A letter to Prime Minister Erdogan from a Protester who is an AKP member

Turkish: http://bulent-peker.tumblr.com/post/52081396478/ak-partili-direnisciden-basbakana-mektup

English: http://bulentpekersletter.tumblr.com/post/52319086437/a-letter-to-the-prime-minister-from-a-protester-whos

Dear Prime Minister,

Just so you don’t look at the nature of my letter’s title and label me a “provocateur,” I unfortunately have to talk about myself before I make myself understood…

I’m a 33-year-old who’s studied International Relations and Politics; who speaks two foreign languages; who closely follows all the developments in the world, including technology; who’s spent a third of his life traveling to and living in nearly 30 countries; who’s originally from the Black Sea region and has Georgian roots but is a proud Turkish son…

To date I’ve been to the continents Asia, Europe, America, Africa and Australia; despite my young age, proudly carried our flag while doing commerce on the desolate Pakistani-Afghani border long before my country was introduced to its 2023 goals. Today, I’m a proud Turkish entrepreneur who’s still trying to do work with this know-how and experience.

No members of my family, including my mother and father who pray five times a day, has ever taken part in any illegal development, meeting, demonstration, etc. They’ve worked as hard as they can for their country and nation – in short, I’m a member of a standard Turkish family that doesn’t belong to any sociological, economic or political group that you can make out to be the “other.”

You can verify everything I’ve said with our intelligence organization working under your command, though you might not even feel the need, as you can just as easily take a look at what I’ve written and shared for years on my Twitter account in social media – which you called a total headache today… (@bulent_peker)

Thus far it’s been the boring part of the story… The part that concerns you comes after this…

Dear Prime Minister, the part of my story that concerns you actually begins after this… I’d like you to know that, since the day you rose to power, I’ve stood by your party as a voter and a supporter. I’ve voted for AK Party in every election where I’ve used a vote. I’ve served as a consultant in the national and international projects of local administrations that belong to AK Party. I’ve participated in your meetings. I’ve stood against all of the injustices done to you and the people with whom you embarked on this path. While you were defending tens of topics like February 28, military custody, head scarves, freedoms, Blue Marmara, Ergenekon, the Constitution and finally the solution process, I defended and supported you to the extent that my intelligence and educated allowed. I watched your famous balcony speech with tear-filled eyes and pride. I made others listen to it numerous times.

In spite of all the opportunities I had, not once did I act unjust, take what belonged to someone else or, to the extent that my strength allowed, let someone else do the same. In spite of all this, according to those around me, at times I’ve been “a scum,” a “partisan,” a “man of the system,” but I’ve never, not for one day, “strayed from what I know is right.”

Who were we, and what did we become?

We learned, in the spring of our life, to battle the status quo, to patiently resist in spite of all injustice and excess, to listen to people from all races, opinions and nationalities. We trusted our young bodies, minds and spirits to you on this path you said you embarked “wearing your grave clothes.” We were never “a vote in the ballot box.” Given our education, our training, our morals, our culture, our conscience and all humanistic know-how, we were, it seemed, the future of this country. That’s what we saw, what we knew, what we believed… So what happened now that made us a handful of provocateurs, coup instigators, looters?

This, right here, is our story…

I’ll continue the remainder of what I have to say through photographs to express my point better, dear Prime Minister. Though you must know them better than me, but I’ll try to stick to chronological order in picking these photographs in case there’s something you missed…

First, it wasn’t “us”… It was them…

Everything started a week ago. First I saw a couple of images on television. As God is my witness, “I didn’t care at all.” “These are obviously intelligent people, but their whole life is dissent!” I said and went on…

 

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What if it was my sister?

Then one day, suddenly, these images started to pop up on my social media account… Although you called Twitter a headache, we always followed you, our President, our brother Suat and even Melih Gökçek on there until today…

On our screens we witnessed the hatred and violence of the armed forces that entered Gezi Park suddenly one midnight. We watched how they wreaked havoc, how they burned tents, how they sprayed water to people’s heads with who knows how many bars of pressure. We felt sad…

As I was looking at these, my honorable mother called on the phone from my hometown. She knew I had gone to Istanbul. She advised me to be safe, as always. She prayed and hung up. I looked at the photographs, then I looked at myself… I thought… I said, what if this poor girl was my sister?

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Then I saw another of our brothers… He stood all by himself in front of the TOMA, holding his chest as a shield, as if there’s no other man left in the country…

And the lines of that great patriot echoed in my brain…

The lands of the of the West may be armored with walls of steel,

But I have borders guarded by the mighty chest of a believer.

Recognize your innate strength! And think: how can this fiery faith ever be killed,

By that battered, single-toothed monster you call “civilization”?

Mehmet Akif Ersoy

I learned from my elders that there’s no telling who’s got money or “faith”. Don’t you agree, my dear Prime Minister?

(I’d like you to know that I joined the resistance after this…)

 

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I’ve never played the guitar…

My 65-year-old father, retired from public service, wanted me to play the saz since my childhood. I didn’t have the talent, so I couldn’t do it. Then I saw a brother with a guitar in his hand. I was envious… I thought, “What if he’s playing something from our lands?” I don’t know, perhaps he knew some Âşık Veysel, some Âşık Mahsuni, some Neşet Ertaş, some Ahmet Kaya, some Kazım Koyuncu…

 

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Then I thought of your meeting with Bono, the vocalist of U2… As you’ll remember, he wanted to personally get to know your reformist character – something that befalls very few leaders in the world – and to lend his support, so he came to our country and gave you and your kids an iPod as a gift…

Then I thought… You couldn’t be against music too, could you?

 

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How does a simple protest turn into a resistance movement?

You know how they always say, “These guys aren’t after a couple of trees”… It’s true, I won’t lie. As a son who grew up in the greenery of the Black Sea and had his fill of green, I’d give my life for nature, but I ask you: what good is nature if there are no “people”?

If you’d like we could take a look at these images together and understand why I went after “humanity”…

(Because our Mobese cameras were either turned off or facing the sky throughout the protests, we unfortunately had to get our images from the civilian population “without the right to do so,” please pardon us.)

 

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(The banner in this fellow’s hand has your name on it. I included the photograph taken from this angle so you don’t think I’m being disrespectful and give up reading.)

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The joy of #GeziParkı with friends from the Far Eastern sports team of our city, which is gearing up for the Olympics…

 

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And this friend as he’s getting ready to play volleyball…

 

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Our environmental police brothers flowering plants…

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I saw it with my own eyes. This poor girl was wandering immorally around Kordon…

 

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This friend was wearing shorts before its season, maybe that’s why…

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And this one has a beard. Is he a revolutionary or what?

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The piece titled “How to cause brain injury”…

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It’s as if he’s saying, “I grabbed my leg and came here”…

 

You’re misinformed, my dear Prime Minister… This isn’t who we are…

 

We’re not senseless people with blood on their hands…

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We’re not the ones who burned the sheds and public property at Gezi Park…

 

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We’re CERTAINLY not pawns or figureheads…

This is who we actually are…

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We’re a nation that, although there are ten thousands of us, we protect our police from every kind of provocation…

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Even if our disposition is a little “hard and rough,” we’ve got rules…

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We know well what it’s like to live together…

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We’re helpful…

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We’re merciful…

 

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We’re brave enough not to hide behind masks… (Forgive me, dear aunt, I’d like to kiss your hands with respect)

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In short…

We’re the thinking, reading, productive, level-headed sons and daughters of this country. We’re as keen on freedom as our country and our nation; we know how to stand up for our rights, how to do politics to the core despite being raised apolitically. We’re the brains of this country with young ideas and young identities.

We’re not AK Party, CHP, MHP, BDP, TKP or IP. We’re the apolitical masses of a generation that’s also apolitical. We’re not an organization, nor do we belong to one. And we’re definitely not those dishonorable people who are fans of violence and provocation. If you absolutely want to see a provocateur, please start with your own acquaintances first.

Couldn’t there be provocative types standing behind us? Of course there could be. But as you know well, when a government doesn’t stand behind its own people, many others will do so. Don’t be fooled by our youth; we weren’t educated by historic dogmas but by reading a million different sources on the internet universe.

We’re the new generation with phones in our hands and laptops on our laps; we’ve embraced “passive and peaceful resistance” and “excessive use of intelligence,” experienced the “technological revolution.”

We’re the ones who make fun of themselves when the time is right, who know how to smile even in the toughest of times (see below), who work to put bread on the table during the day but go to fight our fight after work. The thing is, we’re the unstable sort, not in terms of violence but in terms of our emotional world. Just wait until our emotions explode…

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In short, we’re aware that our country needs us, our creativity and our productivity. After all, that’s why we’re here.

Dear Prime Minister,

We’re all for coming to terms with the past, for breaking all the conventional doctrines, for creating a Turkey that’s a world leader, that respects its public, its nation, its nature and its freedom; we’re also for fighting when needed to live humanely… But the choice isn’t ours; actually, it’s yours…

We’re only exercising our democratic right and wanting to communicate. We want to be heard, understood and respected. Our concern, our issue isn’t your resignation.

On the other hand, if you say, “I’m good for this country, it absolutely has to be me,” then we want “the Recep Tayyip Erdoğan from the balcony speech,” not the one presented to us today.

Dear Prime Minister, it’s not up to us to give you advice on what you should do when you have a bunch of advisers. But if you absolutely want us to say something concrete, let’s respond with a sentence that you once used.

“There’s the type of word that ends a war, and there’s a type of word that gets your head cut off…”

I don’t know if I made myself clear?

Respectfully,

Citizen of the Republic of Turkey / Gezi Park Protester

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