I saw this piece yesterday. It is quite interesting, and also encouraging, to see, that a portion at least of the Turkish intelligentsia, does not support their belligerent and confrontational President Erdoğan. The lede is that some Turkish university students have gone out on a limb by posting a video of themselves reading from the new poem written by Turkish poet Hussein Haidar.
Unfortunately, I cannot find an English-language biography of Haidar, other than that he was born in 1956. The linked piece provides the following information about him: Haidar is quite famous in Turkey as a laureate of national prizes. In 1973 he came in first in a national poetry competition organized by the Ministry of Education. Since 1979 he has been published in all the major Turkish poetry magazines. His poems have been translated into several languages.
Haidar’s poem, for which I cannot find the text, is described thusly:
The poet feels guilty for the pilot’s death. He mentions a lot of people in his poem to whom he apologizes and such names as Mayakovsky, Gorky, Gagarin and all The Great Patriotic War veterans who defeated fascism are found in his piece of poetry. In the last lines of his poem the poet says “I am bending the knee to Oleg Peshkov’s mother and ask her pardon for his death”.
By “pilot”, Haidar is obviously referring to Russian Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Peshkov, who was shot down by Turkish warplanes while flying an anti-ISIS bombing mission over Syria.
Now, I do not normally approve of the concept of regular people “apologizing” for the actions of their government. This type of meme seems silly to me, unnecessarily servile, and overly propagandistic. Why should they “apologize” or “bend the knee” for something they didn’t do? I would personally prefer people just say: “Hey, I’m on your side. Don’t assume that I support my own government on this one.”
However, that’s just me, poetry is poetry, and this might well be a powerful political statement, if only I could understand the beautiful and powerful Turkish language.
Fortunately, the Ria Novosti story about Haidar’s poem includes this video of the elderly but distinguished looking poet reading his poem, those who understand Turkish can judge for themselves whether the poem is effective:
Turkish Students Recite Poem
The VZGLIAD piece continues with the video showing four Turkish university students taking turns reciting from Haidar’s poem.
“Before our own eyes were ruptured the brotherly ties between our two peoples.”
The students are young, appealing, earnest, and very attractive. I don’t know what is the state of political freedom in Turkey, or freedom of speech; but apparently this act was a big deal, and one hopes that they are not risking their careers or lives to make this important statement of brotherhood and support.