If history had given us the choice, we would again have chosen to fight for our dignity and for bread. How beautiful the words of a great writer who wrote in one of his epic: “Those good people, they got on those beautiful horses and left”, are also quite misleading and not in line with our reality. Because those people who got on those good horses, who fought so well that, despite their shortcomings, they continued to increase the good in themselves and did not leave. We must not cry for them. The legacy of the past is on their shoulders, and they are struggling today, here and now.
Thousands of greetings from Yuksel Avenue to all the fighters for justice and to all the peoples of the world, from Palestine to France, who silently, from the four corners of our planet, do not know each other, who do not even know each other’s existence, to fight against tyrants. We are here and we continue to fight.
From that time of silence, when Nuriye (1), with her thin body, fought against fascism, breaking the silence, the indifference, the capitulation and the darkness, falling and standing up, learning and teaching others, with small and humble steps… We have walked the road that has led us to 1000 days of protests.
The resistance opens the way to a new historical period
The protest in Yuksel Avenue began at a time when the people of our country were overwhelmed by fear and terror. It helped to reverse this process for the benefit of the people. The protest destroyed the wall of fear. Think of the horror stories of that period, the word of mouth, and some of them were heard out loud: the sounds of torture that go beyond prisons, the detention of journalists, university professors and lawyers, the closing of legal, democratic and progressive associations, the progressive and left-wing media, the detention and arrests of thousands of people, leaving thousands of unemployed for a single night…
While all this was happening, in the Kurdish regions, people were burned alive in their homes and the bodies left for days on the streets. Horror and anger were all very fresh memories in our minds.
In those days, when fear wandered everywhere, when they tried to impose eternal darkness on us, fascism wanted to see desperate, miserable and helpless people in front of it. At a time when public and democratic mass organizations, trade unions were deaf and blind to everything, we did not say to ourselves, “What can one person do in this darkness?” With one gesture we can illuminate the darkness around us, and so we chose resistance.
They forced us to accept their state of emergency as a willness from God and we forced them to OUR “state of emergency”. Acun Karadağ (2) said: “If you have your state of emergency, we also have our state of emergency”. With these words she replied to the policemen of Ankara, who urged her to end her protest. Then came winter. This was a time when it was more difficult for anyone to predict how much it would cost a person to take sides against the police.
That is how our resistance began. With the hunger strike of Nuriye and Semih (3), it grew. Through our protest, the illegitimacy of being expelled from work under statutory orders issued by the authorities was shown to the world. Thousands of people have become the voice of Nuriye and Semih. The protest in Yuksel Avenue created the best examples of solidarity. When Nuriye and Semih were imprisoned, Nazife (4) transferred her protest to Yuksel Avenue. Alev (5), who is struggling for her job in the city of Düzce, began to devote half a week to protest in Yuksel Avenue. While the hunger strike continued inside the prison, the fascist state tried to liquidate the protest outside, imposing, through its courts, house arrest on demonstrators. The protesters said: “We will not become guardians of ourselves, if you arrest us, then we will be back in Yuksel Avenue”. With courage, they continued to be the voice of the hunger strike and of all the people who were illegally thrown out of their jobs.
The dreams of the fascist state, which they thought would come true by declaring a state of emergency, have become nightmares for them. The governor of Ankara banned any protest one after the other. They prohibited free confrontation, condemnation of the hunger strike, the use of t-shirts with inscriptions and prints, the pronunciation of the names Nuriye and Semih, the singing of slogans. With the hunger strike of Nuriye and Semih, the people of Turkey have again faced all their fears. The fallen stood up, the walkers began to run, the silent ones began to speak, and some were carrying water to extinguish the fire, just to show in which side they were standing. The candle that lit on Yuksel Avenue, thanks to the support of the Turkish people, became an enormous torch that lit at night. Our protest has become a hope for the people.
The hope now is that, despite her broken cheekbone, Nazan will continue to participate in the protest every day.
Since May 23, 2017, the day Nuriye and Semih were arrested, our protest has been attacked daily by the police. In our hands, a banner says: “We want our work back”, we protest twice a day, we try to put on the agenda of society, both the people who have been unjustly thrown out of their work, and all the injustices that people face and then in a few seconds we are attacked and detained. We are tortured every day during the detention, they try to silence our voice, our right of expression and opinion is extinguished, we are fined to protest.
But none of this has prevented us from turning that place into a popular forum every day and asking for our work again every day. For months we have struggled to feel the hunger of our friends for ourselves. Then they experienced our patience with the wounded eye of Nazan (6). Did you look at that picture of Nazan? Did you see Alev standing next to her with an expression of all her pain and anger? “The executioner’s knife taught us to fight”, said the poet, our executioners taught us what camaraderie is, what it is to fight. Otherwise, how would we have hated so many executioners, loved so much Nazan, and would we have been so good companions to one another?
Then they tore out Gulnaz’s hair (7). They mutilated the face of our mother Perihan (8), they split the feet of Mehmet (9), the body of our Merve, which the police throw every day like a sack into the metal bars of the van. And we can’t forghet what they did to Ilker, to the teacher Acun, to Alev.
We didn’t give up. The police broke into our homes several times. Our comrades were imprisoned. Our lawyers and two of our supporters Sibel Balach and Ertugrul Cagan are still in prison. The sanctiones they imposed on us have reached millions of Turkish lira. The people who came to support us, who stood by and watched and the passers-by were sanctioned by the police, to isolate us from everyone. We don’t have millions. With our righteousness and our love for the people, we continue to fight. Every day, in the capital of fascism, there is a protest, a struggle that we go to like a marriage, we go as if we were entering into a new battle, after gathering all our anger, every day hopes grow in us. This is a resistance, stronger, more organized and harder than in its early days. We have our weekly newspaper, we have our weekly school for resistance, we organize and strengthen the struggle, we have our internet television, we also have the council for resistance, with which we aim to unite and coordinate the efforts of various protests throughout the country.
Let’s keep fighting!
The resistance and protest in Yuksel Avenue has become a powerful response to the AKP’s fascist power policy to crush people through the state of emergency. The resistance has spoken on behalf of the people and with the people. And the resistance continues to speak.
Because we know that our desire to earn our bread, through the honest work we do, is our natural right that no force can distrupt. Against those who have deprived us of the right to earn a living from our honest work, we will continue to fight until they give us the right they have stolen us.
The protest in Yuksel Avenue continues because we know that the right to resistance is the basis of all other rights. Because those who have been deprived of their right of resistance can no longer fight in the name of any other right. We defend the right to resist, on our behalf and on behalf of all the peoples of Turkey, by taking on the legacy of all those who, up to now, have upheld this right as the pupil of their eyes. Let us continue to resist.
Neither our word nor our protest has been exhausted because we owe it to our students, to our people. We once said that until we say that it is over it will not end. We also said that they would not see us turn our heads and give up everything. We are not giving up.
We continue to talk because they have not given us back our work. We have said that we will not allow those tyrants in the buildings to steal our work and bread, to take away the jobs we deserve, to take away our bread from our hands. We keep our promise.
There is much more to talk about. Because the tyranny of fascism adds new and new injustices to the past every day. The decrees of the state of emergency continue to take human lives. At a time when mass democratic organizations, trade unions were crushed and subordinated to fascist power, some of the fired officials committed suicide. Since the announcement of the state of emergency in Turkey in July 2016, 60 officials have committed suicide. The exact number of people killed by cancer and heart attack is unknown. Death is just one of the injustices created by the tyranny of the emergency decrees. It is currently known that there are six people who have been kidnapped by state forces and are still missing (10). Thousands of people are still in prison. Hundreds of children have been forced to utter their first wanderings in this world behind the walls of prisons, along with their mothers.
Many of the people expelled from work under the decrees were isolated from society because they were accused of being “terrorists”. Their passports have been confiscated. Some of them drowned in the waters of the Meric River (Ebros) while trying to go abroad. Their dead bodies were thrown ashore.
Whole families were dismembered. Many people who have lost their jobs due to emergency state face psychological problems. Many of the victims of the purges through the state of emergency are out of work, forced to work in places that had nothing to do with their previous jobs, without safety conditions, without insurance and with inadequate wages. Most of the unemployed work on temporary, low-paid contracts. The loss of self-confidence and self-esteem, the underestimation of one’s own abilities, alienation from society, indifference are just some of the problems that people who have become victims of the purges suffered after the attempted coup d’état of summer 2016 have to face.
What do we want?
*CANCELING ALL EMERGENCY ORDINANCES
*CLOSURE OF THE COMMISSION FOR INVESTIGATION OF THE OFFENSES DURING THE STATE OF EMERGENCY, because with its unjust decisions and without any legal basis, only increases injustice.
On the 1000th day of our protest, we must raise our voices together so that the decrees must be annulled!
We want the Commission for the Investigation of Crimes during the State of Emergency to be closed down!
Our voice must be heard by all. We need to show the guards of the darkness that those nice people didn’t get on those nice horses and flew up. They are here, and today they are fighting for their rights, their work and their honor also for us!