Interview with a Turkish Pirate about the Protests in #gezipark
The recent protests in Turkey started on 28 May 2013. The protests were sparked by the brutal eviction of a sit-in at Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park protesting at plans for the park’s demolition and replacement with a shopping mall. The Pirate Party of Turkey (Korsan Partisi Hareketi) was involved from the first days and we asked Şevket Uyanık a few questions about the situation there – he got together with Ugurcan Orcun, Serhat Koc, Erkan Saka and Yasin Aydin and these are their answers;
Pirate Times: We are getting conflicting news over the television and in newspapers. Do you have access to western media like CNN and BBC? Are their reports accurate?
PPTR: We have access to western media, and there’s no new censorship on internet except earlier ones. Western media reports are generally accurate, but they are eager to compare the movement with Arab Spring, which isn’t very accurate.
I guess, the structure of this movement is closer to Occupy or Indignados movements…
Pirate Times: Are the Turkish news media controlled by the government or are there independent news organisations in Turkey?
1- Some media belong to government, like national television channels
2- Some media are owned by the people who are in or close to the government
3- Some media support government, because they either seek popularity and audience or fear the government (and change what they support when the governments change)
4- The remaining few rest are not controlled by the government and almost independent.
But since yesterday, mainstream news channels began to broadcast news about the Movement. Still mostly pro-government. Before there was a total mainstream media blackout…
Pirate Times: How dangerous is it for the Turkish Pirates and the other protesters?
PPTR: Turkish Pirates are not unified under Pirate banner except for Istanbul. There’s no threat for Pirates, for “being a pirate”.
Pirate Times: Are there any pro-government demonstrations?
PPTR: There are no pro-government demonstrations, except pro-government mobs attacking protesters in certain cities.
Today, pro-government daily, Yeni Şafak and Milli Gazete began to target people supporting the movement on Twitter.
Pirate Times: How big is the Pirate Party in Turkey and are there Pirates in other cities that are involved in the protests?
PPTR: Pirate Party is not well-organized in Turkey and might have only at most 5 or 10 active Pirates in Ankara and a few others in other cities than Istanbul.
Pirate Times: Have any Pirate Party members been injured or arrested?
PPTR: None that we know of.
Pirate Times: What can other Pirates and Pirate Parties do to support the Pirate Party of Turkey and the other demonstrators?
PPTR: We’re doing good right now and thanks for your good wishes. But in case of any heavy censorship, we might need support.
Pirate Times: Are you concerned that other forces like the army might use the situation to take control of the country?
PPTR: It’s less likely because freshly de-politized army and the protests are getting more peaceful as days pass.
Pro-Government thugs may be involved in continuous protests. The PM seems to be provoking that.
Pirate Times: What do you see happening after the protests? If Erdogan resigns and if he does not?
PPTR: Most of the protesters just want Erdogan to end his oligarchic attitude and resign. Then there might be a general elections which AKP might win again, but with a different establishment (Personal wild guess). Erdoğan seems to be too powerful. If we could only retreat his arrogant and agressive style a bit, that will be a victory for the moment.
Pirate Times: Please list any blogs, twitter, facebook, youtube and other social media sites that will give an accurate picture of what is happening.
Şevket describes himself as an Activist and speaks Turkish, English and Swedish and has a blog.
Editor’s note: German Pirates launched a support website called http://www.gezimasks.org to improve the situation of Turkey´s citizens and providing them with respirator masks and additional medical aid. The website is translated in 3 different languages: german, english and turkish.
Featured image: Meghan Rutherford CC BY
This Article has been edited to include names missing from the list of contributors and add their photos. 25 June 2013