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Elif Shafak writes for CNN: Turkey can no longer conceal its deep cracks

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Written by News For Turkey

Elif Shafak is an award-winning novelist from Turkey. She is the author of 15 books, including The Forty Rules of Love and The Architect’s Apprentice. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.

(CNN) Turkey’s newspapers this week documented the deep cracks appearing inside the treasury room of Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace — one of the country’s top tourism destinations and once the home of Ottoman sultans. While older cracks had been covered with concrete, “Hurriyet” reported that parts of this iconic structure risk total collapse as a “result of years of neglect of historical heritage.”

These days, I often find myself thinking about similar cracks — political fault lines and social fissures to be more specific — appearing more and more across my motherland, Turkey. And there are many, way too many.
Turkey’s connection with its own past is beset by sharp ruptures. Ours is a society of collective amnesia. Everything is written in water over here, except the works of great architects, which are written in stone; and the words of great poets, which are written in our hearts. Everything else is or can someday be forgotten with a dizzying speed. Throughout the Anatolian peninsula, the clocks run so fast that there is no time to stop and think, let alone to digest. No time to heal. No time to grieve. No time to analyze. In this country, the deepest cracks are covered speedily with the thickest cement. And yet, never before have those cracks been as visible and as divisive as they are today.

Bitterly polarized

Turkey is a bitterly and sadly polarized country. We have been divided into invisible cultural and political ghettos of citizens who do not break bread together anymore, let alone appreciate their shared values. Anger is the new national currency. There is too much anger on all sides. And distrust, that too. Nobody trusts the other. Against this fragmented and fractured background, anyone who speaks critically is immediately labeled as a betrayer.
On July 15, Turkey experienced a horrific and bloody coup attempt. When this dark night was over, more than 200 people were dead, hundreds injured and millions of citizens shocked, scared and traumatized. The failed coup opened up wounds in the civil society that will in all likelihood take decades to heal. And it smothered what little democracy was left, giving the authorities a legitimate opportunity to consolidate their power.
You can read more on CNN.

About the author

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News For Turkey

News For Turkey is a news guide for Turkey. It gives small pieces of news and analysis around the world about Turkey.

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