It wounds my soul to reach out to you with dark news. And it pains my heart to see the beloved Istanbul suffer. There is a pretty good chance that you have been in Taksim before, it is a place that has been so dear to us throughout history. While it is known as a touristic spot for the ones who do not live in Türkiye, it is still a well-known hub for Turkish people to hang out from time to time, since it has some wonderful art galleries, restaurants and tiny little shops to enjoy. It is a place where the history is wrapped around with some modern details.
Sadly, on November 13th, our hearts shattered with the news of a blast right at the center of our dear Taksim.
We have lost six people, and eighty one people have suffered from several injuries. Time has stopped for us at this moment, and our minds went back to the blasts that have happened in 2015. The world is still suffering from terror, and for one I am angry. Angry at the lack of response, the lack of compassion from around the world towards my citizens.
While we still carry on with our daily tasks, and life goes on, because we have to, families have been shattered because of the blast. Some lost their wife, husband, child, mother, father, brother or friend. How are we expected to go through this, how should we cope I genuinely don’t know.
I must say, even a close call with my friend terrified me. They were supposed to be there that day, but they overslept. And this is the case for so many people. My heart aches for those who had their loved ones there, right at the moment where time stopped for us. While I do not live in Istanbul anymore, a part of my heart is still there, so many of the people I love are there, and I froze the moment I saw the news.
We are in mourning, and some of us may never quite recover from this. Maybe this will be a cliche, but an important one, that we must keep in touch with the ones we love. Because love does not know distances, it does not know time…
Let me make something clear, I have no intentions of concluding this article on a hopeless note. When I think about my homeland, I do not think of pain and darkness, I reminisce on the sunny days.
I reminisce on the laughter I have with my friends, the magnificent historical tours that I went on with my mother. I remember the times in which I danced like there was no tomorrow, I remember the times I met so many wonderful people. I recall the beauty of so many cities that I have visited. I hold my childhood memories in Izmir close to my heart, running around the shore, singing with my friends, dining with my family. I embrace the love I have received in Istanbul, where I have met my second family that consists of so many Rotaractors who have shown me so much support. I smile at the memories of my school trips around Afyonkarahisar, Denizli and Muğla and how much fun we had. I laugh at my lack of skiing skills in Kayseri and Erzurum, while my friends were quite good at that. I miss the food I ate in Adana and Mersin, and the drinks I had in Antalya. I carry my fascination of the wonders I have seen in Çanakkale and Cappadocia (Nevşehir). I hold on to the hope I regain each time I visit the Anıtkabir in Ankara, which is home to Atatürk’s mausoleum, that no matter what happens, our Türkiye can be a beacon of light to the world again.
I do not give up on the hope that Türkiye will see the happy days again, because that was the oath we made as children. And I hope to show all of you, my friends around the world, that the sun will shine on us again.
Written by Melis Leyal Gürel