Archives for posts with tag: democracy
“what’s happening in turkey?”– thanks for asking friends– i’ve been commenting in turkish for the last few hours on social media, and many asked for english commentary. the short and true answer is “i don’t know”.
what i know is there was a “coup attempt” (or, an “attempted coup-attempt”, whatever the hell that means, according to the turkish government pundits). who is really involved, to what extent, how many people died, who is injured, what damage the cities have suffered, etc. is unknown. turkish government, as usual with attacks and tragedies, has shut down most forms of social media. citizens are resorting to VPNs and other circumventions to communicate. i am receiving emails, messages, comments, etc from friends in turkey asking me what’s going on in turkey and what the foreign press is reporting. they have little or no access to information there. and, social media, (and, for that matter media), as usual, is full of disinformation and all shades of propaganda.
i am receiving anecdotal reports from all over the country. people stuck behind barricades with their infant children, guns and tanks ablaze, mass arrests, a coup soldier who was executed on a bridge by having his throat cut (and a video of it), so on and so forth. there are rumors of fighter jets crashing, or bombing, or engaging in dogfights. there are rumors of numerous civilian deaths. of course there are no official numbers– and, when and if they’re released, i fear the numbers will be greatly falsified as it was the case in the tragedies and the bombings of the last few years.
in the meantime, the “military” leaders are calling the soldiers behind the coup back to their barracks. but the top brass of the turkish military are MIA. all the orders, news, etc. are coming from second tier commanders.
there are rumors that the joint chief of staff is held hostage. but no real verification.
the turkish government quickly blamed fethullah gulen and his merry band of dissenters. they’ve been calling his group a terrorist organization, sans any terror attacks.
allegedly, a faction in the military, controlled by the gulen movement, is behind the coup. which sounds like an impossibility to me. at least, the fact that such a marginalized portion of the military can organize a coup without the knowledge of the regime sounds implausible and i am not the only one.  the washington times actually wrote an article on this back in april, arguing how the rumors of a potential coup d’etat is actually helping recep tayyip erdogan, the president of the turkish republic, politically.  
the perceived “impossibility” of a military coup is also making the conspiracy theories discussed below more plausible.
but, if the government can establish a gulen link, one way or another, it will pave the way for the turkish president erdogan to achieve one of his long-term dream of gulen’s extradition back to turkey.  a dream which has been futile so far.
gulen and erdogan were once allies.  but, a few years ago they fell apart and have been engaged in a feud ever since.  a feud that has resulted in purges, persecutions and scandals like the now infamous corruption scandal of december 17, 2013, that would topple any democratic government anywhere but in turkey.  a scandal which had very serious implications for erdogan, his immediate family, and his cronies, with taped phone conversations, but was quickly brushed under the carpet.  and a scandal that was recently resurrected in the highly publicized federal trial of reza zarrab in the southern district of new york.
so far, the US government has refused to extradite gulen.  designating his group as a terrorist organization sans any real acts of terrorism was not enough.  but, if this coup is somehow tied to him, the US government’s position on the extradition may change.
this is one of the reasons why the turkish social media denizens predominantly think that the coup is either planned or permitted by erdogan.
the other reason is the simple fact that erdogan is pining for a presidential system in turkey.  in social media, the term “sultan” is even used. erdogan has implied himself, numerous times, how he sees himself as a caliph, or a sultan, and how he wishes to resurrect the ottoman empire.  though these statements may seem delusional if they were heard from anyone else, when they come from erdogan’s mouth, it sends shivers down democratic citizens’ spines.  and, social media is full of “fan pages” for the “grand master”, a term his dedicated followers use for erdogan, started by his supporters, chuck full of ottoman and ultra nationalistic fantasies, xenophobia, and rampant anti-semitism. 
the anti-semitism goes so far that yeni akit (the new covenant), a radical newspaper aligned with erdogan, calls gulen and everyone close to him jews, and, during the last elections, published anti-semitic cartoons akin to 1930s weimar germany, depicting jews as cockroaches, and, anyone not aligned with them as an israeli puppet or a jew.
the cartoon above has gulen, on a leash, rabid looking, rode by a “jew”, about to be unleashed on turkey.  the caption of the front page story is “siyon-piyon ittifakı”, meaning “zionist-pawn confederacy”.  on gulen, the words “paralel şeyler”, which means “parallel things”, are written.  “parallel” is the term the erdogan regime uses for the gulen movement– for allegedly running a parallel government in turkey.  sadly for reportage and evidentiary purposes, but happily for human decency, most of these cartoons “vanished” after the elections.  though one can still find them if they know where to look.
erdogan has a dream of presidency (currently he is the president of the republic- which is a more symbolic post than say a prime minister in the parliamentary system). he wants a presidential system, which requires a constitutional change. he tried to achieve this through democratic means, but, the last two elections backfired, he couldn’t reach the parliamentary majority needed for the constitutional change.
the first elections, in june 2015, preceded by dubious violence, resulted in a stalemate, and erdogan called for a snap election was called for november 2015.   erdogan, who, as the president of the republic, constitutionally had to take a neutral stance, lobbied intensively for his party, AKP (justice and development party), and a constitutional reform for an executive presidency.  it was reported that erdogan, through the presidential office, had spent 109 million euros for the campaigns, which is a violation of the turkish constitution.  obviously, nothing came of it and the matter was closed.
the violence leading to the election was very interesting: the main threat to AKP and erdogan’s absolute power was the peoples’ democratic party (HDP), which has grassroots kurdish support.  bombs exploded in their events, and there were other senseless acts of violence.   the kurds were blamed.  especially kurdistan workers’ party, PKK, a terrorist organization.  but, they were nothing close to what will happen before the november snap elections.
HDP gained surprising power in the parliament at the june 2015 elections, winning 80 seats, which would have shifted the balance of the parliament, and would have put erdogan’s presidential plans in jeopardy.
needless to say, the parties couldn’t come up with a coalition, all post-election scenarios were rejected, especially by erdogan, and the november’s snap elections were called.
leading up to the november elections, bombings and terrorism escalated and was almost always contributed to the kurdish terrorists.   the election was preceded by the deadliest terrorist attack in turkey’s modern history, after two suicide bombers killed 102 people attending a peace rally in central ankara.
and, with every bomb, with every attack, kurdish terrorists were blamed (even though in most instances they were killing their fellow kurds), and, erdogan and AKP came with the propaganda that HDP = PKK, shifting any sympathy  the voters would have with HDP.
because of the violence, opposition parties suggested postponing the elections to no avail.  and erdogan campaigned furiously for his former party, AKP– again in violation of the constitution.
needless to say, the election, again with rampant documented electoral fraud, resulted in a “shocking” victory for AKP– they nearly reclaimed all the seats they lost five months earlier, winning 49.5% of the votes, and establishing a government without a coalition; but, not reaching the parliamentary majority for securing the constitutional changes required for erdogan’s dream of executive presidency.  and the “evil” HDPs seats fell to 59 from 80, just five months ago.
violence continued after the elections.  a bomb exploded, guns were fired, all at strategic times, when erdogan or AKP was in hot waters.  those coincidences, and the fact that the government had constructive knowledge of the attacks before they happened, fed the conspiracy theory that erdogan and/ or the government is behind the attacks, trying to establish enough fear through terror to secure absolute power and the executive presidency.
the people of turkey, which is the original melting pot, with many different ethnicities, cultures, religions living together, became more and more polarized.
erdogan and AKP continued to implicate HDP as supporters of kurdish terrorism. a very strong innuendo in the public eye was created– HDP=terrorism and turmoil. erdogan likes and uses the old dictatorial maxim “either you’re with us or against us”.
in the meantime, erdogan continued to lose credibility globally.  his actions, often almost surreal, made turkey not only an international security concern, but a laughing stock.  he sued a physician for stating that his facial expressions look like gollum of the lord of rings,  sued and asked for the extradition of a german comedian for a song mocking him,  along with over 2,000 other people he sued for insulting him, since he took the presidency in 2014.
over 2,000 people sued for insulting the president, including tons of journalist, who were merely expressing their opinions and the freedom of press.
erdogan’s credibility suffered more when he tried to pick up a fight with putin by shooting down a russian air force plane (blaming russia, the russians releasing documents tying him and his son to smuggling ISIS oil through turkey, and then back-peddling and apologizing), blaming israel for everything under the sun (and then back-peddling once more), supporting ISIS in his fight against the kurds (and putting the journalist who publish the documents of the support in prison), etc.  such loss of credibility and behavior resulted in him receiving the cold shoulder from the obama administration in his last “official” visit to the US.
the opposition parties tried to oust him through legal means.  a president in a parliamentary system is not legally culpable, accountable, or prosecutable for their private or public actions.  turkish constitution only allows for prosecution and impeachment for treason.  treason is not defined in the turkish constitution–  but the turkish penal code traditionally declares alliance with the enemy, acting against the national benefit, damaging the country’s unity, etc. as treason.  which the opposition claimed, albeit unsuccessfully, for erdogan.   achieving this would be impossible at the current parliament without the support of AKP, erdogan’s party and the majority.
which brings us to the “attempted coup”.  such attacks, terrorism, polarization, the loss of credibility, and now the “attempted coup”, actually, as the social media denizens believe (at the expense of sounding like a conspiracy theorist), paves the road to erdogan’s presidency/ sultanship.
you see, the current constitution of turkey gives immense powers to the president of the republic, erdogan, when marshall law or a state of emergency is declared. and that’s what just might happen. and, this could, possibly, enable him to call for early elections, dissolve the government and the parliament, etc.  that was the guess of the washington times, cited above, back in april.  
this chaos actually may help him obtain the presidential system he pines for and get gulen in his hands– two birds with one stone, and, hence the conspiracy theories.
erdogan was vacationing in marmaris, at a “businessman’s” mansion, when this happened. the little cove where the house is has been shut down to the public for a while according to sailor and vacationing friends.
the first few hours he was nowhere to be found. then, he spoke to the people through facetime– a very strange address– he basically called the people, his supporters, to the streets, even though the government has issued a curfew.
his words were strong and provocative– it was almost akin to a call for civil war. and, very very reckless.
immediately afterwards, we started receiving anecdotal reports of “people” gathering in plazas and around the istanbul ataturk airport where erdogan was supposed to land at.
then, there were reports from the NBC and the daily beast that erdogan was trying to flee the country, broadcasting from a plane, and his request to land at the istanbul airport and then in germany was denied. both NBC and daily beast based their reports on sources in the US. veracity of it is not established and people all over the social media were tracking his plane through flight tracker.
and all this culminated in an attempted coup that failed spectacularly.  it was half-baked.  there were no apparent leaders (which coup d’etats almost always have), no real or obvious plans, nothing.
it feels as if this coup was designed to fail.
no matter what, turkey is in ruins as i type this.  fear is immense.  confusion is rampant.  security is a nostalgia.  people with any democratic and/ or humanist tendencies have lost all hope with their confidence in the government.  and this is where we are.
so, again, my honest and simple answer is i don’t know what’s happening (and i doubt that we will know what really happened anytime soon). what i know is there is too much propaganda (black, grey, and white) and disinformation, so beware of what you hear and read (even what i wrote, which is just a summary of what i know and what i think and what i suspect and what i presume and what i speculate).  stay tuned, will post whenever there is something verified to be posted.
and let’s hope that the days i will post happy and proud things about my beloved turkey will come soon…

this crawled into my inbox today.  a first hand report from istanbul, turkey– about the protests and the revolt going on out there.  the diarist’s name is not published, due to his request.  we respect that.  apparently our man in istanbul had  a rough ride the last few weeks.  his writing and articulation deteriorates towards the end but we should cut him some slack. these are terrible times in istanbul and consider this a public service announcement.  we are publishing it verbatim- kicking off with his introduction to us.  if you like it say so and share.  if you find it offensive, just click on a different blog.


diarist’s intro:

i am a chapuller.  or a çapulcu if you’re linguistically inclined.  i just found out i am a chapuller last week.  before that i was a simply a man.  a professional.  a somewhat decent human being.  but, now, i am a chapuller.  and i take pride in it.  according to the mighty wikipedia, what i am is a neologism.  i looked it up– obviously it derives from greek words, like almost everything else.  apparently it means a new utterance or speech; a brand spanking new term of the english lexicon.  it sure don’t feel that way.  according to wikipedia, we should avoid neologisms.  such avoidance would defeat the purpose of my existence, rendering me null and void.  but that’s what avoidance does– renders you null and void.  i don’t avoid any more.  i don’t seize, i don’t desist.  i am a chapuller and i am damn proud of it.

chapulling was born in my beautiful turkey.  a nice mediterranean country.  as a people, i would say we’re the perfect fraternity special cocktail– throw in turks, arabs, kurds, armenians, levantines, jews (mostly sephardic, some ashkenazi), greeks, bulgarians, albanians, lebanese, and anyone else you can find in a 2,000 mile radius in a blender and you have us.  we live in the original melting-pot.

it is easy to figure out why– just take a look at a map.  if you forgot how, just google “map”.  turkey, or the land known as asia minor, is a natural bridge between asia and europe– the two continents that historically meant something.  people traveled through turkey for thousands of years– it was a bridge they had to cross.  some invaded, others passed through; but, many, many stayed behind.  hence the cocktail.

we turks were the last invaders and we’ve been holding on to this beautiful land for a thousand years.  we started our invasion in 1071– just five years after the battle of hastings– interesting coincidence– i guess it was a period of upward mobility for the normans and the turks.

anyways, our language always had a term– çapulcu– which basically meant a looter or a marauder.  i was christened one on june 2nd, 2013.  this is my story.

i won’t bore you with the “i woke up, took a crap, and went to work again” bits of my diary– rather, i’ll only reprint my evolution from man to chapuller.  the rest is irrelevant.  at least to you.

may 23, 2013

today i woke up late.  i shouldn’t have woken up at all.   everything started the way it should– morning coffee, skipping breakfast (sorry mom, i know!), work, then, given it is a thursday (best night to go out), drink and food with the same old friends.  same old bullshit over and over again until someone got a tweet and we heard of a new legislation passed by our wise parliament just before midnight (governments like catching us with our pants down, don’t they?)– apparently no more alcohol sales at stores after 10 pm.  huh?

we continued drinking and debating (more and more imbibed, but still somewhat coherent), the ramifications of this new piece of legislation.  we had an american friend at the table.  some ivy league washout who decided to grace istanbul with his presence, teaching english as a second language, after a bad break-up, like many before him.  istanbul is becoming more and more an expats city.  i don’t blame them, it is magical.

anyhow, our friend said, “what’s the big deal?  we had such laws in the US forever”.  according to him, apparently americans have they call “blue laws”– each state enacts its own law and prohibits the sale of alcohol after certain hours, and, most definitely, on sundays– the holly day for christians.  he even told us that there are “dry counties” in the US– places where you cannot legally buy alcohol.  he even claimed that the place where jack daniels is made is actually a dry county.  we chuckled.

we didn’t take him seriously and debated till the wee hours.   most of it is blurry and i am drunk as it gets.  enough for now.

may 24, 2013

i woke up with a colossal headache and dragged my stupid ass to work.  why, oh why, drink so much on a school night?  yeah, the legislation was an excuse for the libations, but since when did i need excuses for getting shitfaced?  just another run of the mill thursday night.

i hate hangovers but don’t know how to avoid them.  actually, i do know how to avoid them but never practiced what i preach when it’s booze and excess.

the entire day was a waste but i looked up my friend’s claims about american laws on the internet and turns out he wasn’t bullshitting.  then, i read the government’s pundits on twitter and they were reciting our american buddy’s exact same argument– their argument was uncannily verbatim– perhaps they were getting their drink on at the next table last night?   what they said boils down to “the americans do it, why don’t we?”…  i’ll tell you exactly why but i don’t have the energy.  the days of walking and sweating off a hangover by noon are long gone.  i am miserable.

came home straight after work.  my girlfriend came by around 8 pm, took one look at my hungover self and left, rabbitting off something about a brunch tomorrow.  i passed out on the couch watching a documentary on penguins.  woke up around 2 am with a raging hard-on, and the penguins still parading around.  penguins, really?  hangover erections know no shame.

may 25, 2013

we took a boat to bebek for brunch.  when the weather is right, there is no place like the bosporus.  i’ve seen it a zillion times and each time it feels like a gabriel garcia marquez novel.  surreal, magical, and mythical.  it is the most gorgeous place on earth.  i remember one early morning, drunk as usual, and seeing a school of dolphins doing their nautical show in the mist– sheer magic…

there were eight of us (nine if you count the freeloader who sat down for 15 minutes drinking our tea, eating our food).  our american friend was with us again and the conversation turned to the new legislation again.  this time around in complete sobriety.

i first asked him if he is moonlighting as a spinmaster for AKP (for the uninitiated, the justice and development party, turkey’s governing political machine) and its fearsome leader, mr. recep tayyip erdogan, the prime minister (AKP and RTE, respectively, from here on).  he just laughed.

we were civil, we let him make his case for respecting other people’s rights, how democracy had to be fettered for the greater good, etc, etc.  felt like listening to an oasis track– derivative and boring.

we really had to school him about turkey, and the eastern hemisphere in general.  you see, there is no one-size-fits-all in political theory.  you have to take into account the country, its conditions, its people, or the “stakeholders” like the academicians call them, etc, before prescribing a cure or a solution.  what works in turkey most likely ain’t gonna work in the US and vice versa.  we are different people evolved through different traditions, cultures, needs, demands, so on and so forth.

to make sense of our brunch discussion, a little detour through history is absolutely necessary: turkey is a spin-off of the once mighty ottoman empire.  the once mighty ottoman empire, besides being a powerful force, was also the vatican of the muslims.  the sultan, or as we used to call him the padişah, was also the caliph, the ruler of all muslims.

like all empires before and after it, the ottoman empire declined slowly and became a sad shadow of its once glorious self.  but, it held on to its delusions of grandeur, which led to its demise.

its demise was ugly– after the first world war, it was divided between the winning nations and the padişah said, simply leave me my title and my palace, and do whatever the fuck you please with the rest of the country.

we, the people, wouldn’t have none of it– we started a war of independence, led by mustafa kemal (later “ataturk”), our hero, our george washington.  we fought hard, we fought well, and won our independence in 1923.  we established a democracy, a republic, and started catching up with the western world.

to catch-up, we had to change our way of life– in less than five years, we adopted the western alphabet, initiated one of the most aggressive literacy campaigns of history, gave the women the right to vote, modernized our clothing, changed our calendar to justinian, adopted the metric system for measures, and established the rule of law.  yeah, we were plagiaristic in the last measure buy why reinvent the wheel?  we simply reviewed all the modern laws of western countries and took the ones that worked the best, and that would fit our culture.

ataturk, during that time, even did his due diligence on the two emerging fresh political waves- fascism and communism, but decided they weren’t for us and settled on democracy.

we also demolished the caliphate– we were humble and secular– we had no business in claiming to be the prophet incarnate, or ruling other people outside of our borders.

try this on for size– how many countries can go through this many changes in five years?  many revisionists simply shrug and say “ataturk was a dictator and any dictator could have done this”.  i call that world-class bullshit– ataturk died in 1938– if all the changes were forced via dictatorship, we would have reverted back to our old ways in no time flat.  but that didn’t happen.  we prospered and started building a decent sized economy and a happy people from the rubbles of the first world war and our fight for independence.

why am i explaining all this?  to emphasize how we embraced secularism and how easily we, as a people, can change.  we can change, and adopt to changes, at the blink of an eye.  perhaps it is because we predominantly came from nomads.   it is our biggest blessing and our worst curse.  we adopt, we survive, but we also change– our identity is shiftier than a billboard lawyer.  it is a blessing and a curse.

i’ll go off on another tangent here– bear with me– it will all make sense at the end: physicists cannot still explain precisely what “time” is.  i don’t know much about “time”, as a vector or a dimension or whatnot, but i know that “western time” is not the same as “eastern time”.

western time is quicksilver, eastern time is molasses.   western time is leaps, eastern time is a baby crawl.  western time is instant gratification, eastern time is deferred.  western time is a revolution, eastern time is an evolution.

as far as time is concerned, western folks got desensitized.  their concept of time is instantaneous– if something happens now, it exists– if it will happen tomorrow, it doesn’t.  it is all video montages, sound clips, and big thumbs-ups.

eastern time is about patience.  eastern time is the fateful acceptance that the next generation, or the one after them, will reap what you sowed.

western time is the time-lapse clip of a seed blooming into a flower; eastern time is meditating over it, assured that someday the seed will bloom into a forever, whether you’ll be there to smell it or not– someone will be there to smell it and that’s what matters.

cognizance of these tangents was the great divide between us and our american friend.  he did not see a minor regulation banning the sale of alcohol at stores after 10 pm as a big threat to our democracy.  he did not see the minor but persistent attacks on freedom of speech, religion and press as threats either.

he didn’t take them seriously because neither amounted to an islamic revolution by itself.  he operated on a different time wave– he did not have the inherent patience to sit and watch the seed grow, millimeter by millimiter.  unless the revolution was televised, with time-lapse tricks and 10 word soundbites, it did not happen.  we tried to explain him what was going on was an evolution, not a revolution, and, therefore, more dangerous.

taken individually, the limits on our freedoms did not matter much– but, taken in their entirety– now that’s another story.

that’s what scared us– we saw the pattern– starting with headscarves (or “türbans” as we called them), crawling slowly to the latest ban on alcohol.  next thing you know, let’s prohibit alcohol sales on fridays.  next thing you know, let’s give municipalities the right to ban alcohol outright.  next thing you know, for common decency, and for not hurting the feelings of devout muslims, let’s ban it in public places completely.   next thing you know, let’s ban private consumption too while we are at it.  and, you know what, those public spaces where people used to drink, now young couples are commingling and committing amoral acts offensive to our devout citizens– let’s ban the commingling of the sexes as well.

let’s use america as an excuse– let’s ban the teaching of evolution in our schools– americans are still discussing it in 2013, aren’t they?  let’s ban abortions.  let’s ban prostitution, which we used to run clean and tax the shit out of.  let’s close down all the restaurants during ramadan– serving succulent food while our devout citizens are fasting is insensitive!

while we are at it, let’s visit the feasibility of a new caliphate and a new padişah as well, shall we?  let’s inflate the egos of our people with romantic notions of our glorious past, sell them pipe dreams, sing them lullabies of grandeur.  hush a bye lil’ turk, go to sleep, go to sleep.  when you wake up, you’ll be a serf in a dictatorship, but the romantic notions and the illusions of grandeur will keep you going at full-steam until you realize it is too late.  you can change and adopt quickly, can’t you?  here is your task, are you up for it?

when you’re the legacy of such a majestic empire, when you were ruled by the caliphate, pushing religion is just like handing out a cold beer to a recovering alcoholic on a muggy summer day, saying “hold this for me for a minute, will ya?”, and disappearing   we all know how that story ends.

if we do all these overnight, we are iran, we are shunned… but, if we do it over a decade, it is democracy as usual.  no time-lapse clips, no western frowns.

AKP and RTE know this too well– they already took most of the baby steps.  the dissenting journalists are in prison, the secular soldiers are bunking with them, the media has one voice and one voice only, freedom of speech went down the drain years ago, and things are proceeding according to the plan, on eastern time.

and AKP and RTE continue to thrive, while the west watches silently, applauding them as chosen leaders (and don’t even get me started on how the elections were bought and sold), and turkish democracy ticking away like swiss clockwork.

until its too late and you realize your baby grew to be an angry teenager without you realizing.  then comes the time-lapse clips, the soundbites, and the volumes on “how the fuck did this happen?”, but it is too late to do anything anymore…

that was the gist of our schooling during brunch today.  i think our friend started seeing where we are coming from.  he is not completely sold– he still believes that a staged “mission accomplished” banner is all it takes; but, we can’t blame him, he is on western time and the western state of mind.

after brunch, we took a nice walk and then went home with my girlfriend.  made love, hanged out, made love again, argued whether or not she told me she slept with 16 guys before me when we first met (she claims 9 now), ate, hanged out more, and fell asleep.  it was a good day.

may 26, 2013

woke up late.  vegged out in the house all day.  more sex was inevitable.  did nothing productive or meaningful.  was the perfect day.

may 27, 2013

went to work cheerful.  during the commute, i thought more about the alcohol ban and saw an opportunity.  oh, i forgot to mention, we turks love, love our shortcuts and once in a lifetime opportunities.  i knew there was nothing we could do about the ban– why not profit from it in a vigilante sense?  open a few underground stores and sell alcohol after 10 pm.  like the speakeasies, but in a take-out model.  nothing like the black market for much needed cash.  did you think they don’t broadcast the “boardwalk empire” in turkey?  shit…

came home pumped, started working on a half-baked business plan.  will look at a few spaces the next few days.

may 28, 2013

work, work, work.  during lunch and after work looked at a few available basements.  no need to find a major supply-chain– i can go to supermarkets and load up on wine, beer, and liquor and sell ’em with a good mark-up.  will approach wholesalers after i make some money.  i am sure a new industry will emerge.

girlfriend on a business trip.  won’t be back until thursday morning.

masturbated.  internet is a wonderful thing.  realized, just before climax, the tv on mute was showing penguins again.

may 29, 2013

more work, more real estate agents.  not sure which is more depressing.

didn’t jerk off– if i am all spent and slow in completing the deed, girlfriend will grow suspicious.

may 30, 2013

had an epiphany on the way to work.  i’ll buy some scooters and bikes and have messengers deliver the booze.  create twitter and facebook accounts for taking orders.  ain’t technology great?

girlfriend called during lunch.  her flight back was a-ok.  she told me about some protest in taksim, the epicenter of istanbul.  apparently AKP and RTE are planning to build something in gezi parki, the last remaining green oasis in my beautiful city.  what’s next?  pave over the bosporus?  agreed to meet her in taksim after work.  have to look at a few basements there anyways.

dealt with a new obnoxious real estate agent (do they come in any other flavor?), and made it to gezi parki.  it is like a college yard– lots of young people picnicking, reading books, hanging out.  asked her to give me the skinny on the protest.

apparently AKP and RTE want to build a shopping mall after razing the park.  here is another thing about them– their’s is an infinite hunger.  since they got the power, they got rich, their families got rich, their friends got rich, friends of their friends got rich, and they covered the entire country in concrete.  i hear that now they are planning to rezone the national parks and concrete ’em over as well.  shameless, that’s all i can say.

the only thing AKP and RTE learned from western time and mentality is instant gratification when it comes to worldly greed.  they want it now and they want it all.

i am not a protest type of guy but couldn’t say no to the girlfriend.  it wasn’t much of a protest anyhow– lots of young bright things hanging out peacefully, doing their own thing, and having a merry old time.  apparently yesterday saw some police action and water cannons.  but today was quite.

went to her apartment this time.  she needed to unpack and tomorrow she has the day off.  sex was great.  glad i didn’t jerk off last night.

may 31, 2013

work again.  is this how i am gonna live until i retire?  going somewhere i totally despise everyday, and doing things that make me nauseous?  there should be a better way to live out our years.  intelligent design, minttelligent design, or random evolution, i don’t care either way– i am 100% sure we are not designed to live like this.

girlfriend called me just before lunch.  she said things were heating up at the protest.  she said she was scared and asked me to come by.

when i arrived, the protest was nothing like the day before.  there were hundres of police officers and they had their ugly assault vehicles on the ready.  thinks started heating up– i heard a bang and started smelling something sharp and acidic.  someone yelled “teargas” and panic ensued.

the rest of the day is a blur.  midnight found us in besiktas, just a neighborhood away from taksim.  my whole body was aching.  i’ve never known such pain.  not sure how many plastic bullets, pressurized water, electrical batons, and teargas my body absorbed.  girlfriend has a little cut on her forehead.  i think i tried to protect her and everyone around me as much as i can but i am not very sure.

people started building barricades.  feels like the paris ghetto all over again.  feels like civil war.  there are thousands of people and hordes of police.

called my mom in ankara to make sure she wasn’t worried about me.  she asked me why she should be worried?  wasn’t she watching what was going on in TV?  she said there is nothing on TV.  there was coverage of a beauty contest and now she is watching a documentary on penguins.  despite my aching body, and despite the voice of my mother on the other end, i felt an erection emerging.  i hanged up.

mother called half an hour later– she said she was curious and checked online and saw on the BBC site what was happening.  apparently everyone but the turkish media was reporting on our protest.

around 6 am, we decided to call it quits and made it home.  i am telling you, with all the police, fires, and the barricades, it was an ordeal.

we tended to each others wounds, and then, surprisingly we had the best sex we had in a while– apparently adrenalin does wonderful things to the libido.

june 1, 2013

we slept some, if you can call it sleep, and then went out again.  it was a war zone.  tweets started coming from all over about protests in other cities.

everyone was on the streets. and this time, it wasn’t only the bright young things of the last few days.  everyone was out– old, young, from all walks of life– and they were united against the police brutality and AKP/ RTE.  i guess gezi parki was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

i don’t know what i can tell you– much of it is pretty well documented in the international media.  i guess “carnage” is the only word that explains what we saw.  we were beaten down, hosed down, gassed, down, and then some more.  but we felt a sense of purpose and we were united.

we heard reports of hospitals and infirmaries being attacked by the police, injured folks gassed down in emergency rooms, people losing eyes, suffering broken bones.  we heard of people dying but thankfully most reports turned out to be false.

then they started gassing us with an orange chemical.  other protestors said it was agent orange.  the government later vehemently denied it– they said it was just colored teargas.   i am not sure what it was but it sure hell wasn’t teargas.  it burned my skin like acid.

somehow we made it home just before daybreak.  everything we passed by was broken down and ruined, everything was burning.  hotels, restaurants, stores that should have been closed were offering shelter.   i heard from someone that they sought refuge in a whorehouse– the prostitutes offered them food and drinks– the person said “i’m not sure who the real whores are– those inside the house, or those outside”.  that will stay with me forever.

when we got home, we showered, cleaned our wounds, and passed out.  adrenaline carries libido so far.

june 2, 2013

can’t believe it’s been a week since our last peaceful sunday– feels like forever.

cruised the internet after a quick breakfast.  i guess my eyes must have been more swollen from the gas than i thought they were– the swollen eyes and the batons to my head must have made me see triple or quadruple– the turkish media finally started reporting on our revolt and claimed that about a hundred protestors were responsible for the mayhem and only a handful were injured.  the thousands i saw fighting on the streets, and the hundreds i saw limping with blood all over them must have been an illusion.

i was very happy to see the international protests though– apparently our revolt not only made it quickly to all the major turkish cities, but also caught up globally as well.  there were protests everywhere– from amsterdam and london to los angeles and the zuccotti park in new york city.

people from all around the world gave us their support.  with tens of thousands protesting and risking life and limb in all major turkish cities, the international support was a jolt of much needed energy.

despite our better judgment, and aching bodies, we made it to the streets again in the early afternoon.  this time we were not only greeted by the police, but also with shady characters holding big sticks and wearing police helmets.  RTE’s boys finally joined the party.

we fought, we resisted, we chanted, we did not give up.  this wasn’t a revolt anymore, it was a national awakening.

june 3, 2013

today i woke up a man, went to bed a chapuller.  eat it kafka.  my metamorphosis was complete.  you see, RTE finally made a statement and called us “a handful of çapulcus”– i guess we were looters.  i am sure there were some looters after all the mayhem, but all the protestors i’ve seen were actually cleaning up the broken down stores, too busy and too weary to be looting.

i don’t mind it though– if RTE thinks i am a chapuller, so am i.  i take pride on it.  pissing in his general direction makes me happy.  if only we can aggravate them a fraction of how they aggravated us…

RTE is dismissing it all with the rest of the media.  it is scary how such carnage and mayhem can be downplayed with the help of a friendly media.

but, in turkey, people are scared to speak.  there is no freedom of speech or press.  you follow the partyline or you’re toast.  ask fazil say, one of our favorite sons, if you don’t believe me.  the boy is a world famous pianist and composer.  he is also very outspoken.

one day, last year, he tweeted a poem from omar khayyam.  y’all know khayyam, right?  he was a persian genius of the 11th century.   fazil only tweeted the poem– no commentary, no nothing.  it was a poem questioning the wisdom of the islamic paradise in the typical sarcastic khayyam style.  bear in mind, khayyam is one of the greatest poets of the east, if not the greatest.  but, fazil was promptly arrested for “publicly insulting religious values that are adopted by a part of the nation”, a crime that carries a penalty of up to 18 months in prison.  how you like them apples?  try to exercise your freedom of speech in turkey now.

you know what gave me hope though?  people were finally able to say what they thought and felt.  and i mean everybody.  people were tweeting like there is no tomorrow and facebook was nuts.  i have 2,000 friends in facebook.  yeah, sue me, i am popular.  but, most of my friends are hardcore conformists.  at least, i thought they were.  when some political issue arose, when a small protest was organized, maybe only 1 out of 10 friends raised their voice on facebook.  the rest continued posting stupid songs or pointless tidbits about their mundane lives.  this time around, it was different– 10 out of 10 were posting about our revolt– and from all around the world.

i have this one friend– perfect conformist– nothing rocks his boat.  steady job, steady income, never a political statement out of his mouth.  i saw him on facebook today with a gasmask on, fighting in the streets.  it gave me hope.

RTE continued to dismiss us and got on a plane to morocco for some diplomatic trip.  we went home.  this time our bodies were more used to the abuse and our libidos finally prevailed again.

june 4, 2013

work?  what work?

we were on the streets all day again.  fighting was still at full blast.  the momentum was building consistently.  but, the foreign media was losing interest in our awakening and domestic media was either still asleep or dismissing us outright.

istanbul wasn’t that bad but i heard ankara, hatay, and adana were terrible.  people got hurt seriously, people died.

it was just another day of the awakening.

june 5, 2013

RTE is coming home tomorrow!  we’re still fighting in the streets and waiting for his return with open arms.  i wonder what he has to say to us chapullers.  we heard that the king of morocco refused to see him.  i guess he is a fellow chapuller himself.

we’ve been discussing where this awakening will lead us.  some of us are optimistic, others not.  the pessimists fear that soon we will lose momentum and eventually things will quite down and people will forget all about our awakening in no time flat.  it is a distinct possibility– i told you before, we turks adopt and change very quickly.  they are also worried that even though we are fighting for our individual freedoms, we don’t have a proper leader and a proper mission.  i have to agree with that.  but, i am still the glass is half-full type of guy– this awakening will not be forgotten– it will change the course of the country and it will keep the AKP on a short-leash.  accuse me of dreaming, but one can hope.

tonight, back home, i felt like a war weary veteran– i felt my body, despite all its aches and pains, was as strong as it ever was, and i was ready to fight another day.

but my mind is a different thing– even though it is sharp as it gets when i am on the streets, i am having problems concentrating and articulating in down times.  my writing got very sloppy, and i am sorry for subjecting you to it.  hope i am still making sense.

june 6, 2013

today’s highlight was cleaning up some broken down stores and restaurants and manning a barricade (teargas only this time– felt like a walk in the park), with our american friend who we ran into in taksim.  he is a regular hemingway- seems to be enjoying himself.  we also started building a library for the protestors in gezi park.  all the restaurants, bakeries, etc are contributing to the cause.  i’ve never ate this good for free.

we talked more about freedoms.  he mentioned operation iraqi freedom and i nearly puked.  how can someone be this naive?  after years of dictatorship, invading iraq and trying to establish an american style democracy is not any different than “let them eat cake”.  remember stakeholders?  remember cultures and traditions?  such arrogance.  there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to different societies and cultures.  to each its own.

RTE is coming home tonight.  the city is ready for him– during our awakening, public transportation was limited at best.  tonight, the subways and buses will run late so his fans can go to the airport to meet him.  his party offices are chartering buses to the fucking airport.  such injustice.

tonight we will go home early and watch his speech.  i am sure he will give one.  let’s see who am i going to wake up as tomorrow?  i hope chapuller again.

june 7, 2013

i hope this is not my last diary entry.

i was so mad last night i couldn’t finish my entry.  i wanted to summarize his speech but i’ve never known such aggravation.  i simply couldn’t write, couldn’t think, couldn’t function.

i can’t write, i can’t articulate anymore.  words feel weird and strange.

bear with me while i try to explain.

he arrived in istanbul little after midnight.  thousands of his fanboys were waiting for him.  and he gave a speech.  it was probably the single most provocative speech i ever heard from a turkish politician.  and this speech was coming from a guy who said shit like “zionism is a crime against humanity” and twitter “is the worst menace to society”…  really, without twitter, we wouldn’t have been able to exercise even a bit of our freedom of speech.

basically, his speech was a call for civil war.  he ranted about us drunkards, chapullers, foreign agents, extremists, terrorists, etc, etc.  his fanboys chanted “allahu akbars” and “we’re your soldiers” and “we’ll die for yous”.

it was a call for war.  a war on us.  us, who only wanted to exercise their basic individual rights- our freedoms of speech, press, and religion.  us who want democracy.  us who want our parks and environment protected.

this time around he also called us vandals.  i’ve been promoted, i am a chapuller-vandal now.

we will go out on the streets again today.  but this time i am very, very afraid.  his fanboys are pumped up and full of hate.  today will be a different kind of battle.  we are awake.  we are revolting.  i know we accomplished something.  i know we will never be the same.  i know we are not a herd anymore.

but, RTE is inciting civil war.  he is pitting us against each other.  and i am scared.

i only hope this is not the last entry and there’ll be more later…  and more sex.

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