16 Şubat 2011 Çarşamba

EROSPOLIS by Nazlan Ertan & Oi Arte


Saturday, July 18, 2009

“Oh, Eris, where have you been?” I asked eagerly when I met Eris, the Goddess of Strife and Discord, at Ankara’s Tunali Hilmi, getting a pair of silver-strapped sandals at Oi Arte at Karum Shopping Mall.

“Ah, you know, I tend to take things a bit easier,” she said. “I am no longer as young and energetic as I had been. Throwing a golden apple inscribed “Kallisti” or "For the most beautiful one" and starting the Trojan War as a consequence; or whispering to George W that he has to revenge his father in Iraq; or increasing the number of seats in the Security Council to get countries to play musical chairs; well, all this really drains your energy.”
“Exactly,” I said. “So you do not travel much anymore?”
“Only to the easy places,” she said. “In most cases outside Europe, people do not need a lot of help from me anyway. History had already determined their disagreements and it explores at regular intervals. I only like to do the small, fun things nowadays. You know, get Paris Match to do a lay-out on Rachida as the chicest women in Paris; First Lady Carla gets angry, Rachida is sent out, of all boring places, to Brussels. A small repetition of what I have done with goddesses, really.”
“What are you doing in Ankara?” I inquired with some curiosity. “Gül versus Erdoğan? Baykal versus Tanık? Deniz Feneri versus Ergenekon?”
“Oh, no,” she said. “Just wanted to see whether I could create some minor discord at my old hangout, but I am afraid nothing came of it.”
I tried to guess: “Your old hangout? You mean the
Constitutional Court
or the Presidential Palace?”
“Neither,” she replied. “The Foreign Minister’s Residence.”
How stupid could one get? Of course, the small(er) kiosk on Ankara’s Gaziosmanpaşa, this residence has always been an “issue” since its opening.
Its garden had been enjoyed by the then-young son of Hikmet Çetin and its rooms opened to charity luncheons under Çetin’s very social wife, İnci.
It had enjoyed a brief moment of almost “Old World Glamour” during Mümtaz Soysal, whose multilingual, aristocratic wife Sevinç put in a piano and brought back the sound of music with her recitals. Your columnist’s most vivid, not to mention coldest memory as a diplomatic correspondent, is waiting in front of that residence under falling snow, as part of an army of journalists who waited for Soysal to announce his resignation from the Çiller-Karayalçın coalition.
Then, the residence sowed the seeds of enmity between Tansu Çiller and her foreign minister Emre Gönensay. In late 1990s, Mrs. Çiller had left the post of Foreign Minister to claim the Prime Ministry, but failed to hand out the Foreign Ministry Residence. Although deeply offended, Gönensay was not able to make Mrs. Çiller leave, who, allegedly, wanted to stay there because there was a pool. To add an insult to injury, he had to defend her before Parliament due to a question motion. “It is me, not Mrs. Çiller, who lives in the Foreign Minister’s residence” he told a group of deputies who knew better and were acutely aware of his rage.
Mrs. Çiller’s “coup de foudre” over the Foreign Ministry residence was to be repeated by Hayrünnisa Gül, who, despite her extra-care in not creating controversy, managed to offend as soon as she set foot in the house.
Mrs. Gül complained that the residence was run down and the only food the cook knew how to make was “imambayıldı,” a delicious eggplant dish whose overuse can really make you feel faint, as the name indicates.
The reply came from the last lady-in-residence, Zeliha Gürel, wife of former Foreign Minister, sharp-witted and outspoken. “These claims are ridiculous” she said. “Nor are they in line with state tradition.”
Yet, Mrs. Gül grew to like the place and when the Gül couple moved to the Presidential Palace, she compared the old and unkempt Palace with the Foreign Ministry’s residence. “Go see what I have done there,” she said, as she energetically asked for the renovation of the Presidential Palace and moved back to the Foreign Minister’s residence.
Foreign Minister Davutoğlu, his place under presidential “occupation,” has chosen to rent a villa in Gaziosmanpaşa, not too far from the Danish and American Ambassador’s residences. The Foreign Ministry will foot the bill.
He has the advantage of being very close to the lively part of Ankara, the Filistin Caddesi, now home to all the cafes and bars for the golden youth. Perhaps the formal dinners at “chez Davutoğlu” will now end with coffee at the House Cafe!

Sevgili Nazlan Ertan'a yazısında Oi Arte'ye yer verdiği için özel olarak teşekkür ediyoruz.  Ankuva'da doğan ve Karum AVM'de gelişen, şu an ise Panora-Kentpark ve A City AVM'lere uzanan yolculuğumuzun en yakın tanıklarından olan Nazlan Ertan'ın bu yazısının arşivlerimizde kalması ve hayatlarımızın sıcacık bir dönemini anabilmek için yayınlıyoruz.

We specially thank to Dear Nazlan Ertan for giving a space to Oi Arte in her article. She is one of the closest witnesses of our journey, born in Ankuva and flourished in Karum, extending to Panora-Kentpark and A City Shopping Malls in time being. We are publishing Nazlan Ertan's article to remain in our archives and commemorate a very warm part of our lives.