On my way to Central Asia, I made a stop in Istanbul. And I visited the Gezi Park to inform me about the protest movement. As is known, the protests in Turkey are continued by citizens against the current government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The wave of protests began on 28 May 2013 in Istanbul with demonstrations against a planned construction project at the site of Gezi Park, immediately adjacent to the Taksim Square.
Following the escalation of the conflict as a result of a violent police raid on 31 May 2013, many protesters in several major Turkish cities have demonstrated against the policies of the Islamic-conservative government party Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (JDP/AKP) that is perceived as authoritarian policies by the demonstrators.
The Gezi Park became a symbol of a civic resistance to the system of government and against the excessive police violence. The occupation of the Taksim Square also played an important role by the protest movement that is called the “Occupy Gezi” protest movement. There were very violent clashes around the square with the police like its violent eviction on June 12. Up to now, six protesters died due to the violence of the police force.
Chance brought it about that on the same day as I visited the Gezi Park, the establishment of the “shrine” of the six dead took place.
Incidentally, this was the only action that took place, because as I was told by the activists, every political action is terminated immediately by the police force. As soon as a gathering is taking place and posters appear, the police force immediately prevents such an expression of opinion.
“We are all Çapulcu!”
(Source / Copyright: allesschallundrauch)
Erdogan has called the protesters “Çapulcu” or rabble, a baseless impertinence and insult. Instead to see himself as the Prime Minister of all Turks, which would be his task as head of government, he only thinks to just represent the voters of the JDP (AKP).
In regards of the minimum election threshold for elections of fabulous 10 percent, it’s ridiculous and completely wrong to say that the JDP (AKP) or Erdogan represent would the majority of voters. Properly speaking, if one looks at it, and considers the voices that went by the board due to this election threshold, then the JDP (AKP) has a maximum of 25 percent of the vote and definitely no more.
Erdoğan behaves as a dictatorial leader and the cult of personality is very pushy. In each city, one is quickly able to see that his portrait hangs around in large formats. Just imagine that a giant picture of Angela Merkel would hang around at many facades in Germany (Yuck!). In Turkey, however, Recep looks down at you, everywhere.
The construction of the shrine for the six dead began by the labelling of granite stones with their names. This attracted the attention of the passers-by. Afterwards, the six stones were placed in the centre. People began to lay flowers around it. At the end of the evening, the portraits of the dead were added and candles were lit.
I am not able to say how long the shrine for the dead of the Gezi Park remained there. The next day, I travelled further in the direction of eastern Turkey.
The new alcohol law in Turkey seems to be very effective. There was no beer for a dinner in all the restaurants while my journey through Turkey, for example. Only in Istanbul, in the hotel, I was able to quench the thirst because of the heat.
For me, this is a further proof of the Islamist agenda of Erdogan. The most hosts, with whom I have spoken, regretted this very much. One has to accept Ayran, Çay or water.