5 June 2013
A Report on the Situation in Turkey
Date: Wed, 05 Jun 2013 14:59:29 +0200
From: "Erich M." <me[at]quintessenz.org>
Subject: Re: <nettime> #occupyGezi
On 06/05/2013 10:41 AM, Felix Stalder wrote:
> Like many people, I've been following the news re: #occupyGezi, but
> still feel I don't really understand what's happening there. It would
> great if someone could provide an first-hand, on-the-ground
> rather than just some second-hand theory based on media accounts.
Felix and all,
Her is some first hand report that came in on another list, source should
be trusted, as the sender cooperates with EDRi
A Report on the Situation in Turkey
Irfan Erdogan, erdogan.irfan[at]gmail.com,
I am writing this to inform you that people in over 65 cities of 81 in Turkey
are demonstrating against the reactionary and oppressive regime of Tayyip
Erdogan and his party. We have demonstrations even in the most reactionary
cities in Turkey. People in every neighborhood in the cities are on the street.
Police throw gas bombs at demonstrators, beat and arrest people. It is not
like in the late 1960s, because people did not care about us much then. We
students were demonstrating for independence and socialism then. Now everybody
is on the street. Nobody cheered when we were demonstrating in the late 60s
in Turkey. Now people are cheering and supporting the demonstrators. Today
we have more people on the street in my neighborhood in Ankara than yesterday.
Police are shooting gas bombs inside the houses because people are providing
shelter for demonstrators who are escaping from gas and police beatings.
Youngsters and people from every walk of life are on the street and want
the Erdogan government to resign. Erdogan uses the classic rhetoric about
demonstrators and he threatens them by saying that he can send one million
supporters to the street (he means, to smash the demonstrations). He says:
"I keep 50 percent of the population at home" (he means that he can use 50
percent of people who support him against the other people). His mindset
and approach reminds me of Jay Gould who said once that he is not worried
about demonstrations and labor strikes, because he can hire one-half of the
working class to kill the other half. For a lot of people, Erdogan is a
reactionary dictator. In Turkey people are scared to say something against
Erdogan. Television did not provide any news about the demonstrations except
the television stations of the major opposition party and Turkish Labor party
television, because mainstream media either support the administration or
are scared of Erdogans rage/wrath. People in Istanbul walked in front
of the major television stations and announced that if they do not feature
them in the news they will occupy the TV station. Then, TV stations started
reporting, but in a highly distorted manner. After this incident, very few
media personnel resigned from their posts in the TV channel. Erdogan scolded
the Reuters journalist who dared to ask him a question that he did not like.
The Internet is used for the most effective channel of communication and
organization of the protests by everybody. Erdogan expressed his utmost anger
against Twitter and social media. Everybody uses their mobile phone for
communication and recording the events and putting/disseminating them on
the Internet. Mainstream media started lying as usual. Two main labor unions
in Turkey run by those who ask some meaningless concessions from the government
try to stop workers to demonstrate, but workers are on the street, too.
Demonstrations are rapidly spreading all over the country. Soon, I know,
religious reactionaries (not all religious people are reactionary) will attack
demonstrators. There is a high probability that we will witness a domestic/civil
war in Turkey.
I was at the center of the demonstrations in Ankara yesterday and the day
before. Demonstrators do not do anything wrong, but police continuously shoot
pressured water, gas and noise bombs at them and attack demonstrators. Police
behave like they are fighting an enemy. They curse at and threaten people
by e.g. saying: "get lost otherwise we arrest you and you know what we do
when we arrest you." We know there are some progressive and conscientious
people in the police force, but they are also under the threat of the empire
of fear. But we will see a differing police behavior as the time goes by
in the process. Now, there is an indiscriminate uss of gas bombs (CS gas).
Your eyes get severely burned and you cannot breathe, you start coughing,
and you feel dizzy if you are close to the fume. Also when it hits you or
blows up beside you, you get shocked (I saw it). So far we have four killings
and many wounded.
As usual, they claim that demonstrators/provocateurs destroy and vandalize
everything around. Yes we see a lot of destruction; in fact, it is started
and done by plain-cloth police. How do I know: (1) this is a historical fact.
(2) I know from the late 60s, because we could recognize the police then,
but it is difficult to recognize them now. (3) How come there is no vandalism,
destruction and terror where there is no police around? Here are few examples:
I attend demonstrations at the center of the city where police provokes,
attacks and where plain cloth police destroys everything around provoking
some young people to do the same. My daughter and my wife and neighbors attend
huge demonstrations in our neighborhood where there is no police presence
yet: You can see no violence, no destruction and no vandalism in these
demonstrations. Yesterday, I had to come back home early at night because
I almost fainted three times because of the police gas. Later, I attended
two neighborhood demonstrations and there were no destruction and violence.
Last year, I attended two demonstrations in Athens, Greece. There was no
police presence and there was no violence and destruction. Athens was burning
when there was police presence. When police was involved, Athens was like
a war zone, like in Ankara and Istanbul. Those who rule the police force
organize and run the show of violence and destruction as usual.
People are against "Erdogans empire" that is misrepresented in Europe
and elsewhere. This reactionary party clearly stated that they "use the democracy
train until they get the power and reach their destination." They are
misperceived by Europeans who think that this government is anti-racist and
democratic. They are not racist because their political view belongs to the
middle ages of Islamic rule: They think that all Muslims are the people of
God and those who are not Muslim are condemned by God and will all go to
hell. That is why Erdogan is against nationalism, but his/their nationalism
is based "ummad/ümmed" that means the collective
community/nation/commonwealth/empire of Islamic peoples. Their nationalism
is based on a different logic, the logic of Muslim statehood. A statehood
where a prime minister considers himself king and tells people that he does
anything he wants, he builds a mosque there if he wants (there
refers to the park where people do not want the government to cut the trees
down). Before the uprising, demonstrators were sleeping in the park and police
attacked them at dawn. The government uses the known tactics of Hitler: The
police invades people's (e.g., journalists, academicians, army commanders)
houses and arrests them very late at night, especially at dawn. They call
it dawn operation. They arrest young people for demonstrating
or saying something against the administration. Students at school cannot
wear a T-shirt with any message that can be considered political
expression. Now, there are journalists, academics, politicians, army
commanders, students and other political prisoners who have been in jail
for more than 5 years WAITING FOR TRIAL OR TRIAL IN PROGRESS.
Their rule is based on material plunder and ignorance that is fed by
multi-channeled mis-information, education and re-education. Their current
rule is historically comparable to extensive degrees of material plunder:
They (party leaders and business owners) allocate material riches to themselves
and immaterial values to the true and fake believers who generally are ready
for slaughter while chanting God is great regardless if opponents
are Muslims or not - like crusaders in the middle age who conducted killings
in the name of Jesus despite the fact that Jesus is completely against oppression
and killings. We hear this chanting on TV news when Syrian opposite forces
fire guns and kill people. This also reminds me not only od the War Prayer
of Mark Twain but also the pressure he got from his publisher and family
against publishing it. The policies of the ruling party in Turkey are also
supported by some old so called Marxists and/or, Maoists, leftists
and their sons/daughters who mostly reside in Istanbul and live a posh life
(some work for media corporations with 20-30 thousand dollars salaries a
month and/or get paid by the media for their appearances in discussion shows
or get benefits in different ways).
The widespread fear in Turkey is also fed by private enterprises: Once there
was state censorship (it still prevails), now we have censorship by the rule
of private enterprises, so-called auto-censorship (self-censorship) which
is buttressed by organizational and peer oppression in media and academia.
I wrote a book for a university last year and I had to revise it many times
because they are scared of law suits from private enterprises (especially
by the media). You can not mention a corporations name, you cannot
criticize a corporation by providing its name. I sometimes watch the Tonight
Show and similar US shows in English in Turkey and Turkish subtitles do not
give any names of any corporation that is mentioned in the show. I was sued
by the show producer last month for 20.000 dollars for criticizing one of
the most popular TV sitcoms in a meeting (I make about 2000 dollars a month).
Freedom of thought and expression is suppressed not only by the ruling
administration but also by the corporations and those who are scared of being
a target of revenge. Freedom is a right and privilege of the ruling and powerful
forces who can also manipulate and abuse the law for their own interests.
Copyright freedom is not a freedom of the writers, it rather protects (or
turned to be) the property right of the enterprises.
This is the first time I am witnessing a public uprising. It is different
than the one we had in the late 60s.
People all over the world should know. Yet, unfortunately, the whole
world is watching carefully packaged factoids. In Turkey, the media
was not proving any news on the uprisings until yesterday, and they were
broadcasting usual series, soap operas, sitcoms, competition programs and
films instead. Now they cannot hide anymore, thus they started their usual
mind management business in the news. To a varying extent, similar evaluations
can be reached about the coverage on international news channels such as
BBC, Al Jazeera, The Press TV and RTV that I watch often.
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