Every word becomes a heavy burden, forced labor. Statements like, "He was a good man," become futile talk. Every good thing you say after he is gone is not aimed at him, but rather they become aimed at this world. Goals, claims, fights all become miniscule, worthless and meaningless in your eyes.
Akif Emre was the one who invited me to Yeni Şafak. I started working for this paper with him in 1995. He was among the founders of Yeni Şafak and also one of the directing managers. We worked together for a long time.
We witnessed together the numerous incidents, crises and developments in the destiny of Yeni Şafak, which became identifiable with Turkey's political history. He later became the editor-in-chief and we still worked together. Even though he left the position of editor-in-chief, he continued to write non-stop for many years.
He was one of the people who gave Yeni Şafak its character. Yeni Şafak's line had taken shape under Akif's leadership along with a few of his friends and became fixed on the axis of Turkey. The cause was based on Turkey, but it was embracing our entire "region."
Years later, having reached the present time, what we noticed is how far into the future those who laid this foundation 23 years ago saw, the kind of Turkey they dreamed of, how they made that dream come true and how realistic their world idea was.
Emre was one of the people who shaped the principal axis of Yeni Şafak, which deserves the "veteran" title in Turkey's struggle for political transformation. He was a solid, dignified man who did not drift from left to right, who knew where to stop even at the most critical of times.
He was probably "broken" many a time, but he never surrendered.
As soon as we heard the news at the paper yesterday, we went to his office in Gayrettepe. His family, a few of his office staff and a few close friends had come as well. His body was covered with a prayer mat, he was lying flat on the ground. Mehmet Güney was on his knees, praying with deep sorrow, his family were sitting on the ground trying to maintain their calm.
He apparently came to the office, grabbed a tea and poğaça, a pastry with filling, and started to prepare for the meeting. When he didn't come despite an hour having passed the meeting time, they opened his door to call him to see that he drifted in to silence on his chair.
Notes were on his desk, the list of work topics on the board…
He was only half way through both the tea and poğaça.
I watched how he climbed the stairs and got in the elevator from the camera footage. Emre was quite healthy, walking with the bag he hung on his shoulder. Who would have known he was going to depart from this world 15-20 minutes later.
But we are the faithful. We know that life is merely a trust. Who knows when we are going to take our last breath? We are the ones who have submitted to that fate.
Emre put in a lot of effort working on me – both professionally and in terms of shaping my world. Whenever an incident happens anywhere in the region, we would see Emre's traces there. Peace negotiations take place in Moro, we come across an interview Emre did previously with Salamat Hashimi. Whenever we turn to Muslim cities, we would come across Emre's articles, travel notes, documents, and his traces. We would think of Andalusia, Bosnia and Jerusalem with him. He was an axis of position in our intellectual world, our world of thought.
I would always think of him together with Bahattin Yıldız. They were very similar to one another. Yıldız is a man with a cause whose life passed with struggles; after spreading his life in every part of the region, he had concluded his life in a suspicious plane crash in Afghanistan.
Like him, Emre left this world with his dignity, character and chivalry without a care for all the reverse winds, popular trends, and plans to make gains. Neither of them begged for anything. One remained standing making tar, the other held on to a humble life, disdaining most things.
We buried him next to Yıldız.
We humans leave something missing in everything we do. Whether it be in our love, friendship or loyalty. There were probably things he too didn't do, say and complaints he kept to himself. He gathered them all and went. May God have mercy on his soul and give patience to his wife, children and friends.