Karin Karakaşlı

Karin Karakaşlı (1972) is geboren in Istanbul. Ze studeerde Translation and Interpreting Studies. Van 1996 tot 2006 werkte ze als redacteur (voor zowel de Turkse als de Armeense editie) bij de Turks-Armeense krant Agos. Ze behaalde een M.A. in Comparative Literature, is als vertaalster verbonden aan universiteiten en doceert Armeense taal en Literatuur.  Momenteel is ze columnist bij de kranten Agos en Radikal en schrijft ze fictie en poëzie.

Ze schreef onder andere het kinderboek Ay Denizle Buluşunca (When the Moon Meets the Sea), korte verhalenbundels Başka Dillerin Şarkısı (Song of Other Languages) en Can Kırıkları (Splinters of the Heart) en poëzie Her Kimsen SANA (Whoever you are this is FOR YOU). Haar meest recente roman is Müsait Bir Yerde İnebilir Miyim? (Can I Get Out Somewhere You Don’t Mind?).

Karakaşlı is daarnaast co-auteur van Türkiye’de Ermeniler: Cemaat, Birey, Yurttaş (Armenians in Turkey: Community, Individual, Citizen).


“Everything started with an uneven and lumpy ‘A’ letter written on the wall. My first declaration to the world that I want to leave a trace as a child. Inside the house my grandmother would show me other signs of A and B’s. “What’s this grandma?” “It’s Armenian.”

There I was left totally confused and fascinated with two labyrinths of alphabets and two languages, both rivaling with each other for being my mother tongue; one for home and one for the street. Sometimes I would confuse them and create my unique language in a single question: “Bu inch e?” Meaning “What is this?”; ‘bu’ in Turkish, ‘inch e’ in Armenian.

Completely deprived of any talent for mathematics, I was more and more oriented to the world of languages. There came new foreign ones to be learned and I experienced them like putting on new clothes. Writing was at that time only present in form of letters, journal and day-dreaming, useful to create imaginary friends. However, towards the end of the university term, I began to form short-stories. There I guess, writing turned to literature because this time there was the urge and the will to say my word and to reach other people with it. So I needed the mathematics of fiction and the music of the language which required a lot of hard work beside pure inspiration and sensitivity.

Literature both records the officially denied truth and also imagines other possibilities of life. It is a poetic political language making it possible to underline the autonomy and individuality of every living, dead or inanimate creature. You can exceed time and space, question stereotypes, prejudice, gender and propaganda.

I learned how difficult yet inevitable it was to be one and the same with your words. This gave them their special power. Otherwise they would be utterances only, easy to tell and easier to forget.”

I remained loyal to my childhood uniqueness of ‘Bu inch e’. Not to be forgotten but to remember myself.”


Lees hier enkele naar het Engels vertaalde gedichten.

photo: Berge Arabian