S, artist and activist

I live in istanbul. Normally I’m a painter, but these days I am selling books in a secondhand bookstore. I also cook vegan food in an anarchistic food collective.
Since Gezi lots of things have changed. We used to believe that turkey is to become a better place. But after Gezi movement the pressure got bigger and bigger. Turkey now is a kind of police state, it’s also much more dangerous than 5 years ago – especially when you are a woman. The people that never liked you have now the courage to do bad things to you.

I live in Gazi*, a kurdish alevit neighborhood. When we go out after midnight, the police can come and arrest you at any time without a reason. Resistance has a long and bloody history in Gazi, police classifies everbody as a terrorist – what gives them currently the right to shoot. I heard about someone who has been killed because he had been in illegal communist organisation. They took him, a few days later his body was found. He got tortured. Things like that happen often now.

If you don’t not know our neighbourhood, you might think that it is a very dangerous place, because of all the illegal organisations and stuff like that. But the only real danger here comes from police and government.

Lots of my friends want to leave the country. I also want to travel, but I don’t wanna live abroad. I know that with my personal dreams and hopes, there will be alot of pressure on me. At the current time period my plans are changing from day to day. But I will stay here. My friends are here – so I am not alone. Whatever they will do: they can not stop us.

Why so many people voted for Erdoğan? Turkey is situated in the middle east and such particular islamist leaders and movements have always attracted people in here. And it’s geographical approximity to the warzones puts Turkey under pressure. This is the reason why it tends to follow the trend. To us, who live in western part of Turkey and are relatively western, who can observe things from an objective point of view, what’s happening does not seem to make any sense. Since there is an enthusiasm towards islamist movements, people don’t really think for themselves due to oppression.

Hence, seeing so many following a leader such as Erdoğan, doesn’t struck me as unusual. Moreover I think having this inferiority complex, people tend to rejoice at the accomplishment of their leaders whom they identify with, and satisfy themselves with, in this case with Erdogan. Thus, all these Erdoğan’s alleged victories which have been achieved through persecution, mirror a situation in which people don’t seem to grasp anything but identify themselves with his victories and let themselves to be manipulated.

(*authors’s note: theses pictures were not taken in Gazi)

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