23 Aralık 2013 Pazartesi


Türkçe için bkz. "Gezi Yılını Kapatırken", 27 Aralık 2013.

After the eventful year 2013, happy new year 2014!
(In this and in all other illustrations, the credit for the color design goes to my wife.)

It has been a tradition with us to prepare a seasonal drawing every year to send to friends and relatives. They were printed and sent with a short personal hand-written note. Since internet entered our lives, we have started sending them out by e-mail. Many of the drawings sent by post have been returned to us because the recipient has moved so we don't send any by post anymore unless we are sure of the address, but the tradition of sending prints with hand-written notes continues on a reduced scale!

Originally these illustrations were quite ligthhearted; the very fırst shadows came with the newyear's drawing for 2002, following the World Trade Center tragedy, the famous "9/11".
Also very topical was the crippling embargo on neighbouring Iraq and the humiliating "no-fly zones" from the 33rd parallel southwards and the 36th parallel northwards, which involved almost gratuitously shooting down Iraqi fighters and taking out Iraqi anti-aircraft installations. (At one point, in its zeal, the US even shot down its own helicopters- two UH 60 Blackhawks- on April 14th, 1994, carrying US, British, French and Turkish occupants.) The sense of approaching war in the region was very strong. The caption "Let the new year be better" reflects my distress regarding unfolding tragedies I could not ignore!

I could not know then that not only Iraq, but Turkey was also targeted for transformation in the "new" middle east. The conservative Islamist Tayyip Erdoğan, then mayor of Istanbul, had already been noticed and selected as the willing US puppet that would rule Turkey in the coming years. US Ambassador Morton Isaac Abramowitz had reportedly made contact as early as 1996 and given the message; Erdoğan subsequently made several visits to the US. On August 14th 2001 Erdoğan became the chairman of the newly founded AKP, the "Party of Justice and Progress" (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi)- an instrument of the US policy of creating a "moderate Islam" model to pacify radical Islam- a lame brained idea that had a totally opposite effect! (See: "Our Cause is Humanity", 4 June-Haziran 2013). Most probably with US support, the party carried the elections of November 3rd 2002, winning an absolute majority in parliament with the power to pass any law it pleases- an amazing success for a party that was just over a year old.

The AKP had formed an alliance with the Islamist leader Fethullah Gülen, resident in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania since 1999.  The Gülen movement is popularly referred to as the  Cemaat (Djema-at) in Turkey, meaning "the (religious) community", but refers to itself as the Hizmet ("service") movement. Gülen has seemingly inexhaustible financial resources; he has schools across the world, which he uses as indoctrination centers. Here are some things you can check out:



The infiltration of the police and the judiciary by Gülen-indoctrinated "moles" has provided the means for the Islamist AKP-Gülen alliance to overturn the secular Turkish Republic by arresting and incarcerating hundreds of journalists, politicians, officers and intellectuals, in effect anybody who might stand in their way, by creating fabricated evidence and then judging the defendants in kangaroo courts. This blog was created because of my sense of indignation for what was being done to my country, and it is full of more detailed accounts of what I have summarized in these few lines. My most detailed assessment appeared on August 30th 2013, written in conjunction with the fateful day of the Ergenekon verdicts, August 5th, 2013, and the heroic attempt of protesters to reach the Silivri prison compound that day. See: "Ergenekon Trials and Tribulations".

All that was yet to come was still a mystery when New Year 2003 came around. The US led patrols were increasing their bombings of Iraqi military installations
in a thinly disguised preparaparation
of an all out attack on that country.

My new year's drawing had an "animation muse"- really a portrait of my wife- sketching on an animation disc, on an arid, reddish ground with two light sources, one from the back- the worldly events to which she has turned her back- and the other from the a disc, the light of my art, to which I turn for support and consolation. Though the drawing was in no way a political statement, the mood was far from festive. The caption "the important thing is to stay inspired" declares an intention to resist being pulled into the unfolding events, which I managed to do- right through the second Gulf War and beyond.

By 2011 the evil gnawing my country from within had become impossible to ignore; the fundamentalist-Islamist tranformation of the country carried out by the US-Gülen-AKP coalition was in full swing. The most prominent opponents, the active and potential defenders of the threatened secular Kemalist Republic, were in prison, with more roundups coming almost every day. The country was visibly heading for a confrontation big time; the Arab
states of North Africa were plunging into chaos one after the other and the stage was set in Turkey for a social explosion of comparable proportions. My new year drawing for 2012, inspired from the excellent Disney-Pixar film Up (2009), alluded to the grim realities while still expressing an intention to stay aloof of them. The caption was "let nothing deflate our hopes". (I make further reference to this drawing in "A Correspondence", 8 June-Haziran 2013.) The graphic symbol on the lower right says "Silivri Hasdal", the names of the two penal establishments most closely associated with the witchunts, the others being Hadımköy, Maltepe, Mamak, Sincan and Şirinyer. In the reigning atmosphere of fear people were afraid to express distrust or criticism of the government, so the accustomed
"Freedom for the patriots"!

means of passive resistance such as T-shirts and buttons were not available. I made this graphic myself, wrapped it around a piece of cardboard, covered it with cellophane, and pinned it like a button. I used the names "Silivri" and "Hasdal" to represent all the prisons, not only because they are the best known, but also because they gave me a chance to twin the letter "S" in the style of a well known jackbooted security institution that once staffed concentration camps elsewhere. Since the "breaking of the fear barrier" starting with the defiant celebration of the May 19th national holiday in 2012 (see "May 19th-Celebrating at All Costs", 18 May- Mayıs 2012, and "We Celebrated May 19th- And How", 20 May-Mayıs 2012), some badges and T-shirts have started to appear, and I bought a couple and pinned them on, but I still wear my homemade badge. The graphic is present on the two subsequent new year's illustrations, because there are still many in prison suffering for their integrity. My wish is that next year, I will no longer feel compelled to put it in the illustration!

Silivri and Hasdal hold the dubious distinction of hosting the victims of the Ergenekon sham. The "Silivri Watch", a heroic venture spearheaded by a selfless retired municipal worker named Hıdır Hokka, is composed of a few tents and containers manned by volunteers that have been keeping lonely vigil in support of the incarcerated victims of the witchhunt in the treeless open countryside facing the Silivri prison compound since September 9th, 2011. The loneliness of the watch would be broken only when supporters of the defendants flocked by the busload from around the country on the days of important court hearings, for you see the Silivri compound has its own integrated courthouse. See: "Silivri", 18 December-Aralık 2012, "Silivri 18-2-2013", 28 February-Şubat 2013, "To Silivri Again", 29 March-Mart 2013, "Provocation:Silivri, April 8th", 13 April-Nisan 2013, and of course the link I gave above, "Ergenekon Trials and Tribulations", 30 August-Ağustos 2013.

 The Silivri prison compound in the middle of nowhere- to make it all te harder to reach!
(Image from my own camera.)

Supporters of the Ergenekon defendants crowd around the tents of the "Silivri Watch", March 11th 2013. Insert: Hıdır Hokka, the man who created and sustains the "watch".
(Images from my own camera.)

There is a new year's ve celebration planned for new years' eve at the "Silivri Watch" tents, which will be broadcast live on the Ulusal channel.

I started this blog on May 3rd, 2012 with "Starters".

By the end of 2012, I had given up all pretence of staying aloof or turning my back. I long for the good old days of thinking about nothing but drawings that move, and how well I can move them, but the time had come time to realize that as an animator, as one who has watched and believed those wonderful films where good always triumphs and evil gets tangled in its own deviousness, I had to make a stand for what is right. Besides, it was Prime Minister Erdoğan himself who said "whoever doesn't take a side will be eliminated!" (Taraf olmayan bertaraf olur!, August 17th 2010).

With the approach of 2013, I decided on the traditional medieval theme of "the ship of fools" for the new year,
and use it as a vehicle (pun intended) to express all I see as absurd, foolish and self destructive about humanity in general and Turkish society in particular. For a detailed commentary see "Ship of Fools", 22 December-Aralık 2012. 

The confrontation between the dissenters and the governments' police became more and more 
violent and destructive, with gas and pressurized water as the unchanging leitmotif, and an occasional gas cannister bashing a head and gouging an eye- the price of the AKP's determination to beat obedience into the population. (On Mayday 2013, two young girls entered comas; the 17 year old Dilan Alp and 27 year old Meral Dönmez suffered serious head injuries from the impact of gas cannisters. Watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnpmlrAdJjw .) 

At the end of May 2013 the Prime Minister Erdoğan and the AKP government overstepped even their own standards of domineering arrogance. A park adjoining Istanbul's Taksim square was going to be sacrificed for yet another shopping center, and in spite of local opposition, the earth moving machinery was lined up and poised for action. The public moved in, tents and all, and staged a sit-in to defend the park. The police raided the park at 5:00 in the morning of May 31st, driving the demonstrators out by force and burning the tents. This park is known as Gezi Parkı ("Promenade Park"), and that name put its stamp on the following month and even the whole year, becoming synonymous with resistance to the retrograde AKP-Gülen regime. (See "Taksim Promenade Park", 31 Mayıs-May  2013.) As the resistance grew, prime minister Erdoğan just fanned the fire by launching insults and threats. Blaming "provocateurs", he personally provoked more than anyone could have with his uncompromising despotic attitude, and the uprising spread across the country. People threw somersaults in the air with the impact of pressurized water, men and women of all ages and even children choked on gas, manic supporters of the regime trapped and clubbed demonstrators, or drove cars into crowds. (See "Everywhere is Taksim", 2 June-Haziran 2013, and "Promenade Park Uprising Continued", 5 June 2013.) By June 20th there were four dead and 7832 wounded, 60 of them critical (as reported by the TTB, Türk Tabipler Birliği, "Turkish Union of Doctors"). 11 of the wounded lost one eye due to the impact of gas cannisters, 20 suffered head traumas for the same reason.

18 year old Vedat Oğuz was hit in the eye by a gas cannister during demonstrations in Antalya on June 2nd, 2013.  
(Image from the media.)

The first to die was 21 year old Mehmet Ayvalıtaş, who was run over when a car drove through a group of demonstrators in Istanbul on June 2nd. The second death occured the next day in Hatay; 22 year old Abdullah Cömert died of "two blows to his head". On June 5th in Adana police commissioner Mustafa Sarı fell from an overpass while chasing demonstrators and died. In Ankara, 26 year old Ethem Sarısülük died on June 14th of a police bullet he had received on his head on June 2nd. 19 year old Ali İhsan Korkmaz died on July 10th after a being severely beaten by thugs in a side street following a demonstration in Eskişehir on June 2nd.

14 year old Berkin Elvan, hit on the head with a gas cartridge in Istanbul on June 16th, is still in a coma.

The conflicts and casualities became less intense after June but did not stop. 20 year old Ahmet Atakan died in unclear circumstances during protests in Hatay on the night of 8-9 September.

After such a fateful year, how could I choose any theme other than the "Gezi" uprising?

The "Gezi" iconography in the illustration:

The Gas:
The most typical aspects of the police interventions were the pressurized water and the gas that was sometimes sprayed but often shot in cartridges- often fired from closer up and more at a more level angle than allowed. The gas, epecially in the vast quantities used, was near fatal; if a cartrige hit you, the impact could break your skull or gouge your eye out. These images from Taksim square are from the media.

 The Gas Masks:
Some purchased full fledged gas masks, others cobbled together something from what they could get their hands on. These images from the Taksim Square/ Gezi Park area are from the media.

The Gas Cartridges:
So much water and gas was discharged on the demonstrators that streets were flooded and covered with empty cartridges. The street in the image above is İstiklâl Caddesi, the historic Grande Rue de Pera, which opens to Taksim square. This image is from the media. The two photographs of the used up gas cartidges are from my own camera; they had been used gainst the demonstrators trying to reach the Silivri prison compound on the fateful day of the Ergenekon verdicts, August 5th 2013. There is a small irony in the fact that they were produced in Pennsylvania, chosen home of Fethullah Gülen, whose agents in the police and judiciary originally hatched the Ergenekon conspiracy fiction.

The modern face of Islamist Turkey:
The retrograde fundamentalist-Islamist AKP regime has a surprisingly modern face- which helps fool the world. The AKP maneuvers to promote ignorance and blind obedience to the masses while lavishing benefits on collaborators and colonial masters. The middle class may share in the blessings of capitalism in return for pawning their futures through credit cards and bank loans. The mosque in the photograph, serving a community of up-market hi-rises in Ataşehir,Istanbul, may look old, but is in fact newer than the monstrosity rising behind it. Named after the 16th century Turkish architect Sinan, famous for monumental mosques of this style, this mosque was completed only a year and a half ago, in July 2012. The image is from my own camera.

Reaching to heaven with glass and concrete:
The close and lucrative partnership between the AKP regime and building contractors has been turning cities with high property values- particularly Istanbul-  into New York wannabes. The horrific earthquake of August 17th1999 had left the frightened population clamoring for tighter controls. The AKP government hatched an "urban renewal plan" which is more a money making scheme than a safety measure; within its framework, buildings are knocked down to build "safer" ones which, being much taller, will squeeze more people (and their cars) into already congested areas. Many homeowners favor the game with promises of a good share in the profits. Those nearest to the "Islamist" AKP seem to want to acquire their heaven right here on earth. On the left: wall of concrete and glass along Istanbul's inner peripheral highway, on the Asian side. Right: high-rises shooting above the surrounding architecture in Istanbul's Göztepe area. The images are from my own camera.


The "A" in the circle denoting "anarchy" has gained popular use in Turkey, as a reaction to the increasingly restrictive policies of the AKP. Above: members of Çarşı, a soccer team supporter group that has been very active in the Gezi uprising. They have integrated the "A" in the circle into their logo, and in fact, when writing in plain text, they spell their name çArşı. Here they are at Şişhane square, Istanbul, celebrating October 29th, Republic day and simultaneously protesting the government that won't allow them to march to Taksim for the occasion! See:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqs4eROVYjQ   Below: "High School Anarchist Action- The Leftist Front Arrives". (Graffiti on Bahariye street, Kadıköy, İstanbul.)

Connecting the Global Village:
 I decided to pair the upper-case "A" in a circle for anarchic resistance with  lower case "a" in a circle used for e-mail addresses- the internet, the "world wide web" being the purest and most perfect tool of globalist ideology- the "world wide web"- though I am using the very same tool right  now to fight it,  just as the Gezi activists did with their "twitter and "facebook" accounts. Turkey is bonded closely to the world through cyberspace, though the citizens are severed from that world by visa restrictions. The closed, repressive lifestyle of ultra-conservative Islam is defended and encouraged by the AKP as "freedom" whereas it's paradise on earth for the party elite and the collaborators that enjoy the benefits of services rendered. Long-distance business deals over the cell phones, on-line banking, off-line handovers, jet-setting, money for nothing and the chicks...!

"Globalism", the dream of "One World", is really a new colonialism that has nothing to do with the fair sharing of the earth's resources or a harmonious unity of the peoples of the world; instead, it legitimizes the hegemony of multinational corporations at the expense of local producers and tradesmen. The shopping mall frenzy in Turkey is a most visible symptom- the "Gezi" uprising started as a reaction to yet another mall project, and it is most telling that the prime minister was so ruthless and uncompromising in his insistence on getting it built!  The "New World Order", the "Greater Middle East Project", to which both Fethullah Gülen and Prime Minister Erdoğan are but willing and obedient servants, are just aspects of the globalist empire weaving its web. The ultimate nemesis of the "Gezi" protesters is neither the prime minister nor the imam in Pennsylvania; it is not even the US; it is the faceless globalist interest cabal! 

To emphasize the all-powerful, world-dominating aspect of globalism, I took a page from the book of Albert Speer, Hitler's chief architect, who pointed a phalanx of searchlights skywards to create a row of columns of light reaching the heavens. The date was 1937, the occasion the Nazi party rally held at the zeppelin field in Nürnberg.

The wonderful girls and boys of the "Gezi" resitance:
Prime Minister Erdoğan, the AKP, Fethullah Gülen, and even the US thought the Turkish people, young and old, could willingly surrender all they had gained in the Republic, and melt away in an obedient, unquestioning neo-Ottoman stupor. Sham trials and waves of arrests had most of the population cowed, though there were occasional outbursts. With the "Gezi" uprising the people united in great numbers, led on by an amazingly fearless youth. Above: a singing group at Bağdat Caddesi, Kadıköy, Istanbul, June 1st, 2013, image from my own camera. Below left: on a barricade just outside Gezi Park, Istanbul, June 1st 2013, image from my own camera. Below right: sit in at Gezi Park before the police busted it all up, image from the media.

Shortly before I drew this drawing, Prime Minister Erdoğan and like minded party members were on their high horses again, talking about banning young people from sharing apartments, and starting segregation in schools. 

Prime Minister Erdoğan addressing the AKP convention in Kızılcahamam, November 3rd, 2013: "...male and female university students are sharing apartments...This goes against our conservative democratic principles. We have instructed the governor. The matter will be supervised." 

Prime minister Erdoğan addressing the AKP group in Parliament, Nov. 5th 2013: "We never allowed girls and boys to occupy the same student residences, and we still don't... right now we are speedily continuing the segregation of the residences of male and female students and we have realized this in %75 proportion."  

AKP MP for Düzce İbrahim Korkmaz speaking on a local television (Öncü TV), November 8th 2013: "...if you want my personal opinion, I would prefer girls and boys go to seperate schools even at childhood."  

AKP MP for Kayseri and Deputy Chairman of the House Sadık Yakut  addressing parliament for World Children's Rights Day, November 20th, 2013 : "I evaluate the ongoing practise of co-education as something wrong. God willing this error will be rectified in the coming days".

There were protests, of course. When it came to drawing this picture, I made sure there was close contact between the boys and the girls. The blond girl helps the boy with the blue shirt by physically grabbing him by the waist, and the boy lying on the steps is succoured by a girl.

TOMA is an acronym for Toplumsal Olaylara Müdahele Aracı ("Vehicle for Intervening in Public Incidents"), every euphimistic name for a truck that can knock down a wall, equippped with a water cannon that can send you spinning through the air. Present at every rally, gathering or march, these monsters are frequently put to use. When I first made this crowded drawing, I neglected to put in the TOMA. Then I felt I was being unfair to a star actor of the "Gezi" saga. I drew it seperately, cut out some of the policemen in the lineup, and tucked my TOMA to the left of the picture. The cops I cut out were pasted to the extreme right, on top of the wall. Moving clockwise from the detail of the illustration, you can see the TOMA as I drew it before inserting, and TOMA's at İstiklâl Caddesi, Beşiktaş, and Bayezit Square respectively.

The Lady in the Red Dress:
I just had to acknowledge "the lady in the red dress ", so I put her choking at the top of the stairs. 

Her name is Ceyda Sungur. She was a research assistant for urban planning at the Istanbul Technical University. On May 28th, she went to the Gezi Park to lend her support to the protesters. When the police moved in to clear out the park, she stood her ground as long as she could while a policeman sprayed her al over with gas.. I know from experience that the gas chokes you, so I fully appreciate her determination and bravery.

Here is a news item in English:
Here is a short interview in English:

The image of the steadfast woman in a simple yet elegant dress braving the noxious fumes blown in her face by a  law-enforcement agent equipped for combat caught the imagination of the world and became one of the best known icons of the "Gezi" resistance. Above, starting with the famous photo and moving clockwise: cartoon showing the police dwarved before the gigantic act of quiet courage, a highly imaginative cover for the book "History that is Written as we Live It" presenting the famous confrontation in the style of an Ottoman miniature paintihg, a parody with the scene acted out with Lego figures, and re-enactment of the scene for a Halloween photo in the US (according to ODATV:

"Lady in Black" ( Image from the media.)
There is another iconic woman figure; the "Lady in Black", who stood up to a TOMA. Her grand moment came on June 1st, 2013, near Taksim square.
Luckily for her, the pressure was not as high as it usually is, and the water seems transparent and not brownish,  the color it took later on when they started putting mixing chemicals into it. (See: "Saturday in the Park", 17 June-Haziran 2013.) Her stand deserves all the more respect considering she was only a guest in our country. She is from Australia and her name is Kate Cullen. She had a few words to say about her experiences:

The few iconic figures represent many unsung ones. I stumbled upon another "lady in red", shot furtively from a window. There isn't much to see after she gets hit by the jet of water, but the sense of fear in the people shooting the scene from the window is palpable, and you can really see how powerful that jet of water can be.

"Everywhere is Taksim":
As the resistance spread everywhere, moving beyond the park, beyond Taksim square, outside the city and across the country, and even beyond the borders, the best known slogan of the movement spread with it: Her Yer Taksim, Her Yer Direniş ("Everywhere Taksim, Everywhere Resistance!") Six months onwards, it still echoes from time to time. It means resistance to the despotic retrograde practises of the government are no longer confined to the park and the square, but is everywhere there is a will to resist. Of course I had to incorporate this popular slogan into the drawing. Moving clockwise from the detail from the illustration: demontrators assembled in Mersin, graduation ceremony of the !8th of March University, Çanakkale, residents of Arık village in Sivas. This blog, by the way, is also Taksim!

The Penguins:
I had to put a penguin somewhere, so I put it as graffiti next to the steps. The media barons in Turkey have diverse business interests, for which they depend on the government's favors. When the "Gezi" protests grew into a full scale uprising across the land, most of the media was reluctant to make adequate coverage. CNN TÜRK was roundly criticised by the protesters for broadcasting a documentary on penguins during the most desperate and violent stage of the protests. The protesters soon adopted the penguins as their own, and enlisted them in their struggle. The slogan Diren Antarktika ("Resist, Antarctica") which I put on the wall is inspired from the title of a parody song from the time, one of the many written or adapted during the "Gezi" uprising. The title is really Dayan, Antarktika ("Hold On Tight, Antarctica")  which I didn't remember correctly.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Znh_syLNJX8

The pictures, clockwise from detail of the illustration: cartoon of a penguin watching the human conflict of the "Gezi" uprising on CNN International, and a human watching penguins on CNN Türk; cartoon of penguins in the Antarctic holding placards with the slogan "Everywhere Taksim, Everywhere Resistance"; trick photo of a group of penguins caught in the middle of it; a penguin stencilled on a wall in Kadıköy (image from my own camera); and a penguin on another wall, fist raised, sporting a gas mask (image from the media).

The Baby Carriage:
In the illustration, you will notice a baby carriage at the bottom of the steps. It is a "cultural reference" to the famous baby carriage scenes in the "Odessa steps" sequence of Sergei Eisenstein's 1925 film "Battleship Potemkin". You can see a frame from the sequence above left, with the baby carriage clattering down the steps. Children were present most of the time during the "Gezi resistance". I took this picture of the girl on the tricycle very near the park on June 1st, on the evening of a day of conflicts in the Taksim area which would go on into the night. As for the picture of the girl holding her dress to her nose in an environment visibly dense with smoke, that is from the media.

Rainbow Steps:
 By the end of August, the "Gezi" protests had lost their intensity, mainly because the park and the adjoining Taksim square had been made inaccessible to protesters through sheer police force. The protesters tried to keep the tension going by coming up with new challenges. One was coloring steps, which brought the obvious official reaction of overpainting them grey again. İstanbul lived this "duel of the steps" for a while until authorities buckled, and having won this small victory, the protesters stopped painting new ones. Today several corners of the city are more cheerful for it! Left: steps in Yoğurtçu park, Kadıköy, right: in Fındıklı. (Images from my own camera.)

The Injured:
The clashes were violent and doctors did volunteer work to help the injured- something they had to answer for when Erdoğan reasserted his authority, On the terribly violent night of June 1st, the muezzin of a mosque (the Bezmialem Valide Sultan mosque at Dolmabahçe) opened the doors and offered sanctuary to the injured. The mosque was turned into a makeshift infirmary. Later on Prime Minister Erdoğan tried to turn public opinion against the demonstrators by claiming they had entered the mosque with shoes on- which was true, but one could excuse it under the circumstances- and that they had drank alcohol in the holy building- for which there is no proof. The muezzin, Fuat Yıldırım, was interrogated for several hours by the police, apparently to extract a statement confirming the prime minister's allegation about alcohol consumption in the mosque, to which he consistently replied he could neither confirm or deny it since he had not witnessed it. He was temporarily reassigned to another mosque for months and then to another.

Pictures: the interior of the Bezmialem Valide Sultan mosque, the evening of June 1st. Right: wounded journalist in Taksim, June 1st.

Not everyone who participated in the "Gezi" protests was Kemalist; people of extremel different viewpoints were there, expressing their objection to a common oppressor. But a great proporton had some sort of loyalty to the founder of the Republic, and the Republic he founded, for ten years under attack, the aggressors being the prime minister himself, plus his party, the president, and an imam in the US manipulating the judiciary and the police. Some of the protesters might find the liberties of Ataturk's Republic insufficient and conservative, but it was clear to all activists that Erdoğan and the AKP, with all the talk of more democracy and liberty, sought to restrict and to suffocate. Ataturk's ideology was not THE moving force behind the "Gezi" uprising, but constituted a great part of it, and the image of the flag with his portrait was common enough to find a place on my illustration. Above: cover of the June 10th issue of the French newspaper Libération.

And us:
I usually draw myself as a rabbit, but in this new year's illustration you see me more like I really look in the physical world. I send these new years' drawings out far and wide, to people who know nothing of the rabbit gag. You see me being pulled away from the center of conflict by my wife- not very heroic, and so it should be because a hero I am not. I know, because I've seen what real heroes are like! The new year's drawing was preceded by four months by an anniversary drawing with a similar theme (what else, in 2013?) Here I am the usual rabbit. The caption:says "...and so went this year"; the talk balloon: "At least we weren't bored!"


From the very start of this blog I made no distinction between the Erdoğan's AKP and Fethullah Gülen's Cemaat, since they seemed to enjoy such a hand in glove collaboration. Each time Prime Minister Erdoğan, the AKP top brass and the retinue of collaborating businessmen made a foray to the New World, visits to the wise imam of Pennsylvania were in order. When Erdoğan made his last blissful visit to president Obama to renew his vows in May 2013, deputy prime minister Bülent Arınç did a little side trip to Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, to pay homage to the holy man, and to extend Erdoğan's regrets for not having the time to do the same. (The whole US trip just "happened to" coincide with May 19th, a national holiday that was expected to be an occasion of protests. And it was! See: "Sailing for Samsun", 4 August-Ağustos 2013.) 

When I heard rumors of discord between the two close partners, I did not make much of it. They were partners in ideology and partners in crime; any disagreement was certain to blow away. If all else failed, Obama would speak softly, show his big stick, and the rival siblings would kiss an make up. Even when the Cemaat media, once so obligingly helpful in whipping up the Eregenekon and "Sledgehammer" storms, started openly criticizing Erdoğan, I refused to get my hopes up.

Then on November 17th a new wave of arrests hit the news. But this time, the target was not the elite of the secular Kemalist establishment like the Ergenekon, Sledgehammer and similar fabrications. The police was raiding and arresting names that are close to the AKP government, incuding the sons of ministers (Barış Güler, son of minister of interior Muammer Güler, Salih Kaan Çağlayan, son of minister of economy Zafer Çağlayan, and Abdullah Oğuz Bayraktar, son of minister of the environment and urban planning Erdoğan Bayraktar). Vast amounts of hard currency was found in bedrooms. Tapped telephone conversations pointed at bribery and graft. Also arrested were businessmen in the building industry including mogul Ali Ağaoğlu whose construction company is producing some of the most gigantic eyesores in Istanbul. There were other prominent names, including Süleyman Aslan, general manager of the state-owned Halkbank. The three ministers themselves hesitantly resigned, plus the "minister for the European Union" Egemen Bağış, who was directly implicated with charges of accepting a bribe who was eventually just dismissed. The style of the roundups is eerily reminiscent of the infiltrated police and judiciary of Gülen's Cemaat but now the target is the AKP government.

And Erdoğan is responding in characteristic fashion- by shouting and threatening. He is overtly accusing his guru Gülen of conspiring against him, of creating a "state within a state" with an infiltrated police and judiciary- exactly what we say Gülen had done to clear the way for the AKP's uncontested hold on power and its dismantling of the secular Republic. Erdoğan started moving police commissioners and prosecutors around in an effort to control the damage. What with the shared secrets of the partners in crime, and the fear of their exposition as the partnership degenerates, some believe some gang-style killing may be on the way. (The body of police chief Hakan Y. was found dead in a car, shot in the head, in Ankara on December 21st. The death of  police officer Halil İbrahim Talas by gunshot in the temple in Niğde on December 20th may be more than suicide.) Erdoğan is even accusing the US and threatening to expel US ambassador Francis Ricciardone- to whom he had allowed the privileges of a colonial governor up to know! The rosy days in May in the White House must seem far, far away now!

Erdoğan's counter-attack on the Cemaat web inside the police and judiciary only made the Gülen front hit back harder. The police operations have not stopped, the Cemaat press has declared war, Gülen himself has lost his cool and taken to hurling curses across the Atlantic.Take a look at this video of Gülen cursing his partners in crime Erdoğan & co. Never mind that you don't understand Turkish, he switches to Arabic when the cursing gets really going and I don't understand a word of that, but the spectacle is so funny! 
(The clip has been removed from YouTube so I am giving an alternative source.)

To think this man's connivances almost brought down a proud republic!

Now, to laugh a little more, look at this "effects added" version of the same video. (Again, the clip has been removed from You Tube, so I found an alternative source.)

And we just sit and watch mystified as the devils go at each other with bared claws. What an unexpected Christmas gift!

The cries of "Everywhere Taksim, Everywhere Resistance" rang again in Kadıköy on Saturday, December 21st and we joined a march that protested both the AKP and the Gülen cult, for we know that in this duel, neither must come out the winner. 

Left: poster calling for the march on December 21st 2013, with the faces of Erdoğan and Gülen, theatre-mask style. The larger caption says "Government Resign". The smaller caption: "You are bit-players in the same play!"
(Image from my own camera.)
The march in Kadıköy, December 21st, 2013.
"We give you one last chance, just so that you may go.
Or we'll topple you, because you are thieves!"
(Image from my own camera.)

Another march on December 22nd in the same area trigerred the typical gas-and-water reflex of the police, but we missed that because I was busy putting together this article. But somehow I feel there will be more. Feels like the good old days again! Happy new year!

Kadıköy, Istanbul, December 22nd, 2013. Gas clouds and wet streets are back again!
(Image from the media.) 

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