Monday, June 3, 2013

Revolution in Turkey

By the way, guys, up to 250,000 people in Turkey have been protesting their government since May 28th.  I know social media sites are on fire with #OccupyGezi and the like, but I've hardly seen any of my friends taking notice of it, so I want to make sure you know.  Because it's important.
(6.5.2013 Edit: The total number of protestors has been raised to the millions.)

via an interview with a Turkish protestor via ROAR magazine

Gezi Park was due to be demolished to make way for military barracks/a shopping mall.  There is more history behind the park, but at the moment, it is one of the few green spaces in Istanbul, especially in the center.  It's also in the Taksim Square, the epicenter of culture and Westernization.  First, people were peacefully protesting the cutting of the trees by spending the night and reading and sitting in tents, but when police came to the park and started harassing the protestors, the protest grew to include more and deeper issues.

Islamization has brought about legislation restricting alcohol, abortion*, and public displays of affection.  The freedom of speech and freedom of press have also been restricted, and during the protests, the right to assembly has been dismissed by the police and government.  This is all led by the AKP (Islamist Justice and Development Party) with Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan.  Read more on what's been happening on Wikipedia's page on the protest which will link you to other pertinent pages.

What's astounded me about what I've seen in Turkey is how people from all walks of life are involved.  The internet includes Right, Left, Nationalist, Muslim, LGBT, and all other peoples in its list of supporters.  The pictures show many student-aged people, but I've seen a lot more middle-aged and eldery folks than I expected.  There are also pictures and reports of professionals getting involved up to their necks in the protest.  Lawyers are among the protestors collecting evidence of police brutality.  Doctors and medics are giving out their phone numbers to protestors and are treating the injured in the streets.  Families are opening their homes and emptying their fridges to provide food, and establishments are unlocking their wifi to allow access for protestors.

The Turkish government and police force's responses have been appalling.  Tayyip Erdoğan makes it sound like an annoying little skirmish from a minority of his people.  The nation's news sources have been broadcasting cooking shows and acting as if nothing is wrong.  The police have been assaulting unarmed protestors and have using using tear gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets.  Turkey's largest network provider has been pressured to shut down its signals in the areas with the most activity to weaken the protestors' communication.  Protestors have resorted to Facebook and Twitter or organize and share information.

I just want to make sure you know, because the world should know.  Police should be the protectors of the people, not terrorists.  The government should be addressing the protests candidly, not pretending they don't exist.  The people of Turkey have my support, and I hope the horror ends soon.  May it truly be a revolution.

*Abortion is wrong, but going back on legislation to allow it would cause an uproar in any country, so I of course mentioned it here.


  1. Thanks for your attention about #OccupyGezi. I am not sure whether it made it to news in Korea but it makes us happy to receive a huge support and interest from overseas friends. Even though resist of Turkish youth is a way of saying "Enough!" and opposing to incremental oppressive, incistent politics of P.M. Erdogan's government, this is not a problem of only Turkish people. This is all about being aware of potential abuse of human rights and freedom under cover of fake democracy. As Ataturk says, freedom and independence are our characteristics. There are many things to be told and shared about #OccupyGezi resist which takes place in 21st century. I hope young people give more attention to these protests and find a good message. Freedom, peace and love for everyone! Thanks again!

    1. I wish I could be standing in the streets with you. I agree that these are issues that touch not only Turkey but the whole world. Stand strong, and know that my strength is with you, too.


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