Kırmızı karanfil in Taksim Square: The Karagöz puppets, wordless yet again


This is a (Source unknown)

This is a Kırmızı karanfil (red carnation) – peaceful protesters gathered in Taksim Square this afternoon to commemorate those lost in recent protests – and brought these with them (Source unknown)

As is usual these days, I woke to the array of the puppets still standing, along with all the ‘standing men’ and ‘standing woman’ in Turkey and worldwide who are protesting the increasingly authoritarian practices and tactics of the AKP government. My puppets, they’ve been standing for five days now. But that’s nothing, compared to what people in Turkey are going through.

As the day went by, and I went about my business, I began to notice the puppets hovering around my Twitter feed (still the best source for news in Turkey, they wager).

Soon, I saw wonderful images of peaceful protesters in Istanbul’s Taksim Square. My understanding is that a large group of peaceful protestors gathered to commemorate those lost during the police brutality witnessed during the #OccupyGezi protests.

Peaceful protest in Taksim Square (Image from Occupy Gezi's FB page)

Peaceful protest in Taksim Square (Image from Occupy Gezi’s FB page)

I watched live feed of the police asking the group to disperse for 30 minutes (although spoken as “friends, please leave”) before police began using the now-infamous TOMA water canons (with and without pepper spray) and tear gas to clear the square.

I watched as an old man stood with his arms up in a sign of submission begged the TOMA to have mercy on people who were literally running the other way and in no way a threat – the police asked him kindly to move, referring to him as “amca” (which means ‘uncle’ and is often used as a term of respect even when you do not know someone). I saw human chains with police shields chase chunks of people away from the square into the side streets. The people looked, literally, like sheep in a

(Image from Occupy Gezi's FB page)

(Image from Occupy Gezi’s FB page)

pen ready for slaughter. No, this is not hyperbole. Then I watched as police shot close-range tear gas canisters into that crowded street of peaceful people.

At one point, I saw video of two young men throwing things at the TOMA – and another ‘amca‘ begging the ‘cocuklar‘ (youth) to stop – and begging the police to stop – he turned back and forth saying the same thing before being lost in the fray.

(Image from Occupy Gezi's FB page)

(Image from Occupy Gezi’s FB page)

I then saw a small group of peaceful protesters stand in between the two rock-throwing youth and the TOMA begging them not to continue. I began to cry when I saw the police pepper spray a young woman caught on the sidewalk by what appeared to be her family’s shop – she fell, screaming at the pain of the pepper spray, her sister holding her in her arms. She had a light pink sweater on. Her screams were awful, and it appeared to me that her mother – or an aunt perhaps – behind her in the door of the store passed out.

(Image from Occupy Gezi's FB page)

(Image from Occupy Gezi’s FB page)

As the night goes on, we are hearing that this continues, that journalists are being attacked by police and/or refused entry to ‘hot spots’ for reporting.

This shows police gassing people in and near the Simit Sarayi (Simit Palace, a sort of bagel-like shop) where M. and I usually stop for a snack before walking Istiklal Caddesi. (Image is screen capture by Liz Cameron)

This shows police gassing people in and near the Simit Sarayi (Simit Palace, a sort of bagel-like shop) where M. and I usually stop for a snack before walking Istiklal Caddesi. (Image is screen capture by Liz Cameron)

We also hear firsthand reports from Ankara that police are randomly throwing tear gas into residential homes and buildings – as well as lokantas where one person reported that as people choked on the gas, they raised their glasses of raki (anise-flavored liquor, national drink of Turkey).

(Image from Occupy Gezi's FB page)

(Image from Occupy Gezi’s FB page)

When M. arrived home, I began to show him, but it was too painful to watch for him. He prefers to read the news – a gentler impact. He is learning how to take care of his secondary traumatic stress.

Remember, folks, it is still legal to congregate for peaceful protest on the books in Turkey…so I’ll let the pictures tell the story now. I wish I could make this post have some sort of like puppet-fueled touch, but they, as I, am once again speechless at the behavior of the police. And to put “the icing on the cake” – a friend in Istanbul just wrote that she had dinner with her son in Istanbul’s Bebek neighborhood – and coincidentally, the President himself was attending a wedding in the same locale. Business as usual in Turkey, under Tayyip the Terrible and Gül the relatively silent?

As one tweep put it, “Most seem to think Tayyyip has mental health issues, and this continues, what to do?” Indeed.

(Image from Occupy Gezi's FB page)

(Image from Occupy Gezi’s FB page)

 

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This entry was posted in Turkish Art, Turkish Controversies, Visits from the Karagöz puppets and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Kırmızı karanfil in Taksim Square: The Karagöz puppets, wordless yet again

  1. Powerful pictures and stories here. And I had not heard these . Thank you for sharing them with us. You bring us into sharing as witnesses, and as people who care.

  2. joyce colman says:

    I guess this is your own silent protest to be suffering through the anguish along with those in the photographs.

  3. Alan says:

    ‘. . there may come a day in the Age of Men when their courage fails . . . but it is not this day!’ – Aragorn

  4. lizcameron says:

    An apt quote. For all things considered personal and global. Ty! 🙂

  5. lizcameron says:

    Yes, I think so. It is hard to sit here and watch it. It is even harder to sit here and watch M. watch it. And it is hardest to know that probably we should all here in the United States be out demonstrating about all of the big brother issues and many other injustices. Sigh.

  6. lizcameron says:

    Thank you, Nancy for sharing the notion of witnesses. Yes, I think this is a big piece of what I am doing although I did not frame it that way yet. It is hard to sit by and watch. Sometimes, all one can do is witness. This indeed is part of the incredible power of social media. And as of today, still, I have seen no TV coverage of what happened yesterday. I suppose the media cannot follow each country in-depth, it is just too sad that they only do when things get bloody. Yours, a maudlin Liz

  7. Pingback: The Karagöz puppets howl at my ‘Turklish:’ “Ben yumurta yemek yiyorsun üstünde yatak’da?” | Slowly-by-Slowly

  8. Hi Liz,

    So sad. Thank you for keeping us informed. Sending good thoughts to the brave peaceful protesters of Turkey.

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