Meydan Kahvesi̇ (public Coffee Shop) Conversations


We started our first “Meydan Kahvesi (Public Coffee Shop) interview with Kazım Yardımcı. Kazım Yardımcı, whose articles we published in our newspaper, is today 73 years old. He squeezed great and small memories in his long life. The lines on his dark-skinned face look like the kilometer stones, firstly of History of Adıyaman and of calendar history. The love for learning and the love for teaching enabled him to write 8 books. He is still writing and reading. He is sitting as a live example of development or improvement as he said and a conversation begins with an excitement that covers everybody at the table.

When and where were you born exactly?

I was born in 1936 officially, however, according to what my father said, I was born in 1933 at Musalla Mahallesi. There were 6 mahalle (districts) in Adıyaman in the years of 1940 . They were all situated at the skirt of the castle. As you know Musalla Mahallesi was also there.

When did you start school?

I studied primary school at Yeniyol Elemantary School, now called as “Cumhuriyet İlköğretim Okulu”. In those years, Adıyaman had not become a province yet. It was a county (town) of Malatya. When Democrat party was in power, the name of school was changed as “Cumhuriyet (Republic)”.

I graduated from primary school but since there was no middle (Junior High) school to attend, I had to stop school for two years. Meanwhile I worked as an apprentice at a tailor’s by my father’s desire. In 1947, a Junior High School was opened in Adıyaman. I was interested in studying at school. My interest came from my maternal side. I was registered at Middle School right away. We did not have a High School until 1954, in other words, until Adıyaman became a province. The biggest handicap in Adıyaman concerning education was that there was only a primary school between 1928 and 1948, for twenty years. There was neither a Junior High School (Middle School) nor High School (Lise) so I went to Malatya when I finished Middle School and I attended High School there. It was a great handicap and Adıyaman had lost many things due to this. Actually, there was a Rüştiye (Ottoman Junior High School) in 1908 during Talat Pasha’s time. However, Rüştiyes and Madrasas were closed in 1928. The scholars like Asım Hodja and Lami Hodja from Adıyaman had studied at Madrasas and by the way, my mother also left school when she was in second grade at Junior high School.

Were you able to continue your education when you finished High School?

I got married when I finished High School and I was not able to continue my education then. I worked at Land-register Office. I worked as a civil servant in Harran for a while, then I worked as a director in Yavuzeli and I worked in various places of my country. I did my military service between 1956 and 1958. Military Service lasted two years at my time. I was a recruit in Manisa and then I went to Istanbul for the rest of my Military Service. I went to Istanbul because of my military duty for the first time.

How did your family and Adıyaman people earn their living at that time?

My father worked as a herbalist. He owned a shop in the city centre. My mother was a housewife, however, she was very cultured (well-educated). The population of Adıyaman was 8-10 thousand. Villagers used to come to the town on Fridays both for shopping and for Friday Prayer. Now this situation has changed. 90 percent of the people of Adıyaman used to earn their living by agriculture. Everyone had an agricultural land, (orchards with water). The size of these orchards would change between 2000 square meter and 5000 square meter. The largest fields, lands, orchards were owned by Zom Baba and Sucus. The rest 10 percent people would make their living on trade.

They used to work as a herbalist, grocer, blacksmith, ironmonger, coarse cloth-maker and farmer. Will you believe or not, most of the works like blacksmithing, iron mongering and coarse clothe-making were done by Suryanies, who were Christians.

What was Adıyaman like as an urban structure?

There were only six districts. The biggest district was Kap Camii Mahallesi and Eskisaray Mahallesi followed it. Moreover, during the elections of mayor, whoever won the votes of Kap Cami would win the elections. For instance, in the past, the funeral prayers were not held at mosques, they used to be performed at Musalla Mahallesi. A part of the place between Marangozlar Çarşısı and Vartana, today’s Adıyaman Lisesi, was a graveyard. Afterwards, during Miktat Harıkçı, all the graveyards were removed. Adıyaman, including the city centre, was green. There were gardens, orchards and fields.

What were the political view and political situation of Adıyaman people like when you were young? How were the elections held?

As you know, there was only one party until 1946. I even remember 1946 elections. I was 13 years old then and I remember a ballot box. There was İsmet İnönü’s picture and the symbol of the party on it. They used to carry the ballot boxes on pack animals. The head official of the district was the district president of the party and the governor was the province president of the present party, as there was only one party at that time.

The situation changed in 1950. One party system ended. All the citizens of Adıyaman belonged to “Democrat party”. However, C.H.P. (Republican Party) won in Malatya in general again. When the result that C.H.P. won the elections was announced on the radio, nobody would object to it and everything was over. They called these events that happened in those years as “stain” today. It was a message of the situation of our political view and opinions that still continues now. There was a cold war between Besni and Adıyaman in the race of becoming a province. Adıyaman became a province in 1954 at the end of this cold war. Right after this, when Adıyaman voted to Democrat Party, Besni did the opposite and voted C.H.P. This disagreement happened in those years becomes sometimes a subject matter of the chats even now.

“How do you describe yourself?

If I had to describe myself in one sentence, I can say “GIory be to Allah, I am a Muslim and thank Allah I am a socialist!” However, I am not an atheist socialist of Marxist and Leninist Doctrines. I am a socialist that support people and I am faithful. If we look up the meaning of “socialist” in French, it means “socialist” and in Arabic “religious community supporter or socialist.”

As far as I know myself, I paid great importance to my education firstly and then to the education of people around me. I always read books and I am still reading. I read all kind of things, first of all about Sufism and History. I pay attention to understand what I read, to interpret it, to write my interpretation and share it with other people. I wrote 8 books until now and I have an internet website called I try to read all the daily newspapers but I definitely read Milliyet newspaper. I got my first knowledge and strong desire of Sufism from my grand father Selim Bilgiç. Receiving education or training and learning require continuality. I am still adding new things to my education and to my ability of learning.

How do you describe Adıyaman people?

I have lived in Adıyaman since I was born and I am proud of it. I know that whether Adıyaman people or not, the people in Adıyaman city centre and Zey Village speak such a Turkish that is not spoken anywhere else in this country. It is close to Turkish, Turkoman and Azari Turkish. The rest of the people speak Kurdish.

I know that people moved here from different places due to migration and exile during Ottomans, but I cannot say exactly where they had come from. However, there is a point that should be underlined and talked about proudly that the people who live in Adıyaman have always lived in perfect harmony and there have been no discrimination among them. I am personally proud of this.

Was Adıyaman a city of exile? Yes, we can say that Adıyaman was a city of exile. I even know some of them. For instance: the editor and author Çetin Altan was banished to Adıyaman but he did not come here because partly he used a health report as an excuse and he had political support.

In the past, in the former years during Abdulhamit’s time Poet Sinan bey was also among the people who were banished here. Cevat Rıfat Ulunay from Milliyet newspapers editors also mentioned the exile of Poet Sinan Bey to Adıyaman. Poet Sinan Bey says in one of his poems:

“I am afraid Sinan will live on a mountain away from the civilization

In his mature time, like the Glorious Abuzar.”

Here Glorious Abuzar he mentions is Abuzar Gaffari Hazretleri. Abuzar Gaffari Hazretleri is one of the 10 Muslims. He was one of the Sahabe -the Companions of the Prophet (A.S.V.).

What is in Adıyaman is not his corps but his rank. His corps is in a village in Madina. Abuzar Gaffari Hazretleri started a new creed with his opinion “The person who has two shirts is not a Muslim” that he put forward during Hz. Osman. He was contrary to Umayyad of that time because of this opinion of him. Those who support this doctrine were called as Abuzaris. This saying and opinion is the opening of the Sacred Hadith of our Master, the Prophet Hz. Muhammad (A.S.):“The person who sleeps with a full stomach while his neighbor is hungry is not from us.”

What do you think of the point Adıyaman came? I was born and I grew up in Adıyaman. Here was like a village that had six districts. There have been 51 years then. The central population reached 300 thousands and the number of the districts increased to 33.There was only one primary school in the past but now a university is going to be opened. When I think about them, I can say that the point Adıyaman came is even more than expected. However, I must say that improvement has no end and it must continue towards the good.

What do you think about today? Do you want or expect anything to be done or do you see any missing things?

I have been telling one thing since the period of Mayor Mr. Erdem: It is to make more picnic places or excursion spots in Adıyaman. Rivers and similar places are being reformed but they are improved by destruction. If they are reformed by protecting and by cleaning, we will have very beautiful excursion spots and picnic places and we will protect the nature and green around us.

Would you like to add anything more?

I believe that it will not be wrong to say that Adıyaman people are obedient and submissive. Therefore, as I said at the beginning of this interview, I am proud of this. One more thing, there were many poets who grew up in these lands and in this city throughout history. The oldest one as far as I know is Çeraği Baba who lived 400 years ago. The best thing would be to finish this chat with one of his quatrains:

“I have been waiting for a long time,

that beautiful heart-captivating will come,

She, whose hair like hyacinth,

whose lips are wine and whose spirit is a companion of mine,

Woe to he who fell in love with her gazelle like eyes!

He will love her passionately, enchanted and amazed by her.”

There is also one more thing that I cannot help saying I give my books called “Rufai Külliyatı” in which my 8 books are collected to whom that donates 30 Y.T.L to Adıyaman Çocuk Esirgeme Kurumu (Adıyaman Society for the Protection of Children’s bank account). Anyone can read all my books in Teas are over, words are over and we say goodbye to Kazım Yardımcı and leave him by hiding the best farewell words in a greeting with a sweet tiredness of the chat and the fiery hot weather. We are waiting for you to our Conversation at Meydan Kahvesi (Public Coffee Shop) next Thursday.