“I spent my childhood in Kilis, right on the border with Syria. It’s been impossible to remain indifferent as devastating things have happened right next to where I grew up. Reality doesn’t change if we ignore it, and life teaches us to adapt. What’s important now is to create spaces for interaction. Maybe we need to talk to each other about our wounds, because this is where understanding and empathy begin.”

Mehmet Nuri Gültekin, Department of Sociology, Gaziantep University

“I used to think that a better Gaziantep was an impossible dream, but I don’t any longer. Because now I realise I’m not the only one with this dream. I agree with Professor Mehmet that empathy is the starting point. Empathy grows when there is interaction, and sharing. We need to listen to people’s stories and, yes, to hear about their wounds. I often think about what Warsan Shire wrote in her poem ‘Home’:

no one burns their palms

under trains

beneath carriages

no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck

feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled

means something more than journey.

Cansu Altıngöz, NGO Worker