ISTANBUL - This does not look like the semi-official demonstrations that preceded the May 27, 1960 Coup d’état where chants of “the military and the people walk hand-in-hand” were heard.
This does not look like those political rallies intolerant to the lifestyle of religious people, where the demand of “We do not want a headscarved first lady” was voiced.
This does not look like the demonstration with those brutal “the army called to duty” banners, demanding another coup.
This does not look like the merciless actions aimed at the elected rulers that drew strength from the military.
This does not look like those illegal groups vandalizing the public space with Molotov cocktails, iron weapons and thrown stones.
This does not look like the charmless noises made by a small group of elites eager not to lose their privileges.
This does not look like the Ergenekon demonstrations, actions promoted by the so-called 'deep state' or the calculated rallies with secret agendas.
This does not look like the churlish demonstrations in which the most unjust people chant wild slogans.
This is something different…This is something completely different.
What is this then, the past four days of spreading unrest on Turkey's streets? Just what sort of phenomenon are we witnessing?
Something like this, more or less:
This is the cry of those who say “don’t say ‘I have decided this and it will be done’ by relying on your majority status; hear what I have to say too.”
This is the plea of those who say “Speak kindly to me, do not look down on me and treat me with care.”
This is the reasoning of those who say “I do not intervene in your lifestyle, do not intervene in mine.”
This is the rage of those who say “You may not love what I love, but you have to show me respect.”
This is the roar of those who say “Do not perceive yourself as the Prime Minister of the 50% only, be my Prime Minister too.”
This is the people who say “Do not be stubborn, do not use force, learn to take a step back,” and by doing so, standing tall.
This is the call from those who say “Do not say I know what is best; pay attention to the sensitivities of the people who are not with you, even if they were just one percent.”
This is the warning of those who say: “Put regulations on alcohol but do not look down on those in front of you while doing so.”
This is people standing up and saying: “Enough! Stop with the pepper spray…You have practically changed the climate of the country.”
This is the bursting out of those who say: “If you only care about the freedoms of those like you, then I stand up for my freedoms.”
This is not a matter that can be explained by saying “ideological things”, “deep state”, “provocateurs”, “illegal organizations” or “CHP” (Republican People's Party).
Like I said: This is something else; something completely different…
June 1 protests and violence in Ankara - Photo: Sabri76
P.S.: TWO KEY LESSONS
LESSON 1: The terrain that is called “social media” is an uncontrolled space. The news there is subjected to no filters. People who provoke things by saying “50 people were murdered” have the same voice as people trying to calm things down. Therefore, you should not let social media be the one and only news source. It gets to play the leading role in an atmosphere in which the television channels and televisions cannot cover the events properly. In such a situation, what is the meaning of (Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan) whimpering about “They tweeted lies, created chaos, caused provocation?”
LESSON 2: I was in the streets. I observed, listened to the slogans and tried to understand the target of the rage. Nobody I saw was reacting to President Abdullah Gül, or to Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arinç or the chief of police. Nor were they reacting to the governor or mayor. A single name was spoken everywhere: Tayyip Erdogan. Why? I think it is because Tayyip Erdogan talks about a project to be built in Istanbul more than the city’s mayor. Exactly like Tayyip Erdogan talking about the Syrian issue more than the foreign minister. Is it not natural for one person to be the target of all the rage when one person is perceived as the single decision-maker?