The day has been marked by PM Erdogan’s speech in many different points; twice in Ankara once in Adana and once in Mersin, exactly the same speech with same tone of voice, same made-up stories about protesters and almost same crowds. Since the PM came back from his north Africa trip, there have been circulation of sms screenshots ordering AKP fans to come to rallies, offering them money in return and many gifts; if carrot does not work there were also statements that those failing to be present at AKP rallies will no longer benefit from government and face consequences even.
While the bribe-texts failed to bring a crowd that we usually saw in AKP rallies in earlier years, there were still a few thousand cheering and shouting for Erdogan “great warrior of Jihad”. To which Erdogan’s speech continued “we should set an example of protesters; for those who defy our government we will shove down their throats” alongside many other invented stories from government linked media.
Among his invented stories that he talked of in these rallies, there are especially a few that tend to instigate violence and hatred among his supporters. He starts out his speech with references to his past, that his vision and views have always been the victims of this country, and that he was imprisoned for citing a poem. The explanation to that is that he was imprisoned for call to violence against a certain part of the society and making a provocative speech; which he is making again today. Secondly he continues to refer to women in turban, that they are being attacked on streets since the protests began and protesters were oppressing the devout muslims. The anti-capitalist muslims group clarified that they were in perfect harmony alongside many other democratic-muslim groups and leftists, nationalists and anarchists as well as LGBT and other groups. Then a group of women in turbans organized an alternative protest asking Erdogan to stop politicizing their headscarf and stated that they were being treated with all the same respect and tolerance that everyone else is subject to. (this protest’s photos were used by government linked media with photoshopped version stating “we are in full support of our savior, Erdogan”)
Another invented story was “consumption of alcohol and having orgies in Dolmabahce mosque” to which the imam of the mosque immediately clarified that there has taken no such action in his mosque and the youth treated everything with utmost respect while the mosque was being raided with gas by the police and people were receiving medical treatment in the prayer area; and that the only alcohol used in the mosque was to clean the open wounds caused by police shootings.
One of Erdogan’s favorite invented facts is the burning of flag to get the crowd wildly nationalistic. He starts out praising Ataturk and refers to his sacred heritage, the flag and the country. He says “these protesters are all traitors burning our flag in squares” while the government linked media show pictures of a protest years ago in a completely different geography than where protests are taking place. His main motive behind this statement is to start a fight among the protesters, especially between Kurdish and Turkish nationalists. The attempts to divide the resistance have failed so far, as they are all united around the fact that they do not want to live under anyone’s oppression (neither military rule, nor civilian authoritarian rule).
Next in line was the police officer who was killed by the protesters. Erdogan refers to him as martyr of democracy as he died defending the system. The defected point of view in his death is that he died when chasing the protesters with a gas-shooter in his hand, and fell off a bridge on his head; the protesters did not intend anything close to killing while trying to save their lives from him. He continues to compare the lives of two protesters who actually died of police brutality to the accidental death of an officer. The crowds cheer for police at this instant and he says “if protesters attack my police, will I let them go off without consequences?” This statement might not seem all so significant until one realizes that he is saying “my police” and not refer to general police but the riot police that seems like a private army only loyal to PM.
According to Erdogan, the defenseless policemen are being prey to violent protesters. Which can be proven simply by comparing the police in panzers, with batons, gas, armor and helmets to unarmed protesters in slippers, shorts and t-shirts. Erdogan states that thousands of policemen are wounded in the violent attacks of the protesters and they were only defending themselves when their shoots were aiming protesters heads. The fact is that, any protest area is very peaceful until police starts raiding with excessive force with all kinds of chemicals at their disposal. This is just simply absurd to think that the protesters can even harm the policemen, as long as they do not behave careless enough to hurt themselves.
The union of police officers also called for a general disregard of orders when they are against the law; which is that they should not interfere with peaceful protest. Also, some regular police officers – not government’s riot police – anonymously declared that it is not them who are intervening the peaceful protests but the newly recruited riot police that defend their “boss” honor, in this case, Erdogan’s party. And they were declaring that the civilians still should call regular police if they were faced with any kind of problem during the day.
In the mean time, AKP organized several uncalled political rallies in several cities and blocked roads, bridges to make speeches; limiting people’s right to transport and making thousands of people miss their flights. While this was actually illegal and was to be interfered by the police, no one dared to tell the PM that there were citizens becoming victims of this political show of force. And as there were no interventions to road blockade of the PM, there was brutal raids on peaceful protesters in Kizilay Square (already closed to traffic for years) and police were again using excessive force, panzers, water cannons, gas, teargas, blast bombs, batons, sirens. There were all signs of an invasion force that has been unleashed, and only against peaceful unarmed protesters who were trying to run away with their hands up in the air while they were being shot at with canisters.
It is hard to understand why the PM is insisting so much on destruction of green spaces and establishment of more shopping malls, but he refers to this as sign of civilizing the country, that his citizens also deserve to live in the same standards as the western people do rather than “listening to war-chants of a few terrorists in Gezi Park that had no idea where the park was until a month ago.” Obviously he is seeking to escalate the tension, and while openly calling for restraint of his supporters he also says “there is a limit to our patience, when we leave the 50% staying calmly at their homes now, then they shall see what comes.”