Wednesday, March 28, 2007

“Olmak istediğim kişiydi göz. Ben önce ‘göz’ü değil, O’nu yaratmıştım, olmak istediğim kişiyi. Olmak istediğim ‘O’ da kendinden bana uzanan o korkunç, boğucu bakışı salıvermişti üzerime.
Bazı ipuçları, O’nu kendi hayat malzemem ve anılarımdan çıkardığımı gösteriyordu. Taklit etmek istediğim O’nda çocukluğumda okuduğum bazı resimli roman kahramanlarına, bazı yabancı dergilerde resimlerini gördüğüm düşünür ‘yazar’ların, ve bu kasıntılı kişilerin kütüphanelerinin, çalışma masalarının ya da ‘derin ve anlamlı’ düşüncelerini geliştirdikleri kutsal mekanların önünde fotoğrafçılara verdikleri pozların etkisi vardı.” sf. 118.

The Eye

In the Black Book, Cemil tells about "the eye" that's always following him to fix its gaze on him, to criticize him and judge him and look down on him. The eye is in Cemil's mind, yet looking at him from outside, the eye is his ideal, the person he always wanted to be. The eye is a childhood hero, it's a prototype of those intellectual writers he has always admired. The eye keeps following him and always belittling him. Cemil knows that the eye is disappointed in him. When he looks at himself from outside, knowing what he aspired to become, he is disappointed in himself.

Anybody who is looking at you, but who is different from you, who is foreign to you, opens the third eye. You start seeing through this new eye, but it is gazing straight at you, your life from outside. You start thinking how that person must be seeing you, your life. It's a whole new level of awareness. You are a rabbit caught in the headlight.

When your friend visits your room, you become aware of the dust and the hair and the empty wall. When you present someone dear to you to a stranger, you start seeing the weaknesses and the peculiarities in that person, you are full of love and shame. When you are around foreigners in your country, you start pondering what you would have seen and thought if you were visiting your country for the first time. If you are catching up with an old friend after a long time, you realize how little you have accomplished of everything you aspired to do. If you are opening your heart to people, the third eye is looking at you, pointing at the contrast between your life and theirs, amazed and disapproving.

The next stage is anger and defense. You yourself might be aware of the flaw, the weakness, the peculiarity. You know that your room, your family, your home, your country, you are like that. In your mind, you see the problem areas, and in a liberal, rational moment you could admit to them. You would agree with the critiques. But you wouldn't let them say a word.

I can criticize my country, my family, my fears, my weaknesses, my way of living, but you can't. You don't have a right to, simply because you don't know enough. You can't put me on the spot and force me to admit to them and expect me to be ashamed. If you do, you will induce me to defend anything - I will defend the uneducated, I will defend the lazy, I will defend the ultra-conservative and the religious, I will defend the corrupt. I will do all that irrationally but strongly and with my heart, because these things are dear to me.

Monday, March 19, 2007


"Being thoughtful is more important than being smart," says my grandma.

I didn't care about what that meant because I wasn't thoughtful then. I'm sure there are times when I'm still not thoughtful, I'm not exactly sure when, because when you are not thoughtful, you are not thinking, and because you are not thinking, you are unaware that you are not thinking. Indifference is bliss. What I know is that I'm more thoughtful than before, and it's difficult. I think about people, about giving everyone his/her due right in my life, including myself, but I know that I'm not successful all the time. I feel more and more torn between different lives, people and places that cannot be reconciled. And in return, I expect everyone to give me my due right, I expect them to be as thoughtful, but people are not even aware. They are not aware of the sacrifice or favour I'm voluntarily doing for them (they didn't ask for it in the first place, but they don't mind accepting it), how uneasy I feel when I realize that I'm doing injustice to someone. When they don't live up to my expectations, I'm just disappointed in them, and angry at myself for having bothered. And they will think I'm a difficult, disagreeable person when I'm disappointed in them, or just stop being as helpful, because they don't know the reason. Sometimes I think that they do it on purpose, because not having thought of that is unimaginable for me - but I guess thoughtlessness is a bliss that cannot be reached by conscious effort. Some people are born with it.

So now I understand my parents. I understand the sacrifices they made for me, which I enjoyed immensely despite not having asked for it in the first place. (It doesn't matter if you ask for something or not. If you accept it, you should at least be aware that somebody is doing something for you.) And I understand their deep disappointment every time they saw me bored, lazy, cross, unhappy: Just thoughtless. I understand why they argued with me, why they were tired.

My grandmother also says "sorry" is not enough. I can't forget or forgive thoughtlessness by a simple "sorry." But I will be very happy and grateful if I see real signs of thought. If you lack that, we are just not meant to get along.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I finally got published in the Beaver... There's a mistake though, the first paragraph ("the lead") should have quotation marks, because it was a quote by Bob Hancké... This bothers me.

(As this link does not work anymore, here is the article:)

In 2007, how Fabian is the LSE?

“When my father was my age, they thought that the revolution was around the corner, and my father always asked me why I’m so interested in what the Central Bank is doing and all that stuff, I said ‘because right now it’s not any longer about the world that’s going to come, but it’s about keeping unemployment down, keeping poverty down.’ Among the faculty what looks like pragmatism is coming to terms with how the terms of the debate shifted over the years.”

Although the terms of the debate shifted in the left-wing, the Fabian ideal lives on, says Bob Hancké of the European Institute. Social justice remains a very important priority when academics do their research, and the research is very much policy-oriented: LSE academics think about the ways they can actually influence the world to bring about social justice.

The LSE motto is “rerum cognoscere causas: to understand the causes of things,” as Eddy Fonyodi, President of the Grimshaw Club, tells me excitedly. Once you can make sense of the world around you, you can work towards changing it for the better. “They all work towards the same goal: Improvement of the society. To bridge the gap between academia and reality, to make a difference in the world and you can see that, both academics and students do amazing things to change the world.”

This very goal, however, requires flexibility, ability to look at the issue at hand from different perspectives.

“As society changes new questions arise so you have to adapt to be able to investigate the new and the challenging questions. To face the challenges that arise you also have to change yourself, your understanding.”

Nick Barr, Professor of Public Economics at the European Institute and a policy adviser, defines socialism “not in terms of its means but in terms of its objectives. Socialism is about the pursuit of egalitarian objectives. ” He says New Labour has the same goals as the Old Labour, but “it is more open-minded about how to achieve them…”

Higher education finance is a case where Nick Barr’s own views changed over the years. “I used to regard student loans as a nasty right-wing plot,” he says. “The logic of the argument turned me around 180 degrees. I realized that higher education financed by the tax payer is the average person paying for the degree of people who come disproportionately from better-off backgrounds, and it’s deeply regressive.”

Students may be very sensitive about tuition fees, but there is a perception that they are much less politically active than in the 1970’s. Hancké thinks this is a myth. “You always had students who knew exactly that they were coming to a place like the LSE for the return on the investment,” he says.

The real difference is, again, the terms of the debate. “When I was a student in the 80’s you had a lot of Marxist, Leninist, Trotskyite groups,” he explains. “[They debated on] the footnote in the Capital, you either have to interpret it like that or like that, and on the basis of that you wouldn’t speak to each other anymore… You were against the environment or in favour of the environment; Greens were the only ones who were in favour of the environment. Now [students] are fed up with the strict party politics but they care about big issues.”

Hancké describes this as a movement from a 1-0 world to a continuous world, where “different parties can start picking up bits and pieces.” He thinks this allows an accounting and finance student to bring his skills into a discussion about carbon emissions offsetting. He suggests that the Student Union can organize roundtable discussions where students from different disciplines discuss policy challenges.

Julian Le Grand is a professor at the Social Policy Department, who advised Tony Blair in health policy. He explains that while students do not call themselves Marxist or socialist any more, quite a few would have anti-capitalist and anti-globalisation views. However, they do not present a real alternative.

“Their analyses certainly haven’t got anything like the power of the Marxist view,” he says. “That was a very clear view – one that I think was wrong, but nonetheless, a clear analysis and a clear set of ideas as to what should be done. I don’t think there’s any equivalent to that among students today - or indeed among intellectuals of any kind.”

Hancké agrees. “My cohort didn’t come up with a lot of new ideas about where you might be looking. If I look at the courses I’m teaching, the kind of debates we have there, it’s not that we didn’t have ideas, it’s just that they were never put together in a way that they could have the battle of ideas.”

He thinks that the decentralized structure of the LSE does not encourage integrated thinking. Some academics start centres such as the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, but they remain focused on one policy area. “You could probably put together a reader on alternatives to neo liberal thinking based on a lot of the research that takes place at the LSE. You need to ask somebody who would take in the research and say, ‘This is the political implication of what this research tells you. In terms of policy alternatives, this is where you might want to look on the basis of this research.’”

On an optimistic note, the LSE might be more Fabian than we think! When in doubt, there is nothing more reassuring than asking an American. Looking at students protesting and handing out flyers, Dillon Green, a postgraduate student at the European Institute, concludes that the LSE is “even more left-wing than Berkeley.”

Dillon, too, has his reservations. “You have this dichotomy between the social scientists who are all anti-globalisation and the kids who are doing finance and economics who all want to be investment bankers. The problem is that the investment bankers don’t seem to be that politically active and motivated, they are too busy trying to get jobs at the investment banks.”

On another bright, sunny London day (I think this is the fourth day in a row?), I went to two exhibitions at the National Gallery, Manet to Picasso and Renoir Landscapes. I loved both of them. The first one was like a crash course in impressionism and beyond: There were pieces from Manet, Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Cézanne, Sisley, Degas, Seurat, Gauguin, Van Gogh and Picasso (albeit with only one piece :) These painters no longer tried to imitate the world to the smallest detail (it was already done before), but they sought to capture the feeling, the impression someone gets when he sees the world. Think about it: When you look at a crowded square or a landscape, you cannot pay attention to every single detail of every object simultaneously. What you get is an overall impression, overall feeling.

Their world is beautiful, mellow, optimistic, full of soft, warm rays of light, soft, warm patches of shadow. I feel happy when I look at them, like I would in the country side, on the coast, in a picnic, in the first warm and sunny days of spring, in a crowded square in Paris. Renoir Landscapes were the most beautiful things I've seen in my entire life.

But then, they were at the right place, at the right time: The world they were looking at was beautiful. Their talent was to capture that feeling. The breeze isn't there, the air isn't there, the smells and the sounds aren't there, but these paintings still manage to give the feeling of joy and gratitude.

If what you see is ugly and you capture that, does that count as talent as well?

Then I stepped out of the National Gallery and stood on top of the stairs for a moment to look: the Trafalgar Square was there with its moving, mixing crowd, transparent pools, red buses,
the guy playing a strange violin, the buildings and the street leading up to the Big Ben, the different, sharper, more daring light of spring. Framed in the columns of the Gallery, it was a painting. It was so beautiful.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Gilbert and George and Art

Yesterday I went to Gilbert & George exhibition at Tate Modern. The artists lived and created art in London's East End (on Fournier Street close to Spitalfields, my neighborhood!) since early 70's. Trained as sculptors, they started out as "living sculptures," and soon after they started making photomontages, usually taking themselves as subjects, alongside views of dirty London streets, water poddles, flashlights, cherry blossoms, their bare wooden apartment, young boys, crosses, graffitti, sex ads, tabloid headlines, Gincko leaves, people who look like they belong to the fringes: Muslims, black people, "white trash." (Not to mention penises, spunk, shit and their own arses.) They force you to look at your own dark side in the eye. (And this exhibition forces London to look at her dark side in the eye.)

As it happens when I see modern art most of the time, I was quick to conclude that these artists could not do anything else with their lives, so they decided to do this (continuing in the Hincal Uluç vein, who rightly wrote once that he couldn't be convinced that a black square is art, and even Ertuğrul Özkök vein, "let's all admit our unliberal, intolerant side and relax now!") This alludes to a lack of talent, motivation, structure and patience in everything else that would earn them their living and respect, rather than a specific talent, motivation, structure and patience in art. When I look at an art piece, I'd like to see traces of talent, genius (something new, creative, something that would uncover an idea or emotion in me I didn't realize was there), beauty and discipline. I'd like to see advancement, something greater than myself, something I wouldn't have been able to do. To me, an artist, and any other discipline, should try to rise above and beyond himself, his daily life, his human instincts in his work, rather than making money and a reputation of them. (Advancement, not democracy!!)

So here I am, sounding like your mother or teacher. Being the reflective person I am, of course, this is not the end of the story. Firstly, looking at it from an economic point of view, these artists seem to have made a living with their work. (Watch the videos on the Tate web-site, they look like they made quite a lot since they were able to invest in that technology!) So there are people who like their art, who find something in it. What they are doing clearly has value. (At the same time, sometimes I wonder whether critiques are afraid of criticizing art just because they don't want to sound unliberal.)

They also seem to be working very hard while they are creating their art, albeit its ugliness much of the time. But then, we want creativity, we want new things that would speak to the society we live in now. So we can no longer expect the beauty and technique of Renaissance painting or impressionists or surrealists. That's all been done before. So we have to keep an open mind.

Furthermore, who am I to judge, right? Of course it doesn't speak to much in me because I've mostly been one of the privileged as a Caucasian woman from a middle class background. I don't understand those in the minority, gays, poor, excluded. But I know that most of the time, it takes patience, hard work and structure to improve your life. So while it is interesting and important to recognize, I don't see much to be proud of in clinging on to that alternative culture. The message about racism and religious fundamentalism, while original and interesting at the time, although still relevant, is not that original anymore.

But even to me, there were a few highlights. The sex ads, tabloid headlines and images of my neighborhood - contrasted against cherry blossoms. And the red.

Definitely worth seeing since it sparked so much to talk about!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Note to my friends:
I deactivated my Facebook profile (never to activate it again, promise to myself!), uninstalled AIM and MSN, just to see what I can do with the spare time, especially with the weather getting nicer. Besides, sharing and having access to too much information is bad for you. Some things are better not known. If you want to reach me, you can call me, Skype me, E-mail me and of course read my blog (even better, comment on it!) That's what I'll do when I want to reach you. Love!

Breaking the Habit

Memories consume
Like opening the wound
I'm picking me apart again
You all assume
I'm safe here in my room
Unless I try to start again

I don't want to be the one
The battles always choose
'Cause inside I realize
That I'm the one confused

I don't know what's worth fighting for
Or why I have to scream
I don't know why I instigate
And say what I don't mean
I don't know how I got this way
I know it's not alright
So I'm breaking the habit
I'm breaking the habit

Clutching my cure
I tightly lock the door
I try to catch my breath again
I hurt much more
Than anytime before
I had no options left again

I dont want to be the one
The battles always choose
'Cause inside I realize
That I'm the one confused

I don't know what's worth fighting for
Or why I have to scream
I don't know why I instigate
And say what I don't mean
I don't know how I got this way
I'll never be alright
So, I'm breaking the habit
I'm breaking the habit

I'll paint it on the walls
'Cause I'm the one at fault
I'll never fight again
And this is how it ends

I don't know what's worth fighting for
Or why I have to scream
But now I have some clarity to show you what I mean
I don't know how I got this way
I'll never be alright
So, I'm breaking the habit
I'm breaking the habit
I’m breaking the habit

Linkin Park

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

"Ben kendime inanıyorum," dedi Ömer. Neşeli gözükmeye çalışıyordu.
"İnanıyordun... Fatih olacaktın, çok para kazanacaktın. İstanbul'u, Türkiye'yi fethedecektin... Bunların çirkinliğini bir yana bırakıyorum. Sen bunları yapmadın kı?.. Başkaları evliliğinle alay eder diye de evlenmedin. Bir şey yapmıyorsun. Çünkü hep zekanın hakkını vermek istiyorsun. Sanıyorsun ki, bir şey yaparsan elinden eleştirme, yok, yok, yalnızca alay etme hakkın gidecek. Evlenmiyorsun, çünkü evlenirsen başkalarının evliliğini basit, çirkin, sıradan, yüzeysel bulmaya hakkın olmaz. İstanbul'dan da kaçtın. Oraya sığındın. Peki niye buraya geliyorsun? Çünkü herkesin ne yaptığına bakacaksın. Herkesin ne kadar bayağı olduğunu görerek keyifleneceksin. Sen buraya meraktan geldiğini söylüyorsun değil mi kendin? Buraya meraktan değil, işte bunun için, beğenmemek için geliyorsun. Benim dergiyi eline aldığın zamanki heyecanını düşünebiliyorum: Kimbilir ne gülünçlükler vardır, inşallah vardır diye dua etmişsindir kendi kendine..."
Ömer: "Peki, şunu söyle, bakalım," dedi. "İnsan hem yaşayabilir, hem alay edebilir mi? İnsan hem mutlu olur, hem de her şeyin gerçekte olduğu gibi kötü olduğunu açıklayabilir mi?.." Sonra kendi cevap verdi: "Böyle bir şey olmaz!" Cevdet Bey ve Oğulları, sf. 493-494.

"...Bu düşüncelerini doğru bulmuyorum. Böyle düşünerek, hiçbir şeye inanmadan nasıl yaşamaya devam ediyorsun, anlamıyorum?"
"Ne var bunda? Herkes öyle yaşıyor. Bir şeye inanmadan yaşayan bir ben miyim? Bir yıl önce sen neye inanıyordun peki?"
"Ben mi?" Refik iyiniyetle, saf saf gülümsedi. "Ben o zaman bir şeye inanıp inanmamak gerektiğini düşünmüyordum ki." Heyecanla ekledi: "Ama sen... sen biliyorsun. Bir kere bildikten sonra olmaz artık." sf. 333

"Peki nasıl olur? Halkı sopalayarak aydınlığı getirmek nasıl olur? Biz eğer bu ülkede aklın ve yeniliğin ışığı parlasın istiyorsak, bunu halk için istemiyor muyuz?.. Yenilik ve ileri bir toplumun halka zorla benimsetilmesi sizce yanlış değil mi?" sf. 387

Dokuz ay önce ayrıldığı İstanbul'daki son gününü hatırladı. Beyoğlu'nda dolaşmış, günlük hayattan tiksindiğini düşünmüş, kendini bir Hıristiyan'a benzetmiş, kimsenin ilgilenmeyeceği tuhaf bir yaratık olduğuna karar vermişti. "Bütün bunlar neden oldu?" diye mırıldandı. "Nasıl oldu? Ben neyim? Neden yoldan çıktım? Ben iyi bir insanım!" diye düşündü. "Beni böyle görüyorlar... İyi, saf, dürüst..." İnsanın başka bir özelliği olmayınca başkaları ondan öyle sözeder: İyi insan. sf. 411

"Şeytan girmiş bir kere içime! Ben de bu memlekette yabancıyım!" Ama bu sefer bu toplum dışı suçlu bilinçten keyif alıyor, sigara gibi hafif içine çekerek damarlarında onu dolaştırıyordu. "Demek hiçbir şey benim iyiniyetime, istemime ve seçmeme bağlı değil. Dışarda kalmaya mahkumdum. Çünkü ruhuma aklın ve aydınlığın ışığı bir kere düşmüştü! Her şey şu devlet, inkılap, cumhuriyet dedikleri şeyle çevrili. Bana yol yok!"
"Nasıl gelecek aydınlık? Ben buna inanmıştım. Aydınlık mı karanlık mı? Karanlıksa hep mahkumum ben demektir. Karanlıksa boyun eğiyorum ve özgürlükten vazgeçiyorum demektir? Ama neden, kimin için, hangi özgürlük? Muhtar Bey'in dediğine bakılırsa, özgürlükten, ya da aydınlıktan vazgeçmek bizi ilerletecek... Öyle mi? Peki özgürlüğü kim istiyor? Devlet istemiyor! Tüccarlar buna fazla meraklı değiller. Toprak ağaları nefret ediyor! Köylüler duymamış. Başka kim var? İşçiler?.. Bir de ben! Hah, hah... Özgürlüğü ben istiyorum!" sf. 412.

Cynicism and Naivete

I can't stand cynicism. I can't stand those who look down on people that care about something other than themselves. These people, like Ömer in Orhan Pamuk's Cevdet Bey ve Oğulları, don't do anything, but find the right in themselves to make fun of people who are working on something. They console themselves by assuming other people's work unimportant, their passion amusing, their goals unrealistic, their love cheesy. They disguise their insecurities behind false pride. They always stand on the other side of the border.

I like Refik, I relate to him. Call me naive, call me dorky, call me cheesy. I'm writing this blog hardly anyone reads. I like mainstream music (if I try to pretend I have a more sophisticated music taste, I'm trying to impress you), I haven't read most of the things I should have, I don't know most of the things I should know. When the weather is nicer, I will walk around with a stupid smile on my face. I'm not cool, I'm not detached. I care about things I can't change and people I can't move. But I'll try.

I will never make fun of people who are in love, who like simple things, I will never belittle their interests and passions. (Well I may not agree with their opinions but that's a matter of debate, not dismissal.) I'm more likely to be envious of them, and I will admit that, and try to work towards bringing some meaning into my life myself. Maybe some of my goals will prove to be unfeasible when I think through them, some of them will require a lot of work, technical and detailed and boring perhaps. In some cases I will find out I'm not hard working or determined or intelligent as it takes. Things, people, emotions will be impure, difficult. It's too easy to be idealistic, after all.

But it is required.

p.s. Even now I'm thinking this entry resembles one of those Chicken Soup stories Hıncal Uluç quotes in his columns! The fear of coming off cheesy fills me. But I already established I am.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


A very cheesy quote from "Before Sunset," which I guess explains how some girls feel. Now I feel like each new person I get to know is like a present, very unique.

"Celine: I mean, I always feel like a freak because I'm never able to move on like...
...this! You know.
People just have an affaire, or even... entire relationships...
They break up and they forget!
They move on like they would have changed a brand of Cereals!
I feel I was never able to forget anyone I've been with.
Because each person have...
you know,
specific qualities.
You can never replace anyone.
What is lost is lost.
Each relationship, when it ends, really damages me.
I haven't fully recovered.
That's why I'm very careful with getting involved, because...
It hurts too much!
Even getting laid!
I actually don't do that...
I will miss of the person the most mundane things.
Like I'm obsessed with little things.
Maybe I'm crazy, but...
When I was a little girl, my mom told me that I was always late to school.
One day she followed me to see why...
I was looking at chestnuts falling from the trees,
rolling on the sidewalk, or...
ants, crossing the road...
the way a leaf casts a shadow on a tree trunk...
Little things.
I think it's the same with people.
I see in them little details, so specific to each other,
that move me, and that I miss, and...
will always miss.
You can never replace anyone,
because everyone is made of such beautiful specific details.
Like I remember the way...
your beard has a little bit of red in it.
And how the sun was making it glow that...
that morning, right before you left.
I remember that, and...
I missed it!"
Paternalism vs. Tolerance

What is the best way to integrate immigrants into European societies?

First of all, the question is whether it is necessary to integrate them in the first place. The trade-off is one between freedom and security. Does the immigrants' choice to segregate themselves threaten the security and well-being of the wider society? Should we tolerate the immigrants' way of living as long as it doesn't hurt us directly, or should we pursue the integration objective for the immigrants' own good? Do we want to dictate what is best to a group of people even if their choices do not have a tangible affect on us (yet)?

Much similar to the question of mutual reflection and transformation I tried to address in "Europe," both sides need to be flexible and adjust themselves. As Milan rightly pointed out, immigrants have the responsibility to show an effort to adapt to the society they are in, but they can only do that if they feel welcome.

Prohibition won't work, precisely because it requires only a one-way adoption of European values by the immigrants. We should ask ourselves how we would feel if we were asked to abandon something dear to us because it is "backward." This adds insult to injury. It is only me who can decide whether it will be better for me to reform my way of living and expressing myself. I don't want to be dictated anything by those who think they are better than me.

Instead, as Anna rightly pointed out, policy-makers should ensure that immigrants mix with the locals from an early age. Immigrant children should go to the same schools as the locals. Immigrants should enjoy equal opportunity in the workplace and public space. This is the only way locals can influence immigrants in a real way. This is the only way they can exercise their "soft power." Well educated immigrants with a good income do not have any difficulty integrating with the society they live in.

The parallels with the headscarf ban in Turkey is clear, I believe. The solution is not paternalism and prejudice. It is tolerance, good will and equal opportunity.
Democracy in the European Union

It is often claimed that European Union is an elitist project that rests on output legitimacy. Democracy was sacrificed for the sake of efficiency. People put up with the democratic deficit just because the results have been acceptable so far.

On the other hand, whenever they perceive an EU policy threatening to their welfare, Europeans have the chance to show their discontent in the national elections. This is the channel through which Europeans can hold their representatives in the Council accountable. This has crippled the political will of European politicians. When unsure, they just throw their hands in the air and try to reassure their constituents with promises of referenda.

The sad thing is that they don't care enough about the outcome of the referenda to explain the issue in question to people. This jeopardized the Constitution Referenda last year, it is likely to repeat itself in the future.

European politicians should be bolder to exercise their political will, and more through in explaining their policies to their constituents.

What comes to mind when one thinks of Europe? Rationalism, secularism, rule of law, professionalism, individual accountability and responsibility, efficiency and progress. These are admirable values, all necessary for development. Turks aspire to them.

The other side of the coin is not as noble: Rationalism and efficiency comes with self-interest. Europeans left a mess whereever they colonized. They attempted to share whatever territory was left of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I. One cannot trust them. Our suspicions are confirmed by their unwillingness to show good faith at the negotiations table.

We would be happy to transform ourselves to become more like Europeans. But then, we are reminded that Europeans are not so nice and benevolent, after all. Who wants to be like them?

But do the Europeans have the responsibility to make the world a better place, anyway? Or is it in their own interest to do whatever they can to make the world a better place?

In Cumberland Lodge, in the middle of vast, beautiful parks owned by the royal family, European Institute students asked themselves whether they should feel guilty of Europe's past. The location was somewhat ironic.

One must feel guilty only if one is directly responsible for a regrettable action. In that sense, today's generation of Europeans are not responsible for what their fathers did. Therefore, they must not feel guilty.

On the other hand, as Willem Buiter and Dillon rightly pointed out, if you have something stolen in your house, and if you are aware that it is stolen, you must return it. With awareness comes responsibility for our future actions. We are not responsible for the past action, but we know, we are aware of what happened in the past and that it was unjust. This knowledge renders us responsible for our future actions, not only to make sure that it doesn't happen again, but also to correct the injustice, especially when we have the means. The truth is, although we are not responsible for our father's actions, we do enjoy the consequences.

(With denial -as in the case of the Armenian Genocide- we try to stay unaware, just so that we are not responsible.)

The connection therefore is not between responsibility and guilt, but it is between awareness and responsibility. Europeans are responsible to try to correct the injustices their fathers committed by whatever means they have (not by trade-distorting preferential treatment, but by direct development aid.)

Simply telling the world that they are the best will not make European values the best. Unsurprisingly, the rest of the world still has suspicions about the motivations of the west. Only concrete, legitimate actions to correct the injustice and bring progress to the rest of the world will convince humanity that Europe is truly a role model. This is the "soft power" Europe must exercise. This is the bigger story that might add more meaning to European lives.