Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Thank You, Turkey

As a disclaimer, I’d like to say that my purpose is not to offer a political commentary. I am far from qualified to deliver a column of that sort. However, I felt compelled to write for Turkey.

A week after finishing my finals on the Hilltop, I was on a plane to Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul is a second home for me: a place I return to in order to spend time with my many friends, family members and loved ones. From drinking countless Turkish teas in the sweltering heat, to strolling kilometer after kilometer along the Bosporus coast, to gossiping for hours with my sometimes overwhelming family, my Istanbul is a metropolis of memories.

This year’s trip was no different. As the saying goes, however, all good things must come to an end. After eight short days of absorbing all that I could from Turkey, I boarded a flight back to America. Who would’ve thought that in the 10 hours I spent flying over the Atlantic Ocean, the calm, complacent Turkey I left behind would morph into something more dramatic, more emotional and more inspiring than I could have ever imagined?
For those who don’t know, the current protests in Turkey began with a peaceful sit-in against the construction of the 94th mall in Istanbul, in the space occupied by Gezi Park, one of the last remaining green spaces in the city’s center. On May 30, as I arrived back on U.S. soil, the group of a few hundred protestors became a crowd of thousands and escalated into a country-wide demonstration.

Glued to the media, I watched as the protests evolved from fighting for a few trees to fighting for freedom and democracy. Via live streams, tweets and text messages, I followed the growing crowds of which my friends and family were a part. With a humbled heart, I watched the emotions: the anger, fear and frustration coupled with dedication, motivation and pride. The slumbering Turkey I had experienced just 24 hours before was now wide awake, and it was beautiful.

It has been more than a week now since the Gezi Park protests began. Despite the police violence, media silence and government flagrance, the Turkish people persist. And while the reality of my significantly less rebellious summer life in Washington, D.C., has set in, I can’t help but continue to watch the Turkish protests progress and wish I were there experiencing it all firsthand.

Initially, I was afraid to write this because I understand the polarizing nature of not just the protests, but Turkey in general. It is a nation that represents so many dichotomies that I could not begin to explain them all here.

There is one universal element, however, that I hope those who read this can appreciate and that is “Thank you.”

Turkey, this is for you: Thank you for protecting the trees, the birds and the nature alive within GeziPark. Thank you for defending the secularism embodied in Taksim Square. Thank you for displaying the sheer beauty and power in numbers. Thank you for standing up for what you believe in, despite the repercussions it may bring you. Thank you for posting, tweeting and sharing when the national media failed to recognize your presence. Thank you for persisting despite the tear gas, force and violence you faced.

Thank you for fulfilling the will and intention of your founding father, Mustafa Ataturk. Thank you for reminding the world of the sanctity of freedom, speech, press and democracy. Thank you for embodying “Ne mutlu Türküm Diyene,” or, how proud is the one who says, “I am a Turk.”

Thank you.

Merjan Bubernack (MSB ’15) is a staff writer for the guide.

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