate lady is a fine ambassador for Turkey.
 
Many years ago, I decided that Turkish was the language for me to learn. I got a book on an inter-library loan, but was dismayed at how alien it looked. Yet another foreign language that I never got around to learning.
Mustafa Kemal Added Jun 11, 2018 - 11:59pm
Pardero, 
Did you ask her about Halide Edib?
 
Anyway, Turkish is a fine language, but it is not Indo European so is much more different than Italian, French, German etc. You have to really work to change your "mind'  Anyway, it has real positive attributes. It is almost completley regular, so once you get the grammar, some vocabulary, and have your brain modified, you are good to go
 
and MEFOBILLS,
A real fine feature of both Turkish and Persian is they have no gender.
So none of this der die das , el,la crap. Just I, you and it, and their plurals. To my mind, this makes both cultures more gender eqalitarian.
 
All math departments that I checked out had roughly half female staff, without affirmative action. This is both in Iran and Turkey
 
Also, like arabic, it has a word building system, ketap is book, ketabhane (book house) is library and ketapce( guy who does books) is a bookseller. Thats just the beginning. For every noun you can make a verb out of it. Regarding MEFOBILLS feminist question,
kız (pronounce cuz) means daughter or girl. In fact it is a polite way to address young women to remind them that you are behaving as an elder. The corresponding verb kızmak means "to complain"
which having raised three girls I thought was somewhat profound. 
So, I meet these young students at the
Sumela Monastery near Trabzon, 1600 year old Greek Orthodox high up on the side of a canyon wall. We start to play around and one of the boys says something like' We Turkish men likes the ladies( girls, kızlar)  practicing his English. 
I decided it was time to test my making Turkish jokes so I said
Onun birlikle kızmayan genç arkadaşım
( if that is the case, then you better not complain my young friend)
and the whole group started laughing, especially the young women. Evidently, I understood that this double meaning is well understood and  good joke material.
Point being to my mind, they truly understand that there is a difference between men and women. A difference that is taboo to talk about here.
 
Mustafa
 
 
Pardero Added Jun 12, 2018 - 6:46am
Mustafa,
I did, and she pronounced it correctly. She smiled and said matter of factly,"We know our history."
Stone-Eater Added Jun 12, 2018 - 7:56am
Mustafa
 
Excellent article. What Atatürk made possible (the secular society) is slowly being reversed by Erdogan now, for the sole purpose of power. Too bad. 
Mustafa Kemal Added Jun 12, 2018 - 9:01am
Stone Eater,
re:". What Atatürk made possible (the secular society) is slowly being reversed by Erdogan now, for the sole purpose of power. Too bad. "
Indeed, moreover most westerner dont realize what a loss it is.
 
When the Muslim Brotherhood failed  in Egypt,  they popped up in Turkey but this time they were successful, so far...
 
It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. He has a strong people on his hands and he has declared war on 1/5th of his population of Kurds. The country still has some semblance of democracy and roughly half are against him.   Moreover, his economy is doing poorly and he is spending money waging war now.
 
Mustafa
Mustafa Kemal Added Jun 12, 2018 - 9:02am
Jeff, what brought you to Sulva bay?
Ryan Messano Added Jun 12, 2018 - 9:22am
Muhammad was a bloody butcher pedophile.  All who upheld him are worthy of derision and scorn.  
 
Yet, Mustafa Socrates, he of the serpents cunning and incessant questions, idolizes him and his adherents.  
Ryan Messano Added Jun 12, 2018 - 9:23am
Pardero is the only reasonable one on here commenting.  The rest are corrupt sycophants and obsequious types.
Even A Broken Clock Added Jun 12, 2018 - 10:56am
Mustafa - I wish to echo Stone's comments and your reply on the damage Erdogan is doing to the Turkish experiment. I am not aware of any single individual ever causing as much cultural change in a country than what Atatürk was able to do.
Bill H. Added Jun 12, 2018 - 11:21am
Mustafa - Most interesting and informative. A great diversion from some of the recent rants of the newbies!
Mustafa Kemal Added Jun 12, 2018 - 11:35am
Thanks  Bill, that was partially why I wrote it.
Ian Thorpe Added Jun 12, 2018 - 11:45am
Highly informative article Ataturk, do you know anything about another colourful character from around the same era, King Zog of Albania whose name fascinated me when it cropped up in school history lessons. I'm sure people would find him interesting.
Stone-Eater Added Jun 12, 2018 - 1:16pm
Mustafa
 
Sorry, I do not contribute anymore on an article where that mental case Ryan is involved. But you know my POV.
Jeff Michka Added Jun 12, 2018 - 5:35pm
Mustafa:  The trip to Dardanalles , Then to Suvla Bay was on recommendation of my cousin's wife's father, retired Turkish Air Force Col.  We called in Istanbul on a round a bout trip that ended in the Philippines  to meet Islan's family.  They were wonderful people, and her Dad was also a bit of a Turkish Military historian, so we talked about how modern Turkey became a nation, and so the trip South was recommended, and we had an extra two days, so took it.  For a point of reference, Islan's dad spent two months plus in prison after Erdogan had that coup.  He was released, but now can't get a visa to travel to the states.  When you have an "international" extended family, you need to want to learn about them and the cultures they live in. At least I do.  Perhaps we'll take a sidetrip next year while we're living in Tuscany.  Cheap air fares rule!! 
Mustafa Kemal Added Jun 12, 2018 - 7:49pm
Stone Eater kardeşim
re:"Sorry, I do not contribute anymore on an article where that mental case Ryan is involved"
 
I really hope that you can find it in yourself to reevaluate. We need you. I have a different problem with Ryan, he is such an arrogant imbecile that I find him hard to resist But I am learning. Mostly I dont play with him to not ruin other peoples posts. I think you will see alot more "ignoring' going on in the hopes that it gives up and goes away.
But Tubularsock just made up for my recent lack of engagement with a few histerically funny comments on  Otto's Trump's Tariffs post. 
Read them, maybe they will put a smile on your face.
 
But most important, I think what your doing is part of his objective, so in that case, he is getting what he wants; the destruction of real dialogue/communication on WB. 


See below for example.
 
***********************
From Rusty Smith’s post:
Addressed to Mustafa:
 
RM:"I wish you could have been here for Marilyn French.  We called here Merrily Lyong Fraud.  She tried your tactics, and she was run out of town. She was ruthlessly and relentlessly attacked, until she wilted, and ran to her liberal safe space, never to be seen again.  You will do the same.  You will be ruthlessly destroyed, until you either change, or no one on here takes you seriously at all.  
 "
**********
 
Mustafa
Mustafa Kemal Added Jun 12, 2018 - 7:54pm
Jeff, thanks for the response. I too know other casualties of Erdogan's self coup.   And I know some very sad tales of academics who know that they have no future where Turkey is headed.    
 
Your trip sounded like it was very rewarding.'
Did you enjoy yourself?
 
Mustafa
Pardero Added Jun 12, 2018 - 8:06pm
Ian Thorpe,
Glad to see you here!
You are due for a new article.
 
Stone-Eater and Mustafa,
Hang in there. It is only words, and neither of you is exactly unarmed. Sharpen your wits and make people laugh. The mean-spirited will suffer in comparison.
Jeff Michka Added Jun 12, 2018 - 8:57pm
Mustafa:  Yes, we enjoyed are brief sojourn to Turkey and getting to know our extended family at their roots.  As said, a return visit is something both my wife and I would enjoy.  Would like to see more of the nation.  hopefully, an event for 2019.
Mustafa Kemal Added Jun 12, 2018 - 9:32pm
Jeff, please let me know when you do. I would be happy to help in any way that I can. We have been to all four corners and about.
 
Mustafa
Michael B. Added Jun 13, 2018 - 12:25am
Interesting post. Turkey is one of those countries that is often overlooked by us, but in many ways, the history of Turkey is often the history of the rest of the world. Being where it is, Turkey always has had, and probably always will have, a very complicated place in this world. The British Royal Navy and their ANZAC allies remain stung to this day over their humiliating defeat at Gallipoli, which lies squarely at the feet of Sir Winston Churchill.
Stone-Eater Added Jun 13, 2018 - 5:42am
Mustafa
 
Merhaba. I'll try my best, and for now güle güle, as one of my best Turk-Swiss friends would say :-)
Stone-Eater Added Jun 13, 2018 - 5:44am
Pard
 
Will do, sir. Always a pleasure to read a nice part by pard :-)
Stone-Eater Added Jun 13, 2018 - 5:54am
All
 
I'm working, as some might know, with refugees and immigrants when I'm in Switzerland. And we have quite a lot of Turks here (Kurds, in fact) which are in a constant fear. Once I asked one of them: "What are you afraid of here in Switzerland ?" He said: "You see, Erdogan has a network of "spies" all over Europe through a support system of Imams and mosques which he finances. I know I'm being followed and spied upon as a Kurd, even here. You don't notice that because you don't know and you don't speak the language."
 
It is a known fact that Kurds are persecuted in Turkey, from Diyarbakir right down to the border regions of Iraq or Syria where the PKK is (!) helping to fight IS.
 
I have many Turkish friends, and not only Kurds. They all tell the same: We don't want that nationalism. We want to live together with the Kurds in peace, and when they want their own country, let them have it. When Israel as a small people has gotten one, why don't THEY have one ?
 
And I agree. It's just fucking unjust.
Mustafa Kemal Added Jun 13, 2018 - 9:32am
Salamin aleykim Stone Eater,
 
re:"They all tell the same: We don't want that nationalism. We want to live together with the Kurds in peace, and when they want their own country, let them have it. "
 
The first part I get alot of the second part no. The problem here is that this is loaded -the Kurdish region of Turkey is huge. It essentially would amount to secession of a quarter of the state.  In fact in Easter Turkey I was often greeted with Welcome to Kurdistan, something no Kurd would utter in the west.
 
Once in Gaziantep I was asked by a woman why I wanted to to go to
nearby Diyarbakir, other than visiting its ancient black basalt fortress, and my response was that I wanted to visit the heart of the Kurds. She strongly rebuked me and told me that "There are no Kurds in Turkey, only Turks!" She got quite angry.
BTW, I was warned that young Kurds grow up learning to throw a stone very  well, evidently coming from a hunting technique,  and sometimes when they spot a tourist they dont like they may wing a stone at you and hit you squarely in the head. 
It never happened to me, but I kept a look out. 
 
Now, many dont have a problem with an external Kurdistan, but many fear it is the camel getting its nose under the tent. 
 
The Kurds and Turks have a very long and complicated history together. When Kemal etal were trying to formulate the nature of the Phoenix of the Turkish state would be, they struggled with region , culture, race based and settled on a hybrid that had to include the Kurds. Strangely, the Kurdish language has some elements of both Turkish and Persian in it.
 
Güle güle
is how they say Goodbye. It literally means flower to flower (
smile to smile). Gül  is rose and gülmek is "to smile"
 
Its nice to hear you smile again.
Güle güle
Mustafa
 
Stone-Eater Added Jun 13, 2018 - 9:47am
Mustafa
 
It essentially would amount to secession of a quarter of the state.
 
I know. And also in neighbouring countries, even right into Iran as well. And that's the problem. A people of 32 million can't be brushed aside like that....
 
But nevertheless teschekür edürüm (or however you spell that I have no idea) for your comment and information about a subject that many here don't know about.
Stone-Eater Added Jun 13, 2018 - 10:06am
BTW: Aleikum salaam. May the 15th arrive LOL
Mustafa Kemal Added Jun 13, 2018 - 12:53pm
Stone Eater, 
re:"teşekkür ederim"  
 Bir şey değil, (at the beginning, the way to pronounce ğ is essentially to not. You just roll over the position)
literally "a thing not"
or You are Welcome
 
re:"A people of 32 million can't be brushed aside like that...."
True that.
 
However they have had a long history at that juncture. See this As mountain nomads whenever it would get to hot for them in Iran they would pop over into Turkey, or vise versa. Never really establishing a state and living on the fringes.  This goes back thousands of years. There is evidence that they are what became of the Medes, who were driven out of Persia by Cyrus.
 
There are some very famous Kurds BTW. Salal al din (Saladin)  the most famous , but even Turkey has had a Kurdish president.  Turkey has produced some famous Kurdish poets. It is all very strange to the outsider.
 
Mustfa
 
Stone-Eater Added Jun 13, 2018 - 3:05pm
Enter your comment here...
Stone-Eater Added Jun 13, 2018 - 3:13pm
Shit. Hit the wrong button and all is lost. Hm....
 
You see I know quite a few Berbers and Peulh (Fulbé or Fulani depending on languages). They are nomadic peoples and have crossed the Sahara and the Sahel for millennia from Morocco to Senegal to Chad to Sudan right up to northern Kenya.
 
Suddenly some white European colonists show up and tell them not possible anymore. You gotta have a NATIONALITY and stay where you are. Huh ? What the fuck is that ? No rain in Mauritania so we HAVE TO move on east to feed our animals which are our existence....
 
That's why I'm not proud to be a "white guy". Up to now I see European asshole tourists which come and think they are superior to the ones which grant them a cheap holiday stay in their country.
 
If I were African I would organize them a young black lady and when they get horny cut their darn thing off LOL
Stone-Eater Added Jun 13, 2018 - 3:21pm
BTW:
 
I didn't know that Saladin was a Kurd. But you see, poets from other countries are not considered in European world view. There are thousands of African proverbs which are not known here. Why ? Because here a lot of people think Africans are stupid.
 
My business partner and very good friend told me a joke once:
 
A Belgian guy calls Ivory Coast and asks: Is it true that Africans still live in trees ? Reply: Sure that's true. Actually we have given the highest tree to your ambassador.
Stone-Eater Added Jun 13, 2018 - 3:30pm
BTW2: Turkish is not difficult to pronounce for us, because we use the rolling "r" like Italians do. The grammar and the letters are more of a problem. But we Swiss (and the Germans) have the ö, the ü and the "ä" (which does not exist in Turkish). 
 
A friend's name is Sertan Yörüker. When he has to spell that on the phone LOL
Mustafa Kemal Added Jun 13, 2018 - 3:57pm
Stone Eater,
re"A Belgian guy calls Ivory Coast and asks: Is it true that Africans still live in trees ? Reply: Sure that's true. Actually we have given the highest tree to your ambassador."
 
LOL thanks.
 
You are correct. The arrogance, and I dont really think it is a white thing, of a "high society" deprives appears to deprive them of the gems that come from other cultures. Of course poetry is tuff if you dont speak the language, but there are many sayings and jokes that you can learn from.
 
Let me tell you one from Turkey.
 
In Turkey cats are everywhere.  A trailer of the delightful movie is  Kedi  captures the feel quite well.
I asked someone, "what is with all the cats?" and his response was that the Turk has a mixed relation with the cat. On the hand the Prophet, peace be upon him, liked cats and so they should tolerate them.  And indeed, they are everywhere. You have to step over them on the sidewalk. Little children will simply pick a strange cat up when it is on the way and move it and the cat just hangs there, knowing it is not in danger. On the other hand, the Turk knows that you can feed and take care of them for their whole life and when you die and your accounting is made, when you bring up the cat as witness, he will say "who is this?, that food came from Allah"
 
Finally, the word "folani" in both Turkish and persian means 
so and so, like " so and so came over today", like when you say "that fellow"
 
Iyi bayraminiz olsun (may you have a good eid)
Mustafa
 
 
 
Stone-Eater Added Jun 13, 2018 - 4:07pm
Mustafa
 
We have cats all over the place as long as there are mice around. But often there are suddenly less cats around but many people eat couscous LOL
 
In Mali and Senegal there's a LOT of stray dogs around. Then the government puts out poisoned meat on the roadsides and collects them in the morning.
 
But...a lot of people know WHEN they do that. And then there's another couscous day.
 
Poverty doesn't care about fussy feelings.
MEFOBILLS Added Jun 13, 2018 - 4:12pm
Mustafa,
 
re:
You are correct. The arrogance, and I dont really think it is a white thing, of a "high society" deprives appears to deprive them of the gems that come from other cultures
 
Actually the "white thing" is one of being abstruse in the face of facts.  Whites are especially good at deluding themselves and engaging in wishful thinking. Many whites have a peculiar form of insanity, an ability to project onto others things that don't exist.
Other people groups are much more hard-headed.  The Chinese call "white liberal left" as a form of derision equal to insanity.
 
 Here's something from the Ivory Coast:
 
Fate of Africa:
The Fate of Africa: From the Hopes of Freedom to the Heart of Despair, by Martin Meredith, Public Affairs Press, 2005, 752 pp., 
 
Perhaps saddest of all is that time and again — in Congo, Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, the Guineas, Angola — whites who spent their lives in Africa and should have known better, underestimated the hatred of blacks. Whites everywhere think blacks will love them if they treat them kindly. They do not realize that kindness or fairness are not enough; many blacks hate whites because they cannot be like whites. No matter how they are treated, blacks will blame their failures on “racism.”
 
Some of the whites who fail to understand this end up in piles of bloody corpses. Others get out while they can. Two hundred thousand fled Mozambique, 300,000 left Angola, many thousands fled the Congo, Zimbabwe lost half its population immediately after black rule, and a steady flow of whites is now escaping South Africa. It was 40 years after independence, but thousands of French left the Ivory Coast when blacks started running through the streets shouting “Kill the whites.” There are pockets of friendliness and lulls in the process of dispossession, but once blacks take power, they do not like to live with a minority whose success highlights their own failure.
 
Despite the rotting bodies and mountains of evidence, despite the chronicle of barbarism Mr. Meredith tells so well, Columnist Mary McGrory was fully exercising this capacity when she wrote in the Washington Post on May 12, 1994 about how wonderful black rule in South Africa was going to be: “[N]ewspaper readers will think they are reading scripture when they read dispatches from South Africa that cannot be read except through tears.” People wrote rubbish almost as bad about Kwame Nkrumah.
 
Whites will never understand Africa — or the blacks in their own countries — until they cease being capable of writing and publishing such nonsense. The Fate of Africa is an excellent corrective.
 
______
By the way... my vantage point is as a blue man.  As if I was from outerspace viewing the human tribes.  So, you won't find me virtue signaling for my tribe.
 
Stone-Eater Added Jun 13, 2018 - 4:13pm
BTW: I remember when I was in Sri Lanka and ordered chicken curry. But the chicken had a tail. I mean it was a good meal, but the waiter apparently didn't understood my question about what I actually ate....
Stone-Eater Added Jun 13, 2018 - 4:17pm
MEFO
 
whites who spent their lives in Africa and should have known better, underestimated the hatred of blacks.
 
Oh yeah ? Allow me a good laughter. Utter bullshit. Tell you what: All over the world, across ALL cultures: What you give is what you get in return. You should know that.
Stone-Eater Added Jun 13, 2018 - 4:20pm
BTW: Have YOU lived there or are you simply citing books ?
Stone-Eater Added Jun 13, 2018 - 4:25pm
BTW2: You're a fucking racist. Nkrumah, Sankara or Biko simply fought for their right to be independent. But we never gave Africa a real chance, quite the contrary. We kept and keep on exploiting them and keeping them as dumb as possible. You have no idea what you're trying to talk about.
 
Come down to Senegal so people can explain what this is all about. No one will eat you alive LOL
Stone-Eater Added Jun 13, 2018 - 4:36pm
BTW3:
 
No matter how they are treated, blacks will blame their failures on “racism.”
 
Maybe that's the case in the US. But not in Africa, pal. Take a US or a European youth and compare it to an average African youth. Our youngsters can handle emojis on their dumbphone, speak one single language and know how to twit, while all African youths speak at least two languages and know history from Europe to Asia (African history is not thought in schools and in school books pictures of people are never black but white....). I have 9 kids in Cameroon which I support and help with school stuff when I can afford to fly down for a while. 
 
Just to say. I fucking hate it when people feel superior without even knowing the situation of why it is like it is.
Jeff Michka Added Jun 13, 2018 - 5:38pm
Mustafa:  Thanks for the offer.  Perhaps there will be questions, but we are well travelled in this house.  Perhaps too well travelled, but want, even later in life, to have another "living overseas" experience.  In the past, it was Asia.  Now want to try more European, and we've an opportunity to lease a place in Tuscany for a few months, and the side trip to initially, Istanbul, will happen when we are about to return home.  I will keep you informed, and will ask questions if need be.
Mustafa Kemal Added Jun 13, 2018 - 9:12pm
Youre welcome Jeff. 
 
MEFOBILLS Added Jun 13, 2018 - 11:52pm
No matter how they are treated, blacks will blame their failures on “racism.”
 
knew that would bother you SE.  
You continue with the personal anecdotes as your personal reality becomes "truth."
Never-mind the vast sweep of history, and the warnings that shout down through the ages.
The experience of others and vast amounts of data over long periods of time, amount to nothing when compared to your personal anecdotes.  
 
I'm going to repeat my statement:
 
Whites are especially good at deluding themselves and engaging in wishful thinking. Many whites have a peculiar form of insanity, an ability to project onto others things that don't exist.
Mustafa Kemal Added Jun 14, 2018 - 12:29am
MEFOBILLS,
regarding your response
"Actually the "white thing" is one of being abstruse in the face of facts."
to my comment
"
You are correct. The arrogance, and I dont really think it is a white thing, of a "high society" deprives appears to deprive them of the gems that come from other cultures"
 
As I understand it, I think you turned my train of thought ,on its head, not that I dont think there is some legitimacy to your views.
 
I was trying to say that cultures that look down on say "third world countries" tend to miss out on things that those third world countries have to offer. I think Beethoven, Mozart and Bartok, etc, are sublime, but I also get almost same amount of stimulation from good  Haitian conga drum music. IMO, Haitian polyrhythmic drum music is not only quite complex it is profound in its ability to stimulate the soul and facilitate that form of time and space travel that great music can do for a human, even a blue one.
 
As an experiment, I  could ask;
Can you tell me some interesting positive, idea/art/etc that you have learned from black africa?
 
Mustafa
 
 
opher goodwin Added Jun 14, 2018 - 8:33am
Mustafa - a brilliant description of two very interesting people who did a lot to change Turkey. Thank you.
Flying Junior Added Jun 17, 2018 - 3:41pm
You have penned a very interesting, enjoyable and informative treatise.  My sincere thanks.  Comments have been quite illuminating as well.  My hat is off.
Flying Junior Added Jun 17, 2018 - 3:48pm
Stone,
 
You well know that black and brown people in the U.S. don't blame their failures on racism.
 
That is a particularly destructive lie that is prevalent among certain quarters of the RW talking points/think tanks/echo chambers.  It is the raison d'etre for the hardcore, racist right.  KKK.  Alt-Right.  White Nationalist/Separatist.  Rush Limbaugh.  You know who I"m talking about.
 
I think it tells us more about MEFOBILLS than he would care to freely admit.
 
Many at the WB demonstrate eloquently that being a conservative does not have to include sympathies with the right-wing.
Stone-Eater Added Jun 18, 2018 - 10:45am
FJ
 
You well know that black and brown people in the U.S. don't blame their failures on racism.
 
No idea about coloreds in the US, really. But I have noticed that in some parts of Africa. But that's ok, since blacks were always exploited and knighted by whites in history, be that Europeans or Arabs.
 
BTW: I'm neither a "conservative" nor a "liberal" nor any other specific political orientation. I go after common sense not ideology. That's why I don't label people usually. I might use harsh words sometimes but that's not directed to a political orientation but to general behavior.

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