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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.

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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

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RESISTANCE

 

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#OCCUPYGEZI

This is an overall writing about #occupygezi movement which basically turn into not only anti-goverment but also anti-opposition (perhaps an anti movement towards almost every old political instution) protests in last 20 days. Experts claming that this movement have some resemblances with 68 movement in Europe which might be helpful for reader to give a meaning to what has been happening in first glance. Three huge public actions during last two years, and Erdogan’s suppresive policies with his offensive style should been mentioned to fully capture the path lead to these serious events.

#MyBodyMyDecision

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2012 was the year started with a horrible agony. On 28th of December 2011 Turkish Airforce bombed 35 of its citizens in Roboski. They claimed to be smuggling through Iraq border. Pundits said it was a path often used by PKK to attack outposts, and goverments announcement was no relief either. Despite statements about who ever responsible for this “mistake” will be prosecuted in shortest period, it was sadly destined to be another crucial case dissapeared in the halls of Ankara. While massaceres burden putting pressure on goverment, Erdogan did what he does best and changed the subject by the most contraversial tool possible: During his address –only couple of days after Roboski incident- he said: “…each abortion is a murder, each abortion is a Roboski I say.”

While conceiving Roboski as a murder, no one, not even the most careful columinsts about his ways of changing political agenda inside the country helped their selves writing about this statement, and suddenly woman body became main topic. While women murder ratio increase to scandalous propotions, his patriarchal discourse was repeadetly offensive, especially to feminists. Women make  #mybodymydecison trending topic and generated the first but not last well-attended action, which ignored by almost every network in mass media. Having over 40 thousand attandee in the middle of İstanbul, Kadıköy, action ignored by almost every network and newspaper, and the debate followed up by a new, more stirict bill regulates abortion. During this period, it was heard “…it is not your body” from Erdogan against the motto. Nowadays, he is still sadly trying to pull the public opinion to the subject of abortion.

#FreeInternet

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Taksim is the heart of Turkey when it comes to public actions. While Saturday Mothers (a group of women gathering every saturday, to reach out to someone about their missing sons, nephews etc. whom were lost under custody or during imprisonment… mothers’ effort putting a nice brief framework to history of human rights violations in Turkey) was continuing their watch, Taksim witnessed two other mass meeting during the period. Govement made its intentions clear about restraining Internet acsess with a newly established informatics instution. Not an outrage perhaps but a huge crowd full of youngsters raised their voices. They were on the streets because of a bill, which will affect their lives. “In a way Isn’t that politics?” perhaps politicians should have asked to themselves. Instead of doing so, this enormus also cheerful crowd ruled out in a glimpse, and their desire undermined by goverment spokesperson Bülent Arınç himself: “… of course some of these bizarre people will say don’t touch my Intenet Porn…” he said and create a lustful othering about this demand of freedom. AKP’s straid laced moral once again held the higher ground in their arguments. While Turkish State is the number one in the World to sue the “unfavourable” articles in Internet, disregarding freedom of experession on almost every platform, reducing the issue something sexual was typical for AKP. On the other side of this conservative state mechanism, suspects of sexual violations tolerated in almost every occasion (last example: four officals accused to rape a 16 year old in a province and released from custody in first trial) . Hypocrisy was one thing, but diminishing almost every demand of right in a second, was making Turkey and its young population one of the least happy country in the world.

#LeaveMyNeighbourAlone

While Erdogan rightly struggling againgst the gurdians of old status quo, he used another unlucky expression. A colluminst tried to  humiliate Erdogan’s voters with desperation and used the methapor of “men who itches his belly,” Erdogan used “the men who sleeps with their cats” in return. At the time nobody considered Erdogan as a man who hates animals (still nobody does, but during recent clashes at least 8 dogs, 63 cats, 1028 birds died because of overly used paper gas which usage of it seen  as a “right” for “his” police department by Prime Minister himself). A couple of years after, rumour of a legistlation growed another discontent amongst people. Bill was suggesting to carry away all the animals who live in streets to animal shelters. Istanbul roared against the plan and Taksim was full of people once again. This time goverment stepped back tough ıt couldn’t fully considered one, because it was only a draft bill proposed by some deputy from AKP. But once again, young people was on the streets with great numbers, who criticised to be apathetic and not political enough experienced a massive mobilisation in that high spirited crowd …

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In April 2013 Erdogan and his cabinet was in full speed. Despite growth was proportionally decrasing, compered to World conjocture it was proud times for Turkey. Despite dissapointments in manufacturing sector, banking was luring, and construction was roaring with goverment incentives: devouring rivers with hydroelectiric power plants, wiping out neighborhoods with the civic transformation… It was thought three more wonders needed to remark AKP, more accurately Tayyip Erdogan era: A gigantic mosque which will seen from almost every point around Bosphorus, third bridge which would hook up Europe and Asia to ease the traffic somehow (while there are no settlements around the personally selected location by Erdogan -during a helicopter flight- İstanbul will need another traffic jam to ease it) and a rebuild of a ancient barrack (build in 1780 and demolished in 1940)  which would stamp the heart of Istanbul, Taksim. All three projects have something in common: Trees have to go. Most drastically in bridge project, it is reported by ecologists that 2 million trees will be cut.. The last bio-reserves of İstanbul, called northern forests will be cut for a contraversial project only decided by the central goverment alone (thanks to a bill accepted in parliment a month ago, loses obligatory law check on projects causes ecological destruction)… Moreover Gezi Park should have been sacrificed in order to make a barrack which holds no memory among Istanbul residents, meanwhile Park holds last green area in downtown.

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During the groundbreaking ceromony of third bridge Erdogan was confident as always. Despite the set backs in his Syria policy, he spread some direct political massages to his followers and when it comes to Gezi Park debate he said :”..do whatever you like, we decided to make it there, even if you raise caine we will do Taksim Gunner Barracks.” This sentence pretty much sums up Turkish Democracy for last couple of years. While tension was escalating ongoing days he said: “…democracy is a transparent system,” well totally… It was crystal clear for an healty eye that Erdogan was making all the decisions in our democratic system. And everybody were pertty certain that he named the bridge : “ Sultan Yavuz Selim” whose name is a slap on the face for large Alevi (a religious order in Islam) communities all acroos the county. He is known for ordering massaceres onto Alevis to supress during the conflicts against Safevi Empire in 16th century.

It became an habit for Erdogan to insult citisens or politicians either embraces secular life style or different sects. During the talks about “reformation” of education system his statements about “desiring a religious descent” created another contraversy. Regulating almost prohibiting alchol usage, referring to some dogma almost every chance, while doing so applying a brutal neo-liberal agenda, ignoring industrial accidents, ending every march (espacially on 1st of May) by creating a funfair from paper sprey, showing no respect to freedom of speech and assembly, arresting journalists and lawyers and students (especially Kurdish ones), neglecting peace proccess with Kurds on and on…

“All of these for couple of trees?” constantly asks this question during his recent meetings with the threat of a counter mobilisation. After ordering two dawn police raids in a row to peaceful activists and turning the country into a freak show, after all of these our aswer is a sad NO… Hopefully, someday, we would have the chance to gather five percentage of this crowd for an ecological sensitivity, for that day we hope not  to resist police brutality.

EXPERIENCING DIRECT DEMOCRACYImageTo summarize latest situation, what is happening in Turkey is quite revolutionary so far. After learn to deal with police brutality, taking control of Taksim Gezi Park for 15 days, now young people spread out to almost every park in metropoles of Turkey,  experiencing direct democracy (see the picture above, should be familiar to all young greens 🙂 ) with open forums in order to figure a way to build something from this movement despite the ongoing witch hunt alike prosecutions. We proudly hail every community who seeks freedom and democracy. 

 

         EVERYWHERE TAKSİM EVERYWHERE RESISTANCE