Turkish Spring ensues!

A week after the violent and inhumane dispersal of the Turkish masses leading to at least 4 deaths and 5000 casualties, Taksim square has been reclaimed once again yesterday by thousands of peaceful protesters who brought flowers to signify their commemoration of fellowmen who passed away demanding for a fair and more democratic Turkey. Such gesture reflects the small peoples’ fora held frequently in city parks since then through discussions about direct democratic tools and non-violent means to pursue the struggle.

Having been invited to join one forum organised by young Socialists of Turkey, I could attest that it has been a very inclusive, empowering and democratic meeting. Agenda of the meeting and decisions were agreed upon in a consensual way. Among the Greens, a show of hands is a way towards participatory consultation and dialogue. In this picture, the masses waved their hands up to show agreement to the demands they have been fighting for. It was a zeal and emotional moment to be part of a peaceful movement which reminded me of the People Power back home in the Philippines in 1986, as a child, to overthrow a dictator.

Non-violent protests in Turkey are being fuelled by the principles of justice and peace. Feeding violence with more violence is unjust! Various sectors of the Turkish society which includes the youth, women, LGBTQI, democratic mass organizations, labor and professional organizations, progressive political parties, and civil society organisations in Turkey demand the following from the incumbent PM Erdogan: acknowledgement and respect of the right of people’s assembly and expression; banning the use of violence and weapons; the release of detained protesters e.g. students (most of which are Kurdish), journalists, lawyers, doctors, etc.; maintenance of Gezi Park as a public space; and to seek justice from various human rights violations and missing activists since Erdogan’s mandate.

Despite the peaceful assembly, flying flowers and silent standing protests ever since, the police state of Turkey responded through firing of water canons, gas grenades, tear-gas and the usual violent beating of people. Now who should rightfully be accused as the real terrorist? Are corporate greed and political power everything? While being trapped in a caféteria with fellow protesters since the police has been firing more tear-gas and gas grenades in the air, discussions and reflections kept on as more bloodshot-eyed fellows came in to likewise seek refuge.

Injustice has been repeating itself and we should not let it prevail! We have seen how the masses have united and reclaimed their basic human rights in Otpur, South Africa, Guatemala, Czechoslovakia, among others. Massive non-cooperation instead of violence and co-optation will render an authoritarian useless and powerless so let the struggle continue! Today, despite the uncertainties and risks of violent dispersal the Transgender group in Turkey will lead the march towards Taksim. Don’t be silenced nor scared!

Shenna Sanchez

Project Assistant at Federation of Young European Greens(FYEG)
Ecosprinter Board Member at FYEG