When we look at what has happened in Hakkari or Van, we may be disappointed; but when we think about the achievements of recent years, we can be proud. Reviewing past achievements gives us hope for future successes. However, when we compare ourselves with developed countries, we notice that we still have a long way to go.
Terrorism is our country's reality, as is the existence of nationalist, racist and discriminatory circles that benefit from the animosity between Turks and Kurds. Some young people shout in the streets that they want to go to war in the Southeast. It is no secret that there are some circles that indeed expect the youth to pour into the streets. These circles also expect terrorism to harm both Kurds and the government and try to provoke the people's fears by using “national causes.”
Even an earthquake is used by these circles to highlight differences between Kurds and Turks. There are people who dare to emphasize the ethnic origins of people trying to survive under the rubble and who suggest that the victims of this natural disaster don't really deserve to be helped. The earthquake has also allowed us to recall the failures of the public administration. The fact that the mechanisms of social solidarity are promptly activated following a natural disaster proves that ordinary people still trust each other rather than the state, and they still consider the network of religious communities or families as the only insurance for their well-being. In Turkey, social solidarity is considered a tradition or a natural situation that reflects the nobility of our social fabric; however, this tradition is also the result of the people's mistrust of official institutions.
Nevertheless, while some people try to show their solidarity, others do everything imaginable to deepen the rift between diverging ethnic groups. We feel that discrimination is especially strong in some big cities when we hear that some people have put high-heeled shoes or wedding gowns in boxes donated to Van.
So, we are a republic where some people are capable of using social solidarity mechanisms to stimulate discrimination. These people are not even punished for their acts. There are people who steal tents from aid convoys to sell and claim that the people of Van don't deserve this help anyway, as they are of Kurdish origin. Perhaps they are happy to contribute to the misery of the Kurds and also to the failure of our administrative mechanisms.
It's been 88 years since Turkey became a republic, yet we still haven't been able to establish a balanced relationship between the state and the citizens. We still haven't eradicated the habit of having states within the state, and we still haven't placed the individual at the center of the political system. The states within the state still operate, and they exploit every troublesome incident, from terrorism to earthquakes.
Despite the suffering it may cause, every crisis offers an opportunity to re-evaluate ourselves. At least nowadays we notice that almost everyone is aware of what is going on. This is what gives us hope about future national day celebrations.