Rasim Özdenören’s Kahramanmaraş

We talked with writer Rasim Özdenören about Kahramanmaraş, where he spent his chidhood.

To what extent has Kahramanmaraş been an inspiration for your stories?
I spent my childhood there until the age of nine. After living in different places, we returned to the city again when I was 15. I have internalized the soul of Maraş and it is my part of my own. But I’m not saying that I regard Maraş as material for my stories. God forbid…

How do you explain the fact that Kahramanmaraş has made such an important contribution to Turkish literature?
Since Maraş is isolated from its surroundings geographically, it has had to be self-sufficient in every respect. This has also been reflected in its literature and literary figures. In its isolated aspect Maraş is like a frying pan. The grains of corn pop one after the other in rapid succession, turning the entire contents of the pan into a field of white daisies.

What would you recommend that people going to Kahramanmaraş see?
I would recommend that everyone pay a visit to ‘my Maraş’. My Maraş is the small area between Pınarbaşı in the east, Batı Park in the west, the foothills of Arkbaşı in the north and Çeltik Palas in the south.  The Maraş of the first covered market, the mosques, the tombs, the graveyard, the narrow roads, the liver kebab, the tarhana (sundried yoghurt soup powder) and the roasted sheep’s heads and trotters all lies within that area.