Hurriyet Daily News: "Democracy is a fixed menu" (Cengiz Aktar)

“Inscription for Confronting Turkish Racism”
My 617 cm. long visual artworks clickable preview image which is being formed with 33120 words from turkish racist readers published supportive comments on turkish news portals in only 4 days after the racist attack against to kurdish Democratic People Parties (DTP) convoy in Izmir.

Friday, December 4, 2009
Hürriyet Daily News

Cengiz Aktar

The amenable have been saying for years that a solution to the Kurdish question is Turkey’s number-one democratic issue.

It is not that other problems are secondary or unimportant, but the Kurdish question has spread around the country and spoiled the human, political, economic and social chemistry of Turkey by all means.

We have a historic opportunity, an incredible worksite ahead of us. The solution process is a litmus test for the entire country. This is a process turning all mindsets upside down and involving all people and institutions. An extremely sensitive, fragile yet hopeful process, this has the potential to carry the country into durable stability and a democratic atmosphere.

Those who see every single democratization move by Turkey as an attempt to ruin the Turkish nation-building process should see that the process is taking a completely different turn now. This is not, however, as they believe, a division or separatism, but a quest for a social contract to be shaped around a new Constitution.

This is what Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan means when he utters the words “national unity” when describing initiatives.

Turkey is now at the beginning of substituting an outdated model of unity with a new one. It will not be easy at all, and division may actually occur if this quest for a new model of togetherness does not work. Here is a link to artist Hakan Akçura’s blog on “Inscription for Confronting Turkish Racism,” where you can watch what may happen if.

[This link leads to my 617 cm. long visual artworks clickable preview image which is being formed with 33120 words from turkish racist readers published supportive comments on turkish news portals in 4 days after the racist attack against to kurdish Democratic People Parties (DTP) convoy in Izmir. HA]

More freedom for every citizen

The government’s wording of “democratic initiative” and Interior Minister Beşir Atalay’s statement regarding “more freedom for every citizen” are placing the target in the right direction and telling us about the dimensions of the works ahead of us.

What is meant by this is that difficulties that could emerge because of a perception that the initiative is limited to only one group of people should be overcome by future initiatives in all other problematic areas. Therefore, the initiative approach would influence all painful issues and all segments of society. This is, without doubt, an incredible worksite.

Although the Kurdish question is the main reason that has triggered the democratization process, limiting it to the Kurdish case only may affect the future of the Kurdish opening, not alone by causing unease elsewhere. You cannot expect empathy from a civil servant deprived of the right to strike, a non-Muslim who does not have citizenship rights, a student who fails to attend university just because she wears a headscarf, a man who cannot find a restaurant selling alcoholic beverages or an Alevi resisting conversion attempts to become a Sunni. And you cannot duly explain to any of these people the solutions to be found to the Kurdish issue.

Likewise, the government terming the atrocity that took place in Dersim years ago as the Dersim massacre cannot remain reluctant to address the great catastrophe Armenians faced in the past and still face today due to lack of justice.

An initiative that fails to entertain all individual freedoms cannot have a bright future; on the contrary, this could give some trump cards to those who are against all initiatives. In fact, the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, has already started to exploit the negative response given by the government to civil servants who demand the right to strike.

On the other hand, Kurdish politicians’ demands for regional freedoms may be misinterpreted in a country such as Turkey that gathers many different ethnicities and groups if devolution is not applied across the board. Not only Kurds, but people of all regions, need good governance and effective administration through decentralization and devolution. Thus the goal should be the removal of all obstacles and prohibitions.

The new mindset will touch upon all taboos not only inside, but also outside of the country. The hand reaching out to Armenia; the decision lifting visas to Syria, Albania and Libya; the claim behind the idea of embracing the entire world cannot consider the Armenian diaspora an eternal enemy, as Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu put it. Neither can it have close ties with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

With the initiatives and new openings today, the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, unavoidably becomes the main actor in a mission to pave the way for Turkey, as well as the entire region. Groups questioning how a rightist conservative party can make so many changes should know that the politicians who founded the European Union were mainly Christian Democrats, not Social Democrats.

Initiatives are a turning point for Turkish politics, not only for the AKP, a point on which the CHP and the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, will shift to extremes and disappear eventually as the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP, will have to become a political party of the whole country. The DTP should join the democratization process, but only if it manages to defend the rights of all people living in Turkey, not just of Kurds.

A historic opportunity and incredible worksite awaits us ahead.

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About omosis

Selected exhibitions, activities: 2013 Artist presentation: "Being in Sweden, being an immigrant, being an artist", Adaevi, Museum of the Princes' Islands, İstanbul, Turkey "Yersiz: Kader Birliği", Mardin, Kızıltepe, Turkey “Ja jag vill leva jag vill dö”, Tegen 2, Stockholm "Vilken tur! Himlen omfamnar oss!" / "What luck! The sky embraces us!" / "Ne şans! Gökyüzü hepimizi sarıyor!" Photography Exhibition, Ideas and Innovation Fair, Stockholm "Milat" Exhibition for Hrant, Getronagan Lisesi'nden Yetişenler Derneği, Harbiye / Rumeli Han C blok 6.Kat - Beyoğlu, İstanbul 2012 Migration Connections Project 2012 Exhibition, Museum of the Princes' Islands, İstanbul, Turkey Edinburgh Middle Eastern Film Festival, Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK Artist Talking and Screening, Agent Ria, Still Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK 2011 Ars retorica, Hall the university library of Paris 8 – Saint Denis, France The Exhibition on the 20th Anniversary of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey: Where Fire Has Struck, DEPO Istanbul, Turkey 2010 PAI 2010-2011 in Thebes, Conference Center of Thebes, Greece International Media Arts Festival Videfesta’10: Archive Fever, Goethe Institute, Ankara, Turkey Temps D'Images Portugal 2010 Festival Film Award for Films on Art section "From childhood to police station" Exhibition, Free Expantion Platform, Istanbul, Turkey HEP Iran screening, Sazmanab Project, Tehran, Iran AthensArt 2010 contemporary art exhibition, Athens, Greece PAI 2010 contemporary art exhibition, Samothrace, Greece "Thistles of Sazak" screening and exhibition, 7th Karaburun Festival, Izmir, Turkey Distance Festival, London, UK "Artist Cinema", Art Beijing, China Over trubled water, Tegen 2, Stockholm, Sweden Ankara International Film Festival, "Video: Spaces of Memory", Ankara, Turkey Direct Channell, Canakkale' Turkey !F Istanbul Film Festival 2010 online program: See it yourself (This village)' Istanbul, Turkey HEP Screening, AFA Beijing, China Tornavideo, Tamirhane, Ankara, Turkey 2009 “Projected Visions: 35 years of Turkish video art” exhibition Meeting Europe - Istanbul, Wacken Exhibition Centre, Strasbourg, France HEP (Human Emotion Project) Screening, AFA @ Portuguese Bookshop Gallery, Macau, China co-exhibition "Dirty Story", BM Suma, Istanbul, Turkey HEP (Human Emotion Project) Screening, Caldas-da-Rainha, Portugal HEP Screening, Berlin, Germany "Thistles of Sazak", art performance, Karaburun, Izmir, Turkey "Istanbul-Off-Spaces" co-exhibition, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin, Germany co-exhibition "Interzone:Nation", Gallery Galzenica, Zagreb, Croatia HEP Screening, LaSala in Cigunuela, Spain HEP screening, Melbourne, Australia "Varning för klämrisk", Solo Exhibition, Tegen 2, Stockholm, Sweden to Ankara International Film Festival, Ankara, Turkey 2008 1st Int. Roaming Biennial of Tehran, Berlin, Germany "Hög på Golvet" group exhibition at Tegen 2, Stockholm, Sweden 1st Int. Roaming Biennial of Tehran, Istanbul, Turkey International Mail Art Project 2008, Conceptual Continuity Supermarket 2008 Art Fair with Tegen 2, Stockholm, Sweden 2007 "Fear of god" co-exhibition, Hafriyat Karakoy, Istanbul, Turkey "Bodrum Film Festival", Bodrum, Mugla, Turkey "Jag, min husses hund" group exhibition, Tegen 2, Stockholm, Sweden "Nightcomers" project in the 10th Biennial of Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey Scope NYC [PAM], Scope Art Fair, Lincoln Center, New York, USA 2006 co-exhibition "Labyrint" in Botkyrka Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden Artist's "Sann dialog" ("Real dialogue") contemporary art activity has been started. Stockholm, Sweden Artist sent his videoperformance named as "Öppet brev till Migrationsverket" to Migrationsverket ("Open letter to Sweden Migration Board") 51', Stockholm, Sweden 2004 Artist given his art-object named as "För uppehållsstillstånd" to Migrationsverket ("For residence permission"), Istanbul, Turkey co-exhibition "Bridge from east to west", BBK Karlsruhe, Germany 2003 co-exhibition of AIAP "Hal/iç" with work name the "Difficult sleep". Kadir Has University, Istanbul, Turkey 2002 co-exhibition "Arts Plastiques" in METU Spring Festival at METU Congre Center, Ankara, Turkey co-exhibition "A travel into life" at Kargart, Istanbul, Turkey 2001 "Sometimes when I'm high, I watch TV", video performance screening, Dulcinea, Istanbul, Turkey Artist's "Solitudo" contemporary art activity has been started. A solo contemporary art exhibition with 210 participants: I want my mirrors. Dulcinea Istanbul, Turkey 2000 co-exhibition "Veritas Omnia Vincit", Istanbul, Turkey Artist's "I want my mirrors" contemporary art activity has been started, Istanbul, Turkey 1999 "2th Interbalcanic Symposium of Visual Arts" and co-exhibition, Samotrache/Greece 1998 "...self", solo exhibition. Dulcinea, Istanbul, Turkey co-exhibition "The Other", Istanbul, Turkey 1996 "Citypaintings", solo exhibition. Habitat II/NGO Forum '96 art activities, Istanbul, Turkey Publication of book of poems: "Limpin Bird" (Aksak Kus) (168 page, 81 poem, 81 picture), Istanbul, Turkey 1995 Fourth Biennial of Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey co-exhibition "Young Activity/Borders and Beyong", Istanbul, Turkey 1991 Short film maker and director, ("Everything is as it is", 24', 16 mm. Included in TRT's "Young Cinematographers" programme), Istanbul, Turkey

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