Taner Koçyiğit, a former administrator and teacher of the PakTurk Schools, recorded a short video explaining why he wrote his memoirs upon our request. Expressing how Harun Tokak’s book “Önden Giden Atlılar” (The Pioneering Cavalrymen) impressed him, Koçyiğit said he believed his own experiences in Pakistan too were worth chronicling. He said it was difficult to start at first, but he wanted to write more once he started writing. We publish Koçyiğit’s statements in full.
“Hi, I am Taner Koçyiğit, I worked in Pakistan between 2003 and 2017 as a teacher and administrator at the PakTurk Schools. During that time, I and my colleagues could visit several institutions and meet people from all walks of life. On those occasions, we got to know numerous businesspeople and state officials and took them on trips to Turkey for introduction.
During those trips, I came across the book ‘Önden Giden Atlılar’ (The Pioneering Cavalrymen) by Harun Tokak. When I read it, I thought, ‘I wonder if our experiences too will be written in the future, in a story or a book?’ I never knew if this would be possible.
Later, when the PakTurkFile project was launched, I noted down my experiences and what remained in my mind from Pakistan during my 14 years there. It was actually difficult to start, but the more I wrote, the more I wanted to write more, because we had helped many students with limited means and many needy people there. In the wake of the October 2005 earthquake and the flash floods in 2010, we rushed to the relief of those in need no different than emergency humanitarian aid workers, even though we were teachers, through the donations from the Turkish businesspeople. On those occasions, we could travel to several cities and villages across Pakistan often.
I worked in Attock city, Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore, and Quetta. I was in close contact with many parents. I was fortunate enough to guide them on trips to Turkey. I am very glad these memoirs have been published in the PakTurkFile and compiled in a book. I continue to write my memoirs.
I spent 14 years in Pakistan. Until the last time we left, I used to say to my wife, ‘We will probably die here, make sure I am buried in Pakistan. I wish to be buried here.’ Unfortunately, that was not meant to be. They forced us out of Pakistan. We now live in another land of migration.
Of course, there are regrets and there are things I miss in Pakistan. Most of all, I regret I cannot meet my students or the flood-survivor homemakers who walked 15 kilometres to receive 4-5 kilos of meat. I pray to return to Pakistan and to complete this interrupted saga.”