17 Kasım 2016 Perşembe


ENGLISH (Türkçesi için bkz. Mezartashlık)

It has been more than two years since your departure, and I am no closer to reconciliation. This is not so much because you left us at the ripe old age of 94- one could not fairly ask for more, though a son is certain to miss his father- especially such an honourable and kind hearted one. I am still overcome by how much disappointment you suffered in the last years of your life, how so much of what you believed in and loved either disintegrated or came crashing down around you. And I was unable to provide adequate consolation.

You believed in your country, the Republic, and Ataturk, the man who founded it. As an officer, you had been trained to defend it, and you did it wholeheartedly. You believed the nation was united in the same spirit, patriotic and forward-looking. You believed in the NATO alliance, that the United States was a good and trustworthy ally, and that Americans were friends who accepted us as their equals. You believed they were fair.

With fellow NATO officers in Brooklyn Army Terminal, April 20th 1961. There you are with the shades. False friends?

Your daughter married an American and settled in the US. Though reluctant about her marriage, you were kind and hospitable towards her husband, as indeed you were to all men. Then they stopped visiting. For years you longed to see your daughter again. Each time you wrote, each time she phoned, you asked when she would be coming, and got nothing but evasive answers. This went on for nearly twenty years. It must have been very hard to realize that you would never see your daughter, your “Rose” again.

The United States, our NATO ally of the Cold War years, must never have seen us as their equals; it was evidently an alliance of necessity with the aim of covering the southwest flank of the Soviets and blocking their acces to the Middle East and the Mediterranean. With the end of the Cold War, our Yankee friends had a new agenda: to use their unchallenged and unchallengeable might as the sole superpower to reorganize the World according to their own vision, rearranging borders as they saw fit. Including ours.

To this end they hosted, and are hosting, the renegade cleric Fethullah Gülen whose aim it is to transform the secular Turkish Republic into a theocratic one on the archaic Ottoman model. And they euphemistically called this “moderate Islam”!

To this end they supported Tayyip Erdoğan and his AKP and orchestrated the party’s incredible election victory in 2002,
within a year of being founded- an unheard-of success in a political milieu infested with 
parties and endless coalitions!

Erdoğan visiting George Bush in 2002,
before actually becoming Prime Minister.
(Image from the media.) 

Legions of journalists were purchased to build the public opinion for the transformation. Still, there was resistance. And when the heavy hand of the “moderate Islamic” government came down on the resistance, the West continued to hail Erdoğan as the reformist bringing democracy to the erstwhile "undemocratic" Kemalist state.

Gülen’s infiltration of the police, the judiciary, the press, and even the armed forces was a slow, patient operation. Using a deft mixture of religion and blackmail, the cult extended its tentacles to key points in the administration and the state. Gülen's US hosts cannot have been unaware of it. CIA operative Graham Fuller, who reportedly filled out Gülen’s Green Card application personally, cannot have done it out of intimate friendship. (The concept of “Moderate Islam” came out of the RAND Corporation study in which Fuller was directly involved!) The AKP did its part by facilitating Gülen’s infiltration, blocking attempts to sift them out.

Some people in a position to know attempted to pursue the matter, expose the movement and expel its members from state institutons, but they invariably found themselves added to the Ergenekon grab bag, arrested and in prison. The most telling case was that of the unpublished book "The Imam’s Army” (İmamın Ordusu), by Ahmet Şık. When all-powerful state prosecutor Zekeriya Öz got wind of its existence, he launched a raid on the publishing house (İthaki), seized manuscripts, erased files from the computers’ hard disks (March 23rd, 2011), and had Şık arrested and imprisoned (March 6th, 2011) as a member of the Ergenekon “terrorist organization”. The text made an appearance on a foreign internet site. The hasty effort to bury it tends to affirm its contents. 

It was published later as Ooo Kitap (“Thaaat Book”), subtitled Dokunan yanar ("If you youch, you burn").

Ooo Kitap ("Thaat Book"), subtitled "If you touch, you burn", by Ahmet Şık,
ISBN: 978-605-87377-0-9.  

In retrospect, one begins to see how the collapse and disintegration of the Soviet Union must have been a US operation; how an entire country could be made to change its regime and give up huge chunks of its territory through apparently legal steps; how a counterrevolution attempting to halt the collapse could be stopped through US pressure, if not direct interference. At the time we were on the other side of the fence, so we did not give it much thought!

Now it was Turkey, father, your country, the NATO ally, that was targeted, to be transformed, its borders changed. In line with “The Greater Middle East Project” large chunks of land were to be carved out of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey to create a new political entity called Kurdistan. Iran, Iraq and Syria could be overrun militarily in one way or other, either through a “coalition” to oust a dictator as in Iraq, or allowing and even nurturing an unimaginably violent terrorist group like DAESH (a.k.a. ISIS or ISIL) that would just have to be put down by international intervention- so long as the existing internationally recognized Syrian government, the real target, isn’t allowed to do it by its own means.

 Middle East "Utopia" according to the Greater Middle East Project..

Turkey, a NATO ally, had to be brought around differently, with all the trappings and appearance of peaceful change through democratic means. All defenders of national interest needed to be neutralized through defamation, blackmail, arrests and (as many shadowy deaths lead to suspect) murder. Ataturk's secular Republic had to be discredited and transformed. National identity would have to be eliminated, to be replaced by religious community spirit. A leader of the faith, a single holy man whose word is law could then guide the masses while in turn being guided by US/globalist interests- a  spiritual shepherd whose influence might reach beyond the borders of the new “moderate Islam” Turkey to include the Middle East, a new Caliph reviving the Ottoman one abolished by Ataturk- a Muslim Pope- or America’s own Ayatoullah. Gülen seems to be the US choice for the job, though Erdoğan seems to consider himself better suited. Both men are venerated as prophets, even God, by their respective adherents.

Americans used to call such underhanded methods "un-American"!

When Erdoğan launched his “peace process” with representatives of the Kurdish seperatist movement- including militants on the ground as well as imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, he and the AKP presented the movement not as abandoning territory, but expanding to reclaim areas that once belonged to the Ottoman Empire. According to this vision, the new reunited Kurdistan would somehow be integrated into Turkey’s borders in a kind of federal arrangement. To allow the “peace process” to move smoothly, the Armed Forces were placed under tighter government control, making all military operations subject to the approval of AKP appointed governors. The PKK could strike with the knowledge that the local garrison would not be allowed to pursue. Throughout the peace process the PKK rearmed, stockpiled arms and ammunition, and conducted assassinations of revenge.

 (Images from the media.)

(And daddy, your CHP clung to the “peace process” even after the AKP itself broke them off!)

The real nightmare started for us with the news items about an alleged “conspiracy” called Ergenekon, provocatively named after a national Turkish legend- a perfect choice for an Islamist regime, albeit “moderate”, to discredit national sentiments. A slew of related “conspiracy” allegations followed, like the “Sledgehammer” (Balyoz) that primarily targeted the Navy (See: "Balyoz-The Sledgehammer", 6 Eylül-September 2012, "Sledgehammer Verdicts", 22 Eylül-September 2012).

Waves of arrests followed. Slips of paper were “found” by the (Gülenist) police, which led to cachés of buried arms- placed there by the (Gülenist) police. The (Gülenist) prosecutors charged the suspects, and delivered them to (Gülenist) judges. The  pro-government and pro Gülen press molded the public opinion.

Intellectuals, academicians, non-conforming journalists were targeted- but the main target was the Armed Forces, your armed forces father. You were long retired, but you suffered to see your colleagues, many of whom you personally knew, hauled off to prison, with a disturbingly large portion of the press and media cheering!

And the West continued to laud the “democratic” Erdoğan for “reigning in the military”.

You suffered, dad, as you heard Erdoğan and his AKP cronies insult the Republic and its founders, belittle its achievements, and vocally yearn for an allegedly glorious past- an Empire known in its waning years as “The Sick Man of Europe”.

I remember you saying it offended you not to have been arrested along with your friends. Probably because they knew that, at your age, you wouldn’t survive the prison conditions, as some indeed didn’t. One of your colleagues collapsed in prison and after clinging on to life for a week died the very day you left us (Ret. Naval Capt. Murat Özenalp, May 1st 2014; see "Old Soldiers Never Die", 13 Mayıs-May 2014). But they did tap your phone, as a letter from the State Prosecutor’s Office confirmed, so they had their eyes on you, don’t worry. (The prosecutor who signed that letter, Muammer Akkaş, was later himself prosecuted as a Gülen collaborator.)

All the while, you had faith in the CHP, the major opposition party, because “it’s the party founded by Ataturk himself”. That, and because the newspapers you read led you to believe it.

The sad reality is that the CHP, and the second opposition party, the MHP, have long been transformed into “acceptable” alternatives to the AKP, the leadership amenable to US plans. Their job is to hold and nullify the opposition votes, and keep them from drifting to parties that can seriously challenge the administration. The %10 threshold spooks voters from voting for any party other than the surefire ones, and widespread cheating takes care of the rest. (All of this makes the newborn AKP’s 2002 election victory even more incredible!) You never stopped believing in CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, and I never stopped trying to get you to see through him- which dragged us into some of our most disagreeable arguments, all of which I bitterly regret now. Our last years were overcast with an atmosphere of doom; the least we could have done would have been to steer away from politics and get along better. But your country was always on your mind and you just couldn’t keep yourself from talking about it.

Which bothered you more daddy? The stab in the back of our onetime allies, or the widespread treason of your countrymen?

By 1997, you no longer had illusions about US policy and outlook.

When my wife and I took to the streets in defense of the Republic and your Armed Forces, you were the hero I looked up to and emulated, the name I sought to live up to! We joined the Silent Scream demonstrations almost every Saturday in defense of the officers imprisoned on false charges, even when the government-endorsed press was raining abuse on them. (See "Vardiya Bizde-Now It's Our Shift", 6 Kasım-November 2012, "Hammering the Sledgehammer", 6 Şubat-February 2013, "Makes You Want to Scream", 12 Şubat -February 2013, "Devouring his Own Children", 19 Şubat-February 2013, "A Not-So-Silent Scream", 3 Ocak-January 2014.) We went to the accursed Silivri prison to demonstrate for the victims of the trumped charges. (See: "Silivri, 18-02-2013", 25 Şubat-February 2013, "To Silivri Again", 29 Mart-March 2013, "Provokation-Silivri, April 8th", 13 Nisan-April 2013) There, we went to the tent of the “Silivri Watch” of the heroic Hıdır Hokka. That watch stayed there for years, from September 9th 2011 until the end of June 2014, by which time almost all of the framed and condemned suspects were released. The courts have since confirmed their innocence, and the culpability of the Gülenist moles within the police and judiciary. The western press hardly mentioned the standoffs before the prison (you can read some of them in this blog), nor did they mention the tent of the “Silivri Watch”- not even as an interesting news item. Mr. Hokka and the volunteers of the watch were out there before the prison compound miles from nowhere in the cold and heat, day and night, for 1130 days! More embarrasingly, much of the Turkish press avoided mentioning it as well, with vested interests elsewhere.

When the AKP government attempted to ban national holidays, we went with the resisting crowds, to Ankara, to Taksim, to Ataturk’s Mausoleum to show that we still believed in the Republic and would not give up honouring it’s founder. In Ankara on Republic Day 2012 we had a close encounter with the Grim Reaper himself dressed as riot police spewing gas on a crowd of men, women and children where it was too crowded to move away. (See "What I saw on Republic Day", 1 Kasım-November 2012) That October 29th, 2012 might well have become the dates engraved on our headstones.

And not being able to breathe is a terrible thing.

Braving gas and water cannon to celebrate Republic Day,
Ulus Square, Ankara, October 29th 2012.
(Image from the media.) 

Did our struggles make you proud? I hope they did!

Something happened on December 17th 2013- Gülen’s moles in the police and judiciary launched an operation against the illegal dealings of AKP bigwigs, reaching the family of Erdoğan himself. How did the close Gülen-AKP partnership sour so much?

Erdoğan had managed to hold on to power after the serious challenge of the Gezi uprising in June, but his aggressive nature had clearly fanned the unrest. (See: "Taksim Promenade Park",  31 Mart-March 2013, "Promenade Park Uprising, Continued" 6 Haziran-June 2013) The US had thus begun to see Erdoğan as a liability rather than an asset, so just months after his days as an honoured guest at the White House (May 2013- in time to avoid the May 19th celebrations; see "Sailing to Samsun", 4 Ağustos-August 2013) he found himself out of favor. CHP chief Kılıçdaroğlu’s trip to the US and tête-à-tête talks with US ambassador Ricciardone were clear indications that he was jokeying to become his successor. 

The Gülen cult had of course long been aware of the underhanded dealings of their partners, the AKP clan, patiently collecting incriminating material to be used if needed. And when they (or the US) decided the time had come, they launched the operation, raiding homes of family members and seizing untold amounts of hard cash. 

 Right: Posters demanding
 that the AKP ministers exposed
by the Gülenist prosecutors be brought to justice.
(Image from my own camera.)

The CHP joined in the outcry. Erdoğan, as skillful in agression as he is poor in diplomacy, struck back, calling it a “coup attempt” (which it was, though this shouldn't exonerate the his party).

Erdoğan came down on Gülen’s moles in the police and judiciary, first moving them about and later on arresting and charging them, starting from the bottom and working upwards.  The Pro-Government press started to spew abuse on Gülen, which it had hitherto venerated. The Gülenist press, until recently indistinguishable from the Pro-Government one, started severe criticism of the Government. The CHP and its press chose to ignore the part played by Gülenist police and prosecutors in the Ergenekon, “Sledgehammer” and related witchhunts, and started to sound like the Gülenist press.

You, dad, were either unwilling, or just too tired, to take all of this in. You followed the CHP line of reasoning and saw Erdoğan, personally, as the only evil.

My wife and I adopted the viewpoint of the Vatan Party (the erstwhile Labor, or Workers’ Party): that both the Gülen cult
and Erdoğan's AKP are threats; they were so when working in close cooperation, they continue to be so when at each others’ throats! This was not a black-and-white viewpoint, and therefore difficult to digest for a public that likes clear alternatives.

When the partnership between Erdoğan's AKP and the Gülen cult collapsed, only the Vatan party group opposed both sides. Poster for the TGB's demonstration, December 21st 2013. "You are bit players in the same play."
(Image from my own camera.)

As Erdoğan got the upper hand and started sifting out the powerful Gülen mole network in the police and judiciary, there was new hope for the victims of the Ergenekon, “Sledgehammer” and related witchunts, tried and convicted by Gülenist judges. The Ergenekon verdicts had been passed out in August 5th 2013 at the courthouse inside Silivri prison with extreme precautions to keep protesters from reaching the compound. (See: "Ergenekon Trials and Tribulations", 30 Ağustos-August 2013.) This was only four months before the aforementioned December 17th raids by the Gülenist prosecutors and police that led to the great split between the erstwhile partners, Gülen and the AKP. After the split, March 2014 saw the first releases of the witchhunt victims at Silivri, including Vatan party chairman Doğu Perinçek and former chief-of-staff Ret. Gen. İlker Başbuğ. Fortunately, dad, you did live to see this much, though not long enough to see the release of the victims of the “Sledgehammer” and other hoaxes, nor their formal acquittal. (See: "Melting the Mountain of Iron", 4 Kasım-November 2014.)

Neither did you see Erdoğan have himself elected President (August 10th 2014).The oppositon parties, "secular" CHP
and "nationalist" MHP practically helped along by putting up another “moderate Islam” candidate (Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu), alienating their own electoral bases while failing to impress the rest. Either they were trying to appease the US,  or helping Erdoğan along.  

Poster pointing out that both presidential candidates are the same.

The third candidate for the Turkish presidency was the Kurdish-seperatist Selahattin Demirtaş, which would have been the irony of ironies had it not been totally impossible. You couldn’t have stomached any outcome, but would probably have grudgingly accepted the CHP’s candidate (I couldn't, didn’t vote, nor did my wife.)

As Erdoğan drifted away from his erstwhile mentor, the US, he seemed to move closer to the military. Earlier on, he had removed all military presence from the Parliament and residences, preferring the police. With his prosecution of the Gülenists in the police, he reinstated the military to guard his massive new “Presidential Palace”, including the revived mounted guard, and adding 16 soldiers in historic costume in the process to representing the "16 free Turkish States in History" in a rather theatrical fashion.

President Erdoğan exiting his spanking new Presidential Palace, past the military guard. To the right, soldiers dressed to represent the "16 Free Turkish States" in History, represented by the stars of the Presidential Arms (insert).
(Image from the Media.)

On July 24th,2015, the Turkish Armed Forces commanded by the new Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar launched the first of its operations against the PKK both in the southwest and beyond the borders. Every operation since has been named after a military man assassinated by the PKK. The date, July 24th, is significant in itself: on that day in 1923 Turkey had signed the Treaty of Lausanne with the victors of World War I. As you were fond of recounting to us over and over, those victors had partitioned Turkey in 1920 with the humiliating Treaty of Sèvres, but the following years had seen the Turkish War of Independence, under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal (later Ataturk), and the Treaty of Lausanne had affirmed the new borders. Launching the first operation on July 24th was therefore a symbolic reaffirmation of the

treaty which the “Greater Middle East Project” had sought to

Soldiers evacuating citizens in devastated Sur district of Diyarbakır, Turkey.
(Image from the media.)

The PKK was by now well entrenched and operations in the eastern townships were hard and painful, but the public supported it and the Islamist Erdoğan, apparently free of US pressure, added a nationalist allure to his hitherto religious aura- which meant a surge in popularity. A kind of cautious harmony began  to develop in the upper echelons of the State, including the government and the Armed Forces. The US was probably not happy that the long standing
Combating PKK in Diyarbakır Sur.
The graffiti says "YPG"
Probably January 2016 (Image from the media.)
operations to transform Turkey had misfired. Moreover, the US was actively supporting PKK affiliates PYD  and YPG in Syria, and
the new nationalist Erdoğan was not amenable to that.

On July 15th 2016 the cautious harmony between Erdoğan and the military was shattered. Tanks rolled out, fighter planes took to the skies. It was something Erdoğan had long feared, had long prepared for, but came at a most unlikely time. A detachment raided the state television channel (TRT) and forced an attractive blonde commentator to read their statement. They had named their operation “peace in the land” (Yurtta Barış, borrowed from Ataturk himself) which sounds like an intention to halt operations against the PKK and recommence the “peace process”- the wishes of the US.

Erdoğan appealed to the public through the socail media to take to the streets and halt the coup- and hundreds heeded
the call. The public reaction was not confused, but organized, which implies that the AKP had long prepared contingency plans for just such an emergency.

Erdoğan's call for resistance. (Image from the media.)

Inside the Armed Forces, there was no unity. The coup had been staged by renegade officers who had taken the chief of staff and the commanders of the forces hostage. Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar endured a stranglehold but refused to endorse the coup, and bore the scars to prove it. Turkish soldiers fired on other Turkish soldiers in a civil war that was fought and decided within 24 hours. Jets from the base in Diyarbakır  flew to Ankara to bomb our parliament- the Diyarbakır base where you once had been commander, father, and where I had played as a child. Newspapers claim there are Americans stationed at that base as today, and their İncirlik base in Adana is not too far away! Jets from Eskişehir bombed the airstrip at Mürtet (Akıncılar) outside Ankara to keep rebel planes from taking off.

And, father, Turkish soldiers fired on their own citizens. More than two hundred died that terrible night and the next day. You couldn’t have endured the sight of Turkish helicopters raining bullets on their own people; the knowledge that men wearing the same uniform could act in this way would have killed you. None of the coups and military interventions in our history has ever caused such bloodshed.

NCO Ömer Halisdemir was ordered by his commanding officer to intercept and shoot coup leader Gen. Semih Terzi. He carried out his orders, fully aware of the consequences; he was shot himself immediately afterwards.
(Image from the media.) 

That night was also a night of prayers from mosques, calling on Allah’s intervention to crush the enemies of the sacrosanct Erdoğan. Some presented the failure of the coup as a victory of democracy but for many it was the victory of Islam.

The spooked government kept calling for contiued presence of crowds on the streets. Whatever may be said of those crowds, whose motivations may have ranged from bravery to fanaticism, it is clear that Erdoğan would not shy from using the population as human shields.

(Images from the media.)

Immediately afterwards people with authoritative knowledge on the matter, on the officers involved, concluded that the coup was launched by the Gülen cult. New evidence coming out daily has confirmed this; the Vatan party newspaper Aydınlık had published an article about the need to sift out Gülenist elements from the military just before the coup.

The AKP immediately capitalized on its victory, plastering the country with posters about democracy and the rule of the people, going as far as to quote Ataturk, the party's nemesis, and even use his image.

Banner in Nazilli: "Sovereignity belongs unconditionally to the people". Erdoğan and Ataturk apparently reconciled at last- until Erdoğan reconsolidates his power! (Image from the media.)

There is a widescale purge of Gülen adherents underway right now-
but mostly functionaries way down on the ladder and simpler people. There is a blatant reluctance to look within the ruling AKP itself; as one time partners, they should be prime suspects!

We all knew by now of Gülenist presence in the police and judiciary. We had heard about Gülen’s attempts to infiltrate the military, but chosen to believe it was exaggerated. The bloody night of
July 15th was a rude awakening. In the wake of the coup, many books on the Gülen movement were republished. I am reading a most bothersome one now, called Ağacın Kurdu (“The Worm of the Tree”), from 2015.

Ağacın Kurdu ("The Worm of the Tree")  
by Mustafa Önsel,

Written by Col. Mustafa Önsel, himself an ex-"Sledgehammer" convict, it tells of the underhanded methods by which the cult members enter the Forces as professionals, rise through the ranks by clandestine mutual assistance, and eliminate whoever isn’t one of their own. Going as far back as the early years of this century and growing in scope, it involves leaking exam questions, changing answer sheets, issuing false health reports and applying inhuman conditions in basic training to undesirables, even slander! (See: "Adultery and Espionage", 28 Nisan-April 2013.) And all because a holy man in Pennsylvania said Allah desires it that way!

Oh father, how many of the young officers you met, trusted, and confided in had already given their allegiance to Fethullah Gülen (and duly reported everything you said?)

The victorious Erdoğan went on to punish the Armed Forces- even though he and his party had been instrumental in the massive infiltration of the Gülen cult in all strata of the state apparatus (To be fair, Erdoğan did offer an apology: "May my God and my people forgive... we could not see their real faces for a long time..." August 3rd 2016, Extraordinary Religious Council) Gone was the military guard from the Presidential Palace, the mounted ones and all. The military academies were transformed to quasi-civilian institutions while the military high schools were closed down outright, even though the above mentioned book claims cadets coming from these high schools had been the prime targets of the Gülenists entrenched in the academies.

 Demonstration to reopen the military high schools, led by the heroic Hıdır Hokka (speaking to microphone). He had earlier organized the "Silivri Watch". 
Beşiktaş, Istanbul, November 12th 2016.
(Image from my own camera.)

The Armed Forces, still smarting from the loss of officers given up to the Ergenekon, "Sledgehammer" and related hoaxes, are now further decimated by the purge of Gülenists- and this at a time of conflict with the PKK within as well as ISIS plus the US-backed PYD and YPG in Syria. The GATA military hospitals were made civilian and the one in Istanbul renamed Abdul Hamid (known in the West as the “Red Sultan”) to spite the Armed Forces in particular and Kemalists in general. Mustafa Kemal had been attached to the military unit that deposed Abdul Hamid II in 1909, as had been my own grandfather, your father.

 Left: An artist's impression of the deposition of Sultan Abdul Hamid II, April 27th, 1909.
Right: The Sultan avenged- the former military hospital GATA transformed into the civilian Sultan Abdülhamid Hospital after the failed coup.
That hospital had often treated you, and my mother, and you had great confidence in it. That’s where I took you when you took ill on that terrible night of April 11th 2014, that’s where I saw you for the last time. For your sake I was willing to overlook its shorcomings.
Until I read the book. In it, it is claimed that GATA too was infiltrated by the Gülen cult, issuing unfavorable health reports to non-Gülenist candidates and cadets to get rid of them. (Indeed, some have rejoined the Forces after the botched coup exposed the scam!) I was reminded of the male GATA doctor who refused to check my wife because she was a woman- a very strange occurence in the hospital of the secular Kemalist Turkish Armed Forces.

And I am forced to think- into whose hands did I deliver my father? Signed away the paper giving the hospital all authority? You were old and frail so I can’t say you would have lived much longer, but the last time I saw you your oxygen hose had been taken out and you were gasping for breath. The doctor said it was to encourage you to breathe on your own. I told him you didn’t deserve this. Was this proper procedure? Couldn’t they, shouldn’t they have made it easier for you? By next morning you were gone!

Not being able to breathe is a terrible thing.

I visited your grave again last summer- I do that once in a while, does me good to sit and talk. But this time, I was taken aback. They had planted a rose, and there was a yellow rosebud- like your “Rose”, the daughter you yearned so long to see again, lured away and enfeebled, made powerless by a culture that promised so much and then took everything. On your gravestone, as on all the gravestones in the military cemetary, there is a Turkish flag waving in the breeze, still there, in spite of all the falsehood, the treachery, the poisoning of minds and souls, to console you, and me, as if the country we imagined still exists.

 (Images from my own camera.)

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