8 Haziran 2013 Cumartesi


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I received the following e-mail from a friend on June 11th, 2013.

...I hope you are all fine, safe and sound!

A friend of mine, Sandra,  works as journalist for the german magazin "Focus". She would like to talk to people, who can tell her about the demonstations in Turkey.
My first thought was of course you.

If you wouldn't mind her calling you for an interview, please give me or her  your phone number.
Maybe she could talk to both of you!

She would appreciate your phone number.

I wrote back immediately:

...I would be glad. We are in Annecy right now. Tell her to look at my blog below for background information- I have been compiling it
for over a year for just such a time. In fact, please pass on the link to everybody who is willing to know. The Western public opinion is our only chance since the governments have supported Erdoğan all this time.
Tell your friend to write an e-mail at this address so we can arrange a talk. Or she can write her questions and I can answer in writing, to eliminate misunderstandings...

I added cell phone number as well as the number of the hotel and the room number.

My friend must have forwarded my reply directly. I received this mail from the journalist the next day,June 12th:

…I am the friend of …, who is working for the German online-magazine FOCUS Online.

If I understand it right, you wrote that you have been waiting for one year to the protests. Does it mean, that you connected with other people who are against Erdogan in the past. And that you`ve waited for the right occasion go on the street to protest – in this case the demonstrations against unwanted shopping mall?

And have you been in Istanbul the last weeks? Or in Zurich? 
In your blog you are writing about old people who demonstrate against the Erdogan-government. So would you say that young and old is against Erdogan? And are the older people have the same reasons to go on the street as the younger?

What exactly is your critic?

And may I ask, what exactly is your background? Are you working in the animated-cartoon-business…?

Thanks a lot for your answers.

Yours, S…

The misunderstanding was amazing. From my words, the German journalist had somehow come to the conclusion that I was involved in a plot to start the uprising a year in advance. A terrifying insinuation for a person who lives in a country where hundreds are in prison and on trial for alleged plots. I wrote back immediately:

Hello S..., thanks for writing. I have attached my response as a Word file. Please write back to tell me you've got it. I can write more, just ask away!
And below is the text in the attached file (minus the preliminaries):

...Normally I and my wife are resident in Istanbul. We are now attending the animation festival in Annecy, France. The trip was arranged, reservations made, and tickets bought a good deal earlier. Our flight out of Istanbul was on the 7th of June, so we were in Istanbul up to that time.  

We were spending the weekend in Switzerland before moving on to Annecy. That’s when we heard of the demonstration in Zürich, so we went and participated- it helped ease our consciences for being away at a time like this.

During the protests we went to Taksim only once, choosing a more quiet evening- june 1st . In my blog there is a link to a montage of video images I shot that day, in the article entitled “Everywhere is Taksim”, of June 2nd, 2013. We were not brave enough to go there when things got really hot because we have a horror of being gassed since we experienced its effect on Republic Day, Oct. 29th 2012. They call it “tear gas” but that’s the least of it; it chokes you, you simply can’t breathe. It is terrible not being able to get air into your lungs. We have done our protesting in the safer Kadıköy area, on Bağdat Caddesi.

I am no hero; I have been apolitical all my life, have never participated in a demonstration until Erdoğan’s AKP came to power. We have been following the events on the Ulusal and Halk channels, the only two that have covered the events continuously and live. Ulusal can be reached only by sattelite dish and is supported by the public.

Now to your question about whether I connected with other people and waited for the right moment. No, that is not what I meant. What I meant was that I saw it coming. It is the theme of my new years’ card for 2012, well before the Taksim park protests. By then I had lived long enough under the AKP regime to see where things were going.
Turkey has been under the AKP regime for ten years and we have lived with the frustration of seeing Erdoğan’s AKP being lionized by the US and Europe as a democratic, liberal government.

We have witnessed the best of the nation accused of terrorism and jailed, with an infiltrated police providing the “evidence” and a puppet judiciary conducting the trials. We have witnessed fundamentalism making inroads as a part of government policy. We witnessed the AKP government conducting a well thought-out program of pulling the Turkish Republic apart while feeding an Islamist neo-Ottoman dream to the masses. We could see our armed forces being systematically disbanded even as the government was committing itself to a US-commanded operation against Syria- a war the Turkish people did not want!

The Western press was locked on Syria, refusing to acknowledge the evils of Erdoğan’s AKP regime, honoring the President and Prime Minister- partners in crime- with invitations, banquets, honorary doctorates and the like. When the AKP government started cancelling national holidays, as a part of its Islamizatin and Ottomanization process, I and my wife started attending rallys. Coming up to the May 19th “Youth Day” celebrations, again cancelled by the government, I decided to start a blog. In writing it I tried to be as accurate and reliable as I could, checking sources and giving references. I sent links to friends all over, but very few bothered to look at it. Even though I had a very small readersip, I decided to keep at it, for the day when things would come to a head and all hell would inevitably break loose. I knew that then, people around the world would suddenly be curious about what happened. Just over a year after I started the blog the house of cards collapsed. I did not plan it, I was not involved in it, I don’t have activist friends- our closes friends are disturbingly uninvolved. The inevitable came, it was the world who refused to see it coming, that is all!

In my blog I made a point of showing the faces of the people who have been expressing their feelings against the government- there are photos and videos. Go through the blog pages and look at them, you will see the opposition to the AKP bridges the gaps between generations and social standing! Whatever their differences in political opinions, they are united in their conviction that Ataturk’s secular Republic is something worth preserving. The older people remember the hope and pride of the days when the republic was young, the new generation has taken Ataturk’s prophetic “Call to the Youth” to heart, and we are all amazed at the accuracy of his predictions. See “The Youth”, Dec. 16th, 2012.

Erdoğan and his AKP is conducting a program of liquidating 
the secular Turkish Republic as created under the 
leadership of Kemal Atatürk in the 20’s. The program was planned and put into operation by the United States, as a part of its Greater Middle East Project which envisages a new role for Turkey. The secular Turkey which was a useful ally during the Cold War era is now unwanted; the US wants a “moderate Islam” model in the Middle East which will have influence in the Muslim world while remaining a loyal puppet of te US. A cleric named Fethulah Gülen, elementary school graduate lauded as an intellectual, is the spiritual leader of the operation, and he pulls the strings from his Philadelphia ranch.

“Moderate Islam” in this context means “obedient to 
US/globalist interests”, not a more relaxed approach to 
religion. As the Turkish republic is made to disappear in small steps- they have even proposed to remove the word “Turkish” from the constitution- religion is pumped up and forced on the population, particularly the young. The educational system is being rearranged to that end, and neighbourhood schools are being changed to clerical schools, forcing the neighbourhood children already studying there to submit or find a school elsewhere.

Turkey is being set up for war against Syria, and when that’s done, against Iran, on US behest. Syrian refugees have been circulating armed and freely instead of keeping to their camps, much to the discomfort of the population in the area. Two massive explosions in the Hatay region have disrupted the peace there recently, one blamed by the government on Syria, which has no reason to open a new front against Turkey, and the other on the Alawite population, often targeted by the Sunni Erdoğan himself, a dangerous provokation which the local population thankfully did ot swallow.[1] The concensus among the local population attributes the bombings to the Syrian insurgents.
Erdoğan’s warlike talk exceeds even US expectations. He tries to make the idea palatable to his countrymen by invoking Ottoman glory- see “War Drums of a Non-Militarist Government”, September 18th, 2012. Ataturk himself eschewed expansionism.

Among the “successes” of the AKP government, the US and 
the Europeans count the “reigning in of the military” and 
“ending the war with the PKK”; both of which would be 
counted as treason in those very countries applauding it. The Turkish Armed Forces is a constitutional organization, as indeed are the forces of any sovreign state. None of the three military interventions of the history of the Republic was made in peaceful circumstances; if the policies of the interim governments can be criticised, so too should be the civilian governments which have led the country into the chaos that led to the interventions. Just today, the democratic civilian AKP government arrested some 30 protesting lawyers at Istanbul’s Palace of Justice. Democratic and civilian indeed!
To make sure that this time the military would not execute its duty to protect and defend the Republic while the AKP overturns everything that was created by Ataturk and fellow reformers, the AKP has launched a smear campaign enforced with dubious informants and planted evidence. The coming Kurdish independence is fed to the public as an expansion, a federated Turkish-Kurdish state that will take in northern Iraq as a new Ottoman state. The disappointment will be great when they find it is really a loss of territory, de-facto and unnegotiated, with populations split along two sides of the new border.

The Turkish population rising for the park in Taksim did not rise because it was the last straw; that had come long ago but people had no hope. The day-long protests at the Silivri prison had no chance to grow, isolated as they were miles out of Istanbul; the May 19th and October 29th rallys were signals to the government- we will celebrate the important days of our republic’s history! Mayday, violent as it was, was over in a day. The one thing that was different about Gezi park was that, once the police attacked, the struggles took long enough for people to rally in support. And as the struggle stretched on and snowballed they gave the people hope that this time, maybe, the nightmare would be over.
I have tried to answer your questions, am ready to write more if you want; ten years involves a lot of material. But thank you for asking! And please, let everybody know! The Western governments are content to see Erdoğan and his AKP in power; the Western public opinion is our only hope!...

I believe I answered everything she asked, and the blog has enough material to set a journalist into action.
I got this answer, again on the same day.

…thanks a lot for the detailed answer!

We are considering to take it – shortened and slightly modified – as a guest article on our news site (in German). Today, unfortunately I am concerned with other things. But in case we would like to publish your remarks: Would it be okay for you? And would it be okay to publish them with your complete name – perhaps a picture?...

So- they asked for information to help them compile an article, and the next day it became a “guest article”; it was starting to look like Focus was hesitant about seeming to take a position on the issue. I wrote back immediately, same date again, June 12th 2013:

Hello again. You may use my name. As for a photo, I don't 
think I did anything to merit being honored with a picture; 
why don't you put one of the excellent photos that appeared in the media? I am attaching my favorite. But if you think it is more suitable for your page layout to have a personal photo of mine, I will find and send you one.
I am also attaching my newyear card for 2012, to show you how easy it was to to see where the country was going even way back then. It was half a year before I started the blog!...

The picture I attached was the very dramatic photo I used at the opening of my article “Promenade Park Uprising, Continued”, 5 June-Haziran 2013. As for m new year’ card for 2012, prepared through the last months of 2012, see below!

New years’ illustration for 2012; the idea makes reference to the excellent Disney-Pixar production, Up (2009). In this case, the house (my wife’s village chalet) floats over a scene of social chaos that was brewing even then and was bound to explode one day.


The reply from the journalist from Focus came swiftly, again on the same day:

 …thanks. I will send you a link in case we publish it. Best regards, Sandra

I haven’t received a link yet.

[1] Explosion at the border crossing at Cilvegözü, Hatay, Feb. 11th, 2013. Explosion in Reyhanlı, Hatay, May 11th, 2013.
(Image from he media.)

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