The rector of Kütahya Dumlupınar University has removed the statues of a lion and eagle that graced the university entrance because people kept complaining that it reminded them of the Armenian coat of arms. The sculptor, Atanas Karaçoban, who teaches at Gazi University, said he was shocked and pointed out the irony that on the committee that removed his statues were people whose last names contained the word lion: Erarslan, Karaarslan, and Arslan. (click here, in Turkish)
The remains of the original Byzantine palace in the Sultanahmet historic district were furtively razed with heavy machinery by a company that wishes to build a five-story hotel. (click here, in Turkish) This story has been in the news for days, yet the destruction continued. Now it looks like this:
In his column in Samsun’s Statüko magazine, Okan Baş wrote about his outrage that the killers of Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink should get so many years in jail. “He’s a robust youth”, he wrote of Ogün Samast; by killing “that guy called Hrant,… I mean, did he do a bad thing?” (here, in Turkish)
And yet (all in the same day’s newspaper):
The Galata Rum (Greek Orthodox) Grade school building that had been confiscated by the state has been returned to its original owners, a Rum foundation. (click, in Turkish).
It’s interesting to speculate on the identities of the actors in these passion plays: a university, a private company (with city government turning a blind eye?), a journalist, the national government. Will they ever act in concert within a tolerant, liberal, non-corrupt democratic environment? Actually, you might ask, where do we have this anywhere in the world? But it doesn’t hurt to strive in that direction. Two steps forward, one step back.