State’s intervention to socio-cultural structure of the Black Sea

Evrim Kepenek

RIZE – Political scientist Emek Yıldırım from Artvin Çoruh University, said, “The typology of ‘White Turks’ that is tried to find in the process of nation-state began during the last period of the Ottoman Empire, has been found in Black Sea. During that process, the socio-cultural and social structure of the Black Sea were subjected to a serious transformation. Today’s structure is a result of that process.”

Almost a lynching campaign was launched in the social media against the people of Eastern Black Sea in after the claims that “Çaykur was sold to Qatar” (Çaykur: tea producer company, a Turkey state’s company). Many people have expressed a hate speech against the peoples of the Eastern Black Sea by saying “they said yes” in the referendum.

Although the highest rates of vote to conservative parties have been voted by Eastern Black Sea people since 2000, it is obvious that the social structure of sociological and political societies of Eastern Black Sea should be researched deeply.

Hate speech towards to the Black Sea

Emek Yıldırım, research assistant at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration of Çoruh University in Artvin, is one of the people observing the political and socio-economic structure of the Eastern Black Sea.
Emek thinks the people outside the Black Sea have prejudices against the Black Sea. Even she thinks there are “these prejudices” in lynching launched on the social media. “There are many stereotypes like men are lazy, women work hard, they are conservative or they are just nationalists,” says Emek and in her opinion, there are ‘conservative’ people in the East of Black Sea like many cities of Turkey.

“Maybe the rate here is a little higher than many other places,” says Emek and she underlines that this fact is directly related to the social structure of the region which has transformed over time. According to Emek, every analysis to be done without understanding the past, political and socio-economic dynamics of the region may be wrong.

State’s ‘White Turk’ prototype

Stating that there is a kind of untold agreement between the Black Sea people and the state, Emek says, “This is a mutual agreement. The state always gives certain promises to the people of the region and practices a positive discrimination in certain areas. For instance, the Eastern Black Sea people match to the ‘Turkish’ typology written in the Sun Language Theory as the blond / brown, white-skinned, colored-eyed, having a European prototype in Anatolia.”

Emek also says, “The typology of ‘White Turks’ that is tried to find in the process of nation-state began during the last period of the Ottoman Empire, has been found in Black Sea. During that process, the socio-cultural and social structure of the Black Sea were subjected to a serious transformation. Today’s structure is a result of that process.”

Recalling that the Balck Sea people have participated in the state’s policies regarding the Kurdish people actively since the Ottoman, Emek says, “The state has positioned the Black Sea people, who have been regarded as acceptable citizens, in the front line regarding the Kurds.”

State’s threat ‘If you break the agreement’

Emek states that the state has practiced the special policies to the Black Sea people and says, “Another reality is the people of the region were Islamized too late. The state says the people, ‘If you break the agreement, I will take all these structures out of you.”

According to Emek, in the non-industrial Black Sea, agriculture is carried out in a very dependent manner with the state. Emek sees one of the reasons why the region is so statist is the “economic dependence established by the state.’’