A Celtic symbol for Freedom VIA
A Celtic symbol for Freedom VIA
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:
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…
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.
ANOTHER GOOD MOVE, WITHOUT GREAT EXPECTATIONS FOR THE MOMENT-
The agreement does not touch on when or how some of their more intractable disputes would be addressed, namely the Armenian genocide.****
I WAS MEANING TO WRITE A FEW WORDS ON THE "KURDISH OPENING" BUT I CANNOT HAVE TIME. MAYBE NEXT WEEK.
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.
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 (!)]
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.
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:)
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. Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a tangible problem here. We have to be careful.
Anyway, let me go back. Damn!
*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.
Please write responsibly as all received material supervised here:)
J. Er Erkan Saka
İlçe Jandarma Komutanlığı
telefon: 0366 313 1032
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 fizy.org 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.