What really is going on in Turkey? Is it safe to travel? Will it be a breakthrough for the better? – PART 1
For my first blog entry I would have loved to choose a more fun, glittery and fluffy topic to kick it all off. However, times and the happenings define our day and I love to go by the flow. So, I get asked many questions about the status of the outrage in Turkey. Yes, it actually is an exact outrage. And there are reasons to why. I will report on the why, how, the current and my thoughts of the future.
Some may know and some just getting into it will now know that I am from Turkey. Born and raised. Moved to US to pursue my major career, then turned into a belly dancer because from birth I believe I had not had a better way to express my passion. So, I travel to Turkey every year as much as my vacation time from work allows to catch up with all of my family who live in Turkey. In 2013 I decided to travel earlier than any other year in the past to be able to catch with a Bellydance Festival, Rakkas Istanbul. That had me purchase plane tickets for April instead of my usual June or July.
I had a great time and am publishing the festival details in another article. However, how did I see the upcoming roar of the people’s voices against the government? Did I even expect it to grow into a revolutional stage? I do get these questions from folks in US. And the answer is no. Simply no…
When in Turkey I saw a peaceful, like-everyday crowd, living the days of their lives like they did since they were born. So what happened and what pushed these people’s buttons so much that they exploded in a reaction that was not expected?
Let me backdate you for the sake of some quick background info about Turkey. The government that rules the country currently has been elected for the second time. Is this for the reason that they are doing such a good job or is it because they have skills for organized crimes? I choose the latter for an insider who follows up and votes. This government used religion based endorsement on people who were prone to be pulled towards them if they were bribed that they’d be rewarded because they followed Kuran and God’s way more and better than anyone else. They had campaigns to draw people from this standpoint. And they won… Or they made sure that they did.
For the last part of that comment, let me explain it a bit better. The rumor is that this government and their “men” are so organized and powerful that the votes have been changed. The real votes have been disregarded and a way of a con artist would work, they have been replaced. The result? They were elected.
Whether the rumor is true or not the consequences were significant. This government ruled Turkey for the last 10.5 years. Every single time I got a chance I voted against them. Not trying to make this blog a political ground. I don’t get politics at all to confess. However, their motives did not chime with the way I’d like Turkey to be.
So what happened lately? Every year I visit my country I find a new mall or more than one opened in my hometown. I am from Ankara. And if you’ve never been to Turkey it resembles a European country. Not an Arabic one at all. We are free people with a secular government, thanks to the founder of the Turkish Republic, Ataturk who is the greatest leader of all times. Please believe me when I say this and if you need more convincing knowledge, I’d be more than happy to provide reference.
So, this government went into a capitalist madness based on the success of large shopping malls. They decided to cut down the trees in Gezi Park of Taksim, Istanbul and move the road down a bit to replicate an Ottoman Military Barrack. What’s wrong with this you might ask. The idea was to destroy a whole, rare and one of the only historic parks in the middle of the city and build a shopping mall that resembled a historic Ottoman Military Barrack. Istanbul was not happy with this, so Istanbul spoke. I am glad it did and it was time!!! This country made itself into one with its people’s power. However, in the last few decades I was worried we became a sheep-nation including myself…seriously.
People who believed that we did not need another shopping center in favor of destroying trees, people who believed that we needed a park in the middle of the city, people who believed creating a replica of a historic structure is not better than keeping the history itself got up and walked to the park. They all sat down and calmly read their books in the name of protecting trees. A nation’s attempt and intention won’t get any more meaningful and holy against capitalism than this.