Mucella Yapici has been a key figure in Gezi movement. She is not a professional protester. She is a professional and has been trying since the beginning of the project aiming to turn Gezi into a shopping mall+ complex to serve her duty as a professional and participate in the decision-making….as you do in democracies!
Here is an interview with her in Turkish. What she says in English is below. Summarises the turn of events and why they are important.
Interview with Mücella Yapıcı, Chamber of Architects Istanbul branch Secretary General (Part 1) 28.06.2013
On one night, on the night of May 27-28th, the news arrived to us that they’re digging the park, in front of Divan Hotel. There wasn’t any constructions planned on that spot in any of the architectural plans, in any of the project plans. We are here in the administrative board and the news arrived that night, that a bulldozer has gotten into the park and it’s smashing everything. We rushed there, as a matter of course, and because we are all architects, we immediately asked ‘Do you have a project? Do you have a permit? Where is your construction supervisor?’ We realized that night that there wasn’t even one authority to speak to in the park, that the bulldozer driver had gone in on his own.
We came back to the park the next morning, and our first action with my architect friend was to ask the constructors, ‘What’s happening here? Did you get a permit with an overnight operation without our consent?’ Again, we couldn’t find any authorities on site. The only person to speak to was the bulldozer driver. No authorities were there! We asked the committee and they said ‘No, there’s no such permit on that site!’
The man: ‘Go out from here! You too! Leave, nothing’s going on here.’
Mücella Yapıcı: ‘This construction is not in any of the plans!’
At 11am, around 20 civilians arrived followed by the riot police a bit later. Very strangely, the police positioned themselves in front of the illegal construction site. They told us to leave and started gassing us. We were gassed all together, including our friend in the red dress (referring to the lady in red in the iconic photograph). The state police was spraying pepper gas on us, forcing us to leave and meanwhile, the bulldozer was getting into the site. Our friends contacted all the MPs. Sırrı Süreyya (MP) came there at that moment and jumped in front of the bulldozer, spoke to the people there and they stopped. So the event was heard this way. People came and joined us. We said we will wait there and we set up tents to be able to stand guard. The next morning, police gas bombed the people sleeping in the tents.
We said ‘Okay, we will leave,’ but at that minute, they attacked us (including the MPs there) with yellow coloured water. We thought we were going to die there.
Then they attacked us with water again when we were reading out the press release and you know all about the rest.
The Taksim Solidarity’s principle is this. We had these principles which are still valid: political parties, conducts are all constituents of this. The constituens nearly reached 200 now. That’s because the solidarity has always three dots at the bottom of it. You could go in and out without anyone editing you. We’re experiencing a fantastic democracy at the moment through the forums in the park. The forums are also elements of the solidarity. There are decisions made at those forums that are genuinely democratic. The forums’ representatives come to us, we all sit together. We don’t have any voting systems. We decide together on the actions we will take. The solidarity has spread so much and now ‘Everywhere is Taksim. Everywhere is solidarity, everywhere is Taksim Solidarity.’ I am very proud of my children and of our youth. I’m very proud. I’m very tired, drained of strength but I’m so satisfied and proud living through all this. I wouldn’t care if I died.
Mucella Yapici was detained on Monday, 8 July and due to her heart condition was released today, 10 July.
- The houses of the members of Taksim Solidarity detained yesterday are being searched (translatingtaksim.wordpress.com)