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Baking Books

Baked bread, ceramic moulds, leaflet

On September 12, 1980, the Turkish Armed Forces carried out the third successful military coup in the history of the
Republic of Turkey. The Parliament and the Government were dissolved. The immunities of the members of the
parliament were revoked. Political party activities were banned. Party and union buildings and facilities were
confiscated by the martial law and garrison commandership. Immediately after the Coup d’État, thousands of people
were abruptly taken into custody from their homes and brought to police stations, public buildings, private estates
and facilities that would from then on be used as places of torture.

Following the 1980 Coup d’État, grave violations of human rights continued in a widespread and systematic manner
in Turkey. Tortures, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial/arbitrary executions, sexual violence, and death
sentences that became the practices of the period were committed.

As a high school student in Istanbul, my father was a member of a leftist youth organization. The military police
imprisoned and tortured him because of his involvement in political actions. When my grandfather heard about his
son’s incarceration, he travelled from a village near Kars, a city in the Kurdish region, to Istanbul to bring his son
home. My father took with him his library of forbidden Marxist-Leninist books. These were unknown to my
grandfather. He was illiterate and saw no harm in taking the books with them, which he thought were school books.
On their arrival someone from the village warned my grandfather about the books: They were prohibited literature and
if found, everyone in the house would get arrested!

To solve the situation, my grandparents decided to burn them in their fireplace. But the quantity of the books was so
large that the constant fire made some people in the village suspect that something unusual was going on. To obscure
their actions my grandmother started to bake bread continuously for a week and gave it out for free to the
whole village.

I baked bread in the form of Lenin, Marx and Rosa Luxemburg in memory of my father’s burned books. The bread shared
among the visitors in the exhibition space.