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at 01:20, 20 Feb 2007
Posts: 0
"Yes" and Turkey
"I've always traveled with the films because I want the audience to be my teacher so that I can learn for the next one. But I have never had the sort of feedback that I've had with Yes. In Turkey, which was the first place where the audience was predominantly Muslim, the fact that there was a sympathetic Middle Eastern man in a main part was a news story, because it was such a rarity. The response there was very much more populist than in America - we were even in the Turkish Hello!"

I read that comment on IMDB and smiled a bit as a Turk and decided to explain why we behaved so.
For starters Yes was a sensible , precisely paced and realistic movie , altough I love cinema I'm not as expert to comment on cinematography however movie has effected me deeply.
Well this was not the point ; It was feedback you've had in Turkey."Yes" was so popular in Turkey when it was on theaters but believe me people who saw it really liked it , primarily most of the audience were females and they loved it, and as a male audience I can say the poetry (even in a foreign language for me) was splendid , the thing I'm trying to tell is "Yes" was considered a beautiful movie apart from its muslim character , too .However it was considered as a brothers movie at the same time , now I will try to tell you why
Turkey is a country which is surrounded by 4 christian (Armenia -we have no contact because of Armenia / Azerbayjan conflict- , Greece - love each other!!!! - Bulgaria and Georgia -had a revolotion recently) and 3 muslim (Iran , Syria -Both under threat of US- and Iraq -needless to say something) countries.For 15 years we're fighting PKK (Kurdish Workers Party in Kurdish) we consider them as terrorists.And country is consist of countless minorities (Kurds, Bosnians , Albanians ,Armenians , Greeks , CÝrcasians etc.) So this country is afraid of to be disunited politically. (I don't say we're right about every political issues but we can be considered as a man who is very nervous because of the circumstances)
Culturally , it's more complicated than politics , a country lived about 450 years in europe ,(even reached to wien - as conqueror or invader but ultimately had a relationship with west and it's traditions , life etc..)officially trying to be european (modernized)for 168 years , and muslim. It's in the middle of an endless conflict both culturally and politics.
Most briefly maybe without any intention people saw their beloved or bepittied (I made t up by the way) bridge in the character of HE , or maybe they just wonder how a witty western sees us ( as muslim society) (which I hope not).
Yet it was a movie about life and without any politics (i mean even the story was about 4 westerns) it would be still much too beautiful.

sally potter
at 04:10, 1 Mar 2007
Posts: 193
Thank you for this insight into some aspects of the Turkish experience of YES.
From everything I have heard, seen and am trying to understand, Turkey has an immensely complex history and very complicated and often painful relationships with its neighbours, with fierce arguments about its borders and of course about the Armenian genocide (which is now affecting its entry into the European Union.). There is also a huge story, or perhaps many individual stories, of Turkish emigrants and how they are treated in the host countries they migrate to (Germany, for example).
There are many debates on this message board between Armenians, Arabs, Americans and others, some of them fractious and in dispute, others written with a glorious and mutually respectful openness. All of them are useful and illuminating to others. It is wonderful to have Turkish voices join in this conversation.

By the way, I personally do not use the word ‘terrorist’. The word ‘terror’ has become meaningless in political jargon. In the name of a war against ‘terror’ terrible things are being done to innocent people all over the world. And in the UK we now have the experience of a previously ‘terrorist’ organization (the IRA) becoming a recognized political party with seats in parliament and in peaceful negotiation on all issues. Definitions of terrorism change according to who is speaking.

The English, like the Turks, also have a difficult history with their neighbours. It is difficult for many English people to accept that they have so horribly oppressed the Irish. And it is difficult for the English as individuals to understand the historical legacy of having been an empire, with all that entails, and therefore how we are often viewed in the world (with suspicion, hostility, resentment). A people is not the same as a people’s government. This is part of the spirit in which YES was written.

at 15:50, 1 Mar 2007
Posts: 0
Exclude the word "terrorist" from my vocabulary
I like this idea...from here forward excluding the word "terrorist" from my vocabulary. This could be a new beginning...I'll pass along the idea (& the reason for it) -- see if it catches on.

Years ago I stopped using the word "should," as in "I should do this" or "You should do that." "I want to" or "I need to" feels better for me.

But when it comes to:

"Dinner should be ready in 20 minutes"


"We should all take off our clothes & jump into the sea for a midnight swim!"

....I still use "should" in some cases.


Sally, your last paragraph about the difficulty many English people have accepting their horrible oppression of the Irish...this is such a perfect example & an essential point.

And also....."A people is not the same as a people’s government." This needs to be a bumper sticker!

I'm 2nd generation Greek. My grandparents escaped from Turkey during the Armenian genocide & came to America. I knew nothing about that part of my history -- have spent the past 6 yrs. learning. And I've discovered I harbor no anger or resentment towards the people of Turkey. Maybe I would feel differently if I had lived there. Maybe not.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting with a group of Turkish-Americans in Seattle. There were a few Greeks & Armenians, too. We gathered at a book store for what had been scheduled as the debut of a new book with readings by the Turkish author, Elif Shaffak. Ms. Shaffak couldn't attend the reading as her friend & colleague, Hrant Dink (see my previous post on Dink), had been shot & killed the week prior in Turkey. Ms. Shaffak had herself been jailed in 2006 in Turkey under Article 301 for "insulting Turkishness," as had Hrant Dink & 2006 Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk. All in all, it was a wonderful evening of readings & respectful political discussion, followed by good Turkish food & music at a nearby restaurant.

It is good to have these types of discussions, like the one I had with my new friends at the bookstore & here as well. So few people in the U.S. seem to know much about international politics unless they're studying it in college. So I'm grateful for this place to come together & learn.

I wonder why Turkey's government is so resistant to admitting the truth about the Armenian genocide. It takes true strength to embrace our mistakes. It seems inevitable, with all of the Turkish scholars who have recently spoken out....especially if Turkey wants to gain entry into the European Union. Admitting mistakes is how people & nations grow, improve, learn, change, & finally step forward into a brighter future. Yes to this.

Any thoughts?


P. S. -- I've been off work for 3 months recovering from surgery...return to work Monday, so won't be rambling on & least not so often. I'll miss it, & the lovely group here.

at 20:44, 1 Mar 2007
Posts: 0
The Burning Tigris
This is such an interesting page that it is a challenge to add anything. But, "The Burning Tigris" by Peter Balakian should be read by anyone interested in this matter.
I think there are two main reasons why governments are reluctant to face the past; often they are just following the majority, who were co-conspirators and don't want to face it either, but also because the nature of governments, except in the case of a revolution, is to be self promoting, and self prolonging. And also because there is a strong tendency for criminals not to shake the tree of justice, because they never know when they might get another chance to climb it.
The question of whether or not Turkey should be a part of the EU can be seen from many angles. The idea that an admission of the fact of the Armenian Genocide should be a requirement is interesting. I would generally agree, but then is that all it takes? Of course Turkey cannot undo the past, and admitting some unpleasant facts might be the only thing they can do. It is true that every nation in Europe has scandals in its past, and they have not all been willing to own up to them. The continuing myth of the "Irish Famine" is an example of how twisting history can prevent people from accepting the results of their own past actions. Sure, a lot of Irish people did starve to death, but no English went hungry. There was a net export of food to England throughout the years of the "famine". The US had its own little fairy tale called "Manifest Destiny", which gave us the right to take everything in sight. And now we have the "War on Terror", which gives us the right to do anything. This has become even better than "Communism", because the very nature of this lie will allow it to continue forever.
The expression "terrorism" has been around for centuries, and it has always been a bankrupt term. I agree that it should be dropped from the vocabulary.
I am glad that a Turkish person has posted here, and I feel it gives me an incentive to try harder to understand their viewpoint, even if I can't agree with some of it.
Brian Young
at 19:36, 3 Mar 2007
Posts: 5
Yes ad Turkey
To Sally
Thank you so much for your reply - I think this humble attitude is worth every praise -
I watch the man who cries (it's translated as The man's tears) well if Mzart was alive I guess he would congralate you.And how talented is Cate Blanchett isn't she ? The only thing I couldn't figure out was the name , the peole should cry were the women characters I guess :)
By the way when Yes was on theaters I read a topic on a newspaper it was "Harry Potter out Sally Potter in" , just one last sentence if you answer (I will not offend if you don't) did you watch a movie "Russian Ark?"

P.s.: I didn't want to write about politics not to bore you , but maybe you and two other guys wanna hear something about it .Pride , EU is not important life is important . For example whe Hrant Dink (armenian journalist) mrdered here some people said it's a shame EU will be upset and person who did it is a traitor to country but this is so shallow , simple and terribe way of thinking , people should have said he is gone , and thisi is the most important issue , he is gone.

It was a pleasure to talk to you , thank you very much again , I will print it and show my mom (she loves you and she has a naiive artistic soul) , as we turks say
at 13:42, 4 Mar 2007
Posts: 14
Vakasimo, Brian, Sally, and others --

I'm glad to have this discussion as well. It is open & respectful --a good way to learn, share, & get to know one another across the globe.

Brian, I think we are close politically & geographically, as you posted about The Life of Rachel Corrie at the Seattle Rep. Your post today is interesting. Peter Balakian is a personal friend. We stay in touch via email regularly & his vast knowledge of Armenian Genocide issues was my first introduction to the topic 6 years ago. We visit every summer in New York at the university where he teaches English…I attend an annual writer's conference there in June. We’ve discussed the possible theories for Turkey’s reticence. Peter is so knowledgeable yet still we end up asking "why?" scratching our heads, as it seems so pointless & desperate to continue to deny. As you wrote, there are two main reasons – yes, I agree. And there are myriad other small inexplicable reasons….these are the difficult ones.

My son is a student at the University of WA, & also a trained classical/jazz musician who chooses to use his art in political activism via song lyrics. He plays bass in a screamo/punk/metal band. The band’s recording a song about genocide & Manifest Destiny…one of the young men in the band is Native American. You mentioned Manifest Destiny...I had to throw that in. All their lyrics are political.

I mentioned in another post about my meeting with a group Turkish-Americans at Elliot Bay Books. It is so great to have these open discussions...opportunities to learn about & understand one make new friends. That is the best part. Making new friends, eating together, laughing together, living side by side.

YES. We are back to what this message board & the movie YES is all about. YES to life & YES to helping others in places where life is interrupted by war & genocide.



at 02:08, 7 Mar 2007
Posts: 0
Armenian Genocide or Exile
Normally I do not like to talk about politics very much and I feel really sorry for all who lost lives in that incident , but when I read your comments I saw that you mainly wonder why Turkey denies ?
As a Turk who does not like talk about politics but had politics degree from university , I will tell you why.
You consider the incidents on the base that Ottoman Empire (not about power but about cosmopolite demography) was a nation state , but in late 19. and early 20. century it was not , it was an religional agricultural state which is trying to be industrilized and trying to unite its folk as ottomans by a theory ; ottomanism.I mean that state is not Turkey as west always assume .In WW1 Tashnak and Hýnchak armenian groups fought against ottoman army and (believe it or not ) killed civilian muslim turks and kurds , this is unfortunately something world really forgot .Moreover these people were Ottoman citizens.It can be understtod as a independence conflict , yes it's acceptable but Ottoman reflex is not that weird too , it had to be opreesed if possible.Ultimately I'm trying to tell , It was a rebellion to state and state exiled them , today all Turkey accepts it was an exile and many people have died and suffered badly , the difference in thought is the term genocide.Ottoman state was not a racional or national state those days , it has christian ministers and deputies , beurocracy (especially treasury and foreign affairs) was ran by armenians and greeks , christians were merchants and craftsmen mmostly (Muslims were farmers and soldiers and relatively poorer than the christians) they were the cream of the society .(for example my house in Samsun is bought by my father's grandfather from a greek and house was an expensive and popular one. and before that my ancestors were living in a village)

Briefly people say 1.5 millions of armenians have died we say it's about 300.000 (which is not excuse ,or good ,)
They say it is a genocide we say it's an exile ( because of the sates mentality)
People say this is unilateral we say mutual (numbers can be small but sates are more powerful than groups ,)(Many muslims got killed too)
They say it was a systematic slaughter we say it was rage , or hard road or governors character( Especially kurds were killed by the armenian rebellion and they tried to avenge -they are called hamidian troops but it's not about this incident hamidian troops were founded by Abdulhamid II years ago Abdulhamid was not in charge in 1915)(or if the govrnor was a panturkist young turk -they were not in large numbers though- )

These people were forced to leave their homeland and this is enough to be a horible incident.But we think that it was not like holocoust there were armed armenian groups coperating wwith russian army.

This is the theoritical scientific reason we use as a parameter (a state must be nation state to commit a genocide on other nation )

And as a fact I should eexpress ; after WW1 the wartime Turkish leader and governors (who were not able to escape) were sent to malta to be judged for armenian genocide but they were released afterwards.I advice you to inquiry this.

Now let's cometo point why we deny it in social terms.We simply do not trust west , and unfortunately as well as my government your governments are using every tragic or humanistic problems for their own good.
let me give you some examples

1-In 1815 aftermath the Napolionic wars , Metternich system is adopted in europe , according to this system any rebellion for nationalist thoughts will be opressed by a coalition of eeuropean monarchs.(I don't say it is right but that was it) in 1823 Greek nationalist rebellion has occured and these monarchs burned ottoman navy.(Great isn't it ?) (I repeat greeks must be ruled by greeks but ..... you understand me I guess)

2- In 1876 constitutoon was established , (it was a modernizing thing which allows christians to join ruling the coutry) and for ottoman state could not pay its depths they allow Russia to ruin us in 1877 , what happened to muslims who live in the lost countries ? ( I guess but who cares ??? )

3-In 1911 Italia has invaded ottoman state Libya and afterwards the balkan states which young turks tried to unite attacked ottomans get all the balkans and even edirne ( in eastern thrace) so the balkan got deturked allright this is again accaptble but there is a detail it has finished the young turk sympathy and make them get close to germany .(If you think it's childish to believe young turks united the balkans just inquiry tke second balkan wars or remember the name of macedonia (Former Yugoslavian Republis of Macedonia -not greece :) -)(Remembe the new refugee party ...... who were behaved so ently ( I can't believe that)

4-In late 50's there established cyprus state the president was Macarios and his deputy was Dr.Kucuk (Turkish)(I mean the primary populace was greeks and everyone had accepted that) But socialistic Macarios wanted the island without Britain (UK has major bases and influence on island) and Turks did not supported it , and a conflict has stated (ironically those target british government did support greeks in 1974 , funny it works) anyway Turkey showed some resolution and in 1960 Treaty Of Rome has been signed , but soon after by the influence of ENOSIS (kind of greek anschluss ) incidents has started again after some crisis ......... really a long story macarios deposed and EOKA took over the islands control Turkey appealed as a guarantor to england but they were neglectant and according to 1960 treaty and a guarantor Turkey landed the island defeated EOKA and (the supprters in Greece the colonels has lost lost control in greece (I can not tell details hard to to tell in english ) and we became invader on the island (great) , now cyprus is a EU member whereas there is a term that cyprus can not be member of any international organisation which Turkey and Greece are both members , is Turkey member ? NO ..(so another treaty has gone to garbage) , and to solve the problem there a plan made by UN , it was named Annan Plan , at refferendum in november 2003 Turkish side said yes , greeks said no. Why should they acccept ? There will be nothing as penalty for them.

One mistake can and should not be reasson for another , but we don't want to be labeled as barbarian murderers and we do not trust the society who wants to label us. If it a genocide occured I'm sure we all the Turks sit on a couch and start to cry , because we do ot want to be it , we are sick of being treated as barbarian blood drinker mongols , no attempt we tried to be modernized is really supported by the west we turks think always what will come next ? When every couuntry accept it as a genocide and the courts sttarted to get the lands who will west give the region ? Kurds ? Armenians ? When the island cyprus who will guarantee that we are not being bombarded from island ? Which treaty will not be omitted when it ggets spoiled for behalf of our rival (For example treaty of Lousane says the aegean islands are belong to greece but they will be anarmed , today forget arms every major island has military airfields which you can easily read from greek war forum sites on the net , they are proud of having these islands with misiles , you can check it on the net)

So , unfortunately noone cares about muslim or dark skinned victms , I'm so sorry for all who died there , I think the movie YES was about these issues at the same time , these words I wrote here are agaiinst all governments or extremely nationalists not for you try to find a wise way of justice or respect.World sucks sometimes French and English sold Armenians out , Germans try to share their holocoust , Russians invaded Armenia in 1920. Even if it was systematic (I pray for it's not) that was a huge mistake made to Armenians.But just a bit remember our victims too they were too innocent civilians , aren't they ?

What is humanity ? Opposite of politics i guess
Have a good day
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