Enough is enough
GÜLSE BİRSELWhile I am writing these words, the incidents are still ongoing. Hundreds of university students have just marched through Teşvikiye Street. Everyone is leaning out of their windows and applauding them.
Sensitive Istanbul residents reacted against the demolition of one of the rare green areas in the city center to build a new building resembling the former Artillery Barracks, which would probably host residences, hotels and shopping malls.
They politely and calmly guarded the park without any arms, tried to protect 70-year-old trees. The protesters were not harmful people. Actors, musicians, ordinary people, headscarved women, teachers, students… They did not even carry a pocket-knife.
So, why did you attack and use gas on them? Why did you burn their tents? For what?
The protests originally aimed at protecting environment and the park. But with the effect of the latest emotional crackdown of public and the aggressive attitude of police, it grew and spread.
So I will handle this subject in another point of view. If I were a member of the AKP, I would say “The situation is getting worse. We are mistaken.”
The whole nation is sick and tired of this. I don’t only mean those in Cihangir or Nişantaşı. Authoritarian approach is now crystallized and hangs above our heads constantly. You arbitrarily close the public services provided with taxes including theatres, parks, and gardens.
Let me set aside Gezi Park issue for a moment and explain what I mean with “the latest emotional crackdown of public.”
Now I am addressing to the ones whom I have tried to observe without any prejudice for a long time. You are neither listening, nor respecting. You do not want to see that Islam is not our only moral value. Along with Islam, the Republic of Turkey, national holidays, Atatürk, our lifestyles, and even secularity, which seems only as a constitutional principle, are the moral values of the most of the society.
These are not abstract or historical notions/persons, or racist-segregationist dogmas; but the symbols of unity, freedom, individuality, value of human-being, law, justice, women’s rights, equality, positive sciences, and enlightenment. But you completely ignore it.
You intervene in liberties with regulations like alcohol restrictions. And you still say “We don’t care about anyone.”
So, dear members of the AKP; we are hurt, resented and angry. Can you analyze how the people once voted for you have now turned against you?
The basic motivation of Gezi Park protests are the city’s trees. But the civil, innocent and emotional grounds which spread the demonstrations can briefly be interpreted as: “enough is enough.”
Revenge of Trees
Let’s turn back to the issue of trees. The love of nature is actually present in our traditions. European travelers tell about the Central Asian Turks in 7th and 8th centuries that “They never bathed. First we thought that they were dirty people, but then they told us that they abstained from bathing in lakes in order not to pollute waters. Water and nature were very valuable for them. They only bath when they come across a river.” You can find many details about it in “The history of the Turks” by Jean Paul Roux.
I come from a family who is very afraid of cutting a tree. We highly condemn the actions harming any kind of living being.
When I was a child, we had a neighbor who did not favor trees. Each year, he secretly poured nitric acid and dries our trees since they blocked his sea view. We worked hard to revive the dried trees or plant new ones. He was not a bad man. He only didn’t like trees. We warned them for many times: “Killing a tree, or killing a living being is not a good thing. It is a sin and shame. It does not bring good luck.”
The same winter, our neighbor stepped on a wooden jetty during repair works of his house. Despite its strength, the wood cracked. He fell down to the ground and eventually died.
The trees are silent, but they are freer and stronger than we think.
So, everyone must respect to each other’s lifestyle and right to live.
And let us live like a tree alone and free. Like a forest in brotherhood.
*Gülse Birsel is a comedian and screen writer. This article was published in daily Hürriyet.