Cihad Caner

Copyright 2017

Fictionalized Illusion

The foundation of the Turkish republic in 1923, was accompanied by political, social and religious reforms. In daily life Turkish people were imposed a new lifestyle. This abrupt way of policy-making was accepted by the State and it started to make radical changes. Some radical changes were the alphabet revolution (Latin alphabet was introduced to replace the Arabic alphabet), ‘dress and appearance laws’ and the introduction of the nation state. The aim was to catalyze a more modern and Western way of lifestyle. To be able to realize this fictionalized nation state, the regime did not allow any opposition, not in politics nor in social or religious life. At school children were taught that the neighboring countries of Turkey were enemies. All differences were labeled as bad and were persecuted: no ethnical groups, no religious diversity, no different opinions. In other words: there was no different color, only grey.

These fictionalized policies had several consequences: staged elections and several post-republic military coups. These interventions were to suppress and reset communities with different political or religious views.

According to the French philosopher Bourdieu, it would be an illusion to write a complete, smooth and perfect history. With this project, I have tried to look at and visualize Turkish history through a triangle of memory, representation and identity.

I have used archive photos, which I found in Istanbul, and photos I have made of textures and objects. I have combined these two works by integrating them through collage technique. I have tried to show how the State wanted their citizens to become: all monotypes colored blank. Because the State, in its most extreme character, used the military coup as an instrument, I also have used photos of soldiers. The grey colored portraits symbolize how the State imposed and to some extend succeeded to create a monotypic Turkish citizen.