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In Turkey, every day brings a new sizzling-hot topic. Today, it’s the debate around… Cacabey.

I know, in English you are going to interpret this and think lord-knows what. But it has nothing to do with what you’re thinking…

Cavaoğlu Nureddin Cebrail, son of Emir Bahaddin Caca, was born in Kırşehir in 1240. A historical figure, he rendered great services to Kırşehir, a town in central Anatolia. As a statesman he was known under the name of “Cacabey”. He ordered the building of several charity institutions in Anatolia, a mosque in Eskisehir and repairs on several others. He also created the Caca Bey Madrasa, an architectural monument in Kırşehir. Astronomy was among other topics taught in this school.

So much for the history and the name of the Bey. And moving from astronomy to the stars, the moon and Erdogan’s latest speech takes no more than one level of a space rocket. Because, yes, Erdogan took us on a tour of the Milky Way, no later than yesterday. And he concluded his intervention with an appeal to find a Turkish equivalent for the name of “cosmonaut” or “astronaut”.

I bet you’ll never guess who was the first to answer this enigma – none other than our Devlet Bahçeli.

The USSR had sent a dog into space, our ultra nationalist made a grey wolf type of proposal. He was thus the one who first brought Cacabey.

This somewhat annoyed Dame Meral Akşener of the Good Party (IYI). She had a name on the tip of her tongue, but the one who is even more nationalistic than she beat her to the punch. She satified herself with commenting Erdoğan’s space flights, more or less by saying: “even if it’s always the same thing, every time there is talk of major works, what is interesting it that it is always interesting.” Interesting, no?

One sees here that our politicans need to be seen and do so with subtleties it will be the Turkish man on the street’s duty to decipher.

Why the hell all these stories concerning a Turkish space program? Is Erdoğan on his way out?

Of course not, the rocket is not ready yet. But I’m not lying to you, space is the news of the day in Turkey, the one that erased yesterday’s news and that will be replaced by tomorrow’s.

I would also have a name to suggest to the Reis: Boğaziçi. But that’s too recent, yes?

Before talking about space, Erdoğan served up a speech from the other side of the moon these past few days to the regional congresses of his AKP Party, waxing lyrical about Turkey greatness, issuing dire warnings against its domestic and external enemies who wish to harm it, as usual, and explaining how he will raise Turkey to the “Top 10 of Nations”.

He also shared a few concerns, in passing, over what he called “internal harassments” requiring the need to obtain the support of more than half of the Turkish population in order to consolidate the presidency and the institutions, along with the agreements required to obtain this result. Around him, of course. The battle is far from won.

In conclusion, he invited everyone to look up at the moon. Of course, everyone saw the finger.


This is why Erdoğan transformed Hagia Sophia:

Headline illustration: “National Space Program”

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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