Cengiz Aktar
Nov 05 2018

Why Ahval?

I had stopped writing after the 2016 failed coup in Turkey.

The last op-ed I wrote, before starting writing for Ahval, had been on demographic engineering of Syrians living in Turkey, a subject I also covered a few days ago.

It is impossible to have access to the first one, as the news site that published it, Haberdar, was shut down. But I am sure it is somewhere in the hidden corners of the Turkish state.

Like Taraf, it is impossible to have access to the archive of this newspaper, for which I wrote for years.

Like Today’s Zaman, its archive is also lost.

Like Vatan newspaper, which was recently shut down, despite becoming in its last days obedient to the Turkish government. They also removed my columns.

In summary, all of the things I have written since 2005 in English or Turkish are lost, meaning I am lost.

My books have not been burnt yet, but of course everything is possible.

All columnists and reporters who used to work for those newspapers are in a similar situation. This is something beyond censorship, it is wiping out history. In reference to authoritarian regimes known for destroying books, the heat is at “Fahrenheit 451”, the degree set in Ray Bradbury’s 1953 novel.

Naturally, in a country where no trace of press freedom has been left, there are many press outlets that have gone through things much worse than my story, particularly the Kurdish press.

Since the Doğan Media Group this year changed hands and became a supporter of the government, now there are only a few mediums left to provide Turkish people news.

Ahval is one of them.

Though it may be ineffective for getting rid of fascism, let’s keep on writing to resist by raising a different voice, by leaving footnotes to history, and since we know nothing else other than to write.

As author Ishiguro said:

“If one has failed only where others have not had the courage or will to try, there is consolation - indeed, deep satisfaction - to be gained from his observation when looking back over one's life.”

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