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People Have Killed Their Fear of Authority – and the Protests are Growing

An anti-government protester waves Turkey's national flagNew Statesman- by Ece Temelkuran

“Well, we are just filling light bulbs with paint,” said my friend, a cafe owner in Cihangir, the Soho of Istanbul. Speaking to me on the phone, she sounded as relaxed as if she was baking an apple pie. “You know,” she continued, “the only way to stop a TOMA is to throw paint on its window so that the vehicle loses orientation.”  

My friend, who was completely uninterested in politics until six days ago, had never been in conflict with the police before. Now, like hundreds of thousands of others in Turkey, she has become a warrior with goggles around her neck, an oxygen mask on her face and an anti-acid solution bottle in her hand. As we have all learned, this the essential kit to fight the effects of tear gas. As for TOMA, that is the vehicle-mounted water cannon. To paralyse it, you either have to put a wet towel in its exhaust pipe or burn something under its engine or you and a dozen others can push it over. This kind of battle-info is circulating all over Turkey at the moment. It is like a civil war between the police and the people. Yet nobody expected this when, six days ago, a group of protesters organised a sit-in at Istanbul’s Gezi Park to protect trees that were to be cut down for the government’s urban redevelopment project.

Ten years of arrogance

The protests that have now engulfed the country may have begun in Gezi Park in Taksim, the heart of Istanbul. It was never just about trees, but the accumulation of many incidents. With the world’s highest number of imprisoned journalists, thousands of political prisoners (trade unionists, politicians, activists, students, lawyers) Turkey has been turned into an open-air prison already. Institutional checks and balances have been removed by the current AKP government’s political manoeuvres and their actions go uncontrolled. On top of this growing authoritarianism, the most important reason for people to hit the streets in support of the Gezi resistance was the arrogant tone of the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Even on Sunday, when millions of people were joining the demonstrations, he called the protestors “looters”. Throughout his tenure, his rhetoric has been no different. He has repeatedly called his political opponents “alchoholics, marginals, sniffers, bandits, infidels”. His mocking sarcasm has become his “thing” over time, and even some of his closest colleagues accept that “he no longer listens to anyone”.

Then, there is the fear. This kind of thing is hard to report in a prominent newspaper. That is perhaps why the international media have not reported that the fear of government and the Prime Minister has been growing even among non-political people. You can easily hear your grocery shop man saying “I think my phone is tapped”. The mainstream media has not covered it, but we have read reports on social media about people being arrested for making jokes about the government. That is perhaps why for the past two days every wall in Taksim Square is full of curses against the Prime Minister. The public is enjoying the death of the “cruel father figure” with the most sexist curses I have ever seen in my life. And I have seen some. But there is a more important component to the protests.

Killing the fear

As a writer and a journalist I followed the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings. As I wrote at the time, Arab people killed their fear and I saw how it transformed them from silent crowds to peoples who believe in themselves. This is what has been happening in the last six days in Turkey. Teenage girls standing in front of TOMAs, kids throwing tear gas capsules back to the police, rich lawyers throwing stones at the cops, football fans rescuing rival fans from police, the ultra-nationalists struggling arm in arm with Kurdish activists. . . these were all scenes I witnessed. Those who wanted to kill each other last week became – no exaggeration – comrades on the streets. People not only overcame their fear of authority but they also killed the fear of the “other”. One more important point: the generation that has taken to the streets was born after the 1980 military coup that fiercely depoliticised the public. The general who led the 1980 coup once said: “We will create a generation without ideology”. So this generation was – until last week.

Dangerous questions

“So this is the media that we’ve been hearing the news from over the last twenty years?” That was the question asked by one young man on Twitter, as he watched a television journalist keep silent while the Prime Minister branded protesters “a bunch of looters”. The young man has been on the streets peacefully protesting for the last six days, so now he has many suspicions about what’s been happening in his country all this time. Maybe the Kurdish people are not “terrorists”. Perhaps the journalists thrown in prison were not plotting a “coup” against the government. All those jailed trade unionists may not be members of a “terrorist organization” after all. All those university students in prison, were they innocent like he is? Questions multiply.

As I write, Istanbul, Ankara – Turkey’s capital – Izmir and Adana are burning. Massive police violence is taking place. And in my middle class Istanbul neighbourhood, like many others, people are banging on their frying pans to protest. People are exchanging information about safe places to take shelter from police, the telephone numbers of doctors and lawyers. In Taksim Square, on the building of Atatürk Cultural Center, some people are hanging a huge banner. There are only two words on it: “Don’t surrender!”

Ece Temelkuran is a Turkish journalist and author. Follow her on Twitter@ETemelkuran

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61 Responses to People Have Killed Their Fear of Authority – and the Protests are Growing

  1. Smilardog says:

    MRAP = Light bulbs filled with Paint… dually noted!!! I will never throw another light bulb away… Buahahaha!!!!

    • diggerdan says:

      🙂 🙂 It is called recycling Smilardog 🙂

      • Smilardog says:

        Laughing my ass off

        • diggerdan says:

          Me too Smilardog 🙂

          • ARF says:

            Now thats why they switch to the new type bulbs…and just how do you make a hole to pour the paint in?? What they dont have any paintball guns??

          • flek says:

            To make the hole in the lightbulb use a very fine tooth file near the base by the metal and go very slowly in a small area.

            Fill it using a funnel. No small funnel?…make a paper cone funnel.

            Tape the hole or MacGuyver it with bubble gum 😉


    • Millard says:

      Hey Smilardog, I’ve kept a close watch on events in Turkey and these riots have exploded I believe, in large part, as a result of the brutal police crackdown. This is how it will happen here and once the fuse is lit, all those in authority will be running for the hills.

    • Inretrospect says:

      Imagine what you could do with a 400w or 1000w metal halide or high pressure sodium bulb. Of course the same thing could be accomplished with a screw-capped round jar; you just have to have a glass cutter tool to etch several rings around its circumference, which penetrate half-way through the glass wall (like they do with gasoline montelvok (sp?) cocktails).

  2. Joe2 says:

    Once the intimidation factor is gone, the fear gone, all the pent-up frustrations and injustices come to the surface, and look out.

    • NC says:

      Yep! Can’t wait for that to happen here in the U.S. Don’t know what the people are waiting for. Just start it already.

  3. Monnie says:

    Yes, the same may happen here, but I expect the American government to be more brutal in putting down such rebellion. Military & police are being conditioned to fire upon civilians.

    • Smilardog says:

      Well, when 100 million pissed off Americans start shooting back… they are going to have a problem, aren’t they!!!

      • Millard says:


      • BlkPnthr says:

        That is why your guns are being taken away right now eh….and the worst of it is that the U.S govt is going to send our Canadian troops down to help put down your civil war when it begins.

        • Henry Shivley says:

          And that is the sick thing about it as we have not a thing against the Canadian people, but let it be known absolute that every Canadian that comes against us is going to die.

          • BlkPnthr says:

            I would stand with the American people if I was in the Canadian military or any authoritarian force. Sadly, I am a lowly commoner waiting for my fellow bretheren to wake up and do what Turkey is doing.

          • NC says:

            Damn right, Henry!

        • Smilardog says:

          Ha!… If you guys are stupid enough to not help “We the People”, Then we will fertilize our soil with Canadian blood also, we ain’t prejudiced. Traitors are traitors!!! When we are done cleaning house here we come help you there. America would be a nice size country if it was all of the land from Mexico to Alaska. We would probably have to help Mexico to clean their house also. Once the cleaning starts it will be worldwide. We are going to need all of the Canadian Hemp Rope you have, till we grow our own.

          • Tom says:

            Your “nice sized country” sounds suspiciously like the North American Free Trade Zone. It might be a bit difficult to pull off with so many states (and provinces) who would like to jump ship from even their current smaller unions. The European Union and the Soviet Union had the same problems. The world needs smaller political units, not bigger ones. That’s the best way to thwart the NWO plans.

          • Smilardog says:

            I was just making a point about them taking care of their own business, cleaning house. I am totally down with sovereignty at the individual, and city, county, and state level.

            Maybe, that why Henry put my comments in moderation.

          • Henry Shivley says:

            Believe it or not, after three years without any problem, aaall of the sudden like, comments from our regulars are magically going into moderation, and sometimes even into spam. No doubt an attempt by our enemies to cause a riff.
            It happened to Millard, but he didn’t fall for it. He contacted me via email. I told him what was going on and assured him, as I would like to assure each and every one of you I call friend, if I have a problem with you, I will contact you via email and we will see no effect on the comment board.
            Millard and I think this is the best way to go about it. What say you?

          • Smilardog says:

            Sounds good to me! I just wasn’t worried about it enough to email you to complain about it. I just figured that you went to town or something and put a moderation on everyone til you got back as a safety measure, or something. Look at it this way… Now that I brought it up in my comments everyone now knows that it is happening out of your control, and they won’t get all butt hurt if it happens to them.

          • # 1 NWO Hatr says:

            Wow. I don’t know whether to be grateful, or feel insulted by tptb for lack of being moderated by them. I’ve always thought that I’ve been sufficiently anti-(so-called) ‘government’ to garner their attention, as well as their ire.

            Perhaps even they fail to find fault with my brutally honest assessment of their criminal enterprises?

          • rhumstruck says:

            Henry, I knew something was messed up but I just let it go thinking it was me again. You just explained the past couple of days.

          • Millard says:

            Yes Henry, I still occasionally get put “in moderation” and it seems to coincide with comments that would piss off anyone in position monitoring the site. Once we restore our Republic, there’s some people overseas that are in need of “moderation”.

        • Millard says:

          They best regurgitate that plan.

        • Sorensen says:

          As a Canadian I would never support any action against the American people in a condition of civil war.
          I think that a higher percentage of people in Canada – relatively speaking – are awake to what is really going on in the US than people in the US itself.
          During the Vietnam war numerous draft dodgers left the military and escaped to Canada and were eventually given the opportunity to becomes Canadian citizens.
          Not everyone supports the present Prime Minister and his unequivocal support for the US government!

          • Tom says:

            I would be pleased if the Canadians really did know as much about what’s happening in the US, because that would indicate they knew what was going on in Canada, too. However, because what is happening to both countries is Zionist occupation, it doesn’t matter if your prime minister unequivocably supports the US or not. Both he and our president are willing servants of globalist power, and both of our nations are falling to their treason.

            If Canadians choose not to cross the border to take sides in a US civil war, I suspect the decision would have more to do with survival instinct than respect for international law.

    • Millard says:

      Just get your paint-filled lightbulbs ready Monnie, it’s gonna happen and happen soon.

      • Smilardog says:

        I’m getting mine ready… ain’t everyone???

        I’ve also been saving styrofoam. I can’t say what that’s for on this site, but I am sure that if you have read a certain James Wesley Rawles book you guys know what I am talking about.

    • ARF says:

      They dont have the man power…period and they know it…all they have is fear and humans can lose that in a heartbeat…We have right on our side, so we have already won….

      • Millard says:

        Hey Arf, I’m not sure how popular paintball is in Turkey or if it’s even practiced there. You use anything you have at your disposal when s@#t goes down.

        • ARF says:

          still want to know how they get the paint in the bulb without breaking the bulb…

          • Millard says:

            Drill the contact point out in the center of the screw threads and, most of the time, you’ll be able to remove the filament and there you are. Install paint, cap off with whatever, ready for action.

          • diggerdan says:

            If you are careful you can break out that insulater on the part where you screw the light bulb into the socket. Go slow and easy when breaking that out, it will break out and you should till have that part that screws into the light socket. Use a tweezers or a needle nose plyers type tool the remove the filament from the inside of the light bulb… P.S. use a small hammer or something that is not too heavy so as to breaks the light bulb. Remember to only break out the insulator part at the end where you screw the bulb into the light socket. his works, I had did this with light bulbs many time and works realy good. 🙂

          • Smilardog says:

            Oh, Digger… I see that you have experience with that, Buahahaha!!!!

          • guy says:

            do you need instructions on wiping your ass too? you better get alot more mechanical, QUICK, the day is rapidly approaching when you wont have your precious iphuck….oops i mean iphone, to tell you which foot to put forward next.

          • Smilardog says:

            Be nice, now!

          • Smilardog says:

            Ask your neighborhood Meth Addict to show you how. Then seal it with a glue gun.

          • Millard says:

            Thank you Henry

    • rhumstruck says:

      There is going to be a lot of desertions from the military. May not be enough, but there are career soldiers just biding their time now so they can get out. Throwing their “pensions” away.

      Cops are just punks with badges and toys. And little boy egos.
      Time to send em to the wood shed.

  4. jb says:

    Tayyip’s son-in-law is the developer of the new mall.

    No conspiracy here – just outright corruption. Tayyip got called on it by the peeps, and he, as a politician, could not stand being wrong and corrupt.

    You have the result before your eyes.

  5. BlkPnthr says:

    American govt is in the process of gun confiscation to prevent an uprising of 100 million Americans

  6. Tom says:

    The betting pool starts now on how long the Turkish government stays in power. When the Bolshevik started flexing their muscle, the Czar responded with machine gun nests hastily erected at major intersections. That was like lighting a fuse in the Russian people and the Czar was gone two weeks later.

    An interesting question came to me this afternoon, if anyone can answer: Do the Turks put fluoride in their drinking water systems?

  7. nottoobitter says:

    I see this article turned on a few bulbs itself…
    Good for those people for standing together.
    I wish them the best of luck.

    what are we to do?

  8. It is I only says:

    Don’t worry. NATO/US are planning a “humanitarian” intervention in Turkey!
    There’s as well a “No Fly Zone” over Turkey to protect the civilians!
    NATO/US will effect a “regime” change in Turkey! The dictator Erdogan has to go. He is killing his own people with “chemical weapons”.

    • Millard says:

      Hey you last two, layin’ in the weeds are ya! Obama’s doing the same damn thing here.

    • Smilardog says:

      Where have I heard that before??? HAHAHA

      • Millard says:

        Hey Smilardog, I just get tired of “phony” almost everything has become. You tell me, is there a legitimate news source out there. We post articles and comment on stuff and try the “sift” the bullshit but when I viewed that Militia tells Congress to back off video from 1995, they weren’t listening then, and not now for sure. I had to see that bought off sorry ass Fred Thompson (had to get the bile bucket out!) sitting there thinking, as if, he was important.! 1995, I think it’s time to shift into high gear. I maybe got 15 years to have the ability to contribute. I’d like to restore the republic before I leave.

        • rhumstruck says:

          Hey Millard, Digger, what day are we leaving for Henry’s? Mid-Sept, I got that. How’s hitting the road on the 14th?

  9. # 1 NWO Hatr says:

    Still waiting to see these protests turn into retaliation.

    Full-blown retaliation.

    As in fatal.

  10. Slvrizgold says:

    There are no authorities. Only criminals, con artists, thieves, liars, cheats, warmongers, and murderers.

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