Archive for the ‘Erkan in the military service’ Category

Freedom in Less than 48 Hours!

In Erkan in the military service on September 15, 2009 at 15:30


Image from

A Celtic symbol for Freedom VIA


As Erkan finishes his military service in 5 days…

In Erkan in the military service, Erkan's readings on September 12, 2009 at 14:39

Erkan as a soldier is best at reading. 152 days, 27 books
Thanks to one of my favorite Facebook application, Book Tracker, you can see what I have read while I was in the army. The list is at the end of this post.
Here is the playlist;I would like to listen in the loudest volume possible when I arrive Istanbul on Thursday morning:

I know, I know my musical taste is not particularly agreable for most, but that’s all right. I am fine:)

Read the rest of this entry »

An anectode from the Victory Day celebration while 12 Days left…

In Erkan in the military service, Turkey and Armenians, Turkey and Kurds, Turkish military, Turkish Society on September 5, 2009 at 12:33

It is unbelievable but I have only 12 days left here. I do not have any night duties any more and thus I can sleep more and there is less physical work to do. I will probably be more online by next week. Last weekend there was the Victory Day celebrations and we were not allowed to go out. So actually we were sad in a "celebration". It was an all formal stuff. Who would attend a ceremony on Sunday morning except the local political and administrative figures? The good thing: I was filming the ceremony and in the end, at the reception in our station, I could listen to the discussion between the district governor, our lieutenant, prosecutor, district attorney and district head of education. Prosecutor narrated an anti-EU joke, governor and education chief opposed and the lieutenant stayed neutral. That was a good representative moment for the Turkish politics. Who stays where in relation to EU politics…




















When Iron Maiden Met Ramadan

Just how are Iron Maiden being connected with the Islamic month of fasting? Find out here!

A man in an Iron Maiden t-shirt standing with his arm around an elderly man of Islamic origin has been used for a poster-campaign to promote Ramadan in Turkey.The motto that accompanies the picture contains the words ‘It’s good to share’. Blabbermouth have the pictures of the campaign.




Turkey and Armenia to Establish Diplomatic Ties


The agreement does not touch on when or how some of their more intractable disputes would be addressed, namely the Armenian genocide.




Mavi Boncuk |Cartoon by Salih Memecan
– c’mon one to the left one to the right
– who to the left? who to the right?
– oh dear what difference does it make.


Last 24 days. Doable.

In Erkan in the military service, Turkey and Kurds on August 23, 2009 at 12:35

I don’t like Nil Karaibrahimgil’s too girlish attitude much but I like this song as it bangs on my head in the internet cafe. Her summer hit.


There are 24 days to freedom. Now I am one of the closest ones to finish the service- called "tezkereciler". I am now bolder to ask for more permissions to improve my life here. The latest one was to ask a day break in every week instead every two weeks. Since I have numbered days, this was accepted. So here I am in an internet cafe, scanning my google reader stuff in a crazily fast mode. I star tens of posts to look at when I am all free. I play with facebook and reply my emails and writing this post.

With the start of Ramadan, having new officials and soldiers joined; the last 24 days will not be easy, I am sure. Because of new faces, I feel alienated. But at least my relations with the top-officials got quite better and as long as I am fine with him, there are no problems. [he even accepted a request from the local head of Ministry of Education who wanted me to have a seminar on Public Relations for the high school administrators] My latest position is to wait in a small room in the entrance gate and keep recording the visitors. Apart from Mondays when village heads visit, I don’t have much to do and I keep myself stay in that room and read as much as possible. As of now, this blog writers has read 17 books during his military service and intends to read at least 3 more before he resumes his life back in Istanbul.

[sorry for my English- I feel a bit of difficulty in writing nowadays]

In the mean time, a substantive report on the Ergenekon trial spreads around. Let me have it here, too.

Article | Between Fact And Fantasy: Turkey’s Ergenekon Investigation

Mavi Boncuk | Between Fact And Fantasy: Turkey’s Ergenekon Investigation
by Gareth H. Jenkins | Silk Road Paper | August 2009

Yigal has a comment about it.

But of course a grander development is government’s plan on Kurdish rights! I could follow the details and I am sure there may not emerge a concrete policy about what to do. But discursively this is a huge step forward and I appreciate the move. In the political scene, CHP and MHP cannot be more than reactionary political parties. Reactionary in the sense that they do not provide any policies but only reacts to ever-creative AKP politics. I do not also claim that every "creative" AKP move is really productive; but AKP continues to determine the terms of debate in the Turkish politics. I only wish for the best for all parties… [have a look at Turkey’s 36 Languages in the mean time. Prof. White’s blog keeps offering a good round up on Turkish politics while I am away (!)]

the last 1,5 months

In Erkan in the military service on August 1, 2009 at 15:31

1,5 months left. Another bi-weekly break ends in a hurry. No time left of after replying mails and playing with Facebook. It just goes smoothly. One day I am in charge of tea-service, one day of entrance gate, another day soldiers’ canteen…

Hopefully, Erkan’s Field Diary will be relaunched with some design novelties in less than 2 months! I rely on Can for technicalities. Now, I am gone.

Another relatively uneventful two weeks…

In Erkan in the military service on July 19, 2009 at 13:16


Watch duty at the Tosya Prison.

I finally find a task I can achieve successfully: I asked our lieutenant if I am allowed to buy newspapers every day for all soldiers here. Now that I am officially appointed, I go out everyday to buy at least two newspapers. Here I discovered a daily I have never heard back in Istanbul: Şok Gazetesi. This ultimate example of Yellow Press with showy female nude pictures, erotic stories and confessions is the best selling. However, since there is nothing left to do, young soldiers do also real more serious newspapers I buy:)

In the mean time, I realize that Hans is captured in some photos in his blog with nice views from his and Özlem’s apartment:)

In my very limited news following, I will have to agree to some extent with Hans and Omnium in PM Erdoğan’s constant usage of the word "genocide". For a round up on China’s Crackdown on Uighurs in Turkish press… and also you can check out Yigal’s pieces:  Turkey’s Uighur Problem, Cont.

Finally, Bertus Pieters’s card arrived! Thanks Bertus. And I received a second card a letter from Kathrine. Thanks for the recommendations!

Now I go back to prison again:)

Uneventful two weeks.

In Erkan in the military service on July 4, 2009 at 14:41

Oh boy, I could not find time to update my blog. Time passes so quickly when I am in the civilian life. Answering most of emails and facebook comments left me no time. Seeing my daily visits decrease to mere 25 kills me:)

My blog success disappears (!).

I have had an uneventful 2-week period. Things have been all right. I am reading intensively. That gives me real patience to continue. Now that I am left alone, apart from my basic duties, I keep reading whenever I find opportunity.

1. So much "phatic talk"

2. So much focus on sexuality. Phatic talk mostly turns around sexuality. What can you expect?

3. The "tick" problem.  CrimeanCongo haemorrhagic fever is a tangible problem here. We have to be careful.

Anyway, let me go back. Damn!


Roj xelat* – Erkan is all right now. No more worries.

In Erkan in the military service on June 20, 2009 at 08:57

*Dawn is born (In Kurdish) I see this wall writing on the cabin where I do my watch near a small prison. Most of the soldiers are Kurdish origined and I guess a guy doing his 04-06 watch had written that when the dawn was born:)

My dear readers, I am sorry for all the pessimistic writing recently. I could not help it. Despite my optimism it did not work for better until very recently. I can now declare that despite the failure in my transfer request I am doing much better!  This new turn of events happened after reaching the lowest point here. One morning I fainted. I remember fainting once when I was in primary school. I haven’t had any issue like that before. Sleeplessness, stress and blood pressure finally worked on me. After staying 3-4 hours in the hospital, I came back and my life got better gradually.

In fact, my life had gotten better after being cleared off from the office work- not any more subject to continous exposure to stressful officials. My life had become simpler: Doing 5 or 6 hours of watch duty in a small prison next to our barracks. Daily exercises- Particularly the morning session plus pre-lunch and pre-dinner sessions. Daily morning cleaning duties. In order to sleep enough, I go to bed at 8:30 pm so that I can do my night watch easily.

Officials like privates to do constant work and this does not leave much time for rest. However, I am now basically exempted from any extra work – don’t ask what extra work is; officials can always find extra work for privates like pulling grass, painting, cleaning again and again- This leaves me enough time to do readings! I have been reading all my life and I chose Sociology in my undergraduate program just to read more and this was the first time I could not read for such a long time. Now that I am back to regular reading, I feel really better. I now take routine exercises for my own bodily benefit. Officials are not pushy any more and I am still doing lower scores than my 10 year younger mates but I certainly show betterment in scores.

From time to time, I am sent to patrolling duties, we roam through villages. So far I was in night patrols, so I haven’t seen villages in daylight but I hear it is fancy to walk through villages. I was once sent to a patrol that would transfer two inmates from one prison to another. This was a more stressful task as you might guess. Speaking of the prison, ours is a small one and contains small time inmates. There has never been an escape attempt. This makes my watch duty less stressful. There are always two privates and one sergeant in the watch. I wait in the back cabin and sometimes pace up and down in my designated area. I will write a story about passing 3 hour-session there:) Well, since this duty is not particularly stressful- in fact prison guard duty is under normal conditions a very stressful duty- my duty sometimes turns out to be idyllic. The prison has a big garden and the sergeants mostly do some kind of horticultural work while privates climb trees and collect cherries. or sit down and read newspapers which are all of course forbidden normally. A few days ago, something on my helmet. It was a white mulberry. Since then I spend sometime collecting and eating mulberries.

There is virtually no pastime activity which is a constant complain. Our table-tennis has just been removed. TV set is only used my officials at the moment. No more news watching. There are backgammon sets and even a small chess set. as you might guess, chess is not a favorite pastime activity for many kids but I still played some and chess remains to be only sport I am good at. I suspect backgammon sets will be removed soon. So what can 20-21 year-old kids do? If they find any time, they wrestle. There is something Freudian in these constant bodily encounters, but i won’t speculate about that.

Cell phone usage is forbidden but when night comes, people use it in the ward and officials probably are aware of that. So I will have to listen to boys talking to their wives or lovers or watch them wrestling. My station is a place for "exiled ones". Many privates have criminal records or psychological problems. This never became a problem for me though. I am more used to work or encounter with these types though some of them are harder cases than I ever met. Most of the privates are Kurdish by the way. As far as I know this is a general policy. Sending Easterners to the western regions and vice versa.

Let me hope to bring more good news next time. Next week we will be subject to an Auditing by the Regional Command Headquarters. That’s hopefully the last hard phase before I am released in mid-September.  Thank you for all your support and good wishes.


Erkan’s Contact Info.

Please write responsibly as all received material supervised here:)

J. Er  Erkan Saka
İlçe Jandarma  Komutanlığı
telefon: 0366 313 1032

Beşiktaş Champion and I am still living the nightmare…

In Erkan in the military service on June 6, 2009 at 13:31

It was a very upsetting night. Beşiktaş became the  champion and I could not feel happy because of the conditions I was in.

I find myself in the best internet cafe of the town in this Saturday morning and relying on I try to relax in listening to Lamb of God and Manowar. These are what I chose for this session. Nothing special… But particularly Manowar sounds very good, makes me feel better right now. This is the one day 9-17 break in 2 weeks. Other stations have weekly breaks but ours only in 2 weeks. [Now I move to listening to "Running Wild".] [finally Meshuggah, before I leave, before I post…]

Unfortunately, nothing much changed since the last break. They are so unpredictable that you cannot routinize my experience. In fact, there have been some changes. Yesterday, I was fired my my office work because the office was not tidy enough. Now, I will be totally an ordinary soldier. I will have at least 6 hours of watch duties. There are probably lots of cleaning tasks and of course patroling duties. That’s all right. I was just too stressful in the office work, always subject to officials’ watch and warnings. Not to mention insults by some.

I am still waiting for a transfer with diminishing hopes. Well, I have lost motivation to write. Let’s hope for a better post next time.

p.s. I received a card from Kathrine (Jensen) and a letter from Prof. Nezih Erdoğan! These were sweet, they made my day. Let’s pray for a good transfer and I will post my address again.

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’