Many AEGEE members are out on the Turkish streets, protesting against the government, fighting for democracy, risking their lives. One of them is Hilal Işık, former President of AEGEE-Ankara. On Saturday, 1st of June, she told the Golden Times her impressions.

Hilal Işık has been on the streets with the other protesters

Golden Times: You were out on the streets in the past two days? How did you experience it?
Hilal Işık: Yesterday and today I was on the streets to protest. Over the years I attended a lot of protests, but this one is different. In former protests crowds used to clear away when the police used pepper spray and tear gas, but now people are not afraid and they are not running away. The number of people is constantly increasing. And what is interesting is that all people supporting different political parties are moving side by side; various football team fans are collaborating.

Golden Times: It started with the protest against the demolition of a park, but became a fight against an unfair government. What are the biggest democracy deficits in Turkey?
Hilal: Gezi Parkı was the last straw. This government killed its own people: 34 Kurdish civilians – two of them were just kids – with Turkish warplanes on 28 December 2011. Claiming the Assad regime is a dictatorship, Erdoğan’s government wants war with Syria. But also our Prime Minister Erdoğan resembles a dictator! Turkey’s border with Syria has become a base for the Free Syrian Army (FSA), whose soldiers create a huge trouble for the people there. AEGEEans please read about what happened in Reyhanli on 11th of May and in Roboski on 28th of December! And there is more…

Golden Times: Tell us!
Hilal: In 1977 on Labour Day, Turkey lost 34 of its labourer brothers with the bullets raining down on the crowd. This year, Turkish citizens who wanted to remember our labourer brothers, tried to go to Taksim Square despite the prohibition, they were attacked by the police. Police used tear gas bombs against the protesters and several people were injured. Since 1st of May many similar incidents have been experienced such as protesting against the happenings in Reyhanli, protests against homophobia, against police interventions, for protecting the environment, human rights, educational rights. Those who raised their voice against Erdoğan’s government, have been gased by the police. Within the last two years, the government has been determined to ban abortion, to limit the sale and drinking of alcohol and many other fundamental rights of the citizens. Women’s rights and movements are ignored. Moreover, government officials inform fathers and husbands about the women who have pregnancy tests in hospital. Gezi Parkı was the last straw and now this is more than just saving the trees.

Turkey protests4Golden Times: What do you think about the police actions?
Hilal: A protestor, Aylin, has been trampled to death by a police tank. Contact-lens wearing civilians are blinded due to tear gas. Police used tear gas even in Taksim Hospital Emergency Services. And now they are using real bullets and killing people. There are six dead and more than 500 injured people already. At the beginning, when the destruction of Gezi park started, people were camping, reading and singing in the area. Then the police attacked these people and that’s how the resistance started. Turkish cops are not human beings, they are monsters dressed like people who receive orders from a dictator.

Golden Times: What about the government?
Hilal: The government announced that the protesters are terrorists, marginals and drunkards. We are just human-beings, students, the members of legal political parties or football fan clubs, artists, doctors, teachers, professors and workers!

Golden Times: What do you think about the attitude of the Turkish media channels?
Hilal: In the morning I called my father to say I’m safe, but I was shocked. My father doesn’t use Internet, but he is a good follower of the news. However he did not have even the slightest idea on the subject!! It proves Turkish media channels do not say a word about the protests. That’s why we ask for help on Facebook or Twitter to reach the international television channels.

Golden Times: What can or should AEGEE as such and AEGEE members do?
Hilal: We really need their help. Since the Turkish media channels are censored, they can help us to spread what is going on in Turkey now. They can call Turkish embassies in their countries to demand information. They can also organise protests in their own countries.