This is why the Turkish people rock.
But folks back at home, I’d suggest you turn on CNN.
Live from Turkey. Glued to the TV. Things are going down.
Do you wonder what a protest in a country that isn’t truly home could mean to a foreigner like me? My good friend Abby C-Gay, whose photos I’ve blogged a few times, has put into words my exact feelings about the Gezi Park campaign here in Turkey. Read the full post here. Below is a sample.
Her Yer Taksim, Her Yer Direniş!: Why I Support the Turkish Resistance
by Abby C-Gay
… I support these protests because it is the Turkish people reclaiming their right to their own country. I do not support them because I am afraid of a President whose wife wears a headscarf or because the system is entirely corrupt and broken. I want to say this in order to emphasize for my comrades outside of and perhaps not very familiar with this country that this is not what these protests are about. In the past few years, I believe that the people of Turkey have been watching changes and events that the government has led in a somewhat resigned, self-isolating way. Over the past year, especially since living in Istanbul, residents have particularly seen a changing landscape, forced developments, and the power people hold in protecting the places they live seemingly slipping away. In conversations about these topics, it was almost like talking about a tragedy from the past. People would begin to talk about the problems they saw, tensions would rise, and in the end, they would inevitably say, “Anyway, OK let’s not talk about these bad things.”
In just the past few weeks, I had been hearing more and more from young people my age that at the first moment they had, they would leave this country. “I hate this country,” they would say. “There’s no place for me here anymore.” On Saturday night sitting in Gezi Park, a Turkish friend was bubbling over with excitement. “I don’t know if you really understand,” she said. “Something like this has never happened in my whole lifetime. Just two weeks ago my friends and I all talked and found we had all been thinking of moving away. That we were getting squeezed out. Now, I’m inspired again. This is my home and I’m not alone here.” That sentiment is what keeps the people coming to Taksim, I think that’s why they continue to flood to the streets, bang their pots and pans, tolerate the gas, play concerts in the park, post picture after picture, article after article on Facebook and Twitter. That’s why even after apologies from the government for police violence and overly severe reactions to the protests (of course no apologize has yet come from the PM himself), the people still gather. Words are not enough; they are pushing for actions.
… I don’t know the numbers. I don’t know who would win in a new election. I also don’t think Erdoğan will resign or that he should. But this is what I like to think about the protests: I like to think that the Turkish people are overcoming partisan bitterness and stodginess (political parties have not, unfortunately, ceased the waving of party banners at the Taksim rallies, though the CHP had by Tuesday taken down the flags they had put up all over central Kadıköy on Saturday morning). I like to think that this is not just reactionary secularists fighting for fear of religious takeover. (The presence of the anti-capitalist Muslims tells me it’s not). I like to think that when they talk about “halk”, that includes people of all ideologies, of all identities – ethnic, sexual, religious. I like to think this is a fight of the people against an over-authoritarian government, a reclaiming of Turkey, a united front against unjust, undeserved police violence, and the Turkish people saying finally, we can be a state without a dictator, we can be Turkish without being strictly secular, harshly nationalist, judgmentally religious, or forcefully exclusive. “Uyuma!” the signs say. (Don’t sleep.) “Uyan!” (Wake up.) The Turkish Revolution of 2013 may not see a revolution of government, but I think it is a call for a revolution of the people – don’t sleep, wake up, unite, and stand in solidarity. I imagine the coming days will give us a better sense of where this is heading. Let’s hope for Gezi Park and for peaceful, united, transition to a more comfortable country for everyone.
So anything I have to say seems very trivial compared to Tas’s current state of affairs, but I want to let everyone know a little bit about what is going on in my (arguably) more mundane life. Here is the rough outline:
Parents visited two weeks ago. It was action packed and very touristy! I quite enjoyed it, but I also enjoyed the nap I got to take after they flew home. Really miss them!
Took my LAST FINAL OF MY LIFE!!!!!!!!!!! And I actually think I did okay.
Going to see my sister and her hubby this weekend in Northern Wales!
Got a marketing/communications internship for the next 3 months. Whoo!
Balancing my internship with my dissertation will be quite exhausting… No sleep.
Continuously stressed about future/jobs/life, but you’ve still got to enjoy the day to day.
Anonymous asked: Hi Jen, I am considering living at Moonraker Point. How did you find the neighbourhood? Are there establishments nearby where one can purchase food, coffee or grocery? Is the area safe for walking at night or in the evening? Thank you.
I honestly had no idea I’d gotten mail! I’m going to blame it on final essays and exams, but I am very sorry if this response is ridiculously late. I’ll try my hardest next time to speed up the process and be more aware! :D
Moonraker point is great for one HUGE reason…the location! There are other great things about it, but this is DEFINITELY one of the best things. There is this street called ‘The Cut’ with multiple coffee shops and restaurants. Not to mention, you will be right next to the Jubilee line (the best tube line in London) and Waterloo/London Bridge Stations. As if that wasn’t enough, you will be right by the South Bank…only one of the coolest areas in London. Suggestions: stop by Founder’s Arms Pub on one of your first nights. It’s a 10 minutes (or less) walk from Moonrakers and has gorgeous views of St. Paul’s Cathedral at night.
I’ve never felt unsafe at night. Then again, I can be a bit overconfident in the safety areas at time. BUT, there are tons of 20-somethings living here and I really do think it’s as safe as it can get in London. I’ve personally never had any trouble and I’ve had to walk alone many times.
Since you’re in the inner city, grocery store options are few and far between. The options you do have are quite small, but they do have the general things you need to get by. There are two mini-groceries within 10 minutes walk (probably less) from Moonrakers. There is also a gym within 5 minutes if you’re in to that! I have many friends who go there.
Let me know if you have any more questions! I am MORE than happy to answer them.
Istanbul Gezi Park protesters still have time to make Game of Thrones references. (Tayyip is the PM)