Interview with an Occupy Gezi-Protester in Istanbul
Ich hatte heute Mittag die Gelegenheit, mit einer Teilnehmerin an den Protesten in Istanbul zu reden und wir haben ein kleines Interview per Facebook-Chat geführt. Die Dame, ihr Mitbewohner und eine Besucherin in der Türkei (über die der Kontakt zustande kam) stehen weiter in Verbindung mit mir und ich werde – je nachdem, wie sich die Situation entwickelt – von dort weitere Vorort-Berichte bekommen.
Die Dame will selbstverständlich namentlich nicht erwähnt werden, deshalb nennen wir sie der Einfachheit halber Frau D., das Interview führten wir in englischer Sprache. Ich hab’ viele Typos rauseditiert, es dürften aber noch ein paar übrig sein. Könnt Ihr behalten. Außerdem habe ich ein paar wenige Links gesetzt, wo ich sie für nötig hielt.
Nerdcore: Hi D! Thanks for this opportunity. Are you personally involved with the Protests?
Frau D: Yes, I am. I have been a part on thursday when the peaceful sit at Gezi Park. Friday after the police gassing i went to Taksim to support. That is where I felt more involved. The police did not let the crowd walking from Harbiye including me and my friends. They tear gassed many many times.
NC: How is the Situation right now?
D: Right now at the moment, Taksim is only occupied by people. Around thousand people are demonstrating Dogus Center (the building where NTV channel is [Wikipedia: NTV is a Turkish nationwide television news channel. It has been partnered with MSNBC since May 2000]). NTV has not published any news about the whole situation. And people are boycotting the owners places. (Garanti Bank, restaurants that they own, NTV, magazines that they publish. Many many people have closed their accounts at Garanti Bank.)
NC: There are rumors, that Turkey is blocking Access to Twitter and Facebook. Obviously this is not true, regarding Facebook at least [ed: We did this Interview via FB-Chat]. Also, Erdogan said, that Twitter is a threat for society. You know anything about that?
D: We had a lot of difficulty at accessing facebook and twitter. Many people called each other because they could not access. But i guess maybe it is only a rumour. Tayyip [ed: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan I guess] did use those words though.
NC: There are rumors regarding the use of “Orange Gas”. I think it’s some kind of Signal-Gas which is also used for Emergency at Sea. Do you know anything about that?
D: I have only been tear gassed on Friday. The affects looked like it was usual tear gas for me. But what I heard from my friends lively when they were at Akaretler yesterday was that it was not usual teargas anymore and it really burned their skin. I don’t know how Agent Orange reacts so I can’t say anything wether it is true or not. I just know my friends were calling for help.
NC: Erdogan just switched his plans and says, that he wants to build a Mosque instead of a Shopping Mall. Any thoughts about that?
D: Hmmm.. I could not watch the video where he said that. But I’m quite sure that is true. There’s just so many videos around and I am mostly trying to spread the news to my friends at the places where the attacts are being done.
NC: Don’t you think it’s a Distraction from the “real” Reasons of these Riots (secular Turkey vs Islamic State of Erdogan)?
D: You mean what Erdoğan says? Yes, he acts like he doesn’t understand what’s going on. But he does. I have been checking his party’s international and national facebook pages. The comments I saw from the people who support them are just incredible. I think what he is trying to do is try to make believe to his supporters that the people who has awaken are just doing this to protest for a stupid reason. Please also note that yesterday Erdoğan has said that the protestors should be hanged from the trees at the park. It soudns very brutal, this is his exact words.
NC: I read, that many Protesters decline what Erdogan calls “a hidden agenda”. But regarding Erdogans Politics, that in the long run wants to install an islamic state, which could replace the secular Turkey founded by Ataturk, those Protests are actually about more than a Shopping Mall. Do you think, that the Protestors are aware of this? Or are the Environemtalist-Aspects of the Protests actually the “real” roots of the Riots?
D: The protests started with only a bunch of people who sat on at Gezi Parc so they don’t turn the only green area at Taksim so it becomes a mall. I must say they have reason. I never go to that parc unless i have to walk through but from Şişhane to where I live there are already 8 shopping malls! it’s crazy. The protestors are aware of that this is not against a shopping mall. It started like that but when the police attacked a bunch of people and continued the second day, the people rised against the brutality of the government. And now it is about the force that he uses against his people, the rules he makes because he wants to and that he bans all kind of freedom for the Turkish people.
NC: What’s the Military doing right now? Can they play a bigger role, although Erdogan pretty much deprived them of power?
D: Well, the military is silent. I don’t know wether they can play a role. If that happens it already sounds very scary. But as you said, Erdoğan did deprive them of power. I have heard that the military house in Harbiye took some people in to protect them but they don’t interfere.
NC: So, what are the Options now for the Protesters on one hand and Erdogan on the other? What will happen now, from your perspective?
D: Ah, this is such a difficult question. Personally I am confused. When I talk to friends they are concerned about the military deciding on a martial law. Nobody thinks that a coupe will start again. It doesn’t look like Erdoğan will resign.He might get more angry or he might say well…we are ending this and goes on ruling the country and making it worse for people to take revenge.
NC: So, you think the riots will diffuse and nothing will change…
D: No… I don’t know. There are so many options. It could be a bloody riot, if Erdoğan would take that risk. It could be finished but the people will know the truth and hope until the next elections that he does not rule again. Is that going to change anything? I’m not sure. I don’t believe that he was chosen democratically.
NC: Why do you think that he wasn’t chosen democratically? And when are the next elections?
D: Mainly because the ruling party gathered a lot of people on their side by giving away stuff to the poor people. Coal, food, money. The next elections are in 2014.
NC: Okay,great, now a few more Questions from my readers… I already edited them together to remove redundancy… here we go:
Is it true that Protesters are from most diverse Groups, e.g. Fans of rivaling Soccer-Clubs are united in these Riots? How old are the Protestors, is it the students and the Youth? (Thanks @benjaminzurich, @CongressRadio)
D: Yes it is true. All fans from Beşiktaş, Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe are together resisting. It is actually a very nice picture to see so many different people together. We have seen and talked to the Anti-Capitalist Muslim’s who were there in Taksim square together with the crowd. Gays, Lesbians, Transvestites, students,mothers,fathers. The crowd is mostly young people and middle aged because of the danger of gas.
NC: Are the turkish Media finally reporting on the Situation and if yes, which ones? (Thanks@CongressRadio)
D: Slightly yes. I have seen news on Hürriyet Newspaper today, because the crowd went protesting NTV. The channel NTV broadcasted the protests outside their building. Some more, but not so detailed.
D: I haven’t heard any more news from him.
NC: What are the Demands and Claims of the Protesters? Which Conditions have gotten worse in Turkey over the last years under Erdogan? (Thanks @illcartoon)
D: Well, I must say I have never been a very political person. So you might not get the whole story from me but I will tell you what has personally affected me. Erdoğan tried to restrict abortion because it was against Islam religion. They tried very recenlty to ban alcohol from 22.00 until 06.00, they put hundreds of journalists into jail because they were not their media people, they are against freedom of speech. I hadn’t realized it before so much before I moved to the Netherlands for a year but when I came back I saw the difference so clearly that what I was wearing was a concern to other people. If you drink, Erdoğan says you are an alcoholic. So many things to say. Can’t put my thoughts on all of it at the moment.
NC: Are the Tourist-Areas (e.g. Sulthanamet) of Turkey also affected by the Riots? (Thanks @benjaminzurich)
D: No. Only Taksim, Beşiktaş, Dolmabahçe, Akaretler, Harbiye.. These are the areas that are attacked by police. In other parts of Istanbul, actually every part of it, is on the street protesting but there are no police in that area. Other cities in Turkey are also attacked by police.
NC: The whole City is protesting? Whoa! Which other Cities?
D: In Istanbul: Fatih, Halkalı, Bebek, Ortaköy, İstinye, Yeniköy, Tarabya, Hacıosman, Etiler, Levent, Fındıkzade.. There are the ones that I have seen and that my friends have seen.
In general Turkey: Ankara, Izmır, Hatay, Antalya, Bodrum, Eskişehir.. I can’t think of all the names but i have read from the foreign media that it is already 67 cities that are protesting out of 81! And these are also attacked by police and people are getting beaten, gassed and shot by plastic bullets.*
NC: Okay, thanks for this Interview and a first-hand-impression of whats going on down there… Stay safe and never forget: You’re not alone!