Tuesday, June 4, 2013

About Turkey and the latest events

I had an article about last week's UK Games Expo, but I decided to postpone that article and get back into politics a bit because of what is happening these days in Turkey.

In my simple way of looking at the world, I see the political leaders as servants of their nation, as representatives of the electors and as protectors of the rights of people, principles that are at the foundation of most political systems. But I am not naive and I know that most leaders take advantage of the power they were given and play their own political games and I also know this is true regardless of the religion, of the democracy perception or the ethnicity of that country. But there's always a fine line between using and abusing the power.

In my humble opinion, the line was crossed for the past several days in Istanbul and the rest of Turkey. What made me take a stand and write is the first hand news I got from my friends living these events in Taksim Square, being abused by the police, sprayed by water cannons and poisoned by tear gas.

If the kind of pictures I've seen and the the stories I've heard came from the usual media channels I would probably feel appalled, discuss this with my friends but finally move on - it's sad but true, like most of us I see and after a while look the other way thinking that there's not much I can do - but having this first hand info, I decided this is the moment to speak up.

In a democracy the army and the police are institutions designed to serve and protect the citizens, common people like you and me.  I am wondering today how many Turks feel the protection of the police paid from their own taxes (and I am not trying to be sarcastic here)? I bet there very few and those who still do have no friends or relatives beaten up or arrested during the protests. I am not supporting the cause of the protesters and I am not against the Erdogan (Turkish Prime Minister), I simply support the right of the people  to speak up their concerns, their right to stand for a cause - whichever that cause may be - and the right to demand the politicians - as public servants - to listen.

I come from a young democracy where people are still easily manipulated into taking stand for the wrong reason, in exchange for money or supporting the wrong cause. But even if I do not believe in their cause, I respect their right to gather and voice their opinions. Lately, silencing the crowds rather than listening to them  has become increasingly popular among governments around the world.

Looking at the "riots" from a government's point of view, this is one of the worst things possible. If they talk to the people they could be perceived as weak so, who knows, maybe more strikes, protests or even a revolution will come. Not talking is another bad option, it shows that politicians have lost connection with the people (=voters) and their support private agendas. So, they figured out an easy way out, dismissing any protests as one of the following:
- Politically motivated, supported by the opposition, meant to destabilize the government and to focus the attention away from the important matters on the current public agenda. I am not saying this never happens, but most often this kind of message is pure manipulation with the sole purpose of ... focusing the attention away from the important matters on the public agenda
- Terrorism - the people protesting are immediately cataloged as terrorist, vandals and punks supporting an extremist faction which is trying to rip the country apart. This kind of labeling works especially well in those countries with minority problems, with a know history of paramilitary groups or with rather oppressive regimes.

Do you recognize any of the above in what is happening these days in Turkey? If so, I believe it is up to everyone to speak up and let both the Turkish government as well as your own that it is not OK to use police force against people and that freedom of speech is not a luxury but a right.

The blockage of the Turkish media, mostly controlled by the government, of the events in Istanbul generated a massive reaction on the social media, millions publicly showing support for the protesters in Istanbul and other parts of Turkey. With this article I am adding another drop in the ocean, hoping to [keep on] raising awareness. I do claim to know the Turkish political situation in details, I am not against the Turkish  government or Prime Minister and I have limited knowledge of the agenda of the protesters. But I know one thing, the violent response from the government is wrong! 

Find out more on the NSKN official website Facebook  | BGG |  ScoopIT Magazine 
Follow us on Twitter: @NSKNGames

No comments:

Post a Comment