Bejan Batur’s Diyarbakır

HER POEMS TRANSLATED INTO 17 LANGUAGES, BEJAN MATUR IS WINNING RECOGNITION AROUND THE WORLD. WE ASKED HER ABOUT HER BELOVED CITY OF DİYARBAKIR UPON THE RELEASE OF HER NEW BOOK, KADER DENİZİ (SEA OF FATE).

You say that Diyarbakır is the culture capital of the Middle East. Why is that?
There are some cities that are like a giant open-air museum. They are thronged with tourists but there is no real life there. Diyarbakır on the other hand, with its output, its commerce and the lives and loves of its people, is a city where life has gone on without interruption for centuries.
Peaceful… The courtyard of the Great Mosque.

Diyarbakır has been called a city of poets. What is it about the city that inspires poets?
Diyarbakır is a city of poetry. You feel that when you look up at the sky. And there is the same poetry in its stones and architecture. The city has a certain inward depth that pervades a person. Sounds seem to permeate the streets like an old melody.

How is Diyarbakır in winter?
The black basalt stone gives the city a natural character, and when it snows it creates a fantastic contrast and poetic texture. Looking at the city walls on snowy nights illuminated by the yellow glow of the street lamps is like looking back into a millennia-old past.

You have likened Diyarbakır to the heart of Anatolia. Where are those heartbeats to be heard?
Some historic buildings seem to come into being through a cosmic fate. It’s as if they point to some truth in the universe of which we are unaware. The caravanserai known as Deliller Han is one such place. There are many venues in Diyarbakır that conjure up such feelings.

Peaceful… The courtyard of the Great Mosque.
A view of Hasanpaşa Han.
The Ten-arched Bridge over the Tigris
The region’s famous liver kebab grilled over hot coals.