Guest Post by Neslihan Brewin: Trouble in Taksim.

Thanks for all the submitted pieces sent in after my requests, they will be put up over time. However, one piece came in with a long email explaining the urgency of the situation. Nes, a young Turkish woman living in Beeston and erstwhile barperson at The Crown, is watching the events unfold in Turkey with horror. Her sisters are in Istanbul’s Taksim Square ‘covered in blood’ as Erdogan’s men shoot rubber bullets and tear gas canisters. Nes is trying to organise a rally in Nottingham, to raise awareness of the Taksim protesters cause, and she wants you to help. Here’s why:

Can we as Turkish people really regard Recep Tayyip Erdogan as our prime minister?

No, we cannot, definitely not. How could we regard him as our prime minister after everything he has done to his people since he became  prime minister in 2002 and  began to rule more like a dictator?  He is a dictator pretending to be democratic. Why so many of us are unhappy, angry? Because we want to be heard, and we do not care anymore about what threats our PM makes . Erdogan  has changed the atmosphere in Turkey in a negative way. When he speaks of the 50% that did not vote for him, he is sarcastic, threatening, he speaks of us as we are nobody, and he does not care what we think or want. If we are against him, our views are worthless. It is all about what he wants for himself, not for his people.

He is using the existing democracy to finally get rid of the democracy we have in our beautiful country. He has become more and more intolerant of criticism from opponents, imprisoning so many journalists ( according to Reporters Without Borders, Turkey is ‘world’s biggest prison for journalists’) . Since he  became PM  the number of women killed for honor killings has risen; and the number of women, young girls and children being raped has significantly increased. The proud secularism of our country is being eroded by Erdogan’s desire to turn us into a Theocracy. Corruption has exploded right through the state.

My family and friends  are involved in protests and I would like to be there with them on their side, since I cannot do that right now, I would like to speak and make myself heard here in England. I would like to be the voice for them, the Turkish people. I do feel concerned for my country, and I am worried for my fellow Turks and about what Erdogan has done so far and may do to keep himself in power like any other dictator that has existed. He is a highly dangerous person, willing to murder his own citizens to ensure he stays in power . He has caused so much harm for his country and his people. The Gezi Parki situation is the outburst of everything that has been going on in Turkey since Erdogan came to power .

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We are angry that  a peaceful protest in Taksim has turned into a chaos by his troops who have killed, maimed and blinded many for peaceful protest . He then calls the protesters terrorists: a tactic used by the former leaders of Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. If a nonviolent protest makes us terrorists, what does it make to be using police violence against ordinary people. We are not the terrorists, we are the 50% – about 40 million people, most of us the youth, university students, children who have pans and pots, flowers, books, Turkish flags in our hands. Not guns, not bombs. They have them, and use them indiscriminately.

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We want freedom of speech, we want a secular government, we want our PM  to stop forcing his Islamic values on everyone else. We want him to stop using police force upon us just because we disagree with him. We want a free press. Above all we do not want him to call us a ‘minority’; this protest is from at least half the population, not a tiny bunch of agitators. We want him to respect us and if he chooses to ignore us, we will grow bigger and stronger,  our freedom is important to us. His aggressive response to our peaceful protests only made us, all of us, become a big family, grow closer despite our differences,and he did not expect that and so is lashing out in fear.

I also believe that the 50 % that voted for him has declined by now after his attitudes towards Turkish people, Turkish communities, Turkish cities, Turkish youth, Turkish universities, Turkish women, Turkish children. And we could have forgiven him and moved on if he apologised but each time like a guilty person he has run out of the country. People are fed up with it, people want him to accept responsibilities of his actions, speeches etc. He may think we forget but we do not, instead we have allowed ourselves to bottle it up. We did not forget how he spoke to our farmers, and how he threatened them, we did not forget that he cannot stand the secular pride of the Turkish flag, Ataturk, we did not forget the women killed and sexually abused because of him, we did not forget the division he caused between the people of Turkey, we did not forget many more problems he created and lastly we did not forget Reyhanli.

We need Erdogan to hear our voice, not just in Taksim Square, but all over the world.

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Nes will be organising a protest in Nottingham soon. If you would like to be part of it, or can help in some way (printing costs for leaflets, spreading the word via social media, etc) please contact her directly at neslirinvin@hotmail.co.uk .

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