June 7th general elections was utmost important for Mr. Erdogan, the president of Turkey. According to present Turkish Constitution the parliment has the power and the president should be neutral, but he has never been neutral and worked for his previous party before the election. He wanted the majority vote for his party (AKP) to change the constitution which will allow him get hold of the remaining power he could not get.
In Turkey, a political party should get at least 10 % of the votes in order to enter the parliment. This is very high proportion compared to other countries in the world. In 2002 elections AKP got 34% of the votes but had 363 out of 550 seats (66%). AKP got most of the seats of the other parties who were below 10% limit. With the majority of seats he changed almost every institution. During 13 years of ruling he got hold of the power over the education system, the law, most of the press, police, military and many other institutions. Turkey is the only secular islamic country in the region.Yet he changed the education system towards islamic education. All the courts are under his control. In Turkey during the last 35 years nearly 40000 young people were killed in the fights, bombings due to the conflicts between armed Kurdish organisation PKK and Turkish army and police. In 2009 negotiations started between the Kurdish people and the governmet. Shortly before the elections the negotiations were ended by the government.
In 2007 and 2011 elections Kurdish people entered the parliment as independent deputies. However, on June 7th, 2015 elections a new party, HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) representing most of the Kurdish people entered the elections. The leader of HDP worked very hard during his campaign to make HDP a party for all the people and not just Kurdish people. Two days before the elections, on June 5th, at the HDP meeting at Diyarbakır (a city in southeast Turkey) there was a bombing, 3 people were killed and 402 were injured. There were no retalliation against this bombing. Elections were held on June 7th, without any major incidence. After the past 4-5 elections there were a great suspicion among opponets about the manipulation of votes and the election outcome. During this election thousands of volunteers worked all around Turkey as observers for the safety of the election results. They got hold of the copy of ballot and sent to an independent center for verification. Our family altogether worked voluntarily at one of the election sites. 2015 election results was a big disappoinment for the President and AKP (his party). In order to change the constitution one party should have 330 seats. For the first time in 13 years AKP lost the majority seats in the parliment, they had 40.9 % of the votes with 258 seats, too short to change the constitution. A lot of non-Kurdish people voted for HDP and they got 13 % of the votes and had 80 seats in the parliment. The president gave the duty to form the government to the leader of AKP. AKP leader and leader of the major opposition party, CHP, came together and had lengthy negotiations but in the end they could not form a government. Then an “election government” composed of AKP deputies was formed.
Meanwhile on July 20th, a group of young university students with the toys and books were on their way to go Kobane (Kurdish state 15 km away from the Turkish border town Suruc)) to help children and to start a library there. While in Suruc 34 of them were killed by a suicide bomber and several were injured. No serious police investigations took place after the incidence.
Then in September we see banners hanging all around streets inviting people to come for a peace meeting in Ankara:
LABOR, PEACE AND DEMOCRACY MEETING
LET’S PROTECT THE PEACE AND BRODERHOOD TOGETHER
WE INVITE EVERYBODY WITH HEARTS BEATING FOR PEACE TO GIVE A VOICE FOR PEACE TO ANKARA ON OCTOBER 10TH
The meeting was organized by several NGO’s like Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects, Turkish Medical Association, Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey, Confederation of Public Laborer’s Unions and many more. These chambers and confederations have thousands of members all around Turkey.
On October 10th the meeting was going to start at 10 a.m. The train station was the meeting place which is only couple of hundred meters away from the meeting square. At 10.00 the organizers started to walk to reach the meeting square. Thousands of people came all around Turkey to join the meeting. In addition to the members of the NGOs, there were teachers, students, workers, some with their family members, some with their children. People came by private busses to Ankara to join the meeting. After they arrive Ankara the busses left participants near the railway station to pick them up after the meeting. At the railway station there was a big crowd, young people were singing and dancing together while getting ready to join the walk to the meeting place. The whether was very nice with sun shining. Yet there were no police around. All of a sudden a bomb blasted, just 3 seconds later another one was blasted. All of the area was filled with dead and injured bodies. While people were trying to help the wounded people the police appeared with their tear gas and pressurised water. Ambulances came after a while and carried the wounded to the nearby hospitals. There were 103 death, and hundreds of wounded, some heavily wounded people. This is called “Ankara Massacre”. All they wanted was peace!!
Later the government banned all the news related to this incident but some of the newpapers did not obey the ban. One of the suicide bombers was the brother of the suicide bomber who was responsible from the death of 34 young people in Suruc in July 20th. Suicide bombers had relations with ISIS. Earlier the father of the bombers asked the police to arrest their sons but police did not do anything. Yet police put people in jail if they write massages on internet or twitter about the president. The prisons are full of writers, journalists and students.
We celebrated 92nd year of republic in Turkey on October 29th. On November 1st the elections will be repeated. The polls are pointing towards a very similar outcome as June 7th elections. Yet between these two elections at least 700 people were killed.
There are more then 2 million Syrian refugees in Turkey and most of them are living in very bad conditions. Some, mostly children, are dying on the way to europe. As a human being we feel desperate!!! In this time of the history we can not do anything for others who are in need. Priority must be given for establishing peace in Syria.
We would ask our friends in the international community to support us in any possible way. We would like to report you any violation for the safety of the elections and beyond and hope you can help us to raise the awareness of European public opinion. We would be grateful if you follow the political developments after the elections closely and alert your journalists and members of your parliments so that the president of Turkey does not violate the most fundemental human rights, restores an independent justice system, free press, freedom of speech, and a secular state we had before, with the same qualities you have in Europe. Neither us nor Syrians need arms, tear gas or bombs. We want to feel we are part of the international family, every support is so valuable these days. If you have any suggestions that will contribute to the peace in the region please write to us.
Let us remember once again that we are all one.
Inci Gokmen and Ali Gokmen from Turkey