When I first found out that I would be coming to Ankara this year, I started wondering: what’s the origin of the word Ankara?
Long story short, Ankara comes from Angora, the city’s historic name. Angora wool comes from the area’s prized Ankara keçileri (Angora goats).
But before I found this out, I decided to pick apart the parts of the name. I recognized two Turkish words: “an,” which has many meanings, but primarily means “moment”; and “kara,” which can mean “black” or “dark.”
Ankara. An kara. Kara an. Dark moment.
At the time, I viewed this “meaning” (which is not real — as we have established, Ankara comes from Angora) in the context of the fact that I would be going to Ankara instead of Istanbul. And while I’m growing to love Ankara, at the time, it did seem like a much less interesting city. Istanbul was the land of the Bosphorus, with the sun and the sea. Ankara drummed up visions of a harsh winter and ash falling over the city from the heavy use of coal (which is no longer as heavy as it once was, so I’ve heard).
At the time, “kara an” seemed wryly appropriate. But I’m very sorry to say that unfortunately, Ankara — and the whole of Turkey — is now experiencing a dark moment in its history.
A day after yesterday’s attacks, the official death toll stands at 95. Unofficial numbers have gone as high as 128 (cited by the HDP).
Either way, yesterday’s attack was the deadliest in Turkey’s history. As I’m writing this, a storm is rolling in. Thunder and lightning have fallen in with the evening as across Turkey too many families, friends, colleagues, and compatriots say goodbye to their loved and respected ones during too many funerals.
As Turkey faces this dark moment head on, I wanted to take a different moment to honor those who were killed yesterday. I’m trying to find comprehensive lists of the victims. I feel that this will be a difficult endeavor, but hopefully the following resources can help illuminate the human scale of this tragedy. Each victim had a story, a family, a hoped for future. I cannot stress enough that in the middle of the political storms that are already raging around this event, it is most important to take a moment — dark or not — to step back and remember the bright souls that Turkey lost yesterday, and the souls that have gone on before them in this new and unfortunately sustained cycle of violence.
Without further ado:
- “#AnkaraKatliamı ve yitip gidenler” — a Facebook album of many of the victims, their names, and (for some) their affiliations (in Turkish)
- “Ankara’da hayatını kaybedenler defnedilmeye başlandı; işte il il cenaze programları…” — an article from T24 with details of some of the victims and their funeral details (in Turkish)
- “Grief as more victims of the Ankara attack identified” — pictures and brief stories of some of the victims (Today’s Zaman)
- “Bombs shatter lives, hopes across country” — many of the same stories as included in the links above (Hurriyet Daily News)
These are not comprehensive lists. I will try to update when more information becomes available.
UPDATE: More than a week after the attacks, the official death toll stands at 102.