Life In Berlin: Imran Ayata

45 minutes ago

“It’s the first time in my life where I am witnessing how a country, a society, step by step drifts into a kind of absurd disaster," says Berlin-based writer Imran Ayata.

He keeps a close eye on Turkey. It's part of his heritage. He was born in Germany, but his parents immigrated from Turkey decades ago. He still has family and friends there.

“I start every day in the morning looking at Twitter who is arrested.”

Ayata speaks of anxiousness and fear. Recently, some of his friends have left Turkey and moved to Paris, London or Berlin.

“Most parts in Turkey, especially in the Kurdish parts, it’s very difficult, because you have a very repressive atmosphere. You have an increase of violence. You have the violence coming from State and you have the violence of terrorist groups and now we have a climate of people [who] are having fear of talking in the public sphere as a result of the developments of the last month, I guess.”

Imran Ayata is not afraid to talk. He says prior to the terrorist attack on the night club Reina in Istanbul - where at least 39 people were killed on New Year’s Eve - there was an organized effort in Turkey to keep people from celebrating the turn of the year.

“There was a really quite impressive campaign supported by Islamic news papers, even politicians and Imams, who said New Year’s Eve and Christmas is non-Islamic. What I want to say is, it’s not only about the attacks of the Islamic State or PKK, it’s about how the politics of repression and discrimination becomes more and more a kind of daily reality.”

Repression has been present for while in Turkey, not only since the military coup against Turkish president Erdogan last summer. Ayata describes a steady development. What happens in Turkey follows a clear political concept says the German-Turkish author:

“Which was designed years ago by Mr. Erdogan and his staff: The New Turkey. And The New Turkey is a transformation of this current political system into a system with a presidential system, with him on the top on the one hand. On the second hand, Turkey becoming a key player in this time of globalization, as a key player in the Middle East, for example. So the problem is that this change has a real impact on social and daily life. You see how people are attacked because they are listening to Radiohead. So you see how this Western life is pushed out from the public sphere.”

The main dilemma, believes Imran Ayata, is that there is no real opposition to Turkey’s leadership, neither inside Turkey, nor outside. The European Union - as well the United States - often verbally regret what happens in Turkey, but fail to act.