Turkish People and a Lesson for the World

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What began as a sit-in at Gezi Park in Istanbul, has developed into a major anti-government demonstration.  The diverse citizens of Turkey are teaching a lesson to the rest of the world.  Taksim Square has become a symbol for freedom.

A protest to keep the government from destroying the last park in Istanbul, was disrupted by security forces using pepper spray.  As the number of demonstrators grew, police resorted to tear gas and water cannons.  The people of Turkey’s largest city, about 14 million, retaliated with rocks and sticks.

The protests spread to the capital city of Ankara.  Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has called the growing number of protestors ‘radicals,’ and ‘extremists.’  The Turkish people say he has become a dictator, and ignores the will of the people.  Three people have been killed, and thousands injured.

The police have become victims in the protest and rioting, now in its 10th day.  Forced to endure extreme conditions, six security force members have committed suicide.

“The violence you see at the end is the reflection of the violence suffered by the policemen. They are not just subjected to violence by protesters, but by 120-hour consecutive working periods, stale bread and food,” Faruk Sezer said.  He claimed that staffers drafted from other cities had to sleep on benches, shields or cardboard because state authorities did not provide accommodations.

So, who are the rioters?  They are teachers, lawyers, small business men and women, husbands, wives, and some children.  They are Sunni Muslims, Orthodox Christians, and Kurds.  They are united as citizens of Turkey, challenging a government who has ignored them.

The people of Turkey are setting an example for the people of the world, including the people of the United States of America.  Governments are intended to serve people.  When the people are forced to serve the government, freedom and democracy are eliminated.

In a typical political response, Erdogan’s representative ignored the will of the people.

“Turkey does not need the early elections demanded by the protesters, said Huseyin Celik,” deputy chair of Erdogan’s AKP party.

“The government is running like clockwork. There is nothing that necessitates early elections,” he told reporters in Istanbul, as quoted by Reuters.

According to Celik, “things are going well in Turkey,” and elections should not be held just because “people are marching on the streets.”

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan on Sunday urged supporters of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) to “teach a lesson” to the anti-government demonstrators at the next local election.

“There are just seven months left until the local elections. I want you to teach them a first lesson through democratic means at the ballot box,” Erdogan told a crowd of cheering loyalists in the southern Turkish city of Adana.

Among the protestors are former Erdogan supporters.  As he became more powerful, and took more authority, they say they are sorry they voted for him.

A united Turkey frightens the government.  In the United States, our government has no fear of the people.  They keep us divided.  They, not the people, call us liberals and conservatives, and tell us we live in red or blue states.  It is government that has failed the people, and their intent is to keep us angry at each other and divided.  The United States of America does not exist any longer.  We may be called the Divided States of America.

The people of Turkey do not care about religion, or even politics.  They care about their quality of life.  The crowd in Taksim Square is a cross section of the nation.  The people of Turkey are teaching the people of the world a valuable lesson.  We, the people, remain stronger, and have more value than our government.

James Turnage

The Guardian Express

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