We are living through extraordinary days. People’s rebellion that began with the violent raid on the watch against the removal of trees in Taksim Gezi Park [as part of the ongoing urban renewal project in Taksim Square] is going on for days…
The ongoing people’s resistance began as a struggle to protect the nature-environment. The outrage against the people resisting the depredation of nature-environment was the final straw. And the Gezi Park Resistance has since then become popularized and widespread against the Justice and Development Party’s oppressive and cruel policies. People were rebelling. Different sections of the society that have been clamped for a long time now screamed “enough is enough.” Through their reactions, the sections that participate in the protests have said stop to the interventions into and attacks on their lifestyles. People showed that every word that comes out of Erdoğan’s mouth can’t become law, that their rightful and legitimate demands can’t be suppressed with violence. JDP’s project of creating a devout generation has foundered at this point. The ongoing people’s rebellion has joined the demands of all the sections whose voice was ignored, namely women, the youth, environmentalists, oppressed identity struggles, education and health rights struggles, and has energized and fortified them.
The people’s rebellion that has vitalized and given hope to the oppressed sections, has on the other hand spread fear to the JDP state. It has broken the composure of those in power, Erdoğan being in the first place.
People’s Resistance has once more shown what JDP understands from “advanced democracy.” Turkish Republic-JDP attacked people who defend the nature and their lifestyles with gas bombs and tortured them on the streets, disabled its citizens, and caused the death of two people named Mehmet Ayvalıtaş and Abdullah Cömert. (According to the Turkish Medical Association’s report, from May 31 until 6 pm on June 6 three people one of whom is a policeman lost their lives, and 4 thousand 785 people, 48 of them critically, got injured.) In order to legitimize the violent attacks, Erdoğan said that there were “17 deaths” in Wall Street [referring to the raids on the Occupy Wall Street movement]. It is understood with this false claim (the US Embassy refuted the claim) that he gave the message that the scope of the attacks could be widened.
By saying “pots and pans, always the same old story” [referring to a particular method of protesting that some protestors use] he despised the reactions of the people, and dared to insult and declare the protestors “marauder/looter/freebooter.”
One of the basic characteristics of the Turkish Republic-JDP state is that it rejects the fact that “rights are not given but taken.” Dominant forces want to show that even an ordinary demand-right can’t be won by the oppressed, but can only be given by themselves. Great efforts are made for this perception not to change, despite the fact that governments do change. Of course, these efforts are not futile from the point of the interests of the dominant forces. Therefore, they escalated the psychological war with the aim of dispersing the resisters and disregarding the democratic demands of the Gezi Resistance. As usual, they are trying to declare revolutionary socialist forces terrorists and marginalize the movement.
On the other hand, they are aware that the mass psychology the acceptance of Taksim Solidarity’s demands will create will trigger a struggle for larger goals. It is not a coincidence that when Erdoğan was on his 4-day trip to Africa, the President of the Republic Abdullah Gül and Bülent Arınç intervened and tried to weaken and divide the movement by using a “softer” tone… The attempts to divide the resisters as “innocent people with environmental awareness” and “provocateurs/extremists” are conscious efforts in this sense. The main goal of the dominant forces is to give an end to the struggle without accepting the resisters’ demands.
The speeches that the Prime Minister Erdoğan made in Tunisia and upon his arrival in Turkey made it clear that the demands will not be met. “Setting apart those with environmental awareness,” Erdoğan separated the other protestors and ignored their demands. He blamed the resisters by defending that the JDP government has done great jobs, and saying that “They are trying to raise difficulties for us. Who are they, where are they coming from, how did they join this.” Despite that “A Sign Will Suffice” placards were carried and “Let us go, let’s crush Taksim” slogans were shouted in the welcoming ceremony [for Erdoğan, upon his return from Africa] at midnight at the airport, Erdoğan did not object to these placards and slogans.
The government and its supporters are trying to consolidate their power by legitimizing the suppression of people’s rebellion with democratic demands by describing the ongoing process as an activity of foreign forces and Ergenekonist-pro-coup d’état sections.
It is beyond doubt that racist and nationalist forces are trying to pull the ongoing people’s rebellion to other directions and even desiring to lead the movement themselves. But it is not possible to nullify these attempts by just watching what is happening. On the contrary, this is possible if the labor and democracy forces take initiative with a great energy. The resistance process offers great opportunities for the revolutionary democrats, progressive forces, socialists and the Kurdish movement. The growth of the people’s movement that has developed and become widespread against the plundering of Gezi Park with gains is closely linked to the ability of democratic forces to utilize this opportunity.
As is known, the Confederation of Public Workers’ Unions (KESK) had stated that it would go on a “Token Strike” on June 5 against the attacks on public workers’ rights. June 5 token strike was then coalesced with the people’s demonstrations. On June 5, the Confederation of Revolutionary Trade Unions (DISK), the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB), and the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) joined the strike of public workers who walked out on June 4 for a two-day strike with the demand of job security and against the violence against people… By stopping to produce service with the demand of “A Humanely Life, Secure Job and Reliable Future, A Democratic Turkey” they called the government to meet their rightful demands.
KESK, DISK, TMMOB and TTB’s joint June 5 Strike fulfilled a positive function for the ongoing process to unfold on the right ground. It is a historical democratic duty for these labor and occupational organizations’ to take an active responsibility and intervene into the process.
On the other hand, the Union of Communities in Kurdistan’s (KCK) call to the Kurdish people to also take initiative, by saying that “it has given the message for the structuring of a new democratic Turkey” regarding the Gezi Park protest and the resistance that began with it, is quite important. Putting the requirements of these messages into practice will both be an assurance for the people’s rebellion and deal big blow to chauvinism. This attitude of the Kurdish freedom movement does not conflict, but rather coincides, with the ongoing peace struggle. Because the honorable peace will be won by the struggle that is going on against the JDP government. The Kurds’ active role in the ongoing people’s rebellion clears the way for their own demands and empowers their allies… In [the Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party’s] Istanbul deputy Sebahat Tuncel’s words, the togetherness of “marauders/looters/freebooters” and “terrorists” will strengthen empathy and pave the way for democratic struggle and liberation.
Yes, the Gezi Park Resistance and the ongoing people’s rebellion has already made history. All the beauties of resistance, solidarity and collective life with self-identities are lived in Taksim square. These beauties should be shared more widely, everywhere should be transformed into Taksim Square.
June 8, 2013