16th June, 2013, Istanbul
Bihter [suname removed to protect the writer]
Personal Notes on the 17th day of the Resistance in Turkey
What is basically happening in Turkey now is that we de facto have no state of law anymore.
Last night the police attacked hospitals, like the German hospital close to Taksim and threw gas bombs into the emergency rooms, they took away the gas masks from the faces of people standing in gas clouds, collected the medicine against gas injuries, arrested the voluntary doctors and even shot plastic bullets at people. Ambulances were transporting more gas support to the police forces, not helping one injured person. More than hundred lawyers were arrested days before in court, while making a peaceful protest.
Governor Mutlu declares constantly that there are no injured people, although WE KNOW, WE SAW with our own blank eyes and have records of many injured people. The speakers and representatives of the government are constantly lying, threatening people with more police violence and arrests. And actually today several arrests happened, taking people into custody in their private homes, who had been active in the protests. ALL demonstrations were and are peaceful till now and are a manifestation of passive resistance, but the more violently the police attacks, the more repressive and ignorant speeches come from the government, the more people run to the streets for protest.
Yesterday I saw the strength of a crowd of 50.000 people, standing fearlessly in front of the police water cannons shouting: The police won’t betray it’s own people! I was also standing right in front of the police forces to protest the brutal attacks in Gezi-Park last night, protesting the fascist practices of the government. As the police started their brutal attack on the highway to the Bosporus-Bridge last night, high school students were running beside me, elderly women, who couldn’t breath, running away from the gas clouds behind us, which wouldn’t stop, and which sounded like bullet shots falling from the skies, leaving us in a vast cloud of grey gas, which hindered our breath, our sight. Thousands of people, we were fleeing in one direction on an empty high way, but still not a single person was left behind. Only few people were equipped with gas masks, my friend gave me his, so he almost fainted from the gas, while running away. There were calls for doctors from the crowd all the time, many doctors are among us all the time. Lots would have died, if there would have been any panic outbreak, but no, “calm, calm, keep calm, don’t run, walk fast, don’t run” everybody was shouting. People, who were suffocating, managed to keep it together and run calmly, noticing that otherwise everybody would get hurt, and even die. These were people, who never experienced police violence before, who maybe never went on a demonstration or protest before.
The president of Turkey, Gül should have taken control by now, as his job description entails, but not a single declaration comes, PM’s of the opposition parties CHP and MHP are called for resignation from many people in the social media, so that the government can fall legitimately and the police violence could stop immediately. No meaningful declaration from the opposition parties either.
A lot of conspiracy theories are circulating about what might come next for Turkey, or what other plans might be on the international agenda.
EU, USA, Human Rights Associations and Courts have still not made any critical notice to the government of Turkey.
I am deeply sad to see all the world go numb, wise enough to not except more, terrified to see my friends, students, family members running into gas bombs and water cannons, scared of their and my life.
What happens here and now in Turkey, actually never happened before, not in Turkey, and not elsewhere. What is so thrilling, what is the strength of this movement is on one hand the solidarity among the people and on the other the heterogeneity of the people in the streets standing together for the same cause: Resistance against authoritarian and fascist state policies, which effect the daily lives of every single citizen by now.
This is no polarization among Islamists and modernists, or Laizists, this is only the picture the ruling party tries to impose on the international media, a picture you all would immediately dismiss, if you were here on the streets.
Who is on the streets? I am! I am thirty-seven, an Asst. Prof. of Political Science, a single mother, who has a twelve year old son; a feminist and critical thinker, someone who was born in Istanbul, witnessed the military coup in 1980, grew up under a repressive military regime following the Neo-liberalization and Islamization of Turkey.
The Prime Minister Erdoğan declared, “37 of our Sünni (ruling Islamic confession in Turkey) citizens were killed at the Turkish border of Syria”. Never before, in the history of the Republic of Turkey, such a statement was made. Till now, the emphasis had been on different ethnicities, who lived together peacefully for centuries, but not on the common ground of being a Sünni. This is how the ruling party also mapped out it’s strategy for the Kurdish peace process, dismantling the ethnic dimension of the Kurdish movement, creating a common ground of being a Sünni Kurd and a Sünni Turk, who were projected as brothers in arms. This was the political strategy for establishing a new Nationalism, a conservative-Islamic Nationalism. This is also the reason why the progressive, Marxist Kurdish movement didn’t join the resistance movement till now, because of the alliance between the ruling party AKP and the Kurdish political movement, making plans, checks and balances for a profitable solution for both sides.
The “quasi” intellectuals, academicians, opinion-makers and strategists in Turkey, who are visible on all main stream media channels and international academic networks are supporting this neo-liberal staging of hegemonic interest and power groups and are only providing sociological and political analysis to support the same hegemonic blocs. Analysis which are spreading the idea of a “new uprising youth” in Turkey, “a de-political, deliberative new generation”, the discourse and the symbolic meanings of the “squares” etc., are only systemically degrading the political importance of this people’s movement in Turkey. Since movements, which come from the people and are for the people are always the most “dangerous”, most uncontrollable forces in the eyes of the hegemonic power blocs.
I never ever witnessed such a repression before, I never witnessed how a ruling party would take over the jurisdiction, the education system, the banks, the media and would shut down everyone, who are not in line with them.
I never witnessed such a violence before against peaceful resisting people, such a brutality against it’s own people, not in that dimension, not against so many different people from all different ethnic, ideological, social, gender and class backgrounds, who stand as one.
The governor Mutlu just declared: “Who ever tries to enter Taksim square now, will be considered and treated like a terrorist”! We have many terrorists on the streets now, trying to make their way, through little, hidden narrow streets, where the police is positioned to gas and beat and arrest them.
One terrorist is missing on the streets today! Me. It’s the fear of death, which has captured me, the deepest human fear. Witnessing and being part of the resistance since 17 days now, I see that neither the Prime Minister, nor the government, or the police forces, who are acting out of their orders will stop. They will get more brutal, more fascist and no one will care other than our burning hearts.
I am out of words.