A City Ghost

“Loving, everything starts with loving somebody. Everything ends with loving somebody here,” Sait Faik says. As he says “here”, he means Istanbul...

  • 08.12.2016
  • Işıl Kurnaz

Sait Faik, Özdemir Asaf, Sabahattin Eyüboğlu

People should compromise with cities all in all. What is called as city is only a place neither where you can deplete by living nor you are buried when you are dead. Cities are some kind of places where the life has gone on; the world has opened and closed and other worlds have been reestablished in another places; people have infused into but kept out during those times between life and death. Because life is not something that always goes on. Life is something that stops and can be stopped if necessary. However, it can be possible to maintain your life when your fight with that city does not set up a senseless fight with your enemy but a refreshing fight with your lover when you make peace with your city. Sait Faik looks Istanbul as if she was his lover. A city does not hide its face only when she is looked at that way. However, cities offer their stories to whom they trust just like people. The soul between streets runs into those who have the ability to dance with that city. Sait Faik knows Istanbul from her spirit which many people do not know very well.

Sait Faik understands and tells Istanbul with the grace and courage of those who can see her closely but not with the touristic folk lyrics in praise of Istanbul of those looking her from a distance. He creates miracles from a rambling city.

He is watching Sarıyer, Burgazada and Rumelihisarı with a curious passion but not a blind love. Sait Faik does not deduct a romantic literature from a city just like a tourist guide, but he works through each stone of Istanbul with the eloborare of a great craftsman. He establishes the Sublime Porte (Babıâli) as the cruelest of the slopes. He is going out for a disappearing and long-running walk in Golden Horn (Haliç), Kumbaracıbaşı and Dolapdere just as he reminds of our dear Sevgi Soysal who believes that a city can be recognized only by walking around it. He handles men with beard, women in the hairdresser, coffee houses in the neighborhood. Sait Faik does not externalize his city as an ordinary place, any city; he deducts his literature from Istanbul. Istanbul becomes such a leading and passionate city together with him. The city gives permission to life if you know how to speak with her. Sait Faik holds the city from her one side, İstanbul shows her other side to him. Sait Faik does not create a literature in Istanbul; he blows life to the literature from İstanbul. The rest of people who are stuck between stone rain and plunder of the city, we, ask where do we need to open our hearts and eyes to in order to see a city as like Sait Faik sees it? How can the city and literature become such a good excuse to continue to live?

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