Iran from a different angle

Cihan Aktaş describes an Iran that has always succeeded in being the center of attraction in the world.

Iran from a different angle
By Aynur Erdoğan / World Bulletin
 
This week our guest is Cihan Aktaş, columnist for the World Bulletin News Portal and the Taraf newspaper. Speaking about her personal experience in Iran’s culture-art world and social life, Cihan Aktaş presents us with a different Iranian panorama than the one reflected in the media channels.
 
 
Iran…  a mysterious realm. A guest of our world of imagination with tales of one thousand and one nights. The Persian civilization is a world influenced by Turkish political structure via the Great Seljuk State experience. Isn’t there even an influence of Persian in our religious terminology - namaz, abdest, oruç… It is very close yet far enough away to have made wars in history against us and to be the “other” today…
 
- You have lived in Iran for a long time. Do you feel like an Iranian or do you feel like you are in a foreign country?
 
 Aynur Hanım, I came to Iran for the second time in 1998 to live here for a long time. I got to know the Iranian society and culture very well over a long period of time. I tried to be nourished by the good and valuable qualities of a society that has made a revolution in the name of reinstating Islamic values. However, I do not feel Iranian. The reason for this is that my personality was already formed when I came to Iran. Even in my parents’ home I was a person who lived in her own world. Regardless of where I live, there is an already formed essence of my being. This essence still defines itself as Turkish, or more accurately, when it begins to think, it is Turkish enough to say that it is Kurdish in one aspect, or in other words from Turkey.
 
- The place where one feels he belongs must be where his “essence” feels “strong.”
 
The answer to the question of belonging becomes apparent at a much earlier age for a person. It can be said that emigration and separation that come in later years deepen the answer to this question. A person can become lost with emigration and separation or he can acquire a stronger perspective regarding where he belongs.
 
Actually I have not totally separated from Turkey in the past years. In Istanbul I have a desk, a library and a house where I work during long trips. In his novel A Caverna Saramago says that a person with two houses has no home. Maybe I chose living like this to adopt a homeland in language, although I do not feel like a foreigner in Iran.
 
- The two peoples have influenced one another greatly throughout history. Especially the influence of Persian culture in Turkey cannot be denied. Isn’t there a familiarity brought by this situation?
 
I think that the first country in the Middle East or perhaps even the world where a person from Turkey would not feel like a foreigner would be Iran. In spite of social constraints, there is a dynamic population that is full of surprises and creative. I have become accustomed to living in this country over time.
 
 cihan-aktas.jpg
The tomb of Mirza Kucek Han in Resd
 
 
But growing accustomed is not a good thing. I had begun to make plans for returning to Turkey for my youngest daughter who wants to continue her university education in Turkey when I received an offer to teach short-story writing and creative writing courses in the Turkish Literature and Language Department at the Tabatabai University. I began to teach at a time when my peers retired. At the end of the semester I read the first exam papers. This development appears to me as a changing of place. I completed my high school education as a boarder in a teachers’ high school. I am pleased to find the teaching profession again after many years. I enjoy being together with young people, passing on my knowledge and experience to them, developing a story or essay with them and learning something from them.
 
-Isn’t it difficult to live there and write about Turkey? Would you mention the difficulties and advantages of this situation?
 
As I said, I do not remain far from Turkey for a long period of time. At most two or three months pass; I come there by one means or another or with an invitation. I tried to develop a positive and constructive perspective on this subject. Later I said my daughters should not have to face the head-cover problem during their university education. I thought that I could work in the area of cinema. I wanted to answer the question of how women lived beyond the photographs of Iranian women in the media. I lived in Baku for a few years and then went to Tehran. Actually this is a lifestyle I had once wished for. I am trying to get to know a part of Islamic geography that I find interesting.
 
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Newroz table spread in the Gülistan  Palace
 
 
-It seems as though while probing Persian culture you have hung on tightly to language.
 
We can say that. I believe in acquiring a homeland through language. Turkish has always been the determining language in my daily life. I don’t like cross-breeding languages. For this reason, I am very careful about Istanbul Turkish being spoken in my home in Istanbul. I taught my two daughters to read and write Turkish before they started elementary school. I made an effort for them to follow Turkish literature.
 
-An atmosphere of seclusion has been created for writing…
 
Yes, that can be said to be the case. I prefer not to get into daily politics anyway in order to work in the area of literature. I cannot say that is easy, for I have always been interested in politics. If I were living in Istanbul now, I guess I would not be able to restrain myself from joining the crowds flowing to the city squares in winter weather.
 
-Do you also write in Persian?
 
My reading and writing in Persian is limited to reading newspapers and magazines. Sometimes I read a book of stories recommended by a friend. I usually don’t even have the time to write what I want to write in Turkish. During the last two years in which I have been writing two articles a week I have not been able to find the time to write stories, whereas, I used to write at least one a month. I am able to put aside time in the afternoon for writing novels at least five days a week. Sometimes I suddenly find myself being dragged after a story that I have imposed upon myself.
 
- Is your work followed in Iran?
 
None of my works have been translated into Persian and published yet. My daughter Meryem translated my book of short stories entitled Because I Resemble My Aunt two or three years ago, but the file has just waited in a drawer. A friend of mine recently took the file to publish it. I know that a few of my stories have been translated by different translators to be published in magazines, but I could not follow up on them. I am not a writer who is interested in these things. I cannot run from publisher to publisher with manuscripts in my hand. Later on a publishing house wanted to publish my novel Someone Listening to You. They asked me to take out some sections because it might be misunderstood in Iran.
 
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Wall painting in Ardebil Sheik Safi Complex
 
 
-Why?
 
They said that the debates revolving around a dervish order meeting in Siirt might be partially misunderstood. I could not accept these changes. We had a similar difficulty in Mustafa Kutlu’s book entitled Secret. We had the book translated a few years ago, but we could not get it published. Kutlu was not open to it being published with censored sentences. I find unacceptable a request to censor some sentences in a literary work. Those sentences have already been censored by the author before they are put down on paper. I believe in personal censorship in the areas of art and literature, but not in state censorship.
 
- How much are you into the Iranian world of art and literature?
 
I am careful to follow important cultural-artistic activities, especially painting exhibitions. I occasionally speak at meetings I am invited to. Sometimes I go to the theater. I follow developments in the cinema. I try and watch films of directors I deem important. There is a book I prepared related to Iranian directors, and I have meetings regarding the book. Formerly I went to the meetings of women’s associations. Now I can’t find time for it. Anyway, at the moment the activities of women’s associations have been suspended. The magazines I followed are no longer being published.
 
- Because of the recent political turmoil?
 
You can say that. Political lines, institutions and structures are searching for regeneration. Difficult days have passed. Both conservatives and reformists –everyone with good intentions- asked “where did we go wrong, couldn’t there have been a more constructive method?”
 
- What is on the agenda of the Iranian intelligentsia? What is being discussed regarding the world, Iran and the Islamic world?
 
I can say that from the time of the June elections until now, the Iranian intelligentsia has been fixated on the matter of how to speak. There are no other issues on the agenda of internal politics except a search for restructuring issues like freedom of speech, legal transparency and expressing themselves. Remember that there is a large population called the opposition and this population has no chance to speak in official speaking channels. For months after the events of June the ideas of the opposition have been reflected on the screens with the language of the state. Although due to high tension in the atmosphere, there were formal debates on state television attended by reformists.
 
CENSORSHIP PUSHES WRITERS TO NEW HORIZONS
 
It is interesting, Aynur Hanım, that production in the culture-art field is continuing in a high-quality way in spite of an environment of censorship. Censorship forces writers to seek new metaphoric explanations and new styles. Of course, there are writers and cinema people whose production has declined due to censorship. It is said that in the last one or two years there has been a 10-12% decline in book publishing. Some directors decide not to make films for a while due to the censorship.
 
Recently a writer friend of mine who writes short stories and novels brought two books that were finally published after waiting for five years. In order to have these books published after all those years, she had to take out ten pages from the novel and remove four stories from the other book.
 
During the reign of reformist governments there was a very important opening in regard to producing ideas. It is not that easy to narrow down the atmosphere created by those rights that were gained then. One interpretation of the continuation of high-quality production, of course, is made for reasons not related to censorship: the world is changing. In spite of censorship, people can possess very different areas of existence and expression due to the rising power of communication. Especially Iranians are very skilled on the subject of using technological developments. In one sense, censorship is being punctured by techniques that surpass its own possibilities and ability of comprehension and that it was not able to take precautions against. State censorship can only be effective to a certain degree before the power and level of production.
 
- If we compare the sensitivities, agendas and reactions of the two countries’ intelligentsia, can we talk about common images?
 
Of course, the most important matter on the agendas of the two countries’ intelligentsia is shaped around the question and problems of the most suitable representative existence of a Muslim society in the modern world. Liberals and Islamists recommend different solutions. Also in both countries there are those “sovereigns” in favor of the continuation of the status quo who attribute every kind of opposition to Western influence, and due to this they are inclined to become introverted and constrain freedoms.
 
The experiments with modernization are similar in the two countries. An effort to shape society with impositions from above… However, the revolution itself puts forth the difference in the reactions of the people.
 
-Is there a parallel between the recent agendas of the Islamists?
 
The periods when common sensitivities and agendas were close to one another were during the early 90’s and after February 28th in Turkey. When Islamists in Turkey began to debate among themselves their views on democracy and the state during the early 90’s, and when radical Islamists who had been influential at the beginning of the revolution in Iran began to turn middle-age, they began to debate such topics as modernism, secularism, pluralism, the state, democracy, sovereignty of the people, women’s issues, “the other,” violence, equality among citizens, minority law and similar issues and to take an account of judgments on these subjects. After February 28th an alliance among intellectuals emerged in Turkey in regard to postmodern military coups. Headings like civil society, pluralism, creating “the other,” freedom of thought, violence, democracy, unresolved assassinations, “deep” government and Jacobin republic began to be intensely discussed. In Iran during the same period with an acceleration of questions regarding unresolved assassinations of intellectuals, reformist intellectuals also began debating similar topics. The period of reformist governments presented a free environment where these debates were made by probing Islamic history. Magazines were published that carried this kind of research and investigation on these subjects. Non-governmental organizations were founded and these organizations tried to keep various issues on the agenda by means of colorful activities.
 
- Well, are there reformist opposition channels now? Were they able to become institutionalized?
 
I always say that the reformists are weak on the subject of institutionalization. Because they are weak on this subject, after Ahmedinejat was elected as president for the first time in 2005, they did not have positions from which to make their voices heard in opposition to a conservative government that won a unifying character with parliament and judicial organs. Just as reformists behaved unenthusiastically in protecting their ties with traditional communication institutions, they were also not successful in developing modern channels for communication with the people. At the beginning of the revolution an important group of these intellectuals directed their energies towards the reform of various institutions or to the war fronts. These intellectuals were the first to show reaction to the atmosphere that emerged from war conditions giving priority to security and the continuation of this in a way as to shape civilian life. Middle-aged Islamist intellectuals like Hamid Rıza Jalayipor, Abbas Abdi, Shamsilvaizin, Hajjaryan, Zahra Rahnaward, Fatma Rakei and Sadık Zibakalem reacted to being subjected to prejudice as us/them or first/second class citizens in magazines and meetings.  
 
 
REFORMISTS ARE NOT SECULARIST, BUT RELIGIOUS PERSONALITIES
 
There was the perception that reformists were opposed to the revolution, like the liberals who wanted more freedom and did not want the constraints brought by the Islamic revolution…
 
Years ago sociologist Hamid Rıza Jalayipor stated that this was a mistaken perspective; he said that reformists are not secularist, but religious. The newspapers and magazines published by reformist religious intellectuals gave space to liberal intellectuals, as well, who could not make their voices heard anyplace else. For that reason, it was seen that conservatives accused reformists of becoming liberal or playing into the hands of the liberals.    
 
- News from Iran coming through a Western filter after the Islamic Revolution has increased the distance between the two countries. For this reason, a kind of Orientalist perspective is dominant in Turkey. How does your circle in Iran see Turkey?
 
As you said, especially after the revolution Iran is a country subject to the “ugly other” image of secular Western circles in Turkey. Giving this much precedence to Iran stems both from the character of the revolution to destroy sociological rules –naturally- in the world and from Iran’s being an important country that is a neighbor to Turkey and whose society is Muslim. Because the two countries are two great representatives in Islamic geography, they are constantly being interfered with.
 
People around me now are applauding Turkey’s struggle to become civilian and democratic. Prime Minister Erdoğan is seen as a hero. The peaceful initiatives made in the field of foreign relations are met with amazement. In the political arena it is like this.
 
- You mentioned the common images of the two countries’  intelligentsia. Is there a vital relationship with Turkey’s art-culture circles?
 
Unfortunately from an intellectual perspective the curiosity of Iranian intellectuals towards Turkey is limited. This is true even for some of the reformist religious intellectuals. In a sense they reach the West by jumping over Turkey. In order for a writer or artist from Turkey to see interest here, they have to have been approved by authorities of Western culture as in the examples of Orhan Pamuk and Elif Şafak. I am giving these two examples because they are the authors most read by students in the class I teach. Due to the activities of the socialist lobby in the past, Nazım Hikmet and Aziz Nesin were among the poets and writers read with interest in Iran. Of course, when I say this, I am not denying the value of the writers and poets whose names I mentioned. I just wanted to point out the motives that determine translation activities for near-by societies from a current cultural perspective.
 
It is disappointing that institutions have not been formed that could make a vital link between the intellectual worlds of the two countries.
 
I need to mention some interest towards writers and poets from Turkey among Iranian intellectuals as a result of the great efforts of Gürcan Türkoğlu, former consulate to Tehran in Turkey’s previous period. For example, poet Sherare Kamrani reached Mustafa Kutlu’s books and translated a few of them. We see that an important Muslim poet and thinker like Sezai Karakoç  has only been translated recently.
 
 
RECENTLY THE MOST POPULAR PERSON IS RECEP TAYYIP ERDOĞAN
 
- What is the level of interest in respect to popular culture? For example, are Turkish TV series followed like they are in the Arab world?
 
The level of those in Iran following Turkey in respect to popular culture is quite high. Both television series and contest programs watched via satellite and stars of Turkish Pop music attract a lot of interest. Regardless of where I go, I encounter questions regarding the “Yaprak Dökümü (Fall of Leaves)” series and its stars. They follow Tarkan, Mustafa Sandal and Ebru Gündeş. A young girl left Tabriz for Istanbul to participate in the marriage program on television. There are some who go to participate in TV contests. It is not surprising to hear a Turkish song when you get into a taxi. People you meet on the streets insist on speaking Turkish. Actually you can travel all over Iran without knowing Persian.
 
- That’s very interesting!
 
Azeri Turks are dispersed throughout the country. Satellite broadcasting mixes Turkish words into people’s daily lives. Formerly I heard questions from shop keepers or taxi drivers mostly about Ibrahim Tatlıses, Tarkan or Ebru Gündeş. Lately the person the people on the street are most curious about and ask the most questions about is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
 
- The Iranian people being Shiite is the point that distinguishes them for the people of Turkey. Did you observe differences in Iran’s social life stemming from Shiism?
 
Indications of the Iranian people’s interest in Shiism are quite obvious in daily life. Expressions referring to the 12 imams are prevalent in the spoken language. The symbols and rituals, elegies and prayers used in funerals and the symbols and rituals original to the ceremonies in the month of Muharram are uniform. Of course, there is also the effect of having experienced a revolution, having passed through an eight-year war and, consequently, having profoundly lived an atmosphere of mourning. During the month of Muharram the ceremonies, shows of condolence, and ceremonial marches performed by groups comprised of neighborhood masjid frequenters that spill onto the boulevards and public squares continue to portray the Karbala calamity. The shows of condolence where all the public are called to the stage looks like a public theater to me. In my book, The East’s Poem, Iranian Cinema, I tried to examine in a separate section the role of the condolence shows in the development of Iranian cinema.
 
There is a culture of visiting in Iran and transportation activity that revolves around this culture. Importance is given to having visited Mashad or Karbala and those who visit these cities are called Mashadi or Karbali. When you pass through Gürbulak by bus, you meet caravans that have set out for Damascus. There are many who prefer names of the imams for newborn babies. Particularly in devout families the names Fatima, Masume, Zainab, Zahra and Khadija are widely used. Hd. Fatima’s birth date is celebrated as World Women’s Day. The anniversaries of the birth and death of all the imams and Hd. Fatima are remembered. On these days mourning or celebration ceremonies are arranged in homes and mosques. Sweets like halva and zarda are cooked and distributed in the neighborhoods. Tradesmen place boxes of dates and trays of halva in front of their shops so that passer-bys will pray for them. It is believed that sweets and food cooked for this kind of good or as a vow give health. For this reason, long lines can form on certain days in front of houses distributing food.
 
- Does this belief have different reflections in the culture’s daily language?
 
Examples that come to mind are these: Before doing something that requires strength, people say, “Ya Ali!” Calling Ali means calling up work and labor. When one says, “Ya Husain!” he calls up plentiful tables and banquets referring to the hunger and thirst suffered by Karbala’s great innocent victim.
 
There is something called spreading a table. The Abulfazl table, the An’am (sura) table, the Hd. Fatima table… A table is spread for a vow and it is open to both invited and uninvited guests. Women come together and read An’am sura and share a plain table. In particular, when Azeris make a vow, they say, “In the name of Abulfazl,” and by repeating the name of Hd. Ali’s son who was martyred in a horrible way at Karbala, they refer to his loyalty. Those whose mother tongue is Persian, referring to a hadith, swear in the name of Ali Aba, that is, Hd. Muhammad, Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain for all of whom there is great respect.
 
However, these things are true for towns and regions where the Shiite population is in the majority. In cities like Sarandej where the Sunni population is intense, the rules of the sect to which a person belongs are valid and this is reflected in daily life with the call-to-prayer and prayer. The Shiites also have a mosque in Sarandej, but Shafii jurisprudence and customs are prominent.
 
- Do you see similarities between the two peoples, for example, in wedding ceremonies, funeral ceremonies and eid celebrations? For example, is there a difference between civil marriage and religious marriage?
 
Their marriage ceremonies are not very similar. Of course, there are different wedding traditions particular to different regions in Turkey and I do not know all of them. Although local customs are increasingly limited in practice in big cities, the Iranians appear to me as sensitive in regard to practicing customs related to wedding ceremonies. For someone like me who does not enjoy ceremonies very much, the wedding rituals are very confusing and sometimes boring. Different customs are added to marriage ceremonies according to the region. I am more familiar with Azeri ceremonies because my husband has Azeri roots. Usually the marriage is made first and there is no difference between a civil and religious ceremony. Witnesses and official documents make the marriage valid. Consequently, either a mullah serving as a marriage official or his assistant come to the house or the couple goes to one of the marriage offices with a limited wedding party, which can frequently be seen on the streets. For the marriage contract the couple has to mutually approve the conditions written in their marriage certificate or if they are going to add or change some conditions, they have to say so.  
 
 
-That seems very practical…
 
Yes, the marriage ceremony is practical. However, the wedding process proceeds with customs, all of which I am not going to mention. The couples usually wait for the wedding celebration before passing to their common home. After the official marriage the bride continues to live in her family home until the wedding celebration takes place. Meanwhile gifts are taken to the bride and mutual gift-giving continues. Regardless of whether the wedding is modern or traditional, held at home or in a wedding hall, a symbolic wedding banquet is held at all weddings. There is a candy-crushing ritual on a white cloth held over the heads of the bride and groom with a silver mirror, candles and the Quran which symbolizes the wish for the marriage to pass sweetly. These rituals go on and on.
 
-I guess mahr is arranged legally.
 
Mahr is socially widely accepted both as a custom and as a law. This acceptance is sometimes questioned and of course aspects open to exploitation are debated. In recent times mahr payments have become an issue in Iran. At the beginning of the revolution young girls would ask for a Quran or a few verses when getting married. Now there are those among young girls who ask for hundreds or even thousands of pieces of gold. I have written about this. In case of divorce some men have been imprisoned if they have not paid the high mahr.
 
It has become a social wound. Here the problems resulting from trying to implement religious rituals in a modern society can be seen.
 
- It is said that religious holidays in the Islamic world are lived with the greatest enthusiasm in Turkey. How are they in Iran?
 
Let’s not go into detail in regard to religious holidays. At the last Festival of Sacrifice I wrote an article entitled, “Eid does not fit into one day in Iran,” for the "dunyabulteni.net" site (Turkish version of World Bulletin). It can be found in the archives. I can say this in short. Religious holidays are not celebrated in Iran with as much enthusiasm as they are in Turkey. Iranians spread out a similar enthusiasm over the whole year with celebrations like the birthdays of Hd. Muhammad (s.a.w.s) and his children. The Nawruz holiday gets its share from this enthusiasm. In general Iranians are predisposed to fully experiencing the holiday as they are to mourning.
 
- How does the distribution of wealth appear, especially in the big cities? For example, can the homeless and beggars be found frequently in the streets?
 
Iran is a rich country in regard to natural resources, particularly in regard to gas and oil. Whether in the reign of the Shah or after the revolution because a large percentage of state spending relies on oil income, business fields are not very developed in this country. For this reason, the distribution of income is not as fair as it should be. However, until this year there was government support in the areas of food and energy. Consequently, it was not possible to talk about life on the level of hunger. Beginning next year government support will be lifted. This may cause great problems. At the same time, although oil prices have greatly risen in recent years, inflation has also doubled. Concrete steps have not been taken on the subject of resolving unemployment. There has been an increase in imports, especially in consumer goods. Goods like Chinese pears, Argentina grapes and Egyptian oranges cover stands in the bazaar.
 
- This must be a manifestation of global economic pressure. In spite of this, can we talk about the social state’s resistance?
 
There are institutions dealing with the health of low income persons. Prices of medicine are usually low. There is an aid organization in the name of Imam Humayni which has about six million people under its protection. Poor people apply to this institution and are able to get a minimum amount of aid needed to get by on. Beggars and homeless are not very visible in the cities and there are none in many towns. A system has been established that gathers begging children and beggars in general (and prostitutes) and takes them to centers where an effort is made to rehabilitate them to society. Drug addicts should be added to these. Of course, there are children that block cars and try to sell tissues and flowers at intersections and ones who run after you in the parks trying to sell Hafiz fortunes.
 
Thank you very much Cihan Hanım.
 
Thank you, too, for this interview.
 
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An inner courtyard  view of an outer door of a house representing traditional Kasan architecture.
 
 
 
Who is Cihan Aktaş?
 
She was born in 1960 at Refahiye-Erzincan/Turkey. She graduated from the Beşikdüzü  Teacher’s High School (1978) and the Istanbul DGSA Architecture Faculty (1982). She worked as an architect, press advisor and newspaper reporter. She was a columnist for the Yeni Devir newspaper. Currently she writes columns for the World Bulletin internet site and the Taraf newspaper. She was awarded the “Story Teller of the Year” award from the TYB (Turkey Writers Union) in 1995 and from the Gençlik magazine in 1997 and the novelist of the year award from the TYB in 2002. Her book of short stories entitled “Faultless Picnic” was seen worthy of the book of short stories of the year award by ESKADER in 2009. She is about to publish a book entitled “The Language of Brotherhood,” comprised of writings on the problems surrounding Gaza, Iran and the Kurdish question. Aktaş is married and the mother of two children.
 
BOOKS:
 
Research: Hz. Fatima ( 1984), Hz. Zeynep (1985), Sömürü Odağında Kadın (Women in the Focal Point of Exploitation) (1985), Veda Hutbesi (Farewell Address) (1985, 1992), Sistem İçinde Kadın (Women in the System) (1988), Tanzimat’tan Günümüze Kılık Kıyafet ve İktidar (Attire and Power From the Period of Reforms to Today) I (1989, 1990, 2006), Tesettür ve Toplum/Başörtülü Öğrencilerin Toplumsal Kökeni (Veiling and Society/the Social Roots of Veiled Students) (1991, 1993, 1995, 1997), Modernizmin Evsizliği ve Ailenin Gerekliliği (Modernism’s Bachelorhood and the Necessity of the Family) (1992), Mahremiyetin Tükenişi (The Exhaustion of Privacy) (1995), Şark’ın Şiiri-İran Sineması (The East’s Poem – Iranian Cinema) (1998, 2005), Bacı’dan Bayan’a/İslamcı Kadınların Kamusal Alan Tecrübesi (From Sister to Lady/Islamist Women’s Public Experience) (2001, 2003, 2005), Dünün Devrimcileri Bugünün Reformistleri- İran’da Siyasal, Sosyal ve Kültürel Değişim (Yesterday’s Revolutionaries Today’s Reformists – Political, Social and Cultural Change in Iran) (2004, 2005),  Türban’ın Yeniden İcadı (The Re-invention of the Turban) (May 2006), Bir Hayat Tarzı Eleştirisi İslamcılık (Islamism:Criticism of a Life Style) (Mart 2007), Yakın Yabancı (Near Stranger) (December 2008)
 
Short Stories: Üç İhtilal Çocuğu (A Child of Three Revolutions) (1991), Son Büyülü Günler (Last Magical Days) (1995), Acı Çekmiş Yüzünde (In a Face that Has Suffered) (1996), Azizenin Son Günü-Azerbaycan hikayeleri (The Last Days of Azize – Azerbaijan Stories) (1997, 2006), Suya Düşen Dantel (Lace Fallen in Water) (1999), Ağzı Var Dili Yok Şehrazat (Shehrazat Who Has a Mouth but Does Not Speak) (2001, 2005.), Halama Benzediğim İçin (Because I Resemble My Aunt) (2003), Duvarsız Odalar (Rooms without Walls) (2005), Kusursuz Piknik (Faultless Picnic) (2009).
 
Novels: Bana Uzun Mektuplar Yaz (Write Me Long Letters) (2002, 2003, 2005), Seni Dinleyen Biri (Someone Listening to You) (2007)
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