O, artist and gallery owner

When the coup happened I was in Europe, I was living there while I was studying visual arts. My father was close to the bridge and I couldn’t reach him on his phone for hours. I was so afraid about him. It was bad to feel that sentiment. Even if had I wanted to come to Istanbul directly I couldn’t because all the flights got canceled.

I lived in Italy for almost 4 years. Before I left for Europe there were the Gezi protests in Istanbul. I was there, demonstrating and fighting with the situation and everything. It was so bad to feel that your country is not beside you. When I came to Italy, it was different, people were friendly, I felt home, even more than Turkey. Starting again in another country with a different culture made me think about another thing: You find yourself more in another part of the world.

Once I came back to Turkey I was first afraid to go outside, because it got so dangerous. But if you start going out more and more, you get used to everything. The worst thing about that is that you get used to the bad things – because they became normal. But they should not be.
I don’t think that we should be afraid – because this is what they want you to. They want to wipe out all your other feelings – so that you become their robot. This is the worst thing about that. We have to fight this feelings.

But they have the power, so especially as an artist, you need a lot of courage to show your feelings in your artwork. Me trying to think positive – once you start to feel negative, negative things come to you. So I opened a place in Turkey where people can feel safe and feel united (note: a gallery for modern art).

I don’t know what will happen in turkey’s future. If you just look at the things that happened in the past two years, it is not easy to be optimistic – but I try not to lose hope. When Gezi happened, we had some hope that things would change to the good. But instead everything got worse. The problems are everywhere. It affects you in every aspect of your life.

Europe could help us more in this situation, but instead they are ignoring us or making things more complicated, for example the visa processes.


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