Freedom News

Reflections on the Turkish election


On the day before the second round of the Turkish presidential election, people’s feelings are mixed. Many —especially people in the streets such as taxi drivers— seem to be sure Erdoğan will succeed. They are extremely unhappy about this; they are furious about the state of the economy and their decreasing life prospects. Others say that Erdoğan’s regime still has a chance of being removed from power; people across the country are so unhappy, not only the Kurdish people.

 “I hope that Erdoğan loses, but I don’t believe it.” Some say.

Either way, everyone still maintains an air of resistance; the struggle is so much more than this election. Today we visited the Jin News office, which a year ago was raided and had their equipment confiscated. A production company that the free media here uses was also raided a month ago, and attacks on journalists continue. Gülşen Koçuk from Jin News said to us that everybody needs to speak up against these wrongdoings rather than remaining strategically silent. “Everyone must be brave against what is wrong.”


So I’m sure most people have seen that Erdoğan won.

Bakûr voted overwhelmingly for Kılıçdaroğlu. Although what I heard is that people didn’t vote for him or his policies as such, rather, they voted to unseat Erdoğan. It was always a strategic choice, never one that was out of love for CHP (Republican People’s Party).

My day was quiet. We didn’t have any issues in Amed. The police and military presence here is low compared to what I saw in Colemerg in the first round. The atmosphere did not feel like an election.

People had already known the result before it came, they would say:

“Erdoğan will never allow a loss, they will always steal the votes they need.”

That’s to say nothing of the repressive campaign of arrest against the opposition —such as the 180 Kurdish organisers arrested in 5 days immediately before the election— or the completely uneven airtime for campaign propaganda due to the media monopoly Erdoğan has.

The only issue we heard of in Bağlar offices is that a woman was attacked by HÜDA-PAR (Hezbollah) for not wearing a headscarf in the polling station. Luckily she was ok. This twitter post shows celebrations by Hezbollah in Sur from this evening. I’ve heard gunshots in celebration a few times this evening. Although compared to what it would be if Erdoğan had lost, the mood is absolutely dead right now for the overwhelming majority of people.

Now things have to move forward. Reflections and criticisms have to be made from every side. And everything will always continue. The movement is in a very difficult position here. Anything that’s even mildly resembling the PKK is absolutely banned —people cannot speak their ideology freely, people cannot use their own words to describe what’s happening. Even non-revolutionary ideology is crushed. The hope for an early release for the thousands of political prisoners and for people to return to their homeland is now not possible. But upheavals find a way to continue.

The war is deeply psychological. Maybe it doesn’t seem obvious from the outside, but people resist on every front. Some people seem to have a spring inside of them, like water that emerges from the ground. It doesn’t stop. It makes everything in its path clear and luscious for new possibilities. This spirit is still alive, even if by necessity it mostly exists in the shadows. All parts of Kurdistan are connected, and the strengths, and the struggles, and the weaknesses in one part feeds into and is substantiated by every other.

Martyr Qasim sings this poem. The poem of the great Kurdish poet Abdula Peşêw.

Everyone expects masses of arrests to begin in the next months, especially for all the election work. But also a more general crackdown; literally thousands of people already have ongoing political cases. It’s really a critical time to think of ways to help people practically, on the ground.

~ Vala Francis

Images: Vala Francis

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