Could we build 15 Bosporus bridges?

Could we build 15 Bosporus bridges?

The officious all-know commentator of a leading news channel must have forgotten why he was on the TV and acting like one of those morning eye candies – aloof, unaware of what he indeed was saying. Yes, the morning eye candies have no brains, but they at least have long legs to expose. An average young man of 1.60 centimeters, which under no scale can be considered handsome, must at least have some intellect to qualify for a TV appearance.

“Lost so much in the stock market that with that money we might have built at least 15 Bosporus bridges; so many hundred kilometers of highways,” he barked while his master, speaking from Morocco where he was on an official visit, was condemning the protests as the work of the main opposition party and some marginal elements and that despite the high cost to the Turkish economy, he was confident in a day or two that normalcy would be restored…

At least two persons have lost their lives in continuing Turkish protests that entered their sixth day. Protestors claim the death toll is much higher but hidden by the government. One life is as important as hundreds, thousands. Death is an individual doomsday; the end of everything. The “Islamist” prime minister must have forgotten that his religion teaches that the murder of one individual was nothing less than murdering all of humanity. Anyhow, he must have gotten used to the paradox of how followers of a religion that consider human life to be sacred can kill people mercilessly in the name of religion… No… They cannot be Islamist terrorists! For some people, deception has become an art.

The premier declared as well that charges of excessive use of force by the security forces were proved wrong by the fact that a higher number of police than protestors were hospitalized. His words reminded many people of those cartoons published every Kurban Bayram holiday depicting amateur butchers sacrificing their hands and legs instead of the sheep or cows they were to supposed to sacrifice.

The premier was sure his government was faced with an external and internal conspiracy. Irrelevant. He was talking the way Basher al-Assad of Syria was talking two years ago. His statement was no different than that of Hosni Mubarak in the first days of the Egyptian uprising: Egyptians were loyal to him but hundreds of thousands were demonstrating because of an external and internal conspiracy.

Come on… Yes, nobody should rejoice at the ongoing protests. Yet, for the first time in Turkish history of democracy, hundreds of thousands of Turks are demonstrating in support of human rights, liberties and freedom of expression, as well as to defend the environment. In support of demonstrating Turks, Turks and friends of Turks are demonstrating in various world cities. What we are facing is no longer a small demonstration to prevent the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality from removing some 600 trees at Gezi Park in the Taksim area. Calculating the cost of the ongoing protests with “we could have built 15 Bosporus bridge” or such fashion could only be insolence to the extreme.

The price paid might be very high, but so far I have learned with deep sorrow that Mehmet Ayvalıtaş of Istanbul and Abdullah Cömert of Hatay have lost their lives in the protests.

Let’s hope that the death toll will not increase. Let’s hope that the government will get the message that democracy cannot be confined to the ballot box. Yes the ballot box is a must in democracies, but just one key condition, in the absence of democratic culture, institutions and particularly supremacy of law, conducting elections doesn’t mean much.