In Erdogans green backyard

Moving my mind back to Turkey… By now, my time at Gezi-Park seems to be so far away. Sometimes I see tattered posters in Athens. “Solidarity with Gezi” is written on them. It makes me almost nostalgic. But even though the international media left the Gezi-Park for Egypt or Edward Snowden, the protests aren’t over. During the Ramadan time people met for a shared fast-breaking. As far as I know public park forums are still going on. And of course people who got arrested or hurt still fight with the outcome of these days. Furthermore people start to produce movies about #occupygezi as for example the “Istanbul united” project.
Let me share one last story about Turkey with you before we move on to Greece:

I could have stayed in Istanbul forever. Adapting the rhythm of the movement, standing still on Taksim during the days and discussing in park-forums during the night. I think there has never been a political movement I felt more at home. Every morning I would promise myself to just stay one more day. Every evening I would fall exhausted in my bed without any plans to leave… Finally, a friend’s invitation to Izmir gave me a reason to say good-bye to Istanbul and it’s empty, police guarded park.

Within the next days, I learned that leaving Istanbul didn’t mean to leave the Republic of Gezi. On Izmir’s coast open-air concerts were held and scenes from the occupied park and the street fights were shown on a big screen next to the sea. Unlike Istanbul Izmir wasn’t quite. For the first time in a week, I heard a loud demonstration passing by and saw street-art (In an overnight action all of Istanbul’s street-art, whether connected to the protests or not, was covered with gray color.).

SAM_0232If I would have taken a ferry from Izmir to Greece I would have thought all Turkey contains of open-air gatherings, park-discussions and demonstrations. But instead of taking a ferry to Greece I followed a friend inland to Konya. Christiane wanted to go to Konya to see the Mevlana-Museum about Sufi-culture, a mystical flow of the Islam. This was about all we both knew about the city we were going to go to.

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Gezi rund um die Uhr – Mittags

Eigentlich war ich am Freitag, dem 14.06.2013 gegen 11.30 Uhr zum Pilates mit einem LGBT-Aktivisten verabredet. Es war ein Freitag und der Gezi-Park schon seit dem Morgen, trotz leichten Regens, brechend voll. Als der Mann nicht auftauchte, oder wir uns verpassten, zuckte ich die Schultern und meinte zu einer mich begleitenden Freundin: „Nicht so schlimm, lass es uns morgen nochmal probieren. Vielleicht läuft man sich ja auch später noch über den Weg.“ Wir liefen bei Eren vorbei, doch der gab grade ein Interview für das ZDF. Eine Frau fragte ihn, ob sie den Park im Laufe des Tages freiwillig räumen werden. „Nein, wieso?“, gab Eren erstaunt zurück. Sie erzählte, dass ein Gerücht im Umlauf sei. Gestern Nacht hätte sich die Taksim Solidarity Platform mit Erdogan getroffen und gemeinsam hätte man beschlossen, den Park zu räumen. „Glaub ich nicht, wir bleiben hier!“ sagte Eren bestimmt.

SAM_0174Solidarität im verregneten Park

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Es ist ein komisches Gefühl einfach stehen zu bleiben. Der Taksim ist ein Platz, über den normalerweise nur gehetzt wird. Vom Bus zur Ubahn, schnell noch mal ganz kurz bevor die Läden schließen zum Einkaufen, die Touristen fallen hier aus den Flughafenbussen und ihre Rollkoffer klappern über den gepflasterten Boden wenn sie zu ihren Hotels eilen. Es kostet mich ein wenig Überwindung aus der laufenden Masse hinauszutreten und stehen zu bleiben. Die Menschen, die eben noch neben mir liefen, bleiben jetzt stehen um mich zu fotografieren. Sie fotografieren die stehenden Menschen auf dem Taksim-Platz, weil sie die stille Fortführung der lauten Schlagzeilen der letzten Wochen sind.

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“Pepperspray us and we still see the unfairness”

Actually, I planned to post four articles about the daily life in Gezi within the next days. To rehear my interviews from the last days has become something spooky now. Where all the laughing, music and dancing took place is now a empty nomensland, “protected” by police.

Yesterday evening the police started to clear Gezi Park. I was very lucky to not accidently be there because the brutaliy reached new levels and I was scared already last week… They gazed childred and a hotel, which was used as a hospital. Since I wasn’t there I can’t give you any first-hand information at this time.  But the German TV channel ZDF has a really good report on yesterday evening. Some of some imagines might be really shocking, it contains police brutality and injured people. It’s english subtiltled.

Even though my articles about the daily life in Gezi now have a slightly bitter tast I’ll continue to post them in the next days. I really want to show you how beautiful it has been and what people are able to do if they unite. I believe this isn’t the end. Protests will go on. I’m just scared that Erdogan might have destroyed the peaceful and creative atmosphere the protests had so far, for good.

SAM_0116One of the last picutures I have been taking in Gezi-Park.

Tagebuch einer ausländischen Extremistin

Nachdem es in den letzten Tagen sehr still auf meinem Blog war, da die Ereignisse sich überschlugen und ich keine Zeit für längere Texte hatte, werde ich jetzt versuchen meine persönlichen Eindrücke der Proteste in Istanbul aufzuschreiben.

Es begann sehr klein. Am Freitag, dem 31. Mai 2013, redete im Metrobus in der Istanbuler Vorstadt plötzlich jeder mit jedem. Eine Freundin übersetzte mir, dass es Proteste in einem Park gegeben hätte und die Polizei außergewöhnlich hart gegen die Demonstranten vorgegangen sei. Bilder auf Mobiltelefonen machten die Runde und die Leute blickten entsetzt auf eine junge Frau mit rotem Kleid, die alleine im Tränengasnebel steht.

Combo photo of Turkish riot policeman using tear gas against woman as people protest against destruction of trees in park in Istanbul

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Prime Minister, get your hands off my body!

The feminist corner at the Gezi-Park is easy to recognize: lilac banner blow in the wind and feminist leaflets as well as beautiful daisies are placed on a small table in front of a tent. I’m here to find out something about the feminist view on Turkey and the latest events. My today’s date Ilke Gökdemir invites me to sit down on the grass next to her and starts to speak before I’m even able to switch on my recorder. As everybody else here she is very proud and happy about what is happening at the Gezi-Park.


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It’s about Freedom

If the government hoped the protests at Gezi-Park would die a slow death without the police around they were wrong. Now, at the sixth day of the park occupation, Gezi is more alive than ever. In just a few days the Gezi-Park developed from a rather boring park into a lively art-space. There I meet Deniz and he friends for a little interview.


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