'Burası Türkiye!' 'This is Turkey!'

Yuvarlakçay – Two Years On – The T-Shirt

Occupy cartoon
'Occupy Everything'

My last post, ‘Yuvarlakçay – Two Years On’ complete with video of the ‘Lionesses’ raised a lot of interest, especially via social networking. Many found the story of protest against corporate greed and bureaucratic vindictiveness heartwarming and fascinating and were encouraged; especially in these times of protest and ‘occupy’ around the world.

I was amazed to learn, for example, that some students in the US were ‘aghast’ that community organising could happen ‘in a country like Turkey’. For me it illustrates very clearly how wrapped up in ourselves we ‘Westerners’ can be – how Orientalism lives on by feeding on a diet of ignorance, intolerance and general lack of interest in the lives, culture and social conditions of so many of our fellow human beings.

That said, this post is about a quick follow-up on the situation for the Yuvarlakçay River and the villagers of Pınarköy who were the backbone of the resistance.

military at Yuvarlakcay
the military arrive . .

Many of you asked if the battle was won, and my answer was a provisional ‘Yes!’ Today came

Yuvarlakcay villagers stop military
. . and the villagers stop them

confirmation from the Yuvarlakçay Protection Platform (organising committee and supporters) that the law suits against the following bureaucratic organisations of the state had all been successful – Governorship of Muğla (our province); State Waterworks Directorate; General Directorate of Forests; Muğla Provincial Administration; Muğla Provincial Directorate of Environment; Muğla Regional Office for Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage; Environmental Protection Authority for Special Areas; Ministry of Culture and the Energy Market Regulation Authority.

I invite you to read that list again – and applaud the efforts of our pro bono lawyer Berna and the determination of the people!

Yuvarlakcay general assembly occupy style
General Assembly just like the Occupy Movement

The Government filed law suits against a number of protestors by way of intimidation – all

Yuvarlakcay women chained to tree
women chained themselves to 'Tree 23' to prevent cutting

have been dismissed!

17 villagers were targeted by the government and had fines imposed for so-called ‘illegal’ buildings – we are awaiting the outcome of appeals. Whatever the result people will stand together and share any burden.

The campaign raised a fighting fund of TL41,491 (Turkish Lira) from personal donations and TL13,390 from activities. After all expenses (the

Yuvarlakcay 'Tree 23' is now a Wishing Tree
'Tree 23' saved and now a Wishing Tree

lawyers worked for free but the courts, advertising, fuel, food, media, etc cost money) there was a surplus of TL1184 which was donated for projects at Pınarköy Junior School, as previously agreed.

Meanwhile, to quote the Platform and villagers, ‘our eyes will be wide open for any threat.’

Just writing this has made me feel good – I hope our success will inspire you and others to stand up against all that is rotten in the economic system. As a fellow blogger commented ‘People Power At Its Best!’

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü


Yuvarlakcay villagers on tree-planting
villagers march with new saplings to replace cut trees
Yuvarlakcay planting trees
planting for our future
Yuvarlakcay Torchlight Protest
New Years Eve 2009 Torchlight protest

Yuvarlakcay New Years Eve 2009

8 thoughts on “Yuvarlakçay – Two Years On – The T-Shirt

    1. Chris, my ‘Elven Princess’, I can’t tell you how good it feels – emotional? Bloody right! It’s a small plus in a sea of minuses as the bastards pull out of Kyoto (not that they were ever in it) and suck the life-blood out of the system. Part of me is glad as they bring about their own demise – folks like you and me will probably go down with the ship, but humanity might just do what Marx said it needed to do and become ‘self- aware’ (just like SkyNet). There is hope for those that follow on.

  1. Good to hear this news. Although I should be used to my students general myopia, this one really did disappoint me. It is a never ending battle to bring them ideas and news that will open their minds a bit – and to encourage critical thinking, well that’s an elephant through a mouse’s hole a lot of the time. Your lecture would be well welcome, my friend. Keep it coming.

  2. …and I forgot to mention that my students, who live between 20-40 miles from a major metropolis…many of them have never “been into town.” I teach in a uniquely isolated place – which is one of the reasons I chose it. It challenges me all the time – the evangelist Christians (who are shockingly to me increasingly focused on environmentalism), the right-wingers, the apolitical masses. Sigh.

    1. Not just there Liz. ‘Western’ insularity is astounding – with all that is going on in the world I am endlessly amazed at the general lack of awareness or interest. Take heart from an undoubted truth that without you were there these students would be even less informed – you never know, some of them might even learn the skill of independent thought 😀 Mind you, with what Obama is about to sign into law such teaching might well be construed as sedition.
      Keep smiling!

  3. Blimey, I counted eight Govt agencies. As a former paperclip counter myself, I’m impressed by the scale of the opposition. Who says there’s no justice in Turkey? The victory warms the heart. Whatever our cause (and I’m turning into a single issue bore in my old age), the little people can win. I’m also astounded at the ignorance of some about Turkey (and other places too). Who was it that said ‘education, education, education’? Oh, it was that Blair buggar. Best forget it.

    1. Blimey indeed! And that doesn’t count the individuals who were hit with writs – managers who signed stuff illegally or lied on paper. It takes solidarity, some bottle and being prepared to step forward, in the end, despite setbacks, people can win out.
      Speaking of war criminal Bliar, did you hear that Malasia/Singapore has issued International Arrest Warrants for him and Bush. May not come to anything but he’ll have to think more carefully about his travel plans.

  4. It won’t make much difference, I fear. He’ll still make a mint on his speech tours. On the other hand don’t get me on the subject of gay rights in Malaysia!

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