Monday, June 3

It's Not About Scenery, It's About Sending a Message

Today, my post will not be about miniatures and stuff. I believe some of you must have heard the recent events in my home country, Turkey. The huge civil disorder is in its sixth day now; but the police violence is getting more serious with each day.
The lady in red has already been one
of the symbols of the resistance.

The resistance started from a small, centrally-located park of İstanbul, Gezi Park. A couple dozen protesters had started a sit-in inside the park until they were brutally attacked by police with pepper gases and brute force. One of those protesters, the woman in red has already been one of the symbols of the resistance with her no f*ck given that day attitude vs the pepper spray.

People who had grown tired of the political pressure, spearheaded by the prime minister / dictator R.Tayyip Erdoğan and accompanying police violence characterized by the extensive and overwhelming usage of pepper gas / spray, decided that enough is enough. Within hours, people gathered in Taksim Square, the iconic gathering place at the heart of İstanbul which is also nearby Gezi Park. There were no "leaders" of the resistance, people just got organized from the social media and got out on the streets. That was friday night. There were protests in more than 60 of Turkey's 81 provinces simultaneously. Millions were out on streets, while the PM was still blabbering that "Do whatever you want, our decision is final."

The ground is fully covered by
pepper gas canisters in İstanbul.
Everything was fine until after midnight the police struck again. Brute force, pepper gases, water cannons that would throw you away 5 meters easily were used against the peaceful protesters. From then on, the resistance gained support and power from regular citizens, even though the violence was also increasing. FB, Twitter are full of the photos and videos of police violence but that didn't stop the protesters. The chants "Tayyip İstifa!", calling the PM to resign were everywhere.

I don't live in İstanbul; but I was out on streets on friday and saturday. I was never in the thick of the events actually; just a minor exposure to pepper gas to be honest. But yesterday (sunday) was the worst of all. Even medical attention spots were gased by police, militia armed with nailed bats and supported by police hunted down small groups of protesters, surrendered protesters got thrown in the sea and more...

There is a huge media blackout in Turkey. Even the news channels turned a blind eye what was going on in the country. Our only sources are what we and our friends saw and a couple of TV channels, that's all. One of the CNN reporters (who's a foreigner) reported, in disbelief:

"Imagine there is a protest in Times Square and nobody's covering it. That's what's happening here right now."

We, Turkish people, won't forget these dark days and the dictatorship of PM Erdoğan. Please share whatever you find about İstanbul protests. You can even find a protest organized in your home country: From New York to Milano, there happened protests with 500+ people attending. Also here is the CNN's coverage of the events.

Pissed off, wanted to blow some steam off and got off from Facebook where I tried to inform friends out on streets last night. In one hour or so, i built this. Not the best thing in the world; but it helped me to keep my mind away from all this madness surrounding the country.

Thanks for reading this.



"Tayyip İSTİFA!" means
"PM, RESIGN!" (his name is Tayyip)
"Sis Atma O.Ç." means
"don't throw gases, you sonuva..."


8 comments:

Paradox0n said... [Reply]

Heiho. Here in Germany there are protests from turkish migrants also. Even if our news cover the protests, I know from personal experience that they are not showing everything thats going on there.
I really feel with you, two years ago when things started on Tahrir we had friends there and got news from first hand and therefore hope thats things don't turn out as bad in Turkey as they were in Egypt...

Precarious detail: Some arabic countries look up to Turkey as a country where there is a democratic islam and want to follow its model.

Wish you all the best. Keep your heads up.

BuRock said... [Reply]

@Paradox0n
Thanks for the support mate. We are not after a "Spring" here in Turkey. We just want the current political oppression to loosen up and let us breathe.

please share whatever you can find on media.

thanks again...

Paradox0n said... [Reply]

@BuRock
If you look at the news feeds it is already called "Turkish Spring" even if its not what the protests are about.

Nothing to thank since I can do nothing but read news and stay interested.
Here in Germany it is often forgotten that freedom is nothing that is freely granted (even here). In our history we (the Germans) also had to fight for it, more than once.

Robert (Grovel) said... [Reply]

This is mind boggling to me, I cant imagine such a thing happening because of government here.
There is a significant Turkish population here so im surprised ive not heard about these events sooner.
Has Tayyip been in power long?

BuRock said... [Reply]

Tayyip is in power for over 10 years now. His party won 3 elections in a row, winning by bigger margins everytime. They also won two referandums in the process, one of which gave power to the govt over jurisdiction.

Known with radical islam roots but with claims that he has changed, he quickly moved from a conservative politician to a dictator with iron fist.

Since you have some Turkish friends in your neighbourhood, I d strongly advise you to learn from them. You can even show up on one of the support meetings. I heard there are no gas bombs there.

Thanks for the support mate. Much appreciated...

Tony said... [Reply]

Keep safe.

Tony

SinSynn said... [Reply]

Thanks for writing this.
Over the last few weeks, I've been following both this and some other stories (Syria, for instance) with increasing interest.
I live in the Bronx, NYC, and I have many Muslim friends. The 'popular media' here in my country seems very determined to 'demonize' Muslims, but I tend to form my opinions not through what the media tells me, but from my own experiences.

What is happening in Turkey is indeed worrysome, and I wish you luck.

I recently wrote a post for the House of Paincakes discussing Islam, since my favorite game, Infinity, features a Muslim faction (Haqqislam). I was relieved when it was well-received, and there were no hateful comments.
We may be hobby bloggers, but I see no reason why we can't occasionally branch out, and talk about the world at large a bit.
Kudos to you, sir, for putting this out there!

To tell you the truth, I would rather here YOUR take on the story, since YOU'RE actually THERE, rather than some filtered, watered-down nonsense the media might try to pass over on me.
So thank you, thank you, thank you.

If anyone's ever wondered why the governments of this world seem a bit worried about the internet, and are making efforts to control it- THIS IS WHY.
I read somewhere that your Prime Minister/Dictator guy called Social Media 'very dangerous,' or something along those lines.
Well, duh- because he can't control it, and dissenters are using it to spread the message, and organize against dictators and the like.
It's kinda sad that once one 'dictator type' gets ousted, someone not much better, or even worse may take their place, since only plutocrats seem to have the resources to wage political campaigns and rise to power- look at what's happening in Egypt, for example.
Sigh.

But that's no reason to stop fighting the good fight. We, the citizens of this world, will eventually work out the solutions, I hope, but it may be a long, hard grind getting there.
And there will likely be a cost, in lives, and pain.
'The woman in red' has already become an iconic symbol of your struggle. Tear gassing her was a HUGE mistake by the police, since clearly she's about as threatening as a mouse is to a hawk.
I hope she's ok.
Sigh. What a world we live in, where a rotten politician can use his position of power to harm, instead of help, and to impose his will upon MILLIONS.

I wish you all the best, and you and all the freedom loving people of Turkey, who don't want to see the clock turned back to a time when repression was the order of the day (especially women, who just want to follow their dreams), are all in my thoughts.

Don't give up- I'm a half a world away, and I, and many like me, are rooting for you!

Thanks again for being brave enough to talk about this here.

Be eezy,
SinSynn

BuRock said... [Reply]

@Tony
@SinSynn
Thanks for the support guys.

SinSynn, glad to see such a politically-aware fellow around here. I am also glad that my blog post somehow found its way to you, from half a world away as you said. This is why the governments hate the internet and social media. They cant control it the way they control the mainstream media. However, the police has proven themselves to be better than i expected. they have been using social media channels in disguise in recent days. By doing this, they managed to raid the safe or medical spots, goad people to remote locations and detain them by spreading false information, you name it...

the resistance in its 13th day right now. people are still flocking to the central squares in their towns. Some people used their precious vacation days to be there and support the resistance. The ones who have jobs have been living a double life, going to work in the morning, only to attend to the protests after work hours.

On the other hand, nothing has changed regarding to the PM's attitude. He still uses the threat language, marginalize the people who are supporting the resistance and wows revenge. We will see how it turns out I guess...

Anyway, I am also glad to see that you re an Infinity fan too. That game is also one of my favorites. I hope we can get a chance to get a game or ten if we ever have a chance to get together.

Many thanks again. Spread the word please...

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