The Circle is Tightening…

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Today, instead of writing things about what  I observed in beautiful Ihlara Vadisi, Kapadokya , I would like to write my thoughts about  Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s case against Attila Durak.  In the exhibition ‘’Bu Daha Başlangıç’’, which Attila curated, there was a photo of a graffitied message that read ‘’Faşist Tayyip’’ (Fascist Tayyip). Attila, along with photographer Kemal Aslan and the staff of the hosting venue are being accused of ruining and provoking democracy. While learning about this case I questioned again the definition of democracy which seems to vary according to different situations.

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As you may know, this course is all about experiencing social change and adventures of change makers by visiting and talking to them, so in order to understand this process in a comprehensive way, we are traveling through Turkey and experiencing it.  Now, I see clearly that change making is not always easy and perceived positively by some people, even the government, and I would like to mention some cases. On June 2013, during the Gezi Protests, Mehmet Ali Alabora who is a Turkish actor spoke to CNN and explained the world that this protest is not just because of the demolishing the park and cutting the trees, this fight, this revolt is because of the government’s arbitrary legislations and/or applications. After this speech, he was accused for armed insurgency against the Republic and the government is demanding 20 years of imprisonment, if he will be found guilty.  In addition to these cases, in Gümüşlük, Bodrum me and my friends heard the Academy’s history in details from Latife Tekin. Jandarma (the detective force in rural areas and suburbs) were sent by the municipality to examine each and every inch of the academy because they were accused of trafficking in drugs and women trade. The accusation was an excuse to raid the academy to intimidate people. In Turkey, the enlightened are always potential criminals who would challenge the government, for that reason, before a ‘disaster’ happens, the government wants to keep them in control. We also saw that even preserving nature is a challenge in Turkey, because the government works like a business. In order to make much more profit, they destroy nature. Yet, if you defy the government by trying to preserve nature, like the Gezi protesters, you are named as terrorist, as if you are the slayer, destroyer…

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Getting back to the subject, the exhibition ‘’Bu Daha Başlangıç’’ is a milestone for me as being the first exhibition about the Gezi Protest and I believe that it helps keep the resistance spirit alive.  I clearly remember that, after I got out of the exhibition, the things I saw it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was sickened that those eight people had to die and felt such anger towards those who are responsible for these deaths. As a participant of the Gezi Protest, I appreciate all of the people who made this beautiful project come true.  At that point, I didn’t even think that Attila Durak, Kemal Aslan and the others from Nazım Hikmet Culture Center and Nilüfer Municipality would end up getting sued.

Unfortunately, day by day I realize that our freedom of speech, protest and even living are getting taken from us and the circle is tightening… Maybe, I will be the next, who knows?

In short, I want to scream that;

We won’t give up the fight!

We won’t forget that the government turns its back to the enlightened!

And without you we are not completed!

Get involved, be the part of the change!

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