TRAVMA is a digital space that aims to provide an increasingly comprehensive documentation of the early years of punk in Turkey, through access to personal and unpublished archives. Its purpose is to preserve and provide traces of the written and visual materials of the local punk scenes, which are rare and nearly all but forgotten.

Beyond being a musical genre, punk is a complex cultural phenomenon that first developed in England and the United States in the mid-1970s. However, it wasn’t until the end of the 1980s and early 1990s – with young people who began to gather around cassette stands and music shops in large cities like Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Bursa – that the genre caught on in Turkey. Because punk emerged in Turkey with the young generation who had witnessed the unfolding of the radical social transformation that followed the 1980 coup and the introduction of a neo-liberal state system, TRAVMA (meaning trauma in Turkish) is a metaphor for the social impact of the state of oppression under which also this young generational cohort learned to live and thrive.

The long-term sociocultural effects of the 1980 coup – which aspired to repress any political dissent – and the subsequent collective trauma that ensued manifested in the emergence, expressions and documentation of this subculture. These consequences are also and particularly evident in the collective memory of punk. Against this erasure, the historical documents of the early years of punk in Turkey should be taken as important examples of creative critical expression which, through self-narration, offer new perspectives on the strategies of resistance and drives behind dissent. In fact, these raw and sometimes improvised artefacts provide counter-narratives to hegemonic historicization because of their content and practices of production and dissemination that brought them to life.

With the hope of hosting an increasing variety of documents, TRAVMA is organized into two main sections, respectively relating to posters and fanzines which are among the most important tools of communication and aesthetic expression of punk and DIY. Other subsections of the website are dedicated to projects related to and released by TRAVMA. Because punk cannot be limited to distinct categories, some of the very rare documents selected for this collection crossover different genres and styles. Consequently, they testify to the fluidity and constant transformation of this subculture with their originality and the particular role they played within the local punk scene.

The Posters section includes gig posters as well as promotional posters of other public events or fanzines. These documents provide an insight into the active bands, live music venues, and cultural events of their time. Combining memories of space and performance, posters represent a lens through which informal geographies of punk networks in Turkey can be rebuilt.

The Fanzines section includes digitalized covers of different fanzines, an integral part of the history of punk, which first began to appear in Turkey in the early 1990s. Often anonymous and unable to persist as regular periodicals, the fanzines differ in content and approaches, and reflect the interests, political satire and critical voices of the punk scenes. These informal magazines are fundamental DIY documents which shaped and enriched the punk subculture’s political and general outlook.

TRAVMA, far from being an exhaustive and conclusive collection, proposes an alternative way of looking at historical and cultural processes by taking into account the creativity, critical views and expressions of punk subculture. With the belief that denial of the past equates also to the denial of any criticism, TRAVMA is a space open to new material and other contributions, with the hope to expand over time and to aid in the preservation of the historical documentation of punk in Turkey.

Credits of the images used in the main pages of this website
Home Page Main Photo Unknown, Istanbul, 1993
About Travma Zoban Raftik (Disguast), 1995
Contact Us Esat C. Başak (Mondo Trasho), 1991

Project editors
Carlotta De Sanctis
Tolga Güldallı