Türkiye

Corruption and “Anti-corruption” in Turkey #5KahramanPolis

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Corruption and “Anti-corruption” in Turkey #5KahramanPolis

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United yet Divided

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When I first started to apply to university, the spark of my undergraduate dreams was illuminated with the tints of idealism. I chose my majors according to this higher purpose and wrote my supplements for the application essays with a cursive slant which creatively inscribed my individual objectives that were deemed possible by my strong will accompanied by advanced education. All of my entry essays shared a sentiment: I expressed my frustrating encounters with ignorance on the various levels of human nature –individual, family, local, society, international society– and how my goal was to better the human experience on each of these levels. Seemingly ideal, but I am a person of action as well as a socio-political realist so I expressed further in my writing that my hypothesis to accomplish this was that I wanted to study in a foreign context (different to my native culture) and translate its culture, ideology, political life, traditions, social construction and national identity back to my own cultural context. In regards to journalism (a program I initially applied for at various American universities but decided against), I recognised the framing of media and its consequent biases and spread of ignorance. This annoyance combined with my desire and tendency to be as objective as possible led me to run through the storm of clouded, dense, biased research and data collection.

It began as I prepared to study abroad. I began university in the United Kingdom, but I conducted my research separately by taking advantage of all of the educational, political, historical, and social resources in this context as possible. One could call this a “hobby” but, to me, it became (and still is) a full time job/obsession. I want to learn but, more so, I want to further my comprehension and expand both my growth and knowledge. I liked my coursework, but it was too simple and straightforward. I wanted a challenge. As both an obsessed seeker of knowledge and a perfectionist, I read and wrote so much, especially during my first year at university, that I believe that I could have finished my degree already and passed all my exams (seriously). I became so obsessed; I wanted to learn everything and absorb all the information I could get my hands on. I am a highly energetic individual and, when I get hooked on an idea, I dedicate my entire self to the cause and I want to accomplish my objectives with precision and speed. A lesson that is most precious, and is best learned early, is the value of patience. For I am go, go, go all the time, this is a virtue that I am accepting and learning. Sure, I could recite entire passages of my favourite theorists and philosophers (including Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Marx) but using them in political life is a different story (Reality: I am a 19 year old woman and a nobody- who the hell would listen to my voice or even deem it as meaningful or credible?). In this regard, I am slowly learning to “enjoy the ride” and, this year, I am enjoying (or trying to) social life in Istanbul by seeing various cultural trends as opposed to being lost in theories, abstractions, and books (don’t worry, I am still quite the avid reader with my stress-induced insomnia).
I do recognize that there are some shortcomings to my approaches during my first year abroad that limited my progress of “translating a culture back to my own.” After only being in a context for one year, I believe that I successfully achieved a summarised snapshot of the objective above. I was granted the opportunity to observe the culture and political structure at various levels (which was extremely fascinating and informative), but it wasn’t detailed and I would never consider myself to be an expert on affairs (social or political). I got to see the historical implications up close and see how events shaped the people and national identity seen today (Awesome: one initial dream realised).

Accompanying my intentions, I was presented with more interesting realisations. I was so focused on learning about a new context that I did not so much anticipate what I would learn about my former context. I got to see my own country from afar, from an outside perspective. I saw the news unravel back west from a different context –without the loudness of being so close to ground zero, one could think in the quiet and observe the greater picture. It was really interesting for me to see how the U.S. was truly interpreted abroad (truly or realistically in the sense of relatively to different contexts). Despite many sentiments of hate and disgust, American culture and ideology was everywhere and, too an extent, was greatly envied.

This year, as I have moved farther east, I can now see the U.S. as well as the western world from a different angle. Turkey, especially Istanbul, has been westernised and has evolved greatly, even more so within the past decade, but the deep influences of the past still reveal embedded implications of eastern conservatism in their ideology. This counters the more recent liberal sentiments behind Kemalism of the past ninety years, but they lay hidden beneath the modern mask of “liberalism.”

As I stated prior, I have granted myself the opportunity to partake in social life. This may sound silly or, perhaps, strange but, as one who studies humans, I am an introvert and prefer to observe at a distance. I prefer humans in the abstract and I like to observe but not participate in social life. One thing that I go out of my way to do everyday is to do something that scares me; to live outside of my comfort zone, for here is where I believe that life truly begins. With my new induction to social life, I have observed trends, especially in the youth, the “generation of the future.” I like to be as objective as possible but I will not deny any biases (unintentional) of being an introvert in an emotionally-charged, extroverted society and culture. Here, my introverted behaviours (which I have had to suppress and is actually really draining and difficult for me) would be seen as stigma– it is against the norm and I would be labelled as “strange” and, due to the nature process of judgements and stereotyping, I would be perceived, on a primal level, as a threat because I was different. This doesn’t just apply to social differences, but all differences whether they be physical, psychological, social, cultural, ideological, etc. My objective: to blend. Seemingly strange due to my heritage, I look Turkish so it makes this goal a little more obtainable, but my true self would be immediately rejected.

Let me explain this more, on the primal level in regards to the foundations of human nature where logos is the basic building block. Logos is the power to know or recognise those of the same polis (city, society, state, nation) through the ability of speech and the basic sense of communication with others of our kind that we share. This concept goes beyond for it does not just describe the capacity for language (in terms that a linguist might) but, more importantly, it explains that, as human beings, we share a common moral language and means of communication. With a mutual conception of the just and the unjust, this can make up the political structure of a city (or regime). An added feature, especially in regards to the Aristotelian conception of logos, is the embedded idea of love (in terms of eros). We love those whom we are most intimately related and closest to. Social and political commonality is not the result of calculation (as seen by Hobbes and other social contract theorists), but such things as love, affection, friendship, and sympathy are the grounds of political life and take root in our logos for it is speech that allows us to share these qualities that make us fully human in the contexts of both the social institutions of a family and a polis.

The polis is seen as a natural entity in the sense that it has grown out of smaller, lesser forms of human association: first comes the family, then an association of families in a tribe, then a further association in a village, and then an association of villages that make up a polis. The polis is natural in the sense that it is an outgrowth: the most developed form of human association relating similarly to those of biological charts of human development from these lesser forms of life that evolve all the way up to civilization in some way. There is a second sense for, in some ways, it can be seen as a more important sense in which the polis is by nature; it is natural.

The city is natural in that it allows human beings to achieve and perfect their telos (their purpose). A human is a zôion politikòn (political animal according to Aristotle) for participation in the life of the city is necessary for the achievement of human excellence, for the achievement of well-being.To say that humans are political by nature is not to say that we become human by participating in social life of a polis– it means more than this. The form of association that leads to our perfection (the telos being that of “the good life”) is necessarily something that is particularistic, meaning that the city is always a particular city (this or that particular city).The polis is a small society or, in today’s terms, a closed society. The telos (or purpose) of the individual is to achieve “the good life;” as human beings are social by nature, this must be communally obtained therefore the purpose of the polis is to provide the conditions for the good life of the individual. A society that leads to the perfection and realisation of our telos must be held together by bonds of trust.

Trust is in terms of friendship– of camaraderie. We cannot trust all people. Trust can only be extended to a fairly small circle of friends and fellow citizens. Only a city that is small enough to be governed by relations of trust can be soundly politically secure. The antithesis of the city (the empire) can only be ruled despotically in which there can be no relations of trust in large imperial despotism. In one sense, what follows is the reiterated sentiment that the human being is political in nature and the polis, accepted as existing naturally, cannot be a universal governing state– it can never be something that incorporates all of humankind for it is such a diverse entity. A one state system does not allow for a universal type of self-perfection (perhaps like a multi-state system or cosmopolis) that a small, self-governing polis would have. The city, from an Aristotelian perspective, will always have to coexist with other city states (cities that encompass different beliefs, cultures, ideologies, politics, governments, etc.) based upon different foundational principles and values. This is to say that not even the best city (even a Utopian ideal city comparable to Plato’s Kallipolis) can afford to go about without an adequate foreign policy or system of relations that calls for diplomacy to either defend existing bonds of trust and establish new ones.

Relating to this conception of the city, in terms of trust relationships, is a projected sense of citizenship. A good citizen of a democracy will not be the good citizen of another kind of regime. Partisanship and loyalty to one’s own way of life are required to maintain a healthy city. To put the argument in terms of Polemarchus (from Plato’s Republic), a friend and enemy are natural and ineradicable categories of political life; just as we cannot be friends with all persons (evoking the basic principle of trust), the city cannot be friends with all other cities,and, similarly, the state with all other states. War and the virtues necessary for war are as natural to the city as are the virtues of friendship, trust, and camaraderie. In summary, the opposing vice of trust, such negative sentiments that produce insecurities and fear, is equally natural to the virtues of trust. Trust is the focal point in which connects people on the basis of basic values that are deeply embedded in a anthropological history that transcend into the developed political and social structures of entire societies, cultures, and nations.

With my encounters with social life, political systems, popular culture, et cetera in Turkey, I have made careful observations from both psychological and sociological perspectives. With regards to the image of the mask I presented earlier, I have noticed this especially with the youth. Most (of the individuals that I have encountered) are blatantly, yet obliviously, two-faced and ignorant of their behaviour. Most young Turks are outwardly liberal in appearance, yet they reflect and act in conservative and, often, judgmental ways. This is because they unknowingly stick to what they know– their values. Most young people have not been exposed to anything outside their norm and, when they see something or someone different, they subconsciously perceive it as stigma (and consequently as threatening) and become mildly hostile and aggressive (even for something as seemingly silly as meeting an introvert, or someone that suffers from depression, or seeing a homosexual person). Many students from small towns go to the big city (Istanbul) to study and their entire worlds change– they are shocked by the drastic differences, so they cling to the safety of their small-town conservative lessons and values.

Turkish cultural and family life are very emotional and deep. The primary focus of life here is not of monetary gain or whims of fame and materialistic bases, but of love and relationships. Family life and blood bonds are the most prized trifles in life, according to Turkish culture. In the telos of an individual is to obtain the good life, then in Turkey is to focused on obtaining the flourishing and mutual happiness of a family unit. Turks are proud and are emotionally tied by their heritage as well as blood lines (of the past, present, and future). With this stated, one can imagine how the values indirectly make sheltered lives in isolated Turkish villages with small populations. Values and traditions become life and the senses of protection, security, and shelter become heightened. Affairs are all local and the window of the world is a narrow crack that only sheds enough light to one, small context. In this regard, it is, in general, comparable to small towns anywhere (Cough! Cough! Hebron, ME, U.S.A.– their biased, small-town mindset is a story for a different day). Add the deep cultural and traditional implications, one can only imagine the contrast when they hit the “big city,” also referred to as Istanbul.

Istanbul is huge. It is home to a quarter of Turkey’s population. Twenty million people– that’s twenty million individuals, twenty million backgrounds, and twenty million different walks of life. It is “where east meets west.” It is westernised in the sense of organisation (the black and white outline), it’s shaded (the grey that adds dimensions are depth) by means of communication and media systems, and it is coloured by the amazing elements and complexities of culture. Istanbul is a city of contrast, of culture, of contradictions; it is where ideologies both clash and unite; it is absolutely beautiful.

Now, let’s apply this into context: The small-town ideologies (whether they be of Anatolian traditions, traditions of the Black Sea region, values of the Mediterranean Sea area, of the northeastern contexts, etc.) existing together (also among a noteworthy population of foreigners) in a westernized, European, liberal polis that is Istanbul. With deeply embedded roots in conservative traditions combined with the desired images of modernity of the western world (but seen at a distance) –two opposing ideals– how does one decide? A good citizen can only be seen as “good” to a particular regime, one can only be truly loyal to one theory of thought. The current system in power in Turkey emphasizes conservative values and is threatened by trends of liberalism and responds in aggressive jerks, responsive attacks, to attempt to counter the damage. This became clear with the Gezi Park protests. The liberals were upset about the elimination of the few green spaces left in Istanbul and protested. The AKP tried to contain their actions and sentiment in a, what they thought to be, seemingly harmless counter-action. In reality, the aggressive police action and violence triggered a much larger upset that had lain dormant in many Turks. The New Ottoman identity, I believe, has great intentions and desires of liberalism, but there are many factors that are currently keeping it from realising them. For one, the use of hard power (propaganda, threats, cohesion, force, hysteria) of the current system of control are strong and have a deep influence in the society for it is responsible for the exponential growth and development of Turkey (especially within the last ten years) and sees a common ground with a lot of the views of the older generations regarding deeper values and traditions. Another factor is that the modern conception of liberalism has not been seen by most Turks (unless they have lived, studied, worked, or travelled abroad). Due to this fact, a lot of the subsequent realities and traits associated with liberal ideals are not understood and are actually quite shocking to most and are interpreted as threatening (more on a subconscious level because of its foreignness and peculiarity). For example, correlating with liberal movements in the western world were: civil rights, women’s rights, the sexual revolution, the acceptance of homosexuality, and the acceptance of differences and call for equality. There are a lot of deeply embedded stereotypes and prejudices which make some sentiments of western culture shocking. In terms of women, a young, nineteen year old, female student would be seen in a completely different light if it were known that she was not a virgin. One of the most degrading insults you can tell a young, unmarried girl is that she will “probably give away here virginity before she is married” (I heard my friend’s ex boyfriend yell this to her after she broke up with him and she cried for days). There is not a universal sentiment (I have indeed met some modern, more westernized Turkish students –who lived abroad at one point– but they are harshly judged by small-town, highly conservative ignorants), but it is the most popular. So it is not just the political structure in which the ideology is divided, but the confusion of undecided individuals as well. In this context in which trust is seen as mutual interests and where the state and citizens are divided, which sentiment rings the victory bell and how can a citizen properly develop their telos in a contrasting, nearly oppressive society and political environment?

Liberalism and Westernism are perceived to be cool here. Paradoxically, many young Turkish girls that wear short shorts, put on thick, black eyeliner, and actively preserve and attempt to maintain their outward liberal appearance are conservative and judgemental at heart. When people wear masks, an entire society can be veiled. The basic Turkish values (that which all young Turks have known for eighteen years) encompass tradition yet, when they come to the big city, they are repulsed by the extremes of their beliefs when they see them standing beside modern liberal sentiments (e.g. a woman fully covered in a black burka in a shopping mall). Yet they are also appalled by the idea of casual sex and homosexuality. They are shocked, by both extremes, and are consequently judgmental and confused. Of course they want to express their individuality (liberalism calls for the securing of individual’s freedom) but they do not want to betray their beliefs, values, traditions that are deeply associated within their individual identity. Which theory of thought wins?

This is a very interesting period for Turkish society and politics. As it goes for the context of Istanbul, it is a polis that inhabits two continents; it contains two ideologies: one of the eastern world and one of the west. As Istanbul occupies both Asia and Europe, it is divided by a strong river – a current of roaring tension. There is hope: a common bridge that allows for the worlds to connect. This can be, at times, rather shaky when the forces fight for control rather than for balance. There is see-saw effect in which counter-acting forces (polarised political ideologies) that push against each other, creating profound tension. As time unfolds, will we soon see greater balance or a victor? Tradition versus progress– which set of values will prevail?

Kadıköy’de Alevi mitingi

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3 November 2013

 (Photograph: Hürriyet Gündem Her türlü hakkı saklıdır.)

Thousands of Turkish citizens gathered in Kadıköy İskelesi for a rally promoting “Eşit Yurttaşlık” (Equal Citizenship) hoisted by Alevi Dernekleri.

Alevism (Alawite) is a Shi’a sect of Islam that uniquely combines traditional Anatolian values of Shi’ism with elements of Sufiism. This religious minority group is predominantly a Turkish faction but has even smaller fellowships in surrounding countries. Alevism is also seen as a group identity which is interpreted as being cultural (e.g. traditions of poetry, music, dance, etc.) and/or political (leftist or Kemalist).

The Alevi group set the tone as well as the purpose of the rally with its slogan “İnkarcılığa, asimilasyona karşı eşit yurttaşlık ve inanç özgürlüğü” (Denialism, equal citizenship, and the freedom of religious belief against assimilation.”

Noon was the time the citizens were called to the pier at Kadıköy, and responded they did– in the thousands. Within appromiximately two hours, the rally reached its peak. The energy has highly charged with frustration and emotion, but calm in terms of peace.

 

Citizens chanted the following:

 

“Devletin Alevisi olmayacağız”

(The state will not be Alevisi)

“Aleviyiz haklıyız, kazanacağız”
(Alevis are in the right, we will win)

“Haksızlık karşısında asla boyun eğmeyeceğiz”
(We will never bow in the face of injustice)

 

The Alevis rally had a cause of its own in promoting equality from the standpoint of a religious minority group. Their dissatisfaction and frustration with the government is a reoccuring theme among various walks of life in Turkey. The president of the Federation of Alevi Associations, Hüsniye Takmaz, preached:

“Türkiye’de yaşayan tüm insanların inançlarını, kültürlerini eşit koşullarda yaşayabilecekleri her türlü ayrımcılıktan uzaklaştırılmış toplumsal uzlaşmanın içinde, laik, demokratik hukuk devletinde eşitce, özgürce yaşamalarının arzusu içindeyiz. Bu özlemi gerçekleştirmek Türkiye’deki bütün insanların boynunun borcudur”

(Beliefs of all people living in Turkey, when when they are removed from any form of discrimination, all cultures can live on equal terms of public consensus in secular, democratic state of law equally and they desire to live freely. To accomplish this aspiration is the duty of the neck of all the people in Turkey “

This sentiment of equality and rights of all Turkish citizens has deeper connotations within recents times. Shortly after these remarks made by Takmaz, the rally commemorated those who lost their lives during the events at Gezi Park. The names of the victims were read out one by one, and the thousands of people present at the rally shouted “Burada!” (Here!).

The co-chairman of the Halkların Demokratik Partisi (Peoples Democratic Party), Sebahat Tuncel was a lively contributor to the rally. She expressed her thoughts behind the idea that Democratization in Turkey is a serious problem. She justifies this but addressing the key issue of the government’s failure to properly secure the freedoms of all its citizens. In the specific context of Alevi citizens, they have struggled with this for a long time. The HDP are promoting the call for equal citizenship through the removal of compulsory religious education for they would like their religious beliefs to be shown respect. From this, the frustration became apparent in her remarks as she changed the tone from thoughts of negotiation to the call for immediate action from the Prime Minister and the AKP.

Last month, there was controversy over a traditional head scarf ban which was resolved. Incidents like this influence the call to action for restructuring the framework for freedom of belief and drive the Alevi’s plea for immediate action. The proposed democratization package seems to be a good alternative solution to the problem, but it has not been taking into realistic consideration from the ruling AKP. The Alevi organizations have been working on negotiations regarding the preparation of a new package that will be less transparent and will benefit all.

If a proper democratization package with a focus on equality is not passed into legislation, it will lead the nation into an even more tense political situation for the developments in Turkey mirror those in the Middle East in terms of the Alevi (Shi’a)-Sunni conflict.

Türkiye Cumhuriyetinin 90 ıncı Yılı

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29 October 2013: Turkey’s Republic Day
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This past Tuesday marked the 90th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey. This holiday celebrates the new era of the Turkish identity from Ottomans to Turks. The keystone of this remarkable transformation that unites Turks still today is the most famous man in Turkey, even 75 years since his death, is Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

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To address the progression as well as the evolving political identity of Turkey, one must address the Kemalism (Kemalizm, Atatürkçülük, Atatürkçü düşünce)- the founding ideology of modern-day Turkey. Also known as the Six Arrows (Altı ok), this selective composition of thought defines progressional political, social, cultural and religious reforms in which all Turkish citizens are declared equal. This was quite a liberal and controversial sentiment back in 1923, for this mantra of equality was seen as a citizen’s right without reference to religion and subsequently established a secular, national, unitary state from the Ottoman Empire (empire of Faith). Kemal’s ideology emerged from within the Turkish traditional context of Comtean scientific positivism which creates the political futures according to human –rather than divine design– so it embodies both secular and modern properties in the fulfillment of many political goals. With a main focus of individualism, freedom, equality, rationality, and accountibilty as well as putting the primary focus on both education and political structures. In the context of the post-WWI world, this brought about European modernity in an Islmaic context, which still applies today both in political make-up and geographic placement. The man responsible for linking the eastern world with the west is Turkey’s founding father and first president Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

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In regards to the national hero and icon himself, I refer you to the following article: http://www.badassoftheweek.com/ataturk.html (badass sums him up quite well)

Note: although this article is written in a comical light, it highlights the ironies behind the man as well as seemingly paradoxical values and attributes. 

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Feminist Activist group FEMEN establishes a branch in Turkey

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Image(Photograph: Didem Dinç topless with the words “savaşa hayır” (no to war) in Kadife Sokak, Kadıköy, İstanbul, Türkiye)

The worldwide political activist group promoting feminism “Femen” has established a branch in Turkey and has begun to spread in influence. Grabbing attention from the start, it opened it’s Twitter account yesterday with the following post:
“Türk kadınları birleşin! Haklarınız için mücadele edin! Göğsünüzde politik mesajınızın yazılı olduğu üstsüz bir fotoğrafınızı bize gönderin!” (Turkish women unite! Fight for your rights! Your chest is a political message so send us a topless photo!)

This idea, not only of feminism but of  “sextremism,” captures the attention in openly liberal societies (e.g. Eurocentric and western societies) so one can only imagine the impact in traditional, conservative nations- like Turkey.

As an observer of both societies, as well as being a woman, I am fascinated by the tactics of Femen’s movement as well as uncertain of it’s intended effectiveness versus the reality of the response it receives. I am critical and find that despite the attention grabbing, not all attention is good attention. Some responses to Femen have been violent and, in some contexts, has actually brought about more oppression which is the exact opposite of its ideal intentions of liberation.

Femen’s goal is to promote women’s freedom and rights, but their approaches are equally rejected as they are accepted amongst women. Turkey is a great example for not only is it an Islamic culture, it is part of the European Union and has been growing more liberal and, to an extent, westernised. This creates an interesting scene of Muslim feminism countered by western images of Muslim femininity.

Femen’s approach of topless protests are radical and cause a greater uproar to more eastward you head, especially in Islamic societies. The significant correlation between worse patriarchal oppression and the harsher response to these types of radical expression is no mystery. The best example I can think of to compare the reaction of a moderate Islamic republic (Turkey) to a more conservative Islamic republic that encompasses Shari’a law: Tunisia.

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Tunisian activist Amina Tyler sparked outage amongst when she posted a topless picture of herself online with the words: “my body belongs to me and not your honour.” To this, she received numerous death threats, as well as the head of the “Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice” in Tunisia called for the teenage activist to be punished with 80-100 lashes but, he went on to say, with the severity of her crime, she deserved to be stoned to death.

This event triggered Femen’s response of the promotion of “International Topless Jihad Day” back in April (2013). This Day was intended to encourage to fight against patriarchy in its three manifestations: “sexual exploitation of women, dictatorship and religion.” This was conducted with the objective that the infamous tactic of “sextremism” would serve to protect women’s rights.

This caused a wave of responses by Muslim women rejecting Femen’s tactics and circulated online in a movement entitled #MuslimahPride.

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The PROS of Femen’s controversial protestation:
Attention. Let’s be blunt, tits are effective attention grabbers for both females and males. They draw wide spread attention to the cause through networking and various means of media outlets.
The people involved in Femen are passionate and truly care about the issues regarding women’s rights and freedoms. They actively try to promote their passion for women’s justice and try to make a difference.

The biggest CON I have is presented in the form of a question:
How effective are these protests really? The tactics are extreme and, in some previous examples, have caused more harm and hostility than progress in achieving their ideal objective.

With Femen’s establishment of a branch in Turkey, I am quite interested in seeing the public’s reaction here and how the promotion of their message will effect the protests here.

The Attack

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Monday
11:20 AM
Kadıköy, Istanbul

I hide behind a mask of ambiguity. I have expressed my gratefulness for its benefits thus far, but I hd my first real encounter with its repercussions. Alas, the idea of the masks is that it guards an opposing conception of vulnerability and, as soon as the mask slips, a truth is revealed. How the observer will react is always uncertain. This can be dangerous.

My mask was ripped off yesterday.
I entered my building, coming home from early classes at university. I was completely exhausted from another restless night combined with the tiresome stress of attempting to comprehend the lecturer’s fragmented English and deciphering his Turkish, as well as from the long ferry voyage and walk home. It was still morning, and a long morning t that. I entered my building, normally and began to hike the six floors of stairs as a figure approached me.
Günaydın.
A male, appearing old for a late twenty year old with sunken acne scars marking up a a mean, narrow, salt and pepper scrubbed visage grins at me.
What? Oh, yeah. Good morning.
I slipped. A crack of my real self shown, unknowingly in my exhausted state. And, with that simple utterance, my mask was ripped off, fast.
I saw a spark light in his dark eyes.
Foreigner girl.
I have seen this surprised spark of delight before, literally every time a Turkish man has discovered that I am not Turkish. So his reaction did not surprise me.
What did surprise me was the attack.
CRASH.
As I closed the door to my flat and preparing my keys to lock it, I was hit. A man body slammed the door with all his might. The force threw me into the wall perpendicular to the front door and I struck my head.
What the fuck is happening?
Instantly concussed, immediately disoriented, my mind went raced into fight-or-flight. I recognise the intruder as the cretin from the stairs.
He grabs me by the waist and pulls me into him, saying “ok babe?” as he tries to kiss my face.
Hell no, I think.
So I head-butt him.
“GET THE FUCK OUT!”
I scream. He smiles towards my responsive aggression. He does this to mock me. He does this to make me feel small. I am reduced to an object to him, but he wants to degrade me more.
I open my landlady’s door and yell to see if she’s home.
“ORKIDE?”
Empty.
I run to see if my flatmate is in. I bang on her door. It’s locked, I yell.
“SEBAHAT?”
Nothing.
He collects himself and attempts to corner me against Sebahat’s door, when it opens. Sebahat is home. She was abruptly woken up by the scene and she watches, stunned in a hazed confusion.
Meanwhile, I react. He’s seen and he knows that there are two young girls alone, in the top story of the building, with no one around. i will not let this fucker win. I will not let him touch us. I will not let let him hurt us.
Enraged, I sunk deeply into protective mode. I turn into something ugly, primal; an animal. I refuse to play defense, and immediately turned on the offense switch. I have the home field advantage. He is intruding upon my cave, and I am the grizzly bear. I will do anything I have to do to protect myself, my friend, and my home.
I hit him, hard, throwing him off balance.
BAM.
BAM.
I moved in quick, hitting him in the same spot below his heart with a left and right combination.
I have boxing experience, but these were instinctual, hard, powerful jabs. So intense, yet far from precise, that I would later find my knuckles and fingers broken, swollen, and bruised.I then hit him with a rapid fire, eight punch combo.
BOOM.
BOOM.
BOOM.
BOOM.
BOOM.
BOOM.
BOOM,
BOOM.
I got him, now for the climax.
Three dazzling, lightning punches; head shots.
ONE
Uppercut left.
TWO
Uppercut right.
THREE
The kill shot: left jab, TKO blow taking out his right eye and nose.
He reactively lifts his hands to protect his face and to catch his blood, falling into my set up and leaves his body uncovered and vulnerable.
I wind up. One strong kick the groin to make sure this pathetic excuse of a human being will never be able to reproduce.
As his hands reflex southward, I respond with a swift upward hit with my palm to his solar plexus, making him gasp for air.
As he hunches over, I take no chance for him to recover. I dig my finger-nails as deep as I could to get a firm grip. I drag him down the hallways by his hair.
I threw him out the door, then dropped him to the ground and kicked him down the stairs.
No time to wipe my hands and get once last reassuring look that I had successfully ridded him, I about-faced and locked the door.
Now, that the task was completed, I could react. I ran down the hall and into Sebahat’s embrace and instantly burst into tears.