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Scuola Dottorale di Ateneo Graduate School

Dottorato di ricerca in Studi sull'Asia e sull'Africa Ciclo XXVI Anno di discussione 2014

The Instrumental Usage of a Culturalist “White-Black” Dichotomy in the Turkish Press (1980-2013)

Settore scientifico disciplinare di afferenza: L-OR/13 Tesi di Dottorato di Weronika Grelow, matricola 955812

Coordinatore del Dottorato Prof. Federico Squarcini

Tutore del Dottorando Prof. Giampiero Bellingeri 1

Then all of a sudden everything disappeared behind our backs and our eyes continued to move on without rest. To tell the truth, we weren't watching anything in particular in that hot afternoon. In the heat everything was condensing and evaporating as a dough. It was like we, we were evaporating. We see and we do not see. The world suddenly is tinging with a warm color, A color that we can only see with the mind. Orhan Pamuk "Other Colors'1

1“Poi tutto di colpo scompariva dietro le nostre spalle e i nostri occhi continuavano a muoversi senza sosta. A dire il vero, non guardavamo nulla in particolare in quel torrido pomeriggio. Nel caldo tutto si condensava e svaporava come un impasto. Era come se anche noi stessi stessimo svaporando. Vediamo e non vediamo. Il mondo di colpo si tinge tutto di un colore caldo, Un colore che riusciamo a vedere solo con la mente. Orhan Pamuk “Altri colori’”































































“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."
 "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." 
 "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master— that's all”. 2

Words fascinate me. Linguistics is in my point of view a school of magic where unintelligible strings of letters take a coercive function determining the executive process like spells.

Words irritate me. Especially when they lose their meaning but even moreso when they fall apart from meaning, getting into the wrong hands or rather mouths since, as wrote the Greek poet Ritsos Ghiannis, " One sentence, one word, can describe an event but can be also completely identified with the event, be the event itself .” In that way the discourse becomes itself a dangerous notion that creates a determined phenomenon. Hence the task of the poet is to return to words their innocence. I 'm not a poet, but in the dimension of the text, this work is an attempt to trace a similar process and analyze the concepts of degeneration of the primary notions: White Turks - Black Turks. Therefore, I follow the particular process of instrumentalization of this idea, confronting multipronged dichotomies attributed to it and assessing the changes occurring along this dichotomous axis. This assessment can then be extrapolated to explain or at least contextualize a variety of dynamic changes in Turkish society. 2 “Quando io uso una parola-disse Humpty Dumpty in tono alquanto sprezzante - questa significa esattamente quello che decido' piu' ne' meno.” Bisogna vedere -disse Alice- se lei puo' dare tanti significati diversi alle parole. Bisogna vedere -disse Humpty Dumpty- chi e' che comanda. E' tutto qua”. (Carroll Lewis, Alice nel paese delle meraviglie, BUR, Biblioteca Universale Rizzoli, Milano, 2010)


Furthermore I discuss the question of threats standing behind a dichotomy constructed in that way, dividing society into " white and black " while omitting a number of intermediate shades. With the introduction of a similar categorization appears a risk that beyond the insistent attempt to assign more strict criteria to all, some can also strongly try to identify themselves within particular categories. This attempt to create a simplified categorization encourages proliferation of a simplified vision of Turkish society and artificial divisions erected by a false and forced

judgment. Thus, this

approach corresponds to the concept's neo -language, where a limited vocabulary determines a simplified way of thinking, and every limitation is a form of victory because more narrow the option pool, the more limited the temptation to spread alternative opinions. Everything is based on a varying level of awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity. In this process, as the originators of this dichotomy (not quite accepted in sociology), journalists play the most important role.

The notion of “White - Black Turks” is extremely complex since it contains in itself the deepest accumulation of problems regarding Turkey, such as the formation of national identity, nationalism and the whole system of social transformation since the 1980s.

In referring to magic spells -I mean my attempt to decrypt the "linguistic curse " that seems to hang over Turkey. The most interesting “sorcery” is found in the extraordinary linguistic skills and full understanding of events in Turkish politics required to maintain the discourse. The “incantations” can thus be applied almost like arms in defense of the mostly political interests of different sectors.

Mindful of the role of journalists in the ensuing process, this research has been


augmented by sociological interviews with representatives of leading Turkish newspapers in order to verify their approach to the topic and update it vis à vis the latest events. The most interesting conversations accidentally and magically coincided with the beginning of the Turkish manifestations in Gezi Park. Those events constituted a new starting point for the summary of the topic insofar as they not only reveal the origins of exceptionally significant changes in Turkish society but also served as motivation for many people with whom I worked to very explicitly and categorically express their personal opinions. In journalism during this period there was hatched a new concept: the White Youngs. This term, though subsequently falling short as yet another simplification, is proof of the immortality and eternal character of the chromatic notion. I tried to avoid simplifications, getting to the point, while analyzing the reasons of the complexity and transformation of the White Turk idea and its evolution in the course of history.



The objective of this dissertation is to examine and analyse the instrumental usage of a culturalist “white-black” dichotomy in Turkish media and to contextualize this terminology since its introduction in 1980 until a sort of climax in 2013 during the Gezi Park confrontations in Istanbul.

The motivation for this monograph and the relevant research was born out of personal curiosity to understand the dynamics behind the Turkish media’s frequent use of terms “White Turks” and “Black Turks” to color-code inequalities in Turkey. On the basis of this distinction lies the more spherical categorization regarding not only the material status of two groups but also their historical and cultural dynamics. Color coding highlights also a distinct value system. In this work I present a perspective to shed a light on and comprehend the reasons of this process. A crucial concern is how the initially conceived definition of white Turks has expanded beyond its original definition and currently tends to be exaggerated in different contexts, with a tendency to instrumentalize its elements, especially in order to justify and solidify authority. For instance the White-Black dichotomy is employed to underline the White's superiority in conflict between the new inhabitants of Istanbul and the old ones, showing the new group as the 'others' in a strongly distorted way.

My investigation follows the thesis of Seda Demiralp, which states, “the Islamismsecularism conflict is a reflection of a more profound social stratification that relies on overlapping class-based and regional (urban-provincial) cleavages and that this hierarchy finds justification through a political discourse that not only promote


differences in religious outlooks between the status groups in the society but also includes racializing these cleavages.”3 Demiralp tries to find evidence that the Islamismsecularism conflict is not “natural” or “given” but rather a product of the efforts of urban elites who actively attributed religious (Islamist) and racial characteristics to Anatolians in order to establish their superior identity, justify their authority, and deemphasize the economic context of the segregation. In this regard her research focuses on exclusion of the provincial population in Turkish society and racist undertones in urban elitism as it creates a portrait of an “other” in the media. On the other hand, she discusses whether the instrumental usage of promoting a culturalist dichotomy of “Islamism versus secularism” remains limited to urban authorities. The publication constitutes a good starting point for a further analysis and critical polemic that I intend to provide by focusing mainly on printed press articles.

According to the author herself, academic and political circles are mainly interested in the ideological aspect of the clash of Islamism and secularism in Turkey. The elitist nature of the republican state and its marginalization of the religiously conservative Anatolian population has been discussed in the literature on Turkish modernization (Mardin 1973, Göle 1999, Kadioğlu 1996, Ahmad 1993, Yavuz 2000). What is missing is evidence that the conflict reveals a much deeper scar resulting from the politicaleconomic domination of urban residents over provincial Anatolia. This aspect of the conflict needs to be studied further in order to understand the process by which certain groups promote cultural dichotomies as part of the strategy in pursuit of their interests. Even the politicians and scholars who do acknowledge the material aspect of the Islamist-secularist problem view it as a result of different material realities (e.g. urbanrural, western-eastern, developed-underdeveloped). When it comes to the elitist nature 3 Demiralp Seda, White Turks, Black Turks: Religion, Culture and Class in Turkey, paper from Midwest Political Science Association, 67th Annual National Conference


of the republican state and its marginalization it was already discussed by the literature on Turkish modernization (Mardin 1973, Göle 1999, Kadioğlu 1996, Ahmad 1993, Yavuz 2000). An important study of White on Islamist movements underlines the influence of the socio-economic class on the perception of what is perceived as the division of society into Kemalist and secularist camps”(2002, 31). Erman concentrates on how the typical “otherisation” with regard to “the rural” devolved from the Anatolian type perceived as a “rural other”, to an “underserving-rich other”, and finally to “the threating other” (2001, 983). All of these publications, except Göle’s, analyze the cultural conflict between elites and non-elites as a natural outcome of a competitive world. They fall short of identifying the mechanism of “othering” as a political strategy. What's more, generally the process of othering is considered as only applicable to Kurds, not including the broader Anatolian population. Even the biggest scholars like Yavuz (2000), Turgut (2007) and Güldemir avoid commenting the racist undertones in urban elitism.

In the first decade of the 21st century we observed the boom of studies focused on topics like political antagonism, socio-cultural distinction and polarization.4Beyza Sumer, for instance, analyzes the distinction of white and black Turks in terms of the civilizing process which operates on the differentiation between “civilized” and “uncivilized/grotesque” bodies and corresponds to the formation of the high/low hierarchy in Turkey in the 1990s.5 Deniz Ilhan's thesis aims to contextualize middle and high-ranking business professionals as members of the transnational professional elite, showing that although the use of socio-political typologies such as “White Turks”, emphasizing socio-political elitism/indifference/hostility, may proficiently describe 4 Bali Rıfat, Tarz-i Hayattan Life style'a, Yeni secklenler, yeni mekanlar, yeni yasamlar. İletişim Yayınları, İstanbul 2009, Fusun Ustel, Birol Caymaz, Seçkinler ve sosyal mesafe, İstanbul Bilgi Üniversitesi, 2009, Göle Nilüfer, Secularism and islamism in Turkey the making of elites and counter elites, Middle East Journal, vol.51, no.1, Winter 1997 5 Sumer Beyza, White vs. Black Turks: The civilising process in Turkey in the 1990s., Middle East Technical University, Master thesis, December 2003


many Turkish elite position – “this definition oversees pluralist and egalitarian tendencies that can be cultivated within the elite circles due to translocal interaction and exposure”.6

None of the aforementioned studies takes as an object of interest the white-black Turk anatagonism using my methodology. In many cases those scholars only indirectly explore the fundamental questions of the dichotomy. None of these publications survey recent years. For example B. Sumer's textual analysis was made in reference to articles in daily newspapers and magazines only as late as the 1990s. Therefore, in order to set up powerful arguments in defense of defence my thesis, I present the analysis of daily press and media materials from the period 1990-2013. This survey allows us to examine the representation and reproduction of White-Black dichotomy, followed by the consultation of documents and literature related to the discussed topic. All of that is done to prove the significant contribution of journalists to the deepening social divisions.

Working closely with the Council of Europe within the Anti-discrimination campaign, I could have examined how problematic can be the tendency of stereotypical and demeaning representations, and how dangerous can be an impact of stereotyping on the whole society.7 From this point of view the research, analyzing the various aspects of discrimination in Turkey, could be useful in a further process of identification and promotion of “good practice”. This initiatives can serve to promote the recognition of 6 Ilhan Deniz, Turkish transnational business professionals in Istanbul: globalization, cosmopolitanism and the emergency elit, Bogazici University, Master thesis, 2010 7 The campaign suppports the media sector's own efforts to play a constructive role in an increasingly multicultural environment. While fully respecting the independence and autonomy of media professionals and media organisations, the campaign pursues three interrelated objectives. 1 - To encourage the media to communicate information on discrimination and on anti-discrimination mechanisms to the general public and (potential) discrimination victims;
 2 -To better prepare media professionals for working in a multicultural Europe;
 3 -To facilitate the access of professionals with a minority background to all sectors of the media industry.


particular cultural freedoms through a broader decline of urban elitism and the political and economic inclusion of provincial actors. Therefore, this study contributes toward demonstrating the dramatic socio-economic division behind the perceived ideologicalcultural conflict in Turkish society. Here, for the first time, we attempt an analysis of how and why certain actors chose to emphasize the cultural aspect of the polarization in promoting their interests.





The concept we take under examination, “White Turks”, as well as the idea of using the White- Black dichotomy in order to describe a schism in Turkish society, was originally coined by the Turkish journalist Ufuk Güldemir in 1992. The term was introduced in his Teksas Malatya book as part of a criticism of elitism in Turkish society of sector of the population opposed to then-Prime Minister Turgut Özal due to his Kurdish origin, religiousness and lack of military service.8 Originally the term was meant as an analog to the American White Anglo-Saxon Protestant notion. The disproportionate influence of White Turks can be considered to parallel that of the “WASP” group in its clear hegemony of political and financial power over the rest of the American population.

At the beginning of the republic, The White Turks were composed of influential members of the military, media, bureaucracy, and bourgeoisie that promoted and reproduced an upper-class worldview which marked the “white” identity. According to journalists, “White Turks were ’civilized’, ’modern’, ‘light skinned’ and ‘beautiful’, meanwhile the Black Turks were ‘short’, ‘dark’, ‘hairy’, ‘thick’, ‘rude’ (not fine), ‘dirty’, ‘untamed’, ‘tasteless’ and ‘unmannered.”9

Culturally, white Turks were

westernized while black Turks remained attached to religious or tribal traditions of Anatolia. But the most distinctive characteristic of White Turks was their status as a 8 Sumer Beyza, White vs. Black Turks: The civilising process in Turkey in the 1990s., Middle East Technical University, Master thesis, December 2003 9 Demiralp Seda, White Turks, Black Turks: Religion, Culture and Class in Turkey, paper from Midwest Political Science Association, 67th Annual National Conference


small minority self-appointed to define the lifestyle, values and tastes that standardized what is “good” and “civilized” for the whole nation. Based on the elements presented above, the terminology was adopted by the sociologist Nilüfer Göle in relation to the emergence of a middle class since the end of the 20th century. Subsequently, the notion was popularized by Turkish journalists and political scientists and has gained much wider recognition.

Nowadays, as Deniz Ilhan claims, the term envelopes three different contexts. First, it may be an instrument of self-criticism by an individual who assumes membership in an elite group he criticizes (common for Serdar Turgut writing about changes in definition of White Turks). Furthermore it might be used by someone with “White Turkish” origins and qualities to criticize the attitude of White Turks while claiming no association with the criticized community (the articles of Mine Kırıkkanat). A third usage is as a pejorative description or for simply criticizing the White Turks or White Turkishness by someone who remains in an irrelevant/uncategorized position or by someone who can be considered as a “Black Turk”, someone who lacks the qualities of being “white”10( the discourses of the Prime Minister). All in all, Ilhan’s study determines “White Turk” as being strictly connected with criticism and discontent expressed against that so-called sector and its ideology.

I will explain how we can connect the American case of racial distinction, stemming from the WASP paradigm, with the self-definition of Turkishness and a vision of race in Turkey. It is quite a complicated question that requires an analysis I elaborate from the works of Murat Ergin11 and Mucahit Bilici12. 10 Ilhan Deniz, Turkish transnational business professionals in Istanbul: globalization, cosmopolitanism and the emergency elit, Bogazici University, Master thesis, 2010 11 Ergin Murat, Is the Turk a White Man? Towards a theoretical framework for race in the making of Turkishness”, Middle Eastern Studies, vol.44, No.6, November 2008, p.827-850 12 Bilici Mucahit, Black Turks, White Turks: on the three requirements of Turkish citizenship, Insight Turkey, Vol.11/No.3/2009, p.23-35


The present research also determines what kind of class definition is taken into consideration to justify the different use of the term and all the mechanism that stands behind it. The other key elements to understand a process of development of the WhiteBlack definition are the circulation of elites in Turkish society, the scheme of class distinctions and the definitions of individuals according to how they are characterized within the dychotomic groups. All of this fundamental comprehension is accomplished using a presentation of the historical background that has accompanied a changing concept of White Turks.

A basic differentiation of White-Black Turkishness is geographic background. According to Egin (2002) the White Turks are at least second or third generation Istanbullu (someone from Istanbul). Black Turks usually come from the provinces or had originally been squatters and lived in the back streets of urban cities (mainly Istanbul but also some other developed cities as Izmir or Ankara), only recently starting to move to more expensive nieghborhoods. But this incoherent and superficial definition is a reason for my development of a more rigorous scheme based on the dichotomy centrum- periphery.

Secondly, I analyze the Islamic-secular dichotomy in reference to a newborn religious middle class whose arrival changed the political scene in Turkey in 2002. I engage with the general opinion expressed by journalists that currently in national politics, as well as in a daily life, we can talk about a conflict based on the feeling of resentment or even thirst for revenge felt by Black Turks. Those conservative Muslims, marginalized for decades, finally have political power thanks to representation of their will by the Prime Minister. Their opponents are the White Turks, supporters of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's


mission to remake Turkey in a European secular-republican image.

The first chapter examines various literatures which may supply the conceptual tools for understanding the process of creation and evolution of the Black-White dichotomy and a theoretical framework for investigating the racial elements involved in its representation. We contextualize the term with notions of race, social class and elitism. The characteristics presented above constitute the background for the development of the “othering” mechanism which is explained in the second chapter. After drawing some conclusions I will continue to scrutinize the real reasons for the usage of the WhiteBlack dichotomy, analyzing the axes of social divisions based on parallel dichotomies connected to the chromatic distinctions. In order to set up powerful arguments in part three, I present the analysis of daily press and media materials from the period 20052013 in order to examine the representation and reproduction of urban elitism and the discourse of political leaders. That analysis is followed by the consultation of relevant scholarly documents and literature and interviews with journalists.

Theoretically, the analysis of national identity and “othering” is rooted within poststructuralist approaches. Methodologically I will use discourse analysis to study themes, symbols, and stereotypes that are part of the culture expressed in media materials. I prefer discourse analysis as it links meanings, identities and power, whereas these three elements are mainly culturally, historically, and politically related. Such analysis reveals the basic elements for constructing the most common schema of cultural dichotomies. In addition I have consulted the experts from the Council of Europe’s Anti-Discrimination Campaign, including an assistant professor specialized in the area of nationalism in Turkish media: Mahmut Çınar, from the Faculty of Journalism at the University of Istanbul.


chromatism - Definition (n.) The variation of either the focal length or the magnification of a lens system with different wavelengths of light, characterized by prismatic coloring at the edges of the optical image and color distortion within it



As we need to provide an adequate meaning to the word or expression, we adopt an approach that can be achieved based on two different and competing philosophical notions.13

The first one is called “ideational” view of meaning. Since the seventeenth century and the Logic of Port Royal, the ideational school situates the meaning of a term like “White Turks” (and subsequently any other notion that I'll try to introduce in regards to this term) within what the Port Royal Logicians called an “idea”. Understanding the idea involves grasping how people think about it, “what they take to be the central truths about the idea; under what sorts of circumstances they will apply it; what consequences for action will flow from that application.”14 The second philosophy, the “referential” approach, aims to identify the concepts to which a word applies, the things we refer to 13 Appiah Anthony K., Race, culture, identity: Misunderstood connections, The tanner lectures on human values, delivered at University of California at San Diego 27 and 28, 1994 14 Ibidem, p. 56


when we speak about the term.

Both points of view are strictly connected. To understand what journalists are refering to in using the notion “White Turks”, first we should get the idea what the notion means to them. If they had no ideas, no thoughts, and if there were no circumstances when they use the notion, nor consequences resulting from application of the term, we could not state that the notion itself has any meaning at all. This leads us to question whether the idea precedes the referent, or vice versa.

Taking into consideration this philosophical approach, my preliminary aim is to explore the concept of White Turks and its invocation in the press, taking journalists as referents. For analytical purposes I will present it in regard to different notions like race, class, elitism to understand how and why it has evolved, and especially how it has been manipulated in order to condemn the “other”. My purpose is not to decide between these two broad traditions of conceiving meaning, as Appiah suggests.15 I leave it to the philosphers of language to decide which one ought to have the central place in semantics. Our goal here is to analyze both points of view, the reality of White Turks and the way people think about them, in the referential and ideational aspects as well.

15 Ergin Murat, Is Turk a White Man? Towards a theoretical framework for race in making of Turkishness, Middle Eastern Studies, 1 November 2008, p. 57



The most intriguing aspect of the White-Black dichotomy includes the racial component of the term. We therefore study the necessity of establishing the Whiteness of Turks in historical, linguistic and racial terms. While the discourse appears quite logical nowadays in the context of the arduous application process for full membership in The European Union, we still must consider the ethno-racial legacy of the notion beginning in the early republican period. The second key point is an adaptation of an American term on Turkish grounds. Thus we need to draw parallels between these two different realities.

Since a significant number of studies have analyzed elements of race and ethnicity, especially in the early republican period, and as this thesis aims at a presentation of the theoretical framework of the White-Black distinctions, we briefly present the empirical details in the historical overview. More details are provided within the textual press analysis.

When it comes to ideational interpretation of the term, in the United States of America the first popular definition was created by Jefferson and Arnold: ”The idea of race has been used, in its application to humans, in such a way as to require that there be significant correlations between the biological and the moral, literary, or psychological characters of human beings; and that these be explained by the intrinsic nature (the ‘talents’ and ‘faculties’ in Jefferson; the ‘genius’ in Arnold) of the members of the race.”16 According to them, being a member of a particular race provides an individual 16 Chengzi Zhao, Are American social distinctions caused by race?,


with the same genetically inherited physical, psychological and moral characteristics as all others of that race.

Now this point of view is totally discredited. Appiah challenges this theory and sets out some powerful arguments to show clearly that the differences related to the capabilities or estimated IQ are not the result of genetic combination but correlated to the interactions within the society and caused by external factors.17There are too many biological characteristics that can be used as standards to identify people's races. 18There is no single standard to be applied to the myriad ways of defining races. Even the term “race” itself is wrong according to Appiah.19

Therefore in the United States, the second and the most important interpretation of the term, the critical race theory, was developed with the goal of analyzing the persistence of racial inequalities in the post-Civil Rights era.20 Authors of this theory presented institutional consequences of racial inequalities, arguing that race and racism “are embedded in the structure of contemporary societies and, hence have historically gained a status autonomous from individual prejudices, at least in the US society.” Before I explore this concept with regard to the Turkish reality, finally we should analyze the term “WASP” itself.

In the Unites States the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) is an informal notion, in 17 Appiah Anthony, Race, Culture, Identity: Misunderstood Connections, the Tunner Lectures on human values delivered at University of California at San Diego, October 27 and 28, 1994 18 It was also scientifically proven quite recently by the genome mapping experiment of Craig Venter and Francis Collins from the National Institute of Health, concluding with the statement that race is a social scientific concept and there are no bright lines (that would stand out), if we could compare all the sequenced genomes of everyone on the planet. 19 “The explicit definition that captures the common notion of those whu understand the wrod “race” will then be given by a modified Ramsey-style definition: A race is something that satisfies a good number of the critical beliefs, I'll call this the 'vague criterial theory” (Anthony Appiah, Race, Culture, Identity: Misunderstood Connections, the Tunner Lectures on human values delivered at University of California at San Diego, October 27 and 28, 1994) 20 Crenshaw K. et al., Critical Race Theory: The key writings that formed in the movement, New Press, New York, 1995


some cases derogatory or disparaging, describing a closed group of high-status Americans, mostly of English Protestant ancestry, believed to control disproportionate social and financial power.21 It is held that they enjoy their privileged status due to family wealth and elite connections.22As part of the American White-Black dichotomy, the meaning of WASP has broadened significantly since its first use. The significance of the term varies depending on which ethnic group it means to designate, and sometimes may be even applied to all Protestants of European descent. Alternatively it can stand for "Wealthy Anglo-Saxon Protestant", a white person with an “old money” heritage. 23In the Northeastern United States, it generally is used to distinguish ”old stock” EuropeanAmericans, whose lineage dates from the colonial era, from the descendants of later European immigrants. It also defines the main beneficiaries of "The Establishment" which imposes its interpretation of American social, economic and moral values.

How the WASP ideal influences Turkish reality?

Once again, a division based on biology and genetics, inherited from the colonial past, is no longer valid as science. We cannot discuss race in a simplistic way of melanin and phenotypes. It is not just because of modern sociological standards. That is also the way genetic differences are perceived by anthropologists and evolutionary scientists in general. Historians, cultural anthropologists and other social scientists re-conceptualized the term as a cultural category or social construct—reflecting how people talk about themselves and others. When it comes to Turkey, biological and physical distinctions were taken into consideration especially and just in the incipient Republican period, when official policy was to individuate the genetic characteristics of the Turkish race.

21 Allen Irving Lewis, Unkind words: Ethnic Labeling from Redskin to Wasp, Bergin&Garvey, New York, 1990 22 Brookhiser Richard, The way of WASP how to made America and how it can save it, so to speak, 1991 23


Within that revolution the “European look” became the indicator of Westernization.

The point is that even if we resign from the simplistic interpretation of the term, somehow, in correlation with an American reality, insomuch as it recalls the colors it leads to a fascination with skin color and physiognomic features. In the Turkish reality racial distinction would be rather difficult; therefore, segregation requires construction of other axes of divisions based on physical appearance and, in the most dangerous interpretations, on ethnicity. It is all the same in the opinion of Stephan Palmié's definition of race as “not a thing but a social relation.” 24And Katya Gibel Mevorach asserts that it as "a metonym," "a human invention whose criteria for differentiation are neither universal nor fixed but have always been used to manage difference." 25That is why the term “race” hardly ever can be taken under examination without connecting it to racism.

Therefore, to compare two realities, Turkish and American, with regard to critical race theory, we have to consider what gives race its distinctive characteristics and what is the real reason of racism: – the group or individual attitude appearing in the form of prejudice or rather structural inequalities in the form of institutional discrimination? According to scholars underlining the systematic aspect of racial inequalities, race deserves a distinct structural status. Accepting that the ideational interpretation of race is incorrect, we can pass to the referential theory for an exploration of the history of race. That is how semantical considerations will bring us toward historical enquiry.

It is a very important fact that in the Turkish context there was no tradition of developing a sophisticated racist theory nor of fostering the organizational power to 24 Palmié, Stephan, Genomics, divination, 'racecraft', American Ethnologist 34: 205–22, 2007 25 Mevorach, Katya Gibel, Race, racism, and academic complicity, American Ethnologist 34: 238, 2007


institute a racist system of exclusion and inequality. In racist states we observe this kind of mechanism aiming to build an ideological basis to maintain racial prejudices which become institutionalized discrimination implemented to produce enduring inequalities. For this reason patterns of racial inequality remain intact in racist states, whereas in Turkey we can hardly ever observe cases of a racialist agenda. 26 That is why in Turkey we cannot admit that historically racism amounts to more than individual prejudices, unlike the well-known cases of South Africa and the U.S.A.

The strongest and closest ideology to racism in Turkey, Pan-Turkism, came about as a movement aiming to unify Turkic people all over the world. Emerging in the 1880s, Pan-Turkism can be seen in parallel with European Pan-Slavism or Pan-Germanism, or maybe moreso Pan-Iranism.27 The point is that although some representatives of this movement have played an important role in the governement, individual racist agendae do not immediately indicate systematic racism as a mass organization. Moreover, even in this case the concept was based not on a true racial or ethnic description but more on a linguistic and cultural distinction.

The establishment of republican Turkey marks the division of the expansionist wing of Turkism from Turkish nationalism. Turkism was incorporated into more extreme political ideologies. The elements of racial and linguistic superiority, cultural continuity and essentialist identity penetrated into mainstream nationalism. Turkish racial discourse has changed its function since the Ottoman period, when Turkism was just one of the possible solution considered for saving the state. With the advent of the 26 Nonetheless we should not forget about some laws regarding minorities sances, like for example the Capital Levy, which showed the state's potential to institute a practice of racial discrimination against minorities. 27 Pan-Turkism: political movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which had as its goal the political union of all Turkish-speaking peoples in the Ottoman Empire, Russia, China, Iran, and Afghanistan. The movement, which began among the Turks in the Crimea and on the Volga, initially sought to unite the Turks of the Ottoman and Russian empires against the growing Russian tsarist domination (Encyclopeadia britannica).


Republic it became the basis of diffusion of modernity as a project of civilizational conversion and a strategy by which to shed irridentism to fit the context of a world dominated by national boundaries. That moment can be regard as the beginning of the connection of the term “racism” with the notion “nation”.

Briunessen states that in the early Republican period the notion of race (“irk”) could not have been interpretated in its cultural or geopolitical meaning in reference to the famous statement of Mustafa Kemal: “The people of Diyarbakir, Van, Erzurum, Trabzon, Istanbul, Thrace and Macedonia are all children of the same race, veins of the same precious mineral."28 These words express the significance of national unity based on shared history and shared elements of culture. However, as far as we know from future interpretations, what the leader meant was that all people of Turkey are descended from the Oghuz Turks, which affirms the reason for calling Kurds “the Mountain Turks”.

Racial dicourses were not popular for a decade in the 1920s when the republican regime was struggling for survival, but became more popular in the ideological mobilization of the 1930s. That was a moment in which the the timeless origins of Turkishness and the fascination of whiteness were popularized with the support of governmental forces. The main aim of this strategy was to produce a scientific basis for participating in the project of modernity as equal partners in an international order of advanced nation-states instead of being relegated to the peripheries of the Western world as the “Terrible Turks”. In the early republican period, the racialist discourse was disseminated mainly by the bureaucratic elite using textbooks, conferences, newspapers and magazine articles. This discourse was neither monolithic nor historically static. Moreover, the racial definitions of Turkishness coexisted with the constitutional vision of citizenship. 28 "Diyarbakirli, Vanl , Erzurumlu, Trabzonlu, Istanbullu, Trakyal ve Makedonyal hep bir rk n evlatlar , hep ayn cevherin damarlar d r " (daily newspaper, Diyarbakir, 6 September 1932).


This moment is the crucial point for the interpretation of the White-Black dichotomy. In this sense, it needs a deeper analysis.

According to this approach, requirements of Turkish citizenship were defined as being Muslim, Turkish and secular, which at the same time reflect the “cultural taste and conception of modernity particular to small segment of Turkish society” 29. From this point of view, White Turks were “ideal Turkish citizens not by any by any virtue of their own, but because they belong to the cultural milieu and the constitutive elite that initially defined the notion of Turkishness.” Every element of the perfect identity was defined in a specific way, as claims Bilici: “You have to be Muslim but not religious. You have to get Turkified (i.e. adopt Turkishness as language and identification) but you don't have to be an ethnic Turk--even ethnic Turks had to go through this Turkification process. You have to be secular, but you have to support state-sponsored Islam.”30D.Ilhan draws the right conclusion that this representation of the ideal Turkish citizen was more compatible with an aristocratic regime than a democratic one. Any individual or group that failed to meet all these three requirements failed to achieve full citizenship and could not be qualified as “White Turk”. Turkism disqualified nonMuslim Turks, rating them as somewhat “external to the nation” or kind of “domestic foreigners”. However, as long as the Kurds or the other Muslim minorities declare themselves Turks and renounce their ethnicities they may become full members of the Turkish nation. Basing on that, we can say that Turkish nationalism follows the cultural (French) and not the racial (German) model of nationhood.31

The fundamental element of the early republican scholarly discourse with regard to

29 Bilici Mucahit, Black Turks, White Turks: on the three requirements of Turkish citizenship, Insight Turkey, Vol.11/No.3/2009, p.23-35 30 Ibidem, p.27 31 Ibidem, p.29


racial characteristics was a tendency to rather superficial generalizations. Features taken into consideration are skin color, craniological measurements and blood types. In contrast the Western world used to attach more importance to Intelligence Quotient (IQ) scores or to question the concept of race entirely. All of this was connected with the general strategy of so-called Turkish History Thesis, aiming to create a Turco-centric version of world history. In this vision the ancient lands of Turks were identified as the cradle of western civilization by racially tracing modern Europeans to Turks. The SunLanguage theory was developed, built on the speculative premises that ancient humans uttered the first Turkish words when in awe of the power of the sun. This theory attempted to establish the antiquity of the Turkish language by claiming it to be a superior language from which all other languages derived. 32The Sun-Language was widely criticized, and was just one of the most spectacular examples of how far and how ridiculous became the research. Another theory regards a presentation by Reşit Galip, Minister of Education, who fought against the acceptance of Turkish “yellowness” using empiric experience as a main argument, suggesting to participants of the First Turkish History Conference in 1932 that “in order to disprove the classificatory theory followed in the work beyond any doubt, it is sufficient, I believe for those who are present here as a part of the Turkish race to take a look at one another.”33

It is really important to underline the irrational character of such discourses, based on anecdotal and self-referential evidence. Nevertheless, these theories were reinforced by a parallel pseudo-research conducted by psychiatrists, anthropologists and medical doctors. They used to precisely analyze all the common indicators typically evaluated in the nineteenth century--skulls, body types, hair and eye colour--in search of real

32 The theory was presented in the Third Congress of Turkish Language in 1936 (Turk Dil Kurumu, Üçüncü Türk Dil Kurultayı (1936), Tezler Müzakere Zabitları, Devlet Basımevi, Istanbul, 1937) 33 Galip R., Türk irk ve medeniyet tarihine umumi bir bakış, Birinci Turk Tarih Kongresi: Konferanslar, Muzakere Zabitlari, Maarif Vekaleti, Ankara, 1932, p.103


“Turkishness”. Even Afet Inan herself, an adoptive daughter of Atatürk, was involved in data collection for the purpose of making a racial snapshot of Turkish citizens. The analysis including 10 demographic questions and 27 anthropometric measurements. It was fully supported by the governement from its implementation to its publication at the University of Geneva.34However even all these efforts could not be considered as extensive policy applications. We could not have observed the same strategies as were taking place in Germany or the United States at the same moment. It was more about waking up the national spirit of pride and superiority towards Turkish history, language and race, even though the discourse influenced the public spaces and the legal arena. However, at that stage in Turkish history the minorities began to suffer from moderate but still annoying campaigns aimed at suppressing minority languages (targeting Jews) or attempting to assimilate them through forced immigration (The Law of Settlement, enacted in 1934). Thus, we can consider this period as a starting point of racialist discourse in regard to the definition of Turkish identity and the perception of minorities.

Starting from the republican period we should consider how important and systematic was the role of racialist vocabulary in determining Turkish identity. The conceptual overlapping of race, ethnicity, and nation are hard to deny, yet relegating race to a terminological confusion by presenting it simply as the linguistic equivalent of nation reduces historical complexity.35 We used to consider nationalism as a form of contemporary political organization and paying attention to the practices of nationalism as overlapping with other forms of differentations such as race, gender and sexuality. In case of the early republican Turkey, we should rather evaluate how deeply it was involved in a formation of immutable identities, insurmountable differences and 34 Inan A., Türk Halkının Antropolojik Karakterleri ve Türkiye Tarihi: Türk irkinin Vatanı Anadolu, Türk Tarih Kurumu Yayınlarından VII Seri, No.15, Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi, Ankara, 1947 35 Cornell S. and Hartmann D., Ethnicity and race:making identitites in a changing world, Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press, 1998; Çagaptay, Islam, secularism and nationalism in modern Turkey: Who is a Turk?


persistent distinctions; and how was it organized within the institutional and discursive frameworks of nationalism.

As Balibar posits, nationalism as a concept never functions alone.36In general it tends to either reject race as an aberration or to accept its articulation only in some kinds of nationalism. Race goes beyond prejudice, foregrounding its ability to define.37According to Manzo, the problem of belonging to any defined nationality depends on broader levels of inclusion and exclusion which permeate the distinction between ethnic/biological and civic/cultural differences. In light of Manzo, “The existence and continuation of a national system of inclusion and exclusion depends on and makes possible formulation of racial projects and daily practices even in the absence of term. Thus one can talk about race without uttering the word at all.” 38 Manzo considers the connections between race and nation beyond historical accidents and into a realm of ideological framework of sameness/difference, inclusion/exclusion and self/other since “national inclusion is contingent upon racial sameness.”39

This interpretation seems to most adequately address our concerns about White and Black Turks because it includes all the problematic dichotomies connected to this notion. However, reducing the meaning of race to the linguistic equivalent of nation would be a mistake.

Ergin attemps to establish a connection between adoption of race into nationalism and an inventive attempt to resist imitative modernization to create a sense of non-western modernity.40 Modernization was a process known already since the Ottoman Empire, 36 37 38 39 40

Balibar and Wallerstein, Race, nation, class, p.46 Memmi A., Racism, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000 Ibidem, p.19 Ibidem, p.19 Ergin Murat, Is Turk a White Man? Towards a theoretical framewrok for race in making of Turkishness, Middle Eastern Studies, 1 November 2008, p. 837


although then it was rather superficial as it could not involve majority segments of Ottoman society.“Republican revolutionaries were trying to assemble the modernity to the origins of Turks, while there were busily inventing these origins. A side effect of these efforts was a mixed approach toward the West.”41 Ottoman-style modernization caused a strange mixture of feelings whereby the West could be at once adored as an example to imitate and source of inspiration, yet feared as a threat to essential identity in case such “progress” were to take the wrong form. That is actually where the audacious Sun-Language theory comes from: it was planned to rationalize the mechanism of modernization by establishing the racial, historical and linguistic ties between Turks and Europeans.

At that point being White defined Turkishness and linked Turkey to an anticipated modernity. All in all, once again race is defined out of a biological description. What results from above, is that giving much importance to the biological description in the White-Black dichotomy is not justifable by the biological background. There is no point to overinterpretate it in terms of race. 42 It is easier to understand the Turkish reality by recognizing the conceptual autonomy of the notion. Since racial discourses many times have changed their character, the proper approach is to consider this kind of Whiteness in different forms. First of all White Turkishness depends on the Turkic peoplelinguistic union wherein race is defined “through language and not genetic factors.” 43 Secondly the idea of the White Turk is mixed with nationalism and finally with modernization strategies. Therefore, the Turkish reality is not compatible with the American in terms of race and racism. But once again, if the Turkish term “race” does 41 Ibidem, p.837 42 Even the recent publications analyzing racism in the Republic of Turkey, in which the “racist” character of Turkish anthropology seemed to be shown in an exaggerated way, were widely criticized. (A.Aktar “Kemalistlerin irkçiliği meselesi” Radikal kitap, 15 July 2005 about N.Maksudyan, “Türklügü ölçümek: bilimkurgusal antropoloji ve Türk milliyetçiliğinin irkçı cehresi 1925-1939” Istanbul Metis 2005 43 Cagaptay, Race, assimiliation and kemalism, Routledge, London and New York, 2006, p.97


not correspond with the American conception, we must comprehend the basis of the parallel between two notions: WASP and the Turkish White-Black Turks dichotomy. If we come back to the vague American definition, it results very clearly that that the “whiteness” we analyze goes beyond race and is strongly associated with class privileges.

The conceptual clarity of the term has been obfuscated over time, so that the racialist vocabularies have lost their specificity and become conflated with other forms of group formation strictly connected with class and cultural distinctions. It is a very important conclusion that provides evidence to support and explain my thesis of changing the meaning of the White-Black dichotomy. But we can also arrive at some more important considerations. The consequences of racial assumptions in Turkish identity take two forms: immutability and chromatism.44 1)

Immutability regards the ways in which Turkishness is imagined as a

category that defies historical transformations. Just when the racial immutability becomes strictly connected to Turkishness and constructs it as a static identity, a distinction between belonging and citizenship can be observed and subsequently justified. In this case we can distinguish two groups according to their origins. The first comes from Central Asia and may be regarded as Turkish citizens. The second group--all the minorities—is a massive population of “foreigners”. This distinction had an influence on the White-Black dichotomy. This is how and why the Turkish origins of Turkish culture used to be presented in textbooks as an unchanging identity superior to others existing within the geographically defined nation-state. That is also how the notions nation, race and 44 Ergin Murat, Is Turk a White Man? Towards a theoretical framewrok for race in making of Turkishness, Middle Eastern Studies, 1 November 2008


ethnicity intrinsect with each other. 2)

Chromatism regards fascination with skin color and physical appearance in

the early republican period. In that moment the main aim of biological analysis was to create a scientific basis in the context of the modernization of Turkey according to a Western model. This tendency is also reflected in White-Black differentiation.

Based on these definitions, we can draw a parallel between the term White Turks and race. As will be shown in the press analysis the White Turkishness will be seen as a 'cultural Whiteness' where culture differences function as the race distinctions.

Even in correlation to Appiah's racial eliminativist thesis, we may repeat that if races do not exist and are even morally dangerous, eliminating race from metaphysical vocabularies would be a necessary step toward elimination of social distinctions. In this case I do agree and underline the fact that race-talk, as stated above, necessarily involves an outward commitment to biological or ethnic racism, even if not justifiable. But there is also an aspect of Appiah's interpretation that, according to me, omits the very important conclusion resulting from the part above. For this reason there is the need for real debate about the merits of racialized and race-based practices. The consequences of these practices should not be overlooked.

The same regards the notion White Turks. Although we took under analysis the term created by journalists in the 90s, we cannot understimate the role of history in its formation.



Since my thesis states that the White-Black dichotomy is instrumentalized especially to justify and solidify authority of one group above the other, I'll present the main strategies used for explaining the inequality in power structures in the society. The first and the most popular strategy is the the 'class theory', which identifies the classes as the major social forces of the society. The second is the elite theory, presented in the next chapter. The first one was fathered by Karl Marx and especially formulated by Marxist writers.

Social classes, status and capital, widely discussed in the social science disciplines, are viable concepts necessary to understand contemporary social realities. For this and all the reasons presented above, we need to draw parallels between these terms and the White-Black dichotomy.

According to Marx, White Turks would be “bourgeois who owns means of production, exploit the state instrument as a whole including its military, police, schools and judicial system, and use communication channels to reinforce power.” 45Weber would regard White Turks as an upper class status group whose lifestyle, not money or power, has the greatest social weight.

The first definition of “class” that should be taken into consideration is Max Weber’s understanding that “classes” are not communities but merely represent possible, and frequent, bases for communal action. According to Weber, we can talk about class when:

45 Toprak Binnaz, Who are these White Turks?, Hürriyet Daily News, 11/15/2010



a number of people have in common a specific casual

component of their life chances, in so far as (2) this component is represented exclusively by economic interests in the possesion of goods and opportunities for income, and (3) is represented under the conditions of which we may express more briefly as the typical chance for a supply of goods, external living conditions and personal life experiences as determined by the power, or lack of such, to dispose of goods or skills for income in a given economic order. The term “class” refers to any group of people that is found in the same class situation.46

This definition could describe White Turks, but an accent should not be put on economical distinctions, which in the 90's when the notion was born were changing due to the liberal politics of Özal. The privileged status of the White Turks was reinforced in terms of estimation of honor. Thus, the White Turks should be considered as a status group.47

In contrast to the purely economically determined “class situation”, we should designate as “status situation” every typical component of the life fate of man that is determined by a specific, positive or negative, social estimation of honor. This honor may be connected with any quality shared by a plurality, and, of course, it can be knit to a class situation: class distinctions are linked in the most varied ways with status distinctions.

Weber therefore characterizes two different realities. The first one comprehends the

46 Max Weber, Class, status, party in Status communities in modern society. Alternatives to class analysis, ed. Holger R.Stub, Hindsdale; The Dryden Press, Illnois, 1972, p.45 47 In this case it is important to underline the contrast between class and 'status group' which are normally communities. These groups are, however, often of an amorphous kind.


living conditions and experiences of a person whose situation is constrained by his economic agency within the economic order, represented by the capitalist market. At the same time, people who belong to the same class share similar “life-chances”, “economic interests” and positions regarding capital and a labor market. On the other hand, the distinction between “status groups” and “social status” regards not the purely economical competence within the capitalist paradigm but the question of “honor” that is socially attributed to the possessed “quality” of its members. It means that “above all else a specific style of life can be expected from all of those who wish to belong to the circle.”48 The members of the same status groups share certain qualities that determine their way of living or life-style, which defines various restrictions or social interactions. That is the basis for the creation of “status stratification” maintained by “a monopolization of ideal and material goods or opportunities” and especially “the distance and exclusiveness”. “Specific status honor” can be observed in the form of “material monopolies” translating as privileges or codes of clothing, eating, possessing arms, enjoying etc.”49

In the other words, classes are stratified according to their relation to the production of goods, whereas “status groups” are stratified according to the principles of their consumption of goods represented by special “styles of life”.

As I mentioned in the previous chapter, since the White Turkishness seems to be based on the cultural distinctions with the particular attention toward lifestyle in justyfying the superiority of 'White Turks' and their access to power, the term 'status group' is more adequate in this dissertation.

48 Max Weber, Class, status, party in Status communities in modern society. Alternatives to class analysis, ed. Holger R.Stub, Hindsdale;The Dryden Press, Illnois, 1972, p.45 49 Ibidem


Analyzing the question a little bit further, in the case of Black-White Turks it would be useful to adapt Bryan Turner's definition of status as “a position within the social structure by which an individual, according to various ascribed and achieved criteria, is evaluated by reference to prestige and honour.” 50

In this manner the evaluation by

reference to prestige and honor involves both subjective and objective dimensions. In contrast to Weber's definition, in Turner's model we can talk about the additional distinction between “self-perception of status” and “externally-defined status positions”. Nonetheless Turner does not analyze features like life-styles and consumption, or the interactions among people of different status. For our purposes the scrutiny of intergroup interactions is necessary as the concept of White Turk is based on the perception of one group’s elitism in relation to the other. Turner's definition regards the position of the individual in the society. On the other hand, in development of his definition, Turner involves Bourdieu's contribution stating:

A status group is . . . a collection of individuals who are organized to maintain or expand their social privileges by mechanism of social closure to protect existing monopolies of privilege against outsiders, and by usurpation to expand benefits by reference to proximate or superior status groups. The existence of status groups inevitably involves social conflict and social struggle, although these forms of social struggle may be frequently disguised or hidden.51

This definition explains the conflict introduced by the White Turks.

50 Turner Bryan, Concepts in social thoughts, Status, ed. Frank Parkin, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1988, p.5 51 Ibidem, p.8


So finally, Turner arrives at the combination of “status of the individual” and “status group”, adding the 'lifestyle' factor:

[B]y status I mean firstly a bundle of socio-political claims against society which gives an individual (or more sociologically a group) certain benefits and privileges, marking him or her off from other individuals or groups. These socio-political claims are to scarce resources, especially to educational, cultural, or symbolic resources. This cultural aspect of status gives rise to a second dimension, namely the notion of status as a cultural lifestyle which distinguishes a status group whith a special identity in society.52

White Turks as a status group organized to maintain their social privileges, ditinguished themselves from the other status groups by a cultural lifestyle, causing the polarization of the society.

When it comes to the analysis of life-style and taste in relation to social classes, we need to consider Bourdieu's taste a n d habitus as better explanations of the nature of the White-Black dichotomy. “Taste” is seen as the propensity and capacity to appropriate (materially or symbolically) a given class of classified, classifying objects or practices. It is the generative formula of lifestyle, a unitary set of dictinctive preferences which express the same expressive intention in the specific logic of each of the symbolic subspaces, furniture, clothing, language or body hexis. Each dimension of lifestyle “symbolizes with” the others and symbolizes them. 53Thus, the 'taste' factor is used 52 Ibidem, p.11 53 Bourdieu, p.173 in Sumer Beyza, White vs. Black Turks: The civilising process in Turkey in the 1990s., Middle East Technical University, Master thesis, December 2003


particulary by White Turks in order to express their fear of 'religious-fundamentalist' danger, encoded in certain symbols, such as veil. On the other hand, Black Turks reffering to habitus, accused White Turks of blind fascination with the Western culture. “Habitus” refers to socially acquired, embodied systems of dispositions and/or predispositions54. Finally, the class habitus is a collective phenomena reflecting group adaptations and adjustments to historical necessity and struggles. Life-styles are the systematic products of habitus which, perceived in their reciprocated relations through the scheme of habitus, became sign systems that are socially qualified. 55Within the 'habitus' framework will be constructed the acute division of secular (White) groups and religious (Black) groups of the society.

Turner's and Weber's definitions let us understand the difference between status and class and perceive “status and status groups” as societal notions with emphasis on socially constructed features of status. All in all, Weber associates status with “privileges” and “social distinction” in a way that conceptualizes status groups as comprised of individuals wielding certain qualities which determine their privilege of social distinction, which White Turks aimed to obtain. What comes out from Turner's definition built on Weber's analysis of status and status groups is the possible plurality of the status groups within a society and the conflicting interrelation between different groups caused by a limited access to resources and privileges within a social entity such as a nation state, which will be observed following the usage of White-Black dychotomy in press.

It is a very important part of the definition which explains us the mechanism that stands behind the social discrimination based on the White-Black schemes that correspond 54 Sumer Beyza, White vs. Black Turks: The civilising process in Turkey in the 1990s., Middle East Technical University, Master thesis, December 2003 55 Ibidem


especially to the present situation. We need to go beyond indicators of socioeconomic status and income distribution, since so far themes such as the penetration of capitalism into rural areas, rural-to-urban migration and changing urban stratification have received sustained attention. To understand the new axes of social differentiation we need to analyze the lifestyle and cultural preferences, especially of the middle-class identity. As a result of the social differentiations we can observe different cultural lifestyles and consumption, similar to Weber's suggestions but reflecting deeper-rooted differences such as “socio-political” expectations. Thus, status should be seen as a reproduced category, influenced by the changes in the socio-economic structure of the society where the social legitimization is reinforced by the notion of elites.

What distinguishes the elite theory from the class theory is that the elite theory considers inequalities based on power of lackof.

Therefore in the light of the foregoing theoretical insights, we hereby contextualize the White-Black distinction within the notion of elites.



The self-perception of White Turks corresponds to the elite theory where societies are divided into the 'few' who hold power and rule and the 'many' who are ruled. The rulling group called an elite, effectively monopolises power and makes the important decisions. Those were aspirations of the White Turks and reasons of 'othering' of the rest of the society, which will be presented in many articles.

The term elite (Jary&Jary) derives from the Latin 'eligre', which means select and shares a common root with 'electa' that means selected. According to this theoretical definition, the term elite does not necessarily involve only the occupier of the top strata. It may comprise both those people who are at the top, bottom or outside the organisations. Also it may include the people in the capitalist, middle or working class. Power, control and influence are major words in this definition. If the people have power actively or potentially, they have a direct or indirect effect on the decisionmaking process and are controlling the social resources they can be identified as the elite. Their class positions or organisational positions are not a major criterion in this description”.56

The concept of "elite" itself has been thoroughly developed by many theorists, including Pareto, who defines elitism in terms of class, dividing it into two categories: a governing elite, which directly or indirectly plays a significant role in the government; and a privileged group of non-governing elites who benefit from their influence with the 56 Arslan Ali, Social anatomy of Turkish top political elites in contemporary Turkey, Uluslararası Insan Bilimleri Dergisi ISSN: 1303-5134


governors.57 Pareto is adamant in his opinion about the clear division of functions and influences between the rulers and subordinates. Pareto insists that a democratic system changes nothing in this equation, denying the possibility of co-exercision of power by non-elites.58 In opposition to Mosca, he emphasizes mainly the sociological and personal qualities of elites, recognizing the organizational strentgth as a primary factor determining their advantage, despite the superiority of minorities over the non-elitarian minority. Thus, as argues Bottomore, Mosca has attached much more importance to the heterogeneity of the elite, the interests of social forces which it represents, and its connection with the rest of the social groups, while referring mainly to the newly formed middle class. Pareto focuses mainly on the theory of circulation of elites, analyzing how the new elite takes over a leading role.

Both theorists analyze the circulation of elites from a historical perspective, recognizing it as an absolutely natural phenomenon of a completely uninterrupted selection process of elites.59Among the six individuated residues, as the leading factors in the theory of the circulation of elites, Pareto recognized innovation and stabilization. Characteristic of specific individuals in society, we are talking about innovators and conservators. Understood as such, changes in the positions of elites are not just ordinary consequences of usurpation by stronger, richer individuals or groups, but rather correspond to the conversion of the position between traditionalists and innovators. Similarly, according to Mosca the history of humanity can be reduced to the aspiration of dominant elements to take power and assure its hereditary transmission. It was a student of Pareto however, 57 Bottomore Tom, Elites and society, 2d ed, Routledge, New York, 1993, p.90 58 Ibidem, p.3 59 In evidence Pareto explains that the motivations of human actions can be divided into two groups. I The first group of people acts in accordance to instincts rather than logic. In the second group are the individuals who, despite the fact that in practice they are motivated to act by illogical factors, actually try to justify them according to a system of values developed a priori, in order to rationalize their behavior. People act in an absolutely subjective way, fearing to admit the real motive behind their action. Meanwhile the real hidden reason, such as feelings or instincts, are called residues. Theories aiming to give human action rational character, behind which are hidden residues, were defined by Pareto as derivation.


Kolabinska, who distinguished between three types of the circulation of elites. 60 The first category includes the circulation of elites within the ruling group of elites. The second is the circulation between the elite and the rest of society within subgroups where a) the unit of the lower layers has a chance to incorporate into existing elites, and b) an individual may attempt to form a new elite, ready to fight for new positions within the lower layers .

Analyzing the new Turkish elite in terms of the White and Black Turks, we can refer to the two theories above, based on Pareto's concept, regarding the conflict between innovators and conservatives. A vision of the new elites can also be characterized by the dynamics mentioned above by Kolabinska. More precisely, the existing secular elite may be considered as traditionalist and the emerging religious elite as innovators, and the process itself is developed in two stages. The new Turkish elite, ascendent since the 80s, comes from the religious groups. Initially, the new elite gradually infiltrated the masses of the traditional elite until at last achieving the actual accomplishment of supplanting the secular hierarchy.

In regard to this Suzanne Keller makes a distinction between various types of social leadership: ruling caste, aristocracy and strategic elites.“Strategic elites” are defined as follows: In this type of social leadership, several social strata supply personnel to leading social positions. Social functions are elaborated and specialized, and those in charge of these functions are recruited in a way adapted to their tasks. Merit regardless of other attribute--sex, race, class, religion or even age--is the

60 Bottomore Tom, Elites and society, 2d ed, Routledge, New York, 1993, pp.35-36


predominant justification for attaining elite positions or elite status. The notion of all around excellence or overall superiority is gone. Strategic elites are specialist in excellence . . . .

Along with

specialization, diversity, and impermanence of elites, new problems arise--those of cohesion and unity, morale, balance, and a new type of interdependence at the top. No single elite can outrank all others because no one elite knows enough about the specialized work of others.61

This constitutes a good background to explain the mechanism regarding the position of the new elites and social divisions that were created due to its arrival. If we consider status groups as social collectivities with certain “social privileges”, it might be easily observed that certain privilege may be against the aspirations of other social collectivities, subsequently causing the social conflict we may observe according to the White-Black dichotomy. Stub's and Turner's definitions of status groups may be useful to understand the current political position of the historically hegemonic elite of Turkey (White -West oriented, secular) with the counter-hegemonic elite (the new Muslim elite). A deeper analysis of all the historical changes is presented in the next chapter. However, when it comes to the key definitions, at the end of this paragraph it is necessary to present some more elements that constitute the origins of the social distinctions causing the clashes between “Black and White” groups.

The White-Black dichotomy might be taken into consideration and explained in regard 61 Holger Stub in Deniz Ilhan (cites from Suzanne Keller, Beyond the rulling class: strategic elites in modern society (New York, Random House, 1963) p.32


to different notions, bearing in mind that the axes of differentiation have taken different forms over time. All in all, whiteness in this thesis is judged as socially constructed and a relational category, assumed to reside not in nature but in the contingencies of politics and culture.62

Therefore the characteristics of the White-Black dichotomy have guaranteed its flexible usage, as the concept may have been manipulated easily by journalists adapting it according to their needs.

In contrast to the American vision, the approach of this thesis assumes that “white” cannot be seen as an equivalent to an essential “race” or specific ethnicity(ies). 63 It makes more sense to define White and Black Turks in terms of status groups and to explain the mechanism causing their clashes as a circulation of elites. Eliminating the term “race” does not mean that racial distinctions are completely absent in Turkish history. From the republican period there is research aiming to establish biologicalracial standards via a racialist discourse that influenced the formation of Turkishness. In the 90s, the White-Black dichotomy was mainly based on the modernization by Western standards, and so therefore physical distinctions were taken into consideration. Finally what we can observe nowadays is a a multicultural “whiteness” strongly associated with--but not limited to-- class privileges in a unipolar, post-Third World and postsocialist world that includes non-European and non-Western subjects associated with a transnational community.

To understand better all these dynamics, we complete our theoretical foundation with the full picture of the historical changes regarding the dichotomies in Turkish social 62 Arat-Koç Sedef, Arat-Koç Sedef, A transnational Whiteness? New middle classes, globalism and nonEuropean “Whiteness”, (Draft paper), Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada 63 Ibidem


divisions. We start from the the oldest, the geographical dichotomy, based on the distinction center-periphery. We conclude with a presentation of the contemporary reality that contrasts the new religious and old laic elites. Indeed, these are the axes that have most deeply influenced the complexity and development of the notion Black-White Turks.



When it comes to the White-Black distinction, we cannot forget that the term has socioeconomic, cultural, political and geopolitical dimensions, strictly connected to a specific juncture in Turkish history since 1980 and even deeper in the past. Even if we try to individuate different axes of differentiation, it is clearly seen how they overlap. Beginning with the oldest axis, we examine territorial differences and the centerperiphery dichotomy.

You are in the middle, because the province itself is the centre, only the centre, the province has no periphery. And you could not be somewhere else but in the middle. Willy-nilly. Mrożek, Male listy64


64 Jest się w środku, ponieważ prowincja sama jest środkiem/tylko środkiem, prowincja nie ma peryferii/I nie można być indziej, jak tylko w środku/ Chcąc nie chcąc. ( Mrożek, Małe listy, Noir sur blanc, Warsaw, 2003)


Long before introduction of the White-Black terminology, the analysis of Turkish society was based on a center-periphery approach, developed in 1973 by Şerif Mardin in his dissertation titled "Center- Periphery Relations: A Key to Turkish Politics" (based on an earlier publication by Edward Shila, "The Constitution of Society"). 65Mardin's theory was the first critical comment on the integration of the peripheral Anatolian lands to the center of Turkish state-society. According to the author, the center-periphery cleavage refers to a clash between a persistent center supported by a network of institutions and peripheral forces with de facto autonomy. According to Mardin:

There were many reasons why the opposition of centre and periphery became the outstanding issue of Ottoman political and economic life. One of those was the incompatibility of urban dwellers with the always large contigent of nomads in Anatolia. (…) The clash between nomads and urban dwellers generated the Ottoman cultivated man's stereotype that civilization was a contest between urbanization and nomadism and that all things nomadic were only deserving of contempt.66

This approach, with its focus on the continuity of such a relationship, enables one to track down the current societal and political divisions in Turkey. It can be observed especially in the paragraph regarding the approach of White Turks toward new inhabitants of the cities. However, it also has a number of methodological shortcomings 65 Mardin Şerif, Centre-Periphery relations: A key to Turkish politics? Deadalus, vol.102, no.1, Posttraditional societies (Winter 1973), pp. 169-190, The MIT press on behalf of American Academy of Arts&Science, (Shils Edward, “Centre and periphery” in The logic of personal knowledge: essays presented to Micheal Polanyi on his seventieth birthday, 11 March 1961, Glencoe: Free Press, 1961, pp.117-130) 66 Mardin Şerif, Centre-Periphery relations: A key to Turkish politics? Deadalus, vol.102, no.1, Posttraditional societies (Winter 1973), pp. 169-190, The MIT press on behalf of American Academy of Arts&Science,


and is criticized due to its neglect of some important realities.67 The primary assumption of Mardin is that every society has a center. The fact that some of them have centers of much stronger character depends entirely on the conditions under which they have been developed. In opposition to the structures formed elsewhere in the Middle East, where the institutional framework that arose on the basis of the center was rather ephemeral, the Ottoman Empire was a lasting center, supported by a number of sophisticated institutions. This part of Mardin's theory is the most criticized because it seems to treat an empirical fact as a an ontological truth. “In other words: the social ontology equals the existing social reality with the idea of society or the social real.” 68 Mardin uses this argument for facilitating the demarcation of society as a timeless and indissoluble factor. Whereas we should rather admit that every society is a center itself, in Mardin seems to embed the state into society. According to his approach, society consists of both the ruling group or state (center) and the social forces and elements outside the ruling group (periphery). In some cases this situation may be confirmed, such as during periods of social dislocation. But in other cases, like in periods of hegemony, this statement is not true. I would rather agree with Ali Aslan, who explains that “Mardin’s approach, which underscores that the confrontation between center and periphery . . . seems to claim that Turkish society has been constantly dislocated for the last 150 years. What this means is that during this time span there was no ’society’ at all. As we look at this history, there were periods in which a ‘society’ or a social reality was successfully erected in the Turkish social but has never come to completion.”69We cannot accept the point of view of Turkish society having been in near perpetual dislocation during a century and a half. In this way 67 Durmaz Duygu, Center-Periphery Approach in Turkish Politics: An overview, 68 Ali Aslan, The Impossibility of Society: Beyond Center-Periphery Relations in Turkey, IInsan & Toplum, 3 (5), 37-54. 69 Ibidem


Mustafa Akyol will criticize the White-Black dichotomy showing that currently we can talk about two centres: religious and laic one within the same area. On the other hand, when it comes to the Black-White differentiations, we can find some strong points in Mardin's vision when we evaluate the statements parallel to the main axes of the dichotomy. In this approach the emphasis is put on ideological and cultural contrasts between center and periphery rather than on purely political divergences. Mardin underlined the role of 'culture' in social distinctions as: The state's claim to poltical and economic control was bolstered by its title to cultural preeminence. Relatively to the heterogenity of the periphery, the ruling class was singularly compact; this was above all a 'cultural phenomenon (…) there were restrictions placed on the common mortal's access to the symbols of official culture. For much of the population, nomad or settled, rural or urban, this cultural separation was the most striking feature as its existance on the periphery.70 As claimed in the previous chapter and as will be shown in press analysis it is the most important characteristic of the way in which White Turks distinguished themselves from Black.The cultural separation and control of symbols of official culture, can be observed in the negative approach toward religious symbols of White Turks, such as veil. The additional reason for the increasing contrasts in the Ottoman Empire was a potential threat from the emerging centers. (The same fear of religious groups rising into power is reflected in the White-Black dichotomy). These competing centers arose due to the development of religious heterodoxy and clans enriched in that period. 70 Mardin Şerif, Centre-Periphery relations: A key to Turkish politics? Deadalus, vol.102, no.1, Posttraditional societies (Winter 1973), pp. 169-190, The MIT press on behalf of American Academy of Arts&Science,


Indeed the threat was real, as the peripheral groups often initiated rebellions. What Mardin claims in addition is that, with the development of the Empire, the provinces started to gain an impressively significant autonomy, easier achieved if they did not create any great difficulties for governance. In that system, close-knit relations with the center still were not a priority for the government. However, already in that period some mechanisms of religious dependency commence operation, characterizing later on the core-periphery relations. It happened that way because the peripheral minorities might have been controlled by their own religious leaders. Associating religious character to the periphery and 'Anatolian crowd' is one of the characteritics of Black Turks distinguished by White Turks together with distinction between lower groups and higher groups of society divided according to their origins. At this point we see the roots of the periphery-religion connection so important in BlackWhite dichotomy. Subsequently, based on this vision we can individuate the cultural factors underlying the societal and political division. Mardin goes on to explain that the cultural conflict was deepened by different styles of education. A courtly elite was educated in the spirit of bureaucracy cultivated by earlier urban civilizations and manifested, among other ways in the universal use of Persian and Arab languages. These tongues were unknown by the illiterate lower social classes. Citizens on the periphery could at most hope for a religious education, through which they developed an alternative culture. But this avenue did not grant access to the completely unattainable courtly lifestyle patterns, regarded as providing a secondary cultural status. As an additional element, Mardin contemplates economic diversification. This factor is as important to explaining the White-Black dichotomy as it was to defining the essential difference between the official elites and the Anatolian provincials of the past. Officials


were not subjected to taxation, and their wages corresponded the income of the richest of merchants, thus reflecting their privileged positions. In contrast the kul had a distinct legal status and were denied of many Muslims civil rights. Thus the cultural conflict was deepened by economic diversification. However, in the heyday of the Empire, the conflicts between the center-periphery were rather rare. The main factors governing the relationships above were a legal system encompassing the remotest provinces and the potential opportunity for freeborn Muslims to gain positions in the court administration. There was also an extensive network of foundations, religious institutions and military fiefs. It was not until the twilight of Empire when the function of positive relationships was replaced by oriental despotism, exploitation and increasing discrepancy between the ruling elite and local notables. In opposition to the European magnates the provincial actors did not have such a significant role, and total autonomy could be obtained only through rebellion, an example of which may be seen in the rebellion of artisans in 1730. The other strong point of Mardin's approach is that we can follow and adjust his thought to phenomena in modern Turkey. Step by step, the author's interpretation gives us a basis to understand the development of the White-Black dichotomy. For example, with the arrival to power of Kemalists, Mardin shows us why the distinction religious (low culture) and modern (laic) – corresponding to the dychotomy were born. According to the author, with secularization the main element in determining the center-province differences was the kind of received education. During the secularization process, access to modernized higher education was reserved almost exclusively for residents of the center. Other citizens sent their children to traditional religious schools. Thus, the rift deepened and the province was more often seen as a


habitat of reactionaries and lower classes alienated from modernization and culture. A newly structured two-track education system came into being. It was based on the French model of "Grandes Ecoles", aiming to educate elite bureaucrats trained to act in the interests of the state. Ironically, after some time, graduates and students of the pioneering School of Political Sciences gradually began to accuse the authorities for the fact that the modernization of the state was not conducted fast enough. Mardin also explains the approach of the Kemalist party towards opposition. He claims that for the supporters of the Young Turk revolution, provincial notables represented the biggest threat at the interface of two passwords: the Ottoman " state and religion" versus the Young Turk " unity and progress". During the War of Independence (1920-1922), this dichotomy was expressed by the internal relations within the Grand National Assembly, where the provincial notables represented by the deputies of higher level formed a so-called Second Group, reinforced by the Islamic and prodecentralization activists.71 That problem was classified as unrelated to the Kurdish question; it was generally ascribed to religious reactionaries. When later, in 1930, a revolution broke out in the provincial town of Menemen, one could clearly observe an antisecular nature to the escalating conflict. Output against the opposition and the formation of a new national identity became henceforth the primary concerns of the Kemalists. Mardin individuated three paths for the Kemalist Revolution: organizational revolutions in opposition to the notables; provision of appropriate remedies to the lower social classes; or fortification of the ideology directed towards the peripheral mass. Reflections of what we will find in the approach of journalists creating the White Turks' image as 'educators' of backward lower classes. 71 The Kemalist party with the assumption of power, could have started a more decisive political action, especially after the revolt in 1925.


By this way the founders of the republic decided to strive towards strengthening the state by strengthening the center, partly declaring themselves against the periphery. The author criticizes this Kemalist strategy, considering it rather non-revolutionary and contradictory to the populist slogans proclaimed by the creators of the republic. In light of Mardin’s analysis, the role of the peasant in the newly formed Turkish society has not been sufficiently appreciated. And although the state might have been reconstructed due to the surplus produced by him, a peasant still remained dependent on notables for mortgages or social assistance. This lower position of paesants will be used while instrumentalizing the White term to show the superiority of Kemalists. The government was focused on creating symbols of national identity rather than a radical change of its position in the society, which results in assimilation or rather by neglecting the importance of other cultures, such as Kurdish. Integration of the bureaucratic class with the peasantry was planned from the bottom by changing the legal structures, based on the assumption that it was the only way to modernize the "backward" masses. These 'mistakes' resulted in the future animosies between status groups. This approach strongly corresponds to the White-Black dichotomy and was close even to the earliest practices of Ottoman rule. Mardin alleges that Kemalists neglected an extremely important element of modernization: the revolutionary mobilization of the society . Furthermore Mardin also shows us how all of these influenced political movements in the 1950s. After 1946 the Democratic Party was the means of authorizing the public participation in politics, outlining the boundaries between the real populists and bureaucrats. The party appealed to religious values, identifying the provinces with the culture of Islam. It tried to combat the generally prevailing view of the inferiority of rural culture and raise the morale of the peasants migrating to cities. The intervention was very important because it provided an appropriate response to the conservative 52

rural population at that time. According to the studies of the Turkish sociologist Behice Boran, that policy brought the peasants in closer contact with the city. In the years 1950-1957, accordingly to the changes taking place, the Democratic Party began to unite both notables and peasants. This alliance was possible thanks to governmental reforms that created a system of jurisdiction, gradually moving away from the old master-slave system in the relations between notables and their subordinates. This policy was enforced however not through domination, but thanks to the growing economic potential of the smaller entrepreneurs gathered around the magnates. Along with realizing the possibility of success, these groups began to mobilize and get closer to the center. Perhaps they did not pursue the schema provided by the Republican parties for integration, but we can unquestionably admit that their behavior represented the long-awaited form of social mobilization. Democrats, exploiting financial incentives, perhaps did not clearly realize the fact that they owed the development of economic infrastructure to the earlier legislative reforms of the Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (CHP). The Kemalist revolution itself was not accomplished through political mobilization or radical change to social structures. Even after achieving full implementation, the Turkish province was still seen as a potential threat of separatism and did not approach the center nor receive expected religious liberties, which deepened connection between periphery and religion. Hence, the later victory of the Democratic Party in the first multi-party elections, won by clever manipulation of political ideology, was supported by the agricultural areas. This party, which won 81 % of the vote, promoted the liberalization of religious practices, de-bureaucratization of Turkey, support for farmers and private sector entrepreneurs. Finally Mardin scrutinizes the other parallels connected to the center-periphery


relations, regarding even the changes to the Constitution, showing the bases for the future aspirations of White Turks. The constitution from 1960 gives a definition of "Turkish society" as defined in 1924. By that definition, the only guarantors of constitutional sovereignty are bureaucrats and intellectuals (future White Turks), as will be done according to the White-Black dychotomy logic. The vision of the Republican Party as a representative of the progressive and democratic change inititated from the grass roots was dispelled, and so large segments of the citizenry lost their trust in the Republicans, but the role of the future White Turks was somehow sanctioned. Following this way of thinking, logically even further, the military coup of 1973 was understood by the provinces as a strategem to restore the former rigorous state. Regardless of the real intentions of that movement, the provincials still regarded the path of integration as much more effective than the mobilization introduced by the government and planned through the economy. According to Mardin they were right, considering that the approach of the center to the periphery was characterized by a rather cool, distanced and advisory approach rather than an attempt to identify with the problems of the peasantry. The provincials perceived the planning itself as an imposition of standards in a purely bureaucratic way.

In the clearly correct theory of Mardin we can still observe some shortcomings. He does not present the full diversity of groups nor their particular needs in the provinces; he does not mention the separate Kurdish issue. Mardin highlights the paradoxical consequences of general attitudes of the opposition to the center, as a connecting element which could not have been developed if the policy center were more conciliatory.


Moreover, this theory simplifies the notion of integration. Mardin overlooked the erroneous assumption that city dwellers were living in urban areas as a result of their increased efforts, and the periphery was teleologically obliged to join the center according to the standard defined by Shila as a central system of values. Even in Western societies ideas such as a central system of values are much more complicated by the tendency toward multiculturalism. When it comes to Turkey, the central system of values is far from reality. In this context, we should bear in mind the fact, that in case of Turkey, the paternalistic efforts of authorities to arbitrarily structure the Turkish society has led to the creation of a center-periphery antagonism. This opposition is merely the tip of the iceberg in a dualistic White-Black definition of Turkey. Moreover, as Ahmet Öncü claims, actually the state elites were mostly unable to form a collective unity, and rather than constituting one side of a binary opposition, they mainly represented the interests of such peripheral forces. From this point of view, contrary to the center-periphery vision, the Republic was founded thanks to the “accommodation between the commercial bourgeoisie, the landed class, and the civilian and military bureaucracy”.72Furthermore during the single-party period, the coercive measures used against Islamists were supported by the dominant forces in periphery. Just when they gained economic power the bourgeoisie, landowners and local notables gathered into a hegemonic bloc and created a Democratic Party. Öncü mentions also the conflict of interests within that group. For all these reasons Mardin’s center-periphery approach does not perfectly reflect the internal contradictions within both the center and periphery.73

72 Öncü Ahmet, Dictatorship plus hegemony: A Gramscian analysis of the Turkish state, Science&Society, Vol.67, No.3, Fall 2003, 303-328 73 Ibidem


Finally Güngen and Erten claim that this theory is orientalist because it is based on relations expected from a Western social transformative paradigm.74 Indeed, Mardin's interpretation of Turkish society starts from the confrontation of the Ottoman state with Europe and its inability to integrate peripheral forces while simultaneously allowing them institutional autonomy. This relativist approach “conceptualizes Western history as continuous progress in terms of the development of civil society” until that society becomes an analytical and political ideal-type. In the end Güngen and Erten criticize the approach as a liberal project to reduce more complex political and societal transformation to a rather simple understanding of linear progress. In that respect, the particularism of this approach neglects the necessity to ask why it has and what is about the social relations that bring about a political authority apparently autonomous from society.75 These words could as well describe the White-Black dichotomy. On the other hand Mardin's theory includes some key points that establish the basis of the Black-White dichotomy. He formalizes the center-periphery distinction and the background of the connection between periphery and religion. Furthermore he explains this connection relative to modernization, westernization and education, and finally underlines the role of education in the formation of new identities. However in this thesis we should rather concentrate on the new axes of social differentiations regarding the cities and elites, as corresponding clearly to the WhiteBlack dichotomy. In this sense the White-Black distinction is much less universal. The center-periphery conflict can be analyzed in a smaller dimension in the cities, where an individual’s origins define the position on the social scale. But geographical origins are not the only factor, and to make our case we need to go much further forward than the 74 Güngen Ali Rıza, Şafak Erten, Approaches of Şerif Mardin and Metin Heper on state and civil society in Turkey, Journal of Historical Studies, 3(2005), 1-14. 75 Ibidem


70s, where the Mardin's analysis ends. The best example of consequences of the center-periphery distinction is the period of massive rural-urban migration witnessed in the 1950s, 1980s and 1990s. Since the 1950s the division of urban spaces and the various modes of accommodation directly impact the formation and configuration of socio-cultural hierachies. Housing practices refelect the images of urban/rural, modern/traditional, Western/Eastern, rich/poor and progressive/backward. Land policies in the Ottoman Empire upheld state and waqf ownership rather than private property, so that the land commercialization process was exercised by the state. 76 For example, during the Republican period we can talk about the political strategy of an ambiguous stance toward squatting. Meltem Ahiska considers it as a way to expand the power of central and local administrators. In that period, there was a very marked cultural divide between the urbanities with residences in upscale neighborhoods, and so-called villagers living in the squatter settlements.77 The '80s and 90's witnessed also the rise of Kurdish nationalism, with a militaristic response to their requests. That conflict had resulted in devastating consequences, regarding mostly Turkey's southeast and forced evacuation of Kurdish villages and an intensified migration to the cities. It also made “White Turks” express more clearly their disapproval toward the Kurdish minority, in forms of nationalism, or “financial federalism” or a regional nationalism in terms of a Western separatism. 78In many instances up to this model , Turks in Western Turkey would refuse to share their wealth with the eastern backward regions and groups in East. This divisions creates the background for the White-Black division. In the 80's emerged as a decade in which the middle-class became more self-contained and the spatial segregation of urban geography

76 Waqf- an endowment made by a Muslim to a religious, educational or charitable cause. 77 Ahıska Meltem, Yenal Zafer, The person you have called cannot be reached at the moment, Ottoman Bank and Archive and Research Centre, 2006 78 That may be compared to the neoliberal logic of Italy's Northern League.


in the city's structure was even more pronunced.79 These elements were not taken into consideration by Mardin. We absolutely need to expand his theory with the inclusion of phenomena occuring in the 80s and 90s. Therefore we study more the class structure and discuss the new middle class emergent in those decades. Subsequently, as the distinctive element in Mardin's approach, as well as in the Black-White dichotomy, is a religious factor corresponding to the Islam-secularism division, in this dissertation we analyze the rising conservative Islamist elite and the secular elite.80Let us now assess how this dichotomy has been developing over time.

79 Ibidem 80 Ilhan Deniz, Turkish transnational business professionals in Istanbul: globalization, cosmopolitanism and the emergency elit, Bogazici University, Master thesis, 2010 p.68



The Islam vs. secularism conflict doesn't regard just the elites, but as explained in the previous chapters this group is mostly of our interests, as representing the White-Black distinctions.

What would be the crucial moment for our thesis are the elite created since the '80s, with the arrival of Turgut Özal, strongly associated the elements of Islamic and Western values of liberal democracy. However, to understand all the dynamics, we need go further into past. The crucial time period for our thesis is the 80s, with the advent of Turgut Özal and a ruling class defining itself as elite based on the appropriation of Western values of free market capitalism. Nonetheless in the formative course of Turkish elites many important steps may be distinguished, starting from the Ottoman Empire–-when the rulers were under the strong influence of Islam—until the Empire’s declining years, when religion was gradually replaced by the nationalist and modernist ideologies of the Turkish secularists. Republican rulership between 1923-1980 was characterized by top-down implementation of reforms directed towards formation of a secular state.

Previously class differences were marked by the principles of Islam, constituting a solid bridge between different class groups and at the same time justifying the Sultan's authority.81 In the period following the Crimean War, the "people of Tanzimat" created a 81 Mardin Şerif, Projects as methodology: some thoughts on modern Turkey social science in Reşat Kasaba and Sibel Bozdoğan, eds., Rethinking Modernity and National Identity in Turkey (University of Washington Press: Seattle, 1997; Şeker Nesim, Identity formation and political power in the late Ottoman Empire and early Turkish Republic, HAOL, Num. 8, Otono, 2005, p.60


new leading class whose main aim was the modernization of the state. Initial changes in the social structure prompted the start of the Tanzimat period, during which time emerged a new group of elite educated in secular schools abroad. Many of these foreigneducated individuals came from the former Ottoman elite, but some were of more modest means, travelling abroad from army bases and the newly established civilian schools. As underlines K.Yılmaz82:

Some scholars have argued that the nineteenth century can be understood in terms of the struggle between the graduates of the medreses and the graduates of modern school. On one side, (were the) modernists, influenced by a Western, secular education. . . . Grimly opposed . . . in mentality and in action, was the other part of the educated elite--the medrese-trained intellectuals.”83

Hence this dichotomy was the precedent of the division between modernists with secular education who remain under the influence of the West and the traditional Turkish elite, marked by religious education.

Here we arrive at the conjunction of different axes of differentiation. What we add to the already explained center-periphery distinction is a secular /West/modernization versus Islamic-oriented education. All of that is the foundation of the White-Black dichotomy.

With the revolution of Atatürk, the religious discourse is left apart, and the main element connecting all social classes is secularism, introduced in a top-down project.

82 Yilmaz Kamil, The emergency and rise of conservative elite in Turkey, Insight, Vol. 11, no.2, 2009, p.113-136 83 Ibidem, p.118 after Frederick W.Frey The Turkish political elite in Szylowicz, Elite recruitment in Turkey: The role of the mulkiye, p.375


Kemalist revolution changed the multiethnic Ottoman Empire into a secular, republican nation directed by a paternalistic state that interferes in every aspect of everyday life. In an ambitious drive to import European civilization wholesale, the republic disposed of the caliphate, the Arabic alphabet, Islamic education, and the Sufi brotherhoods. It adopted Western legal codes from Germany, Italy and Switzerland, together with the Latin alphabet and the Western calendar, Western holidays and Western measuring systems. The country's official history and language were reworked. A new eduaction system glorified pre-Islamic Turkic civilizations at the expense of the country's more recent Ottoman past. In the name of secularism, even the Arabic azan, the Islamic call to prayer, was translated into modern Turkish. Women were prohibited from wearing the Islamic veil in public.84

These revolutionary reforms mark an important turning point for our discourse because, as confirms Nilüfer Göle, they are essential to arguments about the formation of elite and counter-elite in Turkey.85 The key factor in the formation of the early republican elite was the acceptance of secularism as a prerequisite of Westernization.

The revolutionary modernist leaders established themselves as as a new upper class at the head of an “intelligentsia bureaucracy”, condemning to oblivion older intellectuals and scientists. The main goal of modernization, seen in that way, was to stabilize the position of that group. Thus, as mentioned before, Kemalist ideology deepened the gap between the center and the periphery, and the government seemed to govern for the people, despite the people," in the words of Taşpınar.86 Society formed on such principles remained fairly stagnant. Subsequently the whole education system was

84 Taspinar, The old Turks' revolt: When radical secularism endangers democracy, 2007, 85 Nilüfer Göle, Melez desenler, Metis, Istanbul, 1999 86 Ibidem, p.118


centralized, secularized and modernized. As the most important universities forming the new Turkish elite administration were considered Mekteb - and Mülkiyez from 1859 and Harbiye Military -Academy from 1849. Similarly, Robert College and Galatasaray Lycée educated future diplomats and politicians. The overtly religiously conservative part of society had quite limited access to schools of this type, even when one’s family or close realtives were deemed to have a pious way of life.87

At this step the nascent republican elite were “endowed with cultural capital rather than financial power” and “were faithful to the interests of the nation-state” and “dedicated to the values of secularism and progress.” 88 This history is important as it introduces the value of cultural capital in the White-Black dichotomy and confirms our thesis that the White-Black dichotomy should be considered as a status group rather than social class.

The most important changes though came in the 80s as Turkey entered a period of accelerated globalization and economic prosperity. Prime Minister ( 1983-1989 ) and president ( 1989-1993 ) Turgut Özal’s free market and neo–liberal policies were primarily resonsible for Turkey’s change of fortune during that decade. Özal very successfully reconciled several key ideas for the state, such as conservatism, economic liberalism, social democracy and nationalism. On the other hand, after the 1980 military coup the military regime violently suppressed left-wing opposition, the military government introduced a new constitution, shut down trade unions and some political parties and rescinded the autonomy of universities.89 A new program of IMF reforms was imposed by the 1979 Structural Adjustment Program. These changes quickly influenced the distribution of wealth. In that period emerged a new middle class 87 Yılmaz Kamil, The emergency and rise of conservative elite in Turkey, Insight, Vol. 11, no.2, 2009, p.119 88 Ilhan Deniz, Turkish transnational business professionals in Istanbul: globalization, cosmopolitanism and the emergency elit, Bogazici University, Master thesis, 2010 p.68, p. 71 after Göle, p.50 89 Arat-Koç Sedef, A transnational Whiteness? New middle classes, globalism and non-European “Whiteness”, (Draft paper), Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada, p.41


composed of capitalist entrepreneurs. The pious Islam of those capitalists acted as a depoliticizing force against the military junta and, perceived in Turkey as an acceptable alternative to communism, filled the vacuum following in the wake of the oppressed left-wing groups.

On that ground, rationalization of liberal economics and investment of private capital co-existed in a perfect harmony with the ideas of social unity based on religious moral values. Özal was also a politician who set the foundations of the future White-Black distinctions. His governments oversaw the period of significant social changes, bringing numerous facilities to Anatolian businessmen, successfully exporting various goods, including mainly textiles, and in that way filling a gap left in the world market in the post-Soviet area. It was also the moment when we can start speaking about religious businessmen achieving a middle class status. The policies of Özal, exploiting the absence of leftist opposition and an unconcerned military, supported a new class whose wealth would eventually fund the rise of the Development and Justice Party (AKP), whose leader will call himself the leader of Black Turks.

The remnants of the secularists were there with obliged to change their strategy.

Secularists raised their voices many times in the political arena, in an attempt to protect their privileged status. We might give countless examples of this resistance. However we can highlight three of them as follows: “1) the February 28 process, which is also called the ‘1997 post-modern coup’; 2) the events of March -April 2007 preceding the presidential election and in connection with this, the April 27 memorandum by the military; 3) the closure case against the AKP in 2008.“90 90 Yılmaz Kamil, The emergency and rise of conservative elite in Turkey, Insight, Vol. 11, no.2, 2009, p.124


Continuing to analyze the secular-Islamic conflict in the framework of a circulation of elites, these conditions could be the basis of revolution according to the theory of Pareto ("Revolutions occur when the rate of circulation of individuals is too low"). 91 In the opinion of Yılmaz we should rather paraphrase these words according to the history of Turkey. "Military coups occur where the rate of circulation is too high (or gets higher)," as evidenced by the military interventions every time there was a substantial chance for incorporation and increased participation of conservative citizens into the political elite, as happened in the 1960s and 1980s.92 All this corresponds to the model of "rational democracy", which promotes the view that the decisions of public concern should be taken by the educated and patriotic elite, never by the ”uneducated mob.”

Once again this vision corresponds to the motivation of the discrimination expressed by the future White Turks towards the rest of the society.

However, there is also a very important factor in the White Turks’ approach, especially in the 80s-90s, that one could observe mostly in the press.

Since the growth of Islamism, all the socio-political developments and changes have turned upside down the previous model of the threat to Turkish national identity. In place of the red menace arose a new framework of self and other wherein Kurds and Islamists were indicated as the new enemies and where 'culture' was started to be seen as a distinction factor.

It is a first clear example that the White-Black discourse is not only a matter of religious 91 Bottomore Tom, Elites and society, 2d ed, Routledge, New York, 1993, p.48 92 Yılmaz Kamil, The emergency and rise of conservative elite in Turkey, Insight, Vol. 11, no.2, 2009, p.119


issues but a power struggle over who holds the monopoly over the discursive formation of meanings in relation to cultural values and national identity. This approach sets out some powerful arguments which will shape the way of thinking in the White-black dichotomy.

Thus, in light of the above, we can draw parallels that deeply influence the present situation.

We can say that the main reason for the new government’s success is continuation of the discourse introduced by Turgut beliefs about the positive co-existence of Islam and liberal democracy. At the beginning, despite the fears of secular parts of society, AKP carefully developed its image, trying to remain distant from a strict link to religion. This strategy brought more election victories in 2002 and 2014. This electoral phenomenon may not signal the superiority of Islam over secularism, as one might suppose, but the victory of highly organized electoral politics married to a free market over a static, introverted and autoritative state, as Turkey was before the Islamic revival. 93 It is very important to underline the past examples of failure of Islam as a political project, of which AKP may be aware, as for example the closure of the Welfare Party (Refah Partisi, RP). That moment signaled the step toward substitution of overtly political Islam by a conception of Islam as a social project.

I do agree and repeat after Dağı that

“transformation from political Islam to social Islam was not only a personal choice on the part of the AKP leaders, but also . . . a realistic political strategy, given the political, social, and institutional limits facing an Islamist endeavor in Turkey.”94

At this historical stage we could talk about the victory of Pareto's innovators over the 93 Yılmaz, p.121 94 Ihsan Dağı, Turkey's AKP in power, Journal of democracy, vol.19, Number 3, July 2008,


conservatives. At least that was the the situation at that moment. Along with its development, the social concern that the growing power of the new elite dismantles existing democracy increases. Parallely, Pareto argues, “[W]hen the new elite becomes victorious, it starts subjugating its erstwhile allies, shows a proclivity to monopolize all rewards and becomes more rigid and more exclusive.”95

Therefore, a new class of influential Muslims started to appear more often in the media, working on their “Islamic visability” as a symbol for the nation's endorsement of democratic values in claiming respect primarily for the expression of religious identity. 96

The new trends, in addition to the Black-White media discourse, are marked by the

public figures who do not feel embarrassed to promote specific accents, previously restricted to rural Turkey and peripheral areas, or to likewise wear religious symbols like the headscarf in areas designated as secular.

It is also a good example how notions of identity relate to and are interwined with social satisfaction, social and political representation, and power.

But there is another factor in the axes of social differentiations that we need to analyze deeper because its meaning for the “Black Turks” changed in time: westernization identified for many years with modernization. As explained by Ihsan Dağı, the Özal governments marked "the end of residual Islamic animosity toward the West in Turkey.”97 Such a change in the welfare of the new group changed the whole picture as the Islamists were better able to send their children to study abroad, earn and spend more.98 Therefore, the new upper-middle religious class started to be characterized by 95 Pareto, The rise and fall of ellites, Transaction Publishers, 1979, p.13 96 Dominguez Diaz Marta, Are new sufis 'Grey Turks?, Urbanite National Identities and Religious Reconfigurations, Euxeinos, 10, 2013 97 Ihsan Dağı, Turkey's AKP in power, Journal of democracy, vol.19, Number 3, July 2008, p.29 98 Today's Zaman,


all the distinct elements so far reserved strictly for the White Turks. 99 They became urbanized, well-educated, fluent in English, experienced travellers and believers in elections as a tool for empowerment. Therefore we can talk about a new kind of generation, compromising the classical polarization between the secularist and religious groups.

As suggests Yılmaz (after Bottomore), instead of talking about simple dominance by the ruling minority over the majority, what we should analyze is their interaction. In this case, as a last step, it may be useful to come back to the categorization mentioned above, based on East-West and the parallel conservatives-progressives distinction. Let us also make a step forward to the analysis of a current situation which allows us, finally, to concentrate just on the White-Black dichotomy.

99 According to the figures of the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) the average income of an individual in the second quintale of Turkey increased by 100 percent from 1994 to 2005.



The old elite empowered themselves through the mastery of “westernized” ways of life and idiom. But after the 1980s contemporary Islamism emerged as a form of counterhegemonic mobilization. Therefore, as the last axes of social differentations, we should analyze the attitude of both groups towards modernization.

Initially the Ottoman elite adopted a Eurocentric perspective in the military out of the necessity of updating armed forces that had begun to suffer frequent defeats. Eurocentrism subsequently expanded to other areas of Ottoman society.100The Tanzimat modernization introduced Western etiquette in everyday life, obviously causing many tensions for the individuals trying to adapt themselves to the new culture. The European lifestyle was adapted mainly by the elites who, together with Sultan, believed that in this way they could save the Empire if they were accepted and recognized by the West. Unfortunately in many cases this apery resulted in a widely criticized overWesternization of the upper class and produced a dualistic thinking and living pattern, a dissonance that would be reflected in the future.101

With the arrival of Kemalism, modernization changed its character. Since Islam and various traditional institutions were considered the prime factors causing the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the ideological presentation of Turkey redirected towards creation of a clear distinction from its Middle Eastern neighbors and demonstration of the 100Sumer Beyza, White vs. Black Turks: The civilising process in Turkey in the 1990s, Middle East Technical University, Master thesis, December 2003, p.27 101The good examples of it would be for instance Recaizade Ekrem's book, “Araba sevdası”, which glorifying the material aspects of Western civilizations and condemning old Turkish traditions as “barbaric.”


country as more civilized and European. Therefore, republican modernization was a process based on the rejection of the Ottoman past. While the Ottoman elites tried to limit westernization to material life and technology, leaving some place for the local culture, the republican government perceived it as a “total project”. The aim was to revolutionize society, excluding every traditional form of culture and popularizing Western lifestyles across the social spectrum. The general social changes introduced during that period are well documented. The significant characteristics I would underline regard the fact that in the Kemalist vision social life is under state control, since they perceived defined by its structures benefit of the society as superior over interests of group and classes.

When it comes to the center-periphery distinctions, the Ottoman etiquette was characterized by the absence of centralizing motivation, leaving the periphery to decide its own internal norms. Conversely the Kemalist westernization was implemented from above through a solidly centralized dictatorship.102 In this context the dominant role of the state as a center corresponds also to Mardin's approach.

The republican project of top down westernization takes a different course in the 80s with the ascendancy of Turgut Özal and Motherland Party, presenting both a proWestern and conservative platform. We assume this moment as the most important in the discourse about White Turks for two main reasons:


The dualistic approach toward the West, characteristic of the

aforementioned axes of differentiation, reaches its maximum manifestation. As claims Beyza Sumer: “On the one hand a self-confident, extrovert, modern and 102Sumer Beyza, White vs. Black Turks: The civilising process in Turkey in the 1990s., Middle East Technical University, Master thesis, December 2003, p.30-31


a Western antionalism was developing, on the other hand ethnic cultural, chauvenist and isolationist tendencies were getting more stronger.”103


The mass media discourses started to have a very important role in

creating the symbols of different identities. Media not only supported but also created and promoted all the new values, new images and social trends.104

Once again the process of modernization was implemented from above, but this time promoting the idea of “being like Western” as was widespread through the media. The distinctions from old identities were influenced by many factors. The lifestyle trends based on the European and especially American patterns were encouraged. But also the Kurdish issue and Islamist movements were important topics in the media’s nationalist discourse. Therefore change and consumption became the defining concepts of the period, and “pop-nationalism”, corresponding to the Western identity of White Turks, was born.105 It is important to underline and recognize that the conjunctural changes are influential in maturing and manifesting the differentiations among the political dispositions of the secular elite.106 In the “post ideological” globalizing environment after the 80s, the interpretations of Kemalism, for example, vary from official state ideology to more “civilized” neo-kemalist discourses.107 In other words, as Meltem Ahıska offers, “Everyone has his own Atatürk.”108

All social and cultural context

changes in the class structure, as well as political changes, led to the development of a new consumer culture. That'a a distinction mark of this period. Thus begins an era of 103Ibidem, p.41 104Ibidem, p.41 105Ibidem p.39 106 Ilhan Deniz, Turkish transnational business professionals in Istanbul: globalization, cosmopolitanism and the emergency elit, Bogazici University, Master thesis, 2010, p.76 107Onis Ziya, pp.9-10, Necmi Erdoğan, Neo-kemalizm, organlik bunalim ve hegemonya in Modern Turkiye'de Siyasi düşünce: Kemalizm (II), eds. Tanıl Bora and Murat Gültekingil, Iletişim Yayinları, Istanbul, 2002 p.591 108 Ahıska Meltem, Monsters that remeber: Tracing the story of the workers' monuments in Tophane, Red Thread, Istanbul, Archive, Issue 3, 2011


“life on display” or “the age of glossy images” during which the concept of class and status deviated rather significantly from former static meanings.

Therefore what should be discussed is the existence of multiple, competing, privileged status groups with conservative Islamist or secular agendæ who, through political, economic and cultural means, promote the proliferation of their lifestyles and values. 109 Obviously, the clash between these status groups has a deeper roots, and once again is connected with the theme of elites. That's the reason why this period needs a further and deeper analysis as an introduction to the modern version of White-Black dichotomy and that's why I start a short press review from.

The new distinction becomes clearer with the diversification of the starts in the global era where the West-oriented secular upper and middle class, understood best by focusing on employment is heterogenizing, and the dichtomy between them might be seen by their labour market status.110 Onis assumes that nowadays there is an elite of new professionals, “who also part of a transnational class of professionals with vested economic interest in globalization, with transnational socio-cultural affiliation through academic and professional circles, with skills and knowledge that can function in transnational environments, and with translocal consumption habits are expected to align as globalists.” 111 In this case the traditional axes of differentiations, are exchanged within the polemic along the line of “globalists” versus an “anti-reform” coalition (which corresponds to the mentioned above idea of Pareto above). Nowadays, In the 21st century the West is seen as the centere of global capitalism. As 109 Opposite to this even though we can talk about elite citizens with Kurdish ethnic origins, there are no privileged status group in Turkey with the aim of popularization of the emancipation of Kurdish identity. Therefore we leave this dicourse apart. 110 Onis Ziya, Conservative globalists versus defensive nationalists: political parties and paradoxes of Europeization in Turkey, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies 9, no.3, 2007, p. 251 111Ustel and Caymaz, Seçkinler ve sosyal mesafe, Bilgi Üniversitesi, pp.4-6


claims Seda Arat-Koç:

In primary identification (of the white Turks) is with Europe, the United States and

certain conception of “the West” assumed to be

at once the centre of “civilization” and the centre of global capitalism. Inseparable from this identification is a tendency to distinguish, differentiate and distance to White Turks self from others in Turkey, who are seen to be standing in the way connecting with “the West” and interfering with the possibilities of transforming Turkish cities into “global” ones. What makes this differentiation different from earlier elitist discourse involves not just an arrogant but also an explicitily hostile approach to the “other Turks” who do not fit into their vision of a new Turkey.112

Arat-Koç sets out some powerful arguments thatwhich shape the actual requirements of modernization. According to the author: “[W]hereas the modernization project of the Kemalist ruling elite articulated westernization with nationalism and ideas of political and economic national independence, the present White Turk position dismiss the politics of national independence and it stresses global integration and aspires for Turkey to achieve a respectable global status, specifically with a membership in the European Union.” Normally, what we witness in Turkey nowadays, includes groups we may define as “globalists”, -as a segment of state and society with a positive vision of modernization and a tendency towards “integration” and “reforms” at the same time. Subsequently, supporters of that idea regard the European integration and Turkey's EU membership as 112Ibidem, p.370-371


a positive processes, bringing a well functioningalizing mechanism to cope effectively and with the benefits from globalization. On the other side, the nationalist opposition, has an attitude more defensive and inward-oriented, seeing globalization as a process leading to the erosion of national sovereignty. Therefore, “All the elite level, ‘“the globalists’” camp would include secular liberals both within the state and society at large, moderate Islamists and Kurdish reformers. The defensive nationalists or antireform coalition . . .(…) includes ultra-nationalists, hard-core Kemalists and radical Islamists as well as major labour unions.” 113

However, with regard to that we encounter the difference between “secular liberals” and “hard-core Kemalists” which may otherwise be referred to as White Turks. According to Onis, “[T]hey find themselves in awkward position of supporting Turkey's EU membership in principle, since opposition to the EU would signify an anti-Western stance inconsistent with the founding principles of the Turkish Republic. When it comes to reforms, however they find themselves in rather uncomfortable position.”114 Nonetheless, it is believed that White Turks are actually in line with the ambitions of the “globalizers” of Onis and “the liberal neo-nationalists” as discussed by Ustel and Caymaz.

The key reality revealed from the discussion above is a clear illustration of the fact that nowadays we are witnessing a new, contemporary form of “whiteness” that goes beyond race, is connected to class privileges, includes non-European and non-Western subjects and is associated with a transnational bourgeois identity constructed from the essence of global capitalism.115 113Onis Ziya, Conservative globalists versus defensive nationalists: political parties and paradoxes of Europeanization in Turkey, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, 9, no.3, 2007, p.251 114Ibidem, p.251 after Deniz Ilhan p.76 115 Arat-Koç Sedef, A transnational Whiteness? New middle classes, globalism and non-European “Whiteness”, (Draft paper), Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada


Taking all of this into consideration, we can finally complete our profile of White Turks and elaborate reasons behind the formation of the dichotomy as realized in the press.



And the things we know about this world is mostly consisting of third page news of big newspapers. “Varoslara yatirim zamani”, Para, 14-20.02.1999, 233 p.3


The press is one of the most powerful institutions and public spaces for disseminating popular knowledge and values, and therefore the discourses (Blunt, 2004:15). Furthermore, newspapers represent the primary mass medium from which people prefer to receive news (Vivian, 1999, p.85). Newspapers also play a crucial role in portraying society.

Media coverage of ”others” has always been an important topic for journalism studies. However, academic literature indicates that there are insuf ficient interdisciplinary works that combine press analysis with the theme of discrimination. We often forget that the press may actively reproduce the distorted vision of ”other”, which may bring various consequences. The most dangerous is a signi ficant contribution to deepening social divisions. The press may feed hostility, fueling prejudices and promoting social segregation through reporting that includes hate speech and incitation. 116 Thus, the concept of representation has an important place in the study of culture and, as stated in the introduction, one of the aims of this thesis is to analyze the process of representation. 116 While there is no official definition of hate speech it is generally defined as a category of speech that involves the advocacy of violence, hatred or discrimination against individuals or against groups on the basis of their race, colour, ethnicity, national origins, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or other status. (Nefret suçlan ve nefret söylemi, 2010, Hrank Dink Foundation)


This research has an interdisciplinary goal. It focuses on the importance of the media and their representation of different social groups, particularly the media’s in fluence and manipulation of social interaction.

In this study, textual analysis was conducted based on the editorial columns and news reporting from the most important daily newspapers such as H rriyet, Zaman, Yeni afak, Sabah, Yeni Yüzyıl, Radikal, Akşam, Güneş, Milliyet, Milliyet Gazete Pazar; magazines Aktuel a n d Nokta; as well as the review of available literature. When scanning the newspapers I used the term White Turks as the main keyword in order to restrict the field of research and because this analysis aims to explore the instrumentalization of this word’s direct, concrete usage. However, for a clearer presentation I include some articles showing the implication of the term in indirect form, as connected to the certain status of social groups in line with its de finition. The complete analysis based on indirect usage of White Turks is not necessary, as the main characteristics of the center-periphery, Islamism-secularism clashes (although without contextualization of the term White Turks) are already explained suf ficiently in a signi ficant amount of publications analyzing these issues from different perspectives. From materials I gathered, the most representative examples for each case of instrumentalization were selected in order to make the work concise. Subsequently, I explain the ”othering practices” based on axes of differentiations introduced in previous chapters. The articles are analyzed in chronological order since my aim is to chart how the notion White Turks itself has been instrumentalized and how perception of it has changed in time.

Basing on ontological and epistemological standards in cultural studies, I employ discourse analysis as a method for evaluating printed news as a cultural text. Critical discourse analysis is a type of analytical research that primarily studies the way social power abuse, dominance and inequality are enacted and resisted by text and talk in the social and political context. Critical discourse analysts take an explicit ideological 76

position, and thus want to understand, expose and ultimately resist social inequality. 117 Therefore, this “reading” ontologically is based in the constructivist position 118. As a researcher I conduct a more interdisciplinary and intertextual analysis, bearing in mind the perspective of Milas, who posits that language is a political and ideological instrument rather than a re flector of truth (2205, 19).

When it comes to the language analysis, I apply the Foucault concept of discourse as “a group of statements which provide a language for talking about a way of representing the knowledge about a particular topic at a particular historical moment”. 119 Therefore I scrutinize the rules and practices that produce meaningful statements and regulate discourse in different Turkish historical periods.

Representation is thus conceived as the production of meaning through language in two relevant meanings for the word:

1) To represent something is to describe or depict it, to call it up in the mind by description or portrayal in the imagination; to place a likeness of it before us in our mind or in the senses. 2) To represent also means to symbolize, to stand for, to be a specimen of or to substitute for. (Hall, 1977)

The meaning of the term White Turks was produced in both ways, as we can observe in the following analysis. Relations of force and power are involved at every level of a discursive formation as, for Foucault, knowledge is a form of power. In this case, if 117 Van Dijjk, 1998 in Representation of others in Turkish news media: Islamists and Kurds, Esra Dogru Arsan, Reuters Foundation, Journalism Fellowship Programme, Green Collage, Oxford, Michelmas and Hilary Terms, 2001-2002 118Where constructivism assumes that although there are many ways to construct the world, there is nevertheless a real world we experience. Yet there is no ultimate shared reality, but reality is outcome of the constructive process. It is determined by physical and social experiences and the interpretations of individual. Thus the meanings in this world are dependent on the understanding of the individual. 119Arsan Esra Doğru, Representation of others in Turkish news media: Islamists and Kurds, Reuters Foundation, Journalism Fellowship Programme, Green Collage, Oxford, Michelmas and Hilary Terms, 2001-2002


discourse involves the production of knowledge and creation of meaning through language, the decisive question is: Who creates the meaning of a determined subject, situation or event? In the Turkish case we know that is the politicians’ and media's role. These two groups also continuously work to de fine and impose “self-other” distinctions in the society.

The remaining questions address problems inherent in critical discourse analysis, like how do more journalists control public discourse, how does such discourse control the minds of readers and the actions of less powerful groups, and how do oppressed groups discursively challenge or resist such power.



Critical discourse analysis not only assesses power but more speci fically its abuse. 120 It exposes the reinforcement of domination through texts. Controlling a particular sort of discourse corresponds to controlling a specific kind of social practice. This control can be in fluential because we acquire knowledge, attitudes, ideologies through discourse. Hence journalists do not only control the newspapers but presumably also the minds of readers, not directly and automatically, but in an indirect way.

It happens through an essential feature of the text which we call semantic macrostructures. Sentences and words used in any text are interpreted by readers as a function of global macrostructures. As the headlines express the semantic global macrostructure related to any speci fic topic, diction controls the way readers interpret the local meaning of the text. Semantic macrostructures are also crucial to how people memorize information. We memorize what we recall from the text. With regard to figurative language used to describe certain groups, even syntax can be in fluential. Every level has importance: the level of the news topic, the level of individual words, the level of metaphors. Syntax alone can already be manipulated by journalists to emphasize the action or responsibility of a person.

Another strategy used in the press is emphasis on negative aspects and prejudices. The positive news or information is either mentioned, ignored or simply downgraded.

On all of these levels of text, journalists can emphasize or de-emphasize certain aspects of their subject. This means not only that certain kinds of topics are promoted, but that some kinds of topics are scarcely reported in the news. Some topics are very prominent, others are de-emphasized or outright deemed unnewsworthy.

120 Van Dijk Teun, Discourse and power, in Nefret suçlan ve nefret söylemi, 2010, Hrank Dink Foundation


This is how a discourse can be manipulated in favor of a certain group, in favor of the dominant ideology: ”we” are superior.

Through such discursive manipulation, what

remains in a reader’s mind after reading a text is not the content itself but a mental representation of what the text was all about. When the macrostructure of a text is negative, then probably also negative is the global structure of the mental model. Each reader constructs a different mental model from a particular article. That interpretation mostly depends on the reader’s ideological predisposition, as the mental model is subjective. But if readers do not have their experience on the matter and generally they have a tolerant ideology, but no other sources of in fluence than a newspaper, every time they read negatively formed news, the accumulated mental model will develop an attitude. Over time the naïve or simple-minded reader may develop a negative perception of the topic discussed in the text—even when it does not include pejorative descriptions. The fundamental problem is that biased journalism deals in generalizations. Especially when there is no other information, no counter-ideology, no contra-discourse, such propaganda contributes not only to negative mental models but also to forming outright negative attitudes.

News media express explicit and implicit opinions about social groups and fortify the ideological framework that legitimizes discrimination. This is the how some articles may be linked to racism, by ”referencing the other” or ”fearing the other”

. Thus, the


press may function as an instrument that produces, feeds and promotes discrimination.

121Van Dijk Teun, Discourse and power, in Nefret suçlan ve nefret söylemi, 2010, Hrank Dink Foundation, p.62


There is something that causes me the greatest difficulty, and continues to do so without relief: unspeakably more depends on what things are called than on what they are. Nietzsche


The axes of pre-White-Black differentiations were based on the “Kemalist old elite vs. the periphery” dichotomy. Thus, the “modernization through westernization” attitude of the republican founders shaped the sole legitimate ideology dominating the public sphere of Turkey. As mentioned before, White Turks were ”ideal” Turkish citizens not by any virtue of their own, but due to their opportunism in using any and all means available to de fine Turkishness during the foundation of the republic. In approaching whiteness as historically and geographically contingent, we may perceive it as a whitening process by which the new middle classe whitens itself as it “darkens” other groups.

The first distinction is based on the center-periphery dichotomy.

Within the framework of developmentalist-secularist discourse, urbanites rated themselves superior to rural residents and promoted the idea of their excellence while, at the same time, “darkening“ the country folk. “By constructing provincial others and turning them to ’white negroes’ in Pieterse’s (1992, 212) terms, Turkish elites were ’whitening’ their own skin to restore their pride vis-à-vis the white West.” 122The 122Demiralp Seda, White Turks, Black Turks: Religion, Culture and Class in Turkey, paper from Midwest Political Science Association 67th Annual Conference


formative White Turk status group continued to define itself ever more clearly, with the obsession for maintaining homogeneity of the group promulgating a discourse of the self and other. The course was therefore set for a Turkish caste system. The new republican elites, represented by academics, novelists, journalists etc. identified themselves as ilerci Atatürk - faiydinlar (progressive Kemalist intellectuals), thus confirming their allegiances to Atatürk's reforms. They felt responsible for improving the rest of the society. In short, as states Nilüfer Göle, republican intellectual elites were the endowed with cultural capital rather than financial power; they considered themselves faithful to the interests of the nation-state and were dedicated to the values of secularism and progress.123Obviously, these factors were meaningful for the new modernist urban elites in Turkey, popularizing the cultural discourse based on the Islamism-secularism dichotomy to justify their authority over Anatolia. Since it was indispensable for the leaders of the Turkish Republic to mobilize the population around the new-nation model, the tactics of othering “backwards” segments of society as domestic enemies became very useful. The potential “other” was an excuse to develop an anti-utopia, facilitating creation of only that which was desirable or acceptable for the urban, educated “self.”

In this new political environment, “Islam became a heuristic or a mental short-cut to describe the ‘primitive’, rural other and secularism de fined the way to Western modernity and civilization.”124 The republican elites constructed the Muslim and Kurdish others, and othering served the internalization of the social power hierarchy, 123 As Bourdieu argues the “capital present itself in three fundamental guises”: “as economic capital, which is immediately and directly convertible into money and may be institutionalized in the forms of property rights; as cultural capital, which is convertible, on certain conditions, into economic capital and may be institutionalized in the forms of educational qualifications; and as a social capital, made up of social obligations (“connections”), which is convertible, in certain conditions, into economic capital and may be institutionalized in the forms of a title of nobility. (Pierre Bourdieu, “The forms of capital” in “Blackwell readers in sociology (volume 8): Readings in economic sociology, ed. Nicole Woolsey Biggart, (Malden; Massachusetts: Blackwell, 2002) p.281 in D.Ilhan. p.18 ) 124Demiralp Seda, White Turks, Black Turks: Religion, Culture and Class in Turkey, paper from Midwest Political Science Association 67th Annual Conference


providing an ideological pillar upon which the urbanites could promote themselves not only as an elite class, but also as superior actors entitled to dominate through a selfattributed hegemonic power.

This dichotomy became more pronounced with the increased migrations from the countryside to cities beginning in the 80s. In Turkey, as in many other countries, cities and people have not urbanised simultaneously. At the beginning, during the 1950s, 'gecekondu' areas had started to surround the cities.125 These areas were distinguished from the city structures not only by their environmental feratures but by a different lifestyle and culture, perceived by city dwellers as a problem. Nonetheless attempts to destroy the gecekondu housing forms, they were recontructed and persisted. What's more the newcomers obtained political rights to vote. As this matter threatened the established order, old urban elites decided to raise their voices to protect their privileges. Actually, the mythological figure of the authentic Istanbullu was hard to identify as three quarters of Istanbul's population consisted of migrants born somewhere else. Additionaly, the cultural transformation of newcomers could be just a matter of time. However journalists have popularized the con flict between the idealized native urban culture and rural immigrant culture in order to maintain the natives' superiority to preserve the status quo. The word Istanbullu (pre-White Turk) became a synonym for a series of privileges, superior quality and even perfection. 126Furthermore, the term varo (ghetto) was invented to refer to settlements outside the city walls, though over time it has come to connote the political threat of destitute rural migrants (pre-Black Turks) settled on the outskirts of the city. They were accused of making the city dirty and behaving in vulgar manner. Although gecekondular were considered as a phenomenon 125In Turkish, gece means "at night" and kondu means "placed" (from the verb konmak, "to settle" or "to be placed"); thus the term gecekondu comes to mean "placed (built) overnight". In common usage, it refers to the low cost apartment buildings or houses that were constructed in a very short time by people migrating from rural areas to the outskirts of the large cities. ( 126Sumer Beyza, White vs. Black Turks: The civilising process in Turkey in the 1990s., Middle East Technical University, Master thesis, December 2003


that was tried to be solved, varo lar were already perceived as violent and wild. In addition, in the 90s the new group of people who acquired economic power without changing their cultural class was deeply criticized as a danger for civic culture. In May 1996, headlines warned: “The Varo Hit the City”, “The Varo Breaks Loose.” Journalists were trying to explain how it happened that “millions of people flooding from their villages to the city outskirts” had been “pushed into the arms of radical Islam, terrorism or vandalism.”127Micheal Foucault theories may connect it strongly with power and knowledge, as “when we 'other' another group, we point out their perceived weakness to make ourselves look stronger or better. It implies a hierarchy, and it serves to keep power”.128 That was the reason of othering popularized by the future White Turks.

Returning also to Bourdieu's de finition, we may better understand the whole process. Bearing in mind the importance of financial capital, we need also de fine how and by whom the appropriate physical and cultural capital is determined. This explanation indeed reveals the mechanism for proving our thesis since the main opinion makers in that historical period were without any doubt journalists.

Journalists took the point in shaping of the views of the public, shaping the new model of the Turkish citizen. Rather than use their in fluence to facilitate the integration of newcomers to the cities, journalists embraced elitism. They popularized hatred of immigrants, describing them as “dark crowds.” The goal of their discourse was to separate the uneducated masses from cosmopolitan modern Turks. 129 On one side of the media’s conception of Turkish citizenry stood the perfect modern individual; in opposition there was “the urban other,” the despicable maganda (thug, goon). This 127Erman in Ahıska Meltem, Yenal Zafer, The person you're calling cannot be reached at the moment, Ottoman Bank Archives and Research Centre, Istanbul, 2006 128Othering through hate speech: The Turkish islamists Vakit newspapers as a case study, Turkish Studies, vol.13, no.3, September 2012, pp.489-587 129 It was not for the first time in the history of Turkey, when the journalist feel themselves responsible for the education of the poor part of the society, since already Ahmet Mithat Efendi and many columnists during the Tanzimat period propagand the articles about the modern etiquette, in reference to the European traditions. (Beyza Sumer)


distinction corresponds to the construction of high and low in Turkish society expressed later by the notions of White and Black Turks. It is signi ficant that labeling was an important tendency even in that period, as creating new names represents a suggestive strategy for in fluencing the minds of readers.

A representative example of instrumentalization of the social division may be an article from Sabah that portrays the new urban underclass in a bad light, stating that:

Some Istanbul residents do not know the city culture. They are uneducated, cruel and unfair, burning down forests when they are at their barbecue outing, carelessly leaving the brazier burning instead of trying to extinguish it. The municipal strike exposed these people, who are quali fied by Istanbul residents as MKK (Modern Kentin K rolar ). Their activities show how dirty their souls are. MKK who do not deserve to live in Istanbul but have invaded the city. They are turning parks and gardens into seas of rubbish.130

We can easily find in the abbreviation MKK (Modern Urban Bumpkins) allusion to the abbreviation PKK (Kurdish Workers Party). The writer here criticizes “the other” as a threat to civilization by labelling them as animalistic, barbaric, rough and dirty.131According to Bali it might have happend since in the political scene of the 1990s, the secular elite come to realize that the project of Atatürk and other founding elites actually might have failed. For this reason, the core Republican elite, which we classified as ancestors of White Turks, were deeply dissapointed. They did not manage to create the secular, cosmopolitan Turk who have internalized Western values and 130 Sabah Istanbul, 22.08.2000, quoted by Rifat Bali, 2002, p.139 “Kent kültüründen zerre kadar nasibini almamış cahil, hesapsız, insafsız ve gaddar bazı Istanbullular (!) mangal sefası yapmaya kalktıkları ormanları cayır cayır yakıyor, söndürceğine bırakıp kaçıyor. Belediye grevi, Istanbullar'ın MKK'cılar (Modern Kentin Kirolari) adını verdiği bu güruhun yüz karası marifetlerini su yüzüne çıkardı, ruhlarının ne kadar pis olduğunu ortaya koydu. Istanbul'da yaşamaya hakları olmayan, ama kentli istila eden MKK'cılar parkları, bahçeleri çöp deryasına çeviriyor” 131Sumer Beyza, White vs. Black Turks: The civilising process in Turkey in the 1990s., Middle East Technical University, Master thesis, December 2003


principles. For this reason, as soon as they realized that the mission of Enlightment of Anatolia has failed, their dissapointment turned into hostility. These opinions may be expressed even more aggressively, as writes Cenk Koray:

When I am going out on the Istiklal Avenue, I take out my tie and put it in into my pocket so as not be to be regarded as a stranger. All around are creatures who walk on two feet yet are disrespectful, sel fish, and regard themselves as the center of the world. They act as cavemen who see every female being as their own property, and stare at them with saliva pouring from their slobbering mouths.132

This reaction can be also analyzed within the Marxist conceptualizations between the established (old inhabitants of the city) and outsiders ( the new group), which explains social con flicts within the framework of power relationships, so important for our discussion about instrumentalization of the term White Turks. In this case, the crucial factor in the established (White) -outsiders (Black) figuration is unequal power balance and tensions it causes. In this light, labeling one group as 'less valuable' was a tool that let the established group maintain its social superiority. It is a very ef ficient strategy since not only created 'the better', but also affects negatively the self-image and identity of the other group, subsequently making it weaker. As a solution for the increasing tension in the cities, resulting from the negative attitude of the longtime residents, some journalists, as Serdar Turgut suggests residents of rural origins to migrate back to the places of their origins:

Today the quality of life is very low in Istanbul. People who believe that their lives will improve and that they will live more humanely are coming particularly to Istanbul in waves. Eventually the rules of 132 Koray Cenk, Istanbul, Istanbul, Sen gerçekten Istanbul musun?, Aksam, 15.02.1999 in B.Sumer , “White vs. Black Turks: The civilising process in Turkey in the 1990s.”, Middle East Technical University, Master thesis, December 2003,


physics begin to function and, as the crowds increase, the quality of life decreases. . . . Because the crowds are continuously increasing, life gets worse, and because we have nowhere to escape, we have to resign ourselves to watching the oncoming disaster. So please, if you have the opportunity, take Ferdi Tayfur's call into serious consideration and go back to your village. . . .133

The established group ascribing themselves superior qualities and the right to rule the city, popularized the social exclusion of the other group. Their power was maintained by their greater capacity of cohesion and ability to use social control mechanism (the contruction of 'we' identity). The newcomers were presented as a threat to established norms, values, the lifestyle and manners. Thus, any kind of intercourse with the 'others' brought a risk of 'contagious infection' as the outsider was perceived as of inferior moral status. The most extreme opinions belong to Mine K r kkanat, trying to find really radical solutions for the city, clearly de fining herself as racist:

Once my French friend told me: I am a racist basing on emotions, not on common sense. Yes, my racism is completely awakening Istanbul. I want to sit at the controls of a huge scoop and exile some inhabitants out of the city. However, lately this idea of huge exile is replaced with a more modest madness because during this time, that population has extremely increased. It has become impossible to cope with it. So now, I am dreaming of rescuing one neighborhood. For example Beyo lu and its surroundings. I wish it would be given to us; I wish to surround it with new Istanbul city walls and de finitely refuse to accept some inhabitants. . . .

Also friends,

dispersed all around and crouched down in tiny corners in order not to coincide with those inhabitants, would come too. How nice, how

133 Serdar Turgut, Haydi gelin köyünüze dönün, Hürriyet, 18.04.1995 in B.Sumer


happy we shall be together. My racism is not based on religion, color, or class. I differentiate good people as polite and bad people as rude. There is no other de finition for politeness. However there are many for rudeness. There are bears and uncles; there are a lot of maganda, zonta, angut, animals, sewers and lumbers. . . . It is clear that some inhabitants in Istanbul do not care about anybody except themselves. Thus, they do not apologize to anybody. Because they are blind. . . . I want to send this inconsiderate race from Beyo lu and its surroundings. . . . I am very racist because of two days I spent in Istanbul. And it is also because of people coming in despite the inscription, “City Dwellers Only.”134

These words are a perfect example of the usage of Whiteness where culture is conceptualized as a race-like difference, essentialized and fixed, creating the bases for what we may call, later on the timeline, cultural Whiteness. The terms used for describing the others – zonta, animals, anguts...-are themselves powerful expressions of subordination and stigmatization. This kind of stigmatization, which is an outcome of the established-outsider figuration has a strong impact on the self-image, which is affected by the sense of belonging to a stigmatised and excluded group. In the Elias theory of established-outsiders and his theory of civilising process, the established present themselves as 'civilised', decent; while outsiders are constructed as more 134Mine Kirakkanat, Centinmenlik, Radikal, 27/12/1997 Frans z bir arkada m bir gün 'Ben duygusal olarak rkç y md r, ak lsal olarak de ilim dedi. ..Evet ırkçılığım iyice depreşiyor Istanbul'da. Şöyle dev bir kepçenin kumandasına oturup, belli bir tür ahaliyi kent dışına sürmek geliyor içimden. Yalnız son zamanlarda, be dev boyutlardaki sürgün fikri, yerini daha mütevazi bir çılgınlığa bıraktı. Çünkü arada, o belli bir tür ahali perk arttı. Başa çıkabilecek gibi değil. Dolaysıyla artık, tek bir semti kurturmaya hayal ediyorum. Örneğin Beyoğlu ve yöresini Şuraları bize verseler diyorum, çevresini yeni Istanbul surlarıyla kuşatsak ve o belli bir tür ahaliyi kesinikle sokmasak aramıza...Oraya buraya dağılan ve belli bir tür ahaliyle karşılaşmak için küçük köşelere sığınan dostlar de gelirdi, ne iyi, ne mutlu olurduk kendi aramızda! Benim irkçılığım, insanların dini, rengi ya da sınıfı üzerine bir ayrım değil. Ahalinin iyisini kibar, kötüsünü kaba diye niteliyorum. Kibarlığın başka tanımı yok. Oysa kabalığın pek çok. Aysı var, dayısı var, magandası, zontası, angutu, hayvanı, kerizi, kerestesi bol. Hıyarlar ve kabaklar gibi terbiyesiz sebzegilleri da sayarsak, ne kadar çoğunlukta oldukları belli.Istanbul'da belli bir tür ahalinin kendilerinden başkasını görmeyerek yaşadığı kesin. Bu yüzden selam vermiyor, teşekkür etmiyor ve ozür dilemiyorlar başkasından. Çünkü körler...İşte ben bu bakarkör ırkı sürmek istiyorum, Beyoğlu ve çevresinden...Istanbul'da yaşadığım iki gündür çok ırkçıyım, ırkçı. Kapılardan içeri 'kentli' yazısına rağmen dalanlar kadar.


'barbaric and rough'.

Therefore the mentioned before maganda stereotype was produced as a total and totalizing other. The represented figure was very grotesque, rude and vulgar, “dark, hairy, an over-sexed, animal-like, socially and morally repugnant creature, his social and moral repugnancy clearly inscribed in his body—especially abusive to women.” 135Being a symbol of racialized and classed masculinity, he was clearly shown as an urban misfit, “totally unaware of his uncouth masculine aggressiveness, and thus able to contaminate the period's moral discourse by jolting adult etiquette and revealing its inherent shallowness”.136 As a caricaturist expounds:

[M]aganda is an aesthetic defect. . . .We created him. He is the animal inside us. He is a potential danger. He is harmful to your health. He is an AIDS microbe. We allowed him to grow. He is a spot of dirt and cannot be removed. He is like a plastic bottle that does not melt or disappear. . . . He is infectious, spreads. He both kills, makes life miserable, leads to allergy. And unfortunately he is universal.”137

This term has gained greater currency among native city dwellers and taken on ever more exclusionary and discriminatory meaning. At this point there is even a distinction between maganda and zonta (boor). The second term includes all individuals who create public disturbance by their inability to adapt to urban civic standards. A maganda, being worse than a zonta, was a man who not only fails to adapt but furthermore becomes a threat to fellow citizens. Now the masses were regarded as hopeless, and elitism -the main characteristic of White Turks' prevailed over 'educators' role. The norms, borders of avoidance and fear of 'other' was socially determined. Outsiders were presented as 135Ahıska Meltem, Yenal Zafer, The person you're calling cannot be reached at the moment, Ottoman Bank Archives and Research Centre, Istanbul, 2006 136Ibidem 137Hürriyet pazar eki”, 12/01/1992, quoted by Ayşe Öncü, p.136


less restrained in their leisure time, more boisterous in their local pub and inclined to drink more than a proper amount, to use 'coarse language', more inclined to fight, less restrained in their sexual conduct, inclined to delinquency and crime, exercising little control over their children and above all 'dirty'.

Once again the strongest opinions are


expressed by Mine K r kkanat:

This is a kind of incorrigible man that is speci fic to Turkey and should be crushed wherever seen: Zontal k. You know, maganda which is grown in the field and then presented to the city market is called zonta. The difference of zonta from maganda is that when he comes to the city and becomes (relatively) successful in an area even including the arts, and becomes rich, he supposes he became a man. Consequently, there is no hope for his recovery. . . . This is our original vegetable type growing in the fields of Anatolia. . . . Well what about our zonta who could not be exported and remains on the domestic product? They can become very bad things. For example they become the murderers who attacked a handicapped tourist woman and crush her head with a stone. If they have no courage they only twist their moustache and smack their lips, but some dare to attack. When they find a poor girl to marry, they beat her. They kill children. They go berzerk when they are drunk. When they lose control they cling to their guns and sometimes shoot. If they have money and do not have guns, they have cars. When they do not crush pedestrians they honk the horn excessively. When they are bored of their horn, they play their tapes. . . . They could not go to Germany, so they come to our cities. They exist! And they have to prove their existence and make themselves heard. No matter there is no manliness. What is more 138Elias in Sumer Beyza, White vs. Black Turks: The civilising process in Turkey in the 1990s., Middle East Technical University, Master thesis, December 2003




h rtl k[crude





mindedness] And that is enough for zonta.139

This kind of created images is a characteristic mechanism for constructing group stigma, presenting one's own established group as the bearer of human civilization itself and contrasting outsiders as containing all that threates to undermine civilization.140

This description deeply humiliates these kinds of people and depicts them as dangerous, as opposed to the ideal modern individual formed among urban elites. Thus, White Turks were justyifying their superiority basing on bodies, appearance and manners. In this way they were determining the identity of themselves and manipulating the view of the others. Even though they tended to present it as a natural process, it was a historical process, since every period has a different ideal body image and different codes of manners. It is a proof that in the modern age, the formation of social hierachies can't be reduced to class differences. Power relations, so important in the discourse about White and Black Turks started to be organized around the representation of social prestige where 'taste' functioned as a marker of cultural distinctions.141

For this reason I claim then that the term White Turks was instrumentalized as labeling is a manipulative strategy. This kind of labeling can be very dangerous for society. Once a label is applied to people, it can influence individuals who might actually perceive 139Mine Kırakkanat, Erkeklik ve zontalık, Radikal, 28.04.1999 in B.Sumer 140Krieken, in Sumer Beyza 141Another Another phenomenon observed in the 80s in reference to these city invaders is acute nostalgia. City elites suffering from rural immigrants to Istanbul complained most vocally about the new view of Beyo lu. Surprisingly Bask n Oran saw the problem in the lack of the presence of old minorities. His opinion was followed by K r kkanat again: If we had repaired the churches in Cunda, if we had not missed the last Greeks, if we understood Rebetiko, maybe it would not be like this. And Istanbul streets, Izmir streets would not be full of reactionaries, Ticani, maganda and pillagers called terrorists. The owner of Anatolia was the Greek before us. Turks came and exiled the Greeks. Now some people are exiling us. I am leaving it to you to name them. . . . I miss my Greeks. I want the Greeks of my Istanbul, my Izmir. It is a kind of strange reaction exhibiting how the old inhabitants of Istanbul start to feel themselves as a minority who identify themselves with the oppressed minorities of yesteryear. This reaction will reoccur in the future, as will be presented in the next chapters.


themselves according to the created stereotypes. The psychological effects shape what we call identification, or “the process through which an individual intentionally shapes her projects and her conception of the good available identities by reference to available labels, including his plans for his own life” 142 Identification is central to what Ian Hacking has called “Making Up People,” which argues “that numerous kinds of human beings and human acts come into being hand in hand with our invention of the categories labeling them.”143

Hacking derives his hypothesis from a philosophical

truism most influentially asserted in Elizabeth Anscombe’s work on intention. Anscombe posits that “in intentional action, people act ’under descriptions’; that their actions are conceptually shaped. It follows, of course, that what people can do depends on what concepts they have available to them; and among the concepts that may shape one’s action is the concept of a certain kind of person and the behavior appropriate to that kind.”144It would be an exaggeration to claim that the articles above, completely change behaviour of readers, but for sure they had a big influence on their perception of the 'others'. “The urban other' was representing a source of threat fro urban elites, who in order to 'avoid the danger' decided to reduce their spatial and physical contact with the others. Accordingly we can study the answer a 10-year expatriate lady gave when asked how she found Istanbul after a decade in France: Once we used to go to the Bosphorus with my husband, and we had good times there. The only place we loved was the Bosphorus. Now we don't go there. We really repine. Now when we go there we see many weird men. Black- skinned men with cellular phones in their hands. Believe me, when I saw these kind of people, I really repined. Sitting side by side with them makes me feel ill at ease. 142Hacking Ian, Making up people, Public lecture, Northumbria University, 15 May 2013, p.87 143Ibidem 144Appiah Kwame Anthony, Color conscious: the political morality of race, Amy Gutmann, Princeton University Press, 1996


Because they assault me, threaten me!145

When asked to better describe what kind of physical force she means, the respondent continues, “No, no! Being side by side with them is annoying and disturbs me psychologically.”146 What we can observe is this lady perceived a person sitting close to her as the presence of “urban others” threatening her status quo, her identity, and the value she attributes to herself. Journalists popularized—even propagandized—the kind of mentality exhibited by the returning expatriate. In conclusion, through the 80s and 90s some popular journalists from the most influential newspapers took to using the print medium to articulate more and more apparently aggressive anti-immigrant discourses for consumption by the urban middle class shocked by the contamination of their “white” modern Turkey. Immigrants are described as “dark crowds” or “the dark masses”, “as hordes invading”, rather than assimilating to the “civilized” spaces of a “world class” city such as Istanbul. 147 Those propaganda campaigns resulted in increased spatial segregation in different forms. Futhermore, the urban conflict based on the first axes of differentiation: centerperiphery, the relationship between lower and upper classes and their fear of contact resulted in the figuration of Black and White in the 90s. At the semantic level there might be a good explanation for the implication of the words Black and White in othering. First of all, the colors themselves may evoke in some individuals particular emotional associations such as White--pure, innocent (what can be easily associated with Enlightenment and modernization); and Black--dirty, bad (invoked by dark crowds, dark masses). 145Sekman in Sumer Beyza, White vs. Black Turks: The civilising process in Turkey in the 1990s., Middle East Technical University, Master thesis, December 2003 146Ibidem 147Arat-Koç Sedef, A transnational Whiteness? New middle classes, globalism and non-European “Whiteness”, (Draft paper), Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada, p.41


Thus, the chromatological association may evoke emotional perception of the dichotomy, and through this device a writer manipulates the reader’s mind towards an uncritical acceptance of the othering discourse. Labeling also facilitates production of stereotypes where maganda and zonta terms become synonymous with Black. These names, actively repeated and reinforced in their negative connotations by journalists, stick in the minds of readers, adhering into a mental model that may eventually develop into a negative attitude.


White wasn't always clean and innocent colour. Ertuğrul Özkok, 'Bir Beyaz Türk'ün hafıza defteri'.148


As discussed above, in the first period pre-White Turkish identity and discourses were formed and manipulated in contrast to the formerly rural and formerly Anatolian lower class population. The newcomers were criticized as not deserving to share the same areas with old elites.

Nourished by the kinds of discourses presented above, the concept of White Turks was born in 1992. As introduced by Ufuk Güldemir, the term was coined as an objective, critical de finition originating outside the targeted group. Shortly after its introduction, the notion took on a negative connotation as applied by critics from outside the target society. As a reference to the elite republican circle, it described the urban class empowered thanks to the new market ideology developed under Turgut Özal's government. This time they were regarded the 'underdeserving' winners of the post 1980's era who lack the adequate cultural capital to handel their economic capital. In this light, Sedef Arat-Koç de fined the White Turk phenomenon as the emergence of a transnational bourgeois class identity and worldview among sections of the urban middle class.149 148 Özkök Ertuğrul, Bir Beyaz Türk'ün hafıza defteri, Doğan Kitabı, Istanbul 2014. Beyaz her zaman temiz ve saf renk değildir. 149Arat-Koç Sedef, A transnational Whiteness? New middle classes, globalism and non-European “Whiteness”, (Draft paper), Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada, p.41


This period in Turkey was characterized by a full-scale immersion in capitalist globalization and implementation of neoliberal policies. thus what characterized this Enthralled by that imported ideology, the nascent White Turks coalesced in a cult of material success, career, ef ficiency and monetary value. Immediately sensing corruption, leftist intellectuals deeply criticized the adherents of this materialist ideology for their arrogance and sense of unrestricted freedom. Conversely, some right-wings newspaper journalists adapted the term with pride as they might not have appreciated the critique and irony used by the opposition. Ideological discourse formulated in the press in fluenced the self-perception of White Turks as they consciously or unconsciously created a determined social habitus and mindset.

Güldemir’s initial concept of White Turks described the social group that was dissatis fied with Turgut Özal as Turkey’s president. In their perception, his lower class provenance made him an unworthy to maintain Kemalist values. The fundamental traits of the White Turks included achievement of high material status, high level of education, admiration of the West and attachment to Kemalism. Initially the White Turks formed a minority elite of wealthy, in fluential citizens. In this early phase of the term’s existence, the black versus white dichotomy contained an explicit chromatic reference to darker-skinned inhabitants of Anatolia and their characteristic appearance.

In an analysis of the press we can find disparate, even con flicting, de finitions of White Turk.

Binnaz Toprak claims for example that the expression ‘White Turks’ was first introduced by the pious. Referring to race discrimination in the United States, they said: ’We are the Blacks of this country.’ They meant exclusion of ‘others’ by Republican elitists. They were right.”150

150Binnaz Toprak, Hurriyet Daily News, 11/15/2010, Who are these White Turks?


Arzu Kaya Uranl suggests that the term was introduced by Nilüfer Göle to distinguish a new social class of Atatürk's bureaucracy.151Mustafa Akyol defines them as “a generation educated in colleges abroad, with a good job, accustomed to Western standards.”152 Thus, ”White Turks are well educated and familiar with culture . . . with a large economical capital who mostly broke with the beliefs and traditions, giving proper value to their historical heritage, occupying high positions in society, as managers, directors, businessmen, usually representing the minority elite.” 153 According to Nilüfer Göle they are even more: ”[T]hey are leaders, modernizers in the bureaucracy and intellectuals, while the majority of the younger generation were educated in colleges and abroad. Since 1980 they have been assimilating foreign culture and western patterns, creating their own world in luxurious premises in Istanbul . . . but also living abroad in New York, London or Paris.”154

Black Turks, on the other hand, were people who, “in terms of education did not go beyond high school. They have a low level of understanding of culture, do not have highly-developed finances, are attached to their woary and tradition, and come from Anatolia as villagers and servants.”155Mümin Sekman, in his book Türk Usulü Ba ar , de fined each group according to their tastes and behaviors: “White Turks prefer Western 151Arzu Kaya Uranlı, Siyah Türk Beyaz Türk sorunu, 152Akyol Mustafa in Arzu Kaya Uranlı, Siyah Türk Beyaz Türk sorunu, 'Çoğu kolejlerde, hatta sonra yurtdışında okumuş, 1980 sonrası ortamda büyüyerek köşe dönme kültürünü özümsemiş, iyi mesleklere, Batili yaşam standartlarına kavuşmuş, genç ve orta yaş kuşaka insanlarımız.' 153Nilüfer Göle in Arzu Kaya Uranlı, Siyah Türk Beyaz Türk sorunu, 'Beyaz Türkler" kavramıyla, eğitim-kültür seviyesi yüksek, genellikle yurt dışında eğitim görmüş, ekonomik gücü fazla inanç ve gelenekleriyle büyük ölçüde bağını koparmış, tarihi mirasını önemsemeyen've toplumda ağırlıklı olarak yönetici, sanayici, iş adam gibi gücü elinda tutan tabakalar anlatılır. Bu kavram çoğu durumda elite azınlığa karşılık gelir'ç 154Ibidem, Beyaz Türkler" kavramıyla, kendilerini Türkiye'nin "ilericileri" olarak gören bürokrasiyi 've entelektüelleri kastetmektedir. Beyaz Türklerin genç kuşakları ise, çoğu kolejlerde, hatta daha sonra yurtdışında okumuş, 1980 sonrası ortamda büyüyerek "Köşe dönme" kültürünü benimsemiş, iyi mesleklere, Batili hayat standartlarına kavuşmuştur. Metropollerde, özellikle İstanbul'da, yüksek plazalar, büyük şirketler ve lüks siteler onların dünyasını oluşturur. Yani onlar, Türkiye'deki ortalama bir hayat standardının hayli üstünde, adet küçük Asya'da NewYork'u, Londra'yı Vey Paris'i yaşıyorlar. 155Mustafa Akyol, İçimizden birileri Beyaz Türkler, Sızıntı, Eylül 2004, Yıl 26, Sayı 38, Siyah Türkler" ifadesiyle, eğitim seviyesi en fazla liseye karşılık gelen, kültür seviyesi düşük, ekonomik gücü olmayan, inanç ve geleneklerine bağlı, ortalama Anadolu çoğunluğuyla, köylü, hizmetli ve işçiler tarif edilir. Mustafa Akyol,


music, they choose their partners by themselves, they make their business travel by planes; the Black Turks listen to traditional music, travel by coach and have arranged marriages.” On the other hand Zaman de fines, “They (White Turks) think that they are the cream of society. They are rich. But they are intolerant, fanatical, stupid and opponents of democracy.”156Ertu rul Özkök, a publisher of Hürriyet, de fines himself as a White Turk from those who inhabit mainly the coast, are sensitive to the issues of secularism, drink alcohol, exercise authority, live the Western way of life, and whose women are not comfortable wearing headscarves.

Demiroz and Öncü construe the chromatic discourse thus:

[A] strategy aiming at inculcating the values of possessive individualism in order to ensure the firm establishment of the market society. In this way the emergence of the 90s new middle class de fined as White Turks strictly connected to the transformation of the cultural capital of elite distinction where the cultural capital was additionally reinforced by the physical capital. Therefore the old elitist values, including proper education, possibly in Western style, good knowledge of high art and literature, work ethics and style lost their primary role in exchange for the power of ef ficiency and financial success. That's how the modern and westernized urban elite of Turkey got the clues of how to distinguish itself from plebs, ”popularizing the approach of treating them with contempt and anxiety.”157

Thus the White Turkishness was instrumentalized to propagate the bourgeois-modernist approach and put the Western figure to the centre of modernity discourse. In terms of 156Ihsan Dağı, Zaman in 157Demiroz, Öncü in Sumer Beyza, White vs. Black Turks: The civilising process in Turkey in the 1990s., Middle East Technical University, Master thesis, December 2003


physical appearance, the ridiculous other was constructed in stark antithesis to the image of the handsome, moustache-free man and stylish, Western looking

women. The

instrumentalization of the term White Turk was shaped within the axes of differentiation West-East and conservatives/progressives. All of this made the 'physical capital' as signi ficant as economic, cultural (accumulation of cultural values which are regardes as superior) and symbolic (the status of people and groups in the eyes of the others) capital for the contruction of high and low in, valuable and worthless in the society. 158The physical, symbolic and cultural capital was determined by 'by people who have hegemonic power to designate'- generally by newspaper columnists.

Ertu rul Özkök was the journalist most actively involved in creating the template of the new, perfect, and modern individual. As mentioned before, all of these elements were stressed in contrast to those of the backward and uncivilized people (Black Turks). The ideal modern individual was close to the European lifestyle, and his physical presentation directly signi fied his whiteness. A good example could be this portrait of a proper salesman:

We used to call them clerk. Now we call them salesperson. At the big stores, at Galeria, Akmerkez, pay attention. You will immediately recognize them. They have a short haircut, and usually their hair is combed back. Their faces are very clean. They are so chummy. They immediately start a close relationship. Their speech is cozy and chummy as well but not too free and easy. . . . We talk about everything. I like their clothes. Both girls and boys are modern. I am not talking about only their clothes. Their minds are also modern. They also inform you when they are trying to sell a product. All of them are merry. . . . Because of that I love them very much. They are the new people of new Turkey. I admire these



people who are making shopping a joyous part of life.159

These sorts of descriptions are meant to appeal to an upper middle class consumer who relates among a physically distinct group that purposefully sets itself apart from “the rest.” As seen in the example above, journalism contributes to the arti fice of the White Turk identity even down to the last detail. As explained in the chapter before, the process of civilisation of newcomers to the cities was very complicated, so that White Turks wanted to present it even as impossible with clear distinction between two groups. To make it stronger as explained in this chapter, the manners and lifestyles were connected with the modern look, based on Western standards. Thus, in these two overlapsing chapters, many axes of distinction were united: centre-periphery, WestEast, conservatives-progressives. Öncü tells us that within a consumer economy identities are constantly reshaped and rede fined. Where capital reigns there is not a linear transformation of social relationships, but rather a scattering into different groups on their own tangents. and that's excatly what was happening. In such a milieu, the creation of an ideal modern individual can be understood as elaborated by Bourdieu:

[I]f all societies that seek to produce a new man through a process of “deculturation” and “reculturation” set such store on the seemingly most insigni ficant details of dress, bearing, physical and verbal manners, the reason is that, treating the body as a memory, they entrust to it in abbreviated and practical i.e., mnemonic, form the fundamental principles of the arbitrary content of the culture. The principles embodied in this way are places beyond the grasp of consciousness, and hence cannot be touched by a voluntary, deliberate transformation. . . .160

Manners, lifestyle and taste were the most important aspects in Turkish social class 159 Ertuğrul Özkök, Günlük hayattan zarif çizgiler, Hürriyet, 18.09.1994 in B.Sumer 160Bourdieu Pierre, Distinction: a social critique of the judgment of taste, trans.Richard Nice, Routledge, London, 1986


distinction, and journalists have worked hard at popularizing their condemnatory point of view. The instrumentalization of the term White Turks even now could have been observed as the White Turkishness was a cultural distinction that enveloped race and racialist language as part of a methodology of exclusion, stigmatization and subordination of others outside that privileged group. For instance Özkök's discourses created a deeply exclusive nationalism with racist tendencies, as those who were darkskinned or were having moustache (Black Turks) were excluded. According to Bourdieu, “The speci fic judgements and choices matters less than aesthetic outlook in general and moreover the acquisition of an aesthetic outlook not only advertises upper-class prestige but helps to keep the lower orders in line.” 161 Thus, The White Turk discourse served as an instrument of domination not truly meant to maintain appearances but power. As related to our chapter on social classes, Bourdieu assumes that every sort of taste can unite or separate in a classi fication scheme, in our case White Turks were working on divisions. Socially constructed class relations are reproduced in this way. He states that:

Taste is a natural class culture. This culture, which is materialized, helps to shape the class based body. . . . When tastes have to be justi fied, they are asserted purely negatively by the refusal of the other tastes. Distaste and disgust are provoked by horror or visceral intolerance of the tastes of others. . . . Being the product of the conditions associated with a particular class of conditions of existence, it unites all those who are products of similar conditions while distinguishing them from all others. Aversion to different lifestyles is perhaps one of the strongest barriers between the classes. . . .162 Social identity and superiority of Whites was de fined and described through difference. 161Bourdieu in Sumer Beyza, White vs. Black Turks: The civilising process in Turkey in the 1990s., Middle East Technical University, Master thesis, December 2003 162Ibidem


We can put an emphasis on the journalist's role in implementing patterns of thought and expression. As taste marks difference by a process of distinction which is not a distinct knowledge, all knowledge of the social world is this act of construction. In other words the new modern Turkish identity was a constructed category and, as argues B. Sumer, “[T]he national identity was constantly reshaped, redrawn and reconstructed by the nation state and its apparati and it . . . was also constructed with respect to the image of ’the other' and vice versa.”163 In regard to this we can discuss the moustache as an entertaining example of how deeply journalists felt responsible for popularizing the new lifestyle in contrast to 'the other' (Black Turk). The moustache style at first played a key role in identifying attitudes towards Westernization and has since become even a symbol of political af filiation. Here Hürriyet underlines its importance in parliament:

The trend of going without a moustache trend is spreading through the parliament. A k from ANAP, who came back from the U.S. where he went to learn language, joined the MHP people by cutting his moustache. . . . In the new legislative year, the number of MPs who are changing their images by cutting their moustache is increasing. ANAP Trabzon MP Eyüp A k has also joined to the MPs who said goodbye to their moustache. . . .

A k's image

without the moustache he had worn for many years called a lot of attention. Also MHP people have started to give up their “moustache passion.” During the 10 days of national holiday, two MHP MPs are putting an end to the party’s mustachioed image by cutting their moustache. . . . During the MHP’s education seminars, the image problem was emphasized, and their clean-shaven leader advised members not to have moustache hanging down, nor to wave a rosary or wear white socks.164 163Ibidem 164 Vekiller bıyığa veda ediyor, Sabah, 04.01.2001 in B.Sumer


It is worth to underline that in these lines, 'being backward', wearing moustache is additionaly connected with religious symbols, such as rosary. Özkök additionally believed that not only the physical similarity, but also clothing will bring the mentality change.165Was it really possible that the image changed the mentality? Pointing out once again on the chromatological character of White Turks, Mine K r kkanat ironizes the fascination with Western biological models in the article entitled “The Power of Blondes”: So Tansu Çiller, Eva Peron, Liani Papandreu? Actually these blondes or dark haired ladies became blonder after taking power. It means that there is a metaphysical connection between blonde hair and gaining power. It means that blondes hope to become more popular in elections, especially in a country where dark hair prevails, like Turkey.166 Thus, the ideal modern must have been Westernised, adopted an European lifestyle, urban and well educated. Furtermore he needed to be 'beautiful/handsome, young, blonde'. Whoever was not – as mentioned in the previous chapter, was presented as antimodel in the figure of maganda. The polarisation between 'ideal modern' and 'maganda' was expressed in the differntiation between White and Black Turks, showing the White as superiors since adapted to the new standarts. The polarisation was presented in exaggerated way on purpose, to help White Turks maintain their privileged position.Therefore, the realm of habitus, cultural codes and life-styles consitutes the figurative battle field upon which the future power struggle between republican elites and Islamists has occurred. This scenario con firms the thesis from our introductory chapters. 165Sumer Beyza, White vs. Black Turks: The civilising process in Turkey in the 1990s., Middle East Technical University, Master thesis, December 2003 166Mine Kırıkkanat, Sarışın iktidarı, Radikal, 14/10/96: Tansu Çiller, Eva Peron, Liani Papandreu öyle mi ya? Aslında açık ya da koyu kumral bu hanımlar, akıllarına iktidar olamyı koyunca, sarışınlaşmışlar. Demek ki sarı saç ile iktidara kolay yollardan gelebilmek arasında metafizik bir bağlantı var. Demek ki seçmenlerin, sarışınlar daha çok beğendiklerini düşünüyorlar. Özellikle Türkiye gibi esmer ülkelerde.


In order to emphasize the inter-subjective level upon which this struggle and social strati fication has been maintained within the lifestyles and manners, that is why in White-Black dichotomy the notion of “status groups” is more valid than “social class.” From the linguistic point of view, we observe that the White-Black dichotomy organizes a strong distinction between the two social groups under study. As the To the degree this dichotomy exposes a judgmental distinction between “Good” and “Bad”, it has been used to foster polarization of Turkish society:

(We-White-perfect/ They-Black-




The escalation of dichotomous cultural discourses as a political strategy effectuated through the media reached its peak in the 2000s when the Turkish political landscape grew increasingly polarized, moving from a multiparty system to a two-party system in the 2002 elections, and then to a two-plus party system in 2007. The major reason for this polarization has been the success of the neo-Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) that united diverse urban secularist groups around the Republican Peoples Party (CHP). This party structure (that includes Islamist, Kurdish, and republican parties in the parliament) strengthens the impression that the major social divisions in the country are ideational and cultural (such as secularist-religious or Turkish-Kurdish), while other disguised interests are at stake. This moment was the turning point in the transformation of the elite circles as the White Turk reaction expressed very clearly their fear of losing their longstanding high position and status.

As discussed before, therefore, in its origins the term White Turks corresponded to the definition of Vilfredo Pareto as a group who "maintains the highest scores on a scale measuring access to the privileges such as power, knowledge and wealth."167 With the victory of the moderate conservative AKP, supported wholeheartedly by Black Turks, the former others assumed power, filling high state offices including Prime Minister. Social research shows that, facing this change, the old elites have been critical towards the conservative Turks, rating them as unworthy of power and prestige. 167Pareto Vilfredo, The rise and fall of the elites, The Bedminster Press, Totowa, Jersey, 1968


This attitude is well explained in an article in Aksiyon magazine in which the authors state even stronger the opinion that the real reason of White Turk opposition is the fear of losing power and being forced to share it with the formerly marginalized other. 168 According to the article, lower classes used to live in fear of higher classes and bureaucracy. This situation was maintained until the arrival to power of Turgut Özal, who enlightened the lower social classes. Thanks to the education they obtained via governmental scholarships, poor people began to understand the workings of politics. The following years were marked by sharp clashes and fear of military coups. From the election in 2007, the country once again began to struggle with internal clashes. “According to observers,” informs Professor Bekir Berat Özipek from Istanbul Ticaret University, “the real unrest of elites with the newly emerging ‘middle class rulers’ is by no means linked to their sensitivity to the secular order or Atatürk's principles. 169 Rather, it is directly related to their fear of losing ‘ruling power’ in the country.” It is, as Özipek bluntly states, "a fear of democracy".170 White Turk power had been a result of one-party governments, and not a natural electoral competition for representation. According to this theory, Kemalist criticism and manipulation of AKP's image is simply born out of a fear of displacement. As an AKP deputy explains, the campaign of fomenting fear over AK Party administration is nothing more than an “excuse” to hide selfish intentions:

This is not a fear of the AK Party indeed. Such accusations were directed at all rightists parties and their leaders since the 1960 coup d'état. Among these were Adnan Menderes, Süleyman Demirel, Turgut Özal, Mesut Yılmaz and Tansu Çiller. The accusations are 168Ayşe Adlı, Mühsin Öztürk, 10/07/2007;jsessionid=7305905741AC7CFD1E73 5F9813353ACB 169Ibidem 170Ibidem


produced to maintain the status quo by the military and civilian bureaucracy. The wives of leaders who were overthrown in direct or indirect coups did not wear headscarves. So it is not possible to explain the pressure on pro-democracy figures as stemming from their sensitivity to religion. (Dağı-AKP deputy).171

This opinion asks us to analyze deeper the attitude of popular journalists towards religion. Moreover, in this case the White-Black dichotomy is used in the context of control of power (as theorized by Karl Marx), where those elites who are active as opinion leaders in the operation of organizations and in decision-making are also active in building the social structure.

In Today's Zaman, this agenda is exposed in stronger words still:

These well-educated people think that Turkey is under occupation. Occupation by whom? The foreign capitals they work for, for instance; Western countries to which they often travel. Ordinary people do not deserve citizenship: the Kurds, Islamists and the nonMuslims are the groups that represent the ultimate “others” of the White Turks. Against all this they think a “new war of liberation” needs to be waged. They do not, of course, have the guts to take up struggle themselves but call on the military to do the “business” using the manpower—soldiers—who are the children of the people against whom the war is to be conducted. Clever but unrealistic, isn't it? One says, “The military is entitled to use force against the AKP 171Ibidem


either as a legal organization or as a paramilitary entity or a guerilla force.” This is reflective of the White Turks' understanding of legality, law and patriotism. It is obvious that they do not care if the country is in ashes. What matters is keeping their power intact. . . . Secularism is the way in which the state is organized independent of religion. It does not block economic development or vice versa. But for him (the chief public prosecutor) and others it is better to keep the level of economic development low so that society can be controlled by the Kemalist state.172

This comment refers us back to the issue of the conflict between innovators and conservatives that is also included in the axes of differentiations based on the laicalreligious dichotomy laics. The most expressive journalist in this case is Mustafa Akyol, known as being close to the ruling Justice and Development Party. He expresses his point of view on White Turks in a very suggestive and demagogic way, defining them as strictly connected to the main opposition party, CHP. He opposes the vision of religious people as backwards., According to Akyol, White Turks calling themselves modernizers are actually stuck with their vision of Atatürk, whose cult is a kind of “fake religion.”173He also polemicizes the perception of the Islamist lifestyles as manifestations of ”regressive minds” in comparison to West-oriented modernization. Thus he admits Atatürk's significant role as a military leader but contests his positive role as the one who brought Turkey closer to Western values. For example, he argues, “The situation of Europe in 1930 was characterized by different regimes—fascism in Italy, Nazism in Germany and the Soviet Union's 'successful model'.”174 By logical 172Ayşe Adlı, Mühsin Öztürk, 10/07/2007;jsessionid=7305905741AC7CFD1E73 5F9813353ACB 173Akyol Mustafa, Beyaz Türkler kime biat ediyor? p.39/ Atatürk dualarimiz işitir mi? 174Akyol Mustafa, Beyaz Türkler kime biat ediyor?, Aksine başta faşist Italya ve Nazi Almanya'sı olmak üzere bir dizi otoriter rejim sürüyordu yaşlı kıtada. Öte yanda Sovyetler Birliği, bir başka 'başarılı


extension, the journalist continues, it is not a great leap of reason to label people attached to Atatürk as racists by ideological association. They are “ like White people from South Africa defending Apartheid regime instead of liberal democracy. It's confirmed by their approach towards women wearing headscarves. As a result, the war against equal citizenship continues.”175 Akyol argues that all of that behavior is a residual consequence of Ataturk's “Six Arrows” rules. Thus, Kemalism is seen as “political religion”, which is expressed in a sort of White Turk motto: “Let's leave Kaba to Arabs, Çankaya is enough for us.” 176 The ideologically created “perfect Turk” image is comparable to the Taliban's “Afghanistan look” imposed to oppress women, or the Nazi's social esthetic where Jews did not fit the “perfect German” image. 177 Akyol underlines also the negative attitude of White Turks towards Arabs people, as more representatives of backwards culture: “In brief they are against everything Arab: language, clothes, culture, capital. This hate comes out of the White Turks legends.”178

Akyol gives very simple examples to confirm his thesis, such as a confrontation between two girls. One wears a miniskirt and waves the CHP's flag, but actually she does not have time for political action since most of the time she is following gossips about Paris Hilton and Helin Avsar and looking for a rich husband. Her counterpart wears a headscarf but studies sociology, is interested in Islamist feminism and aspires to financial independence.179The writer poses this contrast in order to compromise the White Turkish discourse that portrays conservative Muslim life-styles as anachronistic and claims their participation is inadequate in modernizing Turkey. “In their minds, the model' gibi duruyordu. 175Ibidem, Bu yüzden de, 'Batılı yaşam biçimi' süren, ama Batı'nın 'liberal demokrası'sı yerine ırkçı 'Apartheid rejimi'ni savunan Güney Afrikalı Beyazlara benziyor biraz.Türkiye'nin 'zencilerine' yani başörtülü kadınlara karşı besledikleri akıl almaz düşmanlıkla bunu bir kez daha kanıtladılar. Eşit vatandaşlığa karşı yürüttükleri savaşın bitmediğini gösterdiler. 176Akyol Mustafa, 'Çıplak kamusal alan' laikliğe aykırdır, Bu teşhiş okuyunca üstümüze alınmamak ve en radikal ifadesini Kemalettin Kamu'nun ünlü 'Kabe Arap'ın olsun, bize Çankaya yeter' p.75 177Akyol Mustafa, Vatandaşlar Cumhuriyet'in Dekoru Değildir, p.93 178Akyol Mustafa, Araplığı aşağılmak, 'Arabofobik' Türkler, Arapların diline, alfabesine, giyimine, kültürüne, sermayesine, kısaca her şeyine düşmanlar, p.84 179Akyol Mustafa, Akil, bilim ve mini etek


ideal Muslim is the one who sits at home, does not mess into life and who doesn't understand modern economy or politics.”180

Following in line with the discussions in our introductory chapters, Akyol reasons that the acquisition of “educational credentials” should provide the privilege of “entry into t h e subelites” and the development of merits as competencies towards a positively renowned social status which also embodies social influence. However still, there is also a factor of social contestation that should be perceived as an integral dimension of the presence of the group. This element becomes meaningful in the discussion of status group if there is unequal access—“monopolization”in Weber's model—to certain opportunities.

Targeting the center-periphery distinction, Akyol goes on to ironize with a question posed by fashion model Aysun Kayacı on a TV show. She puts in doubt the ideal of equality, asking, ”Why does my vote have the same meaning as that of the peasant in the mountains?” Paraphrasing and inverting the rhetoric, Akyol facetiously asks, “Why does the vote of our privileged White Turks count as much as the one cast by a shepherd?”181 In this critique he mentions also Kurds as being discriminated, pointing out that without any doubt, villagers would have more mercy for Kurdish people than “all these well educated people.” Underlining the meaning of social contestation, he states, “Religious people acquired the cultural capital studying economy, using technology, following the globalization. But the drama of Kemalists consists of the fact that they fell behind in these fields just because of being too much concentrated on their lifestyles to realize their stagnation and move forward. This unjustifiably high self-

180Akyol Mustafa, Müslüman 'Ortaçağlı'sı makbuldür, Onların zihnindeki ıdeal Müslüman, evinde oturan, hayata karışmayan, hele de modern ekonomi ve siyasetten hiç annlamayan donuk bir tip. p.91 181Akyol Mustafa, Kentteki manken ve dağdaki çoban


esteem isolates them and opens a gap between different social groups.” 182 In their complacence, White Turks have actually lost their position as innovators; however, paradoxically they are angry with a conservative part of the population for being regressive, although “the conservatives” give the appearance of leading Turkey towards the E.U., liberalism and the global economy. For White Turks, “West is their new enemy, East has always been viewed as hostile. Then, actually they have no more direction they can go. It seems they have resigned from their own civilization. They didn't understand how to evolve, and so in the end they remained without roots.”183 The result is hopelessness: “Ah, what a sad tree they grow. The smell is complex, the branches are imitiation and the fruit is paranoia.”184

In his op-ed pieces, Akyol polemicizes the perception of Turkey’s modernization. He subverts the White Turk discourse which promotes modernization as possible only thanks to intelligence and knowledge. His view is that in a democratic, free and open society, religion and also tradition are needed.185 Akyol’s highly subjective agenda allows no opposing view, therefore demonstrating a flipside to the phenomenon of selective construction of social knowledge. We can show it even clearer in the following example: Mustafa Akyol forcefully disapprovess the consumerism of White Turks in this simple meditation on the theme of poverty, wealth and happiness:

Actually, the life of the White Turks can be very simply defined with one term: consumption. Their lives go around faster and better 182Akyol Mustafa, Kemalist aklın drami, muhafazakar dindarlar: ekonomi anlayan, teknoloji iyi kullanan, küreselleşmeyi yakalayan onlar ...Kemalistlerin asıl dramı ise, tüm bu alanlarda geri kalmalarına rağmen, sırf 'yaşam biçimleri' nedeniyle kendilerini hala 'ileri' sanmalarında yatıyor. Bu yersiz özgüven, onları daha da izole ediyor. 183Akyol Mustafa, Çağdaş Türklerin korkulu rüyası, Batı onun yeni düşmanıdır. Doğu zaten hep düşman olagelmiştir. Dolaysıyla gidebileceği bir yön de kalmamıştır. Kendi medeniyetini redettiği gibi, kendisine dönüşmek istediği medeniyet de anlamamış, sonuçta hem köksüz hem çapsız oluvermiştir. 184Akyol Mustafa, Çağdaş Türklerin korkulu rüyası, Ah ne hazin ağaçtır onu yetiştiren! Kökü komlpeks, dalları taklit, meyvesi paranoya..., Akyol Mustafa, Vatandaş Cumhuriyet'in dekoru değildir, p.92 185Akyol Mustafa, Nasil mutlu olunmaz? /Dindarlik, dinsizlik ve mutluluk/ Aşk şeriatı/ Mutluluk şeriatı


with consumption, finding work in a place that guarantees a good salary, having more and better apartments, cars, clothes . . . entertainment and showing off, even more consumption . . . and the rest of Turkey looks at them with admirationon all this TV, dreaming about living as they do. But can such a life make them happy?186

The answer to his rhetorical question further condemns their lifestyle:

In reality, White Turks live with a sense of incomprehension and unhappiness, a syndrome defined by the media in the following way: their number still increases: Speyer, Prozac, Xanax, Lustral, they carry on and on with sedatives, and if they do not take their pills they can't go on for long. . . . They are at the end of their twenties, starting their thirties, they are all children of success. . . . Good schools, good jobs, no problems in life, but thay are unhappy anyway. They cannot exist without medication, and they do not even understand the reason for their grief, covering sadness with designer clothes.187

186Akyol Mustafa, Nasil mutlu olunmaz? Beyaz Türklerin hayatındaki en büyük değerini aslında bir tek kelimeyle özetlemek mümkün: Tuketim. Hayatları ve daha daha fazla kalita tüketim üzerine kurulu; iyi kazanç sağlayan işlerde çalışmak ve daha iyi böylece evler, arabalara, giysilere kavuşmak ... Gezmenin, eğlenmenin've beams de gösterişin doruklarına Hep çıkmak ... ve daha fazla tüketmek bu tüketimi de, bol "marka" li bir hayat tarzi içinde, ese -dosta duyurmak, böylece kendilerince Hayati, sürekli bir tüketme tad alma've eğlenmeden ibaret görmek ... Bu renkli hayat Beyaz Türkler tarafından yaşanırken, medya yoluyla da "Öteki Türkiye" ye daha da cazip hale getirilerek, süslenip seyrettiriliyor. Bu Öteki Türkiye'nin "televole kültürü" içine yanıp tutuşan kısmı da, Beyaz Türkler olmak gibi, gibi onlar tüketebilmek için can atıyor. 187Ibidem, Sanıldığından daha çoklar. Gitgide çoğalıyorlar. Etraftalar. Hayatı panzehirsiz kaldıramıyorlar. Siprem, Prozac, Xanax, Lustral've benzerleri olmadan devam edemiyorlar. Antidepresansız çekilmeyen bir hayat bu; panzehiri alınmazsa öldüren ... Yirmilerin sonunda, otuzların başındalar. hepsi "başarılı" çocuklar. iyi okullarda okumuş, iyi işler girmiş insanlar. Hayatlarında ters giden pek bir şey yok; ama yine de mutlu değiller ... İlâçsız üstesinden gelinemeyen, Hatta sebebi bile pek anlaşılamayan bir mutsuzluk dalgası var etrafta; marka giysiler üzerlerini örtüyor. "


In their souls they do not replicate the joy sold by commercials. In this case also the media are accused of popularizing those exaggerated images.

Somewhat surprisingly, the author goes on to explain this phenomenon of the jaded consumer using a quote from the novel Fight Club, by Chuck Palahniuk (and this example once again shows the Akyol's tendency to ridicule White Turks' fascination with Western culture):

Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.188

Akyol stresses that purchases and consumption are addictions that do not fill the spiritual emptiness. Additionally he claims that consumption does not guarantee an improvement of social status but instead creates new problems. From this point of view White Turk values unnaturally deny spiritual needs, a condition leading to existential crisis.

Yet we must also acknowledge the fact that the rise of the Islamist movement in 188Ibidem, Reklamlar bizi arabaların ve giyisilerin peşine düşürdü, nefret ettiğimiz işlerde çalışıyoruz, ihtiyacımız olmayan şeyleri satim alabilmek için...Biz tarihin üvey evlatlarıyız. Ne amacımız var ne yerimiz. Biz ne bir büyük savaş yaşıyoruz ne de büyük bir buhran. Bizim savaşımız ruhsal bir savaş, bizim büyük buhranımız, kendi hayatlarımız. Televizyonla büyütüldük ve bir gün hepimizin milyonler, filmi yıldızları veya rock starları olacağına inandırıldık. Ama olmayacağız ve bu gerçegi yavaş yavaş oğreniyoruz ve feci şekilde asabımız bozulmuş durumda...


popularity and power is inseparable from the development of specialized business for “Islamic goods” and the formation of markets for believers. So central was the Consumerism to social life since the 1980s and 1990s that political conflicts continue to be organized, expressed and mediated through this obsession. As new goods are put on the market by companies trying to lure their customers towards innovation, new forms of “being” or ”identity” are shaped as well, whether secularist or Islamists. That is how it is criticized this uber-ideology:

It is interesting to note that those Islamists who oppose the “elitism” of their political opponents do not ever mention the revenues coming from corruption, factionalism and rent-seeking— all of which is forbidden by Islam—or the money coming from the so-called charity, which equals theft, fraud and deception. They became “elite” too. [They] drive jeeps . . . use iPhones and study in the best colleges and wear the most expensive brands. They live the sweet life, but still throw mud at others. In my view, the meaning of “White Turks” has changed. In this context the White Turks are the new generation of ambitious religious people . . . the ones who are strongly committed to Islamism, the rising stars of the recent period who charge rent, reap the best benefits from being in power . . . keep stealing, live with no concern for the future and still maintain greed. Here is the new green bourgeoise (green from Islam). Let them fill their pockets. . . .

They were

secretly organizing for the last 40 years. It has not been for nothing.189 189Bora Tanıl, Beyaz Turkler, siyah Turkler kavgasi, Notes on the White Turks debate” in “Turkey between nationalism and globalization”, Routledge


Here we can notice the culturalist theories, where Black Turks become White. This role reversal phenomenon has even been noted in the international press. The New York Times presents the new elites in the article entitled “Newfound Riches Come With Spiritual Costs for Turkey's Religious Merchants”.190 This feature describes the problems (such as they are) encountered by the Islamist nouveau-riche: Turkey’s religious businessmen spent years building empires on curtains, candy bars and couches. But as observant Muslims in one of the world’s most self-consciously secular states, they were never accepted by elite society. Now that group has become its own elite, and Turkey, a more openly religious country. It has lifted an Islamic-inspired political party to power and helped make Turkey the seventh largest economy in Europe. And while other Muslim societies are wrestling with radicals, Turkey’s religious merchant class is struggling instead with riches. “Muslims here used to be tested by poverty,” said Sehminur Aydin, an observant Muslim businesswoman and the daughter of a manufacturing magnate. “Now they’re being tested by wealth.” Some say religious Turks are failing that test, and they see the recent economic crisis as a lesson for those who indulged in the worst excesses of consumption, summed up in the work of one Turkish interior designer: a bathroom with faucets encrusted with Swarovski crystal, a swimming pool in the bedroom, a couch rigged to rise up to the 190 Tavenirse Sabrina, Newfound riches come with spiritual costs for Turkey's religious merchants, 25/12/2008,


ceiling by remote control during prayer. “I know people who broke their credit cards,” Ms. Aydın said. But beyond the downturn, no matter how severe, is the reality: the religious wealthy class is powerful now in Turkey, a new phenomenon that poses fresh challenges not only to the old secular elite but to what good Muslims think about themselves.191

Previously wearing Western clothes and leading westernized lifestyles were associated primarily with Turkey's wealthy urbanites who wanted to impose those directives as the standard. Those self-appointed elites developed a lifestyle foreign to traditional Turkish norms. But “the real Turkey” or ”the culture of the people”, as Islamist intellectuals have often said, is not about using Western things. A binarist discourse on class goes hand-in-hand with the Islamists' politics of identity.192 This dualistic narrative of relations between secularist/Islamists is therefore worrisome also because it produces a tendency to interpret every political conflict inordinately and distortedly on the distinction between the very wealthy and very poor, where the former secular upper class represent the economically privileged to the disadvantage of the latter. But the Islamist movement is compromised in a politics of capital, wealth and consumerism as well. Therefore, the whole truth should be presented, without using the White Turk cliché in presenting the modern Turkish culture of consumerism.

191Ibidem 192Navaro-Yashin Yael, The market for identities: Secularism, Islamism, Commodities in Fragments of culture : the everyday of modern Turkey / edited by Deniz Kandiyoti & Ayşe Saktanber, New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, 2002, p.248



The wave of accusation from the opposition, as charted in articles above, has brought a change in the situation.

Whereas up to the turn of the century “White Turk” had been considered a pejorative, partially stigmatizing the described group, the attitude of the signified group changed. As claims Tanıl Bora, “The self-confident” and sarcastic attitude of White Turks in the 90s was replaced by a reactionary-aggressive attitude derived from perceptions of threat and victimization.”193 This new disposition is interpreted by Oray Egin as an anguished cry of White Turks upon their fall from on high:

Not being able to raise once's voice against such acts like leaving shoes at the doorstep or going to the beach with underwear resembles settling accounts in a civil war. The White Turks were scared and assimilated after enduring years of degradation, and this fear benefitted the lumpen, the slum dweller and the lower-middle class.194 With the smelly shoe now on the other foot, so to speak, White Turks began to feel the anxiety of exclusion. Egin informs that initially the White Turks were “a small elite, 193Bora Tanıl, Beyaz Türkler, siyah Türkler kavgası, Notes on the White Turks debate” in “Turkey between nationalism and globalization”, Abindgdon, Routledge, 2013 194Ibidem


producing and consuming at the top of the income and education hierachy.”, Here he explains the downfall from privileged minority to peripheral minority:

Turkey's new minority. A people who became a minority in their own country. . . . It is clear that they (the AKP) want a Turkey without the White Turks, a Turkey of their own. Therefore the last decade witnessed a series of defeats in every field as White Turks fell under attacks from convenience store Islam [bufeci or vulgar Islam]. Will this minority be completely removed? Will we experience some kind of cultural genocide? On the other hand, the White Turks of this country also need their rights to be protected and their lives sustained. And if the White Turks are becoming a minority, then maybe this people should demand their minority rights within the framework of the Lausanne agreement.195

These words can be taken as a very cynical and ironic provocation. But the White Turks have also raised their voice to proclaim their victimization, defending themselves as those who are much better educated and who do not give much importance to identity politics because they formed their identities with their jobs for a total quality of life beyond money. Serdar Turgut expresses this anguish in terms of “the other Turkey” full of people excluded, unaccounted, and “extremely desperate,” “who could not live humanely in this short life.”196 These sufferers are contrasted to the ruling group of those who do not seek quality in life, people who are ignorant of any aesthetic taste. Oray Egin describes the fear White Turks have of becoming “an ordinary Middle 195Ibidem 196Ibidem


Eastern country where private lives were subject to intervention.”197 This approach is followed by Turgut, who in his article from 2 May 2009, distinguishes between: 1.

White Turks addicted to the tabloid press (in the original text, ”committed to

Televole”, an entertainment TV program about the lives of celebrities) who live “only with their five senses” and 2.

The White Turks whose lives are built on jobs, culture, knowledge and the

capacity to think and question. He elaborates:

I have been thinking about why the White Turks who are supposed to be the thinking class, the powerhouse and the cleanest people of this country do not raise their voices. I think this has something to do with our lack of bourgeois tradition. White Turks are still an artificially created, baseless class. Both the birth and the current state of this class are simply built on images. Unfortunately the most important thing for White Turks is to maintain their images. They do not bother with difficult tasks that require a commitment to reading such as interpreting and thinking hard on the facts of the society in which they live. Please open your eyes . . . ...and reclaim our country.198 Therefore, we can see that in this period White Turks look inwards, as the definition itself becomes unclear and thus easier to be instrumentalized. Even White Turks themselves can no longer recognize who is who, and whom should be condemned. 197Ibidem 198Ibidem


In that period the most controversial articles written in the “reclaim of the country” vein come once again from the keyboard of Mine Kırıkkanat, describing the lower class as barbarians without basic knowledge of proper behavior and still undeserving of Istanbul residency.199 The outrage continues in this op-ed published in Radikal, describing beach scenes on the way from Atatürk Airport: But the drive into the city was something else. In the parks along the seaside drive toward town, men in their underwear rest ruminating, women wearing black chadors or headscarves all are fanning the barbecue. . . . In every 10 square meters, this scene is repeated; our dark skinned people definitely grill and eat meat at the shore, turning their backs on the sea. Among them, you cannot 199Kırıkkanat Mine G., Halkımız eğleniyor, 27/07/2005 Dünyayı harmanlayan her Türk, sanırım İstanbul Atatürk Havalimanı'yla gurur duyar. Pek çok Batılı benzerinden bile daha modern bu altyapı, Türkiye'nin 'Arap olmayan' yüzünü ağartmaktadır. Öyle ki, geçen yıl turistik bir Mısır turundan Paris'e dönerken İstanbul'da aktarma yapan bir Fransız arkadaşım, 'Aradaki farkı sana anlatamam,' demişti. 'Kahire havalimanından sonra Atatürk'e inince, hepimiz uygarlığa kavuştuk diye sevindik. Avrupa, Atatürk Havalimanı'nda başlıyor!' ÖVe bitiyor, sayın seyirciler. Mevsimlerden yaz ve bir pazar günü, Atatürk Havalimanı'ndan Türkiye'ye giriş yapan insan, 'sahil yolu'ndan geçmek gafletine düşerse, ne denizi görür, ne havasını alır, kendisini devasa bir mangalda bulur, pişmese bile tütsülenir. Belediye, halkımıza hizmet yarışında Sahil Yolu'nu bir güzel çimlemiş ve sanırım, üzerinde yürürler, oynarlar ya da en fazla yatarlar, sanmıştır. Çünkü Türk'ün mangal tutkusuna, zaten Belgrad Ormanları, Çamlıca tepeleri ve daha pek çok yeşil alan feda edilmiştir. Buralarda, ağaçlar füme dil, yapraklar dallar közlenmiş patlıcan görünümü arz etmekte, dağları taşları saran kebap dumanı 'Keşke çiğ yeseler' dedirtirken, kesif et kokusu yamyam olmadıklarına hayıflandırmaktadır. Sahil Yolu'nda ise, kilometrelerce uzunluktaki çim alan kenarından geçen arabalardaki seyircilerin görüş zaviyesinde olduğundan, manzara da mangal düzeyindedir : Don paça soyunmuş adamlar geviş getirerek yatarken, siyah çarşaflı ya da türbanlı, istisnasız hepsi tesettürlü kadınlar mangal yellemekte, çay demlemekte ve ayaklarında ve salıncakta bebe sallamaktadırlar. Her 10 metrekarede, bu manzara tekrarlanmakta, kara halkımız kıçını döndüğü deniz kenarında mutlaka et pişirip yemektedir. Aralarında, mangalında balık pişiren tek bir aileye rastlayamazsınız. Belki balık sevseler, pişirmeyi bilseler, kirli beyaz atletleri ve paçalı donlarıyla yatmazlar, hart hart kaşınmazlar, geviş getirip geğirmezler, zaten bu kadar kalın, bu kadar kısa bacaklı, bu kadar uzun kollu ve kıllarla kaplı da olmazlardı! Atatürk Havalimanı'ndan sonra, mevsimlerden yaz ve pazar günleri, Sahil Yolu'nda Arabistan bile değil, Etiyopya'nın ete doymuş hali, 'Etobur İslamistan' başlıyor, sayın okurlar. İstanbul olmayan ne varsa, İstanbullu olmayan kim varsa orada: Son beş yılda 4.5 milyon artıp, 3 milyonu İstanbul'a akan nüfusun güruhu çimde etleniyor pazar günleri. Tabii ki onların da eğlenmeye, dinlenmeye hakları var. Ama burada mı, öyle mi ?
 Halkımıza hizmet yarışındaki belediye, İstanbul'un Anadolu yakasında, Şaşkınbakkal'dan Fenerbahçe'ye uzanan bir kumsal şeridi yarattı bu yıl. Maksat, Caddebostan'ın nostaljik plaj kültürünü canlandırmak, hatta yayıp uzatmak. Sonuç gerçekten güzel oldu : Yeşil alanından kumsalına, şezlonglarından şemsiyelerine Cote d'Azur'u andıran bir düzenleme yapıldı. Zaten sonuç güzel olduğu için başarısı paylaşılamıyor, Kadıköy Belediyesi ben yaptım diyor, İstanbul Büyük Şehir hayır, ben yaptım. Her neyse, açılışı Kadıköy Belediye Başkanı Selami Öztürk, mankenler eşliğinde denize girerek yaptı. Ne var ki 1930'ların Caddebostan plajı modernitesini akla getiren açılıştan yalnızca bir gün sonra, 2005'in realitesi teslim aldı kumsalı, yeşil alanı ve sunulan tüm hizmetleri : Ümraniye plaja indi. Bırakın mayoyla denize girmek, sahilde laf atılmadan yürümek imkânsızlaştı. Tesettür anaları kumsalda mangal yeller, babaları don paça yatarken, irili ufaklı danaları da pamukludan dalgıç tulumlarıyla suda cıp cıp yapıyorlardı. Açılışın ertesi günü konulan mangal yasağı bir işe yaramadı, yalnızca iki gün sonra oturulsun diye halkımızın hizmetine sunulan tahta banklar, parçalanıp yakılmış, daha doğrusu mangala odun yapılmıştı. Şimdi bu sahillerde sabah yürüyüşleri yapan 'creme de la creme' Kadıköylüler, İslamistan varoşlarının işgal ettiği denizlerine ve kumsallarına bakıyor, lanet yağdırıyorlar halkımıza 1 milyon karşılığında plaj hizmeti sunan belediyelere. Ben de kendilerine sormak isterdim : Neredeydiniz o varoşlar oluşurken, hangi partiye girip kaliteli sesinizi, dünya görüşünüzü duyurmaya çalıştınız, ne kadar ilgilendiniz politikayla? G e c e k o n d u l a r d e n i z e i n m e z , e ş k i y a s i z i n y o l u n u z u D A k e s m e z m i s a n d ı n ı z ?
 Devamı cumaya.


come across a single family that grills fish on their barbecue. If they liked fish and knew how to grill them, they probably would not go to bed with their dirty white undershirts and long underwear, would not scratch themselves repeatedly, would not chew the cud and burp, and would not be this thick, short-legged, long armed and covered with hairs to begin with. . . .200 These articles triggered a debate in the media, with different opinions about her style. The appraisals ranged from total approval to total condemnation. But in most responses, her colleagues placed her into the newly invented group of “degenerate” White Turks. In his assessment entitled “Mine G. Kırıkkanat and White Turk Orientalism,” 201 Günal defines the journalist as the “example of the ‘Orientalist’ native intellectual” who despises and disdains her own culture and people. He states that Kırıkkanat undertakes the task to be the conveyor of the Eurocentric Orientalist discourse “which hates everything about the East”.202 Cemal A. Kalyoncu likewise writes an entire article about Kırıkkanat.203 First of all he expresses his surprise saying:

Radikal columnist Mine G. Kırıkkanat, who insulted people when accusing them of chewing, proudly used to tell that in the period of January 28, General Çevik Bir ordered her no longer make any comment about them (Black Turks): Yes, erase them, leave no trace of them!204 200Kırıkkanat Mine G., Halkımız eğleniyor, 27/07/2005 201 Günal, Mine G. Kırıkkanat ve Beyaz Türk Oryantalizmi, Günal (2001, Birikim, Issue, 144) 202Ibidem 203Kalyoncu Cemal, Siyah Türk, Beyaz Türk ve sınıf çatışması, Aksiyon, 204Ibidem, Radikal'deki köşe yazısında Mine G. Kırıkkanat, halka "geviş getiriyorlar" diyerek hakarette bulundu. Özellikle bir kesime yönelik ağır eleştirileriyle tanınan Mine G. Kırıkkanat'ın, Yakın çevresine övünerek anlattığı 28 Şubat sürecinde General Çevik Bir'den bir talebi Vardi ki, onun


Furthermore: In saying that the struggle between White and Black Turks is reheating, we understand that the issue is deadlocked as sociologists, with whom he wanted to talk about the subject, refused, claiming that there is no longer affiliation with White Turks., They exist "in principle, yes, but these white Turks have been already degenerated." Kemal Derviş is also a White Turk, but he is something more refined. In Kemalism there was modesty, sacrifice for the people, love for Anatolia. But now we have already noticed a lack of similar humility. There are no longer White Turks, b u t Sapkın [perverted, abnormal], a heretical version of White Turkishness.205

The author intentionally makes the note about the chromatic differences between the groups: In the past, dark-haired people were a symbol of Anatolia. Today differentiation of the class has been improved, and so was born the concept of Black Turks. The author of books about success in the Turkish way, Mümin Sekman, tells the story of White Turks as privileged people, living in the Western way, with a high level of culture. He divides again to make categories of Black and Grey. Black, unlike White, are pleased, relatively poor nationalists tied to hakkında başka yorum yapmaya gerek bırakmayacak türdendi: "Öyle izi bir ki silin kalmasın!" 205Ibidem, Tam Beyaz Türk, ' Siyah Türk 'kavgası yeniden alevleniyor derken olay asıl noktasına oturdu can anlayabildik. Görüşüne başvurduğumuz sosyologlar konunun Beyaz Türklükle alakası olmadığını söyledi. Hatta bir tanesi "Tabii ki burada Oyle var bir sey; ama bu Beyaz Türklüğün artık dejenere olmuş biçimi. "deyiverdi. Asil dikkat çekici yaklaşımı ise şu cümleleriydi: "Kemal Derviş de Beyaz Türk; ama halkçılık, bir efendilik Seyi vardır. Mütevazılık vardır Kemalizm'de, bir Anadoluluk sevgisi, halk sevgisi vardır. Ama burada mütevazılık yok. Burada bir bir Beyaz Türklük değil 'sapkın' Beyaz Türklük var. "


conservative values. Grey Turks are derived from the Black, but their improved status approaches that of the White Turks.206

Finally he explains all these dynamics as so:

From this point of view, even it looks like a quarrel between black and white, the discussion was dominated by White, because the definition of White ones is full of compliments. It looks like the discussion turned against the people in the name of the privileged. This confirms the deviation of white, because this concept cannot be explained or linked with Ataturk's values, neither with Westernization, and it is not a political struggle. On the contrary . . . it is racist and fascist mentality.207

The first person responding to her article was Hakan Coşkun from Hürriyet, judging it as a “fascist courage . . . even if defending the improvement of the Turkish race,” he would not dare to utter similar opinions.208Yıldırım Türker expresses a similar opinion, calling her a "racist journalist" who behaves “ like a mean cousin oppressing those who 206Ibidem, Eskiden buğday tenli olmayı ifad eden Anadoluluğun simgesi Esmer Türkler tabirine karşılık, bugün, sınıf farkının belirginleşmesi how Türk'ü tarif şekilleri arttı ve Beyaz Türkler de böylece ortaya çıktı. Türk Üsûlu Basari kitabının yazarı Mümin Sekman'a göre Beyaz Türk, Seçkin've seçkinci, varlıklı, kültürlü, Batı değerlerine Göre yaşayan kişileri anlatıyor. Sekman'ın sınıf kategorisinde Siyah ve Gri Türkler tabiri de var. Türk Siyah, Beyaz Türk'ün Aksin kanaatkar, nispeten yoksul, milliyetçi, muhafazakar değerlere göre yaşayanları için alıyor. Gri Türk ise, Türk Siyah Beyaz olarak doğmuş fakat Türk sınıfına can yükselememiş grubu anlatıyor. 207Ibidem, Bu açıdan baktığımızda, her ne kadar Siyah Beyaz ve Türk tartışması gibi gözükse de, bu tartışmayı Beyaz Türk kavgası olarak ele almak, hadiseye bir numaraya büyük gelir. Yani Beyaz Türk tanımı burada eleştiriden çok iltifat anlamı taşıyacaktır. Çünkü olay artik, bir kesimin seçkinlik adın, halk düşmanlığına dönüşmüş durumda. Bazılarına göre Beyaz Türklüğün sapkınlığı da tam bunu ifad ediyor. Çünkü bu ne tavrı ne Kemalizmle, ne Atatürkçülük'le, ne laiklikle, ne seçkin Avrupalılık'la açıklamak mümkün. Bu, bir siyasi kavga ise hiç değil. Olayın tam karşılığı, boyunca haftaya boyunca gündeme geldiği've adı konduğu gibi ırkçı've faşizan zihniyet. 208Ibidem, Tarihte, halka eleştiren insanlar olmamış mıydı? Tabii olmuştu ki ama bu belki onların düzeyi denli faşizan değildi. Hem onlar tarihte kalmıştı. Bugün, Artik Avrupa ve Insani 21 yüzyıl olmaktan bahsediyorduk. Mine Kırıkkanat, Anadolu'da bir çok bilinen deyimdeki gibi, civciv yumurtadan çıkmış, kabuğunu beğenmemiş pozisyonundaydı.Yazıya, ilk tepkiyi Hürriyet'ten A. Hakan Coşkun verdi. Coşkun, tarihte, Avrupa'dan damızlık erkek Ithal edip Türk ırkının ıslahını savunan Abdullah Cevdet'e bile taş çıkartan Kırıkkanat'ın üslûbunu 'faşist cesareti' şeklinde değerlendirmişti.


visit her from the countryside, introducing racism in Atatürk's environment.” 209 Ertüğrül Özkök himself writes that from the point of view of civilization, he does not see the difference between people who enter the sea in their underwear and the author of the article, who with this kind of writing lowered herself to the same level as the uncivilized bathers. Nuray Mert has defined Kırıkkanat’s attitude as a third world inferiority complex, advocating against this kind of elitism.210

Mümin Sekman attempts the first definition of these phenomena, explaining the Kırıkkanat position as:

The belittling of Turkishness and Turks by the Turks. The first group of perpetrators are nationalists, the second are elites, and both groups are characterized by high material status.” He also adds that an important element in terms of humiliation of Turks by the Turks is that Turks separating from the core grows in strength, but this kind of strengthening requires loosening- going away from the traditional values.211

However, the strongest opinion, full of exaggerations, is expressed by Serdar Turgut:

209Ibidem, Yıldırım Türker Ardından, 'ırkçı Yazar' diyerek kamuoyunda olayın tam ādīni koymuştu. "Yazarın Kemalizm varaklı çerçevesi içinde sergilediği ırkçılıkla tanışlığımız var." Diyen Türker, Kırıkkanat'ın burada, eski Türk filmlerindeki gibi "Köşka yeni gelmiş uzak akraba kıza, taşralıya işkence ettiğini" söylüyordu. 210Ibidem, Yazıya Ertuğrul Özkök, "Ben, iç çamaşırı ile denize girmekle, köşe yazısında insanlara hakaret etmek, lakaplar takmak, alay etmek arasında medeniyet açısından bir fark görmüyorum." Satırları ile tepki gösterip, Kırıkkanat'ı possible, eleştirdiği insanların seviyesinde bulduğunu ifad ediyordu. Nuray Mert ise yazarın tutumunu "Bir 3. Dünya aşağılık kompleksi olarak" tanımladıktan sonra, bu ırkçı üsluba herkesin Kars gelmesini dile getiriyordu. 211Ibidem, Kişisel gelisim uzmanı Mümin Sekman'ın can altını çizdiği Türkiye'de gibi yeni bir pazar oluşmaya başlamıştı son yıllarda. Türk'e Türk propagandası yapmak've Türk'e Türk'ü aşağılamak. Sekman, ilk milliyetçilerin ikinci grubu ise ve elitlerin girdiğini her ikisinin de "alıcısı" ve ekonomisinin oluşmuş olduğunu belirtiyordu. Sekman, özellikle Türk'e Türk'ü aşağılamayla ilgili ince bir daha detay vurgu yapıyordu: "Türk, özünden uzaklaştıkça yükselebiliyor. Bir başka deyimle yükselmen için hafiflemen gerekiyor. Geleneksel değerlerine sahip olup Agir adam olduğun zaman yükseltmiyorlar. "


Mine Kırıkkanat described herself as a fascist and I do believe her. If she lived in Germany in 1930 she could have defended the concentration camps more bravely than Goebbels. She could have started the Second World War in America. For this journalist who has forgotten about political correctness, I have offer her a solution in Kenyan style. The wild animals there are kept in the national parks. In this way everyone is happy. The same model should be used in Istanbul. We should gather all the White Turks in a designated area and then isolate them. They would be happy, far away from society, and other people will be protected from them. We won't even give binoculars to White Turks, so that we spare them from watching what they condemn. But the society will be allowed to observe them. They could be watched as a TV show. We could even organize tours.

No, not for Whites, because I don't

suppose they would need it. But we could show them the others like in a circus: how people use the toilets, take the bus. With those of more refined tastes (not very often, but sometimes you can meet a cultural White Turk) we could make a play about the life of people. Or let's colonize all Bodrum with White Turks. Turkey will be left in peace and Mine Kırıkkanat will be happy.212 212 Turgur Serdar, Mine Kirikkanat ve onun gibi Beyaz Türkler için Serdar Turgut'tan müthiş bir öneri, 05/08/2005 Kırıkkanat Hanım faşist olmadığını söylüyor, ben de ona inanıyorum. Ayrıca ben de faşist değilim, bilmem anlatabiliyor muyum? Mine Hanım öylesine açıksözlü ki, kendisi 1930’ların Almanya’sında yaşasaydı Goebbels’i bile ürkütecek netlikle ve detayda ileride kurulacak toplama kamplarında yapılması gerekenleri yazar ve savunurdu. Onun üslubu bu işte. Tamamen şeffaflaştırıyor kendisini yazı yazarken. Amerika’da yazı yazıyor olsaydı zenciler hakkında tek bir yazı yazdıktan sonra ülkede ikinci bir iç savaş çıkmasına neden olabilirdi.Kurulmasını istediğim sistem ‘Kenya modeli’ olarak adlandırılabilir. Gidip incelediğim için biliyorum; Kenya’da hayvanlar, insanlardan uzak tutulmak için ulusal park adı verilen büyük alanlarda hapsedilmekte ve etrafları da aşılamayacak engellerle çevrilmiştir. O ülkede insanlar hayvanların park içinde tutulduğunu sanırlar ama aslında kendileri hapis olmuş durumdadırlar. Bu şekilde hem hayvanlar hem insanlar mutlu olur.
 Bu modeli aynen Türkiye’ye uygulamamız gerekiyor. İlk önce İstanbul’dan başlayarak büyük şehirlerde beyaz Türkleri belirli alanlar içine toplayıp, onların etrafını çevirip tecrit etmeliyiz. Onlar


It is in important moment when we can observe the strong reaction of journalists to the dangerous White discourse. On the other hand, we see how eagerly the notion White Turk is employed in offending. We suppose that the role of media is to reflect on plurality, to provide a constant inventory of lexicons, life-styles and ideologies.213 However, the author presented her own opinion, translating real events into symbolic form. This process is called “encoding” by discourse analysts. Encoding is the choice of symbols-codes, which are preferred in the different domains and appear to embody the 'natural explanations' most members of society would accept, cause the events problematic. Kırıkkanat’s elitist approach presents normal people as “hairy, dark and dangerous” individuals. The journalist used a stereotype engraved in the memory of the readers to provoke them to perceive themselves from an Orientalist point of view. Therefore, Kırıkkanat uses her writings as an instrument by which to transform her ideology into a social consent. The internalized discourse and the symbolic elites influence the views of ordinary people. This kind of writing creates alienation in the society and serves to form hegemony and continuance of the status quo in opposition to change. This hostility may cause threats to public safety. The media instead should rather discuss this criticism constructively by drawing a cause and effect relation that benefits a process of positive change.

halkın kendilerinden uzak tutulduğunu sanıp mutlu olacaklardır ama aslında halk koruma altına alınmıştır. Beyaz Türk alanına teleskop bile sokulması yasaklanacaktır. Böylece şekillerini beğenmedikleri insanları uzaktan bile görmeleri önlenecektir, ama istenirse halk bölümüne dürbün veya teleskop verilebilir. Halkın beyaz Türkleri bir ‘canlı ve naklen’ televole şovu gibi seyretmelerinde bir sakınca yoktur. Halktan insanlar, istedikleri takdirde öteki tarafta koruma altında turlara çıkarılabilirler. Beyaz Türk tarafından tur düzenlenmesine de gerek yok, çünkü onlardan tur talebi geleceğini hiç sanmıyorum. Kaçınılmaz olarak beyaz Türkler arasında solcu, halkçı olanlar da halka ‘inmek’ isteyenler de çıkacaktır, onları da mutlu etmek için halk tarafında bir sirk kurdurtulup beyaz Türkler tarafında turneye çıkarılabilir. Sirkte halkın banyo alması, otobüse binmeleri, yemek yemeleri ve göbek atmaları gibi gösteriler olabilir. Daha rafine gösteriler talep edenlere (beyaz Türkler arasında nadiren kültürlü olanlar da çıkabilir) halk yaşamından kesitler bir tiyatro gösterisi olarak da sunulabilir. Şehrin beyaz Türkler tarafı bir de Bodrum’u bütünüyle kolonize ettikleri takdirde, Türkiye huzuru bulacak ve Mine Kırıkkanat hanım ve onun gibi olanlar da huzuru nihayet bulacaklardır, buna eminim.
 213Esra Dogru Arsan, Reuters Foundation, Journalism Fellowship Programme, Green Collage, Oxford, Michelmas and Hilary Terms, 2001-2002



Another prominent author who encodes reality according to his White ideology is Ertugrul Özkök. He refers to images of the headscarf-wearing wife of Durmuş Yılmaz (a bureaucrat with rural origins who became a governor or the Turkish Central Bank) as “not harbingers of religious-fundamentalist danger, but the hallmarks of a danger of provincialization and rustication.”214 For Özkök, the concern is not a revival of reactionary politics but rather the “revolution of plebeianism.” 215Those defeated by such a revolution would be none other than the White Turks. “Is it possible that this revolution initiated a purge of the White Turks? Is it possible for this country to become a more beautiful place after the White Turks are removed?”216

Here we read an ironic comment about a similar case in a Cengiz Candar article from Hürriyet: As soon as I saw Hayrünisa Gül (wearing headscarf), in the Turkish embassy in Washington, I asked quite seriously, “What are you doing here? How did you get here?” It was in January 2004 when the Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan visited America, accompanied by Abdullah Gül, Minister of Foreign Affairs. On the first day of visits at the reception, the Prime Minister's wife looked at me with surprise, asking what I meant. "Here we are in a public place in the 214Bora Tanıl, Beyaz Türkler, siyah Türkler kavgası, Notes on the White Turks debate” in “Turkey between nationalism and globalization”, Abingdon, Routledge, 2013 215Ibidem 216Ibidem


U.S.A. and it is not a problem, but here's a public place of the Republic of Turkey. How did you get here?” She explained that she had been in the White House, in this dress on that day, and there was no problem with that. I was sitting next to the minister of Foreign Affairs. I repeated that in the U.S.A. public space is not a problem, but we're in a Turkish place. As it became clear that I was being ironic, we both burst out laughing.217

He continues with an analysis of the attitude of elites towards changes:

Taha Akyol wrote yesterday in Milliyet an article entitled: "Gül From the Edge to the Center." The title of my own article from yesterday is, "Natural Result of July 22: AKP Goes to the Center, Gül to Çankaya." Instead of ideological position, you can carry out a socio-political analysis and you will find very easily a diagnosis of today's situation resulting from a different political past. In Taha Akyol you'll find these striking analyses: "Headscarf ban applies to students and officials. A ban in the university is an ideological mistake, but of course legally binding until changes are made. When it comes to Çankaya, there is no ban. It is an individual choice of Honourable Sezer, it is no longer the law. There's no ban on the wearing of headscarves in public places because the legal concept of “public space” does not exist in political science. This concept is unclear. Bazaar or court is not public space.218 217Cengiz Cander, Hürriyet, Siyah Türkler Çankaya yolculuğu ve Türkiye'nin modernleşmesi, 21/04/2006 218Ibidem, Hayrünisa Gül’ü, Washington’da Türkiye Büyükelçiliği binasında görür görmez, yanına yaklaşmış ve ciddi bir ifadeyle “Siz, burada ne yapıyorsunuz? Nasıl girdiniz buraya?” demiştim. 2004’ün Ocak ayı. Başbakan Tayyip Erdoğan’ın ABD’ye resmi ziyareti. Dışişleri Bakanı Abdullah Gül de ona eşlik ediyor. Ziyaretin ilk gününün akşamı, heyet onuruna Türkiye Büyükelçiliği’nde resepsiyon. Hayrünisa Gül, yanında büyükelçilik görevlilerin eşleri, şaşkın nazarlarla bana baktı ve ne demek istediğimi sorguladı. Devam ettim, “Burası, Türkiye


Tha author says that Hayrunisa accompanied her husband during many trips abroad, as in the western states no important politicians can do without wife's company. On the contrary, Gül's candidature was received as a contribution to the europeanization of Turkey. He accuses the White Turk elites:

Condemning some women because of the headscarf and behaving in a racist way towards them is a photograph of the bigotry of our elites, which does not fit to developing a united Turkey. Migration to the cities increased in the period of the AKP. Education, market economy, social dynamics such as outsourcing brought millions from the peripheries to the center. This has reinforced women too, as they can dress in an individual style and wear what they want. CHP was the party which introduced a modernization from above. The AKP as DP[ Demokratik Parti] is the party bringing upgrades Cumhuriyeti toprağı sayılıyor. Kamusal alan anlamına gelir. Başörtüsüyle nasıl girdiniz buraya?”Takıldığımı anlayana dek, şaşkınlığı sürdü ve ciddi ciddi cevap verdi. “Ama” dedi, “Ben, bugün Beyaz Saray’daydım, bu kıyafetimle. Hiçbir sorun olmadı.” Bense, “Orası, ABD’nin kamusal alanı. Orada sorun olmayabilir. Burası, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti’nin kamusal alanı.”Durakladı. “Ama” diye üsteledi, “Ben, Ankara’da Dışişleri Konutu’nda oturuyorum…” İtirazımı sürdürdüm. “Eşiniz Dışişleri Bakanı olduğu için orada oturuyorsunuz. O, sizin özel alanınıza girer. Ama, burası kamusal alan” dedim. Kakafoni besbelliydi. Takıldığım da belli oldu.Gülüştük. Taha Akyol, dün Milliyet’te “Kenardan Merkeze Gül” başlıklı bir yazı yazdı. Benim dünkü yazımın başlığı “22 Temmuz’un doğal sonucu: AKP ‘Merkez’e, Gül Çankaya’ya” idi. Kullanım süresi dolmuş ideolojik pozisyon yerine “sosyo-politik tahlil” yapabiliyorsanız, birbirinden farklı siyasi geçmişleri olanlar, bugünkü ve yarınki Türkiye teşhislerinde kolayca buluşabiliyorlar.Taha Akyol’un dünkü yazısında şu çarpıcı tespitler vardı: “Başörtüsünü yasaklayan yargı kararları, öğrenciler ve memurlar hakkındadır. Üniversitedeki yasak yanlış ve ideolojiktir, ama değişene kadar hukuken bağlayıcıdır elbette.Çankaya için hiçbir hukuki yasak yoktur; Sayın Sezer’in kişisel tercihi, “hukuk” değildir.“Kamusal alan”da başörtüsünün yasak olduğunu belirten hiçbir kanun yoktur! Zaten “kamusal alan” hukuki değil, siyaset bilimiyle ilgili muğlak bir terimdir! Çarşı pazar da, mahkeme salonu da kamusal alandır!Hayrünnisa Hanım bazı dış gezilerde eşine refakat etti. Batı’da bir tek ciddi devlet adamı bunu yadırgamadı. Aksine, Gül’ün adaylığı Türkiye’nin ‘Avrupalılaşması’n katkı olarak karşılandı.Başörtüleri yüzünden kadınların bir bölümüne “Haso’lar, Memo’lar” diye bakmak, onlara ırkçı rejimlerdeki “zenciler” gibi davranmak bizdeki elitist bağnazlığın bir fotoğrafıdır ve bu eski fotoğraf, gelişen bireyleşen Türkiye’ye uymuyor...AKP döneminde hızlanan şehirleşme, eğitim, piyasa ekonomisi, dışa açılma gibi sosyolojik dinamikler “kenar”daki milyonları “merkez”e getiriyor; kadında da bireyleşme ve istediği gibi giyinme iradesini güçlendiriyor.CHP “yukarıdan aşağıya” modernleşmenin partisiydi; tıpkı DP gibi AKP de “kenardan merkeze” modernleşmenin partisidir... Gül, “kenardan merkeze” modernleşen toplumun taşıdığı bir isim olarak şimdi Çankaya’ya çıkıyor...”Ekleyelim: Abdullah Gül’ün Çankaya’ya çıkışını, bu ölçüler içinde kavrarsak, “türban takma eğilimi”nin önümüzdeki dönemde artmak bir yana, tam tersine, “azalma trendi”ne gireceğine hükmedebiliriz. Bir TESEV araştırması, AKP’nin iktidar döneminde bunun böyle olduğunu zaten ortaya koyuyor. Bu “trend”, Hayrünisa Gül’ün Köşk’te oturmasıyla artmayacak, tersine azalacaktır. Hayrünisa Gül’ün Dışişleri Konutu’ndan Çankaya Köşkü’ne “ikamet değişikliği”, ki, aradaki mesafe birkaç yüz metreden ibarettir, Türkiye’nin “ayrımcı-elitist” yasaklarından birinin erozyona uğramasına da yardımcı olacağı için, ayrıca olumludur.22 Temmuz, sonuçlarının anlamı ve derinliği, zaman içinde daha iyi anlaşılacak. Bu sonuçlardan biri, muhtemelen, “yukarıdan aşağıya modernleşmenin partisi” olan CHP’nin “tarihsel misyonu”nu tamamladığı ve bir “reaksiyoner kriz üretme partisi” haline dönüşerek, “ölümcül bir hastalığa” yakalandığına dair.


from the periphery to the center. Gül, being the symbol of this modernization, now appears in Çankaya. Let's add that the appearance of Gül in Çankaya, in this dimension, does not lead to introducing "a lesson to put on a turban." On the contrary, it introduced a trend to "abolish headscarves." According to the TESEV's research, that's what happens during the governments of the AKP. This trend, together with the visit of Hayrunisa to the White House, increased the distance even more between a "discriminated elite" and the rest. We understand even better with time the importance and seriousness of July 22. Probably one of the results will be to lead the CHP back to its historical mission to introduce modernization from above.219

With regard to the above, we can mention that polarization of society in line with White-Black dichotomy has also been conducted through the reification of certain symbols like the Islamic veil or the previously mentioned Atatürk adoration as emblems of identity. If we agree with Yeal Navaro-Nashin that the realm of Islamist and secularist cultures was already commoditized from the beginning, where this process had a role in transforming politics of culture into a war over symbols, we can find some analogies of this process in the White-Black dichotomy and its symbolism.220 The veil had been transformed for such purpose itself in the politics of Islamist identity in the Turkey of the mid-1990s. Thus, Özkök’s fear of headscarves is transformed into fear of losing his White privilege as a result of the achievements of modernization rather than

219Ibidem 220Navaro-Yashin Yael, The market for identities: secularism, islamism, commodities, in Fragments of culture, the everyday of modern Turkey, ed.D.Kandiyoti&Ayşe Saktanber, I.B.Tauris, London, New York, 2002


religion itself. On the other hand, the headscarf is interpreted by Islamists as a representation of Islamic “chastity”, ”the holy past” and the Turkish local culture. However, this representation does not neatly fit the ideal for many women who cover themselves in public (as explained in the chapter about Islamic consumerism). In reference to Baudrillard’s “system of objects” theory, we can mention the “pure signifier, without a signified, signifying itself.” Baudrillard argues that in the logic of symbols, objects are no longer tied to a function or to a defined need. Thus the veil has a social and political life without anymore simply expressing religiosity. It rather refers to the politics of an identity opposed to secularism and the secular state. This symbolism is confirmed by a significant amount of articles that polemicize the issue of veil.

These are not precisely comparable, as we cannot talk about White Turkishness as an object, but a close interpretation may be associated with the term White Turk. Since the conceptual clarity of the term has been lost over time, the concept of White Turks may be seen not as a materialized idea of a certain overprivileged group of society, but as a symbol of opposition to secularism and a secular state. Thus White Turkishness emerges in politics and is more symbolized.

As we could read in the article above, in Turkey there has been a change in the balance of power between social groups.existing social groups continuously question the widespread concepts and usual boundaries. Different social groups put themselves in new roles and became more visible in new places. The religious groups have become middle class and have entered into physical and spacial convergence with laical groups. Furthermore, after displacement of villagers in the 1990s, the Kurdish population had to immigrate to Mediterranean and Western parts of Turkey. That internal immigration increased contacts between Turks and Kurds.221 Although these new public visibilities 221When it come to Armeanians they weare considered outside not to be in the public domain after the


brought a new democratization potential, in the minds of journalists they constituted bases for new social conflicts.

Hrant Dink murderincident -Arus Yumal). They obtained visibility in public domain in last years.



After criticizing the conservative group of society, with the ascension of the AKP and conservative Muslims as the new ruling class, White Turk critics invoked and their supporters, as bringing the menace of Sharia and announced the destruction of the “'enlightened face of Turkey.”' In the wake of Kırıkkanat’s overt classism started to be followed by open ethnic hatred of Kurds in reference to the Kurdish problem. “The Kurds came to be depicted as “a viruses' that expropriates wealth in an immoral manner and corruptsed social morality wherever it spreads. They weare “feudal”, and “still living a tribal life. Honor killings, mafia groups, machismo, rustification, laziness, fraud and “low-brow” ways were all considered to be Kurdish features.”222 This hate could have been observed in November 2009, when the Convoy of DTP (the Democratic Society Party, representing or the Kurdish interests Political Party in Turkey) was attacked with stones in the centere of Izmir. After that, the photo of a modern-Western-fashionedized looking blonde girl throwing a stone became a symbol of the event in the city already perceived as a capital of republican and modern identity. Subsequently the journalists articulated in even an intolerant way pro-Turkish counterseparatism that putting in doubt a pacific coexistence with the Kurdish people. Yet Mine Kırıkkanat rejects accusations of racism and she sets herself in the role of educator of the masses. However many articles from the 90's compromised this statement. Her orientalized point of view never dies, as she explains,:

222Bora Tanıl, Beyaz Türkler, siyah Türkler kavgası, Notes on the White Turks debate” in “Turkey between nationalism and globalization”, Abingdon, Routledge, 2013


I am not enthiusiastic about the Kurdish culture. I don't even consider all the nomadic writing epics, traditions and customs of primitive sound as a culture in a modern meaning of the term.223 In later years, however, her articles have tended to a more moderate tone.224 Ertüğrül Özkök does not exhibit negative attitudes towards Kurds in his op-ed writing.225 Hikmet Yıtık exposes the elements of Kurdish discrimination in the name of White Turkishness, claiming loudly, “Türkiye Artik Beyaz Türklerin değil! (Turkey No Longer Belongs to the White Turks!).226 First of all he compliments the new government on positive policy changes regarding the Kurdish issue. He praises the fact that Kurdish, a language previously designated as “unknown,” is broadcast on national TV station TRT Ses; newspapers such as Kürt Tarihi or Popüler Kürtür are issued; and Kurdish can be taught in schools as a second langauge. There is also the formerly inconceivable example of Kurdish lessons at the Bilkent University, involving not only the Kurds but also their Turkish classmates.

Hikmet goes on to a historical review as a way to understand why these developments are a problem for White Turks:

It is a pity that the government woke up just now; maybe we would live in a different Turkey if they had done it before. But better later than never. We have many examples of how the history of the white man destroyed or oppressed different cultures: Native Americans, Africans, Aborigines. We know that in the time of the 223Günal Asena, Mine G.Kirikkanat ve Beyaz Türk oryentalizm, Birikim 144, 22/11/98 224Kırıkkanat Mıne, Ilerleyelim beyler!, 03/08/2005 225Özkök Ertüğrül, Bir Beyaz Türk'ün hafıza defteri, Doğan Kitap, Istanbul, 2014 226 Yıtık Hikmet, Türkiye artık Beyaz Türklerin değil, 17/0/2013


Ottoman Empire life in respect of different cultures was possible; they could live peacefully in accordance with their own beliefs and religion. Byzantium still remembers how they were invaded in the time of the Crusades, as recorded in the famous refrain, "Better the Sultan’s turban than the Latin cross." Without any doubt, each state had supposedly its better and worse moments. Kuyucu Murat Paşa for example murdered 30,000 Alevis in the seventeenth century. Without exceptions, including women and children, he had them pulled from their dwellings and skinned. If we study the historical balance, the winning civilization was always the White man's civilization since the times of Greek and Roman slavery. And Stalin's words still hang over us: “The death of one man is a tragedy, 10 million is just a matter of statistics.” We should not forget that proclamation but receive it as a lesson and a lesson for the future. In the statistics, the blackest card of Turkish history of the twentieth century, in which this number drastically increased, is still held by the original Whites., The are responsible for tragedies of those Blacks living in our lands: 1915, Armenians; 1937 Dersim; 6-7 September Greeks; after the coup, Kurds in Diyarbakir prison in the 80s; and in the period of January 28, Muslims. 227

Hikmet’s analysis incorporates chromatology mentioned in the first chapters and references to the colonial tradition that are automatically connected to the term White. He continues to elaborate his accusations:

Everything is done in the name of Turkishness. Now also a white 227Ibidem


one can say that he wants to give up his Turkishness, but another will ask him immediately, ”After being white for so long, now you want to give up?” We did not know that when someone says, "Turkey belongs to Turks," in postscript remains: the White Turks.228

You, being the White Turk, do not resign from Turkishness, because we, I mean Black Turks from the twentieth century, will clean out the whiteness of White Turks. For using our name as you committed cultural and physical crimes, The twenty-first century will belong to us, to different faiths and origins. We do apologize to Black Turks for the crimes committed in the name of "Turkishness", which we won’t call so anymore because of the collective identity.229

Mustafa Akyol similarly expresses his opinion in the series of articles where White Turks are identified with Kemalists. He furthermore claims that Kurds are not Black in the minds of White Turks, but are distinguished by them as an additional category of Dağ Turks (Mountain Turks). This perspective is criticized by the journalist as he also references history:

Having lived in Turkish territory for at last 1000 years, the Kurds 228Ibidem, Şimdi de, "Türklükten istifa ettiğini" söylüyor bu beyazlardan birisi mesela. İnsanın, "Ne zaman Türk'tün de simdi istifa ediyorsun" diyesi geliyor.Yıllardır Genel Yayin yönetmeni olduğu gazetenin logosun "Türkiye Türklerindir" yazdırırken, asıl castes ettiğinin "Türkiye Beyaz Türklerindir" olduğunu bilmiyoruz sanki... 229Ibidem, Sen bir "Beyaz Türk" olarak, Türklükten istifa edemezsin. Çünkü biz, yani "Siyah Türkler", 20 yüzyıl boyunca bizim adımızı kullanarak sayısız kültürel've fiziki cinayet işleyen sen ve senin gibi beyaz Türkleri "Türklükten" kovuyoruz zaten.21. yüzyıl Türkiye'si, sen ve senin gibi beyaz Türklerin değil, değişik İnanç've kökendeki siyah Türklerin olacak. Pardon, 20 yüzyılda "Türk" adını kullanarak işlediğiniz kıyımlar yüzünden, Artık ortak kimlik adımız olarak kullanamadığımız için, "Siyah Türkiyelilerin" ...


were named once again by White Turks in the 20th century. It wasn't enough. They prohibited their language, they made them disappear and belittled them. They changed the names of villages and cities. After these oppressions Kurds expressed their justifible reaction, causing the rage of those who oppressed them.230

Additionally, he claims that the Kurdish role in Turkish history is ignored. 231 He underlines the fact that Ataturk’s assimiliation project was unsuccessful. 232 The founding father said, “How happy is the one who says I am a Turk.” And with that the topic was naively closed. His followers do not consider that Atatürk himself did not live to see the completion of his revolution, and therefore could not finally evaluate the successes and failures of his doctrine. Akyol recognizes Turkey as a country giving Kurds the necessary liberties.233 In summary, according to the journalist, in Turkish nationalism the problem is not racism, but assimilation.234 - If Turkey were a racist country it would divide people in categories, like in Nazist Germany, and elevate adistinguish the superior race., while In Turkey racism was never an issue of this kind, since people would never talk about Turk race, but rather about fraternity and living closely together.235This situation has changed recently with the rising waves of nationalism and with the attitude of White Turks.

Here the author in defining the term 'White Turks' as a distinguishing factor used their intolerance. Akyol believes that the problem with Kurds remains in the policy of forced 230Akyol Mustafa, Şu çılgın Türkler, p.100 Türkiye topraklarında en az bin yıldır 'Kürt' olarak yaşayan insanlar, 20 yüzyılda Beyaz Türkler tarafından 'Dağ Türkü' olarak yeniden tanımlandılar. Bu da yetmedi, dilleri yasaklandı. Kültürleri hem 'yok' sayıldı hem aşağılandı. Köy ve kentlerinin isimleri değiştirildi.Ama bu baskılara haklı olarak tepki gösteren. 231Ibidem, p.101 232Akyol Mustafa, 'Atatürk milliyetçilliği' bitmiştir, p.108 233 Akyol Mustafa, 'Kaba Arabın olsun, Kürtlere Imralı yeter', p.115 234Akyol Mustafa, Türkiye milliyetçilliği ırkçı mıdır?p.117 235Akyol Mustafa, Türk ırkçılarının inandığı yalan, p.121


assimilation initiated during the origins of the Republic. But he is more optimistic about the future, as Kurds need only to express their identity and live peacefully with Turks without any divisive tendencies. However he does also level a critique at the the PKK. We realize this when he wants to contextualize the Kurdish problem in terms of modernization, arguing that just one side of this process is presented. He complains for instance about the showing of 'feminist side' of PKK as a modern a treating women equally.236He also adds that:

That's true. We should rethink Turkish modernization. For 80 years we’ve called the old -“dark,” and the new as “illuminating.”, But between tradition and modernity there is no black-white comparison. Important things are in both of them. Tradition has good and bad sides. Among products of modernization we have: freedom, human rights and democracy, as well as ethnicity genocide, gas rooms and concentration camps. PKK is a product of the dark side of modernity. This side helps people to get free from the traditional yoke and sometimes is successful. But as described by George Orwell in Animal Farm, they re-enslave the liberated ones slaves of higher status.”237

Akyol compares the PKK to Stalin because Stalin helped the serfs to get free from the czar’s controlaga, but then put them under the pressure of the party. In a similar phenomenon, PKK takes the Kurdish girls into the mountains under the pretext of liberating them to get free from the 'töre' - (de jure ethnic-based prohibitions). But then those girls become slaves to ideology, harsh discipline and a narcissistic leader. Akyol 236Akyol Mustafa, Evet, PKK ilercidir, p.111 237Ibidem, p.112


wants readers to question if Kurds are on right side of modernization- this of which brings democracy, human rights and freedom, or rather on that one of authoritarianism and fascism.

This rhetoric reasons closely with the defensive nationalist discourses, although Akyol certainly accepts the demand for cultural rights and liberties as justifiable and natural. In general most of the articles interpret the White Turks’ attitude toward Kurds within framework of the nation-building project, in which Westernized elites exalt homogeneous nation statehood. It results in increasing ethnic othering and nationalist anti-Kurdish hysteria.238The creation of a homogeneous Turkish nation requires the dilution of the largest culturally and linguistically distinctive part of non-Turkish people —the Kurds.

Thus, this discourse from the perspective of White-Black dichotomy could be contextualized within the West-East axes of differentiation. We may argue that in the absence of direct Western colonialism, the Kemalists take on “The White Turkish Man's burden” in order to achieve “the contemporary level of civilization.” 239 The Kurds not only emerge in official perception as ethno-linguistic aliens, but they are also deemed insufficiently civilized. Thus they appear as “Mountain Turks who have forgotten their Turkishness or are in denial of their Turkish origins and need to be told the truth”.240 The making of Turkishness is made possible due to a state-knowledge production based on European Orientalist constructs and racial theories. As argues E. Said, racial theory, rising imperialism and the incomplete and inadequately assimilated sciences reinforce each other so that the image of the Oriental produced by this coglomeration became 238Welat Zeydınoğlu, The White Turks Man's Burden: “Orientalism, Kemalism and the Kurds in Turkey” 239Ibidem 240Ibidem


almost undisputed.241 Turkish Orientalism was crystalized in the Kemalist theories of the Sun Language Theory (already introduced in the first part of this thesis), which helped to refute the existence of the language (as argued by Kırıkkanat), ethnic identity and geographical area of Kurdistan. Aydın emphasizes that when Turkish history is interpreted in this way, it becomes the burden of the Turkish race, as a member of the Great White European race, to bring civilization to backwards people in order to advance the whole world.242The Türk Dil Kurumu (Turkish Language Organization) invented even a new definition of Kurds: Name given to a group or a member of this group of Turkish origin, many who have changed their language, speaking a broken form of Persian and living in Turkey, Iraq, Iran” (Beşikçi, 1977: 167).243

White Turks, applying the term of Mountain Turks, were employed in erasing


Kurdish ethnicity by eliminating the word ”Kurd” and replacing it with an invented label.

However as Martin von Bruinessen points out, there remains the embarrassing question of why it is necessary to Turkify people who are said to be Turks.

There remains a Kemalist “trauma”, as Akyol puts it, deriving from the failure to successfully assimilate all Kurds.

The matter is too complicated to be discussed at length here, as it is a case involving many themes such as Turkishness, socio-cultural rights and liberties. Furtermore, in this research Kurdish issues are not examined deeper for three main reasons:

241Ibidem 242Ibidem 243Ibidem



We concentrate on the status groups of elitist character, and it is not possible to

talk about an elite with Kurdish ethnic origins. It is almost impossible to talk about a privileged status group in Turkey whose primary concern is the emancipation of the Kurdish cultural identity. 4)

The articles regarding discrimination of Kurds should be rather considered in

terms of hate speech. They are rarely described in terms of the White-Black dichotomy (unless associated to the way of thinking of Kemalists in general, expressing their elitist point of view). 5)

Kurds are more commonly described as a category of Mountain Turks rather

than Black.

In regard to the paragraphs above, the summary findings reveal the following picture: the most frequent categories are exaggerations, ascription, distortion and symbolism, followed by defamations and denigrations. In many examples more than one of these categories (and in some, all of them) are involved. A meaningful portion of the news, op-ed columns and reader comments are published in newspapers adopting a nationalistconservative publishing philosophy.

Descriptions of perfect White Turks are now replaced by vulgar descriptions (“canheads” or “short-legged hairballs”) of the masses and elites supporting AKP. Meanwhile the White-Turkishness has been internalized. This class-based arrogance of the White Turks (old elite) could help to disguise the class-based arrogance of the new elite. The reaction against 'Black' is easily expressed in the language of cultural essentialism. This language is full of anti-elitist, anti-intellectual expressions and approaches anti-semitism, getting towards outright biological racism. What has changed is the fact, as claim Tanıl Bora, that it appears the perceived threats


to the urban, educated, modern middle classes of our times are more about today's processes of precarization determining socio-economic life in this day and age rather than other issues of high politics, such as Sharia, reactionary religious politics or the Kurdish conflict. All of this has occurred because of socio-economic changes reducing formal social-security structures and the erosion of social solidarity networks. The 2001 economic crisis caused massive unemployment and, for White Turks, something even worse: the collapse of their social status. Due to the crisis, the career expectations of educated middle class shrank dramatically, and the status of university graduate was severely minimized in comparison to displays of wealth and consumption. For the middle classes it became more and more complicated to perceive themselves as elites. Their feelings of resentment and failure could be easily transformed into agression. These emotions are expressed through a discourse mixed with feelings of anxiety caused by the emergence of religiously conservative high and middle classes. With the circulation of elites, we can explain the reaction of the middle classes against AKP government and their concerns about the future of secularism in Turkey. The bureaucratic circles, industrial-commercial business fields, academic and media positions have all been overtaken by the religious-conservative Turks. But as Tanıl Bora observes, those who personally live White Turkish lives “otherize” the White-Turkish identity. The “pure” ones transformed a discourse of hate into conformist populism. In this inverted discourse, the White Turks are the Others, pseudo-Turks, fakes; and the new image of an authentic Turk is established for anti-White Turkishness:

The White Turks who regained their strength during democratic periods were driven back by external interventions in order to shift the balance in favour of the White Turks. Today, the White Turks resemble an old tree whose roots are bound to decay. Although they 142

have influence over those at the top of important institutions as well as over those older than 50, their generational line is broken and their future is bleak. This is why they are forced to use the other crypto-foreigners and heterodox Muslims as support. . . .


awakening of the people of Anatolia, whose maneuvering space was constrained and who were left out of certain fields, continues. The Anatolian who was once riding the plough is now opening his own factories and making exports. There are Anatolians who speak foreign languages and who are self-confident intellectuals. Our people have reached higher levels of education! A generation who was afraid of guns has been replaced by a generation capable of questioning and research. . . . Today the Anatolians stake a claim on their state and demand to use their violated rights. They are taking their rightful positions in places previously monopolized by the privileged classes. . . . They are realizing that they are the real owners of this country. This is why the oligarchic minority is in state of panic. The White Turks who have been involved in questionable activities for years know that they have been caught in the act. If you hope to see someone who uses the Turkish identity but does not trust the Turkish nation, someone hostile to the Turkish language, religion, culture and history, then know for sure that even if their names are Ahmed, Mehmet, Ayşe, or Türkan, in truth they are crypto-foreigners.244

In this article instrumentalization of the notion was created also by usage of the 244Tanıl Bora, Beyaz Türkler, siyah Türkler kavgası: Notes on the White Turks debate in Turkey between nationalism and globalization, Abindgen, Routledge, 2013


exclamation mark to accentuate outrage; the question mark to express doubt; or ellipsis marks so that the reader is left to complete the meaning of the sentence. Furthermore, using some specific words with the possessive pronoun and often in capitalized form also serves for the same purpose of excluding and othering the rivals.



The notion of White Turkishness has continued to evolve. The term has changed its character further as popular columnists Serdar Turgut, Oray Eğin, Ertuğrul Özkök have enriched the white-black terminologies with new shades.

In 2009, in an article entitled "I'm Not a White Turk Any Longer", Turgut points that this concept cannot be exclusively referred to the elites. “I have thought the White Turks should be educated, knowledgeable and intellectual people who perceieved life while questioning and criticizing it”.245 It confirms Stubs’ vision that elites indicate a more specific condition than status community, since “an elite is a positively honored or privileged status group,” which can form status communities, but “a status community” per se “may be either positively or negatively privileged”.246

Now, as reveals Eğin, an additional criterion for the term "White Turk" is to be strongly opposed to AKP. Consequently, after the referendum of 12 September, the three columnists redefined the concept of White Turk to categorize every citizen—regardless of geographical or ethnic origin—voting against the

changes to the constitution. 247

“Being a member of an urban family, a form of republican Turkish elite, is no longer 245Tanıl Bora, Beyaz Türkler, siyah Türkler kavgası: Notes on the White Turks debate in Turkey between nationalism and globalization, Routledge, 2013 246Stubs in Ilhan Deniz, Turkish transnational business professionals in Istanbul: globalization, cosmopolitanism and the emergency elit, Bogazici University, Master thesis, 2010 247A constitutional referendum on a number of changes to the constitution was held in Turkey on 12 September 2010. The results showed the majority supported the constitutional amendments, with 58% in favour and 42% against. The changes were aimed at bringing the constitution into compliance with European Union standards. Supporters of Turkish EU membership hope constitutional reform will facilitate the membership process (,_2010)


required; social change has widened the definition, and all 18,5 million ’no’ voters have become ’whitened,’” states Eğin proudly.248 Turgut broadens the definition, claiming the end of domination by White Turks focused solely on their hedonistic pleasures. Özkok evaluates positively the development of the situation, calling the "42% of voters against" as " his White brothers," and the referendum result not as a loss but a wake-up call to people like him that they are not actually in a minority. “We are 42%, you are 58%,” he argues, hoping that his brotherhood will become bigger over the next two decades.249

Soon the journalist began to withdraw from that position, adding ambiguously in subsequent articles that the a k color (white) is the color of hope. He also is the first writer, in the same article, to introduce the idea of “White Kurds”, as if it were a term to endear him to the minority ethnic group. On another occasion Özkok once again polemicizes the acronym of the Justice and Development Party, challenging that AK (white) is not in line with the Prime Minister's proclamation of himself as part of the Black section of Turkish society.

This usage of White-Black dichotomy is criticized by historian Ortaylı, who perceives it a s a new, artificially constructed line of division, where the boundary is between the white and the rest of the Turks. He analyzes the dichotomy to describe how it is formed to serve ideologies and create false images. He underlines also the fact that if we talk about a non-existing group, when we give it a lable, the labeling may bring the consequnces as the group exists for real. This process is reflected in the divisions of society, when the second group 'must' be distinguished. However the author polmizes with the notion of Black Turks as well. How should we call them?:

248 249Öğret Özgür, White Turks, Black Turks and grey debate, Hürriyet, 22/11/2010,


Certainly not the Black Turks, the concept of the White Turks is like 20 years old, maybe as "Ötekinin ötekisi"—different from the rest. Those 42% will not be the White Turks, 42%, because not all of them voted ”no”. Even if we cancel this "non-ethnic" concept, a new one appears. Actually, the concept and the grouping is already obsolete and can no longer describe the clashes: rightist vs. leftists, religious vs. laics. The conflict concerns the distinction of the White Turks from the rest. The point is that the opposition template remains, only the form is changing, and the battle will never end. The authorities naturally produce their opposition; sectors of society excluded from the system of decision-making are dissatisfied; people begin to complain about clothing, moustache etc. They are dissatisfied with the typologization of political identity, an identity attached to them. They do not identify themselves with the new political creations.250

It is an important moment showing clearly how the definition of White Turks is manipulated for political expediency. It is also proof that when it comes to discourses about power, the author is ready to resign from the other distinctive characteristics of White Turks such as origins, residence etc. In this way he confirms that the notion serves just to express one political view in opposition to another. It seems like all the anti-AK Party supporters deserve attention, because “they” represent the “good secular us,” and so deserve attention. Then the author changes his mind. This example shows 250 Ortaylı İlber, Beyaz Türk aslında Beyaz değil, 23/10/2010


how the press represents certain kinds of interpretations “in” and “out”, to affect its systematic inclusions or exclusions.

We can also observe how the term evolves once again, and how the political and social changes influence its usage. Surprisingly, in this semantic reconstruction, more and more people deserve to be called White; even some who were formerly Black are now seen as White. The old criteria of distinction are invalidated as a reponse to new sociopolitical reality.

The additional element in description of White Turks going beyond the traditional distinction based on the center-periphery scheme indicates transformation into a new transnational identity we can observe especially in the businessplace.



Aydın Demirer describes White Turks as perfect candidates for any company in regard to those international values they present:251

If you are a HR director, and you are looking for valuable employee, good at teamwork, cleverly solving problems, having important qualities, able to behave, well-dressed, polite, with whom it is nice to chat, then you should take into your portfolio White Turks. And you can find these people, their number increases. Not all of them will possess these qualities, but if you are thinking about hiring someone, no one so well as a White Turk meets these standards. They handle many skills. They know foreign languages very well, which will facilitate contacts with foreign countries. They will introduce a new culture into the company, and they have friends in high positions who will help if necessary. So just White Turks! Now again recently we can hear about them, again we are writing about them.252

In this context we can mention two dimensions of contemporary transnational forms of Whiteness, involving dual logics: a unificatory logic at the international level, connecting--at least in terms of fantasies and aspirations—(former) Third World 251Demirer Aydin, Beyaz Türk'ten iyisini bulamazsın, 252Ibidem, Ey insan kaynakları yöneticileri…Kaliteli bir eleman, iyi bir takım oyuncusu, yetenekli bir problem çözücü, önemli niteliklere sahip bir yönetici, durmasını oturmasını bilen, zevkli giyinen, nazik, hoş sohbet, renkli bir adam mı arıyorsunuz?O zaman portföyünüze beyaz Türkleri dahil edeceksiniz. Zaten var diyorsanız (...)


bourgeoisies ever more closely with bourgeoisies elsewhere (as presented above); and a secessionst logic at the national level, involving social, cultural and political distancing from one's country people.253

When it comes to the contextualization of White Turkishness in terms of transnationalism, Sedef Arat-Koç adds one more element, arguing that White Turk identity has significantly influenced political and intellectual orientations including liberal feminism. Arat- Koç argued that the White Turks ideology has a negative impact on both the articulation of inclusive analysis that would address different groups of Turkish women, and willingness to relate to other feminist groups in the Middle East. It may be confirmed in many articles with an indirect usage of White Turk dichotomy. 254 However I have not found articles with a direct implication of the White Turk term in feminist discourses.

Arat-Koç distinguishes the White Turk feminism as a liberal bourgeois feminism often presented in some women's magazines, emphasizing sexual freedom, personal autonomy, consumption, lifestyle, self-help for empowerment. It clearly and directly opposes the model of femininity represented by conservative Muslim women, which is stereotyped as veiled, secluded, passive and ignorant. Another type of feminism was developed in line with neo-Kemalist ideologies with a tendency to reinforce women's place in the public sphere. The threat represented in this case by White feminism is that, if popularized in the media by journalists, it may reinforce alienation of women with headscarves, hijab, or burka from public areas such as schools, universities, public offices. Such alienation could also contribute to further overall polarization between

253Arat-Koç Sedef, A transnational Whiteness? New middle classes, globalism and non-European “Whiteness”, (Draft paper), Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada 254For instance in Kırıkkanat's article, as the most representative for the Orientalist approach – Turbanlıklar ve kurbanlıklar, Radikal, 16/10/98


liberal and conservative Turks.

There is a lack of continuity in the usage of the term White Turk. Opponents of the White-Black notion criticize its inconsideration of serious economic issues. They add that sociology provides appropriate terminology to define the idea of elites (Saribay, Arakon). In fact, as discussed before, the White-Black dichotomy reflected quite good social relations in the 90s, at the same time highlighting the key elements defining Turkish society, such as nationalism and secularism. The dual nomenclature served furthermore to successfully justify the domination of the ruling class. Currently, however, it requires an update in the light of not only the transnational processes, but the formation of the new religious elite in tandem with those processes.



The Gray amalgam goes beyond the previous definitions, as a group with distinctive elitist characteristics.

In an article from Today's Zaman we read the description of a newly formed social group, connecting religious practice with contemporary life. Their young representatives are educated abroad and have sophisticated tastes. This new groups proud of their lifestyle and, unlike the "traditional" White Turks, exhibits a much broader worldview. Sözen says that Gray Turks are characterized by an effort to lead a religious life in an increasingly secularized world.255

This is something new in Turkish society as it alters the paradigm of acute division between religious and secular groups. Currently there is just a group somewhere in the middle, which we can specify by the name of New Turks, a kind of hybrid connecting the religious majority with the secular minority. In any case it is still disputed whether we can already speak of a separate social group or is it maybe just a simple conformism of undecided units which identify their behavior with the most preferred model or outright adapt their behavior. This terminology is strongly promoted by Mustafa Akyol, who conceptualizes the idea as part of the tendency of Turks to create their own style based on their own cultural codes. Many identify with the term Gray Turks, loading it 255Sözen Ayşe, A new class of hybrid turks emerging between White and Black Turks, Today's Zaman, 05/08/2012,


with hopes of promoting the democratization of Turkey. Gray Turks are thus envisaged as positive contributors, in contrast to the old elites, to the struggle for freedom and liberal democracy.

That would be a positive change, and indeed this group could be used to popularize good examples of positive interactions between secular and religious elements. However some journalists refuse to relinquish the White-Black dichotomy as a condition of perpetual clashes, once again plying a discourse fashioned for its alienating intent. For this reason in many articles the keywords are “fight” or “power.”

Mehmet Seyfettin Erol describes the changes in the following way 256:

Until yesterday we had in Turkey two types of Turks, White and Black. . . .

White was the center, nation, wealth, great villas,

Bosphorus.257 They were modernizers of Turkey. By themselves they created a caste system maintained by a military-civilian bureaucracy. Their rule came from the depths of the state, speaking on behalf of the nation-state. But these people were mostly pseudointellectuals far removed from history, culture and the people. For this reason they will never be real illuminators of Turkey. Their reason for holding authority is the Black Turks. Pleasure and joy are their fundamental rights, and they are the chosen ones, the first class. Their primary missions are to install in minds the idea of big boss leaders and construct a demarcation between the center and the 256 Seyfettin Erol Mehmet, Siyah Türk gri ile imtikanı, Turkishnews, 14/03/2011, 257Ibidem, Türkiye'nin ilericileri onlardı. Kendi yarattıkları kast sisteminde "asker-Sivila" bürokrasinin zirveleri, ağababaları've devletin derinlikleriydiler.Ekonomi onlardan sorulurdu ... Ulus-devlet adina yazıp-hatta çizen düşünen ama bir çoğu milli şuurdan, kendi tarihinden, kültüründen, halkından uzak Birer "entelektüel" idi. Dolayısıyla hic bir zaman da bu milletin gerçek "aydın"ı olamadılar.


periphery. Usually they are quite successful.258


The republic is a witness of this strange story of ups and downs. Black-veiled Turks are slowing down the system. In the centerperiphery relations, the periphery is the farthest element. White Turks, whose qibla is the West, are contemptuous, condemning the others from above. They are patient, close to the state. Their qibla is Ankara, while their center is braveness. Listening to arabesque and folk music, drinking şalgam [sugarbeet juice] and ayran [drinkable yogurt], sometimes famous "grape water", one day Blacks Turks became curious about the center. Without any doubt their way toward the center was not really that easy or fast. This trip was so strange that a part of Black Turks began bleaching, assimilated their manners, language system or premises. Some of them failed in their imitation, and in doing this again invoked the "on behalf of the motherland", "the will of the people." In one word, they began to mix black with white, and gave birth to a blend: Gray Turks.259

258Ibidem, Meşruiyet kaynağı "Siyah Türkler" idi. İspatı ise Meclis'in duvarlarında yer alan "Hakimiyet Kayıtsız Şartsız Milletindir" sözleri idi. Arabaların ark kısmına otururlar, keyifle kahve ya da viskilerini yudumlar, batili müzikle deşarj olur bu've kopuk oldukları halk üzerine ahkam keserlerdi hem de en alasından, "azizim, üstadım "diye başlayanlarından ... Onlar, aynı zamanda gece kulüplerinin, baloların, eglence dünyasının da" efendileri "idi. Zevk've sefa, doğuştan en temel haklarıydı. Ne de olsa onlar, "seçilmişler", "Birinci sınıflar" idi ... Temel misyonları "Büyük Patronları" Nin dünyalarını-projelerini zihinlere enjekte etmek ve "merkez" ile "Çevre" arasına setler inşa etmek idi. Büyük ölçüde başardılar da ... 259Ibidem, Cumhuriyetin inişli-çıkışlı tarihi bizzat buna şahittir! "Siyah Türkler" ise "sistemin itilmiş kakılmışları" idi. Merkez-Çevre ilişkilerinde periferinin en ücrası demekti. Kıblesi Batı olan Beyaz Türk'ün tepeden baktığı, hor gördüğü "öz" du, sabırdı, inançtı, devlet bağlılık idi ... Kıblesi Ankara'ydı, "Merkez" ise onun yitiğiydi ... Arabesk've halk müziğini dinler, şalgam suyuna ve ayran talim ve eder, Arada bir efkarlandığında can meşhur "uzume Suyu" on sarılırdı ... Derken, Siyah bir gün Türkler "Merkez" and hatırladı, "talibim" dedi ... Kuşkusuz, Siyah Türklerin "Merkez" yürüyüşü of kadar da kolay've hızlı olmadı.


He very strongly criticizes the White Turks hegemonic tendencies, using religious symbols as qibla to show the White Turk attitude. This choice of codes exacerbates the deepening chasm between laicism and Islamism instead of promoting reciprocal tolerance. The privileged place is now occupied by Black Turks, and so the White are asking ”Are they black?” Of course not. From outside they are black, but inside they are white. In one word, they have black faces, but their heads and souls are blocked, stuck in purgatory. The end of the fight between Blacks (periphery) and White (center) is to make no gray. . . .

Gray because they are not

black and will not be black either.

They are solely aware of

external and internal processes, benefiting from the opportunity according to a systematic plan—new privileged!260

Finally, the author suggests that the current struggle is between the old black and the pseudo-gray, because the White Turks do not want to accept that they are losing their position. For this reason, in the next period we will witness the conflict between the gray and black. They won't give up the fight. Their historical mission to which they are entitled is that of achieving a correct position, with the will of the people. For this reason, the

260Ibidem, Öyle "garip" bir yolculuk oldu ki isteme talip olan "Siyah Türkler" in bir kısmı, zaman içinde "beyazımsı" olmaya başladılar. "Beyazların" dilini kullanmaya, onların mekanlarına dadanmaya, onlar gibi davranmaya başladılar. Birer kötü taklit oldular. Bunu yaparken de yine "millet Adina" dediler, "milli irade" yi dillerinden düşürmediler. Derken, "Ak" ile kara birbirine karıştı. Entel-dantel doldu ortaya ve bir de "Gri Türkler" çıktı ... Düne kadar "Büyük Patron" un gözdesi "Beyaz Türkler" in yerini bir anda onlar aldı.Şimdi "Beyazlar" soruyor; "Bu muydu Siyahlar?" Diye ... Elbette ki, "hayır." Bunlar olsa olsa birer "Çakma Beyaz". Dişi kara içi "ak". Tek kelimeyle, "Siyah Türk" un yüz karası! Kafaları've ruh dünyaları karışık, Araf'ta bir yerlere takılıp kalmış olanlardan ... Dolayısıyla, "Siyah" (Çevre) ve "Beyaz" (Merkez ) arasındaki mücadelenin sonu "Gri" olmamalı. Çünkü "Gri Türk", "Siyah Türk" değildir've olamaz da ... Onlar, sadece ve sadece iç ve diş dinamiklerin bilinçli, sistematik Birer tercihi've piyasaya hızlandırılarak sunulmuş, sindirim sorunu olan fırsatçı "Yeni gözdeler" dir!


Black Turks again will have to fight.261

Recep Yeter explores the same conflict:262

I took a taxi to travel from work to my nearby home. As soon as the taxi driver learned how close it is, he twisted his face trying in all possible ways to make me understand unhappy he was.

Ertuğrul Özkök only after five years apologized for the article in which he offended the wife of Durmuş Yılmaz, director of the Turkish Central Bank, for “wearing a headscarf and muddy boots.” Five years ago Özkök asked if Duriye's headscarf is a new good example for Turks.

Since then a lot has changed in Turkey. The authority of the White Turks has diminished, and Özkök himself has changed his opinion. Something's not changed yet: the hysteria of the White Turks for losing their power in favor of the Gray Turks. . . . We need to go back 10 years ago to understand the issue. . . . I believe that this point of view is the reason of the White Turk’s anger. This group, which became rich during the CHP Republic by acquiring intellectual capital. After the end of the revolution they became a part of a crowd of 3,000 crowd belonging to the academy managing 261Ibidem, Dolayısıyla bundan sonraki süreç, "Griler" ile "Siyahlar" arasındaki mücadeleye şahitlik edecek gibi ... Amud kalkmış milli iradenin Gercek anlamına kavuşabilmesi hook ettiği yeri alabilmesi've tarihsel misyonunu gerçekleştirebilmesi için bir Boyle mücadele kaçınılmaz! Bu yüzden, "Siyah Türkler" bir kez daha yine çok iş düşüyor! 262Yeter Recep, Yeni Şafak, Gri Türkler iktidar alanı,


the republican elite. They despise every one who belongs to this [Gray Turks] group. In the past 10 years, a lot of water has passed under the river. Thanks to the proper use of governmental duties, the group has grown from 30 thousand to 300 thousand, but the mindset of these people in the field of power was not altered.

Just as a taxi driver who has the authority, it is not an action against the beneficiaries of the authorities, but the authority used for taking pleasure from being in power, because of incompetence. They are opportunistic and want to remain in power, they put effort into the maintenance of such awareness and still remain White Turks. . . . Against whom? Against the 70 million, scratching their bellies, who realized the revolution in Anatolia in 2002. Despite the sensitivity of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on this topic, they still operate as if the society does not reflect the public interest. The reason for this is not Erdoğan, but you, dear gray Turks!263 263 Ibidem, Gazeteye yakın bir mesafeden taksiye biniyorum. Gideceği mesafenin yakın olduğunu öğrenince taksicinin yüzünün rengi soluyor, bu keyifsizliğini müşterisine yansıtmak için elinden geleni yapıyor. Karşısında suskun kalacağımı kestirse mırıldanarak sigara yakmaya bile teşebbüs edecek. 2-3 kilometrelik yolu kendine zehir ediyor. Derdi şu... Muhatabını hak sahibi olmaktan çıkarıp talepkar konumuna düşürmek ve onun üzerinden iktidara oynamak. O bir kaç kilometrelik zaman dilimi içerisinde kendisine bir iktidar alanı yaratıyor, ardından o iktidarın keyfini çıkarmaya çalışıyor. Her yeni kısa mesafe müşterisinde defalarca iktidara yükselip indirilen bir parti lideri keyifsizliğini yaşamaya mahkum olduğunun farkında değil. Halbu ki, iktidara oynamasa hiç bir problemi kalmayacak. Hatta her iktidar alanı yaratma çabası, ömründen ömür götürüyor, haberi yok. PR ajanslarındaki meslektaşlarımız sıklıkla gazetecilerden haber desteği rica ediyor. Gazetecinin durumu da farklı değil... Gazeteci, haber değeri taşıyan bir bülten karşısında bile aynı iktidar alanını oluşturmanın ve orada hükümran olmanın yollarını arıyor. Daha önce bir yazı yazmıştım. Bir 'mal'a değer katan, o 'mal'a ilişkin taleptir. Yani hiçbir mevki sahibinin, orada sunduğu 'mal'dan daha kıymetli olduğunu unutmaması gerek. Çünkü her 'mal'ın bir muadili vardır.Ertuğrul Özkök, 5 yıl önce Merkez Bankası başkanlığına getirilen Durmuş Yılmaz'ın eşinin başörtüsü ve evinin önündeki çamurlu ayakkkabılardan yola çıkarak yazdığı Beyaz Türkler'in tasfiyesi konulu yazısı nedeniyle tam 5 yıl sonra özür dilemiş.Özkök, 5 yıl önce Düriye Hanım'ın başörtüsüne bakarak 'Cumhuriyet Türkiye'sinin yeni rol modeli bu kadınlar mı olacak?' diye soruyor ve Beyaz Türkler'in tasfiye süreci konusunda endişeleniyordu. O günden bu yana Türkiye'de çok şey değişti. Beyaz Türkler'in hükümranlığı da önemli ölçüde yıkıldı. Özkök'ün düşünceleri bile değişti...Fakat değişmeyen bir şey var. Beyaz Türkler'den Gri Türkler'e geçen iktidar alanı histerisi... Bunu anlamak için '10 yıl öncesinin Türkiye'sinde karşı çıktığımız şey, Beyaz Türkler'in kendisi miydi? Yoksa tam da Özkök'ün değişiminde zahir olan 'üstenci bakış, göbeğini kaşıyan adam, bidon kafalı yaklaşımı' mıydı? sorusu önemli. Ben Beyaz Türkler'e kızma sebebimizin bu bakış açıları olduğunu sanıyordum.


We should bear in minds, that another function of the media is to organize, orchestrate and bring together that which it has selectively represented and selectively classified. The production of consensus, the construction of legitimacy—not –not so much the finished article itself, but the whole process of argument, exchange, debate, consultation, and speculation by which it emerges—is- is one of the key aspectobjectives of the media’s ideological effect.264 In this case however we see the effort of the op-ed author therefore not to be commentary but to asserts his opinion in order to influence that of his or her readers. So does Mümin Sekman in his definition of Gray Turks, underlying their internal crisis caused by the “'schizophrenic”' identiters nort exactly easterners. They are both conservative, and the moderns. Although, Yet not exactly conservatives nor precisely modern! Their bodies have both aspects, - peasant and urban, but they are not exactly urbanites nor peasants either!

They look at their own lives from the arabesque. They are the local, unhappy majority who do not identify with feel that they belong to Çünkü eskiden;CHP Cumhuriyeti'nin zengin ettiği para sahipleri, Bab-ı Ali'den beslenen ve orayı besleyen entelektüel sermaye sahipleri ile inklap tasfiyelerinin ardından ortaya çıkan Cumhuriyet elitlerinin yönettiği akademyaya ait bireyler'den oluşan üç bin ailelik güruh, kendi oluşturdukları elitist akvaryumu, o güruha mensup olmayanların dışarıdan seyretmesine bile tahammül edemezdi.Son 10 yılda köprünün altından çok sular aktı. Milletin verdiği görevi akılcı kullanan iktidar sayesinde o üç bin aile 30 bin, 300 bin oldu. Fakat bu 300 bin kişi tarafından iktidar alanının kullanım mantığı pek fazla değişmedi. Tıpkı taksicinin kendisine bahşedilen bir iktidarı, bahşedenlere karşı hizmet için değil, basiretsizlik nedeniyle iktidar hissinin keyfini çıkarmak için kullanması gibi, koşulların bir sonucu olarak imkana kavuşan ve '300 Bin'den biri olabilenler (her kişi ve her grup olmasa da) Beyaz Türkler'in iktidar alanı zihniyetini aynen muhafaza etmenin gayretinde oldu, olmaya da devam ediyorlar. Ticarette, sosyal hayatta ve akademyada cüzi de olsa bunu yansıtmaya başladılar. Hem de kime karşı? İçlerinden biri oldukları, 2002'deki Anadolu ihtilalini gerçekleştiren 70 milyon adet göbeğini kaşıyan adama karşı... Recep Tayyip Erdoğan'ın bu konudaki hassasiyetine rağmen bunu yapmaya devam ediyorlar. Bugün toplumsal refah halka yansımadı görüntüsü oluşuyorsa, müsebbibi Erdoğan değil sizsiniz sevgili Gri Türkler! 264Dogru Esra Arsan, Reuters Foundation, Journalism Fellowship Programme, Green Collage, Oxford, Michelmas and Hilary Terms, 2001-2002


"Black Turks." As a snobbish and Western elite, they happily feel bigger than the "White Turks.". On the other hand, inside they carry both parts of black and white identity. They are trying to fusemelt within themselves these two contrasting cultures. They are the synthesis. They are in a postmodern stop. They are Gray Turks! (…) Until now, thousands of articles have been written about the black and white Turks. All these articles have been missining the part about: The Gray Turks! When they saw for the first time a character representing them fully on TV screens, they completely identified themselves with him. This "Gray Turkish prototype" has a familiar face; it's Haluk from the TV series, “Don't let the children hear it”!

Haluk was brought up by a conservative Turkish parents but he married a modern woman. (As them) He’s the type who "maintains the “old values" yet is also keen on innovations. They bring up girls like modern liberated fathers, but when they see them one day wearing a mini skirt, something is tearing apart inside them.

Haluk accepts both changes, as well as wants to maintain some “immutable” things "invariant”. They are confused about how much has to be changed. They have some aggressive tendencies, but also carry the fear of being excluded from the environment, they live in continuous anxiety.

When they take decisions often their common sense clashes with pride and they argue. They defend the traditional values, but they don't know


"why". When they hear the irony about the reasons for the modern behaviours they mixed it with the memorized words: "Let's enter the EU, but let's not compromise our values." They want to get what they want without any changes. This ambivalence is an example of a Gray Turk logic.265

The negative perception of 'the other' (Black Turks by White Turks) can be also influenced by presenting the reciprocate relations between them in the accusatory light. That is presented in different articles showing the negative approach of Whites.

The journalist of the newspaper Today's Zaman, remains shocked after the publication of that report prepared by the Bilgi University, specifying that the White Turks are becoming aberrations in comparison to others taying far behind the ordinary citizens. 266 The report says they have an excellent education, and yet at the same time they are extremely backward, with anachronistic, autoritariany and reactionary political views. Kurds, Islamists or non- Muslims remain dangerous others in their opinion, as the "others".

In Today's Zaman we find these quotations characterizing White Turks as:

They are educated at the best high schools and universities in Turkey and the world; they are rich, belonging to a high social and economic class; they are professionals travelling the world. Yet they are intolerant, aggressive, narrow-minded, anti-democratic and

265 266 Dağı Ihsan, The poverty of the White Turks, Today's Zaman, 08/06/2009,;jsessionid=R4VDmo5cBXUvsB9LCqaNLMXH? newsId=177416&columnistId=73


militarist. . . . (…) The profiles of those interviewed by the researchers are high, but the responses received are very “low”. One is shocked by how an elite education and high social economic standing can result in such poor political judgement and values. I can comfortably bet that you would get more inclusive, tolerant, democratic answers from the ordinary poor people of Turkey, even in a remote village coffehouse. What we have at hand is an elite (the White Turks) who are well behind the ordinary people of the country. The White Turks are more conservative than the conservative- – religious people, more reactionary and more opposed to change. In short the White Turks represent, I think, the lowest degree of political values in Turkey. Their political and social ideas are anachronistic, outdated, reactionary and authoritarian. It's their real poverty.267

It is This opinion is reaconfirmed in a more radical article from Milliyet with a provocative title: “Why Don’t White Turks Want to Share with Other Authorities and Well-being?”:

The Bilgi University conducted a survey on White Turks, regarding their views on the Kurdish issues, religion, etc. The results explaining why they do not want to share power are very surprising. They say outright that they hate them, that they could not be friends. Kurds are lazy, they expect everything from the government, and they even do not have well-developed brains too, The Kurdish problem does not exist, it is only an imperialistic game. Everything 267Ibidem


started from the PKK. As for religion, they speak with morea higher moderation., Everything is ok if they [religious conservatives] do not talk too much; they could possibly be friends. But in Gray Turks they perceive some kind of threat. In conclusion, they consider themselves as the only worthy heirs and successors of power. Thewhose AKP is unworthy, and they do not trust Ergenkon. On the one hand they are for democracy, but at the same time they could support a possible coup d’état. They live in isolation from society and, do not give up on their opinions, because they live separately from the changes taking place in the society, creating division in "us and them.". Considering themselves Kemalists, they consider the others as a threat to their own position. A sense of their own identity remains static. They show real blindness in understanding diversity and, difference, and they fear the intervention and conservatism of AKP. If this is the situation, how can we manage to get on well regardless of the colors? According to me, feels to be selected Turks, in a democratic state they who feel themselves to be Turks should have a bigger respect for different colors in a democratic state. We just need to get rid of stereotypes and try to get some more empathy.268

We can see how the author itself manipulates the term White Turks, as well as the result of the same survey we read about above, showing everything in an exaggerated way to condemn even more “the privileged group.”.

268 18, 2009, Milliyet, Beyaz Türkler neden "ötekilerle" iktidar've refahı paylaşmak istemiyorlar?


Similar characteristics were attributed to White Turks by a journalist Taha Akyol, at the same time warning thea ruling party to react quickly enough to prevent the concerns of traditional elites. A The controversial report by the Istanbul Bilgi University is full of categorical statements of traditional elites, expressing their general sense of threat such as, " till I've beenSince I was 14 years old , I have never sat down next to a veiled woman.", " Now I meet them at every step " ( Ebru , 23 years old); or, " I would not be able to make friends with someone wearing the headscarf. ", I'm open- minded, I'm a good person, I love people, "but I'm not hiding the fact that I have prejudice in some cases."269 The research showed also shows a negative attitude of "White Turks'' towards non-Muslim ethnic minorities. Naturally these views leading to accusations against of the former elite of extremely limited world view and discriminatory behaviorion.

The New York Times attempted to make a far more radical quotes, again referring to the heavy influence of varying tastes in the axes of differentiation of their referents. According Bedri Beykama, a Turkish painter, activist and politician, - " There are substances which you should not mix ". "While we consume meals together, sipping wine and telling jokes, listening to Beethoven, the Rolling Stones, Beatles or Edith Piath, in their cases women and men sit separately and do not drink alcohol .”270 “Even the biscuits brands separate us,” he.- adds. - “They eat Ülker products. We like Eti products and we will never buy the others, protecting our own interests. - In this way our money does not they go to the other. It is also reflected in division between the Chambers of Commerce ( Tüsiad versus Müsiad ) and places of entertainment we patronize. It is very important that this year even the celebration of the Independence

269Ibidem 270Tavenirse Sabrina, Newfound riches come with spiritual costs for Turkey's religious merchants, New York Times, 25/12/2008,


Day celebration took a two-way swivel”.271

The article explicitly presents the reaction of secular Turk reactions, concerning the changes made by the government of Erdoğan, whereby public schools are turning into the field of action of imams, music festivals stands are deprived of alcohol, and journalists and generals who dare to oppose AKP finished imprisoned. Nobody knows how systematic will these changes will be and which represents a bigger threat: Erdoğan’s lust for power or piousness. Hence it is difficult to recognize whether this dictator is closer to Vladimir Putin or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The article also emphasizes the importance of self- segregation between the Turks following the Western way of life and the religious part of the society. Another statement is a perfect proof of this phenomenonit: a 20- year- old Princeton graduate stokes fear from his own ignorance by lack of knowledge of a religious enemy who is emerging as an "Stranger ", with whom he generally do not wishes to have nothing in common.

This strategy of emphasizing the negative aspects and prejudices, is mentioned in our introduction. It is employed in order de-emphasize the necessity of mitigating and denial of '”our”' negative things and '”their”' positive things.

There are some moderated opinions that show, appreciation for the changes in Turkish society:" It's been always been a matter of white-black, " - says Zeynep Dereli, head of one of the largest social agencies , APCO. - “So far until now, you have to be totally laic or you were considered not unable to function

in a democratic society. "272

271Ibidem 272Ibidem


Therefore the actions of the current government are judged in a more moderated manner, as the prerogative of those with a mandate does not seek revenge for previous years but rather to make changes in line with the beliefs of the society rather than vicious revenge. The reason of that is that secularism is necessary for the governmental institutions, but it is difficult to require a similar radicalism in everyday life. No one is surprised anymore by pictures of politicians with their wives wearing headscarfs. New elites are more and more often called: Anatolian Tigers. It is a positive change which can serve to create a new positive image of contemporary Turkey, a good example for all Muslim societies. Hence we understand the heavy promotion of Turkish soap operas in which Tunisians and Arab audiences are looking for inspiration.

Additionaly, only Today's Zaman presented the positive relation between the Gray Turks and others. This article does not emphasizes an explicit division between social groups.273 On the contrary, it presents as a completely normal the case of who is a graduateholder of the diploma from a prestigious American university, and who attends a jazz concert in Istanbul, then goes to pray and soon afterwards joins a party with the Kemalist-minded friends. The narrow-mindness of the old elites whose " limited perspective makes it impossible to understand the " other " is a one point. As one interviewee declares,. "Basically, however, the only difference between us is religion . believes one of the respondents quoted in the article. There is a growing number of particulary young people who feel themselves to be somewhere in the middle, while candidly respecting the diversity. “'They are urbanized, well- educated, fluent in English, travel abroad, believe in democracy and pluralism and observe religion as carefully as any other pious Muslim. They seem happy to have the best of both worlds”.274 273A new class of hybrid Turks emerging between White and black Turks, Today's Zaman, 05/08/2012, Htttp:// 274Ibidem


We can not already state that this category of 'hybrid Turks' has accumulated enough power to officialy impose its specific lifestyle. However this new category sheds some light on the transformation taking place in a heterogeneous Turkish society, which is not homogenous and has many varieties. Unfortunately their emergence remains understudied, often overlooked, while too much media attention of journalists is put on the high level of polarization between the secularists and religious groups.

With regard to this chapter, the most important part is to understand the production of modern strategic elites. At this point we return to Bourdieu's conceptualization and operationalization of “capital” in order to demonstrate that acquired status is a socioeconomically and socio-culturally valorized matter.275 The signifier of the economic capital is obvious, but the cultural and social capital are not so easily idenifiable. Bourdieu states that the social capital may be “embodied”, “objectified” and “institutionalized”, where “embodied” includes the personal involvement. Therefore, the embodied capital can not be a heritage nor “accumulated beyond the approppriating capacities. It provides various privileges to its owner. The social capital is defined as:

The aggregate of the actual or potential resources which are linked to possessions of a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquiantance and recognition—or – or, in other words, to membership in a group, which provides each of its members with backing of collectively ity-owned capital, a “credential” which entitles them to credit, in various senses of the word. . . . The volume of the social capital possessed by a given 275Ilhan Deniz, Turkish transnational business professionals in Istanbul: globalization, cosmopolitanism and the emergency elit, Bogazici University, Master thesis, 2010, p.19


agent thus depends on the size of the network of connections he can effectively mobilize and on the volume of the capital (economic, cultural or symbolic) possessed in his own right by each of those to whom he is connected.276

What results form these definitions, is that, for the members of the new middle class, the most critical assets are a shared, familiar background – (belonging to the social capital), recognized education as a part of academic capital, and personal skills as a part of cultural capital. They are the most important elements in Bourdieu's theory of social divisions.

That is why although the “new Islamist encounters have acquired recognition and legitimacy through a process very similiar to that of the Republican elites, that of acquiring cultural capital through rational and universal education—their – their “ascendancy has reached its limits because of their provinicial Muslim habitus.” 277 For this reason the White-Black dichotomy is still in use and remains relevant to the most recent events of huge importance in Turkey.

276Ibidem 277Nilüfer Göle, Secularism and Islamism in Turkey, The making of elites and counter elites, Middle East Journal, Vol.51, No.1, Winter 1997, pp.46-58



The "politics of odour" is simply old wine in a new bottle, a battle between elitism and anti-elitism (masquerading as being populism) fought over the symbolically and ideologically charged field of culture and lifestyle. Umut Özkırımlı, The odour of Gezi on the dangers of class populism278


According to the critical discourse, more than just the words of the text itself count in the process of instrumentalization. Additionally the global meaning is the way in which one can define how an event will be interpreted. Thus, we can define the same situation in different ways. The most important question to take into consideration in this regard is one's way of defining the topic or the themes of the text. Another important thing is that the topics could be expressed fromby different perspectives in the headlines of the news or in the declarations of leaders likewise.279 The Occupy Gezi movement has been interpreted in many different ways, and even if we put in doubt some of the ideas surrounding it in regard, we must admit its importance, as having a strong impact on the political discourse and practice in Turkey. Additionally the events opened a discussion about many issues regarding White-Black 278Umut Özkırımlı, The odour of Gezi: on the dangers of class populism, Aljazeera, 279Van Dijk in Medya nefret söylemi izleme raporu, Eylül-Aralık 2012, Hrant Dink Vakfı


dichotomy (as for instance old cleavages between authoritarian secularism and Islam), subsequently giving us a possibility to analyze how the concept was used by different authors with different approaches instrumentalizing it. The Gezi Park civil protests began on May 27, 2013 in opposition to the attempted demolition of a public park in a governmental project of modernization of Taksim Square, central in Istanbul. The events that ensued between protesters and the government eventually spread across Turkey, since what initially was a mass reaction to the police disproportionate use of force against peaceful activists met with the government's harsh response. The police intervened violently using water cannons and tear gas. Four demonstrators and one policeman died, while hundreds were seriously injured and many were detained. What made the Gezi Park so unusual was that during the first days it was impossible to identify the protesters by a particular socio-economic class or political ideology. Moreover, the composition of protesters, including their motivations evolved. What was initially rising up because of environmentalist concerns quickly attracted different groups with contradictory points of views, some irreconcilabled. The strong reaction of the government underlined growing anxiety about authoritarian tendencies in Turkish politics. Thus, for some people the protest turned into attempts to draw a no-cross line for the government, which wais increasingly perceived as intervening in individual choices and lifestyles. The latest decrees and moralizing discourses have aroused the suspicion that the ruling party is tending to intervene in secular ways of life and reorganize public life to align with Islamic values. The fear of compulsory puritanism has increased after the regime placed further secree on the sale of alcohol and banned all images, advertisements, sponsorship and movie scenes including alcohol consumption, perceived as the invasion of personal space. But what really annoyed protesters was the way of governance, as the Prime Minister 169

started to make decisions on his own, consulting neither those primarily concerned -nor his own political entourage. The personalization of power and media control, with no real opposition, has resulted in monopolizing the political discourse to the detriment of due process and civic well-being. On the other hand, according to the government, the protests were specifically targeted at the Prime Minister and were part and parcel of a global conspiracy to topple their rule. In case of White-Black dichotomy, Gezi Park could be analyzed not only as manifestations of dissent against AK Party, but also as a reaction to the failure of the opposition party to respond to its constituency. It could be argued, as suggested by Hatem Ete, that the protestors consisted of those who could not accept the shifiting balances of power and those who, despite having supported AK Party in dismantling the military’s influence in politics,of tutelage regime did not want the new political system to be built by the AK Party. 280 The conservative and pious characteristics of the AK Party have become a problem during the construction of the new political system. Thus splitting of old allies should not be interpreted from a perspective of demonstration, but from a perspective of power struggle. H. Ete claims that 'the common thread that tied diverse groups at the protests was elitism. Some convey their elitist attitude in their lament for the loss of political, economic and cultural privileges during the AKP party rule. Others were disgruntled about the upwardly mobile status of the previously repressed conservative and pious groups. Both forms of elitism, at their core, were the result of the groups having to treat the AK party and its conservative and pious constituency, as their equal after having looked down upon them for years.

The second mood that prevailed was one of defeat. The elitist tendencies of the protesteors, in effect intensified these feelings. 280Hatem Ete, The political reverberations of the Gezi Protests, Insight, Vol. 15, No. 3, June 2013


This was the result of the secularist old elite losing to the AK Party the privileges they had held since the founding of the Republic at the hands of the AK party and its democratic reforms. The fact that the majority group, whose political existence had been denied for almost a century, was able to realize their dreams of democracy and that they were finally take in power was at the root of the secularists’ feelings of defeat.281

This explanation is a typical one used to explain the reasons of the White- Black dichotomy. However, if we simply concentrate on the islam-secularism distinction, we forget about the nature of changes characteristic nowadays. The protest may also be contextualized as resistance against global economic powers. According to Nilüfer Göle, it expressed new urban awareness against consumer culture, marrying environmental sensitivity to criticism of neo-liberal politics:

In Turkey, capitalism has taken a material form, incarnated in the shopping mall, a new and concrete symbol of global financial capital-ism. It makes tangible the phenomena of commercial capitalism, a consumerist society, and the global exploitation of labor. The initial enthusiasm for malls as both shopping centers and places to socialize has faded away. Malls have started to ruin the urban fabric in the same way as commercial greed and consumerism. For Istanbul citizens, the project of constructing a shopping mall in the middle of Gezi Park is nothing more than the 281Ibidem


confiscation of a public space by private capital.282

It is confirmed by the attitude of left-wing Muslims, who criticized this so-called “pious capitalism” (capitalists with ablution) seen in the hyper-development and transformation of the Turkish economy under the AKP government.The existence of such a category of Muslims; evidence the diverse of interests in contemporary Turkish society. The movement, as confirmed the elections in March 2014, was doomed to stay a minority movement because it could not sustain momentum and transform into an organized political opposition. Elections in March 2014 confirmed this impotence. Nonetheless it showed the necessity of respect, as underlined again by Nilüfer Göle: In the face of state oppression through commerce and morality, citizens have put culture before consumption and traded contempt for the respect for diversity. It is about lifting the taboo about the Armenian Genocide, making peace with Kurdish nationalists a possibility and withdrawing the army from public life; this movement announces the need for a new public culture based on recognition and acceptance. The future of Turkish democracy resides in the credo of this movement, which asks that those in power hold their tongues, abstain from moral intrusions, and ban violence. The Gezi movement is reuniting people across ancient divides by rejecting the politics of polarization and stigmatization. While it is predominantly a secular movement, it is not a movement in favor of authoritarian state secularism and the exclusion of Muslims from sharing the same public spaces. The square presents 282Navaro-Yashin Yael, The market for identities: secularism, islamism, commodities, in Fragments of culture, the everyday of modern Turkey, ed.D.Kandiyoti&Ayşe Saktanber, I.B.Tauris, London, New Yrok, 2002


an opportunity and space for congregation, debate, support, and reassembling. The square becomes the stage where actors improvise and perform. In the square they create libraries, organize workshops, and distribute “kandil simidi” (a religious holiday bagel). They rehearse together new forms of citizenship. The soul of this libertarian and unifying movement is best summed up by Nazim Hikmet’s poem: Live like a tree lone and free, live like brothers like the trees of a forest.283 This positive and peaceful vision of the events can be contrasted with the official interpretation of the Occupy Gezi Movement, supported by Ete. During the protests a quantitative research was carried out by various organizations, likewise varying in results. Nonetheless they provided some insights into the ideological and political profiles of the Gezi Park protesters. Baseding on the face- to- face interviews the research was conducted by Konda Research and Consultancy, Gerar Metropoll and SETA (Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research). The most controversial issue was the different political background of the protesters. According to KONDA, a survey of 4,411 respondents on June 6 and 7 and found that most of the protesters had an urban, educated background -– (35 per cent of the respondents were high school graduates, compared to the national average of 27 per cent), the average in Turkey. What is more, 52 per cent of the respondents were employed, and 37 per cent were students;, respectiveas opposed to 35 per cent and 7 per cent, the averages in Turkey. These are precisely the characteristics that make them White Turks in the eyes of AKP supporters dreading that in turn rekindle enduring fears about a White, secularist takeover.

283Göle Nilüfer, Gezi-Anatomy of the Public Square Movement in Insight, Vol.15 No.3, Summer 2013


Therefore we hear the Prime Minister describing protesters as “'the puppets of foreign powers who do not want Turkey to progress,”' , a “majority of whom come together to merely oppose AK Party government.” He even calls them “vandals who have nothing to do with environmental concerns.” At the same time the opposition CHP Party regards them as '”heroes . . . ...armed with global values”' and who were “demonstrating for freedom'.”284

We return to our methodology to examine how presented this dualism is presented by different journalists.

Mehmet Tezkan, with proudly adapts the term White Turk moniker for the participants: I won't say White Turks. They were under 30. They took Gezi Park. They went to Taksim. They mades the biggest social movement in recent history. They are White Youth. They took their place on the stage. They claimed that “we are here too.”. I haven't seen them before on the squares. I am familiar with all of them of course. I am familiar with Istinye Park, Kanyon, Bebek, Bağdat Street, Nişantaşı. I saw them at the cinema projections, at the concerts, at the festivals, in the coffee shopsbars and pubs. This winter we went skiing together; next month we'll enter the sea in Bodrum together. The people hiding themselves from tear gas under the walls, you may also meet while sailing in Gocek. They are White Youth! In the end they strive, raise up their heads, and seize the moment. they take the present time They are leaders . . . They have no leader who tells them what to do and how to behave . . . the most of them 284 Preface, Insight, Vol. 15, No. 3, June 2013


indeed didn't know what to do . . . to escape from tear gas, where to stop, how to protect themselves from the thrown stones. Believe that they went tot Taksim as they go to a concert... Their clothes were also like that. They didn't have common slogans. Because they didn't know how to sing them, they didn't learn by heart. . . . ...They have the common spirit. That's enough. The glass is overfull. Those who were sleeping in Gezi Park were awoken up by White Youth. . . . (…) You won't stop them now. Don't call them ayyas [drunkard], they are all

educated children . . . ...

(wearing) tidy clothes, sport shoes, having money in their pockets....(...) [T]hey are white collars.285 As we can see, the author ignores the mixed character of the protesters and treats all of them as the representativesnts of his vision of White Turks, corresponding to old values and acharacterized by the specific, standardized lifestyle. The same attitude took in Ertugrul Özkök, who is full of admiratione for the Gezi Park youth: People who were never few, who lost everything, even their dignity, in thate moment they started to feel as bastards of this country., this These young people came out to give a lesson (morals) to the “’otherized’” Turkey. It's good for them. It's better for AKP. It's the 285Mehmet Tezkan “Aslinda ne oldu?” Milliyet, 3/06/2013 Beyaz Türk demiyorum..Yaşları 30'un altındaydı...Gezi Parkı'na el koydular. Taksime çıktılar, son yılların en büyük sivil hareketine imza attılar...Beyaz gençti onlar...Sahnede yerlerini aldılar, artık biz de varız dediler...Onları daha önce meydanlara hiç görmemiştim...Hepsini tanıyorum tabii...Istinye Park'tan tanıyorum, Kanyon'dan tanıyorum, Bebek'ten, Bağdat Caddesi'nden, Nişantaşı'ndan tanıyorum...Sinema günlerinde görmüştüm onları...Konserde...Festivalde...Kafede...Barda....Bu kış Kartalkaya'da birlikte kayak yapıyorduk, önümüzdeki ay Bodrum'da denize gireceğiz...Taksim'de biber bombasından kaçışıp duvar dibine sığındığımız insanlarla belki de Göcek'te karşılaşacağız...Yelken yaparken...Beyaz genç onlar! Sonunda isyan ettiler, başkaldırdılar, gündeme el koydular...Büyük direnişin önderi onlardı...Ne yapmalarını, nasıl davranmalarını söyleyen liderleri yoktu...Çoğu ne yapacağını da bilmiyordu zaten...Biber gazından nasıl kaçacağını, nerde duracağını atılan taştan nasıl korunacağını...Inanın konsere gider gibi Taksim'e gelmişlerdi...Kılık kiyafetleri de öyelydi. Ortak sloganları yoktu...Çünkü slogan atmasını bilmiyorlardı, ezberlerinde yoktu. Onları bir araya getiren, Taksim'e yollayan, polisin karşısına diken aynı duyguydu.Yeter artık...Bardak taşmıştı. Gezi Park uyuyan beyaz gençleri uyandırdı...Hepsi tahsilliydi, okumuş çocuklardı...Kılık kiyafetlerinden, ayaklarındaki spor ayakkabılarından belliydi. Ceplerine para vardı...Beyaz yakalıydı onlar.


best for Turkey.286

Six months later onin he adds that,- 'of course, he does not considered the Gezi Park conflict as a homogeneous movement and is being aware of the different backgrounds of participants'. He explains that he had claimed the event '”White”' in terms of the general spirit that it had, perceived as enlightened modernization under the leadership of young heirs to the Kemalist ideology. Appreciating the possibility of peaceful cooperation of religious and laic groups, he mixes the term with the AKP’s parties 'Ak' (White), claiming that the Gezi Park represents a fracture in the system of Erdoğan. The double entendre results from the presence among protesters of Gezi of '”Ak Youth”'-(religious youth) along with White Youth (as in White Turks) – described as leaders. 287 In this way we can observe theat White Turks term is symbolized by Özkök, as representing the idea of leadership meant certain group of society in order to modernize the society in line with his ideology, which corresponds to the role he assumes journalists must exercise as agents for “'making a better society'.

Finally we scrutinize a completely different Erdogan's vision, and we find that he spouts the same kind of demagogy and populist discourse once used by the White side—only – now it turned Black. As the phenomenon of this tables-turned role reversal is described perfectly below I feel it necessary to be quoted the article in its entire:

286Ertugrul Özkök, Kimdir bu insanlar? Hürriyet, 03/06/2013, Beddua yerine hayir duasi, Hurriyet 06/06/2013 Evet bu ülkenin sayısı hiç az olmayan insanı, her şeyini kaybettiği, haysiyetini yitirdiği, kendini bü ülkenin üvey evladı gibi hissetmeye başladığı bir anda bu genç çocuklar çıktı ve 'ötekileştirilmiş' Türkiye'ye moral verdi. Bu onlar için iyidir. Ama AK Partı için daha iyidir. En iyi de Türkiye içindir. 287Ertugrul Özkök, Beyaz Türkler'in defteri, Doğan Kitabı, Istanbul, 2013


Black Turks Strike Back The Gezi protests have shown us that this distinction is more deepseated and pervasive than we thought, and that White Turk elitism has created its own Frankenstein: Black Turk populism. That a defiant Erdoğan would rely on the imagery of the oppressed, yet silent and law-abiding majority, is not in itself surprising."We are a party which received 21.5 million votes. Almost 50 percent. Aren't we supposed to have the final say [on Gezi Park]?," Erdoğan asked said in a televised interview on June 2, covertly threatening the protesters with the power of the numbers. "Those who say they believe in democracy are not honest. What we see here is the hegemony of the minority over the majority," he claimed a couple of days later. But few could anticipate the moralistic and outright derogatory tone Erdoğan would adopt. Once again, the bone of contention was lifestyle and culture. "If one drinks, one is alcoholic," he ruled in the same televised interview, when asked to comment on the recent controversial alcohol legislation which was perceived by some as an encroachment of their lifestyle and cited among the causes of Gezi demonstrations. And then there was "odour". Yes, odour, smell. The occupied Gezi Park smelled bad, according to Prime Minister Erdoğan, who hardly disguised his contempt for the protesters. "It is interesting," he said on June 13, "that this Gezi Park, and I am going to be blunt for the


sake of environmentalism, is full of trash, litter. It smells of urine. Some are [using a religiously-loaded term, büyük abdestini yapmak] defecating there.” "Not the genuine, sincere ones. The latter use the toilets in nearby hotels, thereby introducing a moral hierarchy between the "clean", hence sincere, and the "dirty", hence the insincere. AKP supporters were quick to adopt their leaders' discourse. Thus, caricaturist Hasan Kaçan claimed (in the wake of his meeting with the Prime Minister on June 12) that he knew what was going on in Gezi since his son was there: "There is no shower, no food. It terribly stinksmells terribly of urine. . . . … Gezi Park is no longer a place a human being can live." A journalist and researcher posted a tweet on June 9: "I have been to Gezi Park for two hours, to observe. There is no need for the police to spray pepper gas. Those who are there will get tuberculosis because of the dirt and the smell. Very bad.” "Others were more "ironic.". "The hygiene of Gezi is below the standards in India. The TOMAs [(armoured vehicles used by riot police]) should come and fire their water cannons before an epidemic starts," tweeted an activist and founder of a civil society organisation, famous for its satirical opposition to military tutelage, on June 8. Yet, irony or satire does not conceal the contempt.288 The sample language is full of hate, expressed by exaggerations and even insults. This kind of downgrading echoes the White Turk journalistic derision studied above hasn't been very common so far, but it is clear that now the role has changed. The Black rulers 288Umut Özkırımlı, The odour of Gezi: on the dangers of class populism, Aljazeera,


underline the fact that they had been discriminated and excluded. All of this is paradoxically expressed in the same tone as the oft-so deeply criticized manner of the White Turks speech. The most striking point is that it is nearly identically to the Mine Kırıkkanat style of describing “the other,”-the Black Turk, utilizing the vocabulary related to the body and its unpleasantries physical activities (“'some are defecating”,, “it stinks terribly of urine”'). In comparison we can quote an article from 2005, where the journalist complains about the stench inside mosques: “In our mosques the smell drives crazy not only tourists, but as far as we know also some parliamentarians, suffering from it so badly that they request private VIP rooms for prayers. If Muslims take off their shoes 5 times a day and wash their feet, but they don't wash their socks, we have the same problem.”289 When the roles changed. the term started being used by the opposition. After taking power, the Prime Minister started to identify himself as Black, instrumentalizing the notion in a cynically populist strategy to show himself in support of of the society’s victims. In an interview from 2003 he states that:

In this country, there is a segregation between White Turks and Black Turks. Your brother Tayyip belongs to the Black Turks."290

He goes on to add: ...They think we don't understand politics, they think we don't understand art, cinema, theater, poetry. They think we don't understand esthetics and architecture. They think we are illiterate,

289Kırıkkanat Mine, Halkımız temizleniyor, 29/07/2005, Radikal, haberno=160001 290 Bu ülkede bir Beyaz Türkler, bir de siyah Türkler var. Kardeşiniz Tayyip, siyah Türklerdendir”


ignorant, low- class, people who should be content with what's given to them., iIn short, we are a black (negro) crowd."291 This discourse seems meant to compromise White Turks’ approach towards supporters of his politics and their disdain for his party success, which is, according to him, fueled more by prejudice than by logic. The surprising fact is that instead of invoking the previously used adjective, 'Black' Siyah (BlackSiyah), the Prime Minister opts for a term with borderline- having racist ethymology-—Zenci '(Negro)' (Zenci).292 We can find more examples of the political discourses marked by this word, which brings us back to the problem of the chromatology of the White-Black dichotomy. The leader identifies himself with lower-income families, as a real 'Zenci Turk' during meetings in Zeytinburnu to promote his urban renewal project for construction of earthquake- proof homes. Claiming proudly that he arrived to power despite of his origins, he manages to win the crowd’s sympathy, thus ensuring him their total support. The zenci term is offensive in more ways, as it can also more naturally be interpreted as an insult towards people of African descent. This adjective’s double character derives fromits genealogy. Etymologically the word comes out from the Persian 'zangi', and genealogically it entered usage during comes back to the Ottoman Empire. However Though the Ottoman slave trade and its aftermath have shown the ambiguities of the word zenci even in that historical context, in both British and Ottoman sources the term “zenci” (as well as the feminine zenciye) is generally used to refer to a black- skinned, sub-Saharan African who was either enslaved or recently emancipated, and generally impoverished and undapted to Ottoman culture and norms—what might otherwise be 291Özkırımlı Umut, Gezin'nin hijyen sorunu ya da koku siyaseti, T24 Bağımsız İnternet Gazetesi, 21/06/2103, Onlara göre biz siyasetten anlamayız. Onlara göre biz sanattan, tiyatrodan, sinemadan, resimden, şiirden anlamayız. Onlara göre biz estetiken, mimariden anlamayız. Onlara göre biz okumamış, cahil, alt tabaka, verilen yetinmesi gereken... yani zenci bir grubuz. 292This term is also employed by Mustafa Akyol, who seems to use it on purpose as making reference to the American ”negro”


disparaged to as “black, ignorant, and poor.”'293 Currently, the adjective 'zenci' may be translated into English in different ways, depending on context, as not being completely an analogic to '”negro'.” In some cases the word can mean the more acceptable '”black person'.” However the Prime Minister’s word choice is meaningful when compared to the other options (siyah or arap – meaning black- skinned). In his mouth the 'zenci' term connotes the characteristics of a more derogatory racial slur, as he prefers the option with a vague meaning associated with an Ottoman view. Furthermore, even nowadays it is the most commonly employed racial slurword in the discrimination of Afro-Turks, based on their skin colour. Thus, intentionally or not, the Prime Minister’s association of ignorance with 'zenci' – may be offensive to the emancipated Afro-Turk community, whose ancestors were the emacipated African slaves who were brought to Anatolia and scattered largely down the Aegean coastline and in Istanbul.294 In conclusion, in Erdogan’s example the White-Black Turks dychotomy is frequently instrumentalized as part of the Prime Minister’s strategy of politics of social polarization of society. According to some opinions, it may be a strategy taken in line of thought of American politicians, whose shrewd claiming that 'pandering, race-baiting and manichaeism prove more electorally effective shrewd than coalition building. The parallels of this process, including usage of offensive terms, were clearly observed during the Gezi Park conflict. The Prime Minister’s infamous word “çapulcular'' – (looters), daiming to criminalize the protesters, actually backfired an up-side down effect, as it was assumed with irony to subvert the Prime Minister's demagogy. Additionally Erdoğan tended to present the police forces as victims during the clashes, praising their lawful and moral high ground when the brutal crackdowns occurred in 293Ferguson Michael, White Turks and Negroes, The politics of polarization, Jadalliya, 29/06/2013 294Ibidem


many cities. In result short, more emphasis was put on exacerbating social schisms rather than exercising political will and power to correct them. In regard to what was written above, I would confirm that the Gezi protests should be treated as an early warning, a premonition, exposing the dangerous - dual nature of the discourse of "White Turks versus Black Turks." We can see that Gezi Park is a very significant indicator that demonstrates very well the evolution, actualization and instrumentalization of these categories even in that openly hostile situation by both parts. We can observe very clearly what motivesations are hidden behind usage of these notions, and that the terms themselves are self-perpetuating. Moreover, the roles are changing, 'as “as the internalissation of this discourse by the "’victims’" and its subsequent use for political purposes leads to its reification and reproduction; that Black Turks, the ‘"oppressed’", could be as contemptuous and at times, racist as the ‘"oppressors’". Therefore even if we accept the cause of the problem as originating in the elitism of White Turks, we must admit that in this case the Black Turks have exposed themselves as well. Now that they are in control of the state and its ideological apparatuses, the Muslim capitalists in order to ensure realization of their own agenda by recurring to exactly the same means as the former ruling elite. So we see that the White -Black discourse has a perpetual rating existence in which elitism and anti-elitism are actually two sides of the same coin, used in a parallel way. Therefore we should be more attentive and aware of the reciprocate nature of the conflict.




We are like chameleons, we take our hue and the color of our moral character, from those who are around us. John Locke

In the previous paragraphs we discussed the question of instrumental usage of dualistic terminology, in order to exhibit the better position of a privileged status group or expressions of criticism leveled them. As described above, we can see a discrepancy in these characterizations of the members, where for instance according to some sources the old Black Turks are now behave as if they were White, and everyone accuses each other of elitism.

So far, as expressed in the first chapter, I have tried to analyze the White-Black dichotomy based on the ideational view, explained in the introduction ( showing what are the central truths about the idea; under what sorts of circumstances it is applied; what consequences for action will flow from that application of the term).” 295Following this methodology of analysis, in this chapter, it is necessary to present what the notion expresses to journalists and how do they perceive its usage in press.

We continue our attempt to relate discourse and society directly, with a more sociocognitive perspective (How do journalists think about the issue? How do they remember the different cases related to this issue in their minds?). Before that I will briefly present 295Ibidem, p. 56


the perception of term by society and a group of people who could be seen as White Turks.

As we have seen, public opinion associates different meanings with the term White Turk. The semantic plethora reflects a chaos of definitions introduced by journalists. From the online comments we can read such diverse interpretations as that: the White Turks are " Kemalist elite who believe that they guide the society", " elite with refined taste which looks with disdain on the arabesque devotees arabesques ." Others by mistake assume that the term references to the skin color, claiming that "some people, mostly nationalists, identify with Black Turks as people with darker skin—Kurds,” while, in an opposing view, " technically speaking, Kurds derive from the IndoEuropean white race and the real Turks are not completely white. In fact, most of the Turkish race comes from a different ethnicity”. In other view the term is strictly connected to politics, influential in deciding which political party one should choose or rather oppose against to. Once again the author is ironizing, showing the nonsense of the political choices based on the simple snobism, condemning just the lifsetyle choices. In this regard, in thea popular Uludağ dictionary we'll find the following tongue-in-cheek description:

The concept is used by the enemies of the AKP and the Kurds, by a rich part of Turkish society who listen to “'their”' different music: jazz, blues. White Turks drink wine, black tea and raki. White Turks do not demean themselves to eat onions. Whites Turks do not leave themselves a moustache. And the reason why the White Turks do not vote for the AKP is quite simple: Why would they vote for nondrinkers of wine and non -listening to jazz and blues, moustached,


dirty types?296

Another writer is against any divisions, condemning the term as disgusting segregation, but this time the fault is on the Black side cause it is “destroying the bigots minds” dividing people in: the secular-not secular, educated in religious schools and not, AleviSunni, Turks-Kurds, believers -unbelievers, covered-uncovered.

In this regard, also the instrumentalization of the term 'zenci' is higly criticized in online comments. A lot of readers expressed their concern about outrigth racism towards people of African descent. One commenter accused Erdoğan's tendency to depeen divisions instead of working for the united society. Others expressed their hope that Erdogan's attitude may provoke Afro-Americans and their support to Gezi protests. Those defending Erdoğan accused the translator of having the distorting message as ther term only becoming “racist” when decontextualized and translated into English, in which the word “negro” is much more politicized.

After this wave of criticism, the final statements of an article in in Today's Zaman are very explicit, however actually the last sentences could be addressed to both sides represented by the dichotomy.

I really pity those 'White Turks'. All their elite education and accumulated wealth do not help them overcome their neurotic state of mind. Do they represent the elite of Turkey? Certainly not. They are the remnant of the old elite who are passe' now. The new Turkish elite are more sophisticated and capable understanding social, economic and political trends in Turkey and the world. 296 C3% BCrk-kimdir-sorunsal% C4% B1 /


Reading about White Turks thoughts and beliefs and the way they understand the world one easily understands why they are hateful, angry and losers. Such primitive thinking cannot survive in this complicated world. It is time to say “adios” to them and their allies in bureaucracy. Civil society and media.297

In sociology, the perception of term aspect is analyzed by D.Ilhan who arrives to the conclusion that it is hard to argue that the notion White Turks has a commonly accepted 'lexical meaning'. The answers of the transnational elites he interviews were varying according to subjective experiences of the interviewees who attributed different qualities to the constituents of this socio-economic and socio-cultural category. 298 Some considered White Turks as 'the Turkish elite (dominantly composed of professionals with high academic capital) who maintain lives in homogenous socio-cultural networks and with bounded social interaction. Some perceive them as 'people who have better vision of policies and laws than what is practiced as the status quo. Yet they do not make reforming initiatives. In this sense they remain outside the realm of active politics in Turkey and keep a cautious distance.

These definitions corresponds to some of those presented in the chapters above, but it is 297Tanıl Bora, Beyaz Türkler, siyah Türkler kavgası: Notes on the White Turks debate in Turkey between nationalism and globalization, Routledge, 2013 298 D. Ilhan, p.100 The criteria set for guaranteeing “exclusivity” were as follows: People who, 1. Are graduates of foreign language intensive high schools and universities in Turkey; 2. Have been working in the managerial levels of at regional/global foreign or multinational corporations OR Are working at regional/global foreign or multinational corporations at managerial levels; 3. Have travelled abroad and interacted with foreigners frequently for business purposes OR Travel abroad and interact with foreigners frequently for business purposes; 4. (Preferably) Have lived abroad for a while for academic and professional purposes; 5. Are above 35 years of age; 6. Currently reside in Istanbul.


interesting to notice the importance the interviewees gıve to the factor of social isolation of White elites, frequently popularized by press. The second striking observation is that the interviewees either chose to distinguish themselves from individuals with such qualities or reject the validity od the denotation by reffering to subjective experiences in refutation of the denotation – 'elitist, bounded, indifferent, unaware and detached”.

In these expressions they were very close to the opinions of journalists as they give their attitude towards the usage of the term, pointing out its improper adaptation and above all, its still equivocal meaning.

Below we review some articles that discuss this issue:

Arzu Kaya Uranlı claims that basically this concept is not classified in sociology, but is used according to the needs of authors, althoug still having nothing in common with class divisions. She finds alarming a fact that the notion that does not existing in any political theory or cultural analysis notion is so widely used in the media, therefore everyone can humiliate the other using data concept, but as soon as someone is defined as White Turk, the discrimination begins, and then all Turks suffer from this terminology. 299

Another article warns of the danger of an imposed necessity to categorize everyone:300

A "Whites and non-Whites" distinction is quite vague and impossibly complicated, without a solution. The concept is involved in paralyzing the society, creating thousands of conspiracy theories, 299 300 1/05/2006, Aksiyon, "Beyaz Türk" olabilmenin formülü


hiding cruel intentions. . . . The introduction of the term "White Turks" is basically a very profound influence. This concept is so widely used that even moved into parliament, opening discussions about who should be the beneficiary and to the party, which appears to be different from the acquired rights, opposition says: if you are not like that, then prove it. In doing so, they insist, there is not even the chance to defend oneself from the accusation. You are against them, you are offensive, violating the law. . . . 301From the point of view of the values that have shaped our republic, it sneakily becomes a question deeply regarding us such as the state or the law, of course, who is the cause of creating these shocks - those who are not white. Ertuğrul Özkök, in an article written on April 21, asks, "Liquidation of White Turks?" But what bothers him is not a turban, but wearing turbans, according to the vindictive ideology, according to the Masonic solidarity. . . . 302 In case they can't qualify someone, they will still be put into the same category.303

The next journalist polemicizes with the basic (geographical) criteria of distinction:

It is hard to understand what is the division between White Turks 301Bunlar yapılırken kullanılan usul ve üslup, "İddiada bulunan ispatla yükümlüdür. Sen benim hakkımda rencide edici, hukukumu çiğneyici ithamlarda bulunuyorsun. önce sen ortaya attığın iddiaları Ispat et" deme hakkını bile kullanma fırsatı vermiyor. 302Tabii ki, bu durumların sebep olduğu sarsıntıları yaşayanlar biliyor. Yani beyaz olmayanlar? Ertuğrul Özkök, 21 Nisan'da yazdığı "Beyaz Türklerin tasfiyesi me?" başlıklı yazısında olayı "Beyaz Türkler" açısınd elements Aldi. Türbanın değil ama "türbanizmin" rahatsız edici bir intikam ideolojisine ya da bir masonik dayanışmanın parolası Halina gelmesinden ürktüğünü yazdı. 303Vakıaya bakınca beyazların bilinmeme ihtiyacından dolayı araya Bask kategorilerin girdiği tespit edilmektedir. Ara renklerden oluşan bu tali kategoridekilerin ayırt edici yanları vardır.


and those who do not have this whiteness. If it wasn't already complicated enough, I’m stuck on some points. The base here is geography. According to some sources the frontier is in Bolu, according to others at the Bosphorus Straits. But it is not a constant line of division, because sometimes the White Turks can come from Kayseri, sometimes from Van and Kars. Sometimes more sociological ideas are used, such as the origin of the city or the countryside. But in this case we do not have clarity, because some educated people, using the possibilities they have, still won't become White Turks. And Whites see them as the biggest threat, as if "whiteness" were hidden in the genes. According to them, all who do not carry white genes belong to another group, they have different status. Just like white light, which does not show the existence of other colors unless filtered through a prism, swallowing all the colors creates one color. The loss of color is a necessity in order to be incorporated into the group, losing the original color. The term White Turks is so undefined that it does not allow opportunities to find solutions to this situation.


[White Turks]are so busy denigrating, inventing a thousand different conspiracy theories, hiding their evil intentions. . . . If these relations were dealt with as citizen-state relations, we would have to consider them a discriminatory offense, together with other discriminatory behavior. Let's agree that these relations in the light of the law should be structured in equal measure. In this way the executioners of legal identity would prove to be a protective shield. Competitive positions in state organizations should not be given


based on degree of "whiteness", but according to merits. Let everyone notice the rule of work, you want to have more, work more.304

Mustafa Akyol judges the axes of the traditional center-periphery division as not existing anymore. Now, he reasons, there are two centers, one for religious people and one for laics.

I n a very good interview published by Radikal with Prof. Deniz Ulke Arıboğan, the academic discusses the axes of division based on center-periphery discourse and what remnants of the old division we can find in cities now. 305The discussion starts from the Mahalle baskısı phenomenon, defined as religious control over entire city districts, and whether it is an idea introduced by the AKP. The author answers negative, because otherwise it should be called government pressure, but it is already a matter for a separate discussion. It is an important question, showing that religious population concentrations are automatically connected with religious characteristics and, therefore, AKP influence. What is actually happening is that the social environment is under the pressure of the district, wherein there are the limitations and influences corresponding to conditions of people living very closely together in a closed environment. Those populations have cultural inclinations which can only tenuously be attached to the prime minister. Whatever the inspiration for their life-style, it is desirable to ensure a legal system which provides freedom, safety of choices, and proper civic discourse. Society is changing and is exposed to movements, from the countryside to cities, from agriculture to crafts, to modernity etc. So it is characterized by diversity, and points of contact cannot be avoided. In the classical understanding, a gap between town and country still 304 1/05/2006, Aksiyon, "Beyaz Türk" olabilmenin formülü 305


remains. The rural community remains closed in their group in order to maintain a sense of safety. An urban district also remains a closed environment. There is the concept of "the district purity / virtue"; they live their own system of values.They are part of a transition between the city and the village. A lack of clearly designated rules is a mistake in their community. Arıboğan confirms the existing diversity between the rural and city environment. However he points out the absurdity of generalizing and automatically making socio-political connections where the behavior could be explained by culture instead of ideology. Mehmet Tez, in Milliyet, ironically catalogs examples of how to read distinctions among lifestyles in order to recognize who is who:

Let's play sociologist for 2 minutes: -If you like Ajde Pekkan you are White -If you like Sezen Aksu, you must be Black -If you laugh at Cem Yılmaz jokes you're White -If you burst out in laughter watching Recep Ivedik you're black -If the last concert you've been to was Kenans Doğulu’s or Yalın's, with the largest probability you are a White Turk -If it was a folk concert of Ismail YK, you're a Black Turk -If you go to Taksim just to get to Asmalımescit you are a White Turk -If you go only to your friends from Rize to dance horon [traditional Black Sea folk dance], you're Black (...) -If you spend holiday in the Aegean and also prefer Greek islands, you're a White Turk


-If you make a picnic on the beach of Kazlicesme, and especially if you are sitting near the road with your back to the sea, you're black You do not even have to scratch your belly -If, picking up a newspaper, first you read the extras, you're white -If you take out the extras, flip past the first and second pages, then look at the sports, you're black. -If you read Ayşe Arman and Serdar Turgut with pleasure, you're the White Turk -If you like Haydar Dumen you're black (...)
 -If you watch Flash TV to enjoy the news as entertainment, you're white -If you watch Flash TV and take the news seriously, you're Black Turk -If you ask why on public transport ferries channel 24 is always turned on, you're white -If it is not a problem for you, you're a Black Turk -If you shop in MacroCenter, you're white -If you prefer BiM - black -If you know what a Worcestershire sauce is and you can pronounce its name, you're white -If you consume Dost milk, eat Muratbey cheese, Le Cola, Peripella, Yumuşatıcı Star softener, Krak, you’re a Black Turk?
 -if you do not use public transport, you're white 192

-if you have Akbil, you're black306

He shows that lifestyle criteria used to determine who belongs to which category can be misleading. The author make a clear parody of distinction based mainly on consumption and connected to brands. He also makes an ironic allusion to Mine Kırıkkanat’s article, with the infamous barbecue belly scratchers. Finally he stresses that he's against divisions:

If you ask me, I do all of these things, so we are all the same, neither black nor white. I do not know how about you, but I am against it, as it was well said by Bülent Ortaçgil: ’Do not categorize me, do not play with me, do not stick a label, do not give me a name.’- Was it said for nothing?"307

The inherent nonsense of the term is also shown in an article about Turkish show business, where blackness is forgotten in the name of success. 308The author criticizes the Aktuel magazine for its cover story about Black Turks, claiming that Black Turks dominate all fields, from television to music, from advertising to the world of politics. Black Turks are considered as those derived from the village or poor environments, but who have achieved success in a specific area. Yet the Aktuel piece still rates those stars as maganda. The author points out that this kind of segregation is ridiculous because it would seem that media owners have still not figured out that the hatefuld Blacks recently fill the TV screens. Maybe they sneak into TV studios, initially working as 306 Tez Mehmet, Beyaz Türk, Siyah Türk, Milliyet, 30/10/2010 307 Ibidem, Beni kategorize etme, benle oynama, yaftay yap t r p, ban isim koyma ... "diye. Bo un m Demise? " 308Terim Fatih, Siyah Türkler ve Fatih Terim, Aksiyon,


porters or cleaners, but now they already have their positions. Whether they like it or not, observers should treat those Black stars seriously, even those "with moustache, black brows." However, the media elite live in a completely different way and feel that their own culture is threatened. And such, for there is the example of Fatih Terim—a full-fledged Black Turk in origin, appearance, behavior, and the environment in which he lives. Yet he is classified as white due to his success as a football coach .

This vision is confirmed also in another ironic article, which refers to an artist who made a kind of transition, Natascha Atlas. That singer, known to be very popular in White Turk circles, decided to prepare an album with 12 songs by the controversial Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen. The comic-rhetorical question asked maliciously by the journalist is, “How will the White Turks survive this shock?”309

Finally, Hincal Uluç makes an ironic comment on divisions based on taste:

Black and white? No darling, we are not talking here here about Besiktas [Gymnastic Club colors]. It was not enough to divide the country between Turks, Circassians, Laz, Kurds, Greeks, Armenians. Now we are also divided into 2 groups: Black Turks, White Turks. . . .

I had to read it 20 times before I could

understand who is who . . .

and here luckily Mehmet Tez in

Milliyet newspaper explained everything with a unique sense of humor: "If you're like Ajda Pekkan, you are White Turk, if you prefer Sezen Aksu, you're black"; "If you read Ayşe Arman you're white, if you read Haydar Dumen you're black." I checked it out, 309 Özdemir Cüneyt, Natascha Atlas cemaatci çıktı!, Radikal, 10/03/2013


actually, and all of that suits me well, so that I am a little bit black, a little bit white. Hey, Mehmet, does a striped Turk exist?310

There is also a group of articles confirming the point of view of Meltem Ahıska.311That text supposes that one of the main problems with the term regards is its artificial origins. It encapsulates the invention of phony Turkishness, elites and aristocracy, when actually in Turkey we can hardly talk about any real aristocratic traditions.

Fatih Altaylı reasons as follows:

We are distinguished from them Black Turks,” said Erdoğan, recalling once again the ever popular notion of Black Turks. The problem is that those who want to distinguish "one from another" in reality are basically Black Turks; the best example is the republic itself. The politician Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, although blond with blue eyes, was the child of an ordinary officer, lifted up by the the military merit system. His own determination led the country to a mature state. Black Turks were also Suleiman Demirel (not without reason did he have the nickname Çoban Sulu (Shepherd). There is also Turgut Özal, who broke his neck falling from a donkey. Have you ever seen a White Turk fall from a donkey? Basically all rich people, except perhaps a few families, derived from the poorer social classes. Koç, Sabancı, and even proud Ertuğrul Özkök is a child of laborers. We all make an effort to bleach ourselves like Michael Jackson, but whether we are happy or not, the Ottoman 310Uluç Hincal, Siyah, Beyaz. Sabah, 2/11/2010 311Information obtained during the interview with Meltem Ahıska.


Empire has not produced any White Turk. For this reason, the republic was founded by Black Turks, ruled by Black Turks and made rich by Blacks Turks. Those who think that they are white are blanking out their true color, That's the other tradition that remains to this day from the Ottoman Empire.312


published an interview with the historian Ilber Ortaylı, who redefines the

concept of White Turks. Reflecting on the course of the debate over the years, he says:

“[A]ccording to some people it is merely a creation of sociologists which has existed for a very long time, but is not quite well explained. Or according to others it refers to the class divisions and so is difficult to avoid in real life. Then in the minds of others it's a concept defining the remaining group who vote 'no' in the 312Altaylı Fatih, En beyaz Türk Micheal Jackson kadar beyazdır, Haber Türk, 24/02/2013, "Biz aradan sıyrılan zenci Türkleriz"diyerek. Doğrudur, Başbakan Erdoğan da, ekibindeki arkadaşları da aradan sıyrılan "zenci Türklerdir" ama işin aslı şudur ki, Türkiye'de kim aradan sıyrılırsa sıyrılsın, aradan sıyrılan hep zenci Türklerdir. Bu aradan sıyrılmaya imkân tanıyan ise önce Osmanlı'nın son döneminde başlayan reform hareketleri, asıl olarak da "Mustafa Kemal 'Atatürkün kurduğu" Cumhuriyet'tir. Mesela siyasette. Bu ülkeyi bize kuran Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.Her ne kadar sarışın, mavi gözlü olsa da aslen zencidir. Gariban bir memurun çocuğudur. Askeri okullarda leyli meccani okuyarak yükselmiş, ordu içinde sivrilmiş, tırnaklarıyla kazıyarak kendini var etmiş, bir ülke kuracak olgunluğa kendini eriştirmiştir. Bu ülkenin 2. Cumhurbaşkanı İsmet İnönü de zencidir.Malatyalı bir köy çocuğudur. Hikâyesi, silah arkadaşı Mustafa Kemal'inkinden farklı değildir.Süleyman Demirel çok mu farklıdır? Adı boşuna "Çoban Sülü"takılmamıştır. Isparta'nın köylerinde sürü otlatmaktan Çankaya'nın tepesinde ülke yönetmeye kadar tırmanan simsiyah bir zencidir Süleyman Bey de.Turgut Özal da en az Süleyman Demirel kadar zencidir.
 Bir kolunun kısalığının nedeni, köyde eşekten düşüp kırmış olmasıdır Turgut Bey'in. Hiç siz eşekten düşüp kolunu kıran beyaz Türk gördünüz mü? Siyasette böyledir de, başka yerde farklı mıdır?
 Türkiye'nin en zengin ailesi Koçlar, beyaz mıdır zannediyorsunuz?Ankaralı bir bakkalın akıl almaz yükselişidir Koçlar'ın öyküsü.Vehbi Bey'i zencilikten dev bir sanayi imparatorluğuna yükselten şey, aklıdır. O da aradan sıyrılmış bir zencidir. Sabancılar da farklı değildir. Bugün artık zenginlikleri bile geçmişte kalmış birkaç aile dışında Türkiye'nin zenginlerinin tamamı zencidir.Bugün kendini beyaz Türklüğün sembolü ilan eden Ertuğrul Özkökde aslında zencidir.İzmir'in Kahramanlar'ında bir işçi çocuğu olarak doğmak, Cumhuriyet'in sağladığı imkânlarla okuyup önemli bir entelektüel haline gelmek ve kendi ölçülerinde zenginleşmek Ertuğrul Özkök'ü veya benzerlerini zenci köklerinden ayırmaz. Olsa olsa "beyazlamaya çalışan Michael Jakckson" kadar beyaz yapar.İster sizi mutlu etsin isterse etmesin, Osmanlı Devleti kimseyi"beyaz"yapmamıştır.Kendini beyaz zannettiğin anda seni siyaha boyayıvermiştir.
 O yüzden de bu Cumhuriyet'i"zenci Türkler"kurmuş, zenci Türkler var etmiş, zenci Türkler yönetmiş, zenci Türkler zengin etmiştir. Kendini beyaz zannedenin üzerindeki boyayı kazımak ise Osmanlı'dan bugüne gelenek olarak kalmıştır.



Who are White Turks then? According to him the White Turks are not white. And if something like this group of people defined by this concept exists, it should be the aristocracy, transmitting a title from generation to generation, of whom the most important representative could be İdil Biret and Neslişah Sultan Osmanoğlu. The currents Turks’ white color is no longer white, as they no longer possess the old attributes. Currently the sign is about people who do not embody such formal standards. Ortaylı elaborates:

It is not a matter of classes of course, because it is normal that in every society there are class divisions. This is true in the capitalist countries, as well as

in the nomenclature of some communist

countries (in this case we can talk about the chosen-elite, having the highest functions in the State). In Turkey however they just misappropriated this concept, assigning it too much importance. They obtained the standard foreign education and they travel, but in reality they do not know the languages well enough nor geography. They are superficial, they are part of a clan; I'm sure that part of them would not even admit to being Turks.314

White Turks feel themselves so different from Blacks that they find it necessary to keep themselves away from each other. Actually their heritage is not enough. Their standards 313Ortaylı Ilber, Beyaz Türkler aslında beyaz değil, Amerikalı Türk, 23/10/2010 314bidem, Beyaz Türk'ten maksat bir sınıfsa tabii ki doğru bir şey. Çünkü her toplum gibi Türk toplumunda da farklı sınıflar var. Fakat Beyaz Türk'ten kastedilen İngiltere'deki, Almanya'daki hatta bırakın kapitalist ülkeleri, komünist ülkelerdeki nomanklatura (Sovyet Birliği döneminde Komünist rejim içindeki seçilmişler. En önemli idari görevlerde bulunanların tümü. Elitler) dediğimiz bir sınıfın çocukları ise o zaman biraz fazla kendilerine önem vermiş oluyor bizimkiler.


are quite low and their color is not white, it is slimy. Just few people have a good knowledge of art, entertainment and culture.

It would be in vain to trace the elite in Turkey, because to talk about the true aristocracy it would be indispensible to consider the transition of legacy from father to son. As a similar phenomenon does not occur in Turkey, there is constantly emerging a new elite which usurps authority from the old guard.

As Ortaylı provocatively claims:

“Garbage goes out on the top.” If you ask, in Istanbul they all feel aristocratic, but in reality it is a very small group. . . . Who is an aristocrat? Who except Neslişah Sultan?315

So why do we insist on this idea? In Turkey, the concept of the White Turks is not a notion widely recognized. There are people who look smart, honest, but in this case we are not talking about the social class. For example, in Rome, Paris, or in the aristocracy of Vienna, you can just discern certain characteristics, you can talk about some characteristics. In Turkey there is no such thing, so we should not abuse the idea of white Turks. . . . This is not appropriate, so why does it continue? This is due to the fact that the Turkish elites are artificially created. For example, the bureaucratic elite educated in Galatasaray High

315Ibidem, Çer çöp geliyor. Türkiye elitlerinin böyle bir çıkmazı var. O yüzden Beyaz Türk tanımlaması çok boş. Sorarsan İstanbul'da herkes aristokrat. Bana göre ise sayı çok çok az! En doğrusunu rahmetli Monic Benardete söylemişti: ' Ne aristokratı? Kim var Neslişah Sultan'dan başka'



Asked about how to become a White Turk and whether cultural capital is enough to earn the status of White Turks, he underlines again that this process should include creation of a heritage tradition.

They have money and live in different cities, have apartments in New York, London and Paris. They walk to fine restaurants. But they are not affiliated with any organization.317I am from a big family of engineers, brought up on books; you can tell that I inherited education, that I am a White Turk, but you should not forget that this is a teamwork. On the other hand we have educated individuals with certain deficiencies who behave improperly. And it is very wrong to call them White Turks.318

Then he describes how the Muslim bourgeoisie has taken this artifice to the next level, with their children crazy about expensive brands, luxury hotels, studying at Swiss universities. He claims that without any doubt it is a big step forward, and a life-style that distinguishes them from other Islamic environments. but it is still insufficient to

316Ibidem, Türkiye'de Beyaz Türk diye adlandırdığımız sınıfın kendine böyle bir paye vermesinden kaynaklanıyor bu durum. Bu alüvyonsuz nehrin dolaşımı adeta. Sular çekildiğinde geride hiçbir şey kalmıyor. Bence Türkiye'de en önemli sorunlardan biri 'elit'in kendini yetiştirmesidir. Yetiştireceği kurumları teşekkül ettirmesidir. Düşünün ki Osmanlı bir Galatasaray Lisesi yaratmış bürokrat 'elit'ini yetiştireyim diye. 317Ibidem, Paraları var ve ona göre bir yaşamları var da ondan. Bugün dünyanın her yerinde paralı Türkler görmeniz mümkün. Her birinin New York, Londra, Paris'te apartmanları var, dünyanın en seçkin lokantalarında onlara rastlayabilirsiniz. Bu çok önemli bir şey. Ama başka faaliyetlerde yoklar. Yurtiçinde hiçbir organizasyonda yer almıyorlar. Topkapı'ya kaç kişi bağış yapıyor hiç sordunuz mu? 318Ibidem, Birkaç nesildir kitapla büyüyen insanlarız. Dördüncü nesil mühendis bir ailenin mensubuyum. Ben ikinci, üçüncü nesli temsil ediyorum. Ve hemen hemen her şeyi annemden babamdan öğrendim. Evet, tüm bu özeliklerimle Beyaz Türk olduğum söylenebilir. Ama bu bir takım, grup işidir bunu da unutmamak gerekir. Diğer taraftan bugün Türkiye'de kendini çok eksik ve yanlış bir şekilde yetiştiren, yaratan bireylerden oluşan gruplar var. Bu grupları Beyaz Türk olarak nitelendirmek fevkalade yanlış olur. Buna çok dikkat etmek gerekir.


determine them as a new category.

Finally he proposes that using the White Turks terminology popularizes the tendency of White Turks to neglect other cultures. The most interesting and controversial part regards the Kurdish culture and whether the ideas of White Turks—that the republic was built on Turkish identity—sound

fascist to the extent they promote eliminating all

cultural differences. The White Turk preponderance blocks out the presence of White Kurds, their elites and their literature for example. In this case Ortaylı claims that Kurds themselves must work out a language, culture, and they cannot complain to the nation because people should first of all work on themselves.

We can find another interesting interpretation of the term in an attempt to reinvent it according to some traditions of Turkish culture.319It is already expressed in the title Beyaz Türkler-Kara Türkler. Kara, an older word than the more common siyah, means “black.” Subsequently the author reminds that This racialist concept, which came to Turkey from America, was a common motive already in literature, and basically the white-black distinction was present much earlier in the writing of Dede Korkut or Kutadgu Bilig, and on the Orchon boards. According to the author, therefore, it is wrong to connect this notion with the West because it is closely related to Turkish culture, originating precisely on the steppes of Central Asia. In old Turkic culture there existed a very explicit social division based on ak Kemik (white bones) and kara kemika budunu (black bones). In this pseudo-biological chromatology, white bones were a sign of belonging to the class of beys (lords); and black bones were for the poor. If the black people did not belong to the Khanate (?), they would remain hungry and barefoot. The Khanate provided them care and direction. 319 Akyol Mustafa, Beyaz Türkler. Siyah Türkler,


“White” in this conception of leadership means protectors, defenders.

In the same way shamans used to divide society between the souls of black and of white, then in Kutadgu Bilig we read that the leaders were white, and black were the souls of the dead and of those from underground. We really cannot forget about the importance of color in Turkish culture. As Dede Korkut seated his guests at the feast, one was sitting at the white table, one at the red, and one at the black table. Korkut gives the black table guest a black stew, and black in this case is the color of humiliation. Dancing shamans used to pin a white sign on a virtuous girl, while a sign for the “underground”, sensual and immoral girl was black.

Ortaylı gets to the point after criticizing the lack of social sensitivity among contemporary politicians. He complains about the modern “democracy” in which whoever holds power never wants to lose it:

There were also other enviable traditions in ancient Turkey, for example, according to which old or mentally ill people were immediately removed from power. But it is a shame that is not happening just now. My favorite tradition was the one to ensure a democratic system. They would tie a rope around the neck of the chosen politician, then ask him how many years will he rule. Then they would tighten the rope until the society was enough satisfied, eventually loosening the rope.320 320Ibidem, Tabii eski Türklerde günümüzde imrenilecek gelenekler de var. Örneğin yaşlı ve zihni berrak çalışmayan liderlerini, "bunadı bizi yönetemez" diye hemen görevden alıyorlar. Bu Dinamik yönetim anlayışı ne ki Yazika günümüzde geçerli değil. Eski Türklerin en sevdiğim geleneklerinden biri de, yönetici seçerken uyguladıkları "Demokratika yöntem". Çok eski kayıtlara up, kagan seçilecek kişinin boğazına bir kement geçiren Beyler, onun hangover Yıl iktidarda kalacağını soruyorlar. Kagan uzun sured direnirse, kement boğulacak kadar sıkılıyor. Sonunda kagan, beyleri Memnun edecek


In present-day Turkey the role of the White Turks, if they want to rank themselves as superior in true Turkish tradition, should be to help the poor, clothe and feed the needy. Today’s White Turks will not go far if they only isolate themselves, proudly lifting their heads while snobbing their countrymen.

Finally we arrive at the most meaningful characteristic of the White Turk term, which automatically suggests that if the White exists, there must be also Black. Many journalists underline this dualism of the notion. The following comments show recognition of the indivisibility of the socio-chromatic scheme.

There is no sense in discussing whether it's a proper name, especially because ’White’ put the emphasis on the class idea. It is cruel and striking. Immediately after it, even if some people do not have courage to use it, in the minds of many of them will come the concept of ’Black Turks.’ This is reminiscent of South Africa and perfectly describes the class divisions in Turkey.”321


I do not like the term White Turkishness because it immediately brings to mind Black Turks.322 Automatically you compare it with a White Makul bir Surey inince kement gevşiyor. 321Ibidem, Çok iyi İsmin olduğu tartışılmaz. Herşeyden once, "beyaz" sözcüğündeki sınıfsal vurgu olağanüstü. Acımasız've çarpıcı ... Sonra, hemen ardından Adi konmaya cesaret edilmemiş, Sessiz, gariban bir çoğunluğu "siyah Türkler" Akla getiriyor, Güney Afrika biraz çağrışımıyla. Ve Türkiye'deki sınıfsal çok iyi uçurumu gerçekten anlatıyor. 322Ibidem, Zenci-beyaz karşıtlığının otomatik olarak çağrıştırdığı sey de efendilerin, yani "Beyaz Adamin" Afrika'dan gemilerin ambarlarına tıpkı mal gibi bir doldurup, havasızlıktan dolayı bir kısmıOlsa da, bir Avrupa kısmını Vey Amerika'ya ulaştırarak hizmetini gördürdüğü kölelerle yaşanan tarihsel süreç oluyor. Bu süreçte zenciler, efendilere "Hürriyet" gibi bir Luks layık olmayan've pazarlarda alınıp-satılan bir meta efendilerse zencilerin gözünde "Seytan". Kölelere uygulanan kanunlar farklıdır. Onlarla efendiler


man. It brings to mind the ships filled with goods, slaves, who do not have equal rights. The term makes us relive the trauma which identifies a White man with Satan.323 

Milliyet goes even further, combining three quotes from three articles by Udo Steinbach from the Eastern Institute in Germany, Prof. Dr. Ergun Ozbuduna, and an AKP parliamentarian to state that:

Turkish nationality is artificial itself, what we owe it to Atatürk, who introduced it by eliminating Armenians and Greeks. Thus we are on the road working for a practically non-existent opus, acting for the utopian vision of Atatürk, who started the project, leaving us the consequences. We are proud of being the Black Turks. Every change carries its loss. This time the losers are soldiers, chancellors and judges. So let's look to which point has come this republic, lying in a geographically Islamic zone, having characteristics of a democratic and secular country. And let's remember the words of Lord Curzon to Ismet Inönü from Lausanne: ‘For what I give you now, you will have to pay one day.’ -Has the moment to pay the bills come?324

Ruhat Meng also observes some other elements of the Black Turks’ vindictiveness. According to her, the AKP tried to hide its ture nature when coming to power. 325 She yargılanmaz, Hatta boyle bir sey düşünülemez? Insan onuruna Asla yakışmayan bu ilişki biçiminin sebep olduğu travmalar, kölelik yasaklanalı Yarim Asir geçmiş olmasına rağmen hala "Beyaz Adam" şeytanla eşdeğer görmeye neden oluyor. 323 324Küreselleşme ve siyah Türkler, Milliyet, 24/07/2008, 325Mengi Ruhat, Siyah Türkler kim?, Vatan, 21/07/2008


strongly points out that these kinds of offensive discourses have led the citizenry to concentrate too much on the form while forgetting the content of real problems.

Who are these Black Turks? For the first time, we can observe the phenomenon when the authorities who came to power already from the first day divided the society into white and black, picking a “Black” role. Playing the role of the opposition, using the language of the opposition, cleverly hiding their wealth, the authorities assured the observing [supporters]. They hide behind this silent victim speech, not treating seriously the most important unsolved problems of Turkey. Using demagogy in daily polemics, they ignore serious issues. For example, instead of addressing the hopelessness of unemployed graduates and the indigent scroungers digging in dumpsters behind the bazaars, they declare that every family should have at least 3-5 children. They forgot about those who scored 90-95 points on the KPSS exam because their own friends do not have problems. In addition they bought “ships, set up a company that sells eggs and computers made for children.” That's the image that one of the AKP parliamentarians presented to a Canadian journalist from the Globe and Mail. He brought mentioned the concept of White and Black, saying that the reason for all this fuss for centuries has been the dress code. He added that they “are proud of being the Black Turks. Every change carries its loss. This time the losers are soldiers, chancellors and judges.”326 326Ibidem, Güçlü bir iktidarın, seçildiği ilk günden başlayarak toplumu ikiye bölecek bir “zencilerbeyazlar” benzetmesi yapması ve benzetmede zenci rolünü üstlenmesi herhalde tarihte ilk kez Türkiye’de görülmüştür.Muhalefet rolünü çalarak, muhalefet ağzıyla konuşarak, kendisine ve yandaşlarına sağladığı aşırı gücü, zenginliği pek güzel kamufle etti AKP... Ülkenin en ciddi ve çözülmemiş sorunlarını da hep bu mağdur, ezik muhabbeti arkasına ustaca sakladı.Günlük polemiklerle, demagoji yaparak bu ciddi sorunların gündeme getirilmesini de engelledi.Örneğin


She then bears down on her accusation of the political Black Turks feigning poverty and victimhood:

[W]ho knows how they dare to call themselves Black Turks? They are filthy rich politicians, arriving to money parias style, in power for 6 years, traveling all over the world, providing assistance to their families and supporters. In this country (as noticed Kınıkoğlu) of mostly Black Turks, there are three institutions that provide secular democratic order. (Black Turks) showed very well their eagerness to block the work of those institutions.327

Finally, she wants to make the foreign press aware of the “lie” they promote, ending ironically:

I don't want to talk in vain, but I am going to repeat that the international press is served such a picture of the institutions ülkede işsiz üniversite mezunları ordular halinde boş ve ümitsiz dolaşırken, insanlar yoksulluktan pazar artıklarını toplarken o “en az üç veya beş çocuk yapmak”tan söz etti. Kamu Personeli Seçme Sınavı’nda 90-95 puan alanlar “iş istiyoruz” diye ağlaşırken eş, dost, akraba hiç iş sıkıntısı çekmedi. Hatta onlar gemiler aldı, yumurta veya bilgisayar işlerini çocuk yaşta kurdu...Bunları AKP’li Suat Kınıkoğlu’nun bir Kanada gazetesine yaptığı konuşma nedeniyle hatırladım.Kanada’nın “Globe and Mail” gazetesi Türkiye’de türban ile toplumun “Beyaz Türk-Siyah Türk” diye bölünmesine dikkat çekmiş ve “Bir kıyafetin yüzyıllardır böylesi bir karışıklığa neden olmadığını” yazmış.Aynı yazıda Suat Kınıkoğlu’nun “Siyah Türkleri temsil etmekten gurur duyuyoruz. Her değişimin kaybedeni olur. Bu değişimin kaybedeni de askerler, rektörler, hakimler” cümlesi var.Altı yıllık iktidarı boyunca dünyayı eşleriyle birlikte dört dönen, refahın ihtişamın içinde yüzen, yakınlarını ve yandaşlarını ihya eden, kendi partisi dışındaki herkese de gerçek zenci, hatta parya muamelesi yapan bir parti kendisinin siyah Türk olduğunu neden ve nasıl iddia eder, bilen var mı?Bu ülkede artık (Kınıkoğlu’nun da işaret ettiği gibi) asıl siyah Türkler cumhuriyete, laik-demokratik rejime sahip çıkmaya çalışan kurum ve kesimlerdir. Onun işareti, aslında önlerinde engel olarak gördükleri ve fena halde öfke duydukları üç kurumu çok güzel anlatmaktadır.Bunları önce ani bir soruda boş bulunarak söylemiş olabileceğini düşündüm ama biraz daha düşündüğünüzde “tukaka ilan edilecek ve elit laik olmakla suçlanacak kurumları” dünya basınının beynine böylece kazıdıkları da geliyor akla...“Ah bir de bu üçü olmasa önlerinde, yargıyı kaldırabilseler, üniversiteleri susturabilseler, ordu da sesini hiç çıkarmasa ülkeyi ne güzel değiştirirlerdi...” Gerçekten, siz de bir düşünün bakalım “ülkenin en önemli üç kurumunun kaybettiği” bir değişim nasıl bir değişimdir? Veya nasıl bir değişim olacaktır?Niyeti anlatma açısından çok ilginç bir cümle bu, çok! 327Ibidem


accused of elitism and denigration. If we get rid of these three parts, if we abolish courts, make silent the universities, also mute the military, then this will be a beautiful change for the country.328

Ülfet Cinbiş points out how inappropriate the institutional emasculation is in the article entitled “Black Turks? Hi, Honey, You're One of Them!”: “The concept of the White Turks, as stressed Fatih Altay, came from the uneducated, poor people. The Prime Minister is trying to adapt it to his vision of world politics and way of life, trying to show tthe rest as victims and a distinctive group.”329But actually already the usage of the term White Turks is meaningless because in the period of the establishment of the republic, the percentage of illiteracy was close to 6%. There were not so many industrial organizations, and that industry was in the hands of non-Muslims. The same society led White Turks to power and helped. If we admit this, one can speak about the true criticism and would really become a member of an elite class.

Finally, even a highly combative writer like Mine Kırıkkanat seem to give up and change her tone:

Turkish language is beautiful but some people do not believe in it and adopt English terms. The language becomes younger, but to understand the meanings we need a Caesarian section. For instance, “White Turks” I read for the first time in Mehmet Y.Yılmaz, who was talking about sushi, and I laughed a lot. Yılmaz was using the notion in terms of “bourgeois.” That's nice. It makes me think about Ilhan Selçuk, who in reference to people with more or less 328Ibidem 329Ülfet Cinbiş, Black Turks? Hi, Honey, You're One of Them!,


constitution used the words ”white meat” or ”black meat.”:330

In this paragraph we have a confirmation that the White Turks’ distinction serves to illustrate the difference in a class culture where social and cultural distinction represent an instrument of domination, as Bourdieu evaluated. Tastes like jazz music, sushi, wine and cigars are symbols of the ideal modern individuals with high economic status and distinguish them from others.

What I have noticed last time in Istanbul? (…) For example to become Kemalist, White Turk, republican, nationalist, laic, they don't color the flag but with Turkishness, passing the brush from the hand of one to the other, and they change many colors. In Ataturk’s republic, nationalists and laics are White, so if whether we like it or not, we need to find colors for the others. Reactionaries were green and it remains like that, but what about opposition to Ataturk? How will we call them: Black Turks or Red Turks? Or maybe pink or yellow? It's not a problem. In essence and words, our humble writers do agree on nationalism and Kemalism. On the hands of White Turks there is still some place. Because unlike beginner painters (if they vomit from the White Turkishness, 330 K ı r ı k k n a t a M i n e , T ü r k ü n r e n g i y l e d e n g i , R a d i k a l , 2 7 / 0 5 / 2 0 1 0 Türkçe, inanılmaz güzel bir dil. Tınısı hoş, oyunları eğlenceli, yaratıcılığa elverişli ve lezzetli. Güzelliğine 'inanılmaz' dememin nedeni var: Kimileri inanmıyorlar. Yarı Türkçe, yarı İngilizce, benim İngiltürk adını taktığım garip bir dil konuşuyorlar. Dillerindeki karışıklık, kafalarında da mevcut zaten. Düşünceleri English kaval, yazıları Türkiş şişhane. Ama Türkçe, İngiltürklere rağmen günden güne zenginleşen canlı bir dil. Yeni kavramların, yeni sözcüklerin ifade yaşamımıza katılması heyecan verici bir olgu. Dilimiz çok yerinde, cuk oturan kelimelerle gençleşiyor. Ancak bazı kavramları, kullanıldıkları anlamlara çekebilmek için düpedüz sezaryen gerekiyor. Örneğin 'Beyaz Türk' ifadesi. Tanımı, ilk kez Mehmet Y. Yılmaz'ın Japon yemeği 'Sushi' meraklısı Türkleri anlattığı yazısında okumuş ve çok gülmüştüm. Yılmaz, yazısında Beyaz Türk kavramını 'kentsoylu' anlamında kullanmıştı. Hoştu. Belleğimde bir tatlı anıyı canlandırıyor; İlhan Selçuk'un dayanıklı ve dayanıksız adamlardan söz ederken kullandığı 'beyaz etli/kara etli' ayrımını hatırlatıyordu.


Black, yellow and green suit them well) they know that in the history of society all the colors were present, with white as the most important one. The color white color was used for the first time in the French Revolution; the royalty was white, dignity was blue, republican blood was red. They fought. Now we have three colors in the flag. White came back in Russia. Reds were comunists, and the oppositon to the revolution was white. Marxism came to Europe in a pink version.

What a pity that fascism and anarchy are

connected with Black. Fascists had black shirts, anarchists black flags. Yellow became a color of two-faced traitors. Blue is the color of honor; it's attributed to the rank and file soldiers too. It's a topic suitable to blue and blueish hopes. We can see some advantages of using the notion in bourgeois terms. If Ataturks and republicans are White, Ozalists are pink, democrats are green, Ottoman Empire enthusiasts are red. And then the king and White Russians are turning over in their graves.

We can really see the harmony in

Turkish colors and the light in darkness.331 331Ibidem, İstanbul'a son gelişimde, bir de ne göreyim? Aydın(sı) İngiltürk takımı, birilerine 'Sen var Beyaz Türk olmak!' diye hırlıyor. Örneğin Kemalist olmak, Beyaz Türklük. Cumhuriyetçilik, Beyaz Türklük. Devletçilik, Beyaz Türklük. Laiklik yandaşlığı, keza. Bayram değil, seyran değil, birileri eline fırça geçirmiş, Türklük boyuyor. Hem de rengârenk. Çünkü...Atatürkçü, cumhuriyetçi, devletçi ve laik Türkler beyaz olunca, ister istemez diğerlerini de birer renge bulamak gerekiyor. İrtica, zaten yeşildi, yeşil kalacak. Peki Atatürk, cumhuriyet, devlet ve laiklik karşıtlarına ne diyeceğiz? Kara Türkler mi? Yoksa Kızıl Türkler mi? Belki de pembe ya da sarıdırlar kendileri. Bence hiç mahsuru yok. Özünde ve sözünde laik cumhuriyetçiliği benimseyen naçiz yazarınız, Kemalizm dahil hiçbir 'izm'le başı hoş ve pek devletçi olmasa da 'ak'ı kabul ediyor. Beyaz Türklüğün başı üstünde yeri var. Beyaz Türklüğü kusurmuş gibi sunanlara da özellikle kara, sarı ya da yeşilliği pek yakıştırıyor. Çünkü acemi badanacıların aksine, başta 'beyaz'ın, tüm renklerin sosyal tarihte simgelediği kavramlardan haberi var.Bir insan topluluğu için 'beyaz' tanımı, ilk kez Fransız devrimi karşıtları için kullanıldı. Kraliyet beyaz, asalet mavi, cumhuriyetin rengi kan kızılıydı. Dövüştüler. Bugün Fransız bayrağında her üç katmanın rengi var. Beyaz ifadesi, ikinci kez Rusya'da geçti. Komünistlere kızıl, devrim karşıtlarına Beyaz Rus denildi. Sulandırılmış Marksizm, Avrupa'da sosyalizm adı altında pembeleşti. Faşizm ile anarşizm, ne yazık ki 'siyah'ı paylaşamadılar. Faşistler siyah gömlek, anarşistler siyah bayrakla idare etti.Sarı, grev kırıcıların, ikiyüzlülerin, döneklerin rengi oldu. Mavi ise hâlâ asaletin simgesi kalmakla birlikte, 'acemi asker'ler için kullanılan bir deyim. Bu konum da maviye çok uygun ve mavi umutlarımızın niye hep suya düştüğünün açık ifadesi zaten.Gördüğünüz gibi Beyaz Türk tanımının, kentsoylu anlamında kalmasında yarar var. Yarım yamalak bilgiçlerin yalama dilinde ve onların deyişiyle Kemalistler, cumhuriyetçiler, laikler için kullanılacak olursa; Osmanlı hayranlarına Kızıl, ikinci Cumhuriyetçilere Sarı, mürtecilere Kara, Özal'cılara Pembe, demokratlara Yeşil Türkler demek gerekecek çünkü. Bir de Beyaz Rusların ve Avrupa krallarının mezarlarında dört dönme


Mine Kırıkkanat herself does not deny existence of White Turks. She would not classify herself as one of them but rather considers herself as living closer to the common people. It is clear that in her perception White Turks are associated with elitism, discriminatory attitude, and wealth. In order to distinguish herself from “those posh, falmboyant and elitist journalists as she talks about her friendship with Kurds, lifestyle and living conditions. She underscores that she is not of bourgeois origins, but rather has obtained her status and education due to the hard work. She distances herself from accusations of elitism. Thus, she believes in and stresses the role of journalists as educators and moralists with the responsibility of creating a better Turkey. She underlines the fact that she does not feel herself superior to anyone. But still she fears and and condemns religious groups as those who, for instance, would never appreciate “real” art (just the traditional religious ebru painting) and who cannot obtain her equivalent social status. The same goes for Arabs. Her anger comes out also when discussing the Kurdish issues, not in terms of ethnic origins but to defend the position of women. All of her criticisms are contextualize within a Western point of view. She seems to feel somehow ashamed of her first articles from the 90s, but not claiming to be a victim of editors and a naive, inexperienced journalist at that time. She pleads her aim was not to offend anyone, but to educate and help.

Also Cüneyt Özdemir declares that no one would call himself White Turk with pride anymore, perhaps with the exception of Ertuğrul Özkök: 332 “The whole concept was like an advertisement: money will wash you until you are white But we are all children ihtimali var.Türk'ün rengiyle dengi, aydınsı karanlıkta hakidir haki! 332Cüneyt Özdemir, Beyaz Türkler küstüler, Radikal, 9/4/2013 Radikal,


of the 90s. The blue blood drained away with Ottomans abroad. Even the richest people, like Koç or Sabancı, started as simple vendors. We all have headscarved relatives and a mixture of blood from Anatolia unites many races. The level of education is close to equal. And who doesn't like red wine?” 333Özdemir goes on to say that White Turkishness does not really exist but is just something Turks would like to acquire. Finally some journalists admit that the term has evolved. Here Turgut Serdar tries to redefine the notion:334

If I define White Turk as people representing certain qualities, with good manners, without prejudices, who think in a free way and have respect for others, and if I live according to those values, then I don't agree with the opinion that the others are black and the majority thinks in a “black way.” I think ascribing that viewpoint to us is a big injustice, and there must be some misunderstanding. We have been using this term for ages but we don't think much about it. As I played a main role inventing the term, I feel great discomfort when it's misused with bad intentions. First of all, I would like to stress that there is no connection between White Turks and being rich. We are mostly from the middle class families with good manners. Yes, our families gave us a proper education, and I’m thankful for that, as much as I’m grateful to the Ankara College that gave me not only knowledge but also taught me how to live. I learnt for example how to deal with women, how to show them respect. I practice these lessons in my real life. We are not like White Turks

333Ibidem 334Turgut Serdar, Haber Türk, Beyaz Türk-Zenci kar tl , 26/02/2013


described in the stereotypes, because this cliché became the symbol of hate of those: feeling worse others. The real White Turks, have nothing in common with these stereotypes, have respect for others. Although it's true that we prefer to gather in our own company, it's not that we are prejudiced against anyone but ourselves. They hurt us. I have never seen something bad in the White Turks' hearts, but I saw a lot of it in the hearts of others. We have no hate, no need to settle accounts with those who are not like us or to seek revenge. We don't have it because we know that life is short. We don't expect anything on the other side, everything will finish here. Our expectations from life are bigger because we grow up in specific conditions and our education lets us have more possibilities. Beauty we see in our families. We want to live with our families, so that's why lifestyle is so important for us. Of course, there are also those who were deprived of these possibilities, who don't have this kind of education. The attitude of these kinds of people is the basis of the accusations we deal with. They promote themselves like that. There are some exceptions, but exceptions don't break the rule. White citizens of this country are already citizens of a globalized world. Those are people without prejudices, well-educated, with respect for others. That's why I don't want anybody to use the White-Black distinction. Anybody has a White Turk birthright if they are described as good. I hope that their number will grow. A large amount of them would bring beauty and pleasure to Turkey, and harmony to the global world.335 335Ibidem, Eğer ben beyaz Türk olmayı kaliteyle, önyargısızlıkla, iyi aile terbiyesi almakla, hür ve özgür düşünmekle, insanın kendisine saygı duymasıyla, farklılıklara saygılı yaklaşmakla özdeşleştiriyorsam ve hayatımı bu şekilde yaşamaya çalışıyorsam, beyaz Türkler ile zenci diye bir kategorinin


In similar conciliatory tones talks Özkök also presents his vision of White Turkishness.

Akyol claims that without any doubt there are no common clichés for everyone like, “I am White Turk”, “I am conservative”, “I am Kurd.” Probably everyone has his own world inside and everyone hides his own potential. But in every society, some people tend to criticize behavior and activities they do not like. It is typical to criticize before karşıtlığının kurulmasını, çoğunluğun zenciymiş gibi düşünülmesini, hele de bize vizyonlar getirmesi beklenen bir kişinin kendisini zenci diye tanımlamasını kabul edemiyorum.
 Bunun bizlere de, çoğunluğa da yapılmış bir haksızlık olduğunu düşünüyorum. Ve "Ortada mutlaka bir yanlış anlama da olmalı" diyorum.Bu kavramları yıllardır kullanıyoruz, ama üzerinde yeterince düşünmüyoruz. Ben beyaz Türk kavramının Türkiye'de ortaya çıkması ve yaygınlaşmasında başrol oynamış bir yazar olarak kavramın bu kadar fazla yanlış anlaşılmasından ve kötü niyetli kullanılmasından rahatsızım.
 İlk önce şunu söylemeliyim; beyaz Türklüğün zenginlikle bir alakası yoktur. Çoğumuz, bize iyi terbiye veren orta halli ailelerden geliriz.Ha evet bazılarımız iyi okullara gitmişizdir. Orta halli ailelerimiz, bizler "dünya vatandaşları" olalım, "modern" olabilelim diye, "bilgimizi, kültürümüzü daha sonra da mesleklerimizi kimliğimiz yapabilelim" diye yemediler içmediler, kendilerinden kıstıkları paralarla okuttular bizi. Bunun için ailelerimize müteşekkiriz. Bu güzelliği sanki özür dilenmesi gereken bir gerçek olarak tanımlamak bize ayıp oluyor doğrusu.Örneğin, ben ilkokuldan başlayıp liseyi TED Ankara Koleji'nde bitirebildiğim için çok müteşekkirim. Orada sadece bilgi almadım, ayrıca adam da oldum.O yaşımızda "kızlarla nasıl konuşmak gerekir, nasıl doğru davranılır, kızlara nasıl saygı duyulur" öğrendik ve sanıyorum ki bu bilgilerimizi, daha sonra hayata, kadınlara yönelik taşıdık. Türkiye'de bir süredir beyaz Türk olarak tanımlanan klişedeki tip bizden değildir. O klişe önyargı sonucunda oluşturulmuş, insanların kendilerindeki eksiklikleri kapatmak için oluşturulmuş bir nefret objesidir. Gerçekteki beyaz Türklerin o kilişeyle alakaları yoktur.
 Bizler diğer insanların değerlerine saygılı, hoşgörümüz hayli geniş insanlarız. Kendimize benzeyen insanlarla birlikte olmayı tercih ettiğimiz doğrudur, ama bu diğer insanlara yönelik bir tavırdan değil onların bize yönelik önyargılı, klişeli beyinleriyle yaklaşmalarından uzak durmak, biraz nefes almak içindir.
 Bize birçok kötülük yükleniyor ya, yeni Türkiye'nin her sıkıştığında şamar oğlanı olarak konumlandırılmaya çalışılıyoruz ya, size şimdi bir şey söyleyeceğim: Ben hiçbir gerçek beyaz Türk'ün kalbinde kötülük görmedim, ama kendisini beyaz Türk'e karşı olarak tanımlayan insanların yüreğindeki kötülüğü görmüşümdür.Kin tutma, kendimize benzemeyenlerle hesaplaşma, öç alma arayışları bizim hayatımızda yoktır. Yoktur, çünkü bizler hayatın kısa olduğunu çok iyi biliyoruz. Öte tarafta bir şey olacak beklentimiz de yok, yani her şey burada, bu yaşamda olup bitecek. Yetiştiriliş tarzımız, eğitim durumumuz nedeniyle hayattan beklentilerimiz çoğunlukla boyumuzu, imkânlarımızı aşan durumda. Özlediğimiz güzellikleri kendimize, ailemize yaşatmak istiyoruz, bu nedenle hayat tarzımız bizim için çok önemli.
 Gayet tabii ki aile terbiyesi yeterli olmayan veya imkânı olmasına rağmen doğru okullarda okuyamayan ve hazmedemeden hayata atılmış beyaz Türkler de var. Onların şımarık, hazımsız davranışları, bizlere düşman olmaya çok meraklı insanlar tarafından sömürülüp "İşte bunlar böyledir" diye kullanılıyor. Buna inanıyorlar da kendi kendilerine propaganda yapıyorlar.Bu gibi durumlarda istisnalar kim, bu tartışılır ama yine de istisnalar kuralı bozmazlar. Bu ülkenin beyaz Türkleri esas olarak modern, global dünyanın vatandaşı. Önyargısız, eğitimli, başkalarının hayat tarzlarına saygılı insanlardır. Bu yüzden hiç kimsenin beyaz Türk-zenci karşıtlığı yaratmasını istemiyorum.Beyaz Türk doğuştan olunmaz, eğer ben beyaz Türk'e bu kadar olumlu tanımlar getiriyorsam, umudum şimdi azınlık olduğu varsayılan bu insanların sayısının hızla artmasıdır. Türkiye'de güzellikler, hoşluklar ve modernlik, global dünyaya uyum, ancak bu insanların sayısının fazla olduğu Türkiye'de sağlanabilir.


even questioning the value of the stereotype. It is hard to direct those kind of criticisms against our own mentality or our own social environment. With his writings, Akyol would like to inspire and provoke people to question and analyze themselves. This justifies his occasionally harsh style.

Ertugrul Özkök claims to be a White Turk, but he neiher feels proud nor wants to attack using this term. He has a simple aim in presenting his point of view as a White Turk: It is great to be such a person. He points out that the term itself is not of his invention, but that of Ufuk Güldemir. Explaining the genealogy of the word, he associates it with the notion of ”a Turk people”, deriving from the English term ”Englishman.” He supposes that there is no reason for the popularity of the term, as many things are simply a reflection of our subconscious.

Surprisingly he perceives the original term as comical, an invention to caricature and ironize the word “Turk” as reflected in the complex Turkish subconscious. Then the word appears in sociology, addressing a determined group of society—educated, laic, believing in Atatürk's values, close to a modern lifestyle. However in Özkök’s eyes it remains a description of elites in a distorted, comic way. Neither Ufuk Güldemir nor Özkök treated the term seriously, but more like “a character seen in Woody Allen’s movies.”

Then the term was forgotten for a long time. It re-appeared in 2010, representing a tragic segment of society oppressed by religious zealots. In this period the term was brought back to life like a Phoenix from ashes. Since the rise of Erdoğan’s political Islam, White Turks have been made to feel like the minority that they have always truly been. This urgent situation has obliged them to defend, re-think and re-define their identities in


terms of modernity. Özkök underlines the fact that he does not use the term in an offensive way with a racist meaning. In his perception it expresses more a nostalgia of elites missing the old times. Thus, he references the vision of Death in Venice, a movie that perfectly portrays this feeling. Indeed, the scenes showing the sorrow brought about by the fading away of old harmony and beauty, and the necessity to protect those values, were the inspirations for his fascination with the term White Turks.

As the opposition has raised their voice, employing ever more offensive terms to describe White Turks, such as racist, fascist, separatists, Nazis, he has found it necessary to show the way to defend those like himself, yet not offend or look down on anyone because of ethnic origins or race. The journalist claims to feel moved by the comments of his friends that had misunderstood his perception of the word in that way. He did not mean to look down in the old elitist way, as he was accused by some AKP supporters.

He also notes the paradox in the fact that when the Prime Minister called himself Black, nobody had the same reaction against him, calling him fascist or Hitler. Özkök thereby understands that nobody realizes the problem of the other side’s demagogy. It is also ironic that the Prime Minister designate himself Black, but calls his own party AK (White). To Özkök it is an obvious sign of the Prime Minister's hypocrisy.

Finally he points out the need of finding solutions and new ways. These should be based on common respect for diversity, without putting labels. In this case the Gezi Park conflict was the best example, where the different parts of the society stood together, Ak with White. That is how we should live, as he also learned respect for the others. Thus, he reiterates the role of White Turks as educators, although he confirms that even they have a lot to learn. Still the keyword in his discourse is modernization. That is the


purpose of his articles, written in hope to inspire the readers, with the result of creating a new melez (racially mixed) Turkey.

As he finally reckons,

If one day someone asks me again,"Who will win if Black and White Turks fight?” I will give this answer: "I do not know who will win this war. But I will tell him who will win if Black and White Turks won't fight: Hybrid Turks will win. . . .336

336Özkök Ertuğrul, Bir Beyaz Türk'ün hafıza defteri, Doğan Kitabı, Istanbul 2013



This research reveals that newspapers play a crucial role in delineating sectors of the society. However, analysis of the media discourse shows how the image of White and Black Turks is distorted.

The multilayered scheme adopted for the critical analysis was meant to contextualize overlapping axes of social diferentiation, showing the complicated main characteristics of the White Black dichotomy. This complexity is identified as a factor facilitating journalistic manipulation.


For this reason the term White Turks achieved popular appeal beginning in Turkey since the 1990s, although incorporating aspects of older center-periphery distinctions. In the first period, “othering” by using the White-Black dichotomy was used in order to artificially construct a new elitist order. It was strongly connected with fears and anxieties of the urban middle class in response to new inhabitants of rural origins. Their reaction was characterized by arrogance, exclusion, contempt, hostility and suspicion, distinguished by usage of different labels, popularizing marginalization of specific geographic areas.

Thus, many of the processes that could have been described objectively, contextualized within a White-Black dichotomy, were presented subjectively, even offensively. Comparing the first and the second part of the dissertation, we can follow the course of these manipulations. While in many cases we can justify and admit the existance of axes


of differentiation, associating them with the White-Black dichotomy brings additional threats. Whereas in many societies migration from villages to cities can be observed as a natural process, this phenomenon became distorted as the caricaturized maganda or zonta types interchanged with the notion Black Turks. In this way journalism has tended to exaggerate and polarize.

In the 1990s and early 2000s the discourse became more aggressive, articulated strongly in newspapers, which put the culture, lifestyles and bodies of the urban poor under intense scrutiny through an eurocentric lens. The most famous and controversial article was written by Mine Kırıkkanat, whose crudely mocked the weekend outing habits of people she considered to be ”invading” parts of the urban coast and interfering with the enjoyment of the same space by “true” citizens of these urban spaces.

Instead of socializing and educating the community, which is a real responsibility of media, poor, ignorant immigrants were insulted with an elitist discourse. In this case, drawing a cause and effect relation would be more beneficial for ensuring a positive change. Parodying the daily habits, patterns, mannerisms, customs of those seen as unfit for the ”global city” could only lead to a total and totalizing other.

The importance placed on lifestyle and manners was the reason why the term ”status group” is utilized in place of “social class” as a better descriptor for the inter-subjective level upon which the social stratification was maintained. Thus, the White-black dichotomy is a tool in a game of power between lower and upper status groups, as explained through Bourdieu's theories. Accordingly, the status group, which aims to maintain high status in society, promotes a superstructure based on cultural differences in order to mark their position more distinguishable than the rest of the society.


Operating within a systematic process of defining the society in terms of two antagonistic groups, “self” (White) and “other” (Black), dominant classes aim to construct themselves as legitimate leaders of these nations and simultaneously construct their subjecy (Spivak, 1985).

This process, in terms of described strategies of control, helped provide mental short cuts, or “typifications” to differentiate status groups by grouping people on the basis of their customs, manners, clothing etc. (Pieterse 1992). These heuristics facilitate mutual identification amog status groups in the social hierarchy: The more distinguished the status groups were, even if such status were achievied at cost downgrading the other, the easier it became to manipulate power relationships. In this way the culture and cultural dichotomy White-Black served to justify and solidify the hegemonic relationships.

In this context, the most important conclusion is that the White-Black dichotomy was not manipulated in terms of racial or phenotypical whiteness, as in the archetypal white supremacist cases of America and South Africa, but rather represented something which we may call ”cultural Whiteness.”

Thus, I have not found examples of articles where the term is applied as a strictly racist reference to ethnicity, phenotype or skin color. However due to its semantic basis in color associations, the fact that the terms threatens a connection with ethnicity is confirmed in the opinion of readers. This characteristic of White-Black dichotomy is also exemplified in several infamous discourses of Prime Minister Erdoğan, using the word ”negro” instead of ”black”, which still may offend Afro-American inhabitants of Turkey, even if involuntarily.


In this case, in the White-Black dichotomy, the term “culture” is conceptualized as a category in which Turks identify race-like differences.337


Thus, as already mentioned, in the next phase, the notion “White-Black Turks” became a keyword for the ideological and cultural schisms in the laicism-secularism conflict since AKP came to power. The worst part of this aspect as presented in this research is that the press often supports different ideologies. The most common tactic is to “other” the opposition by attacking that group’s “custom and manner.” Of note for this period is that the accusations of elitism became reciprocal.

This reciprocal mud-slinging came

about as part of the need to distinguish between the rising conservative Islamist elite and the secular elite. This process occurred parallel to the emergence of the counterhegemony of Islamist intellectuals. This group acquired social recognition and legitimacy through a process very similar to that of republican elites, basing their status on rational and universal education. For this reason, Akyol asserts the existence of two centers instead of the traditional center-periphery distinction. However, the ascendancy of Muslim elites has reached limits due to their provincial Muslim habitus. 338Some reasons -for this attitude can be found in the center-periphery debate, discussed in our first chapters, showing its historical, ideological and sociological background. We also recognize that both the urbanization and cultural capitalization efficiency of the traditional Islamist population lags behind that of urban, west-oriented, secular middle classes. 337If we see race as a technology of power and as involving “historic repertoires and cultural, spatial and signifying systems that stigmatize and depreciate one form of humanity for the purposes of another’s health, development, safety, profit and pleasure,” it is conceivable to see race-logic and race-like language applying to the exclusion, stigmatization and subordination of people beyond, as much as along, the color line (Singh, 2004: 223).

338Ibidem pp57


Otherizing of “Blacks” brought an answer in Erdoğan’s political discourses who as he identified himself with offended Black brothers, assuming the role of victim, as a political strategy. In this case we can conclude that the White-Black dichotomy has accidentally brought about consequences usually characteristic of racialist discourses.

In racialist discourse the society conceptualizes the subject (or group of subjects) that is perceived as other both as a problem or victim. 339It may represent a problem for two reasons: it destroys the established order of sameness and puts the victim in a different light as the compassion that accompanies the victimization is a kind of redemption. In this case White-Black dichotomy is manipulated from both sides, where the White still fight for their elitism and the Black exaggerate and abuse their “victimization.” All of this creates the perpetuating cycle of problem and victim. In this case once again we may focus the dual character of the notion, which always facilitates making associations based on an oppositional scheme.

The negative implications of the term continue to the present day.

In the paragraph above we follow the long route of White-Black dichotomy along which the conflict was highlighted on the changing axes of differentiation. We travel from the center-periphery, to the cultural dualism in the city, conflict between laics-Islamists, political distinction between who is for or against AKP, to finally come back to the cities and questions of globalism.

339Paul Gilroy, There Ain't No Black in Union Jack: The Cultural Politics of Race and Nation, Houston A. Baker (Foreword) (Chicago, IL: Chicago University, 1991), pp. 11-12.


The main reason for hostility within White Turks discourse nowadays is the kind of clashes based on their identification with Europe and the United States, which powers are generally accepted as the center of global capitalism. The old center-periphery conflict found its reflection in a new point. Now, White Turks distinguish, differentiate and distance themselves from others in Turkey who are interfering with the possibilities of transforming Turkish cities into “global” ones. “The others” do not fit into their vision of new Turkey. Once again, the White Turk term may be used as an offense. However this aspect is not widely covered in the press.

How is possible that the journalists changed the definition of the notion so many times?

As the term has persisted until 2014, it may be a proof of its validity and confirm the logic in its usage. However in my opinion the usage of the notion is abusive, as its original definition became blurry over time due to social changes. That is what I have demonstrated in my research.

We should not forget that already initially the notion was marked as a pejorative term, invented to criticize a determined group of society. Thus, it could not be easy to transform it over time into an objective label. Furthermore even in its origins lay some manipulations and misunderstandings.

Initially, the notion was inappriopriately adopted to the Turkish identity, then transformed and changed many times for expediency, such as in the example of the Sun Theory. As explained in the first chapter, we cannot talk about the Turkish race, and the White-Black dichotomy is incompatible with the American elitist model grounded in the notion of in the sense of WASP.


Furthermore, forced trials to adopt the notion to new realities resulted in reproducing the discriminatory cliché. As the image of white color

brings mental associations with

perfection and innocence, it helped to instrumentalize the term, reinforcing the righteous self-image of the old Kemalist elites. Then, when some criteria did not suit anymore (like the pro-Western attitude of Kemalists, who nowadays may be EU enthusiasts or enemies) they were eliminated or removed from consideration, which resulted in generalizations.

That is the faultiest logic in the White-Black dichotomy: a tendency to consider the elite as monolithic group.

For instance currently the continuation of the repeated schemes omits differences among the political dispositions of secular elites. Even in interpretations of Kemalism, the perception of Westernization, modernization, secularism and nationalism are deeply personalized and customized.340 It is important to acknowledge that certain secular circles, which emphasize their nationalist dispositions, can actually support the neoliberal economic policies of the AKP. However, the notion White Turk is used in a context of social aloofness and as indicator of conflicting ideological environment among elite circles.

There are some more important omissions.

340The differences can be seen very clearly for example in their attitude versus globalization. Some of them, perceived as globalists, are enthusiastic about European integration and Turkey's EU membership, as well as about economic and political reforms seen as necessary conditions in order to capitalize on benefits of Europeanization. On the other hand, there are defensive nationalists who see this process as a threat to Turkey.


The previous analyses were concentrated only on a “Kemalist core vs. the periphery” dichotomy. But a historically reproduced elitist-Orientalist attitude held by the Istanbulbased secular elites towards the Anatolian population is complemented with the impact of globalization on all facets of life in the post 1980s era. The present White Turks position dismisses the politics of national independence and stresses global integration aa part of an aspiration for Turkey to achieve a respectable global status. According to Ustel and Caymaz, the current White Turkish discourse corresponds to the amibitions of “globalizers”. This perspective is not sufficienly reported in the press.

This approach should also be adjusted within a global area framework, where new identities like Gray Turks are born from a process of heterogenization of the Westoriented secular upper and middle class.

Furthermore, some other aspects or the term are old. The old element of orientalism achieved new meanings and dimensions as articulated with neoliberalism and the postCold War geopolitics. The one known from the late Ottoman Empire and the republican period was exchanged with an ideological presentation of Turkey that attempts to distance and distinguish it from Middle Eastern neighbors as a more “civilized” European country.

At last we also remember that the term can be analyzed in relation to the their interactions with other groups, which point of view is extremely important in this thesis to show influence of journalism on the society, or regardless of their relations. The important message for journalists is that some of those who could have been categorized as having the characteristics of White Turks seem adverse to being labeled in this way and consider the term offensive. In defense they accuse the others, which is


another proof that the term is mainly employed pejoratively in criticism.

What do the journalist want to achieve?

It seems that what the journalists try to camouflage under their positive role of bringing changes is simply a discourse intended to maintain a privileged status quo. The question is not how to reform the others but how to secure the cultural field and habitus of the traditional republican hegemony. The discontinuity regards the social role which the modernizing elite assumed for themselves, as confirmed in the analysis of journalists' discourses. What emerges from their articles is that demanding transformational interaction was cheaply cast aside in favor of condemnation of ”losers” who did not adapt to the modern urban civic model.

Actually we can observe that the term is mainly applied in criticism. Paradoxically, the dual character of the term also allows for interpretation in two opposite ways: Some journalists perceive it as a tool to show the mistakes of elitist discriminations of those who are different from them (Akyol), or the superior lifestyles of those whom they feel they represent (Özkök);

others do not want to be associated with the notion at all


On the other hand, showing the other journalists’ opinions was important as they presented in a convincing way the weaknesses of the notion, as studied in the last chapter.

After these long periods of changes the journalists seem to be aware of the danger inherent in the usage and abuse of terminology. The small group of White Turk


enthusiasts seems to symbolize it with a kind nostalgia, expressing regret for the long lost Enlightenment mission of creating a better world.

The positive conclusion is that the some journalists are more open to the changes, and instead of polarization want to propose a new vision of multicolored reality with a common respect for different social groups. It is important to recognize the existence of multiple privileged status groups with conservative or cultural agendæ who, through political, economic and cultural means, promote the proliferation of their lifestyles and values.

That is what should not be forgotten in the portrayal of Turkish society .

Culturalization of status groups makes othering absolute, and it naturalizes inequalities by attributing social and cultural capital to the new middle classes. Justifying these inequalities by lifestyle choices is completely wrong, producing pathologies in those who are struggling under a new economic order in new realities. It constitutes the marginalized groups, enabling “whitening” of small groups of society, which results in constructing spatial, material and especially imaginary, colorful divisions in society.

What else should be done?

A multiculturalist alternative to secularism may not be sufficient to solve the conflict, nor does the solution have to go through reconciliation of Islamist and secularist demands. The conflict does not derive solely from the differences in religious outlook.

Thus, a long term solution that can address the root cause of the problem needs to


include substantive policies that will reduce urban elitism and make provincial actors equal partners. Indeed, the moderation of Islamic radicalism in the past decade followed socio-economic changes that enabled a circulation of elites and redistribution of income to provincial actors. Further rapprochement between antagonists in Turkish society will require the continuity of this class-mobility and thereby a shift from overlapping the cross-cleavages.

Additionally, today the main goal will be to search for a reference point, which in the past was represented by nation-state citizenship.Unless we are aware that categories, identities and differences are not essential, the pluralist structure cannot be built. The problem remains how to re-define Turkish identity in the way that it will encompass Kurds, Armenians and other differences. A new social vision and framework should be formed. Social sciences are thought to be one of the most important tools in producing an egalitarian language and vision that recognizes identities but transcends identity policies. We have to historicize the development of identities and underline pluralistic structures and hybrid qualities of identities, hopefully without using improper labels such as White-Black Turks.


According to Benjamin Whorf’‟s Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis, a person’‟s language determines and limits what the person experiences. Not all concepts can be expressed in some languages. This language barrier can affect one’‟s perception of colour. For example, the Shona language in Zimbabwe and the Boas language in Liberia have no words which distinguish red from orange. Therefore, people fail to perceive different colours because of language limitations.


We can see over 7 million colours.



MAHMUT ÇINAR Bahçeşehir Üniversitesi 21/05/2013 MELTEM AHISKA Boğaziçi Üniversitesi MURAT ERGİN Koç Üniversitesi 10/10/2012 DENİZ ILHAN Boğaziçi Üniversitesi correspondence MELİSA AKAN Hrant Dink Foundation MINE KIRIKKANAT Journalist Radikal, Cumhuriyet MUHSİN ÖZTÜRK Journalist, Aksiyon 03/06/2013 ARİF ARIÇ Journalist, Radikal


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11/15/2010 Today' s Z ama n, Mustafa Akyol in: Beyaz Turkler Zenci Turkler ve dağ Turkler, Ufuk Yayınları, Istanbul, 2011: Mustafa Akyol 'Çağdaş' Türklerin korkulu rüyası Mustafa Akyol, 'Şehirli' Türklerin 'köylü' zihniyeti Mustafa Akyol, Akıl, bilim ve mini etek Mustafa Akyol, Akıl ve bilim gerçekten de 'mürşit' midir? Mustafa Akyol, Kentteki manken ve dağdaki çoban Mustafa Akyol, Nasıl mutlu olunmaz Mustafa Akyol, Dindarlik, dinsizlik ve mutluluk Mustafa Akyol, Mutluluk şeriatı Mustafa Akyol, Aşk şeriatı Mustafa Akyol, 'Beyaz Türkler' kime biat ediyor Mustafa Akyol, Kemalist aklın dramı Mustafa Akyol, Atatürkçü düşünce sistemi Mustafa Akyol, Atatürk dualarımızı işitir mi? Mustafa Akyol, 'Laiklik Türkiye'nin Teokrasimisi Halleri Mustafa Akyol, Küzey Kore'yi tanıyalım Mustafa Akyol, Laikçilerin faşizanlaşması sürpriz değil Mustafa Akyol, Hangi rejimler 'dini' vicdanlara iter Mustafa Akyol, 'Dünya İşleri' ve laiklik klişeleri Mustafa Akyol, Laiklik bazen de despotluk da olabilir Mustafa Akyol, Allah, adalet ve cumhuriyet Mustafa Akyol, Muasır medeniyetten başörtüsü dersleri


Mustafa Akyol, 'Çıplak kamusal alan' laikliğe aykırdır Mustafa Akyol, İslam dünyası niçin geri Mustafa Akyol, Araplığı aşağılmak Mustafa Akyol, Kadercilik sagiden dinden mi gelir? Mustafa Akyol, Müslümanın 'Ortaçağlı'sı makbüldür Mustafa Akyol, Vatandaşlar Cumhuriyet'in dekoru değildir Mustafa Akyol, Önleyici despotizm doktrini Mustafa Akyol, Şu çılgın Türkler Mustafa Akyol, Allah'ın Kürtlere verdiği haklar Mustafa Akyol, 'Atatürk milliyetçiliği' bitmiştir Mustafa Akyol, Evet, PKK'ilerci'dir Mustafa Akyol, Yıl 2040, yer Kürdistan Mustafa Akyol, 'Kaba Arabın olsun, Kürtlere, Imralı yeter' Mustafa Akyol, Türk milliyetçilliği ırkçı mıdır? Mustafa Akyol, Türk ırkçılarının inandığı yalanlar Mustafa Akyol, Mahallenin baskısı ne kadar islamı Mustafa Akyol, Minaresiz İsviçre'den alınası dersler Mustafa Akyol, Özgürlük olmadan dindarlik olmaz Mustafa Akyol, Allah kimin yanında Önce vatan mı, önce adalet mı? Mustafa Akyol, Robin Hood, liberalizm ve şeriat Mustafa Akyol, Islam geleneği Müslümanlara yeter de artar mı? Mustafa Akyol, Önce vatan mı, önce adalet mı Mustafa Akyol, 'Batılı sistemler' bizi bozar mı Mustafa Akyol, Müslüman ayıdının liberalizimle imtihanı Mustafa Akyol, Liberaller Allahsız mıdır? Mustafa Akyol, Müslümandan 'Birey' olmaz mı?


Mustafa Akyol, Hem dindar hem liberal olunmaz mı? Mustafa Akyol, İslam ve özgürlük var mı bir sorun Mustafa Akyol, Liberal laiklik din için de iyidir Mustafa Akyol, Eşçinsellik, Müslümanlık ve sıradışı evlilik Mustafa Akyol, Niçin solcu değilim? Mustafa Akyol, İslamı ideal sosyal devlet mi? Sosyal toplum mu? Mustafa Akyol, Laikçiler 'İslami kapitalizm'den niçin nefret eder Mustafa Akyol, Islam ve liberalizm Mustafa Akyol, Yazılara dair sözler Mustafa Akyol, Beyaz Türkler, Zenci Türkler ve dağ Türkleri, Ufuk Yayınları, Istanbul, 2011 Mustafa Akyol Koray Cenk, Istanbul, Istanbul, Sen gerçekten Istanbul musun?, Akşam, 15/02/1999 Turgur Serdat, Haydi gelin köyünüze dönün, Hürriyet, 18/04/1995 Barlas Mehmet, Nasıl maganda oluyor, Nasil zonta oluyor Ertuğrul Özkok Günlük hayattan zarif çizgiler, Hürriyet, 18/09/1994 Vekiller bıyığa veda ediyor, Sabah, 04.01.2001 Ertuğrul Özkok, Beyaz devrim akşamında gölbaşı, Hürriyet, 15/06/1993 Arzu Kaya Uranli, Siyah Türk Beyaz Türk sorunu, Akyol Mustafa, İçimizden birileri: Beyaz Türkler, Sızıntı, Eylül 2004, Yıl 26, Sayı 38, Binnaz Toprak, Who are these White Turks?Hurriyet Daily News, 11/15/2010, Arzu Kaya Uranlı, Siyah Türk Beyaz Türk sorunu,


Ihsan Dağı, Zaman in Ayşe Adlı, Muhsin Özturk, 10/07/2007;jsessionid=7305905741 AC7CFD1E735F9813353ACB Tavenirse Sabrina, Newfound riches come with spiritual costs for Turkey's religious merchants, 25/12/2008, Kalyoncu Kalyoncu A. Cemal, Siyah Türk, Beyaz Türk ve sınıf çatışması, Aksiyon, Gunal Asena, Mine G.Kirikkanat ve Beyaz Türk oryentalizm, Birikim 144, 22/11/98 Yıtık Hikmet, Türkiye artık Beyaz Türklerin değil, 17/0/2013 Welat Zeydınoğlu, The White Turks Man's Burden: “Orientalism, Kemalism and the Kurds in Turkey”, Ortaylı İlber, Beyaz Türk aslında Beyaz değil, 23/10/2010 Demirer Aydin, Beyaz Türk'ten iyisini bulamazsın, z.html Seyfettin Erol Mehmet, Siyah Türk gri ile imtikanı, Turkishnews, 14/03/2011, Yeter Recep, Yeni Şafak, Gri Türkler iktidar alanı,


Dağı Ihsan, The poverty of the White Turks, Today's Zaman, 08/06/2009,;jsessionid=R4VDmo5cBXUvsB9LCqa NLMXH?newsId=177416&columnistId=73 Tavenirse Sabrina, Newfound riches come with spiritual costs for Turkey's religious merchants, New York Times, 26/12/2008, A new class of hybrid Turks emerging between White and black Turks, Today's Zaman, 05/08/2012, Htttp:// newsld=288628 Umut Özkırımlı, The odour of Gezi: on the dangers of class populism, Aljazeera,

Hatem Ete, The political reverberations of the Gezi Protests, Insight Vol 15, no.3, 06/2103 Mehmet Tezkan, Aslinda ne oldu?, Milliyet, 3/06/2013 Ertugrul Özkok, Kimdir bu insanlar?, Hürriyet, 03/06/2013 Özkırımlı Umut, Gezin'nin hijyen sorunu ya da koku siyaseti, T24 Bağımsız İnternet Gazetesi, 21/06/2103, Ferguson Michael, White Turks and Negroes, The politics of polarization, Jadalliya, 29/06/2013 Tez Mehmet, Beyaz Türk, Siyah Türk, Milliyet, 30/10/2010

Terim Fatih, Siyah Türkler ve Fatih Terim, Aksiyon, Özdemir Cuneyt, Natascha Atlas cemaatci çıktı!, Radikal, 10/03/2013

Özdemir Cuneyt, Beyaz Türkler küstüler, Radikal, 9/4/2013, 245 Uluç Hincal, Siyah, Beyaz. Sabah, 2/11/2010 Ortaylı Ilber, Beyaz Türkler aslında beyaz değil, Amerikalı Türk, 23/10/2010 Küreselleşme ve siyah Türkler, Milliyet, 24/07/2008, Mengi Ruhat, Siyah Türkler kim?, Vatan, 21/07/2008 Ülfet Cinbiş, Black Turks? Hi, Honey, You're One of Them!, Turgut Serdar, Haber Türk, Beyaz Türk-Zenci karşıtlığı, Haberturk, 26/02/2013 Öğret Özgur, White Turks, Black Turks and grey debate, Hürriyet, 22/11/2010,



En iyi okullarda okumuşsunuz, ailenizin maddi imkanları gayet yerinde su gibi Ingilizce konuşuyorsunuz, hatta muhtemelen kulturel zevkleriniz bile 'Beyaz Turk' dediklerinizinkilerle çok benzerdir. Sizi Beyaz Turk yapmayan şey ne? Veya Onlar neden 'Beyaz Turk'?

Insan kendini tarif etmesi biraz zor bir şey. Dahası, Beyaz Türk ne olduğunu tarif etmek o kadar kolay değil. Bugün Türkiye de 'liberal' olarak anılan insanların de önemli bölümü de 'su gibi ingilizce konuşuyor' ve Batılı 'kültürel zevklere' sahipler ama Beyaz Türk denen benim de yazılarımda eleştirdiğim tipolojiye uymuyorlar. Galiba şöyle bir kabataslak tanım mümkün: Beyaz Türk kültürel düzeyde 'Batı hayranı' biri. Ama Batı hayranı olmakla 'Batılı' olmak çok farklı şeyler. Çünkü Batılı birisinin, Doğu kültürüne Batı hayranı birisinden daha sıcak bakması, hoş görüyle yaklaşması, hatta ondan bir şeyler edinmesi mümkün. Buna karşılık 'Batı hayranı' birisi, kendi içinden çıktığı kültüre karşı patolojik bir nefret duyabiliyor.

Yıllar önce Chicago da yaşayan bir Amerikalı akademisyen dinlemiştim. Evinde büyük bir davet vermiş. Gelen misafirlerden birkaçı başörtülü imiş. Daha geniş bir grup ise bizim Beyaz Türkler'den oluşuyormüş ki, aralarından biri ev sahibine gidip: 'Neden çağırdınız bu bağnaz dincileri?' diye serzenişte bulunmuş. Buna karşın davetteki Amerikalılar bilakis memnun olmuşlar bu fraklı ınsanlarla tanıştıklarına. Onlarla İslam hakkında sohbet etmişler. Tanımaya, anlamaya calışmışlar. Ben Batı'yı öğrenirken bizdeki bu 'Batı hayranı' zihniyeti by-pass edip, bunun yerine doğrudan Batı'yı


anlamaya, 'Batı nasıldır, artıları ve eksileri nedir?' diye sormaya çalıştım. Beyaz Türklerden bir farkım bu olabilir. Bir de sanırım Türkiye'de Batı denince kast edilen kıta Avrupası (ve bilhassa Fransa) tecrübesi yerine daha az bilinen Anglo-Sakson (ve bilhassa Amerikan) tecrübesine dikkatimi odakladım.

Bazı akademisyenler bu ayrımın (Beyaz-Zenci), artık açıklayıcılık gucunu kaybetmeye başlayan 'merkez-çevre' dikotmisinin yerine kullanılmasını ornemekteler. Mucahit Bilici'ye gore Beyaz Turk genellikle goçmendir ve Anadolu'yu son sığınak olarak goren bir psikolojinin sahibidir. Bu psikolojiyi haklı çıkaracak tarihsel verilere sahip miyiz?

Merkez-çevre çelişkisinin aslında Türkiye yakın tarihini anlamak için iyi bir model olduğunu düşünüyorum. Ama 'çevre'nin merkeze taşınması süreci, sonunda bu kalıbı bir ölçüde kırdı. Şu anda galiba rekabet halindeki iki “merkez”var:

Çok kabataslak bir

genelleme ile “Beyaz Türk merkezi” ve “muhafazakar merkez”. Çok kabataslak çünkü toplum gerçekte bu kadar ak-kara değil ara noktalarda duran pek çok insan ve hatta kesim var. Kimseye haksızlık etmemek, onları zoraki kategorize etmemek lazım, bir başka deyişle.

Bu ayrımın etnik bazı kökenleri de söyleniyor: Balkan göçmenlerine karşı Anadolulular şeklinde. Bu da, kanımca kısmen haklılık payı taşıyan, ama fazla da abartılmaması gereken bir ayrım. Yine pek çok ara tonlar ve karmaşık soy ağaçları var. Muhafazakar kesimin 'bu millet' derken bazen sadece kendi 'Anadolulu' kökenleri kastetmesi de yanlış olur. Yine muhafazakar kesimin kaçınması gereken bir diğer eğilim, Beyaz Türkler denen kesimin tümünü seküler, yani dindışı, hatta din karşıtı gibi görme hatası. Ben başörtü kullanmayan ama Ramazanda oruç tutup elinden geldiğince de namaz kılan


genç hanımlar tanıyorum, Istanbul un kalbürüstü semtlerinde. Şunu da görmek lazım: Seküler bir ortamda büyümüş bir insanın kısmı dindarlığı, çok dindar bir ortamda büyümüş bir muhafazakarın tam dindarlığından daha az değerli olmayabilir. Allah katında Dahası din yorumları ve dindarlık anlayışları da farklı olabilir. Biz 'mütedeyyin' yahut 'laikçi' gibi kavramları sosyal hayattaki görünürlüğe bakarak kullanıyoruz, ama kalpleri bilemeyiz.

Beyaz Turklerin turbana karşı duygularını tanımlarken genellikle kullandıkları kelime 'ofke' veya 'iğrenme' oluyor. Yani 'Beyaz Turklerin' 'oteki' ile ve ozellikle başortusu ile ilgili tavırlarının kaynağı aklı veriler değil ki, iletişime geçilip ikna edilebilsinler; duygusal...Bu duygusal tavrın rehabilite edilebilmesi için oneriniz nedir? Ne olması lazım ki, kendilerini bir başortulunun yanında, sınıf duşmuş gibi hissetmesinler?

Bunun temelinde kanımca Batı karşısında hissedilen aşağılık komplesi yatıyor. Şapka devrimi gibi trajikomik uygulamalarla başlayan, 80 yıldır da devlet ideolojisi tarafından zihinlere enjekte edilen bu anlayışa göre, Batılı gibi giyinmeyen, yiyip içmeyen insanlar geri, ilkel, utanç verici kişiler. Birer hakaret ve aşağılma sözü gibi kullanılan 'sakallı', 'takkeli', cübbeli gibi kavramlar, bu aşağılık kompleksinin doğurduğu nefretin yansımları. Bu insanlardan nefret ediliyor, cünkü 'çağdaş kiyafet' giymeyen bu insanlar, Cumhuriyeti de kirletiyor, onun tabiri caizse, 'façasını bozuyor'lar. Beyaz Türkler de bu zenci Türkler yüzünden el aleme rezil oluyor. Daha doğrusu bizim Beyaz Türkler rezil olduklarını sanıyorlar, ama aslında bir Batılı için başka bir medeniyetten insanların Batılı giyinmesi için hiçbir sebep yok. Gandhi'ye büyük saygı duymalarının sebebi, onun 'çağdaş kiyafet' giymesi değil, muazzam bir ahlak timsalı olması. (Zaten Gandhi 'çağdaş kıyafet' giymiyordu; aksine Batılı giyimi


reddetmiş ve kendi halkının geleneksel giyisilerini benimsemişti.) Bu hikayenin en acı yönü de şu Beyaz Türk kültürü fena halde 'Batıcı' olduğu için, ne Batı'da ne de dünyanın kalan kısmına sunabileceği hiçbir özgün ürün yok. Ne diyeceksiniz, 'Biz Fransız şaraplarını çok iyi bilir, çok iyi Mozart çalar, çok güzel vals yaparız' mı diyeceksiniz? Fransız veya Avusturyalı adam zaten sizden iyi yapıyor bunu. Zaten o adam üretmiş bunları. Sizin kültürünüz de çok şey üretmiş, ama bunları hepsini redetmişsiniz. Sorun burada. (…)

1930 sonrasinin 'oz vatanında parya' hissiyatı, 2000'lerden sonra, 'Biz bu ulkenin zencileriyiz' soylemini netice verdi. Bu manada belki bir devamlılıktan soz edilebilir, ama galiba kendini zenci hissetme hali, buyuk oranda 28 Şubat beraber kristalleşen bir durum. Ne dersiniz?

Kendini mağdur hissetme duygusu, Tek Partı rejiminin başlangıcından bu yana dindar muhafazakarlarda vardır ortada. Demokratik bir meclisinin kurduğu çoğulcu bir cumhuriyeti iki yılda, bir tek partı diktatörlüğüne dönüştüren Cumhuriyet Halk Fırkası, dini 'terakkiye mani' gördüğü için toplumsal hayattan kazımaya çalışmış, bu süreçte de muhafazakar dindarları farklı boyutlarda mağdur etmiştir. 28 Şubat sonrasındaki farklılık, başındaki 'Batıcı' elitin bu despotizminden kurtulumak isteyen mütedeyyinlerin, çıkışı geçmişteki bir 'altın çağ'da veya hayali bir 'adıl düzen'de değil, Batı'nın bir ürünü olan liberal demokraside görmesidir. Buna tabii, küreselleşmeyi de eklemek lazım. Bu çıkış yolu eskiden de kısmen vardı aslında. Merhum Menderes'in veya Özal'ın Türkiye'yi o dönemlerin şartlarına göre daha liberal-demokratik ve dünyaya açık kılması, dindarlara da daha fazla din özgürlüğü getirmiş, o nedenle her iki lider de müteddeyin kitlerde büyük teveccüh bulmuştu. 'Altın çağ'cı veya 'adıl düzen'ci


radikal Milli Görüş'ün Menderes sonrası boşlukta doğması, Özal sonrası boşlukta da yeniden yükselmesi bir tesadüf değildir. )Ve tam bu nedenle Türkiye'de Milli Görüş tipi sıyasal Islamcılığı yaratan en büyük faktörün Menderes şehit eden 27 Mayısçı haydutlar, yani darbeciler, olduğu söylenebilir. 28 Şubat sonrasından ise Özal-Menderes çizgisi AK Partı ile yeniden hayata geçti ve mütedeyyin kitleler Batıcı seçkinlerin diktasını aşmanın yolunun Batının liberal standartlarını benimsemekte yattığını gördüler. 28 Şubat'ın bu anlamda istemediği türden olumlu bir katkısı olduğu dahi söylenebilir.

Kendilerini bu ulkenin 'zenci'leri hissetmelerinin, muhafazakar kitle uzerinde yarattığı psikolojik travmayı ve bunun yan etkilerini nasıl tanımlarsın Mesela Taha Akyol, Tayyıp Erdoğan'ın asabiliğini bile, 'kendisinin aşağılandığını duşunmesine' bağlıyor. Katılıyor musun?

Katılıyorum. Daha doğrusu bunun da bir faktör olduğunu düşünüyorum. Tayyıp Bey'in 'Kasımpaşalı' mizacının yanında, 'merkez medya'dan uzun yıllar boyunca karşılaştığı küçümseyici dile karşı duyduğu anlaşılır bir tepki de var sanırım. Unutmayalım bu medya başka tüm liderlere soyadıyla hitap ederken Erdoğan ısrarla 'Tayyıp' diye söz etti. 28 Şubatçılar tarafından haksız yere cezalandırıldığında 'artık muhtar bile olmayacak' diye neredeyse zil takıp oynama havasında başlıklar attı. Daha genel düzeyde konuşursak, muhafazakarların tarihsel bir 'alınmışlığı'nın olduğunu ve bunun da haksız sayılmayacağını belirtmek gerek. (Aynı durum, daha da şidettli olarak, Kürtler için de söz konusu tabii).

Serdar Erener, bir reportajında 'Tuhaf olan bu kadar başı ortulu kadınının yaşadağı bir ulkede reklamlarda başortulu bir kadınının kullanılmıyor olması.


diyor. Aslında daha da tuhafı, başortululerin bile, bunda bir sorun gormuyor oluşu. Adeta bu 'hayatın doğal akişi' olarak algılanıyor. Ne kadar eleştirirsek eleştirelimi aslında bizler de 'Beyaz Turk' duşunce kalıplarını içselleştirmiş bulunmuyor muyuz?

Galiba...Tabii 'Beyaz Türk düşünce kalıpları'nın hepsi kötüdür diye bir kural yok, ama bu işaret ettiğiniz, önemli bir sorun. Ama bu bir taraftan da belki başörtülerin örtsüz kadın profilini benimseme, ona hoşgörü gösterme oranının bunun aksinden çok daha fazla olduğunu gösterebilir. Örneğin diyelim bir deterjan için reklam filmi çekiyorsunuz. Yönetmenin aklında, 'Deterjan kullanan kadın başörtüsünüz olduğunda, başörtülüler bundan alınmaz.' diye bir kabul var herhalde ki, her reklamda 'çağdaş' kadınlar kullanıyor deterjanları, ama bu durum bir pazarlama dezavantajı olarak görülmüyor. Ama bir de başörtülü bir kadın oynadığını düşünsenize reklamda. Muhtemelen o ürün ertesi gün bazı gazetelerde 'irticai deterjan' olarak damgalanacak, 'çağdaş' kadınlar tarafından geri çevrilecek, endişeli modernler daha da endişeli köşe yazıları kaleme alacaktır.

Zenci Turklerin zorla liberalleşmesi gibi bir durum yaşanıyor bir zamandır. Mesela Bulent Arınç şoyle soyluyor: 28 Şubat'a dek, AB'ye duşmandım. Turkiye'nin AB uyeliğnden soz etmeyi vatana ihanet sayardım... 28 Şubat surecinde yaşadıklarım, beni AB hedefine gitme konusunda ikna etti. Bu zoraki donuşum, sizce sağlıklı bir sureç mi?

Konjonktürün zorlamasıyla başlamış, ama kalıcı bir süreç. Şunu görmek lazım: Sayın Arınç sözünü ettiği yeni hedef, yeni yön, Türkiye dindarları açısından bilinmeyen bir şey değildi. Başta dediğim gibi Menderes ve Özal'la simgeleşmiş bir evveliyatı, Nur


talebleri arasında hep destek görmüş bir meşruiyeti vardı. Dahası, yaşanan dönüşümün temelinde sadece AKP Parti tavanının 28 Şubat'tan çıkardığı siyasi dersler değil, aynı zamanda AK Parti tabanının küreselleşme sayesinde Batı'daki ozgürlükleri daha iyi tanımaya başlaması yatıyor. Bunda hem 'Müslüman burjuvazi' denen muhafazakar girişimcilerin rolü var hem de Türkiye üniversitelerinden atıldıkları için Batı'daki üniveritelere giden başörtülü veya imam-hatipli öğrencilerin, onların aile ve çevrelerinin yaşadığı tecrübenin... Amerika'da, siyah tenli olup da beyazların kulturu kodlarına gore yaşamaya ozenlere coconut (hindistancevizi) denilmekte malum. Turkiye'de benzer bir temayul var mı? Kimileri o kesimde baş gosterenen luks tutkusunu (mesela jipe binen turbanlı goruntusunu), modanın takip edilişini sakalların giderek kısalmasını veya yok olmasını, hatta aileye açık bir gelinin alınması, hep bu temayule bağlıyorlar. Sizin fikriniz ne? Evet, böyle bir eğilim var. Bunun bazı tezahürleri bana da çiğ geliyor. Ama işin sadece bu yönüne odaklanma ve dindar kesimdeki her türlü modernleşme eğilmini bir sapma olarak görme eğilimi de var ki, bence bu yanlış. Insanlar kendilerine ve ailelerine daha rahat, maddi yönden daha iyi bir hayat istemesi, meşru bir beşeri durum. Islami açından önemli olan, bu imkana kavuşanların 'şükür' bilincine sahip olmaları ve geldikleri yeri unutmamaları, 'ne oldum' kibrine kapılmamaları ve daha dar gelirili insanlara karşı var olan sorunluluklarını göz ardı etmemeleridir bence. Bunun yanında, 'Jip sahibi olmak'la vulgarize edilen 'varlıklı Müslüman' profilinin Müslümanlık için kötü bir şey olmadığını düşünüyorum. Söz konusu 'varlıklı Müslüman'. Muhtemelen çocuğunu da Amerika'da iyi bir üniversitede okutacak ve belki o çocuk Müslüman kimliğine sahip önemli bir akademisyen, bilim adamı veya sanatçı olacak. Zaten son iki yüz yıldır Müslüman dünyanın büyük bir açığı, böylesi 'elit' bir


kesime sahip olamayışıdır. Türkiye özelinde de 'elit' olmak ile seküler olmak el ele gitmiştir. Şu anda yaşadığımız 'dindar burjuvalaşması' süreci, bu tekelin kırılmakta olduğunu gösteriyor. Bu süreç içinde ortaya çıkan aşırılıkları, çığlikleri, hatta daha açık konuşursak 'sonradan görme'likleri eleştirelim, ama sürecin kendisine karşı çıkmayalım derim. (…) Dağ Turklerine gelirsek, Kurtlere yaklaşım noktasında, Beyaz Turkler ve Zenci Turkler arasında bir fark var mı sizce? Ortaya keskin şablonlar koymak doğru değil kuşkusuz. Ama sanırım son 10 yılda şöyle bir şey oldu: Muhafazakarlar, Beyaz Türklerin siyasi rejiminin, yani otoriter Tek Parti mirasına oturan Kemalist Cumhuriyetin, aynı kenileri gibi Kürtleri da mağdur ettiğini anlamaya başladılar. Başörtüsünü yasaklayan zihniyetle Kürtçeyi yasaklayan zihniyet aynıdır düşüncesi yanık buldu. Zaten hakikaten de öyledir. Her iki baskı da devlet zoruyla 'laik Türk' ulusu yaratma' projesinin yansımalarıdır. Ancak muhafazakarlar, Kürt tarafındaki milliyetçilliğe ve bunun siyası adresi olan PKK'ya da karşılar. Öte yandan Kürt sorununda standart bir Beyaz Türk tavrından söz etmek da haksızlık olur. Kemalistler ve hele de onların 'ulusalcı' tabir edilen kanadı, bu konuda son derece katı ve antı özgürlükçü bir tutumdalar elbette. Ama biraz daha ılımlı Kemalistler arasında bu konuda liberalliğe yakın duran görüşler de var. Çünkü unutmamak gerekir ki en birincil, en belirleyici Beyaz Türk tutumu Türkçülük değil laikçiliktir. Bir başka deyişle Kürdofobi değil Islamofobidir. 'Ne mutlu Turkum diyene!' formulu yerine mesala 'Ne mutlu Muslumanım diyene!' formulğunu koymak, sorunu ne oranda çozecektir PKK sonrası sureçte, bolgede sekuler bir elitin ortaya çıktığına şahit oluyoruz. Bu durum da, bir nevi


'beyaz Kurt' ulusalcılığını netice veriyor. Onlara nasıl bir dille ulaşabilir? Ne mutlu Türküm diyene formülü Türkiye'yi birleştirmez. Zaten sorun devletin böylesi bir tekil kimlik tanımlayıp vatandaşlardan bunu içselleştirmesini beklemesidir. Bu anlayış terk edilmeli, insanların kendilerini nasıl mutlu hissediyorlarsa öyle tanımlamalarının önü açılmalı (Amerikan Bağımsızlık Bildirgesinde ınsanların mutluğu arama hakkı nın çığnenemezliği belirtiyor. Fena fikir değil). Bununla birilikte 'Müslümanlık' ortak paydasının toplumsal düzeyde Kürt sorununda çok büyük bir yumuşatıcı faktör olduğuna ve çözüme katkı sağladığına kuşku yok Geçen yıl yapılan bir sosyal araştırma Kürtler arasında 'önce Müslümanım' diyenlerin oranının ^önce Kürdüm' diyenlerden fazla olduğunu gösteriyordu. Türk tarafında ise 'önce Müslğmanım' diyenler daha azdı, ama yine de hatırı sayılır bir oranda idi. Milli kimliği öncellikli görenler arasında bile 'din kardeşıyız' duygusu belli ölçüde vardır. Bu ortak dini kimlik olmasa, Kürt sorunu bügün çok daha vahim boyutlara varabilirdi. Dolasıyla Islam, Kürt sorunu 'na mutlaka katkı sağlar, ama bu sosyal ve kültürel düzeyde olmalı, özellikle de sivil toplum eliyle yürümelidir. Siyasi düzeyde yapılması gereken ise Türkiye vatandaşlığı temelinde, dini veya etnik referansı olamayan çoğulcu bir anlayış geliştirmektir.

Kurt sorunu konuşacak PKK harici bir Kurt sivil toplumu gelişmeye başladı mı sizce?Said Nursi figurunun bu noktada oynayacağı bir kolaylaştırıcı rol var mıdır?

Evet, PKK harici, dahası ona karşı durabilen bir sivil tolpum gelişiyor Kürtler arasında. Bunun bir 'burjuvazi', yani işadamlığı temeli var. Bir de dini temeli olan muhafazakar sivil toplum da var. Bediüzzaman Said Nursi'nin de, Kürt milliyetçilliği yapmamiş, aksine Türk-Kürt kardeşliğine ve birliğine inanmış abide bir şahsiyet olarak burada çok büyükbir fikir ve sembolik değeri var kuşkusuz.


Aslında ben Bediüzzaman'ın tüm Türkiye için çok önemli ve yeniden keşfedilmesi gereken bir şehsiyet olduğunu düşünüyorum. Cumhuriyet'in 'irtica' paranoyasının ve İslamofobik saplantılarının karaldığı Bediüzzaman, gerçekte epey 'ileri' fikirler savunmuş, Islam'la demokrasinin, modern bilimin uyumunu göstermiştir. Batı'ya bakışı da ne Beyaz Türklerin aşağılık kompleksine ne de radikal Islamcı ve 'anti-emperyalist' lerin toptan reddiyeciliğine oturur. Hem onurlu hem akılcıdır. Hem sorgulaycı hen adildir. Başlatmış olduğu muzzam hizmet de, kanımca 20. yüzyılda Türkiye'nin başına gelmiş en hayırlı şeylerden biri.341

341 Akyol Mustafa, Beyaz Türkler Zenci Türkler ve dağ Türkler, Ufuk Yayınları, Istanbul, 2011



Beyaz Turkler kimdir? Siz Beyaz Turk musunuz?

Türkiye'ye gelen ve şeyden, oradaki komunist ihtilalinden kaçan kişilere Beyaz Rus dediler. Zaten Almanya'dan Fransa'ya Fransa'dan şeye Beyaz Ruslar. Le Russes Blanc. Neden Beyaz Ruslar? Öbürlerinden daha açık renk oldukları için değil. Zambak, lis, Fransa'da olduğu gibi, zambak ve kraliyet yanlısı. Dolayısıyla onlar Beyaz Rus. Zaten baktığınız zaman tarihe daima kraliyet yanlıları beyazdır, bayrak beyazdır. Ve işte Fleur de lis’tir, bilmem nedir şudur budur filan ama kraliyet yanlıları royalistleri beyaz lafında şey eder, anlatabiliyor muyum? Şimdi buna özendiler herhalde bizimkiler elite elitleri yani halkın bir takım kaba saba, zevksizlik, şeysizlik, benim işte o 2005'teki 'Göbeğini kaşıyan adam' yazımdan sonra atılmama sebep olan yazımdan sonra bana Beyaz Türk dediler aslında istediğim son derece normaldi; biraz insanca davranılmak. Yani, o yazı o kadar doğru ki, o kadar doğrulandı ki zamanın içerisinde zaten. Yani sen deniz kıyısına gelmişsin tamam göç ettiğini anlıyoruz ama biraz etrafına bak ya. Eğer deniz kıyısındaysan, onun yanına oturmaya gelmişsen denize bak biraz, denizden birşeyler öğren. Hayır oturuyorsun orada Orta Asya'dan gelen geleneğinle et, et. Kara çarşaflı. Ben bunu görerek yazdım, uydurarak değil. O sahne her hafta sonu tekrarlandı, tekrarlandı, tekrarlandı, ve benim asla arabam yok, olmadı, uşağım yok, hizmetçim yok, hep kendi işimi kendim gördüm, hiç. Gazetecilikten villalar alıyorlar, bilmem neler, çünkü onlara istediklerini yazdırıyorlar. Hayatımda hiç kimse tarafından manipüle edilmedim. Neden? Akıllı olduğum için mi? Hayır değil, sadece gazeteciliğe geç başladım. 33 yaşında başladım sadece '86 yılında. Su anda ben 63 yaşıma giricem bu yıl. Dolayısı ile, geç başladığım için, bir de tabii çok birikimim vardı sosyoloji okumuştum,


çok meraklıydım tarihle. Daima kendimi geliştirdim, binlerce kitap devirdim, gerçekten aydınlanma çağının bir şeyi gibi insanı gibi çok iş yaptım ne yapacağıma karar veremedim okuldan çıktıktan sonra; kültürle uğraştım, sanatla uğraştım, resimle uğraştım, kendim yapmak için değil yani resim sanatı eleştirmen olarak bilmem ne oldukça geliştirmiştim entellektüel çerçevede kafamı. Dolayısı ile 33 yaşımda gazeteciliğe başladığımda beni manipüle edemediler. Manipüle edemedikleri için korktular. Genel yayın yönetmenlerinin hepsi benden korktu. Neden? Çünkü söz dinletemeyecek bir, birşey yap derse yaptıramayacak iki, eğer o bir hata yaparsa da dilim çok sivri çok kötü bir cevap alacak. Hep korktular, halen daha korkarlar. Buradan o yazıyı yazınca ben elitist olmamı vurgulamak açısından Beyaz Türk dediler. O diyenlerin hepsinin uşağı, şöförü, binlerce dolarlık maaşı, bak ben burada kiracıyım, evleri, villaları yapıldı. O Nuray Mertlerin, bana saldırılanlar o dönemde. Efendime söyleyeyim Ahmet Hakanlar. Kim benim hakkımda yazdıysa bak hayatına. Halkın arasına karışmayan bunlar. Mangalcıların dolaştığı yerde dolaşmayan onlar. Bir mangalcıya onlar merhaba dememişlerdir. Otobüslerde seyahat etmeyen onlar. Dolmuşlara binmeyen onlar. Taksi kullanmayan onlar. Hop gelsin şöför hop nişantaşındaki kahveler en çıktıkları yerler onlar. Dolayısı ile onlar halkın içinde değiller ki, ben her gün halkın içindeyim. Dolmuşa biniyorum, otobüse biniyorum, vapura biniyorum, gidiyorum kendim alışverişimi kendim yapıyorum, ekmek bak kaç para biliyorum, et kaç para biliyorum, kendi yemeğimi kendim yapıyorum. Eşim Italyan asıllı Fransız ve ailesi Bari'den geliyor Fransa'ya. Evet. Şimdi gitti. Notre Dame de Sion'a gitti. Notre Dam de Sion'un müdürü yaptığı bir kitap, O da çünkü sanatçı hem de başahçı, ondan sonra yaptığı bir kitabın desenlerini çok beğenmiş O’nunla konuşmak istiyor O’nunla görüşmeye gitti belki yetişir buradaki konuşmamıza ama bir daha ki sefere eşimle beraber olalım yani. İtalyanca bilmeyen bir Italyan O. Fransızca anlaşırsınız. Çok tatlıdır. Benim eşim zaten hayatta parayla pulla alakası olmamış bir


adam. Biz daima borç içerisinde harç içerisinde annemden kalma 70 m2lik Cihangir'de bir daire onu bile kazandığım para ile yapamadım. Şimdi bu şöför, Nişantaşı kahveleri, Nuray Mert, Ahmet Hakan, yani aklıma gelen ilk iki ismi söylüyorum sana. Ötekiler hepsi, bir tane şey var, Cihangir'de oturan, Benli Belkıs koydu adını, iki katlı evi var Cihangir'de, iki katlı ev anlatıbiliyor muyum. Ondan sonra aaa Mine Kırıkkanat, Beyaz Turk! Mine Kırıkkanat halkın içinde yaşıyor. O halkın biraz uygarlaşmasını, bonjour, bonsoir, kadınlara onden geçmeyi oğrenmelerini, anlatabiliyor muyum, yıkanmalarını ve kokmamalarını oğretmeye çalışıyor. Ama onlar Nişantaşı kahvelerinde, şoforler, uşaklar, ahçılar var, çocuklarını bile kendileri buyutmuyorlar, babysitterler, 10bin dolar maaşlarla onlar mı, onlar mı Siyah Turk oluyor? Ben mi Beyaz Turkum? Hangimiz beyazız? Benim asla param olmadı. 2000, bak 2005'te ilk kez atıldım, 2010'da ikinci kez atıldım. 2005'te kazandığım paranın sekizde birini (1/8) kazanıyorum ben bugün, Cumhuriyet gazetesinden (...) bin lira alıyorum. (...) bin, tamam. Burası da kiralık. Cihangir'de ki annemden babamdan kalan minnacık daireyi verdim Allah'tan Cihangir pahalı! Onun kirasıyla daha büyük bir eve çıktım hayatımda ilk kez 62 yaşımda. Hangimiz Beyaz Türküz? Hangimiz? Sorarım. Onlar benim yazdığım yazıları tabii ki yazamazlar çunku halkı bilmiyorlar. Ben biliyorum, onların arasındayım. Bugun, beyaz turk meyaz turk, bana bu adı takanlar hiçbirisi tunelde, zaten bilmezler de, tunelden inip yayan olarak Taksim'e kadar halktan kufur yemeden yuruyemiyorlar. Murat Bilgeller, Ufuk Uraslar, Cengiz Çandarlar. Hasan Cemal en son, dün rezil olan. Hepsinin suratına tükürülüyor. T24te yazıyor. İşte O da mağdur oldu. Bir villasını Zafer Çağlayan'a satmış Hasan Cemal, dün ortaya o çıktı biliyor musun? Öteki Hebil koyundaki diğer villasını da Turgay Ciner'e satmış. Bir çiftliği var ve şu anda Yeniköy'de bir köşkte oturuyor. Ve bu adamlar bana Beyaz Türk diyorlar. Eğer Beyaz Türklük buysa, ki ben solcuyum


sosyalistim, Fransız Sosyalist Partisi üyesiyim aynı zamanda ben. Bak, Mayıs'ta burada konsüler seçimlere giriyoruz, Sosyalist Partisinin selulünde üçüncüyüm. Tabii ki seçilmeyeceğim birinci olan Mari Rose arkadaşım desteklemek için adım var diye o listedeyim, yani çalışamayacağımı söyledim. İki hafta önce Fransa'daydım gittim Sosyalist Partisi'nin toplantısına katıldım. Ben sosyalistim.

Benim babam devlet memuruydu. Dame de Sion'da beni okutmak için pirzola yemeği bırakıp kıyma yediler. Maaşıyla okuttu beni. Benim girdiğim zamanlar o Notre Dame de Sion'da bir sınıf arkadaşım, çok samimi arkadaşım, Emel Ulakoğlu Adana'dan gelen bir terzinin kızıydı, terzi kızıydı, böyle. Benim babam yüksek devlet memuruydu tamam da mühendis falan ayrı mesele hep devlet memuruydu ama. Bir terzinin kızı bugün, Emel Ulakoğlu, Cerrahpaşa Ecza Bölümü Dekanı. Benim bir arkadaşım Karamürsel'den geliyordu, bir yüzbaşının kızıydı, bugün Marmara Üniversitesi'nde O da Biyoloji Dekanı. Dekan! Evet, sınıf arkadaşlarım ama bak geldikleri ailelere bak. O zamanlar insanlara Dame de Sion'a o kadar şeydi yani çok fakir demeyeceğim ama o kadar orta halli çocukları ki ben devlet memuru evet yüksek bir devlet memuru ama devlet memuru. Benim babam mühendisti üstelik çok yaşlıydı, tek tek azıntısı derler bize, babam 1908 doğumlu Osmanlı İmparatorluğu'nda doğmuş, annem 1912 doğumlu. ‘38 ya da ‘39 da babam tüm savaşlarda ölmüş ailesi öksüz yetim olarak kurtuluş savaşı sırasında yolda bulunuyor amcamla birlikte annenin nerede olduğu belli değil, Türkiye işgal ediliyor işte dolayısı ile nerede belli olmayan nerede diyorlar anneniz Edirne'de kaldı, şeyde kaldı diyorlar. Edirne'den İstanbul'a doğru göçenlerin arasında yakalıyorlar çünkü babaannem demiş ki Bulgarlar geliyor diyor, ben kadınım bana birşey yapmazlar ama erkek çocuklarımı kurtarayım demiş halamı yanında tutmuş kız çocuğudur birşey yapmazlar diye, erkek çocuklarını öldürüyorlar diye dedikodu çıkmış, babamla amcamı göçün arkasına vermiş. İstanbul'a giderken babam ve amcam yanlarında bir somun


ekmek var, göçe ayak uyduramamışlar bir tanesi 8 bir tanesi 6 yaşında. Ve uyuya kalmışlar bir dere kenarında. Meğer İstanbul'a çok yaklaşılmış dipçıklarla iki tüfekle uyandırılmışlar, Bulgar askeri zannetmişler, hayır İstanbul sınırına gelmişler Osmanlı askeri kimsiniz siz işte biz Edirne'de Kazım oğlu Kazım. Babaları da aynı değil. Ondan sonra, sen kimsin ben de Nazım oğlu Nazım. Anneniz nerede Edirne'de kaldı. Babalarınız savaşlarda öldü. Biri Trablus'ta hatta. Bir tanesi Sarıkamış'ta amcamın babası. Ve alıyorlar bunları askeri okula koyuyorlar. Ve babam ama çok yetenekli ve son derece üstün zekalı bir insan Fransız Ordusu 1930'larda İstanbul'da Türk ordusuyla birlikte manevra yaparken babam aynen Lenin gibi yapmış şeyi ezberleyerek sözlük dictionaire ezberleyerek fransızca konuştuğunu zannediyor yapmak etmek tercüman olarak da dil bilen yok e sen Kazım ezberlemiştin şeyi sen Fransızca konuşuyorsun diyorlar Fransızlara şey olarak veriyorlar bunu tercüman ama babam yani çok kabiliyetli bir adam çok zeki bir adam Lenin'i bilmezsiniz Lenin'in hayatını siz, Lenin de mesela Fransızcayı bir dictionaire ezberleyerek Cenevre'deki ilk enternasyonel toplantıda çıkıp Fransızca konuştuğunu zannetmiştir. Bütün dictionairedeki şeyleri sıralayarak kimse birşey anlamayıp. Babam böyle bir tercüme yapmaya kalkıyor. Neyse, çok sevimli buluyorlar, çok da hoş bir adamdı. Fransız komutan diyor ki ben giderken buradaki manevralardan o sırada işte şey kuruluyor, Nato'nun değil de, Nato'ya böyle adımlar atılıyor. Yani nasıl böyle bir komunistlere karşı cephe kurabilirleri arıyorlar ben diyor 3 tane türk subayını diyor fransa'ya tahsile götürmek istiyorum diyor. Ve biri babam. Politekniğe gidiyor. Orada makine mühendisliği okuyor. Diplomasını alamıyor çünkü politenikte okuduğu son yıl, tabii Fransızcası şahane oluyor bu arada Fransa'da öğreniyor yani Fransızcayı, almanlar Paris'i işgal etmeye başlıyorlar, babam ve iki subay arkadaşına derhal Türkiye'ye dönün diye emir geliyor diplomasını alamadan son yıl Türkiye'ye dönüyor. Ve devletin hizmetine giriyor. Ben doğduğumda ordudan ayrılıyor ama hep devlet memuru, hep makine yüksek mühendisi olarak tercümeler yapıyor,


devlet malzeme ofisini idare ediyor falan filan fiş mekan. Ama yani maaşı çok sınırlıydı. Annem babam benim her bayram hep aynı elbiseyi giyerlerdi yıllarca. Ama beni Dame de Sion'da okuttular. Ben de Turklerden boyle bekliyorum çunku o nesil oyleydi işte. Annem babam şahane Osmanlıca yazardı. Gösterebilirim yazılarını. Sonra hemen Latin alfabelerini öğrendiler. Yazılarını görseniz inci gibi, inci. Benim de bugün yazım çok güzeldir, Dame de Sion'da bizim yazılarımız güzeldir yani. İdealist insanlardı. Babam derdi ki bu fakir devletin bir kuruşunu yedirtmeyeceğim. Neyin başına koymuşlardı babamı biliyor musunuz? Devlet malzeme ofisi işletmeler müdürlüğü müdürüydü. Bu ne demektir biliyor musunuz? 1950-60lı yıllarda müthiş bir maaş ödüyorlardı babama sanırım maaşı 4 bin liraydı o zaman için korkunç bir para. Neden? Çünkü Türkiye henüz hiçbir şey imal etmiyor, kurşun kalemi bile dışarıdan alıyoruz, dolayısı ile bütün yabancı şirketleri Türkiye'ye devlet alıyor. Yani okullara dağıtalacak kurşun kalem dahi olmak üzere babam alıyor düşünebiliyor musunuz? Bütün Amerikalılar, Fransızlar, Almanlar, Ingilizler Kazım Bey bizim şirketten alın. O sırada bizim köşklerimiz saraylarımız olabilirdi. Ama babam namusluydu. Ölürken de tek kuruş para bırakmadı bize, bir ev işte. Ama o maaşla beni okuttu. Ve benim bütün arkadaşlarımın babası ve annesi böyleydiler, küçük memurlardı. Yanımızda çok zengin sınıf arkadaşlarımız da vardı. Müthiş bir orta okul. Ama ben bugün Türklerden yani benim annem babam Osmanlı İmparatorluğu'nda doğmuş ve ondan sonra Latince harflerini öğrenmiş ondan annem o çağda daha ticaret lisesine gidip mezun olmuş.

Babam yüksek makine mühendisi olabilmişse öksüz yetim bulunduktan sonar ya biraz öğren öğren be öğren. Ve bunu Islamiyetin engellediğini zannediyorum. Almanya'daki 40 yıldan beri 40-50 yıldan beri Almanya'da oturan Türklere bak. Evet çok güzel yeni kuşaklardan milletvekili çıkıyor onları çok takdir ediyorum ama kalabalığın büyük bir bölümü hiçbir işe öğrenmiyor. Hiç bir şey. Almanya'ya beni davet ediyorlar gidiyorum


şeye gidiyoruz Türk restoranına götürüyorlar sürekli. Öğretmen, öğretmenler çağırdı son olarak, son gittiğimde öğretmen dedi ki Paris'e gittim dedi aç kaldım dedi. Niye dedim ya Fransa gastronomi. Evet dedi Türk restoranı bulamadık dedi. Dedim ki Fransa'ya gitmişken Fransız mutfağını keşfetmek istemez miydiniz? Olur mu dedi, asla dedi. Biz dedi burada dedi 40 yıldır dedi tek bir kere Alman restoranına gitmedik dedi. Ama şekerim Italyanların belli bir yemek kültürü var onlar yapsalar da olur yani ama bizimkiler zeytinleri bile götürüyorlar buradan yani yapma ya yapma! Herhalde bu kadar da meraksız değildir. Türk halkının bu, zaten demokrasinin en büyük kötülüğü bu. Benim bir arkadaşım OECD'de 1990lı yıllarda çok üst düzeyde bir uzmandı antropolog, ekonomist, kendisine Birleşmiş Milletler ondan sonra Fransız Hükümeti ondan sonra ve Amerikan Hükümeti ayrı ayrı ve sonra birleşerek bir rapor demokrasi, dünyadaki demokrasi hakkında, demokrasinin toplumları uygarlık düzeyi olarak nereden nereye getirdiğine dair bir rapor istedi. Yıllarca çalıştı, 6 yıl çalıştı bu proje üstünde. Bir bölümü idare ediyordu zaten çünkü biliyorsunuz OECD'de bölümler vardır, koca bir ekiple. O'nun vardığı sonucu şöyle özetleyeceğim.

Demokrasilerin yürüyebilmesi ve yararlı olabilmesi için bir ülkenin gelişimine kültür düzeyinin o ülkede mutlaka iyi olması lazım. Çunku, kultur duzeyi duşuk ulkelerde demokrasi şoyle bir olanak tanıyor. Halk kendine benzeyeni seçiyor. Yani eğer buyuk bolum koylu ise bir koylunun kendilerini temsil etmesini istiyor. O koylu çıkıyor iktidara, aynen Afrika'yı anlatıyor ama Turkiye'ye de uyarlayabilirsin, çıkıyor o koylu diyor ki o koylu çıkınca o halkın şehirli kulturune gitmesinden çıkarı yok. Onun iktidarda kalabilmesi için onun cahil kalması gerekiyor. Dolayısı ile cahilin seçtiği cahil cahili daha da cahilleştiriyor. Turkiye aşağı yukarı 1950den beri bu sureçte. Ama kardeşim hayranlık duymamakta elde değil. Cumhuriyet de başlangıçta ilk 10 yılda o kadar çok şey yapmış ki hala daha bir takım kalıntılar var o


kalıntılar biziz. Hala daha öğrenelim, lisan öğrenelim, başka kültürlere bakalım, kitaplar okuyalım işte onun çevirisini de yapalım, bunun da çevirisini yapalım diyen insanların oluşu o ilk 10 yılda yapılan yatırım, köy enstitüleri. İlk yaptıkları iş ne? Köylerdeki köy enstitülerini tutup aşağı yukarı kolhoz sovhoz ve şeyde ki İsrail'de ki kibbutzların aynısıdır. Kendi kendilerine yapıyorlar köylü çocukları, kız erkek birlikte kalıyorlar, Stendhal'in şeylerinden passagelar okunuyor, piyano çalınıyor köy enstitülerinde aynı kibbutz şeyi; sabahleyin tarlayı çalışıyor, akşamları piyano dersleri bilmem neler. O köy enstitülerinden kaç tane şair kaç tane yazar kaç tane müzisyen çıktı biliyor musunuz? Herifler geldiler 50'de, Demokrat Parti ilk olarak Kara Turkler bunlar Beyaz Turkler oluyor koy enstituleri ondan sonra dediler kız erkek beraber kalıyorlar. Burası genel ev gibi çalışıyor, orospuluk, akşamları da yatılıyor dediler. İlk iş kapattırdılar köy enstitülerini. Ve ondan sonra böyle gidiş başladı. Din, din, din, din. Ezdiler, ezdiler, ezdiler. Şu andaki gürüh artık o kadar muhafazakarlar ki, dincilerden bahsediyorum, oturup karşına konuşup bir mantık güdemiyorsun. Zaten felsefe derslerini kaldırmaları o yüzden. Düşünmelerini istemiyorlar. Mesela şöyle çok basit soruları soruyorum bazen ben, halkın içindeyim ya, Beyaz Türk'üm ya, hani bana o Beyaz Türk diyenler.

Yani bu AKP'nın felsefesi mi?

Akp'ye mi diyorsunuz? Hayır hayır, hepsine, hepsi bunu yaptı 50'den öteye. Mesela öyle bir yere geldi ki, o kadar küçüldü ki bu zeka diyorum ki bak kardeşim Adem ile Havva vardır. Normalde Beyaz Turkler muhafazakardır, dindardır, kraliyetçidir, nedense ben Beyaz Turkum. Solcuyum, ateistim, halkın yanındayım. Yani ne kadar uyduruk olduklarını buradan anlayabilirsin. Bak kardeşim diyorum bazılarına, konuşabildiklerime, diyorsun ki Darwin teorisi için, evrim teorisi için çünkü ben burada


büyük savaşlar verdim, şimdi beni dava ediyorlar biliyor musunuz ama beni dava ediyor herif 2 buçuk yıl hapisle yargılatıyor. 25 Mart'ta 3ncü duruşmam var ya. Öyle biz sözde şey etmiyoruz 36 davadan geçtim ben Radikal’de, birebir mücadeledir. Oturduğum yerde sigaramı içip ah şekerim bunlar da böyle diyenlerden değilim, savaşıyorum. Bir fiil mücadele, hayatımdan verdim bunu. Sağlığımdan gitti. Bir de diyorum ki mesela bak kardeşim diyorum evrim teorisine karşısın, maymundan gelmemişiz tamam güzel gelmemişiz peki ama diyorum adem ve havvadan indik ise eğer biliyorsun diyorum kardeşlerin kendi aralarında yatmalarına enses diyorlar bu günah peki ama Adem ve Havvadan gelip nasıl kardeş kardeş yatmadan nasıl insanlık ırkı ortaya çıkar diyorum. Bu ne sorusu? Mantık sorusu. En basit mantık sorusu. Bak öyle değil diyor tamam mı ama vereceği cevabı yok. Bak öyle değil diyor. Kardeşleri diyor ikiye ayırmışlar diyor. Ondan sonra diyor birileri hep bilmem ne... insan bi ... hep fasarya anlatıyor.. kafa calışmıyor artık belli. Sen diyorsun ki Kuran'da kardeşin kardeşle yatması günah zaten bütün Yahudilikte de günah Hristiyanlıkta da. Peki ama sen bu mantıksızlık üzerine nasıl Adem ve Havvadan indik diyebilirsin? Kardeş kardeşle yatmadan nasıl insanlık nesli ortaya çıkar? Bunu bile düşünemiyorlar artık. Neyse çok gevezelik ediyorum biz böyle yani durum budur. Ben Beyaz Turk once değilim dedim değilim dedim, sonra baktım bana Beyaz Turk diyenlere hiç asıl elitist, asıl egoist, hiçbir şekilde halkın arasına karışmadan gelsin paralar gitsin bilmem neler, başbakana yalakalıklar, butun iktidarlara yalakılıklar vs. artık evet Beyaz Turkum diyorum. Evet Beyaz Turkum. Çunku ben halkımın artık gobeğini kaşıyan adam olmasını istemiyorum. Ve bunun yolu, sen gobeğini kaşıyorsun aptalsın biraz denize bakarak oturuyorsun azıcık balık ye de kafan çalışsın da derim. Yazımdan hiç pişman değilim hiçbir şekilde. Bana ulusalcı diyorlar. Ben ulusalcı değilim. Siz ne dediğinizin farkında değilsiniz çunku ben sosyalistim ve hem sosyalist hem ulusalcı olunmaz. Sosyalizm zaten enternasyoneldir. Eğer sen solcuysan zaten aşmışsın demektir bunu,


nimetleri vs. Onun için marşı enternasyoneldir sosyalizmin. Ulusal sosyalist diye bir şey, bir kavram yoktur sen burada bile hatalısın diyorum. Ve benim için sınıflar var elbette. Sevdiklerim ve sevmediklerim var elbette. Ama bu ne soy, ne ırk, ne ulus. Aptallığı mahkum ediyorum, Türkiye cehaletle elde tutulmayacak kadar önemli topraklardır diyorum. Cahiller, dindarlar benim düşmanlarım, onları sevmiyorum. Eğer akıllı, insancıl, hümanist, hümanist kelimesi halen benim için birşey ifade ediyor, high çağını, insanları daha ileri, daha iyi koşullara, daha iyi bir kültüre taşımak isteyenler, humanistler, iyi kalpliler, insanlara yardım ederler ama onları belli bir uygarlık düzeninde tutan taşımak isteyenler dostum ister Rus olsun bunlar, ister Ingiliz, ister Italyan, hiçbir etiket tanımıyorum milliyetçilik adına, kendim zaten çifte taabiyetim, onun ötesinde kötüler, hırsızlar, yolsuzlar, kabalar, barbarlar. Eğer bu bütün bu kötülükleri bir kültür olarak sunuyorlarsa o kültürün içine tüküreyim. Evet onlara düşmanım. Bunun içerisinden ne şey çıkar ulusalcılık çıkar, ne beyaz türklük çıkar, ne elitistlik çıkar, hiçbir şey çıkmaz. Sadece aydınlanma çağının fikirleri çıkar. Evet o fikirleri savunuyorum. Hala daha çünkü insanlığın aydınlanma çağının fikirlerine ihtiyacı var. Geriye gidiş de mesela İtalya'da Berlusconi'nin iktadara gelmesiyle başlamıştır, Berlusconi medyası ile başlamıştır. Ve toplumu güzel yerlere, doğru fikirlere taşıyacak insanlara, yazarlara ihtiyacımız var. İkiyüzlülüğü sevmiyorum, durum bundan ibarettir. Ben enternasyonalistim. Kendim içimde tabir edilirim. Yani Fransa ile Türkiye savaşa tutuşursa eğer çok kötü olurum. Çok kötü olurum yani. Sanırım taraf tutmam. Derim ki, iyiler ve kültürlü olanlar bu insanlık sıfatını hak edenler kazansın. Kötüler ve karanlık insanlar insalığı bir yere taşımayanlar kaybetsin derim. Türkiye'nin bölüneceğini düşünüyorum mesela, umurumun teki değil. Kimse hiçbir toprağın sahibi değil. Bak yazmışım buraya. Bunu yani varolduğumdan beri yazıyorum yazar olarak. Burada Roma 1123 yıl kalmış. Türkler henüz 561 yıldır burada. Bir 561 yıl daha kalacağımızı zannetmiyorum ben. Bu topraklar sahip değiştirir. Burası geçiş yolu. Sen


eğer cahil cehaletinle idare etmeye kalkarsan, zevksizliğinle idare etmeye kalkarsan, güçsüz düşersin gelirler alırlar. Roma bile yıkılmış sen mi yıkılmayacaksın? O yüzden Türkiye’nin yıkılması da benim umurumda değil. Bunu söylediğim zaman da bu sefer vatan haini diyorlar. Yani her söylediğime birşey söylüyorlar zaten. Ben sadece demokrat olduğumu düşünüyorum. Hapiste eğer haksız yatıyorsa ulusalcıları da savunuyorum, ki durum öyle yani. Şu anda ki orada içerideki askerlerin komutanların hiçbirisine kefil olamam hepsi Nato’nun subayıydı ne bok yerlerse yesinler umurumun teki değil. Ama o gencecik subaylar var ya onlar suçsuz subay diye niye yatsınlar? Tamam, ordu bu ülkede 3 tane darbe yaptı en fazla da yani benim yakın çevrem acısını çekti ama bu çocuklar o çocuklar değil yani. Kimse eğer herkes babasının büyükbabasının yaptığının günahını çekecekse oooo... Böyle diyorum ondan sonra içeridekiler kanlı katil bile olsa eğer adil yargılanmadıysa o kanlı katili de savunurum. Eğer bu hükümet günün birinde düşer de Yüce Divan’a götürülürse onların da mahkum olmasından ama adli yargılanarak mahkum olmasından yanayım. Bir de demokratım ben. İki kez televizyon programı yaptım bir Skytürk’te bir Kanaltürk’te. İkisinde de Avrupa Birliği’nden projemiz kabul oldu. Orada ulusalcıya da söz verdim, liberale de söz verdim, akp yanlısına da söz verdim, dinciye de söz verdim ama en çok kime söz verdim biliyor musunuz? En çok Türkiye’de herkesin görmezden geldiği yunan daha doğrusu rum, ermeni ve yahudi basınına yer verdim. Çünkü burada yahudilerin bir gazetesi var. Herkes gönüllü çalışıyor. Kimse bilmez değil mi? Şahane bir gazetedir. Şalom. Evet, iş adamları, iş kadınları. Nişantaşı’nda gider ben orada konferans veririm zaman zaman. Orada o kadar güzeldir ki, o kadar hoştur ki, insanlar gündüzleri kendi işlerinde çalışırlar geceleri gönüllü gönüllü o gazeteyi çıkarırlar. Onların hepsinin kendi meslekleri vardır ama akşamları o gazeteyi yaparlar haftada bir kez Türkiye’nin en iyi gazetelerinden bir tanesidir. Mesela oradan arkadaşlarımı meslektaşlarımı çıkardım söz verdim ben çıkarana kadar Türkiye’de kimse yahudi gazetecileri Türkiye’deki Yahudi


gazetecileri ya hu gelin siz de yani Türkiye’nin önemli bir azınlığısınız, köşebaşlarını tuttuğunuzu söylüyoruz, onu bunu yaptığınızı söylüyoruz, bir de gelin bir söz. Onu yapmamışlardı. Ben çıkardım. Ondan sonra Andrea Rombopulos, ilk ben çıkardım televizyona. Gel canım kardeşim gel bak, sen burada Türkiye’nin son Rum gazetesini çıkartıyorsun. Türkiye’nin meseleleri hakkında ne düşünüyorsun? Ondan sonra Ara Koçunyan. Türkiye’nin en eski gazetesidir biliyor musunuz? Çıkardığı ya. Beyoğlu’nda üstelik Vakıfı da bir Kürt kiralamış, kürde kirasını ödüyor, Ermeni vakfının şeyinde kirasının. Sular basan iğrenç bir yerde 19ncu yüzyıldan kalma makinalarla şahane bir gazete çıkartıyor Ermenice Türkçe. Üstelik babadan oğula gelen bir gazete. İlk ben onu çıkardım televizyona. Azınlıkların savunulmasını ilk yazım zaten Rembetikodur adı ve yunanlılara yaptıklarımızı anlatmakla başladım. 1996da Radikal’de başladım ilk yazımla Rembetikodur adı, azınlıkları savundum. Yani, Türkiye’de doğrusu birkaç tanenin dışında gerçek demokrat olduğunu düşünmüyorum ben aydınların arasında. Herkes kendi tarafını tutuyor. Herkes. Yani laik cumhuriyetçiler arasında da öyle, dinciler arasında da öyle, liberal denilen aslında yanar döner yani bir oraya bir oraya verenler arasında da öyle. Hepsi. Ha bizim takımdansan söylenmiyor, öbür takımdaysan. Her zaman söylüyorum her seferinde. Ulusalcı diyorlar, ya hem ulusalcı hem Beyaz Türk olunmaz bir kere. Beyaz Turk diyorlar bana, vatan haini dediler, faşist dediler, bir tek şey soylemediler ya bu kız çok demokrat demediler. Tek söylemediklerinin bunun olduğunu düşünüyorum çünkü meslek hayatımda bütün yaptıklarım bunun kanıtı. Ya hayatımda ben hiçbir partiden yana olmadım. En çok da muhalefete vuruyorum, iktidardan çok. Her iktidara karşıyım, her iktidara. Tek bir iktidardan yana olsaydım inanın bu vaziyette olmazdım. Burası benim olurdu, kirada olmazdım. İkinci bir evim olurdu, bırak arabayı filan. Ama ben muhalefetten yana da olmadım. Bugün CHP’nin ödü kopuyor benden. CHP gelip bana kesinlikle milletvekilliği falan teklif etmez çünkü biliyorlar bana gelip de istediklerini


söyletemezler. Böyle doğmuşum. Bu halimi seviyor muyum? Hayır. Nefret ediyorum. Keşke birazcık konformu yapabilseydim, konformize, biraz yapabilseydim, şu çenemi biraz tutabilseydim, hayat o kadar kolay olurdu ki. Ama değil. Olmuyor. En güzel lafı benim için bir Fransız buradaki Jerome Bastion diye Afp’nin eski muhabiriydi şimdi de tv 5’in vs. onların muhabiri aynı zamanda Rfi’nin muhabiri; onunla birlikte işte program yapıyorduk bu azınlıklar vs. böyle Italyan basınından falan da adamlar alıyordum ben yani. O dedi ki 2006 yılında işte bu tam Kanaltürk’te yaparken Kanaltürk kapanırken onunla program yapıyorduk görüyor Tuncay Özkan için çok yani çok mücadele ediyorum ama Tuncay Özkan’dan yana da değilim fikirlerim aynı değil fakat fikirlerim aynı değil diye ben birisi için mücadele. Ya Emile Zola’nın çocuklarıyız biz. Emile Zola nasıl yazdı hiç tanımadan bilmeden meşhur Dreyfus davasını. Ondan sonra Dreyfus’u hapisten çıkarıyor, Dreyfus’u bir gece yemek yiyorlar Emile Zola’yla, hiç ilginç bir adam değil diyor bir daha da görmüyor yüzünü. Ama Emile Zola’yı bu yüzden öldürülüyorlar. Emile Zola’nın çocuklarıyız biz. Tanımadığımız, inanmadığımız, fikirlerimizin aynı olmadığı insanları da savunuruz. Orada gördüler özellikle dış basındaki arkadaşlarım Jerome Bastion en güzel şeyi söyledi: ben bir serbest elektronum ne tarafa gideceğim belli olmaz. Sadece kafamın dikine giderim. O yüzden de kimsenin işine gelmiyorum ben. AKP beni sevmiyor 2010 yılında onlar attırdı beni işten, çünkü feci bir yazı yazmıştım, Vatan’dan attırdı, yani Başbakan attırdı onu da, şimdi Başbakanın attırdığını söylüyorum öyle paranoyak falan da değilim komplo teorisyeni de değilim. 2010'da verdiğim demeçlerde bilmiyorum dedim yani bu kadar minik bir yazarın, kadın madın, bu kadar önem verileceğini sanmıyorum dedim. O sırada patronun beni işten attığını zannediyordum ama bugün tapeler çıkıyor ya, 2010'da beni de attırdıklarına artık eminim, kimseye birşey söylemedim söylemeyeceğim de. 2005'te de işte halkın Beyaz Türk diyenler bana attırdılar.


Evet, bana Beyaz Türk diyenler kendileri de, kendileri, bilmiyorum onlar renksiz bence. Yani, onlar attırdılar işten. İnanın iktidar sevmiyor fakat muhalefet de nefret ediyor. CHP de beni sevmiyor çünkü CHP’ye çok çıkıyorum. CHP hakkında politbüro şeyini çıkartan benim. Politbürosunuz siz, Sovyet zamanındaki komunist parti gibi idare ediyorsunuz diye yazan benim yani. Politbüro ondan sonra yerleşti. Dolayısı ile, fakirim, çok mutluyum, kocamı çok seviyorum O da beni çok seviyor, oğlumu yalnız büyüttüm babası çok genç yaşta öldü çünkü, O da şahane bir çocuk oldu, gelinim alevi, gelinime bayılıyorum onlar Brüksel’de, çok sınırlı imkanlarla çok güzel bir hayat yaşadığımı ve çok dürüst bir meslek çizgisi izlediğimi düşünüyorum. Çok mutluyum. Kimin ne dediği hiç ilgilendirmiyor. Onlar hakkında ben günün birinde yazdığım zaman, onlar bana vuruyorlar ama gördüğünüz gibi halen ayaktayım ama ben onlara vurduğum zaman devireceğim, bir daha insan içine çıkamayacaklar. Tarafsız yazmam gerektiği için medya anılarıma yazmak istiyorum normal olarak. Hani demin konuştuk ya birisini kollayıp bizdendir diye onu yapmadığım için herkese vuracağım. Çalıştığım gazeteye de vuracağım. O kitabın o kadar çok satması lazım ki o kitaptan sonar bana bütün basın kapanır. Biraz daha gazetecilik yapayım diye o kitabı henüz yazmıyorum. Ama zamanı geliyor, bundan sonra o. Bütün emelim o. Ne kadar kirli çıktısı varsa hepsini ortaya dökecem onlarla çoğu sokağa çıkamayacak zaten. Dediğim gibi.

Neden mutluyum? Dün şey vardır Cihangir’i biliyorsanız eğer orada Lakav diye bir şarap markası mağazası vardır. Sıraselviler’de. Onun sahibi Esat şahane bir Kürttür. Kürt, Devrimci Yol hareketinden gelen nefis bir insandır, çok aydın, Ertuğrul Kürkçü’nün falan arkadaşı Esat’ı çok severim. Mine dedi sen bir gün yazmalısın dedi. O da beni çok sever, şey dedi bak dedi İstiklal caddesine dedi şu anda sana şunu bunu diyen hiçbirisi tünelden inipte Taksim’e kadar yürüyemezler dedi. Hepsinin suratına tükürülür dedi. Sen dedi şu anda dedi Sıraselviler’den yukarı bütün tanıdıklarını


selamlayacaksın bütün tanıdıkların tarafından kahve ikram edilecek ve devam edin denilecek dedi. Hakikaten de öyle oldu. Ben Moda’ya çıktığım zaman, buradan Kadıköy’e yürüyene kadar herkes tanımıyor tabii o kadar tanınan biri değilim ama insanlar çok iyi biliyorlar aslında, çok iyi biliyorlar, çok iyi biliyorlar. Boynuma sarılanlar, öpenler, bir yere oturduğum zaman yemek parası ödetmeyenler bugün kaç kişinin böyle bir lüksü var Türk basınında çok yok. Benim ödülüm bu. Şu kitap çıktı ya Twitter’da 71 bin takipçim vardı benim ama 71 bini de hakiki biliyor musun hakiki. 342 Nasıl herkes mesela 250 bin takipçisi olanlar diyorlar, Mine ne olur bizi bir kere retweetle çünkü senin öyle aktif bir takımın var ki senden sonra her yere yayılıyor. Yani biraz ölü takipçileri olan var 750 bin onlar zaten satın alınmışlar. Benim 71 bin atom karıncam var. Bu kitabı nasıl dağıttılar anlatamam size. 3 baskı yaptıysa 3 haftada twitterda okurlarım sayesindedir. Hergün birisi bunu yazıyor. Şahane bir şey bu ya, şahane bir şey. Şu anda hayatımın en güzel dönemini en parasız ve en güzel dönemini yaşıyorum. Şu kadarcık çünkü bulamadılar. 2006 ve 2011de Maliyet Bakanlığı denetledi benim hesaplarımı. Zaten fare düşse başı yarılır. O yüzden öyle bir çekildiler. Ne banka hesabı var, tek kuruş hesaba giriyor, ne ben zaten evde ayakkabı kutularında para tutacak durumdayım. Dolayısı ile sadece zeka, kültür ve zevkle de belli bir şekilde yaşanabiliyor. Hep onu yazıyorum ya arkadaşlar para para kendinizi diye bu kadar yırtmayın. Eğer zeki iseniz, eğer zevkiniz varsa, hiç marka giymeden de hoş giyinirsiniz her zaman herkes size güzel giyiniyorsun der. Eğer zekiyseniz siz bir yolunu bulursunuz aç da kalmazsınız. Yani bu kadar yırtmanıza ve bu kadar yırtılmanıza gerek yok diye yazıyorum 30 senedir. Şimdi ise çok mutluyum. Bu kadar. Anlatacaklarım bu kadar benim.

Irkçı değil misiniz?

342Kırıkanat G. Mine, Bir Hıristiyan masalı, Kırmızı kedi, Istanbul 2014


Kesinlikle. Hayatta bir tek kultur ırkçısıyım ben. Cahili bile opup başıma koyarım oğrenmek istediği takdirde. Bak medya ikamesi diye bir sitem var benim; iki hafta önce Cem Kaplan diye yeni bir yazar edindik, çok aydın bir çocuk çok parlak bir çocuk üniversite bitirmiş, iş bulamamış inşaat şirketinde işçi olarak çalışıyor, işçi olarak. İşte o benim buramda, başıma koyarım. Beim en yakın arkadaşım, kim olduğunu söylememe gerek yok, en yakın arkadaşım liseyi bile bitirmemiştir. Ama öyle bir iradeye sahip ki Türkiye’de parmakla gösterilecek aydınlardan bir tanesidir bugün okuduklarıyla yaptıklarıyla. Benim kocam, en büyük aşkım hayatta, şu resme bak, şu resmi yapan, 3 tane kitap çıkaran, bu fotoğrafları çeken adam sadece aşçılık okulu mezunu biliyor musun? O da lise düzeyi bile değil … ama nasıl geliştirmiş kendini alıp başımın üzerine koyarım. Ha bu arada milyarları varmış, Cambridge bitirmiş, Oxford bitirmiş, ondan sonra hayatta hiçbir kimseye bir yararı yok, kimseye yardım etmiyor, sadece soylu soylu oturuyor. Onun da üstüne tükürürüm. Kultur ırkçısıyım, bir de iyilikten yanayım. İnsanların iyi olması gerek. Hak edene yardım etmesi gerek. Bugün kimse kimseye yardım etmiyor. Ben çok yardım ettim, çok insana yardım ettim. Şöyle yardım ettim; birkaç tane gazeteci benim sayemde gazeteci olmuştur bir kere. İkincisi tam cesaret verilmesi gereken yerde cesaret vermek de yardımdır. Yardım etmek dilenciye para vermek gibi değildir, çocuk okutursun. Mesela benim param yok. Ne yaptım? 2010'a kadar yaptığım bir şey bu; okurlarıma yazıyordum diyordum ki şu çocuk şöyle neticeleri bunu okutmak lazım. O kadar da sağlam bir okur kitlem var ki benim bir çocuğu mesela İzmir Rotary Club şu anda Amerika’da bir kıza master yaptırıyor. Bir tanesini doktor çıkardık. Anasız babasız Adıyaman doğumlu üstün zekalı bir Kürt çocuk. Hem İzmir Üniversitesi’nden, İzmir Tıp’tan mezun oldu çok iyi derece ile şimdi de Almanya’da O’na master yaptırılıyor. Benim param yok, ben kimseye para veremiyorum, ama topladığım grup çok çocuk okuttu, çok iyi oldu. O grup toplamak da .. ben şeylerden bahsediyorum anlatabiliyor muyum? Mesela, bu çok laf aramızda Bülent Eczacıbaşı bile


para verdi o gruba. Böyle çok çocuğa yardım ettik. Hala daha çıkarsa yardım ediyoruz. 2010'dan beri pek girmiyorum o işe çünkü herifler öyle ki para topluyorsun ondan sonra çocuklara veriyorsun ya banka hesabı ben elimi deymiyorum paraya ama başıma bela olurlar maliye falan. Yasaktı böyle para toplamaktı bilmem ne onun vergisiydi. Çağdaş Yaşamı Destekleme şeyine öyle girdiler alınan bağışlardan girdiler ceza kesiyorlar şu anda. Ondan sonra koptum çektim elimi. Kötü işte onlar, biz çocuk okutuyorduk mani oldular. Durum bundan ibaret. Galiba o sevmediğim kültür ırkçılığı yaptığım insanlarla olan farkım onların sadece sömürmek benim de insanların kimsenin kimseyi sömürmeyeceği herkesin toplumda ama yararlı bir yeri olacağına şey yaptım. Hiçbir iş yapmadan mesela bizim apartmanda var işte insanlar oturuyorlar zamanında para yapmışlar bu daireleri almışlar, karşıdaki daireler daha büyük mesela, hiçbir işe yaramadan oturuyorlar onlar da benim gözümde makbul değil, her insanın bir şey yapması lazım. Son yıllarda mesela Fransa’da ki, belki İtalya’da da böyledir, gönüllülük şeyine çok değer veriyorum. Yani, gitsinler ya hu iki tane çocuğu öpsünler, o kadar yetim öksüz çocuk var yetimhanelerde. Tırnaklarını boyatıpta manikürcüden pedikürcüden çıkmayıp oralarını buralarını boyatıp silikon yaptıracaklarına İtalya’ya gitsinler de çocuğu öpsünler haftada birkaç gün çok daha gençleşirler. Bana ne kadar genç gösteriyorsun diyorlar çünkü mücadele ediyorum. Mücadele insanı genç tutar. Özellikle doğru mücadele. Mesela ateistim tamam, aslında ateistim diyorum ama sır dinlere inanmıyorum hiçbirine inanmıyorum fakat bu şey evren bir bütün ben onun bir parçasıyım o benim içimde bir parça, buna inanıyorum yani. Böyle Kantik bir durum var.

Tamamen Yüce duygusunu ve bir kutsallık duygusunu yani Hristiyanların, Müslümanların, Yahudilerin söylediği bir Allah yok kesin ama Evren’de bir enerji var biz de o enerjinin bir parçasıyız. O enerji her ne ise her sıkıştığımda, her sıkıştığımda


geldi. Her sıkıştığımda. Evet korkunç.

Musluman burjuvası var mı?

Ama onların burjuva olması için onlar ancak şey olur ya ne derler zengin parya, zengin parya diyorum ben onlara. Evet bu benim deyimim. Burjuva değiller onlar. Burjuva aynı zamanda bir zevk birikimidir, kultur birikimidir, bir resim mesela alır koyarsın. Şu anda koydukları resimlere bak ya. Ebru dedikleri ebru sanatı diye bir şey var. Ebru nedir biliyor musun? Ebru sanatını resim zannediyorlar onu çerçeveletip resim diye koyuyorlar ya. Kitapları kaplamaya yarayan bir şeydir tamam zanaattır guzel bir şeydir ama resim değildir. Yani burjuva olmak için bir resmin bir heykelin kıymetini bilmek lazım ya da ilgi duymak lazım mesela benim şu anda baş tacı ettiğim arkadaşlarım yani lise tahsili bile olmadan kendini yetiştirmiş benim eşim, en yakın arkadaşım, baka baka okuya okuya öğrendiler. Ben de anamdan doğduğumda resim sanatı nedir bilmiyordum yani. Bak Yüksel Arslan. Yüksel Arslan O. Baka baka öğrendik, okuya okuya öğrendik. Bu herifler okumuyorlar. Okumayan adamı küçümsüyorum, aşağılıyorum, hakir görüyorum. O dincilere burjuvazi denmez. Onlar, paralı parya. Milyarder olsa, ne yazar ya. Milyarder olsa, ne yazar. İşte orada Akp’nin iktidara gelişi çok etkili oldu. Şöyle ki, bunlar yani aldıkları imam hatip eğitimlerinde bir kere çok iyi bir ideoloji izlediler. Şöyle; ticaret Müslümandır dediler. Müslümanlık ticaret üzerine. Neden? Peygamber tüccardı. Neden? Peygamberin karısı çok zengin bir kadındı, ticaret yapıyordu. Demek ki ticaret mübah. Hiçbir kadında İslamiyet dininde namus kavramı yani namus ve ahlak kavramı, etica dediğimiz olay, kadının burasına indirgendiği için, ha kadın seni aldatmıyorsa sen namuslusun. Komisyon almak, rüşvet almak, ondan sonracığıma İran’a giden petrol paraları üzerinden yüzde alıp evlere yığmak, bunlar gayet doğal şeyler, ticaret. Ayol ayet


buldular. Tapeler çıkıyor ya hani son tapeler, ayet buldular. Efendim diyorlar önünden diyorlar bilmem ne geçerken diyorlar işte su geçerken bir tas almak haram değilmiş diyorlar o zaman önünden İran altınları akarken aradan böyle 1 milyar 2 milyar dolar almak haram değil. Peygamberimiz Efendimiz bunu söylemiş diyorlar. Sahte ayetler, ya senin papalık sahte vasiyetse sen İslamlıkta sahte ayetler ooo her duruma bir ayet. Mesela Ay’a ilk gönderilen aa Kuran’da yazılı. Bilmem ne buluşu ama Kuran’da şöyle.. Her dakika ayet yazıyor herifler. İşte bu tapelerle ilgili ayet çıkardılar ya. Önünden dereler geçerken bir maşrafata da sen alırsan o bir şey olmazmış o, önünden altın geçerken de, İran altınları, aldığın zaman şey değil. Namus etica nerede burada? Ahlak? Ee karın namuslu ya apış arasını açmıyor başkasına bir tek bana açıyor o zaman tamam. Yani asıl zarar böyle verildi. Ahlakı etikayı kadının apış arasına indirgediler. Dolayısı ile her şey yapabilir. Herşey. Karın sana aitse, senden başkası ile yatmıyorsa, namuslusun sen. Çalarsın, çırparsın, rüşvet alırsın bilmem ne alırsın. Şimdi ticaretle başladılar ya, namusu da kadına indirgediler ya, kafası görünmüyorsa namuslusun, işte ondan öteye ticarette de bu komisyonculuğa başlayınca para birikti abi. Şimdi Fransızcada bir deyim vardır: Nabab derler. Bu 19ncu yy.da icad edilmiş tiyatrolara falan da komedilere konu olmuş böyle petrol zengini böyle ama nasıl yenilir içilir bilmiyor yani elle alıyor hap hap yapıyor falan filan ama para çok işte bir sürü film vardı böyle komedi filmi. Onlara nabab denir. Yani paran vardır ama yemek yemesini bilmezsin. Geyirirsin, affedersin gaz çıkarırsın, onlar böyle zevksiz nabablar. Başka tür Arivist lafının Par ve nu, sonradan görmenin biz de sonradan görme deniyor görmemiş deniyor. Onun böyle 19ncu yy.da argotik birşeyi nabab. İşte o nabablaşma başladı. O nabablaşma ile birlikte İstanbul’un oradan buradan yani özgün bir mimari bile değil; mesela İtalya’da ben görüyorum bahçe evler yapıyorlar bilmem kaç tane eksperimental gökdelenler var o gökdelenleri bir yeşil ev olarak tasarlamışlar günün birinde yazmak istiyorum ama her şeyi de yazamıyorsun haftada iki yazım var. Dolayısı ile mesela kaç


bin tane sayısını unuttum 3 bin 600 tane ağaç koymuşlar gökdeleni görmüyorsun orada. Enerjisini kendisi yaratıyor yemyeşil falan böyle yani modern mimarinin de bir zevklisi var.

Bizimkiler gidiyorlar Dubai’de bakıyorlar şöyle bir şey aa gidip bunu İstanbul’a yapalım. İstanbul’a bu senin söylediğin ve rahatsız olduğun gökdelenlerin hiçbirisi özgün mimari değil. Onlar bile taklit. Onlar bile. Evet Peygamber efendimizin tüccarlığından yola çıkarak, namusu kadının apış arasına indirgeyerek, apışarası ne demektir biliyor musunuz şurasıdır iki bacak arası. Ondan sonar oradan özenti olarak araplar Dubai, Doha, oralara özenti, orayla olan ilişkiler, Qatar Emirlikleri bunlara biliyorsun çok yardım etti. Derken bir Araplaşma, bir nabablaşma, ve bu hale de böyle geldik işte. Yine bakacak olursan çok özet tek kelime istersen; din-kültür. Diyeceksin Atatürk de Fransa’ya baktı Avrupa’ya baktı O da bu şapka dedi O da Avrupa. Evet, farklı değil. Ama Avrupa’nın bize vereceği kültür sanırım bu tarafın vereceği kültürden biraz daha üst seviyede. Eğer birini taklit edeceksek kültürlü olmak için yani kusura bakmasınlar ama şu an Arap edebiyatı bana birşey vermiyor. Çok güzel, çok iyi yazarlar var. İşte bir, iki. Orada daha benim keşfetmediğim Stender var, Rusya’ya bakarım yani Dostoyevski, Amerika’nın da bana vereceği çok şey var, Rusya’ya da bakarım. Daha büyük bir kültürü olan bir yerin şapkasını takmam biraz daha az kırıcı geliyor. Çünkü obür tarafta bir de kadın özgürlüğü yok. Ben kadınım. Yani o kültürde eşitlik yaratamamış. Eşitlik olmayınca demokrasi olmamış. Demokrasi dediğimiz ne? Kanun önünde eşitlik. O kanun tarafsız bir kanundur. Kadın erkek o kanun önünde eşit değilse demokrasi olamaz. Bu adamların buraya çakılmış şeriat kanunları önünde kadın eşit değil. Bu kadar geri kalmaları da bundan. Sen evdeki kadınının hayatını, acılarını, sevinçlerini paylaşmıyorsan, kendinle aynı seviyede görmüyorsan onun hakkını kendi hakkına göre zaten yasa önünde şey ediyorsan senin zaten demokrat olmana imkan yok.


Yasaları insanlar yapar. Topluma uygunluktur yasalar. Topluma uymayan yasaya toplum uymaz ki. Türkiye’de niçin bu kadar çok yasa yapıldı da hiçbirine uyulmadı? Hiçbirisi toplumun malı değildi çünkü. Toplumu oraya getirmek lazım ki yasa tutsun. İtalya koskoca bir iç savaştan geçti demokrasi fikri yeşerene kadar. Birliğini sağlayana kadar. Cumhuriyet rejimini seçene kadar. Savaşta kan döktü. Kendi kanını döktü. Papalığı, Vatikan’ı indirgeyene kadar çok şeylerden geçti. Tamam sonra Mussolini de geldi ama çok da fazla sürmedi falan. 20şer sene gerekiyor evet ama onun sonunda ilerici fikirler geliyor. Türkiye’ye Atatürk’ün yaptığı belki de en büyük kötülük galiba savaşarak edinilmesi gereken dolayısı ile hak edilerek kıymeti bilinecek şeyleri tepeden inme hediye etti, kimse kıymetini bilmedi. Kadınlar ve erkekler eşit olmaya dinsel anlamda açık değilken, eşitsiniz denildi. Benim gibi bir kuşak yetişti işte, bu kadar. Kadın kendini eşit görmeyince kanun ne yapsın ya? Kanunlar da bozuluyor zaten. Atatürk’ün Türkiye’ye yaptığı en büyük kötülük Türkiye’nin savaşarak yani hak ettiğini hissederek edilmesi ve alınması gereken değerleri böyle tepeden inme tepsi içerisinde hediye sunmasıdır. O hediyeler için dövüşmek gerekiyordu. Dövüşmediğimiz için geri gidiyoruz. Kadın erkek eşitliği uğruna burada kadınlar acı çekseler mücadele etseler ve o eşitliğe o mücadelenin sonunda gelseler belki de bu kadar kolay geri gidilmezdi. Ben Ataturk’un kendisine hayranım. Çunku neden hayranım bir kere ustun zekalı bir adam çok okumuş bir adam. İnanılmaz biliyorum yani yabancı dil çok guzel biliyor. Çok incelemiş. Herşeyi incelemiş. Meraklı, meraklı olana saygım var. Guzel giyiniyor; o da benim için estetik bir değer. Sanata değer veriyor, operayı kuruyor, tiyatroyu, biraz daha insan neden çunku batılı aslında Ataturk. Atatürk ne? Atatürk Selanik’te doğmuş. Ama onun dışında Atatürk benim için put değil. Atatürk tapılacak bir Tanrı değil. Ve biliyor musunuz? Bu şeyler, yürüyüş başladı işte; 1 milyon kişi Anıtkabir’e yürümekler.


Artık affedersiniz ama mezardan. %70i 30 yaşın altında olan bir toplumuz biz. Sen %70i 30 yaşın altında olan bir topluma bir mezarı gösteremezsin ideal olarak. Yeni birşeyler yaratmalısın. Saçmalık. Ben Anıtkabir’e en son 10 yaşımda gittim herhalde. 50 senedir gitmiyorum, Ankara’ya gidersem giderim de. Putlara karşıyım. Ben dinlerin putlarını atmışım Ataturk’u mu putlaştıracağım ya? Şimdi butun putları kırıyorlar tabii haklılar, haklılar. Ben de olsam kırardım. Affedersiniz tuvaletlerde bile Atatürk büstü vardı. Berber dükkanında Atatürk şeyinin ne işi var affedersiniz? Buna çok karşıydım. ‘96da yazmaya başladım ben, ‘96da yazmaya başladım. Müslümanlar bile benden sonra yazmaya başladılar bunları. Müslüman değilim. En çok aşağıladığım din de islamiyet aslında. Bu kadın erkek ilişkisi yüzünden başka birşey yüzünden değil. Peygamber Muhammed Berlusconi'nin bonga bongasini o zaman yapiyormuş öyle bir adam o yüzden kadın erkek eşit değildir islamiyette. Çok kategorilere sokmak istediler ama her kategoriden diş macunu gibi fırladım bir daha sokamadılar. Kesinlikle çok başarısız bir operasyon ama dediğim gibi en guzel cevabı zaman veriyor bana saldıranların çoğu yok oluyorlar bugun, yok oluyorlar, hergun prestij kaybediyorlar. İşte insan içine çıkamayacaklar dememin sebebi o yavaş yavaş o hale geliyorlar son bir darbe de ben indiricem zaten emin olabilirsin. Çünkü eski hikayeleri çıkartacağım. Böyle demiştiniz, böyle yaptınız.

Gezi Parkına gittiniz mi?

Gezi Parkına gittim tabii. Gezi Parkı bir kere Türkiye'nin hiç beklemediği bir hareketti. Tuhaf bir şekilde. Ben bekliyordum. Şöyle bir yazım vardı yayınladım zaten. Gezi de ben dış televizyonla çok çalıştım çünkü dedim ki o sırada, Türk televizyonlarına çıkmamaya karar vermiştim ama böyle birşey için çıkardım. Televizyonlardan teklif geliyor oraya çıkar mısın buraya çıkar mısın bir karar vermek zorunda kaldım. Dedim ki


Türk televizyonlarına çıkacaksın bu çocuklara bir faydan dokunmayacak. Türk televizyonlarında zaten sen ben benim oğlan birbirimizi ağarlıyoruz. Sen mümkün olduğu kadar şey dedim ve sesim kısıldı bu yaşta düşünün sesim kısıldı gaz yedim bilmem ne ama yani bildiğim en iyi dil Fransızca hatta bir keresinde Amerikan televizyonuna bile tercümanla çıktım yani. Sesim kısıla gözlerim yaşara yaşara Amerika televizyonu, Fransa televizyonu, Kanada televizyonu, Belçika televizyonu, İtalya televizyonu ne kadar mümkünse batılı basına Gezi'yi duyurmaya çalıştım. Böyle bir iş yaptım. Türkiye’nin pek bir haberi yok bundan ama eğer Gezi bu kadar duyuldu ise benim gibi başka gazeteci arkadaşlarım da vardı gazeteci böyle bir 10 kadar gazeteci dış medyaya çok çalıştık biz. Para falan almıyoruz. Dolayısı ile orada öyle yardımcı olmaya çalıştım çocuklara ve oraya bayıldım. Şöyle; Gezi patladığında ben tam 1 yıl önce Mayıs ayında yazdığım yazıyı yayımladım. Şöyle demişim o yazıda: demişim ki bakın Türkiye kaynayan bir kazan, bir gün hiç ummadığımız bir yerde ve ummadığımız şekilde ve beklenmedik sloganlarla patlayacak. Yani insanlar politik olarak dökülmeyecekler. Bir futbol maçından çıkışta olabilir bu, herhangi bir miting alanından olabilir, bir kavgadan çıkabilir, bir şeyden çıkabilir ama hiç beklemediğiniz bir konuda ve o konu siyasal olmayacak bir gerekçe ile ortaya çıkacak ve siyasallaşacak demişim. Aynen bu yazıyı yayınladım 1 yıl önce. Ama tabii ki Taksim’de ağaç yüzünden çıkacağını yazmamışım yani, bunu düşünmedim. O kadar sağlam bir analiz ki o ve halen geçerli ve Gezi çıkınca çok mutlu oldum. Neden çok mutlu oldum? Şöyle söyleyeyim: öyle çocuklarla karşılaştım ki, berberimin çırağı bile ordaydı, orada berberin çırağı ile nişantaşı sosyetesinin bir araya gelmesini çok sevdim. Çünkü Türkiye’de herşeyden önce o kapıları kapattılar. Herkesin sınıfına gore okulu var. Turkiye’de artık zengin çocukları devlet okulunda okumuyor. Devlet okulunda fakirin çocukları okuyor. Buna çok karşıyım ben. Ben ilkokulu şuraya kadar çamurlar içerisinde Ankara’da Keçioren semtinde Amerikalıların bize kurduğu boyle hani manevra şeyleri vardır


ya uçakların sokulduğu hangar oyle hangar sobalı bir okulda okudum. Buralara kadar da çamur izi vardı. Marshall yardımı gelmişti diş fırçasını ilk orada gördüm. Diş macununu da. Düşünebiliyor musun? Çünkü ben 1958de başladım. ‘58de Türkiye böyleydi. Sobamız vardı, donardık. Ama o okul o kadar güzel çıktı ki Dame de Sion’u kazandım. Ankara’nın Keçiören tepelerinde, çamurlar içerisinde gittiğim bir okulda idealist bir öğretmen seni yetiştirdiği zaman burada gelip İstanbul’da büyük okulları kazanabiliyordun. Aradaki fark bu. Ve orada benim, ben memur çocuğuydum, bizim sütçünün kızı da benimle birlikte sınıf birincisiydi. Hep Emine ve Mine. Bir gün o kızı yazdım o sütçü, sütçünün kızı, süt kokardı o. Süt kokardı evladım. Tırnaklarının içerisinde ineklerin dışkısını temizlemekten şey vardı kokardı, kokardı, ahır kokardı. Nasıl zeki ve çalışkan bir kızdı. En güzel yazılarımdan biri O’nu anlattığımdır. Bir O birinciydi, bir ben birinciydim. Ben bir memurun kızıydım, O bir sütçünün kızıydı. O okullar öyle okullardı. Sonra, bu yazıyı yazdıktan sonra, haber geldi. Kayseri’de doktor olmuş kız. Şimdi artık böyle değil kardeşim. Benim butun arkadaşlarım dahil olmak uzere genç arkadaşlarım yani benim oğlan geldi şeye, 36 yaşında, ama genç arkadaşlarım var işte, yaşlılardan çok genç arkadaşlarım vardır benim, ondan sonra onların çocukları okul çağında ortaokul çağında falan hiç hayatlarında yani bir kapıcı çocuğu ile aynı okulda olmadılar. Kardeşim yani işte beyaz Turkler o şekilde yetişiyor. Sen kapıcı çocuğu ile aynı okulda okumazsan, sen şofor çocuğu ile aynı okulda okumazsan, sen bilmem ne tamircisiyle, sen işsiz birisinin çocuğu ile aynı okulda okumazsan sen ne bileceksin halkı. Nasıl konuşacaksın o halkla? Nereye taşıyacaksın? Hangi kararın doğru olacak? Sen onun rüyalarını, sen onun düş yıkımlarını, sen onun acılarını, sevinçlerini, neyi seveceğini, ona nasıl bir iyilik yapabileceğini nereden anlayacaksın? Sen şu kadarcıkken ana okulundan almışlar seni zengin çocuklarıyla okutmuşlar, fakirler de fakirlerle. Asıl büyük ayrım bundan sonra Türkiye’de. Bu çocuklar yetiştiler. Öyle iki takıma ayrılacağız ki artık aynı dilde


konuşmaz olacaklar. Aynı dili konuşmuyorlar asıl ayrım bu, burada başlıyor. Okullarda bile ayrım. Eğer bir devlet her sınıftan insanı yurttaşlık bilgisi dahilinde aynı okulda aynı derslerle yetiştiremiyorsa bitmiştir. Sen bırak Kürtlerle falan parçalanmayı sen zaten parçalanıyorsun sınıfsal olarak. O fakirler gelir seni elbette ezerler, haklıdırlar. Doğru mu, yanlış mı? (…) Bir kendi takımım hakkında konuşuyorum çok düzgün, benim arkamda duran çok düzgün insanlar var. Biz böyle duruyoruz bildiğimizi söylüyoruz, gördüğümüzü söylüyoruz. Kimse tarafından satın alınmıyorum. Ondan sonra iftira atıyorlar, dönüyorlar methediyorlar. Övdükleri zaman teşekkür etmiyoruz, iftira ettikleri zaman da yermiyoruz. Böyle susuyoruz sadece. Gidiyoruz işimizi yapıyoruz.

Kürtler hakkında ne düşünüyorsunuz?

Bak şimdi Kürtlerin Türklerden hiç farkı yok. Kürtlerin de Kürtçüsü ve aşırı milliyetçisi var. Türklerin de Türkçüsü ve aşırı milliyetçisi var. Onları bir tarafa bırak çünkü Kürtçülerin, milliyetçi Kürtçülerin, beni sevmelerine imkan yok ben onlara karşıyım. Ama ben türk milliyetçiliğine de karşıyım. Dinciliğe de karşıyım, milliyetçiliğe de karşıyım, kafatasçılara da karşıyım. Onların beni sevmelerine imkan yok. Ama bu arada benim gibi düşünen, sosyalist ve hümanist düşünceler çerçevesindemücadele veren inanılmaz Kürtler var ve onlar benim dostum. Çok seviyorlar. Bak bugün Nazım Alpman bir tanesi yazı yazdı benim için Birgün’de. Kitabımı methediyor. Yani hiç kimse blok değil. Benim kendi gelinim Alevi Kürdü ya sen ne diyorsun? Yani artık ötesi var mı? Ötesi var mı? Bir sürü Kürt arkadaşım var benim ama çok özür dilerim ama ben bu ülkedeki tarihi, coğrafi anlamda bir güzelliği, toplumun iyi olmasını, Kürtçü milliyetçiler Türkçü milliyetçilerin yaptığı hatalarla aynısını yapsın diye savunmuyorum ki. Türkçü milliyetçilerle zamanında nasıl mücadele ettiysem bugün Kürtçü milliyetçiler


içinde aynısını yaparım. Federal yönetime karşıyım. Neden karşıyım anlatayım sana. Ben İspanya muhabiriydim 6 yıl süreliğine o arada ben federal yapıyı çok iyi inceledim. Federal yapı merkezi devlet üzerinde bir yük. Yani ben bölünmekten yanayım. Kürtlerin aslında devlet olma hakkı var. Ana dillerinde okuma hakkı da var. Her şeye hakları var. Ama ayrı bir devlet olmalılar. Fazla büyük bir ülkeyiz. Bence bir bölümünün Kürtlere, Kürtler kendi bölümlerini almalılar diye düşünüyorum. Çünkü artık Kürtçülerden, bak Kürtlerden değil, Kürtçülerden bıktım ben. Bak eğer sen İstanbul’daki kürt mafyasına sırf Kürtler hepsi iyidir onları savunmak için kürt mafyasını görmezden gelirsen bu dürüstlük değil. Bu dürüstlük değil. Benim arkadaşım demin söyledim sana Ara Koçunyan Ermeni Vakfı’na ait olup kürt mafyasının el koyduğu yani yasa dışı el koyduğu bir handa eğer kürt mafyasına kira veriyorsa kusura bakmasınlar ben kürt mafyasını savunamam Kürt diye. Ve Türkiye’de kürt mafyası diye bir realite var yani. Türk mafyasından büyük bir Kürt mafyası, bitti. Türkiye’de eğer bir mafya varsa bu Kürt mafyasıdır. E ben niye Kürt mafyasını savunayım kardeşim Kürt diye mafyayı mı savunacağım ben? O zaman kızıyorlar Kürt mafyası dediğim zaman. Ha Kürt lafı olan her şeyi savunmak zorunda mıyız? Hayır değil. Ben düzgün Kürtlerin anayasal haklarını savunuyorum. Ama kusura bakmasınlar 70 bin tane çocuk yapıp benim karşıma aşiret reislerini çıkartıp çocuğumun adını bilmiyorum 32 tane resimler var böyle, kaç tane yazım var benim bu konuda. Kürtçüler de oradan nefret ediyorlar. Hep aşiret, dişsiz karıları da böyle 5 tane karı, 32 tane çocuk, adlarını bilmiyorum diyor. Hayvan be, sen hayvansın. Senin zaten aldığın yani soluk bir okurumun söylediği gibi ya oksijen dünyaya zarar be. Fare misin sen boyle yuruyorsun? Hamam boceği misin? O çocuklara yazık gunah değil mi? Bak ben bir tek çocuk yapabildim doğru durust yetiştireyim diye. Sen niye 32 tane yapıyorsun? Sokağa atıyorsun, dilendiriyorsun, hırsızlık yaptırıyorsun. Ha bunları yazdığım zaman Kurt duşmanı bana diyorlar hayır değilim. Aşiret sisteminin


duşmanıyım. Ve Pkk o konuda haklıdır. Pkk hakkında yazılarım var niye onları alıp çıkartmıyorlar. Pkk bu ulkede neden tutmuştur? Kadın erkek eşitliğini savunduğu için. Pkk aynı zamanda sadece Turk devletine değil Kurtlerin kurt aşiret sistemine karşı çıkıştır. Analizlerim var. Asalak kardeşlik diye bir yazım var benim. Oradan girsene. 3 yazı yazdım ben oyle. Pkk’nın sadece Turk Cumhuriyeti’nin, Turkiye Cumhuriyeti’nin en buyuk hatası. Kürt isyanları hep aşiret sistemini savunmak için isyandı biliyor musunuz? Kürtler, zavallı Kürtler, bir aşiret reisinin ya da bir dini liderin peşine takılıp isyan etmiştir. Mesele aşiret sistemini ve toprak ağalığını muhafaza etmektir. Türkiye Cunhuriyeti ne zaman toprak reformu yapmaya çalışsa bir Kürt isyan etmiştir. Aşiret reislerinin, dini liderlerinin önderliğinde ağaların sistemini korumak için. Bunun üzerine 1940lı yıllarda Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Allah belanızı versin türk toprak reformu istemiyorsunuz, her seferinde bir isyan çıkarıyorsunuz, tamam bitti. Ben de Meclis’e aşiret reislerini alacağım ve artık onlarla iş göreceğim nasıl olsa bir aşiret reisini milletvekilli yaptığın zaman bütün köy benim partime. Bu sisteme geçtiler. Ve ben Türkiye Cumhuriyeti’nin en büyük ihanetinin bu olduğunu yazdım. Reform yapılmalıydı. İsyanlardan bıkıp reformları bıraktılar aşiret reislerini de milletvekili yaptılar, Chp’de buna dahil, bunu da yazdım. Pkk’nın sadece Türkiye Cumhuriyeti’nin kendi varlığına değil Kürtler arasındaki aşiret sistemini bir çığlık olarak çıktığını, kadınların ezilmişliğine bir isyan olduğunu, kadınların dağa gitmesinin nedenini orada gerilla olarak kadın erkek eşitliği olduğundan gittiğini, cinsel özgürlük verildiği için gittiğini yazdım. Bunlar görmezden geliniyor. Ama Kürt mafyasını eleştirdiğim zaman aaa anti-kürt, hayır anti-kürt falan değilim ben. Aklı başında Kürtler bunu gayet iyi okuyorlar ve okurlarım arasında da son derece doğru orantılı bir kürt okur kitlem var.


Estratto per riassunto della tesi di dottorato


Weronika Grelow

matricola: 955812

Dottorato di Ricerca in Studi sull'Asia e sull'Africa Ciclo XXVI Titolo della tesi: The Instrumental Usage of a Culturalist “White-Black” Dichotomy in the Turkish Press (1980-2013)


The objective of this dissertation is to examine and analyse the instrumental usage of a culturalist “White - Black” dichotomy in the Turkish media.

A crucial concern is how the initially conceived definition of White Turks has expanded beyond its original definition and currently tends to be exaggerated in different contexts, especially in order to justify and consolidate authority or to artificially construct an elitist order. In this work I present a perspective to shed a light on and comprehend the reasons of this process, contextualizing the 'white-black' terminology since its introduction in 1980 until a sort of climax in 2013 during the Gezi Park confrontations in Istanbul.

I scrutinized the reasons for the usage of the term, analyzing the axes of social divisions based on parallel dichotomies connected to the chromatic distinctions ( such as centreperiphery, islam-secularism, conservatives-progressives), where this complexity is identified as a factor facilitating journalistic manipulation. In order to set up powerful arguments, I present the analysis of daily press and media materials from the period 2005-2013 showing the representation and reproduction of urban elitism and the discourse of political leaders. 284

That analysis is followed by the consultation of relevant scholarly documents and literature and interviews with journalists. Theoretically, the analysis of national identity and “othering” is rooted within poststructuralist approaches. Methodologically I used discourse analysis to study themes, symbols and stereotypes that are part of the culture expressed in media materials.

Italiano: Obiettivo di questa tesi e' esaminare ed analizzare l'uso strumentale della dicotomia culturalistica “Turchi Bianchi-Turchi Neri”nei media turchi. Punto cruciale della ricerca è lo studio di come la definizione di "Turchi Bianchi" abbia perso il proprio significato originale, venendo utilizzata sempre piu' spesso in contesti diversi, in particolare al fine di giustificare e consolidare l'autorità esistente o di supportare la costituzione di un ordine elitario. In questo lavoro cerco di chiarificare e comprendere le motivazioni di tale processo, contestualizzando la dicotomia 'bianconero' sin dalla sua introduzione nel 1980 fino a una sorta di climax raggiunto durante gli scontri di Gezi Park a Istanbul nel 2013. Per indagare le ragioni dell'evoluzione dell' uso di questa terminologia, ho analizzato gli assi sociali di alcune dicotomie culturali parallele (come centro-periferia, islam-laicità, conservatori-progressisti), collegate a distinzioni cromatiche e' per questo, riconosciute come maggiormente manipolabili dai media. Al fine di supportare la tesi, presento l'analisi della stampa quotidiana e di materiali mediatici del periodo 2005-2013 che mostrano la rappresentazione e l'evoluzione dell'elitarismo urbano e del pensiero dei leader politici. Le argomentazioni sono coadiuvate dalla consultazione di documenti accademici e da confronti con giornalisti e attori della scena mediatica. Dal punto di vista teorico, l'analisi dell'identità nazionale e dell'"othering" è stata sviluppata seguendo un approccio post-strutturalista. Dal punto di vista metodologico, ho utilizzato gli strumenti dell'analisi del discorso per studiare temi, simboli e stereotipi ricorrenti nella cultura che emerge dalla stampa turca.



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Scuola Dottorale di Ateneo Graduate School Dottorato di ricerca in Studi sull'Asia e sull'Africa Ciclo XXVI Anno di discussione 2014 The Instrumenta...

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