Gezi Park Vendetta
According to state run Anadolu News Agency, 5th December, Turkish authorities seem to have issued an arrest warrant for Can Dündar, a most accomplished journalist and film-maker.
Only, this time around, it is not for “espionage”- as in publishing in Cumhuriyet, the newspaper he used to edit, some photographs of MIT trucks running arms to the Middle East, but for playing an “active role” in the Gezi Park protests by “provoking public unrest via social media”.
However, what is odd about the new arrest warrant is, given the events in question took place in 2013, if truth be told, Gezi Park is simply “Old Hat”. So, why the sudden interest – especially when, as the case is with Mr Dündar, the “culprit” is in self-imposed exile, residing in Germany?
The answer lies in a new phenomenon the world is witnessing: namely, the supra-territoriality in pursuing those who cause the displeasure of certain regimes. In the old days, like Vladimir Ilyich Lenin in Zurich, dissidents could reside abroad and feel reasonably safe. Not anymore. In 2018, we have seen two brutal cases – of dictators wreaking vengeance on those who incurred their wrath: one in a quiet English town, the other, nearer home, in Istanbul. More importantly, it was the measured world reaction to these atrocities, signalling the new rules of the game: money is more important than people.
It is interesting to note, in the case of Mr Dündar, that the Turkish authorities should have waited for five years, and only now, suddenly, decide to pursue him for his wrongdoings – namely, posting incendiary comments on the Social Media during Gezi Park protests.
Finally, I plead guilty to a similar malfeasance. Indeed, at the time of Gezi Park Protest, I acted as the “ring-leader” to a number of signatories, drafting an open letter addressed Mr Erdoğan, then the Turkish PM. The offending item was published, as a full page ad, in the London Times, criticising Mr Erdoğan for his handling of the Gezi Park protests, which left eight dead and many blinded for life, due to indiscriminate use of tear gas.
The letter was signed by various writers and artists, including the late Andrew Mango, Fazil Say, Susan Sarandon, David Lynch, Ben Kingsley, James Fox, Frederic Raphael, Edna O’Brian, Julian Fellowes, Tom Stoppard, Branko Lustig and others, in all, including myself, thirty “mischief makers”.
Probably, we should soon expect a knock at our respective doors.