Archive for May, 2009|Monthly archive page

This is a nightmare and but I will survive…

In Erkan in the military service on May 23, 2009 at 14:02
 I have been teaching for six years, I know something about pedagogy and I know military life is different but still there is something pedagogically wrong here and I have to survive in this concentration camp for 115 more days…There is a little possibility that I will be transferred to another station. By the next time I post, you will probably learn about it. Until then, please postpone to send your letters and cards:)
I do not want to be negative. I really hate to be negative but this is a nightmare. That’s how I keep describing the experience. It has been 15 days and it has been a psychologically disturbing period. I never thought military service would be easy but this is not what I deserve. The problem is not the intensity of military exercises- but the unpredictable treatments of our obsessive-compulsive officials. I have called many friends who were stationed in other stations. Nothing looks like this one. In the last 15 days- we weren’t left free, although many other stations have a weekly free day-or rest times in the evenings, we basically did not have any free time. Our officials may show up at weekends or at nights and ask for new duties. Without a single exception, every day starts with one yelling at a private. Yelling sometimes accompanied by heavy swearing and rarely corporal punishment. I have to state; I have been treated relatively well, many officials and all privates call me "prof" and I stay in an office doing clerical work all day and night. But observing all those happenings make me really sick. Staying tense all the time is really disturbing. I am finding ways to cope up with. I know I will survive. But I will be exhausted by the time I finish this god damn "citizenship duty". Exercises are relatively harder here, too. But I am sort of exempted. I cried out in the second day and since then I am doing exercises by myself, nobody warns me or expects me anymore to reach the demanded quantities.  When the officer says "one who did fewer than 40 pushups is a faggot",  I said, ok I am a faggot, sorry, this is what I can do…
Anyway, I have to start my nightmare in 3 hours and I have to do some shopping before that (I could not find the local newspaper yet but I will today). Hopefully, I will bring good news next time I am online.  
In the mean time, 
I received the chocolate package from Claudia from Canada, one of my dear and regular readers:) That was funny; made me happy! Thanks Claudia!
Congratulations Serkan! (L)
In the mean time, my friend from high school, Serkan Arman is doing great things as a journalist in the economy section of Milliyet! He had received a award for "the best economy news of the year" from an NGO specializing on Economy News Journalists. (EGD) 
By total randomness, I bought Milliyet last week and saw Serkan’s interview with Ayhan Yüce, my businessman friend from Houston, whom I mentioned several times before. Click here to read (in Turkish) Ayhan was quoted in Wall Street Journal in December.
And Beşiktaş is doing great wonders while I am here imprisoned. How unfortunate that I cannot experience our possible championship:

Beşiktaş hopes to emulate the victorious ’spirit of 2003’

’27 et Moi’

In State of Europe on May 23, 2009 at 11:59

A friend informed me about this TV program:

I just wanted to let you know that Arte TV channel just launched a special interactive platform ’27 et Moi’ for the forthcoming European elections : it is in French and German but some of the participants speak English. The basic idea for Arte is to struggle abstention. The platform is pretty well done, since you can watch and comment new videos each day, posted by 27 different correspondants. The idea is to know how is the campaign is taking place in their countries. The profiles are really different : like student, a housewive, a businessman, a retired man…There are also ‘Q&A’ game, typically like how resistant condoms actually are or what is the link between zucchini and the EU ?…

The second and the last stage begins…

In Erkan in the military service on May 9, 2009 at 10:08

Dear Friends,

28 days of beginner’s training ended yesterday and we were relocated to stations where we will stay for the rest of our military service. Hopefully until September 17…Not all together of course. Every station got 2-3 friends.  

Our last days were really enjoyable. After washing the lunch dishes…

This is my first and last photo with a real gun. I have to assure you that I am not as happy as I look here. And I don’t think this is the right way to handle a gun:)

I arrived the station last night. The commander on duty and fellow privates welcomed me and three other friends really friendly and sincerely. Still, here comes another start. Another state to get familiar with. We will meet with the highest official in charge on Monday and from then on my real time begins… Today until 5 pm I am free but then not until 15 days later…

The commander on duty immediately appointed me as a clerk (yazıcı), that does not exclude me from other military duties but I will have fewer watch duties and in fact I will be the one who will prepare the watch lists. The dark side is that clerks are continously under the watch of officials… Well, let’s see what happens. After two weeks of relative comfort and familiarization, I am back to alienation mood and this blog, gmail and facebook accounts become the only signs that I indeed had a life before and hopefully I will have that my life back one day…

Erkan has an unexpected half a day break

In Erkan in the military service, Turkish military on May 2, 2009 at 11:22

From 10 am to  4 pm we are let to breath freedom again.

I had a good breakfast in the town center and then I rushed back to an internet cafe. I wasn’t expecting a break before 9 May but here we are. This is a short but still refreshing break.

As promised, our service time has become more comfortable. Our commanders tend to be more tolerant. However, some among us continously break rules which leads to collective punishment:(

Another film to remember: Das Experiment (2001) What happens when you gather and close down so many boys together…. Observable tension. Thanks god we will be distributed soon…

Yesterday, I could read nearly half of the day since it was an offical holiday (1 May- Labor Day). A very happy day.  I have three books that were confirmed by the officials here:

Oscar Wilde


In Kastamonu town center, I am in an internet cafe. I am so thirsty for metal music, so i decided to listen to i.e. Exodus’s "Pleasures of the Flesh" at But since the album includes "obscene" keywords, I am not let to listen to this album. Cafe software is very alert… F**k this social conservatism!

First things in my life: I used a real gun for the first time in my life. It appears that I am not a good shooter at all:( I was not the worst one but my performance is certainly below the average. One out of 6 bullets could not be found at all.

I had to wash my socks since the canteen was out of stocks. However, they were still wet so I borrowed a new pair of socks from a friends.

There is the military accessoires industry here and I will buy what I need from those stores. They even rent cell phones!

Friends around me is the best thing here. I am making some life-long friendships.

We collected money for the poor young long-terms.

There is news that this short term military service will be cancelled and beginning with December 2009, there will be 12 month service…. I am glad I will be free before that. And in any case, that does not affect us. However, when you are contained and you have little access to news, rumors and speculations make life harder. In our ward, we did forbid talk of longer term service. even though a joke is intended. We do not need a joke that implies a longer service…

@hans: military life is the most difficult thing. I can live without being online for a while:) Although I could not think that before.

@ariane: Turks are best at making life difficult for themselves.

@celil: I am soooo glad to hear that. Forza Beşiktaş!

Opppsss Shuttle arrives soon. I have to rush.

See you on May 9!

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