Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"Make Noise Against Coups"

PHOTO BY Johan Spanner/The New York Times
The sign pictured reads: "We Were Small in the 80s. Now You Are."

Mary Ann and Richard brought me my very own sign from the large demonstration leading up to Taksim Square on Saturday. Thousands of people attended the unsanctioned protest (there was no permit), but police did nothing to intervene save block access to Taksim. The signs being waved read, "Make Noise Against Coups," and the protests were indeed loud enough to warrant a story in Sunday's New York Times. The NYT article focuses on the class dimension of the current political struggle and the heightened anxiety of the "secular establishment."

From BIA-Net:
On Saturday (June 21) the “Stop the Coups” meeting was held in Istanbul, which was organized by the organization Say Stop To Racism And Nationalism”. Among the supporters were the Global Action Group (KEG), Young Civilians, Organization of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed People (MAZLUM-DER), Say Stop To Racism And Nationalism, the Democratic Society Party (DTP), the Revolutionary Socialist Workers Party (DSİP), the Foundation of Volunteer Organizations of Turkey (TGTV), the Socialist Democracy Party (SDP), the Socialist Party Initiative, The Peace Congress Activists, Lambdaİstanbul LGBTT Solidarity Association and the Political Horizon Movement.

“We can stop the coups”
Gathering in Istanbul’s historic Tünel neighborhood, the crowd of thousands of people, among whom were intellectuals like Adalet Ağaoğlu, Nazlı Ilıcak, Abdurrahman Dilipak, Lale Mansur, carried the banner that said “70 Million Steps Against The Coup”.

The meeting crowd, which chanted slogans such as “Say Stop, Say Stop, Say Stop To Coups”, “Free, Free, Freedom” and “We can stop the coups”, was interesting in showing that individuals from different backgrounds could get together for a common cause. Kurds, covered women, gays, socialists and many others walked together, making the same demand.

White glove, Turkish flag and police barricade
Among people who were wearing white gloves and blowing whistles against coups, there were those who were carrying Turkish flags as well.

Although the meeting crowd was planned to go all the way to Taksim square originally, it had to end with a press release in front of Galatasaray High School, midway between Tünel and Taksim square, once the crowd encountered the police barricade set for them.

“Today is the day to show the first reaction against the attempt to place democracy under the guardianship of military”
Zeynep Tanbay, who read the press release on behalf of the crowd, said, “Today is the day to raise our voice against coups, coup attempts of all sorts, the day to show the first reaction against the attempt to place democracy under the guardianship of military.”

“Are we experiencing a military coup? At first sight, it seems not possible to talk about such a coup. But, especially the developments after the April 27 manifesto by the military show that we are in a slow-motion coup process, that democracy is subjected to a sort of intervention.”

The concepts of freedom, justice and equality are thrown into the background
Reminding that there were closure cases against the political parties DTP and AKP and that the amendment that permitted the use of headscarf in the universities was annulled, Tanbay told the crowd that “We are facing a new stage in the intervention process that has been taking place for a while in Turkey. The demand by the forces on the side of democracy for a democratic constitution has been dropped from the agenda during this process and The concepts of freedom, justice and equality are thrown into the background.”

We will continue taking steps until we arrive at real democracy
Indicating that they want to disperse organizations such as Ergenekon, the Republican Work Groups and spoil the plans made behind the closed doors, Tanbay continued, “We will raise our voice against coups regardless if it is a summer day, an autumn night or a winter morning. Against coups, we will be on every street in Turkey .We will continue taking steps until we arrive at real democracy. (BÇ/EZÖ/TB)

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