Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Events of September 2005, Istanbul

On 6th September 2005, a photographic record of the riots, from the Archives of Rear Admiral Fahri Coker: the Events of September 6-7 on their Fiftieth Anniversary [Tümamiral Fahri Coker'in Arşivinden: Ellinci Yılında 6-7 Eylül Olayları], was exhibited in Istanbul, and Turkish deep state agents attacked it (c.f. Ergener, 2005: 3n9; 4n11).

(It doesn't make sense to discuss this exhibition in my thesis if I don't discuss the Events of September 1955 in my thesis; and I don't have space for that, so I am blogging them both instead.)

The 2005 attackers' style so closely resembled that of the 1955 rioters in the photographs that they defaced, that it resembled an act of performative commemoration; they even had the same number of members in their team (c.f. Ergener, 2005: 1).

One of their slogans, 'Turkey is Turkish, will remain Turkish [Türkiye Türk'tür, Türk kalacak]' (cited in Ergener, 2005: 4), echoed one of the original rioters' slogans, 'Cyprus is Turkish, will remain Turkish [Kıbrıs Türk'tür, Türk kalacaktır]' (cited in Güven, 2005: 62).

Another slogan, 'love it or leave it [ya sev ya terk et]' (Ergener, 2005: 4), was a threat to the transgressive cultural heritage workers, like the History Foundation (1), and human rights workers, like the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly (2).

Strikingly, it used the same verb for "leave" that was used for Turkish Cypriots' terror-induced flight from their villages (e.g. KKTCC, 2007).

It was both a 'reaction against exposing evidence for... a crime [suça dair kanıtların ortaya çıkarılmasına... karşı bir tepkidir' (Ergener, 2005: 6).), and a 'threat made to those who betrayed a national secret [milli bir sırra [sic - sıra] ihanet edenlere savrulan bir tehdittir]' (Ergener, 2005: 6; 8).

Even after the destruction of heterogeneous community, cultural heritage – or the documentation of its remains – establishes the conditions of possibility of heterogeneity, and affirms the possibility of the resurrection of heterogeneous community.

That is why the Turkish deep state attacked both cultural heritage sites and archives of those sites, and threatened the cultural heritage workers who maintained those sites and those archives.

That is also why states (especially states of conflict-divided societies) must protect cultural heritage and support its documentation. It will be seen that both Cypriot administrations' cultural heritage work has ultimately colluded in the denial of gross human rights abuses (at least by omission), and thus colluded in the denial of the possibility of heterogeneous community.

  1. Tarih Vakfı
  2. Helsinki Yurttaşlar Derneği

Ergener, B. 2005: "'Ellinci Yılında 6-7 Eylül Olayları' sergisi ve sergiye yapılan saldırı üzerine [on the exhibition of 'Incidents of September 6th-7th on their Fiftieth Anniversary' and the attack on the exhibition]". Red Thread, Number 1. Available at: http://www.red-thread.org/dosyalar/site_resim/dergi/pdf/6471136.pdf

Güven, D. 2005: Cumhuriyet dönemi azınlık politikaları ve stratejileri bağlamında 6-7 Eylül olayları [the 6th-7th September events in the context of Republican period minority policies and strategies]. İstanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları.

KKTCC (Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti Cumhurbaşkanlığı [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Presidency]). 2007: "Erçakıca 'Mülkiyet Sorununu Kıbrıs Sorunundan ayırmak ve sadece Rumların Sorunu diye lanse etmek İnsafsızlık' [Erçakıca: 'it is an injustice to separate the Property Problem from the Cyprus Problem and to present it as only the Greeks' problem']". Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti Cumhurbaşkanlığı [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Presidency], 13. Haziran. Başlangıçta şu adreste bulunabilir: http://www.kktcb.eu/index.php?tpl=show_announ&id=84 [son erişilen: 17. Ağustos 2009]

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