Leaving you all alone and abandoning you for such a long time. I won't even bog you down with excuses but please forgive me.
Everyone who knows me knows of my undying devotion to Turkish culture and Turkish people. Don't ask me why I just do. Turkey is one of those countries that people need to know more about. The history and the people. Studying the Turkish language was one of the most difficult fucking things I ever had done. Most people don't know where Turkey is let alone if it's considered a middle eastern country or an Asian country. I am surprised at how little my peers know about Turkey. I have read the Turks introduced coffee to Europe, the Trojan War took place in Turkey, the capital of Turkey is Ankara. Some people might mistake Istanbul to be the capital.Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey. Istanbul is the only city in the world that is located on two continents: Europe and Asia. Santa Clause was born in Turkey! Well St. Nicholas actually. But still you get the point. Turkey is full of very rich culture, food, politics, and most of all people.
This is why it saddened me I learned of the serious human rights violations taking place in Turkey during the OccupyGeziPark protest. I won't go over the reasons why the Turkish people are protesting or anything like that. I will leave that up to you to look up. But to sum it up in a few sentences... There was a sit-in protest in Taksim Gezi Park because the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wanted to build a new shopping mall there. Gezi Park is supposed to be one of the few green spaces in Istanbul. Police have been BRUTALLY evacuation the peaceful protesters. A lot of protesters have been arrested, tortured, and beaten into silence since voicing their opinions.
The first few days of the protest my heart felt heavy. I have been constantly glued to my phone for news updates on the protest but there has been a lot of media silence on the issue. Corrupt government for me is an interesting topic because it is crucial to understand your RIGHTS as a HUMAN BEING. People have died being exposed to excessive tear gas, being shot in the head by police, people have gone missing after speaking up against the Turkish government. Bloggers, photographers, peace activist, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters have been attacked and harassed by police for opposing the government. The government has put a lot of pressure and threats on media outlets daring them to expose the protest and what the police are doing to innocent people. How outrageous is that?
I could not sit and do nothing. I could not watch and stay silent. I had to do something. But what could I do from far away? What could I say? I started a Solidarity Page on Facebook.
Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/SolidarityWithTurkeyoccupygezi
My goal and aim in making this page consisted of a number of things. I will share a few
1. Show support to the Turkish people
2. Stand in SOLIDARITY with the Turkish people
3. Remind protesters that we are watching and we are witnessing what is going on
4. Help protesters communicate with each other being there have been threats of shutting down the Internet from the Turkish government.
5. To show my loved ones in Turkey support and to let them know we will fight with them
6. I wanted to find a way to devote my attention to the people who protest and have been persecuted for simply speaking up.
7. Teach all generations of people that when something is wrong, do not stay quiet.
My solidarity page garnered a lot of attention. Mostly good some bad. But mainly I received a lot of support. But I wanted to channel that support to the peaceful protesters around the world who stood with the Turkish people. I was dying to let people know that its okay to resist the government. Its not okay for the government to torture its people. Turn a deaf ear to the people. To ignore the people. We will not stand for it in any country. Social media has been a very instrumental and powerful tool for people around the world. But also for the protesters who could not rely on media for accurate information. Twitter and Facebook have been where I was getting a lot of information and videos on what was going during the OCCUPY protest. And it broke my heart.
Some of the attention I received was from a Turkish newspaper based out of New York City (my home) they asked me if they could talk to me about the page I made. At first I asked why. Not because I didn't want to, but because I was surprised anyone would want to ask why I support Turkey. WHY NOT? IS ALWAYS MY REACTION. When they asked for an interview I sort of knew they were serious and I went ahead and answered some of the questions they asked. It was later published online by two Turkish media outlets and I felt so proud. The interview is in Turkish so for those of you who don't speak Turkish I will provide a translation. I received messages from some people saying I had no right to be concerned with what is going on in Turkey because I am not Turkish. They told me to find my own country and stay out of theirs. Lots of people have told me I don't understand what the protesters have done and they supported the government. which is fine, I respect all opinions but it really pissed me off they people hated me for loving turkey. So I used the interview as an opportunity to explain to people why I support Turkey. I made it clear it wasn't just about Turkey but about human rights. I addressed the questions as specific as possible so that no one misunderstood my devotion to the cause. After the interview the person who interviewed me said she wished there was more people like me in the world. I remember how I felt when I read that. It was such a warm feeling. I have received letters from people around the world who thanked me for supporting the cause. But its not about me. Its about the people who sacrifice their time, life, and safety for a cause that I believe is noble. I just wanted to create a space where people could communicate respectfully and show support.
I could go one, but I'm concerned i have rambled too much. I will provide a link to the article interview and hopefully people have a clear understanding of why I do what I do.
Remember we are all one. One HUMAN RACE.
Ben Türkiye’yi seviyorum. Türkleri seviyorum. Ve ne olursa olsun asla sessiz kalmayacağım. Asla susmayacağım. İnsanlar beni Türkiye hakkında sessiz kalmam için zorluyorlar. Ama bir insan olarak, asla böyle bir yolsuzluğa/haksızlığa karşı duyarsız kalmayacağım. Tenlerimizin altında biz ‘insanların’ var olduğunu bütün dünyanın bilmesini istiyorum. Bizi dinleyecekler! Sırf bir kaç Türk yerli bir Amerikalıdan destek aldığı için utanıyor diye, ben hiç bir zaman sessiz kalmayacağım. Hep birlikte hepimiz biriz!