ANKARA – Fırat Önder, a left-wing academic recently fired unceremoniously from his position at Ankara University for his opposition to the Turkish state’s war on the Kurdish people, has been without any faint hope of another job since his passport was cancelled by AKP edict. However, he has not wanted for friends in these trying times.
This morning, TÖPG cadres reportedly showed up at the former History professor’s apartment door with a bouquet of flowers to ask him if he wanted to consider going out for a date sometime: “Any day you’re free, we can go to the park and distribute propaganda, or we can talk about dialectics. Whatever you want, abi,” said the young man clutching the yellow roses close to his equally yellow TÖPG vest.
Önder’s newfound popularity is not limited to TÖPG, the only element of the Turkish left whose cadre read as much Hegel as the Germans. Nearly every HDK party or group has come to him, hoping to win him over to their line. We sat down with Önder in his apartment in Çankaya to discuss his situation.
“It started with the letters of support from my students,” explained Önder to our correspondent over tea in his apartment, as SYKP cadre outside his window knocked on it, waving around pamphlets. “A Kurdish student who lost her little brother in the attack on Sûr told me that I was in her prayers. It breaks my heart to think about that.”
“I guess my students really liked me, because before long, they started getting involved in the campaigns for academics who have been fired. One of them joined Partizan and kept ‘bumping into me’ in the street. Now it’s like I’m in some Turkish film from the ’70s, where instead of being courted by men representing different social classes, I’m being courted by a bunch of 20-year-old revolutionaries who started reading Marx because of me.”
Attempts at courtship have varied in their scrupulousness: “Halkevleri approached me the other night at a bar. It was a man about my age and three much younger women whom he seemed to be offering as some sort of socialist concubines. I told them to fuck off, and they asked me, ‘what are you gay or something?’.
“Then there was DSİP. They said they would ring Callinicos for money for myself and other fired academics if I would help them attack EMEP and ESP.”
When asked if he thought he was going to get organised in the end, Önder nodded eagerly and said “Actually, I’m pretty sure I’m going to start working with Devrimci Parti, but they need to get me a few pairs of their trainers to sweeten the deal. I’m not going to give myself away so quickly and look cheap.”