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  • Writer's pictureMetin Tiryaki

Unutkan Ayna – Gürsel Korat

A shadowy time between remembering and forgetting stands in dusty calm. The memory of time is imperfect. It is not known whether the name of the compensation for this defect is life or whether the wall hung by a photograph is human, but just as Proust said: "One can only stay true to what one remembers, and remembers only what one knows.


This is the first book by Gürsel Korat that I have read. As it is narrated by Armenians, one inevitably wonders if there is a connection, whereas Korat is a Muslim Turk from a nationalist and conservative family, as he himself stated. The book tells the stories of people through the famous "Deportation" and the change in the perspective of Armenians, who had been friends and neighbors until then, in a few days in June of 1915. The essence of the matter is that Miralay Ziya Bey, who came to Nevşehir with the soldiers, is also after a secret, and the only hope of the Armenian families trying to get rid of the Deportation is to take shelter in a secret cave. Every ten days between 12-22 June, we witness events that will never be erased from the hearts and minds of the city and people, and what people do for their lives and their families. Gürsel Korat's "Unutkan Ayna" takes place in a period of ten days. These ten days are described almost hourly; every hour, every minute contains slices of life. Men are circumcised by being told that those who become Muslims will stay first, and those who cannot be proud of themselves commit suicide. Then what was thought to be impossible until that day happens, “Deportation” begins. Muslims who try to help are beaten, punished, and property is plundered. Armenian men are killed, children are forced to be devshirme, and women are forced to become concubines. The memories of a "Unutkan Ayna" from Nevşehir's Armenians remain…


(Note: In my personal opinion, it is obvious that there are such things by researching a little, reading history and looking at different sources. At that time, especially in the Balkans, Russian lands and the Arabian Peninsula, what happened after the persecution and deportation of Turks and Muslims, the situation of the Ottoman Empire, revenge and folk psychology may have led to such events, but I do not believe that there was a systematic massacre and massacre as the Armenians claim.)


Gürsel Korat has written a truly masterful novel. The secret and surprise ending at the end of the book is also impressive…

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