Artists attacked in Istanbul

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29 Responses to “Artists attacked in Istanbul”

  1. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Ruling party’s reform package challenges traditional protectors of the secular state.

    There are also concerns that the Islamic-leaning AKP is using the European constitutional reform recommendations as an excuse to bring the military and judiciary – known to be the custodians of the secular state – under its control to pursue an Islamic agenda.

    Rights groups seek to strip 1980 military generals of immunity, one day after historic referendum.

    A Turkish court accuses 196 people over an alleged plan to topple the government.

    The indictment said the coup was created by Dogan on the grounds that “the Turkish state had begun to come under the influence of anti-secular and reactionary elements” after the election of the AKP, Anatolia said….More than 400 people, including pro-secular academics, journalists and politicians and soldiers, are already on trial over separate charges of plotting to bring down the government.

    Turkish enthusiasm for joining the European Union is waning as the country is increasingly looking east, a report shows.

    Erdogan called for closer economic ties with Iran on Thursday, despite Western pressure for tougher action against the Islamic republic over its nuclear activities…Turkey was one of few countries that recently voted against UN sanctions to impede Iran’s alleged progress toward nuclear weapons capabilities.

    • MtB says:

      thanks for proving my point, if you stick with fewer sources, you will get only single side of the story. whether it is all jazeera or fox news. if the news source represents an opinion, they will me intend to see and analyse based on their view, like fox news assumes everything is a threat to sovereign united states, all jazeera assumes the evil westerners vs the others… of course i am exaggerating at the moment, but please try to understand my point. having a single base cannot be sufficient for understanding the situation in some cases.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It is in part the gentrification pressure in the area, yes but it is more than that.

    The inherent intolerance of conservative part of the population is nothing new to Turkey. Government does not directly support or condone such attacks. However they represent and support the culture that breeds such intolerance. Such attacks and warnings are making a come back recently and increasing in frequency.

    Government and Turkish media has been mostly trying to swipe it under the rug as few delinquents and hint that victimized side also should be compromising to be safe, not to mention this wasn’t the only such event that happened recently, just the only one that resulted in blood shed.

  3. ociule says:

    Well, if the investigation goes anything like the Sivas massacre, we should expect heavy mandatory sentences. The Sivas massacre ended with 30+ death sentences. I think the true test of Turkey will be the investigation and trials.

    • Karl Jones says:

      “The Sivas massacre ended with 30+ death sentences.”

      True; however, according to Wikipedia:

      “After lengthy court proceedings, the State Security Court sentenced 33 people to death on 28 November 1997 for their roles in the massacre; 31 of these sentences were upheld in a 2001 appeal. When Turkey overturned the death penalty just over a year later in 2002, the sentences were commuted to life in prison.”

      - Source

  4. MtB says:

    of course no argumentation can valid the act of violence but also there is more than it seems, under the surface when you start scratching specific to this incident. and also i do believe that it is unmoral and unethical to blame someone on a place where they cant defend or discuss.

    without talking about the baseline facts, it is completely uneducated and shameless act to just accuse and try to pose as the victims.

    like almost all the neighborhoods in all around the world, tophane region has also its own rules and regulations. which i am not defending or justifying these rules and regulations. but this is a fact, not only specific to tophane but almost everywhere.

    after 2005, with some sort of fancy governmental projects, many places including tophane became the main attraction points. but before that, one shouldnt forget, these regions, like sulukule, tarlabasi or tophane was like the outcast zone of the region. many families migrated to istanbul during the last 50 75 years converted the area to some sort of sanctuary for themselves. they have their own little life going on there. and with this new projects, residents of the region found themselves under some serious practical threats. rents sky rocketed, all the opportunistic landlords try to get rid of these people, so naturally, and also because of the many other reasons, these people started developing strong resistance and negative emotions towards everyone and everything which resembles this threat to their way of life.

    I’ve lived in the region and worked in the region. They are always skeptic about the outsiders. This is not something new. You need to have one way or another, some ties or connections with them, if you dont have any organic ties, with time and effort, if you let them know you and before asking/demanding anything, show respect, no matter they share your ideas or thoughts, they respect you because for them you are no longer threat or source of the disturbance.

    if you listen their side, they will also have lots of things to say. things like; they’ve been harassed, behaved badly and disturbed with this and that, which, personally, after hearing the comments from the “victims side” on the tv or reading them in the newspapers and such, I can imagine what really went down there.

    before knowing or ignoring the baseline facts about the region, and if you start using arguments like religion, us / them / against the modernity / fundamentalist and such, you are already doomed to fail. so my humble advise to the “victims” of this incident, please go to your houses, shut the blinds, sit down and think. be honest since no one can see you while being honest.

    yet as i said in the beginning, of course nothing can justify the act of violence. and i am not trying to justify it, but, one can speak better and fancy doesnt necessarily means he is right or it was happened like he is telling. not generalizing but about this story, it is much more than what the “victims” are talking about. and frankly partially it is very high probability that partial responsibility regarding to this tension is also caused by the “victims” acts.

    currently there is some sort of struggle going on in turkey in many different areas. almost all the social groups thinks that their presence is under attack by the “others” and try to defend their way of living. but eventually, everybody will realize that it is the act of mass paranoia is making the harm. so in such incidents, people intend to react over emotions. one group says, this is against the modern idea of bla bla, the other group claims, modernists attacks our way of living.

    we just need to remember that; we, turkish people need to respect the “others” even though you dont agree with them. and stop being paranoid about our way of lives, no matter how you want to live, is under constant attack or threat. this is a chicken egg dilemma with out any one being right or wrong.

    and @Antinous wtf you are talking about? do you have any clue even where the turkey is on map dude? what is your rationale that turkey is going fundamentalist or more than, lets say united states or israel or pick any country from the map. and yes you may choose the ones which you know where they are on the map…

    • Phrosty says:

      I just read your comment, and can’t help but wonder if you stopped to do the same. Here’s just one of the gems I found amusing/disturbing:

      this is a chicken egg dilemma with out any one being right or wrong.

      So, the systematic assault on artists and patrons (aka innocents) by over two-score armed irrationals is neither right, nor wrong?

      *On an unrelated note, 40-50 armed people doesn’t really seem like a gang… more like a mob. Semantics.

    • Anonymous says:

      this is anon #9 answering for reference.

      before knowing or ignoring the baseline facts about the region, and if you start using arguments like religion, us / them / against the modernity / fundamentalist and such, you are already doomed to fail. so my humble advise to the “victims” of this incident, please go to your houses, shut the blinds, sit down and think. be honest since no one can see you while being honest.

      MtB I live in Istanbul too and I am Turkish. The way you word this is very dismissive and victim blaming. Asking for respect and conform the way you do is just another form of neighborhood pressure to be assimilated into the to religious and strict religious mores some of us don’t necessarily live with. Don’t drink, or we’ll beat you up. Don’t wear mini-skirt or hold hand in hand or I’ll beat you up. That is not asking for respect, that is threatening and oppressing.

      Real respect is a 2-way street, and in no terms involves threatening, “warning”, and when those don’t work attacking the other side, vigilante style. This type of intolerance is exactly what brought in the events in Sivas and there is no justification for this mentality however you want to frame it as victim’s fault.

      • MtB says:

        yeah, continue to ask without giving. If you are planning to do business on a very well known region like tophane, you should be ready for respect before expected to get some respect. if you want to invade a place, at least from the residents of that area, then they will try to defend themselves with the methods they now or think appropriate. something like 400mt top of tophane is the beyoglu, the epicenter of the nightlife in istanbul, so did you see or hear any incident even during the ramadan, people throwing stones to the “drinkers” or “mini skirt wearers”

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I read the news. You might want to give it a shot sometime. Admittedly, I can’t compete with an incisive political analysis like this:

      but trust me on this one, turkey do not have a chance to become like iran or saudi arabia even if the people turkey choose to, which there are no intentions to become like iran or saudi arabia in turkey including the secular groups. there are many reasons which i dont want to bother anyone with such stuff. this is an intermediate time. much probably this mess will continue for some more, but eventually dust will settle down.

      • MtB says:

        thats not an incisive political analysis, thats called insider information ;) I am writing that comment as a turkish citizen, with some insider knowledge, because of the personal hobbies, studied turkish and surrounding countries political history (yes, we have lots of neighbors if you look at the map;) if you want to have a decent debate, sure, lets do it, but also please dont forget that while you were making any “incisive political analysis” regarding to “Turkey is trying to go fundamentalist. The only question is whether or not the Islamist government will fire/imprison enough generals in time to prevent the military from staging a secularist coup.” my aim wasnt to compete with you :)

        sivas incident is a black mark in the turkish history. and there is no way to wash this stain from our minds and souls. it is just an “barbaric” incident for many people who read it, but we’ve lost lots of dear and important people that day, many people lost their beloved ones. many still mourning for the losses every year. but sadly, it has nothing related or like this recent incident. so please while bringing such delicate matters, try to research more. reading an wikipedia article simply doesnt enough…

        this is the reason why sometimes I can be sympathetic or at least understand the control of the information flow. lots of people, whom only have some brief information about some stuff, can make harsh and false decisions. no we are not using camels in turkey, no we have schools and education system, even though it is not good as it could be, still we are providing decent education, no it is not mandatory to pray 5 times per day, no our women are not forced to wear burka actually we have really nice beaches, we dont have sultan… no we are not eating with our hands, no it is not banned to consume alcohol in turkey, we have nice culture of alcohol and food… no it is allowed to go out after the dark, especially nightlife scene of istanbul can easily comparable to ny or london nightlife, and as a person whom been also many other places, much more better, but this is my personal opinion not an analysis :) we had u2 (which i dont like that much) and many other artists or groups visited turkey. (my personal favorite was leonard cohen and bob dylan btw) so what is all this bs about? now turkey is not a country what it might seems from outside…

        do you know that, for some unknown reasons, bbc and some other news channels are using secular images when they need to use archive footage about turkey?

        yes, our system has many problems. we know that, we are trying to sort issues, some will be sorted out eventually, on some much probably my lifespan will not be enough to see it is resolved. but this doesnt makes some other countries system better than ours or ours worse then yours. all the societies have issues. and when people starts pointing with finger without any base or logic, it doesnt helps at all. discussing is different than accusing… lets discuss or even talk. but lets make it rational and with some arguments / knowledge behind it.

        and for god sake, please try to watch something else then fox news and try read different news sources belongs to different cultures / political views ;)

  5. Anonymous says:

    Weren’t the people attacking doing it because attendees of the art show(s) were drinking alcohol (in the open)? Which is forbidden by the Islamic religion.

  6. bassplayinben says:

    Duh, its a performance art piece.

  7. MtB says:

    @anon; what ever the “claimed” reason, I am trying to say that, it is not simply tied with “religion” or only based on “religion” thats all. i said, i also lived that region, i was drinking alcohol, also on the street there are shops that selling alcohol, owned and run by the local residents of the neighborhood. so the one and only reason is not and cannot be “alcohol”

    @Phrosty; i guess you are mixing the context of that quoted piece and the rest of the story. let me try to explain one more: by “we just need to remember that; we, turkish people need to respect the “others” even though you dont agree with them. and stop being paranoid about our way of lives, no matter how you want to live, is under constant attack or threat. this is a chicken egg dilemma with out any one being right or wrong.” I am trying to saying that we forget to respect to different / differences and we are assuming what we think ideal/normal should be granted. not particularly about this incident but in general. if you are following the turkish politics for instance, you can clearly observe this fact. with the chicken egg; i wanted to mean, group a thinks its under attack so attacks group b then group b strikes a because they think they are under attack and this goes on.

    and if you seriously read, i clearly stated 2 times, nothing can justify such act of violance. so it is not about justifying but more like, please while judging/criticizing always keep in your mind that there also can be some other readings / reasons / facts might not be spoken.

    40 – 50 of what? news started with 20-30, then police arrested 7 individuals, and all released because of the lack of evidence. let say a group of angry/premeditated people. numbers are not the issue and if you want to go into semantics, i would like to see the actual quantitative data which proves there were 40 – 50 people by the intension of attack.

    if i need to summarize:
    1) the neighborhood which this incident occurred has some history and own dynamics

    2) this incident can not be explained with simple reasoning like religion, fundamentalism or such. it is much more complex than it may appear from the surface

    3) none of the things i’ve write is aimed to justify or excuse the violence occurred

  8. kib says:

    Thank you for posting this. Istanbul, and the idea of modern Turkey set in motion by Ataturk, is apparently at a crossroads. Bringing these events to light is essential.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Frankly, I wasn’t neither surprised nor shocked at all when reading the news about the “gallery pogrom”. I’ve been before in the area for some openings, and the neighborhood -very well known from previous incidents- clearly stated that “we” are not welcome. After all, any art gallery is not an untouchable temple but a commercial enterprise, and should care about the safety of its customers and visitors. They already knew that there are tensions yet did nothing (or not much) to avoid such a tragic event. Not shutting down, but somehow changing, elaborating their strategy… anyway, worth to be followed up.

  10. MtB says:

    @Karl Jones

    of course Turkey have issues. there is no doubt about it, but these issues are no different than the internal issues of any other country.

    Turkey try to deal with such internal issues, some quick some slow, some unwillingly some against the all voices, but still turkey doesnt have anything to point with finger.

    If you take a look to the Turkish Republic’s history, it is relatively young country. Founded after the heavy WW 1, messy independence war in 1923. And before that when you take a look to the Ottoman Empire era, you can see that, many things, which we still lack of or trying to improve, is simply never been introduced or accepted. Also many things introduces after the foundation of the Republic is western influenced or taken directly form western countries. but if you introduce such rapid and different change to the people which practically ruled by one man without any voice and such, it might require some effort to get adapt to this new situation.

    Sadly, turkey located on a very interesting geographical location. practically connecting asia, middle east and europe. in the aspect of the natural resources, it is one of the countries, which has sufficient natural resources. because of the history, have relations and history with a greater area. proven by historical political documents, turkey always has been, lets say closely observed by foreign countries. as an example, the rise of the religion on turkey, coincidentally starts at the very same time with the US/UK Green Belt policy against russia, which simply described as supporting Islam, natural rival of communism, against russia. isnt it kind-a interesting, isnt it looks like suspiciously similar to, for example, US supporting humeyni in iran before the revolution or US supporting mujahiddin in afganistan against the russian invasion? as a side note, US supported the famous osama bin laden and taliban on their effort against the northern alliance after the russians left the country :) btw, these are not my paranoia or claims, if anyone missed to read the materials regarding to this issues, i can send an extended reading list including official government publishings and such.

    turkey, is an interesting social laboratory, you simply cant analyse it by using any common theories or doctrines. so when we are talking about the social issues in turkey, there is no simple explanation or understanding of the problems.

    but trust me on this one, turkey do not have a chance to become like iran or saudi arabia even if the people turkey choose to, which there are no intentions to become like iran or saudi arabia in turkey including the secular groups. there are many reasons which i dont want to bother anyone with such stuff. this is an intermediate time. much probably this mess will continue for some more, but eventually dust will settle down.

  11. Anonymous says:

    islam isnt backwards… only those 40-50 thugs were. the art show was way too open-minded for them.

  12. Enoch_Root says:

    Given the current climate in Turkey we can’t even hazard a guess at what is going on?

    It is true that it could be anyone for any reason I guess.

  13. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Turkey is trying to go fundamentalist. The only question is whether or not the Islamist government will fire/imprison enough generals in time to prevent the military from staging a secularist coup.

  14. Enoch_Root says:

    Also 40-50 people is not a “small… gang” and usually foreign citizens subject to systematic, organized and violent attacks are not seen as “…injured…guests.”

  15. insatiableatheist says:

    Maybe it was just really bad art?

  16. Anonymous says:

    One of the aspects related in the Turkish newspapers is that the area is going through a heavy gentrification process, higher rent, etc. I’ve been to Tophane relatively recently, and it’s true that it’s becoming a more fancy pants part of town. It only needs just a wee bit of religious intolerance to spark things from there. (The people defending the attacks claim that the art gallery people were drinking alcohol on the streets, blocking the sideway, etc, which seems ridiculous to me.)

    Whether this event is indicative of the countries so-called continuing religious leanings or “Turkey’s trying to go fundamentalist” type comments… well, all the secular newspapers are relating it to rising religiousness, but they’re also suspect to hysterics about this kind of thing. However, what remains is that, yes, it needs press to put some pressure on.

    To take it back a bit, back when Turkey “wasn’t fundamentalist” and even more of a US loveboy then it is now (and it continues to be), a group of over 30 artists, musicians and politicans were murdered in the town of Sivas. The news footage, including prominent politicians of the time inciting the crowd, is mind-blowing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sivas_massacre

  17. Phrosty says:

    and for god sake, please try to watch something else then fox news and try read different news sources belongs to different cultures / political views

    At first, this statement seemed a little ironic, considering this is Boing Boing. However, your error is perhaps forgivable, since this is your first time commenting on this site.

  18. Anonymous says:

    ‘loosely organized conservative radicals’

    really, Mr. Rushkoff ??

    the term you are looking for is ‘violent reactionaries’

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