Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Orhan Pamuk and our problematic of separation


Last week I read a column that director Nuri Bilge Ceylan”s Golden Palm award for his movie “Winter”s Sleep” at Cannes Film Festival did not separate the society. True, Ceylan”s speech in which he stated the following “I am dedicating this award to those who have lost their lives last year and those who lost their lives in Soma” or our Nobel awarded novelist Orhan Pamuk”s interview to Hürriyet last week in which he said – with reference to AK Party voters – “In fact, that community is not as foolish as it seems from outside” do not separate this society.

The possibility of separating the society or even going under a lynch campaign may happen if you state a sentence like this “In Turkey, 30 thousand Kurds and one million Armenians have been killed.” And if you don”t stop there and just make any positive comment regarding AK Party, which was founded by conservatives “who just don”t understand anything about painting, music, sculpture or a good text” as some circles believe, then you”ll just get yourself killed because if you are an artist, you are just daring to equalize the “class of artists” with the “underestimated conservatives” and that becomes an unpardonable act or you are expected to change your idea otherwise you are made to pay for it until you are totally finished.

Despite Pamuk was highly praised after his recent interview with Daily Hürriyet, he once had undergone written-assassinations by some columnist just because he has rejected the “nationalist-leftist-Kemalist” overly-repeated clichés. Those columnist assessors had written that he was the author of corruption, decay and shrinkage, and misery and not civilization, or they named him as a fascist because of his letter to Assad with the title “Leave your seat otherwise you will be judged at Hague. They had accused him of “marketing himself with the Nobel Prize” because he had stated Armenians and Kurds were all equal.

Even after Pamuk received the Nobel, some media circles captioned “there were media reports with the headlines “Shadow on Nobel” and when it did not work, they tried to underestimate the Nobel.

They beat him up, wore him out with lawsuits, and what is more, they sentenced him to the most grave punishments and excommunicated him from his milieu, class, environment and finally made Turkey an unlivable place for him. From this recent interview, it seems that Pamuk, who had always stressed the equality for Kurds and Armenians, doesn”t even mention a word of Kurdish opening and the condolences sent to Armenians on April 24 by Erdogan, but he prefers talking about the dockyards that he surely doesn”t even know where they are. How do we know he doesn”t know? Let me say: He mentions as “dockyards in Pendik” while they are actually located in Tuzla! Apparently he found that the most comfortable position nowadays is using the death of workers in order to bash the government.

It seems he anticipated that criticizing the government would not stir a kind of rage which would overshadow the Noble Prize that was awarded to him or that criticizing the government would not lead him to a sharp and organized lynch campaign which would make this country an unlivable place for him. I guess he would just touch on it with a few words of reproach and then will be exposed to “you are saying something but acting differently” sort of criticism and it will come to pass.

Nuri Bilge Ceylan was also “more precious than the awards he received”, his speech satisfied some people very much that they commented as such “Erdogan in Cologne, Ceylan in Cannes, the two faces of Turkey”. Conservatives felt disappointed who thought like “During the Gezi events, deaths were quite tragic, however Gezi was a contra-democratic rise. He could have talked against it with a few words, too.” However conservatives unlike once how nationalists altogether tried to annihilate Orhan Pamuk, did not lynch Ceylan nor did they fling dirt at Cannes Film Festival. They even didn”t say these are unfair statements. What happened instead? They said “congratulations” and that”s it.

Sezer did not call Nobel awarded Orhan Pamuk but Erdogan called Bilge Ceylan and congratulated him as Ceylan”s success was not only his own but the whole Turkey”s success.

The result line is that if Orhan Pamuk wears a kind of snobby class dress which we don”t find befitting to him and which we see on him for the first time and insults the AK Party voter in between lines, meanwhile Nuri Bilge Ceylan dedicates his movie to those who died in Gezi but no objection is taken against him as such “their death is sad but this does not change the fact that Gezi was a clear coup attempt”.

Just as no one tried to lynch the artist, that talk would not separate the society. This is what it must be like. Artists like Mehmet Ali Alabora have all the right to criticize the government and organize demonstrations without appealing to violence, as long as he loses himself and aggressively gives guerilla tactics through social media.

But think for a second what would have happened if Nuri Bilge Ceylan at Cannes film festival had said something “I am dedicating my movie to those who believe in democracy in Turkey, not to vandals who nurture on conflicts”. Then for sure, we have would have been separated.


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