More and more violence against people of Turkey, until what? Nuclear weapons?

Three weeks of pacifistic protests repressed with incredible violence, and everyday violence responses of the police seem to become harder and harder… From water & teargas grenades, the water in TOMA was added with acid and other chemical products, in the clear intention to wound people. And now, after chemical, what will it be?

Like lots of people, I’m really concerned about the next days and the rise of violence in Istanbul and Turkey. It seems that Erdogan doesn’t have any intention to stop, but worse, he seems to act and react not like a prime minister, not even like an adult, but like a terrible childish teenager without any maturity: « if I can’t make what I want with my garden, you can’t either ! »…

Today, the ecologist senator Esther Benbassa becomes publically alarmed about the reactions against the protest movement in Turkey, where « everything announces from now on a worsening of the situation ». After the call for a general strike, she declares: « The risks of confrontation are real. And can quickly become a civil war ».

Amnesty International has received consistent and credible reports of demonstrators being beaten by police during arrest and transfer to custody and being denied access to food, water, and toilet facilities for up to 12 hours during the current protests in Istanbul.

Police intervened with tear gas, water cannon and flash bangs against peaceful protesters in Taksim Square from around 8.30pm local time on Saturday. Amnesty International’s researcher on Turkey who was in Taksim Square at the time of the police intervention said that the protests on the square were peaceful, and the violent police intervention unjustified.

The police raids, which started on Saturday afternoon and quickly cleared and occupied Gezi Park, included acts of startling brutality that outraged normally apolitical Istanbul citizens, as well as human rights monitors.

Teargas was even fired into impromptu medical clinics housed in tents. A luxury hotel on Taksim Square being used as an emergency refuge for victims and for the wounded was repeatedly invaded by the police and teargas fired into the enclosed spaces.

« It was horrible in there, » said Mehmet Polat, 32. « They shot teargas inside the hotel several times, the gas rose up to the sixth floor of the hotel, everything was filled with white smoke. » Another young man next to him nodded. « People were shoving each other, panicking, but the police kept attacking us. »

Erdogan’s confrontational style, his divisive rhetoric and the extreme force used by the police on victims including young children, with one pregnant woman losing her baby on Saturday evening, have tarnished his credentials internationally as a reformist Muslim leader.

At a mobile clinic on the square, one medic said: « They promised us that they would not attack our field hospital, but they did anyway, firing six rounds of teargas directly into our tent. « This is against all human rights agreements. A serious crime. Not even in war should medical facilities be attacked. But we will remain here and continue our work. »

Moreover, on Sunday, Turkey’s minister for European affairs, Egemen Bagis, said any civilians entering Taksim Square would be viewed as terrorists.

One police officer guarding the entrance to Gezi Park said he was not happy with the way things were going: « The government is working against the people, and they are using the police to do it. They are handling it very badly. I hate doing this. »

So, don’t do it man! Listen to your heart and help us to stop this massacre!

But the strong-arm tactics do not appear to have closed down the protests and have sown dismay among many non-political Turks :

« Our demands are very clear, » Polat said. « And until they are met, we are not going anywhere. »

Indeed! The new generation is made up of men and women who are not individualists that only care about their own interests, but individuals that are sensitive about all freedoms. « I am happy that we raised a generation with free souls » says Mücella Yapıcı, the 62-year-old representative of an NGO who is part of the Taksim Solidarity initiative. Her analyse of the activists speaks the truth:

« I think this is a liberation movement. First the people are liberating themselves from fear. And they are asking for their honor back. They are asking for their values back. The Gezi initiative is not only a gender-equal movement, but it reflects equality in all aspects. It is not homophobic. It has no hierarchy, no leadership. It is like in the song that says, “Something needs to be done.” It’s like we are doing that “thing” all together.

I don’t share the view that they are apolitical. They succeeded in sort of protecting themselves from the weird style of political parties that are unable to solve any issue, that keep fighting with each other even over the most insignificant issue. Politics are not only words uttered via politicians. It is the way you live your life.

As mothers and fathers, I’d like to have my share in all this as I am very happy to see that we have raised individuals with free souls, who can take their own decisions, who do not accept any imposition. And they are very resilient. These kids cannot liberate in universities. Had universities been places that were free and democratic, they would not have been so reactive. These kids see their professors whom they value being oppressed by political pressure.

In our generation there were free public spaces. Here there are free individuals but not-so-free public spaces. This system gave importance to individuals and forced people to be individualist in the sense that everyone should rather care about their own interests. But these kids have learned to be individuals rather than individualists. They have different communication channels. They were patient. But once the patience runs out, it is like touching a raw nerve. Once you touch that nerve, you see neither gas nor brutality.

The current protest movement isn’t about the past; it is about today and tomorrow. It’s not anymore about the Gezi Park, a public green space. Now, it’s the voice of a new generation rising against violent, abusive manner, megalomania…

 

Turkey has come to a point where the government, setting aside timid attempts at conciliation, seems intent on waging all-out war against any opposition to its policies. A crisis that could have been managed through a democratic process has now escalated to a frightening level of polarization and violence. A.K.P. leaders need to understand that true secular democracy is the only viable way to guarantee the rights and freedoms of all citizens, without any kind of discrimination of race, religious believes, ethnic belonging.

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