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The Ghost of Çorum

The Ghost of Çorum

Anatolian city of Çorum is actually famous for its white, dried and salt roasted chickpeas, and now it is on the national news with a ghost story.

The inhabitants of the conservative Anatolian city are waiting in the city cemetery all night long, to be able to see “the ghost girl”.

It all started, when the cemetery keepers saw a little girl crying in the cemetery. However they couldn’t catch the little girl because she ran away. Allegedly the little girl, came to the same grave, a woman’s grave who died in 1982, 5 days in a row and sobbed. But then quickly ran away. Nobody knows who this girl is, or why she appears at that grave. Now, inhabitants of Çorum are flooding the cemetery every night; to see who they now call “the ghost girl”.

One local speaking to TV cameras said, “we are coming here every night”, another younger one starts crying claiming he saw the ghost girl in the cemetery and that she was dressed in black from head to toe. Another woman said, she would flee if she saw the crying girl, however she was coming to the cemetery every night. There have been families with little babies in the cemetery, curious to see the crying “ghost” girl.

This ghost story seems to have gotten the entire city stirring. One reason is the fast conservatisation of the Anatolian cities.

The most basic and relatively cheaper way of spending good time in a smaller city can be going to a cinema. However, Çorum people are complaining that only second, even third rate movies are coming to Çorum. Foreign movies are always being dubbed, and every movie comes to Çorum months after Ankara. Many say they feel they have to go to Ankara to be able to see a decent movie.

Since the first days of AKP in power, steps have been taken to sweep alcohol out of conservative cities. Municipalities do not prefer to give alcohol-selling licences to restaurants and cafes. The ones that are allowed to sell alcohol are usually out of the city, in barren places where there are not much inhabitants around. In many Anatolian cities young people, tend to drink, the cheapest alcohol, which is beer, in their cars. It is hard for young people to find decent bar-like places to sit and have a little chat with their peers.

It has become harder to give concerts lately. The bands giving concerts have to pay, two different taxes to the municipalities, and of course it is nearly impossible for slightly more controversial groups to be able find venues to give concerts.

Any political activity can have harsh consequences. As in Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, young people who protested against the Operation Olive Branch have been detained, after President Erdoğan has bursted out and said he won’t tolerate such activities. In that context it is not a surprise to see mostly young people going to Çorum city cemetery every night and wandering between the graves all night long.

There is a relatively big university in Çorum, Hittite University, but not much for young people to do. So they are now chasing ghosts.

About The Author

Nevsin Mengu

Born in Ankara in 1982. Studied Political Science at University of Bilkent. Did her masters on Sociology at University of Galatasaray. Worked at several news outlets like Haberturk and Hurriyet. Mostly covered Middle East as a correspondent. From 2009 to 2010, worked for TRT TURK in Tehran. From 2011 until 2017, anchored CNNTURK 18 o’clock news. Now writing opinion pieces for Birgün newspaper and doing weekly interviews for Deutsche Welle.

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