Kurtulus November 30, 1996

After the Susurluk accident, one can see the fascist mafia’s true complexion much more easily. All this led to an explosion of anger among the people. Now it is known that the government in Turkey consists of the mafia. The mafia chiefs are parliament deputies, senators and civil fascists known for their torture methods. Through these people, domination of our country’s fate is given into the hands of imperialism. Our people are robbed of their honour. The population of Okmeydani which knows state terror very well, is now founding its own People’s Council, following the model of Gazi and Zübeyde Hanim. The solution of problems and the creation of order and security in Okmeydani are achieved through cooperation and collective thinking. The aim of the People’s Council founded in Okmeydani is that everyone, irrespective of religion or nationality, is able to find a solution to his or her problems under its auspices.

One of their first actions was to lead a campaign against the more than 30 bars, all-night establishments and pavilions. Now the people of Okmeydani have a People’s Council which considerably strengthens them in their struggle. Among their first activities was the collection of signatures from all inhabitants of the neighbourhood. Then a press conference and a protest meeting were organised.

And it went on. After the dissolution of the press conference on November 25, they declared at the meeting that they would not remain silent in the face of the mafia state. The entire population, old and young, took part in the protest action. Young and old people divided the work among themselves. The “Children of Hope” were to the forefront.

At the press conference itself, which was held in front of the Anadolu cafe, an appeal was made to the people not to be silent in the face of the dishonesty, corruption and dirty dealings of the government. The local inhabitants were disturbed by the bars and pavilions which had become a meeting point for drug addicts. The representatives of the committee tasked with founding the Okmeydani People’s Council emphasised that they were not prepared to share the neighbourhood with drug dealers.

Slogans and banners underlined this determination of the people of Okmeydani in the face of the bars, all-night establishments and the mafia network. The route of their demonstration took them past numerous bars like these. The artists of the Okmeydani Culture Centre also participated, with their slogans. At every bar and establishment where the demonstration halted, the owners were called upon to leave the area.

The demonstration, which started with about 1,000 people, grew to about 1,500 as people came in from the surrounding areas. The population of Okmeydani was itself surprised by the scale of the participation when it saw the crowds. The members of the committee who had gone from house to house to mobilise people for the demonstration, awakened the people’s anger by telling them about the responsibility of the state for all the problems in the land and how Susurluk had caused its mask to fall. This anger was increased by the fact that the mafia chiefs were parliament deputies and senior politicians who betrayed the people and handed over the land to imperialism.

The population of Okmeydani declared that they would not permit their values to be trampled underfoot. They knew that if they were 1,500 today, tomorrow they would be 5,000. Through their decisiveness in the struggle against cultural and social exploitation, the committee to found the Okmeydani People’s Council showed courage and cheerfulness in demonstrating the strength and power of the People’s Council.

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