27/12/2013

The Night Before the Revolution, Taksim 2.0

Crowds are already gathered on Ankara's Kennedy Street

Turkey has had a stressful week and so have I - in many ways parallel to that of the country. Essentially, I've come to realise I must commit to facing some home truths about the way I have been living in the past four months. So have the people of Turkey, it seems.

For my own part, the aftermath of the protests brought on the kind of depression that one gets waking up to nothingness after a night of dancing and debauchery - the kind of night that living in Taksim has provided far too easily for me since I moved there and attended the Gezi protests this summer.

Waking up with a ringing in one's ears from the bass, aches from contorted muscles and a violent sense of lack from the night before, somewhat diminishes the beauty of the dawn. But in that moment, when you clearly feel affected - between being jolted back into the dunya from slumber and life carrying on, there is a moment of clarity; Things have got to change.

For most people, this is expressed in cliche vows none-the-less inspiring in their goals (namely "I'll never drink again!"), forgotten no sooner than they are uttered. 

But with this week of Turkish news, jolting us back to life, the momentum has returned. And this time, the country seems bustling with anticipation to strive to do something inspiring.

 AKP-gate

After a heavy police response, sustained over a number of months, the protest movement's sense of mission was broken. By last weekend, there was more or less no police presence in Taksim; no chanting, no gathering - just shopping, tourists and club culture - the modern opium of the masses. Thus, in the last month an incentivised judiciary, pressured by vengeful political pressure, thought it portune to ignite a witch hunt discussing custodial sentences for everyone who was caught in handcuffs or on camera, from pensioners  to minors.

However, the latest scandal, after weeks of tit-for-tat between the two old allies, Fethullah Gülen and Erdoğan, has led the country into a state of madness whereby I had to stop myself from using the internet while writing this, as the situation has been changing on an hourly basis, rendering any chance I have to write up the events, utterly useless (then, that is the essence of beyhude)

The scandal unveiled by prosecutors and police units who were probably sympathetic to Gülen, unveiled in perfect timely fashion, a huge scam involving the children of AKP members. Several of the highest personages of the AKP were later forced to resign, and a new cabinet was ordained by the prime minister (photographed below with the caption "the last supper", by one Twitter member). In the meantime, the entire upper echalons of the police force and prosecution involved in the investigation against AKP members were fired and replaced by mandarins loyal to the government. Not-to-mention, a TV quizshow similar in style and popularity to Britain's Countdown, both of which I love, has been knocked off the air due to focus on the definition of the word 'someone who steals money from the people'. (answer: yitici - 'scavenger')


I could go on, but it's best you refer to this article by Emre Kızılkaya to get the full-update, as of two hours ago. ..

Resmi Twitter'da görüntüleTaksim 2.0

Twitter has been blowing up with messages of those pledging to gather there tomorrow night. I estimate the police build-up throughout the day will be formidable. 

Despite this, the protesters are looking defiant. Many are beginning their messages with the phrase "warn the police!"

Erdoğan should be worried now. Firstly, the opposition has broadened to include not just the Gezi youth and old opposition groups, who were nay-sayers from the start, but from the ranks of former voters. After all, losing the confidence of Hizmet members does not cause a substantial dent in the AKP electorate, however, many non-aligned conservatives will be put off by the sudden violent turn on the leader and his movement. Erdoğan must erase the memories of those who, despite being AKP, were taken aback by his unilateral decision to start this war and close down the Hizmet movement's schools. As Orwell might have put it, "Oceania the AKP has always been at war with Eastasia Gülen". He will do this by focusing on the group's US links and location. This might bring Erdoğan at direct odds with the states, but at this point, that is not looking unlikely to happen.

Secondly, with a judiciary in ruins and a thoroughly ruptured police force, Erdoğan risks losing the support of the security forces he has worked so hard to build the trust of over the years, in the AKP's quite noble fight against the military.

Broadened Opposition

Months ago, I shared my disappointment that there was no figure respected by both sides equally, who could bring calm to both sides of society in the heat of conflict. Now, I feel ardent that such a leader is not necessary; For if these two entities in Turkish society - the urban secularist young and practising Muslims of the same generation, living completely separate lives albeit side-by-side, can come together and hit it off in the streets, then this will be the beginning of something great for Turkey. Somewhat perversely, we have the AKP to thank for that. Credit where credit is due, but for now, their role is to allow for the steady transferal of power.

I believe the beginning of the end will come this weekend.

It is time for all of us to look inwards and refocus our energy on moving on to a new stage in life, with grace and finesse. For me, this involves a revolt against the part of me who just wants to rock out in Taksim, at the expense of greater things. For Turkey it involves doing just that, to call for greater things.



No comments:

Post a Comment