How You Can Help Turkey

This e-mail was received from my very dear friend Hasan. The English is not perfect and there are a few typographical errors. In fact Hasan is an educated, articulate man who has near perfect English and so the e-mail shows how shaken and how passionately he feels - it is all the more powerful for that.

Hasan represents all that is good in Turkey, he is the organiser of the East Mediterranean Yacht Rally. To the casual reader it may seem hard to believe that a yacht rally can be a force for peace in the Middle East, but trust me, as someone who has been on it, it is just that.

This year, for the first time in over twenty years the rally was cancelled due to the problems in that region and with Turkey also suffering, as she now is, things are getting worse not better and the problems I should point out move inexorably closer to western Europe.

Hasan and people like him are striving to keep Turkey free from thought control and domination by so called religious men who say that God is good and yet do evil in his name. Personally I am a non believer, but I would defend anyone's right to believe what seems right to them and to worship as they see fit. I'd even accept the right to evangelize or put forward ideas - after all I do.

Protestants and catholics have largely stopped killing one another, Sunnis and Shias must learn the lesson too and learn in fact, to tolerate both other religions and secular, humanist society too. It is simply not possible to rationalize the idea that your God is good and that violence and murder are OK.

I will shut up now. Here is Hasan's message, with some practical suggestions for how we can all help.

Dear Gill & Maslcolm,
This time I don’t have good news from Turkey. Probably you receive the news from your TV’s what is happening in Turkey over the past few days starting from 27th May 2013.
The first article attached was written few days ago by a friend of mine who is a Turkish sailor and her friend is from New Zealand. The second and third articles explain that the situation in Turkey is becoming more difficult for the Turkish people if they don’t agree or accept the Turkish government decisions on every subject to reorganize their personal lives.
The Recep Tayyip Erdoğan government has received 50% of the votes at the latest election in 2011 and according to the system; they have received 326 members in parliament, which is 60% of the total of 550 members.
The government is one person only,  Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and  it is believed that he is personally ;
·       against secularism and he is trying to establish the Muslim religious rules and orders to reorganize people’s life in Turkey. To limit the alcohol is one of the significant attempts.
·       against secular education system; the number of the religious schools has increased lot during the last 10 years,
·       against the Syrian President not because the Syrian President is a Dictator but he is from a different sect of the Muslim Religion. Probably you know something about Sunni – Shia division
·       against the old business groups and he has created his own Muslim businessman’s organization. Now the new Muslim Businessman’s organization has the full support of the government and the state which is more corrupt.
·       against the free media; all the major TV & newspaper groups are under his control and they can’t give the correct information to the people in Turkey about what is happening in our country or to the rest of the world. The situation for the media is very similar or even worse to what is happening in Russia. Depending on the latest reports of the world media centre, Turkey is the second country in the world after China to have many news reporters and writers in the prison because of their articles.
Turkish Parliament is not a decision making place any more. If the Prime minister asks them to vote they do, or if the prime minister asks them not to vote, they don’t. They are all figure heads and the oppositions have no rights in parliament as they can vote but always lose and because of their small numbers they are always defeated.
The majority of the Turkish people, 70% are against the politics in Syria. We don’t want to be involved with the interior problems of Syria. We believe that they will find their own way, and they should decide for themselves what is better for them in Syria. As the Turkish Military General and, Admirals are also against  Tayyip Erdoğan politics in Syria, 30% of the Generals and Admirals are accused of organizing an up-rising against the Turkish Government and they all have been sent to prison. Most of them have been in prison for more than 2 years and the court couldn’t finalized the case as there are 1,2 million documents to be inspected.
Why I am writing this e –mail to you, to my friends around the world.
1.   Please contact your local government or your local parliament members,
2.   Explain what is happening in Turkey,
3.   Ask them to stop selling “tear gas” and “water cannon trucks” to Turkey
4.   Ask them to build a commission to investigate what is happening in Turkey
5.   Ask them if Turkey became a Religious ruled country like Iran, would it be better for the rest of the world.
6.   Forward this message to your friends around the world
Today is the 18th day of the demonstrations. This is not a revolution or uprising but a protest of the Turkish people who are not sharing the Prime Ministers personal ideas. Up to now, 4 people lost their lives in total 3 people were killed because of the police violence and 1 police died as he was fallen from the bridge by mistake while they were chasing the protestors. 12 young people lost one eye because of the plastic bullets and tear gas cartridges and more than 7,500 people injured of whom 150 and over are in intensive care. Now the Prime Minister gave the order to the security forces to arrest the medical people who are treating the wounded people during the demonstration in 78 different cities in Turkey. More than 600 people are arrested temporarily. The police started also arresting people if they send messages to each other by e-mail or twits to protest the government policy for Taksim Square. It might be very difficult for you to believe all this is happening in Turkey right now but all is true.
I would have liked to tell you that Turkey is as beautiful as before and as peaceful as before, but unfortunately it is not today.
With my best wishes,
Hasan Kaçmaz, Antalya, Turkey

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