Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dear Mr. President

I know you're really busy, but I'm writing to let you know that after such a short time in office you've managed to piss off the Turks. Yes, yes, I know. Last week it was all sweetness and sunshine and hearts brimming with adoration, but no more. See, the thing is, you went and talked about that Thing That Never Happened. There's always a lot of talk here about that Thing That Never Happened. For something that Never Happened, it's a very popular topic.

But they don't like it when other people talk about the Thing. Other people have no business. When other people start sticking their nose into the Thing, it implies judgment and incidental hatred of Turks and Muslims coupled with a worldwide conspiracy to denigrate both. The argument goes like this. "America has no business talking about the Thing That Never Happened because America has also committed atrocities. Wait, no, not atrocities because the Thing That Never Happened was never an atrocity. It was a tragedy. A mere incident. It hardly happened at all. And anyway, lots of Turks got killed too, why isn't anyone talking about that? Because that's what the Thing That Never Happened is really all about."

So there's really nothing you can say about the Thing That Never Happened that won't make Turks mad. Your predecessor, may he grow like an onion with his head in the ground and his feet in the air, always referred to the Thing as a "tragedy." At the time, the Turks got mad at him too, but now they're thinking "tragedy" sounded pretty good. See, the thing is, although you didn't use what is being referred to in the Turkish-translated-to-English press as the "g-word," you did say "atrocity."

(Every time I see "the g-word" in a newspaper story here, I think "What? Do they mean girl? Gay? G-spot?")

"Atrocity" got translated in Turkish to "felaket," which I've always taken to mean disaster. I have heard felaket refer to everything from earthquakes to the time my mother-in-law went to Germany with the kids and they didn't bring warm enough jackets. So it's probably better they're all thinking you just said disaster, which is way less bad than atrocity.

In any case, it's obvious from your speechthat you're clearly some kind of unreasonable madman. I thought you should know some stuff they're saying about you here.

This writer is mad as hell, as you can see, and clearly in need of a native speaker editor. So is Erdoğan, for that matter. That "one minute" thing will haunt him to the grave.

I'm sure they'll come around once this blows over and they start thinking about your middle name again. But as an American I feel it is my duty to inform you that there's a chink in your gleaming armor now. I didn't think it was possible but that might be because I temporarily forgot this is Turkey.

Please give my warmest regards to your family. And also can you fix healthcare so I can afford to come home?

Sincerely,

Istanbul's Stranger

2 comments:

Jen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jen said...

Really enjoyed this post, and the one previous... Hope the honeymoon love comes back soon, I loved having cab drivers say "Obama! Aren't you so happy?" as soon as I told them I was an American. And then conspiratorially telling me, "You know, his father was a Muslim." Maşallah.