Varlık at 90 | Eurozine


Handiest ten years more youthful than the Republic of Turkey itself, Varlık devotes its July factor to an accounting of the magazine’s first 90 years. In its early days Varlık marched in line with the modernising spirit of the brand new order beneath Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, however as of late the editorial stance units itself at a distance from the conservative management of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. However what emerges is a portrait of a country the place freedom to submit has at all times been precarious. It’s additionally a warts-and-all account of Varlık’s achievements, in addition to the artists and creative moments that it ignored.

Ayşe Sarısayın is going in the course of the archive of her father, the poet Behçet Necatigil, to turn how the artist’s occupation was once formed and inspired even though his lifelong friendship with Varlık’s first editor Yaşar Nabi Nayır, ‘a whole Istanbul gentleman with skinny twine glasses, measured actions and well mannered speech’. And poet, novelist and columnist Feyza Hepçilingirler remembers her enjoy of first newsletter within the mag within the Seventies and the function Varlık has performed in launching generations of latest writers via awards named after the primary editor.


In other places, Nilay Özer is going in the course of the archives looking for the main lighting of Turkish feminism. The pickings are skinny: ‘In conclusion, it may be mentioned that from the Ottoman technology to the current day, Varlık was once now not involved in the ladies’s motion and feminist literature in Turkey, no less than now not in a deliberate and programmatic manner. If articles on the ones subjects seemed, after all they have been revealed, however the magazine had no coverage of monitoring the feminist motion and literature.’

Nonetheless, issues at Varlık have advanced because the Nineties, Özer says. Below editor Enver Ercan, the magazine revealed paintings by way of or on writers akin to Adalet Ağaoğlu, Füruzan, Tomris Uyar and Leylâ Erbil. She additionally notes present editor Mehmet Erte’s decision to ‘excavate’ distinctive and engaging paintings by way of ladies teachers.

Ali Özgür Özkara additionally starts his historical past of the magazine by way of noting the absences. Within the Forties and 50s, readers of Varlık do not need discovered the paintings of the jailed after which exiled poet Nâzım Hikmet, nor that of Ercümend Behzad Lav. The explanation, Özkara says, is that ‘till the fifties, the stance that Varlık outlined for itself was once to not take a look at the codes of the founding Kemalism’.

The magazine, ‘by no means changed into a topic or position for ideological polarization. It merely attempted to stay true to the founding modernity.’ The end result, Özkara argues, was once the exclusion of political and heterodox types of poetry that resulted in Varlık changing into the ‘mum or dad of the lyrical canon’.

Varlık now

Alphan Akgül makes an attempt to position Varlık within the recent Turkish context. Drawing on essays revealed within the magazine in recent times, he describes a rustic that has misplaced its highbrow moorings beneath Erdoğan.

‘The principle reason why for our lack of a cultural reference is the truth that the political energy, regardless of being at peace with capitalism, bears virtually hatred for western tradition.’ This disconnection from western crucial approaches, Akgül says, has led to Turkey to change into ghettoized: ‘We kicked down the ladder with our personal toes, simply as we had reached the highest.’

Lately, many figures in Erdoğan’s govt have puzzled why they have got been not able to dominate cultural manufacturing in the way in which they have got managed different facets of Turkish existence. Consistent with Akgül, it is because their political programme pervades the whole lot: ‘They can’t intellectualize the phenomenon of “tradition” with out reactionary political discourse.’

Varlık keeps its hyperlinks to western concept and important research and is one thing of a replicate symbol of the Erdoğan govt. ‘Being decisive within the cultural box on occasion calls for the suspension of energy, that is what Varlık does as a rule: step again and display what’s…’



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