Every year, on the twelfth of February, there is the feast of Maraş and the people of Maraş. The city does its best to celebrate its liberation day. Just as they did what they could, or even failed to do, twenty-six years ago to prepare today, things that should be above human power in the logic of life.

The fact is this: This clean, prosperous Anatolian city, which was considered one of the inner cities of the country until then, and lived in its agriculture and craft, suddenly sees that the occupying forces, which grew like an oil stain on the country map, entered its own borders and gradually adopted the country on behalf of other forces ready to betray, and decides to fight at any cost. Few things are as beautiful as this small city coming up alone to defeat the fate that has fallen on an entire piece of homeland. After all, the greatness of the National Struggle lies in the fact that every city, every town, even every village, like every human being, does not hesitate to do its own work by itself. From that day on, bloody and tough fights took place in the city from district to district, from house to house. People pour into the streets from seven to seventy. Until then, a lot of people, who lived like everyone else in the circle of daily life, in their work, power, grief or entertainment, large land owner dynasty, lord, small tradesman, farmer, grocer, civil servant, math teacher, neighborhood imam, in short, the rich and poor people of an Anatolian city, from all classes, wandered the front for four, seven years, the soldier who had just returned from the front to his homeland after seven years, the widow, the father of a martyr who lived alone like a leafless plane tree, all unite. They come forward as if a godly storm had blown over them, as if they had passed through a talismanic fire and acquired a brand new identity alien to death. The heroism was a shirt worn on the back of our nation by fortune in those years. In Maraş, this shirt becomes skin, becomes a limb.

An adventure begins that will surprise the Maraş lords, who are mentioned almost every time in the history of the empire, and those who died in such bloody battles after them. After liberating their city, they go out of the city. They go to help neighboring and brotherly lands. In those dark days, the fires that turned Maraş into a heap of ashes become a shining torch of liberation for all our southern provinces, and Maraş, Urfa and Ayıntap become the gates of victory opened to it in the most hopeless days of our nation. Maraş has not forgotten these days of heroism. They are right in that. After a city has lived this far above luck, of course, it will remember it from time to time. The liberation festival of Maraş is really something to see. This is a city day with no official sides. While watching this festival in Maraş, one thinks that he is in the vivid memory of the days when the gods sat at a table with human beings and ate and drank together in ancient times.

The whole city is well prepared from long ago for this day. The women of Maraş who prepared food, clothes for the gangs, oiled their weapons, delivered rifles, swords and knives, which had seen the Caucasus, the Crimea, maybe Crete, to the children, who, with their own hands, set fire to their homes where they tasted the pleasure of wedding, the pride of motherhood, lived as mistresses, hosted guests or their daughters and grandchildren work morning and night to celebrate the day in a way worthy of the greatness of the work done, and they prepare the local dresses to be worn by the young men who are the pride of the city. When I witnessed this feast for the first time in February 1943, I was surprised. The whole city was turned upside down. It lived a time beyond the calendar. Just three days before the feast, the whole city was up. Everyone wore old-fashioned dresses. The drums were played, the games were played. In one of his conversations about fine arts, Alain complains about the poverty of modern men's clothing and its unsuitability for the painting. It was difficult for a person who saw these multicolored clothes on the uphill and downhill roads and small squares of Maraş to justify this complaint. Almost everybody was elegant and graceful, as if it had come out of Pisanello's designs. It was as if the great painters of the Orient, Behzats and Levni Çelebis, had been resurrected and repaired this festival, in which yesterday and today came together, according to their own miniatures.

A pile of colorful and brocaded fabrics gave every face and every movement the flavor of things that had been carefully considered and searched. This crowd, mostly the youth of 1920, and the grandchildren and children of those who died in those years, came together as a team and danced with old tunes in the city squares. A 70-year-old old man who fired the first gun was dancing in one of these groups with a drum in his hand with an improbable agility, and two eleven and twelve-year-old children in the same group were completing the saltos he made with his huge drum with a knife game. Then, when the individual skills were finished, the circle was formed, and very rhythmic and strangely dignified horons and bars were played, which gave equal space to mimics as well as body figures. Maybe Yavuz watched these dances on his way to Egypt, these dances were performed here again when the armies of Berkiyaruk came to the rescue of the Anatolian, Konya and Karaman beys who had fallen under the Mongols. Another characteristic of these horons was the consciousness that it was played under the eyes of women who stayed secretly among men, was never lost. So much so that even when the party was held in front of the Municipality or next to the newly laid foundations of the new hospital, it seemed like it was carrying a crowd of women watching behind the cage like an invisible condition. This attention, this care could not be otherwise. The drummer was the animator of these plays. He was already one of the best in terms of dress and profligacy, and even agility.

When one of the groups withdrew from the square, another one came in its place. Sometimes two groups met each other on the same road, then mutual plays began in honor of each other. An enthusiasm, accelerated by a secret desire for superiority, surrounded the groups, the drums were beaten faster, this pride made the sound of the clarion louder, and the children were introducing the artificial agility seen in some breeds of animals into their knife games. It was these kids that I liked the most. They were repeating the same movements with the same agility for hours, without clipping their eyelashes, without making a single mistake, with their more languorous, more fanciful little faces, their cute leprechaun lengths which looked to me like something from an old fairy tale under their cones and thin silk turbans. While watching them, it was like reading a page from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" with the scent of wildflowers mixed with moonlight. Most of them were primary and secondary school students. If we had paid attention, perhaps we would have found among them those who had surprised us the day before with their knowledge of malaria and cotton work. A few girls aged ten or twelve were also involved in some of these groups. The old clothes concealed and shrunk the boy, while on the other hand, they almost increased the height and stature of the women, giving them an artificial maturity. But they were fairy tale peacocks rather than girls. While we were looking at them, we were contemplating the ancient times, whose all the miseries we forgot with our imagination, which is at the disposal of our eyes. Kerem and Tahir was Aslı and Zühre in clothes similar to these outfits and in these moods. So we wandered around the streets of Maraş for two days, with too much astonishment. The third morning was the real feast day. When we woke up to the sound of drums and went out to the street, we found the city changed again. Although the old holiday scene was still continuing, this time we were in a more solemn mood. The whole city was waiting for something. Finally, we had just arrived at the Municipality Square when the noise broke out. Hundreds of young and old men, dressed in the most ornate and colorful outfits, were rushing towards the Castle. We were experiencing an image of the morning of February 12. A foreign flag would be lowered from the castle and our flag would be hung. We were in a shudder even though we knew it was an imitation or a recollection. Because two days of joy and feast, epics written on the spot that we listen to at night from the saz of minstrels, the stories of the old veterans we met during very short rest times, those who lost arms, legs, siblings, women, children, houses and wealth in that “Ma'reke” set us from inside like a clock. That's why, despite the snow covering the Ahır Mountains, under the light that resounds like crystal above us, that is, this open air and bright is the participation of nature in the feast of the people of Maraş, and in the silence which is loaded with a whole sense of future in the momentous waiting of the people who are heaped on the roofs and windows of the groups of houses that give the municipality square the shape of an amphitheater, on both sides of the road, it is impossible not to be shaken as soon as you hear these attack cries.

Maraş liberation feast taught me the power of the community once again. No theater could have been prepared so neatly and beautifully. After all, it was something far superior to theatre. It resembled the Mystéres of the ages when religion and art mixed together, medieval games whose real purpose was a form of communal worship rather than entertainment. Here the gods called nationality and homeland were celebrated, their heights proclaimed with the loudest voice.
The whole spirit of this feast, which had no director, where no one's role and duty was taught by anyone, and which took place, respectively, fifteen, twenty, and twenty-five years ago like a time returning back, was the attack on the castle at this time of dawn. And Maraş lived this hour once a year, which suddenly elevated it above the level of humankind and deified the ruined city. After that, the parade began. And from where we are, we saw the bazaar, the backbone of the city that accelerated this development, as if reading a page from Evliya Çelebi. Maraş lost its former economic superiority after the National Struggle. Now it is no longer an important craft city as it used to be. With the exception of tanning, it almost makes a living from its agriculture. However, the bazaar, which has made the city so rich and happy throughout history, lives without losing any of its arts, skills and clean business superiority. It's like a scaled down example of a large palace. But human hands, human attention and art are such things that nothing gets smaller as long as the superiority of arbitrariness remains. This silk and leather as soft as skin is again forged in Maraş with the patience of the masters from Maraş, these rose peach colored traditional shoes, which stick to the feet like a glove and are washed like a cloth, are made again. That art of jewellery still continues, and the bracelets, rings and necklaces of Maraş are not inferior to those of Syria or other neighboring places. The saddlers still fine-tune the brocade and velvet saddles as if they were trying to complete a poem. The scarfs and headdresses that suit the heads of nomadic and even urban women are made with the same care as a century ago, and with the awareness of the great and noble role of women's ornaments in life, by masters who know that embellishing beauty is to sing the most beautiful ode to life. Copper is processed and a whole sense of form and proportion speaks to people by themselves in the bowls and copper vessels made with the patience of the masters from Maraş. Multicolored fabric is woven on small hand looms; wool mohairs are knitted. In that case, it means that the Maraş bazaar has not lost its qualities that once made this city one of the pearls of the Orient.

Although it does not export shoes to Morocco or Yemen as before; It does not import from China because its own leather is not enough. But the skill and knowledge remain. Since Maraş saddles, which look like jewels, does not adorn the breed horses until the deserts of Arabia anymore, the number of saddlers has decreased. But when the curious audience enters the shop of masters who like to continue their ancestral heritage at all costs, they are met with the shine of these saddles, as if a corner has been opened from an ancient treasure.
Although it does not export shoes to Morocco or Yemen as before; It does not import from China because its own leather is not enough. But the skill and knowledge remain. Since Maraş saddles, which look like jewels, does not adorn the breed horses until the deserts of Arabia anymore, the number of saddlers has decreased. But when the curious audience enters the shop of masters who like to continue their ancestral heritage at all costs, they are met with the shine of these saddles, as if a corner has been opened from an ancient treasure.
This bazaar, which is built around a small mosque that, may the ears of foundations burn, still cannot be repaired, and that seems to have been built for the use of a community of tradesmen, but with a very clean style and the shape of a ring stone, can make people experience the view of the Anatolian cities of yesterday, even in its current form. The Anatolian cities were communities managed and maintained by tradesmen. But the Maraş bazaar also has another specialty. In this bazaar, one thinks he is in the world of the "Iliad". Whichever shop you go to, you encounter a hero or his child or grandchild. You are listening to a live side of the saga from twenty-five years ago. Just like in Erzurum, just like in the western provinces that fired the first gun and did not come down from the mountain until the end, heroism is so everyone's property that even when listening to the most unlikely stories, one does not feel the pride of the other person. According to them, the heroes are not themselves; the hero is the city. They want everything for it, all the blessings turn to it. That’s why I remembered the “Iliad". Just as no one in Homere's epic is surprised by the fact that his addressee is a child of God, no one here is surprised by the spiritual power of his interlocutor. But this heroism no longer satisfies the Maraş bazaar. Having done so much superhuman work does not make these hardworking people forget reality. Maraş knows that a new life is waiting at the door with the whole country. In few places, I felt the pleasure and longing of working and job as much as Maraş. Almost everyone is longing for a new and programmed business life. The middle class mothers suffered from not giving their children, who were ten or twelve years old, to an art. Most of the men longed for a way of working that would raise them to the level of contemporary life and make them proud to have participated in this life. When middle class saddler, straightening his glasses, said to me: “We transfer it from one vessel to another; a job should turn one into ten”, I thought he was revealing the secret of modern production.
In the Maraş bazaar and the whole city, almost everyone knows the economic geography of the city's surroundings, counts its possibilities, draws the roads that need to be done wherever they come across, and discusses where the new railways will pass with authority. Ask the people of Maraş about the decare of the swamps that need to be dried, the most suitable form of agriculture, the vineyard and gardening, and the characteristics of the mines in the surrounding area. At the very first sight, I understood that there was no need for missionary intellectuals and words in this city. The reality is that: An Anatolia was born again out of the National Struggle. It is our duty to bring it together with the chance it deserves.