Generation Gap: Turkish Family Split Between Gezi and Old Way, Part 1

Published on Spiegel Online International, by Özlem Gezer in Istanbul, June 25, 2013 (Photo Gallery: In Turkey, Family Across Fault Lines, and second Photo Gallery: A Divided Turkey).

The rift currently dividing Turkey also runs right through the middle of many families. SPIEGEL reporter Özlem Gezer has an uncle in Istanbul who loves Erdogan, a cousin who sleeps in the protesters’ camp and parents who sit in Germany arguing over the unrest … a completely normal Turkish family in times of turmoil … //

… My uncle didn’t go to see the protesters’ camp in Gezi Park, even though it’s less than 15 kilometers (9 miles) from his apartment. But he did hear what Erdogan had to say about the tent city, and it was enough for him: that it stank of urine, that condoms were being kept there, and that the protesters were all terrorists. Sahmi believes that dark forces, from both Turkey and abroad, were behind the protests.

Terrorists or Peaceful Protesters?

  • Is he talking about a different place? I spent a lot of time with the people in Gezi Park in recent weeks, talking to them for days on end. We were attacked, I inhaled tear gas, I fled from the police and I was almost arrested. And now my uncle is saying that these people are all terrorists?
  • Sahmi, of all people — married to my mother’s sister, my father’s childhood friend, the person who took me to the zoo for the first time — is more of a stranger to me than ever before.
  • I was in Berlin when the protests began in Istanbul. I sat at my computer and watched the live stream of a Norwegian broadcaster reporting from Taksim Square. There were teargas grenades flying through the air, and it looked like a battlefield. I tried to understand what was happening in this city, where I spent every summer as a child. So I called my father, who said: “It’s a revolution against the Sultan, finally.” My mother shouted into the telephone, saying it was provocateurs who were trying to divide the country.
  • Then I called my best friend Ümit in Istanbul. He had just fled from Taksim into a side street, had inhaled teargas, and the water laced with chemicals used by the police was burning his skin. He said: “There’s a war going on here. And the press is asleep.” I booked a flight to Istanbul.
  • Since then, everyone in my family has been trying to explain to me what is currently happening in Turkey.

Erdogan the Hero: … //

… (full text).

Part 2: Generation Gezi.

Links:

Turkish Power Struggle: Brotherly Love Begins to Fray in Ankara, on Spiegel Online International, by Maximilian Popp in Istanbul, June 25, 2013 (Photo Gallery): Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and President Gül have long been political allies. But ongoing protests in the country have caused their relationship to fray and the ensuing power struggle could spell the end of the AKP …;

EU Accession: Turkish Talks to Continue Despite Berlin Tiff, on Spiegel Online International, June 25, 2013:  The European Union agreed on Tuesday to continue accession talks with Turkey, but only after a progress report due in October. The compromise deal serves to defuse the recent acrimonious dispute between Ankara and Berlin …;

European Union: related articles, background features and opinions, on Spiegel Online International.

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