Israel Seed”, this how they call the slight­ly traf­ficked and patent­ed seeds now sprout­ing in deep­est Anatolia.

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I nev­er tried to find out why the mak­ers of Agent Orange who wreaked hav­oc in Viet­nam — and every­where else since — find them­selves sport­ing pho­ny noses of a vague­ly anti­se­mit­ic design. Espe­cial­ly since Mon­san­to is Bay­er now, isn’t it? The same Bay­er that sup­plied the gas chambers?

In present-day Turkey, there’s no know­ing through which ori­fice such des­ig­na­tions must trav­el. In any event, this is the label under which it is known…but one that does­n’t appear on any of the offi­cial displays.

In the ear­ly years of 2000, once could still cross cer­tain Ana­to­lian plains by bus, and receive the impres­sion that, over hun­dreds of kilo­me­ters, one could see the entire his­to­ry of Turkey’s cere­al grow­ing peas­antry pass­ing by – from the flail to the har­vest­ing machine…The wheat still seemed clean and organ­ic then, through lack of funds with which to pay for mod­ern chemistry.

I recall the EU looked on askance at the thought of Turkey join­ing Europe, part­ly because of those wheat gra­naries cul­ti­vat­ed by dark-skinned peasants.

I reas­sure you, all that has changed. One Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture had even said: “If we don’t take back the fields from the peas­ants, agri­cul­ture will nev­er move forward.”

I still don’t know how or when Israel got mixed into it. In any case, beau­ti­ful Europe got involved back in the days when it was all about sup­port­ing Erdoğan, sud­den­ly turned into a Euro­pean at the open­ing of this cen­tu­ry. Since then, the peas­antry has been some­what reduced and the fields have grown accus­tomed to pes­ti­cides and com­pul­so­ry “patent­ed” seeds… All right, you know all this by heart already, just as you know the results in your own coun­try. I hear you’re even at the point of con­duct­ing sci­en­tif­ic mea­sure­ments of the dis­tances allow­able for the spread­ing of this shit, with­out dis­turb­ing the locals.

But, but, over here, Emine came. The great Emine, the beau­ti­ful Emine… Ehhe Ehe… With her scarf and her great Erdoğan of a husband.

And she became the high priest­ess of “ances­tor seeds”. Yes, yes, “ancient seeds, Ottoman seeds. Dear­est small tur­baned peas­ants who vote AKP in our coun­try­side, show your sol­i­dar­i­ty with Ottoman cut­lure” she cried, “hand over your hid­den seeds, your ances­tral seeds, lift the veil off your gra­naries”… All right, I admit, she did­n’t speak quite in those terms, but the result is the same and the true mean­ing of her words flew right over the heads of the big­ot­ed electorate.

This is how our love­ly Min­istry of Agri­cul­tur­al Prac­tices man­aged to grab hold of these ancient stocks and… patent them. Well hey, might as well have every­body make a prof­it off them, and the ven­dors first!

So, whether from Israel or Ottoman, buy­ing your seeds is com­pul­so­ry now. And the fields are well guarded.

The sale and cul­ti­va­tion of local seeds had already been for­bid­den by the Seed Law pro­mul­gat­ed by the AKP regime. And, of course, this law allowed firms to patent these seeds, and forced the peas­ants to buy them, trans­form­ing them into the flunkeys of the agro-industry.

With a lit­tle extra help sup­plied by Emine’s voice, local seeds were har­vest­ed by the State and, with many an accom­plice par­tic­i­pat­ing in seed-bar­ter­ing fes­ti­vals orga­nized by NGOs and associations…Not only were they then patent­ed, but the “genet­ic resource cen­ters” got hold of these seeds very eas­i­ly. It is an open secret that the big seed monop­o­lies have no trou­ble acquir­ing local seeds through these “pub­lic genet­ic resource cen­ters”, linked to State insti­tu­tions, the only too will­ing col­lab­o­ra­tors of the chem­i­cal agro-indus­try sup­posed to feed the plan­et. The AKP regime allowed this in a per­fect­ly legal way and with­out so much as a sin­gle raised eyebrow.

As a tiny exam­ple, the wheat first cul­ti­vat­ed in Mesopotamia ten thou­sand years ago before spread­ing across the plan­et can no longer be cul­ti­vat­ed by Ana­to­lian populations…if they don’t first pay their due to the agro-business.

Ah Emine, if you did­n’t exist, we would have to invent you!

Of course, as usu­al, all this is a demon­stra­tion of my total bad faith regard­ing the world and how it turns. Bad seed, that’s me!

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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