Turkey is going through hard times, rough roads and tough plays lately. It has never been easy, but now it is seemingly harder than ever to better the situation or just to get by. Turkey is suffering from a cancerous disease, one that has been neglected for too long. It is the lack of democracy, growing militarism and many other aspects and courses of an essentially ethnocentric governance of years gone by. Freedom of speech stands out as the gentlest, the minimum right for the masses to utilize, but it is prohibited; say restricted. As citizens, we are all supposed to admit and forget, recognizing every restriction as a necessity, a must of the times, an exigency, even an emergency to be established however; so that we all think we deserve our leader(s)’ legacy and legitimize its terms.

Good news: Turkey has finally gained the requisite power and is internationally authorized to fight wars beyond its borders. Bad news: We can’t even talk about it. Apart from celebrating it. We should all admit the necessity of this war and commemorate the martyrs. They are our martyrs, they died for us. So the more we glorify the war, the more sublime we get and so does our army. This is a dead-end cycle. All the headquarters, whether it is the parliament or the armed forces or the arterial media/press, are repeating the same heroic story. People on the street blindly join this choir, repeating the same speech. A hate speech against Kurds, but what is it really anyway? It is all blurred. No one really knows what it is all about. We are making some movements, moving our mouths slightly, mumbling, having something to say, but what is it really? We have no idea, muttering something, the martyrs never die, all memorized, then dragged along like a dead weight. Like an atmosphere of an early expressionist film noir we are in. Maybe worse. Orwellian, right. Then we say the Turks and Kurds are brothers, and then we gaze down again and keep walking. In a routine. A rote. A route-going effort led by others, superiors, those with wolf-hearts.

Something happened on Sunday, not a major event, therefore it is not much talked about on TV, yet again it is immediately restricted by RTUK, a protocol charged with overseeing the private TV channels, since every deviance from the mainstream ideology should be banned for such acts are deemed to hostile especially during these “sensitive times”. Bülent Ersoy, a well-known singer, also a transsexual herself, made a very “unfortunate statement” regarding our martyrs and the ongoing operations in Northern Iraq.

It was an interesting incident because she is the least likely person to criticize the acts of the officials as she is widely known for her conservatism on national and religious values even though she is cross-gendered. I also have to underline that she actually is a very powerful figure in Turkey’s popular culture; not a rebellious outcast from the underground. She is a bonanza-rich celebrity and hosts one of the most highly rated shows on prime-time TV (the version of American Idol in Turkey). The public knows she is half crazy, even a freak, but still likes to see her bitching around in their middle class lives. It is weird, I know, but sometimes I think it is a nice one.

Being once considered the “transatlantic of transsexualism” by an intellectual, she has always been a walking dilemma. She is trans-gendered but hates the community, she has been imprisoned during the coup d’état of 1980, but always kept good relations with subsequent presidents, at least never spoke against the establishment. She has a terrible voice and a terrible way of singing, but thinks she is the greatest. Worst of all, she thinks she is a real woman and is completely alienated from her real state of being. She dislikes gays, effeminates, the prostitution of transgendered people like her, even though she comes from the subculture. Also she is a devout Muslim, a wholehearted nationalist and speaks a fake Ottoman Turkish. She gets married to young and sexually confused males and gets divorced later. Did I mention that she is a DIVA?

OK, this painfully funny, transient-cult icon made a really heartfelt speech which was radically discordant to all her former lightheartedness. As you may see in the video, people applaud her speech but this is no obstacle for an inquiry that was initiated by a public prosecutor in Istanbul immediately the day after the show is broadcasted. So let’s see what has happened on that very night.

And here is the complete conversation in text:

Bülent Ersoy: The wars Mr. Gencebay (the guy sitting next to her) indicates were the ones that had been held bravely, manly, wholeheartedly; not like the contemporary ones which are conducted from the desks, vis-a-vis conspiracies. It is directed from somewhere and everybody play their parts. If I was fertile and had a son, in such conditions, I mean some will come and say “You are supposed to do this or that in order to weaken them”, in the end I will be burying my child. Is that it? (the audience applauds) Well, okay, the land is ours and unitary, whatever, but how can you let it happen with eyes wide open? Then all the women bear this and bury their babies, is that what they are trying to say? It is not a war under normal war circumstances [I am wondering what the normal circumstances are], it is all about conspiracies. You can’t get away with conspiracies Mr. Erkır!

Mr. Erkır: Yes maam.

B. Ersoy: I may not know what a baby means to you like you do. I am not a mother and I will never be one [interesting confession here] , but I am a human being. And as a human, seeing those mothers giving their babies to the ground, their aching hearts burning in flames; I may not feel it truly but those mothers do feel.

Ebru Gündeş (singer, the only woman on stage): I wish God’s mercy on our martyrs and patience to their families. Hope God wills I become a mother to a soldier son one day (the audience applauds). Hope I have a son one day to send to the army so that he becomes a renowned soldier.

B. Ersoy (interrupting): Then they will send you his dead body back [I am totally blown away here].

E. Gündeş (lightly): If it is written in our destiny that he will die, he will die for this nation, this state, [tries to say "this country" but says] for these lands [instead]. As a woman I can do whatever I can for this territory [again no mentioning of country, only land land and land] and sure my son does too [what happened to children rights? she is assigning a life policy for her unborn child!] And if he has to die for all this, he will have to. It is written on our foreheads. [Finally] No death to martrys, no division of the land.


B. Ersoy: We keep telling the same. The kids are going to war, then comes the bloody tears, the cryings, the funerals. We keep telling it on and on. I don’t agree with your clichés.

Mr. Erkır: But that is how our flag keep waving in the air.

B. Ersoy: OK, I know. But why are we falling for these easy games, why can’t we make a way out of it finding a radical solution? My greed is all about that.

Mr. Erkır: Yes, I understand. You are right.

B. Ersoy: I mean, of course we will go running barefoot to do what we can for our homeland. That flag reflects the colour of our blood, I know all that, but!… That “but thing” really bothers me. Why? Why are we struggling for nothing?

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Is she really breaking a taboo or finally gaining her senses?