September 12, 2013

Many thoughts. Many points of views. I am not sure where I stand in the midst of it all. This week the protests started anew all over Turkey. In Ankara there was a big gathering Monday to protest military action in Syria. A young man was killed by a tear gas grenade. The next day, there were protests all over Turkey.


From a logical standpoint it seems that if Erdoğan was to let people demonstrate then they would and go home afterward. The ultra violent use of police force, the tear gas, plastic bullets, TOMA and other armored vehicles usage plus, the use of plain clothes policemen who act as agents provocateurs to “justify” the use of the above means is now what people are fighting against. Forgo the confrontation, and you have a citizenry who has its right to expression respected and politically we would have something closer to the democracy this government postures as having but doesn’t.

Police getting ready for the night...

Police getting ready for the night…

But logic is usually not part of most human affairs. An it is from a huge pot of human emotions and reactions that boils over with bitterness, anger, fear and all its tributaries be it of conservative or aggressive nature, that we, sadly, eat from.


So many thoughts… Last night I had a conversation with a French expat, a designer. Her view of the situation is that it’s all going to boil over. She believes that the stage is ready to make Turkey a fundamentalist Muslim country, that the next elections are going to be show and that the vote is already bought. In this perspective, one can see that the protests become very useful as they are portrayed on the mainstream media here (government controlled) as caused by a bunch of “terrorists, anti-Muslim, spies and agents from other places” and that this government has the answer. The mis-information is prevalent. She was telling me that she figures it’s a matter of time before the country is clamped down.


Two nights ago I spoke with a Turkish musician, artist, intellectual. He says : “ I’m turning into a fascist and I don’t care. He sees the application of all these new laws about drinking, women being forbidden to wear high heels, as the sure steps towards fundamentalism. “I am Alevi.” he says. “For us, God is the people…” And for the Alevi, religion, belief, the culture itself is based around music, celebration. With a fundamentalist country, as in Iran, music, dancing, performing becomes forbidden in public. He is angry. What he sees for his future is the necessity to move away from the country he loves…

street music

street music


The music… As I spend time here, I can see how much the music means to the people of this country. It is a deep, deep culture that has roots going in all directions… Armenian, Alevi, Kurd, Ottoman, Indian, Persian, and much more that I don’t know about… I was listening to some songs that just take your breath away.


Istanbul… Yes, Istanbul is not Turkey. Istanbul is a planet. It’s a planet where the winds change within a wink’s length. Up, down. Good, bad. Sad, happy. From the destruction, filth, dirt, one night, the next morning all is cleaned up, made up and ready to seduce again. The broken pavements, the decrepit buildings all blend into this beautiful city comes morning. It is something to behold. As if timelessness always prevails, the city’s soul has been here for eons and keeps on going.

Monday's sunset

Monday’s sunset

That same spirit can be seen in its people. As TOMAs race by, the men still sit at the tea houses watching mayhem at their doorstep. A friend explained to me that Turks don’t really care about who’s in government. War could be across the Golden Horn and they would still sit there and drink tea. Then grab a rifle and shoot. But he says that if the people decide something has to stop then nothing is going to get in their way. He says the Turks are a nation of soldiers. He talked about being 6 years old in a school gymnasium listening to some man rattle propaganda. He says very few countries have this culture. A boy will be raised as a soldier. A mother will demand his son go to war. He says the census says that the Turkish army numbers 1 million. He says that is nowhere near what the actual effective forces are. Think many, many millions. And it makes sense.

What else… Well there are all my friends who choose to be here, who choose to see peace. Who thrive on this roller coaster ride of ups and downs and zigs and zags. Who live the very minute, who enjoy each cigarette, each drink, each human being without asking about the future and what’s in it for them. It is us, Westerners who worry. They as a people know there are no guarantees, no insurance policies that apply to life. They know strife. So every good moment is a gift.



I sit at my little fancy Kahve Dunyasi espresso shop, outside, overlooking the Golden Horn. It is sunny and beautiful. The water sparkles in the distance. There is a haze over the city. Horns blaring, people walk around, men holding hands, women in scarves, women without scarves, tourists, beautiful children, the yellow taxis scurrying tirelessly for the next fare, the stray dogs walking around and the cats watching them. A scooter zooms by, no helmet for its rider, the ships on the water, the smell of cigarettes, a man looking at his girlfriend with too much possessiveness, more tourists, the beautifully groomed Turkish women, a dark youth, slim and nervous, the working men in their tired working clothes walking down the street at the end of a weary work day and the sun going slowly down.

my baglama in Turkey

my baglama in Turkey

I am outside. Outside looking in. I have no answers. No answers for this country, no answers for myself. I’ve been getting into a bit of a routine of coffee, Turkish study then playing…  Pretty much like I was doing in California and I am not sure this is OK.   I am not sure I want to settle into this routine. Actually, I don’t want to settle into this routine, I have a feeling of waiting. Why am I waiting? What am I waiting for? Dunno yet.  This week I play at Kara Kedi on Sunday, for the first time Eren and I are actually on the posters. But I question this too. Getting into this routine. The routine allows me to write music, but I am here and I am not seeing half of what I could see… Should I hit the road again? Go from place to place and gather no dust? I can always come back to this.



2 Responses to “Thoughts.”

  1. connie pryor Says:

    Good blog
    I think your doing great. Taking in The sights & learning the country. By all means keep making that great music!!!! Love your stories!! Safe travels & have a good day.

  2. Danielle Liard Says:

    When you stop and think about it, pretty much anything can become a routine. Getting up in the morning, folding the tent and riding off on your bike can also be a routine. You went there to learn the Saz. How is that progressing? Fix your mind on your goals honey, the rest is incidental. But above all, live!

    Much love


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: