Don’t turn your back, I reached your convent
Don’t tell me the doors are closed
What is a body, what is a human
I became nil in your essence.
İbrahim Kalın, ‘I became nil’
İbrahim Kalın, the spokesperson for the President, cannot “become nil” even if he wants to because there are millions of people who have been “burned and branded” by the government’s poker. The smell of the scorch will probably linger on for years, even after their government becomes “nil.”
Governments are not nullified, they become nonexistent and they are forgotten, but the actions of rulers become the subject of songs, poems, folk tales, and elegies. The hegemons don’t compose ballads; they become the subject of ballads.
I broke a heart, not knowing
Bullets poured from the skies
Who’s the healer, how’s the heart
If you don’t come, I turn into a stone.
The folk song titled, “I became nil” is not the ‘repentance’ of İbrahim Kalın who does not seem to believe in extinction after death, but rather in revenge. What he sings is the tale of the spokesperson of a government that launches an investigation for a veteran actor like Genco Erkal, a government which makes people wail and suffocates its opponents. One day, for a change, he hangs out with Erkan Oğur, a musician known for his progressive views, at least until last week.
The stakeholders of the ruling alliance still see themselves as “the oppressed, the victimized and the marginalized.” Their rhetoric is not only used to hide their vanity; Their so-called victimization is somehow beyond the aim of garnering votes.
The government’s infatuation with being powerful and looking victimized simultaneously, presents a psychological case. The words of İbrahim Kalın’s folk song “I became nil” emphasize simplicity and empathy. His picturesque entrance into the hall where he sings and his statuesque exit beg for a thorough examination and analysis of a narcissistic personality disorder.
The last issue pertaining to the folk song is Erkan Oğur’s role in this show. Once you sit, eat, and enjoy your time at the ruling table, you don’t simply get up and walk away the same person. Society’s backlash led to Erkan Oğur’s taking a step back. This was not a sign that society likes ‘social lynching.’ On the contrary, it indicates that the society can still have healthy reactions against the government.
The only healthy component in this folk song is that the society shut the door on Kalın, who said in his song, “Don’t turn your back, I reached your convent / Don’t tell me the doors are closed.”
Alas! A government minister interpreted society’s backlash with reference to the late Ahmet Kaya’s song “Bahtiyar,” saying, “As far as I’ve learned, Kalın’s crime was to play the saz (Turkish folk instrument).”
In fact, the person who corresponds to the “Bahtiyar” in Ahmet Kaya’s song, (where a poor chap from Diyarbakır dies) is Selahattin Demirtaş of Diyarbakır and thousands of his friends who government keeps behind bars via unlawful practices and operations for five years.
At the end of the video for “I became nil,” we see İbrahim Kalın take his saz and leave that tranquil place. Where to? He goes to the venue of the government that does everything to keep Selahattin Demirtaş behind bars.
Let us take a look at what is being done at the presidential palace where İbrahim Kalın retreats and works after he is done singing and playing his saz.
Last Sunday Selahattin Demirtaş’s spouse Başak Demirtaş, his lawyer Mahsuni Karaman, and the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) Legal Commission Chair Ümit Dede briefed a group of journalists on the Kobani case, in which 108 HDP members, including Demirtaş, will stand trial on April 26 in Ankara. Başak Demirtaş stated, “We are not fighting only for justice, but also for the truth” and said that the indictment, with its 3,530 pages, transcends not only the law, but also the limits of the human mind.
Last week, journalists received a 20-page brochure regarding the accusations directed at Selahattin Demirtaş in the Kobani indictment. In that brochure, the lawyers replied to each accusation. The first trial will take place at the 22nd High Criminal Court in Ankara on April 26, 2021. It looks like the state has worked hard and prepared well for this Kobani case.
The government holds Selahattin Demirtaş and the then-administration of the HDP responsible for the death of civilians in the incidents. During the Kobani unrest, 46 people died, 682 people got injured and 323 people were arrested nationwide; 27 out of the 46 deaths were HDP members and voters. As Mahsuni Karaman reported, the killers of the deceased people were not properly investigated. This means that while the government was occupied blaming Demirtaş, they did not search for the actual criminals.
Selahattin Demirtaş is accused of three main charges in the Kobani case:
1. The speech he delivered on September 30, 2014,
2. The allegations of one secret witness and one named witness that Demirtaş was “instructed by the terror organization,” for which there is no proof.
3. Three tweets coming from a fake twitter account that did not belong to Demirtaş.
The first allegation is interesting because Demirtaş gave that speech on September 30, 2014 after he went to Kobani when the town was under ISIS siege. The Interior Ministry, Office of the Urfa Governor, and the Office of the Suruç District Governor had officially authorized his visit and Demirtaş went there for a single day in a trip accompanied by the press, including the official Anadolu Agency (AA). He delivered that speech upon his return.
According to the indictment, the one known and the other secret witnesses reported that Demirtaş was given directions by the PKK that day, and that he said the following at the Mürşitpınar border gate upon his return: “This is not begging. This is not indebtedness. Let us make the historic resistance together so that we have the opportunity to form a historic alliance or historic unity.” Demirtaş uttered these words and they now constitute one of the biggest accusations of the Kobani case.
When we look at the entire Demirtaş speech, both the conspiracy and the truth become clear. That speech was delivered during the “Peace Process” in Turkey and the summary of Demirtaş’s speech when he returned from a Kobani under ISIS siege is the following:
“We are experiencing a crucial moment. ISIS has the most advanced technological weapons of the US and Russia is attacking and invading the territory.”
“There’s only one way to escape this barbarism, and that is, when all anti-ISIS forces unite. Everybody who calls themselves human must unite against ISIS and everyone in Turkey must own up to this approach and act accordingly. We’re here to realize this unification. If the government has been sincere in the ‘Peace Process,’ then it must do what is necessary. Once we unite and hold hands in the streets and squares, we can construct peace at the table. It’s possible to constitute peace in Suruç here, right in Kobani on the other side of the border. Please understand this historic outcry correctly. This is not begging. This is not indebtedness. Let us make a historic resistance together so that we have the opportunity to form a historic alliance or historic unity.”
This is incredible but true. Selahattin Demirtaş asked for support for the Kurds in the fight against ISIS and this appeal was not persecuted for years. This speech of his is not even mentioned in the accusations of the indictment about the Kobani incidents of September 6-8, 2014. These accusations that are listed in the summary of proceedings number 31 of the pending case against him at the 19th High Penal Court do not even mention the details of his speech. But now, the government considers these three or four sentences from the whole speech as “a call for revolt.”
Furthermore, the statements of the known and secret witnesses were taken on December 4, 2019 and January 7, 2020 after Demirtaş was re-arrested on September 20, 2019. That is, Demirtaş was first arrested and then the reasons for his arrest were ‘found.’
Another accusation against him comprises three tweets posted using his name from an account that has nothing to do with him. Twitter has already closed that account because of violation of Twitter’s rules.
Additionally, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Demirtaş’s words on Kobani were not a call for violence.
In short, it’s not difficult to predict what the accusations against the other 107 persons involved in the case would be after viewing the ungrounded accusations directed at Demirtaş.
Selahattin Demirtaş has been in prison for four and a half years, based on this and other similar accusations. Despite the oppression, he never said, “I’ve become nil.” He plays his string instrument, his saz, and sings, “Don’t be afraid / Cry out / If need be, call Khizr for help.”
He has been heard by millions outside prison. He knows that his only crime is playing his instrument. What about İbrahim Kalın, then? Let us, for a moment, forget his singing a ballad as if he were “a man of the heart.” Does he understand the nature of the backlash against the situation where a master helped him during the production? Can he comprehend the nature of this backlash? Will he ever understand that he cannot behave as if nothing has happened and that he himself is truly “nil?”