The variation of experiences and memories about the recent past plays a crucial role in contemporary problems and conflicts between different groups. In Turkey, we have to use different channels to institutionalize democracy. Addressing taboo issues through adapting new perspectives of history is one of these channels. Such a reckoning can pave the way for questioning the relation between personal and collective memories and the creation of a new contract between citizens and the state.
Each action that focuses on young people’s perceptions of the past and the role of narratives to form identities and subjectivities primarily contributes to reconciliation and democratization in Turkey. Based on this assumption, Karakutu aims to connect two fields that occupy a significant place in Turkey’s agenda: youth work and dealing with the past. Discussions on memory and identity have a significant place in the today’s world. Recently, the discussions on the history and national identity have become more popular. We are going through a period of “rediscovery of the past,” in which we are remembering, telling and sharing our stories about our multiple identities and histories.
We think that the discrimination of young people based on age, class and culture is another ongoing issue. As a result of their experiences of conflicts and violence, young people are both subjects and objects of different social problems in Turkey. These experiences also make youth key actor of democratization in Turkey. Nonetheless, young people are not perceived as having important agency.
Life stories and daily practices of ordinary people -such as the way to use and give meaning to cities, streets, affiliations with spaces and narratives, and attitudes to what is told as truth- do not only reproduce official history and myths but also pave the ways for hatred and fear of the other. It is important to understand how the young people perceive the past and experience narratives carried through families, local communities, the education system and the media. Despite silencing attempts and disputes in everyday life, young people’s efforts to uncover the past can contribute to the coming the terms with the past as well as peace and democracy.
Our main target group is young people in Turkey, who cannot voice their opinions due to the oppression of the gerontocratic society and its institutions. However, they comprise the majority of society and have the potential to transform it.
One of the fundamental reasons of motivating young people to confront the past stems from the significance of post-memory, which refers to the information that is obtained from former generations, educational institutions and the media.
In Turkey, while the older generations were silenced about the past, the youth were raised in a world that encourages collective memory and identity politics through new media technologies and social media. In this respect, any attempt to motivate young people to deal with the past has a unique value in Turkey.