Melentie Pandilovski on Wed, 08 Sep 1999 15:54:07 +0200

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Syndicate: turkey

Dear friends,

I think that I have already forwarded this message by Vasif kortun to
you but I am not sure if you have recieved it as we had a problem with
the internet connections during the last week of August.


---------------- Original message follows ----------------
 From: "Vasif Kortun" <>
 Date: Mon, 23 Aug 1999 16:54:51 +0300
 Subject: <no subject>

Friends, I am sure you all know about the earthquake that devastated 
Northwestern Turkey last week. We are expecting something like 40,000+
people dead, and many left behind who have lost mothers, fathers, children,
relatives and friends. The international community, including the so-called
"arch enemies" of Turkey, was extremely generous, kind and ready to help,
and I thank you all for many kind messages I have received last week. The
Turkish state, was as usual, slow to organize, and coordinate the relief
effort. The earthquake was not a natural disaster. The havoc was
caused by poor quality construction, and building on faulty sites. I leave
you to guess how building  permits were given out and what they have to do
with the political system in Turkey.

Some artists have worked for the rescue teams, others helped with the
organization of the relief assistance, and this seems to be the most one can
do these days, but I am looking forward to your suggestions as to what we
can do professionally. What are the possible roles that contemporary visual
culture play in a time like this? One thing to keep in mind that there are
several constituencies: the people who have been directly effected, some
200,000 people left homeless; people related to people who have been
directly effected; and those who have followed it in the media.

This is a critical time in Turkey's history when it suddenly dawned on to a
lot of people that civilian action is more kind, quick, and not-so-loud;
that neighboring countries, peoples, and even "Europeans" are just as human,
loving and compassionate. The whole propagandist structure, the nationalist
paranoia, and the isolationism collapsed in a week. Everything that used to
be so cherished became meaningless, and blank. A correction was inevitable,
and I am so saddened that it had to happen this way.

If you have tents you can send, please let me know. But at least, as
important, I look forward to your ideas about healing in whichever form it
may come.

Vasif Kortun
Istanbul Contemporary Art Project
MBE 230, Tarlabasi Bulvari No: 60
Taksim 80080 Istanbul, TURKEY
tel/fax +

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