Rober Koptas writes in Varlik (a Turkish arts and literature journal) about the present state of Turkey: 'Perhaps we need to start by accepting that our country has always been in a "state of emergency". Sometimes less, sometimes more, but the space for words has always been narrow'.

Koptas states that the exceptional circumstances of today have always
been unexceptional for the dissenting and discordant voices in Turkey: 'Ask the Kurds, ask the Armenians, ask the communists...Silence was imposed on them by the threat of violence and those who would not accept silence were crushed in a variety of ways. The country’s best writers, film-makers, journalists, orators all ended up in jail. Cultures, languages, positions and ideals were erased, deprecated, declared the enemy. And most of the time such things were done, not under a state of emergency as today, but the "normal" state of affairs. This state of affairs was Turkey itself'.

He acknowledges that most writers and artists had given up hope for the country. Some were planning a move abroad. Most struggled to answer the question of how to raise a child in Turkey. He says that people are afraid: afraid that a single book, article, sometimes a one-sentence tweet, could mean prison, even death.

Koptas believes that there is no point in 'chasing the tail of some undefined hope' but concludes on a note of defiance: '...I suggest that we should not forget to live even if it is hopeless and incurable; that we should work to stay alive and, when the opportunity arises, to place stone upon stone, word upon word'.

His article, translated by Steve Bryant, can be found on the Eurozine website.

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