I fell in love with Istanbul in 2010. And then with Anatolia as a whole. It’s a deeply fascinating region for me and I have even been trying to learn Turkish over the past few years. I am lucky enough to have visited a number of times in 2011 and 2012 and made friends with some inspiring people – poets and writers Gonca Özmen, Gökçenur Ç, Yaprak Öz, Efe Duyan, Mehmet Altun, Pelin Özer and several others as well as a number of courageous and creative publishers, activists and literary promoters. So the last two and a half weeks I have been shocked and upset by the way the police and government in Turkey have violently treated peaceful protesters speaking up for their right to public green space and against the increasingly oppressive policies of the AKP.
In response to this I got together with UK-based poets Sascha Akhtar and Sophie Mayer to found ‘Solidarity Park Poetry – poems for #ResisTurkey / #OccupyGezi’. Solidarity Park is a place where poets from around the world can show their solidarity with the verve, courage and “soul force” of the Turkish people as they struggle to own what is theirs. So far we’ve published nearly 20 poems from poets around the world and will be publishing more over the next few days and weeks. We are also fortunate to have two translators on board – Duygu Tekgul and Çağdaş Acar and the poet Gonca Özmen as our consulting editor.
If you’re a poet and you’d like to get involved please read our call-out to poets: (English) (Türkçe) and send us a poem to email@example.com. And please help us spread the word if you can, we are on Facebook and Twitter: @SolidarityPark.
In solidarity and hope,