Thursday, 13 June 2013

Writers and Translators on Turkish Protests

I hesitated to write about this, not sure of whether posting about Turkish protests on love german books would be exploitative and tasteless. But then I decided it wouldn't.

Germany has strong links to Turkey on ground level, despite cool diplomatic relations. I probably don't need to explain why, right? So news of the Gezi Park protests spread very quickly here. I was confused by the flood of Facebook posts from friends and colleagues in the UK, saying "We need to know this is happening" when in fact, we did know over here. But then I worked out they were talking about effective media blackouts inside Turkey. There have been solidarity demonstrations in Berlin, where apparently Germans suddenly learned various catchy Turkish slogans. I don't know whether they also indulged in public drinking after 10 p.m.

And writers are involved too. First there was Moritz Rinke, who seems to have been in Istanbul to get married (I think his fiancée is from Turkey), and wrote a diary of events and gave a number of interviews. Interesting, if a little confused. Then there's Mely Kiyak, who's in Istanbul to research a new book and "will be reporting weekly on the situation and the protests". She's written about sleeping next door to Erdogan and about Turkish TV reporting.

I've also been following translator-in-residence at London's Free Word Centre Canan Marasligil, who's reporting from afar on how the events make her feel, fascinating linguistic phenomena, and more. What I like is that she feels the need to explain more, because British readers know less than Germans about Istanbul. Or I assume they do.

As Erdogan threatens to "clean" Gezi Park so the authorities can deal with the "fringe terrorist" groups he accuses of being there, we can watch tendentious language used in a very aggressive manner. I'm glad there are other people sharing their information and knowledge in a more considered way.

1 comment:

Helen MacCormac said...

thanks for this post - there are so many unusual occurances all over the place on a daily basis - it's good to hear individual voices. The alternativ is to cocoon.