Occupy Gezi and LGBT’s Movement in Turkey (Murat Renay Interview)

Belgian news reporter Dennis De Roover interviewed me about the Occupy Gezi Protests and LGBT existence in these movement

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The Dutch version of this interview is here on ZIZO ONLINE

muratrenaylogokucukFor the outside world it’s very unclear what the demands of the protester are. I assume that there are several demands, but I can be mistaken?

Yes and these demands were;

– Gezi Park must stay as park. An official announcement should be made saying that Taksim Gezi Park will not be converted to Topçu Kışlası or any other building and the project is cancelled.

– The attempts against the demolishment of Atatürk Kültür Merkezi should be stopped.

– The responsible must be unseated, starting from Istanbul, Ankara, Hatay governors and police chiefs, who banned even the most basic democratic right of the public in the resistance against the demolishment of Taksim Gezi Park, who command to suppress the events violently, who caused the injury of thousands of people and death of Mehmet Ayvalıtaş and Abdullah Cömert.

– The usage of gas bombs and similar materials must be banned.

 – The prohibition of meetings, rallies, demonstrations and defacto hindrance in the squares, public areas in whole country, starting from Taksim as demonstration field of Labor Day (1 May), and Kızılay must be stopped; the obstacles against the freedom of speech must be eliminated

– The citizens in all around the country who are taken under custody because of their participant to the resistance must immediately be released.

Is the Gezi Movement also a protest for more individual freedom, you think? Is it also aimed against more influence of Islam in the public space?

We cannot restrain the protests just with the “Islam”. Infact I don’t think protestors have any problem with the Islam itself. But infact it’s a reaction that has spread all the segments of the society (older men,women, young people, middle class families, nationalists, liberalists, conservatives) against the intervention to people’s lifestyles, freedom and also freedom of speech.
The Turkish government recently took measures to limit the sell of alcohol and to prohibit commercials for alcoholic beverages. How do you feel about that?

This limitations are valid  in many countries that’s a fact. But in many countries these precautions are taken to protect minors from alcohol. In Turkey our goverment took extreme measures also for adults. For many years there have been very high taxes applied for the alcohol already.

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Do you see other signs that the current government is taking measures to increase the influence of Islam in society?

This pressure is “something else”. This is not Islam. Usually dictators use Islam for their own hidden agendas or other influences. This is what happening in our country. They don’t want to increase the influence of Islam, they want to gain more power by using Islam.And some people wanted to stop this act.

In your blog you spoke about the supporters of BDP, who are actively participating in the protests. Are there other supporters who voted for government parties but who are now supporting the protests?

Yes, I think so. Some capitalists who voted for the government before for the good economy showed reaction to this brutality.We’ve met some girls in turban in the protests that told us they are not happy what’s going on. Infact in the Gezi Parkı protests all around Turkey you can see many people from different state of mind, beliefs and ethnic groups. They may have hated each other before but they are all gathered to show reaction.


You speak of an LGBT Blok. What kind of group is it? Did this LGBT Blok came to be spontaneously? Or did it originate in existing LGBT associations, already before the protests?

LGBT Blok consists of LGBT supporter groups, LGBT associations, individual activists, artists, LGBT individuals and LGBT supporters. We were not organized as LGBT BLOK before the protests but as the protests begin to rise after the first attack we became together as one in a glimpse.7eadaaa2ced311e2b4f022000a1f9ac6_7 Are there LGBT-associations who are taking an official point of view about the protests? Who posted statements about the protests? And if so, what do they say? Or can you get me in contact with them?

Yes there are. The Pride Week organisation is one of the spokesman of LGBT BLOK. You can find more information here. http://onurhaftasi.tumblr.com/
You write a blog. How free do you think Turkish media are? Can LGBT-magazines be published freely in Turkey? Are there a lot of printed gay magazines? What are the names of the magazines and who publish them?

We’ve witnessed in this Gezi Park protests that our mainstream media is indifferent to this protests. Because they were in fear. This is inglorious. CNN TURK which is a partner of Turner group didn’t show the protests in the country that it belongs to but CNN did show. All the tv channels were protested. Some channels –nationalist ones mostly- could only tell the truth.There’s no mainstream printed gay magazine as Attitude, GQ or Tetu but there are printed LGBT-zine’s like KAOS GL (which is also an association and a news portal). Also there are some underground printed media for LGBTs. But LGBTs are more powerful in social media. I try to be one of them.
And a final questions. What are your personal predictions for the upcoming weeks. How do you think the protests will evolve?

The protests will go on calmly. Maybe you’ve seen the “standing man” in Taksim. He quietly stand there and many people joined him in many cities and even abroad. The protests will go on until our government shows a gesture of compassion and try to understand why the people are unhappy. Unfortunately, what the do now,is to try provoking their supporters to be more vicious and show more reaction to us,chappulers!
Do you think the current movement is sustainable movement or do you think it will fall apart? When are the next national elections in Turkey?

I don’t know how many days or weeks these movement will go on but change has started already. The people’s way of thinking started to change. They saw that this life is not “obeying”.

Unfortunately there’s no one great leader for the protestor groups. So I am not sure that in the next national election Erdoğan won’t be elected, he can be elected. But it’s very certain that he is losing his power.

Next election is regional election for the mayors of the cities and it will be held on March 2014.

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