Opinion of individuals from the ground is very important in such occasions. While the national and world media usually either does not represent or misrepresent the news, it is the people on the street tweeting and writing blogs, putting up videos really that will tell the world about this revolution. Some people find resemblances of the events in Istanbul and other cities to Tunisia, Libya, Egypt etc, yet the only common point is organization style (which is still the same in Iran, Russia, Germany, Sweden, Spain,etc…) as it is the most commonly used method of communication today, the social media. Although there is this crucial similarity with the Arab Spring movements, the events of the Middle East and North Africa have been more concentrated on the despair of daily life and hopelessness of life under dictatorial ANTI-democratic rule; while on the other hand Turkish Summer is about the failure of NON-democratic system where all parties hold voters’ support hostage for the extend of 4-5 years and feel that they can do whatever they like until the next elections.
Turkish spring may actually be a Turkish summer, a step ahead spring; yes many people are against the failing system, people ask for a better democracy and more respect to human rights including recognition of all rights (be it minority rights, environmental rights, animal rights, etc). The one common denominator today is that people are asking not only for immediate cease to destruction of environment but also new faces, new ideas, new working system to prevent any future concentration of power -which in the long run harms the “others” of the system.
For long years, the mainstream’s “others” have been the Greeks, Armenians, Kurds, Islamists, Alevites, and most recently the Republicans…(alongside may other identities) The day has come to the point that there is no individual left without a rancour against the system that declared him/herself as an enemy. While population in general is uneasy about the developments of recent years, most people were abiding by the system simply because there was no way out for them.
The Media Barons
The bosses have to stand on the side of the government in order to operate in the country or in export/import related businesses. This part is beyond corruption; as government reserves the power of Treasury at her disposal, whenever a boss deviates from the major-plans for the government and give chance to opposition voices in media or other platforms, officials of the treasury raid the accountants’ of that particular businessperson and write a fine of billions of euros. As for example Aydin Dogan was made example of, no other media-king could ever allow opposition voices be heard on TV, and smaller media-only businesses were fined for any reason. While most businesses in Turkey might still be non-compliant with EU regulations and standards, it was especially the non-governmental businesses that were forced the most, and in this situation of unequality, only government-friendly businesses would grow and get bigger.
Over the years most media barons left their business to government related businesspeople and the situation was the absolute silence we have seen throughout if not for the disinformatory broadcast, accusing the protesters of crimes committed by undercover policemen, events that took place years ago and directly turning prime minister’s accusations into “facts”. Moreover, as most of the country does not use internet, a seriously dangerous number of people still have no idea what has been going on and why. The only thing they see on the news usually is “the terrorists that we have always known, this time in our city center.”
In the event of this camera being pulled away to have a clearer focus on the penguins of Antarctica, the Turkish penguins were marching on the streets and defending their rights peacefully, until the police raided in an all-out-attack. It is seriously worrisome because the reporters were told that if they broadcast or report anything that would harm government’s credibility, they would lose their jobs; the police were told that if they can not stop the protests with all they have and whatever cost, they would lose their jobs. Also the police being manipulated into losing their minds is another factor in this violence; as serious psychological games are at place to control their behavior and make them more violent towards protesters.
So, in that sense, the only real representation of the events would be clearly from the street, and unlike media reporters from various backgrounds, tweeters, bloggers, video-channel admins show the events as they see and their number brings about a significant accuracy to events. On the street there are many groups bringing live information to all of us, the socialists, communists, nationalists, anarchists, capitalists, greens, pirates, islamists, feminists, homosexuals, football fan-clubs (which have a completely deeper meaning than just the game in Turkey), all kinds of ethnic groups from Turks, Kurds, Armenians, Pontians, Greeks, Jews, Assyrians, Circassians, Bulgarians, etc. to international visitors and residents of Istanbul who are against all kinds of oppression and can stand with a univocal voice for liberties. The groups that were thought never to be able to stand facing eachother without harming one another, were shoulder to shoulder demanding a fair system where no one is marginalized by the mainstream and no “one” power can hold any other control mechanism hostage, simply by the voter support behind it.
What we have seen throughout the last decade in Turkey has been the failure of famous “checks-and-balances” through over-concentration of power, sacrificing democracy for the sake of prosperity (of a few). In the years to come, as this nation has seen the shortcomings of a neo-liberal authoritarian government’s deeds, people would not wait too long to once again voice their demands and put the last brakes on an uncontrolled force that might have taken over all guards against any kind of possible collapse, except for the hearts and minds of the people.
None could have imagined that a country so differentiated between several aspects of the society would unite so well and demand peace and liberty, and only around a green leaf that no longer covers the shame of oppressors.