The police forces of AKP, have led serious attacks against the secular democrat crowds that have been protecting the Gezi Park in Istanbul's Taksim Square and last saturday have cleared the Gezi Park by evacuating the Park by using brutal force, tear gas and pressurized water sheds. Since then during the whole week end Turkey has been a battlefield between self protecting young democratic crowds and police forces using all kinds of violence including plastic bullets. At night time on Sunday in Istanbul, islamist fundamentalist groups went on the streets to "assist" the police in chasing the secular protesting youths. Very violent scenes have been seen around Istanbul while a group of 50 protesters were dangerously encircled by a conservative islamist group in the conservative town of Konya. At this point, following the Sunday rally of Prime Minister Erdoğan who spoke extremely provocatively, the tensions rose and the country entered a climate that reminds very closely those of a country in civil war. Turkey has seen several dark periods in its 90 year old Republic Era but no clash has been so dramatic and has ever brought masses confronted with one another!
How did we come to this point? It's worth having a glance at:
What AKP (Justice and Development Party) has been trying to do to this country can be summed up as follows: "Inch by inch let's see how far we can go jumping down on the throat of the opposition and make them even regret the day they were born?" The government for 10.5 years first installed itself at the base and took roots and then started to tighten the screws as they increased their pressure until the contemporary people suffocated. Had they not alternately broken the wings of the opposition already? From the Constitutional Court to the Army, from the media to all the NGO's, from the universities to the independent judicial bodies that had all been transformed into numb institutions, with almost "removed nerve terminals". Therefore, now the way was paved for making open insults or referential humiliations to the opposition, to the founder of the Republic and to those who preferred contemporary ways of life. We witnessed all this insolence one after the other: insulting İsmet İnönü (a major Army General during the War of Independence, and later the Prime Minister, and second President of Turkey also titled as 'National Chief'), while imposing the alcohol ban articulating "two drunkards" (insinuating Atatürk and İsmet İnönü) or insulting people who oppose the ban with lines such as "they should drink till they drop dead", attacking the CHP (Republican People's Party) saying "the root of CHP is dirty and fruitless", provoking people who do not approve AKP's rulings by overtly suggesting "take your mother and go" (leave the country) and the abortion-cesarean law almost prohibiting on all cases both practices and a long list of all kinds of provocations and attacks on the secular lifestyles...
The "Siege of Taksim" became the dagger that AKP wanted to plunge into the heart of art and conviviality in Turkey. The target of course was not to embellish or to make the Square more functional! With the alterations made one after the other the idea was to make people more and more sick and tired, because the bankruptcy of cafe-bars and other entertainment centers and to try to cut off Beyoğlu away from the life of İstanbulites. As part of its usual characteristic tactics, AKP wanted to proceed with one of the most critical changes against the public, which was to place back the "Artillery Barracks" into the Gezi Park; Those barracks which are the symbol of the reactionary uprising led by the soldiers stationed there and by some religious groups during the "2nd Mesrutiyet" (2nd Constitutional era) known as the "March 31st Incident" in 1905 and thus AKP was purposely going to make a new public demonstration of strength. Then all hell broke loose! Just as they were sure that "All opposition centers had been paralyzed", they had obviously overlooked some people: the Turkish youth to whom Atatürk had entrusted his revolutions and the masses of people who were weary of the government! The people whose pride was trampled on, whose private life was overstepped... On the night of May 31st, the public who could no longer take the gas feast deemed proper towards those guarding the Gezi Park, suddenly stood up fiercely and pushed forth to become the worse nightmare of their oppressors!
When we look back at what we have seen so far since that date, these people are role models who have exhibited their reaction unarmed, without any military back up and graciuosly in a civilized manner and have tried to protect themselves when attacked with gas, nightsticks, water cannons… And these honorable people standing up proudly were broadcasted of course not by the "penguin media" (the reason for this metaphor was that on the first night that the Turkish crowds hit the streets, the central media CNN Turk was broadcasting a documentary on the life of penguins!) but by the true opposion media and the social media… When the world started watching what was going on in Turkey, the government's policy of violence was interrupted for a little while. When the Prime Minister was making his unprosperous North African visits, President Abdullah Gul and Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arınç stepped in using some tactical smoothing efforts, but all were tossed out into the bin as soon as Erdoğan returned home. And when we pay close attention, the words used by the Prime Minister as if to provoke the people, were like mines set down to cause further tension. This is a Prime Minister who today kept calling the activists at Gezi Pank "3-5 looters"; who still holds the protesters responsible for the death of a policeman stating "Our policeman was martyrized" although knowing that the policeman unfortunately lost his life after falling off a bridge under construction while chasing the activists. This PM who makes intangible threats like "If you continue with these acts, we will respond in a language you understand!" and who turns a deaf ear to the international diplomacy world's call for peace and mutual calm. When Erdogan says "You cannot present this country as a land of terrorism" there is of course only one answer that comes to mind: Then he should draw back the gas, the stick, the riot police and the bullets, and apologize to his people! There's no other way! Because before him stands a wonderful youth of this world that he is not familiar with, who uses guitars, spray paints, a sense of humour, twitter and slogans instead of weapons! In this society, those who choose not to live the way Erdoğan commands, hereinafter do not accept to be treated like and be humiliated as "3rd rate citizens and creatures whose existence is only tolerated"! So Tayyip Bey has understood correctly that this is not about just 5 or 10 trees! Now it's time to do what is needed to be done: For example, he will have to learn not to call kids who stroll around with only a simit (kind of pretzel) and lemonade money in their pockets as "paid men of the interest rate lobby" (!) Or learn not to speak degradingly of the main opposition party as "CHP's (Republican People's Party) mentality is full of filth" if he wants peace in his country… Can you imagine the opposition leader, the President of CHP, Kılıçdaroğlu saying something similar about Erdoğan's Party? The Prime Minister will need to review from A to Z, all his reflexes of addresing the crowds and the way to lead his politics.
When it comes to the patriotic, independent-minded, creative nation-wide demonstrators that have started their democratic struuggle journey with Gezi Park and that have been unfortunately devastated by the police forces, I admire their improvised social defense reflexes, consciousness, and commitment. Conducting this solidarity with lots of belief, in spite of all the hard days they are going through, the violence they have been subject to, has directed in envy the attention of the whole world to Gezi Park. This resistance is now the responsibility of all of us. Turkish democracy is facing its worst period in these coming dark days and the whole world has to watch closely. The President of Turkish Lawyers Mr Metin Feyzioğlu, has declared today that they will take to the European Counsel all the infractions against Human Rights Agreement of the AKP government. The reactions of Europe will also weigh a lot in the coming near future of Turkish politics and its relations with Europe.