Ankara, November 3, 2007
The occasion was a demonstration for a free, democratic and egalitarian Turkey (özgür, demokratik ve eşitlikçi bir Türkiye). We gathered at the Ankara Train Station (Ankara tren garı) with some of our university comrades. One of us was interviewed for a documentary.
Then we marched over to Atatürk Bulvarı.
At the boulevard, we turned south and marched to the rallying area in Sıhhiye, near the great Hittite sculpture. It is my impression that, in Turkey as in the United States, Saturday is as popular a day for driving as any other. Yet our march was occupying a major traffic artery through the city. Well, that was something. The Ankara mayor does what he can to build roads for cars, even when it means taking away sidewalks from pedestrians. Yet we were making the city center car-free for a time.
There were few handmade signs with clever sayings. Most signs were printed in multiple copies, or else they expressed membership in a group (a party or a union). Slogans from the round red signs included:
- “No to war”
- “Let's defend living together as brothers”
- “Free education, free health”
- “Job security”
- “Not a permit [to invade Iraq], but a peaceful democratic solution”
- “US out of the Middle East”
- “Independent democratic Turkey”
Lately, the national flag is displayed everywhere in Turkey. It seems to represent war fever. The demonstration called for peace, and nobody carried the national flag.