Let’s look at the problems that linger on from the early years of the Republic, the dilemma that determines today’s cultural policies. The first one concerns the memory–identity relationship and the Republic’s failure to connect satisfactorily with its own classics and canons. It wasn’t able to connect because it lacked the experience to do so. Everyone was quite familiar with Divan literature and Ottoman music, but when the Republic decided to shift to Western music instead, it imposed the task on a group that became known as the “Turkish Five.” Despite the strict mandate, these composers pursued a powerful synthesis: They adapted folk songs into polyphonic compositions and wrote folk dances in the same manner. They pulled it off, and it was no mean feat. Necil Kâzım went all the way back to Itrî’s music from the 17th century for inspiration. This wasn’t the wrong approach, so where was the mistake? The mistake was ignoring our distinctive and original culture, and that’s what we did for awhile. But these examples show that it’s possible to overcome this mistake, and that our culture is Turkey’s great treasure. The West built on its religious musical tradition to advance all the way to Beethoven and Mozart. We left ours where it was and never sought to transform it. But today we have the wealth offered by two cultures. We can use them together. Not that Western classical music can be learned overnight. But then again, classical Turkish music is an acquired taste, too. Both Bach and Meragi appeal to the same taste and mentality. People aren’t born with a predilection for one over the other. Learning to enjoy music is a matter of culture, as is making music and moving from one style to another. The Republic attempted to do this, but was bound by its own radicalism. Adnan Saygun relates how he and fellow composers were gathered around the table asking themselves why they were there and how they were going to enact the reforms demanded of them. The telephone rang incessantly, he said; it was the Palace asking, “Is the reform done, is this music done, or not?” That was the nature of the need. I won’t call it an imposition, but it was continued insistence. Let me expand on this a little. The most frequently revisited theatrical character worldwide is Hamlet. Everyone does Hamlet. Everyone does ancient Greek classics, everyone does Sophocles and Euripides – what an inexhaustible source. But we don’t make enough use of all those plays by Abdülhak Hamit like Finten and Tarık that were partly inspired by the Western canon. I believe the time has come. Someone will emerge, someone with a new method and approach, and say, “Let’s take a look at them.” There are so many texts from the late 19th century, from the Constitutional Monarchy Era, that will lend themselves to a variety of interpretations and serve as source material. Let’s revisit them. I firmly believe there will be an explosion of interest very soon. I believe it because in the past decade Turkey has caught up with the rest of the world in contemporary art.