We have left 2020 in the rear-view mirror. Covid-19 was ruthless as it forced us all to take shelters in our homes since March, yet it is also possibly a year that is chock-full of lessons for those who are capable of grasping the magnanimity of what has taken place. For example, the fact that a teeny tiny virus has turned our big world upside down.
Our globalized world, with its extreme speed, efficiency, rationality, and a lifestyle that does not compromise on capitalist production and consumption, suddenly ground to a halt and showed the whole world the other face of globalization. The terror that resulted from an invisible virus was enough to stop the world dead in its tracks.
This threat was no joke. Although there were people who peddled various conspiracy theories during the early days of the pandemic, the virus gradually tightened its noose around everyone. It came close, crept on them, even those who took it lightly. Over time, it had gained a foothold everywhere and not one was left untouched by the disease among their circles of family and acquaintances. The seriousness of the disease was felt even more intensely when almost everyone had lost one or more of their loved ones to this virus.
And how many were the deaths we have experienced in the interim. In a small city, funeral prayers that start early in the morning continue uninterrupted until nightfall. Certainly more often than ever before. All these funeral prayers we hear prompt us to ask each time, "Whoever did it now take from among us?" Reminding us of the Rumelian folk song "oh, death, cruel death, take a break for three days."
What is even more interesting and painful is that our ears, which had initially pricked-up each time, started to develop an insensitivity to these funeral prayers after a while. It is so easy to get used to death and the passing of our relatives. Isn't that the nature of human beings? Human, that is, the being that creates consonance, keeps pace, gets used to things and adapts. Part of this consonance is of course its strength that makes one endure even the most difficult of circumstances. But in part, it is also this side that demonstrates and further develops humans’ heedlessness against ongoing evils.
This situation shows us that it does not take very long for us to forget even this incident which has affected all our lives in so deep a way. It also allows us to give up even our most indispensable habits, and gives us so many new ones. Well, we even think we will never forget such an event which we have all experienced at this intensity.
Before the dust settles on this event, we think that "nothing will continue as before" from now on. But we do not even ask ourselves what we remember of the multidude of events that have made us say this up until this present moment.
Even when we were in the thick of this pandemic catastrophe, our old habits and routines, that we immediately resume afterwards, will sufficiently demonstrate to us what will remain in our lives after this significant event.
Human memory is doomed to forgetfulness. It is not so easy for humans to keep alive the lessons they learn from a history which they did not themselves live through.
What we remember today from 2020 as it is still fresh in our memory is of course the aftermath of this pandemic. This will certainly be forgotten. I hope it will be so. Throughout history, pandemics have killed far more people than wars, however, they were not remembered as vividly as wars.
Detrimental enough to lead to the decision that would end World War I, the Spanish Flu killed far more people than the war, but is not even as remotely present in our minds as a fraction of the war which it helped end.
What will stay in our minds from 2020 will actually be the things that have been memorized and done properly this year. Initially, the intervention that saw Turkey entering the field in Libya, which has altered the entire balance in the eastern Mediterranean and has led to major gains for both the people of Libya and Turkey. This is an event that will stay with us from 2020 and well into the future.
And if nothing else, reopening the Hagia Sophia mosque for worship was an event that has doubtless crowned 2020. As It wasn’t Hagia Sophia that destroyed its chains in 2020 but the nation as a whole. As some will choose to remember 2020 as a nightmarish year, this event was without a shadow of a doubt the most benevolent and bountiful event of the year.
Another event that marked 2020 was of course liberating Nagorno-Karabakh with Turkey’s support after 30 years of occupation. After 30 years, both the Azerbaijani and Turkish people witnessed the healing of a deep wound in both their consciousness and hearts during this time of pandemic through this political success that is full of wisdom.
As 2020 shook the entire world with the catastrophe that is the pandemic, this turned into a means for Turkey to recognize its own power and strength to lead. Delivering medical aid to 125 countries across the globe, Turkey seized even more opportunities to probe the depths of its own wealth of know-how and technology and develop its capacities further during this crisis.
May our new year be better than the one we left behind.