Authoritarian state rebounds on the street as street gangs

Authoritarian state rebounds on the street as street gangs

Belgin Akaltan -
Authoritarian state rebounds on the street as street gangs

AFP photo

I am quite scared… People are telling me to be careful… People are telling all of us to be careful… For heaven’s sake, could they also tell us “how” to be careful? 

Our offices have been attacked by a mob twice and most recently writer Ahmet Hakan has been attacked, he and his bodyguard beaten earlier this week.  

I have loads of knowledge about terrorist attacks, separate attacks and what precautions an individual can take but that does not stop me from being afraid. I am trying to be careful but I am afraid. I am very afraid. I am not a famous journalist like Ahmet Hakan; nobody is going to follow me home and beat me up. 

By the way, creating a fake minor car accident and making a row is one of the simplest tactics used in these streets for some time. I wonder if Hakan or his body guard or his driver ever knew about it. I mean a simple driver’s maneuver would have avoided the awful encounter. Why did they not lock their doors and just move? Maybe it all adds up to one second of negligence or carelessness, one moment of eclipse of reason.  

Anyway, here is an interview with Dean of Political Sciences Department of Ankara University Professor Serpil Sancar. She was interviewed by Nurcan Gökdemir at daily Birgün. She spoke about the lynching mobs that attacked Kurdish citizens and workers a while ago, explaining who made up the mobs. 

She said the authoritarian state was reflected on the streets as lynching groups. Here are some extracts from the interview: 

“Those who we call ‘lümpen’ are on the streets. While the police are shutting their eyes, these lynch groups and gangs are formed…. The issue is not a debate or fight. The issue is the supervising of a mass who only believes in beating up, killing and lynching… At the root of this is the culture of violence, polarization and inciting to hostility… There are agitated masses…”  

“These young people have parents who grew up on the village. Their parents migrated to big cities… They are the first or second generation in urban life…They have not benefited from the modern opportunities of the city; they have gone to middle school or high school the most; they do not have a dream of becoming a university student… All their narratives are based on family relationships; their entire life is based on violence.

Even in their love affairs, they explain it as ‘I was dating a girl; she did wrong to me; I struck her.’ The ordinary talk is ‘I hit. I beat. I drew the knife…’ Violence is so ordinary in their lives it is unbelievable…”

“This group of people is the grassroots of fascist regimes. They are able to build civilian but despotic control mechanisms on them. Unless we make this mass give up violence, professionalize them, humanize them and draw them into the rule of law, this will continue like this…”

“During their lives, there has not been anybody protecting them against injustice. Police or their families were not able to protect them from injustice; most of them were beaten up by their fathers. In their lives, justice was done with retaliation and counter force. What they believe is that ‘You will intimidate and distance your enemy. You will not explain it to the police. The police cannot solve it. You will solve it yourself.’ This is the culturally disadvantaged segment Turkey does not want to see the other segment.” 

“When you look at their lives one by one, you see that they have nothing to lose. They have no future. They were not able to go to the university; their family does not have an income; they do not possess adequate skills or intelligence; they do not have an intention to work; they also do not want to try very hard… They are living through poverty trauma. They would be a hitman or join a gang, benefit from a questionable organization. There are so many of these young people…”  

The entire interview of the dean of my former school is a very good one. It can be found at  

This is my fear…