All posts by Begum Zorlu

Begüm Zorlu is a researcher, freelance photo-journalist and translator from Turkey living in London.

Book Review: Theorizing Social Movements


Joe Foweraker’s book Theorizing Social Movements is a compelling introduction to social movement theories and how they relate to a certain region in the world which in this case in Latin America.

About the Author 

As his page in Oxford University demonstrates, Foweraker has been leading research on democracy and social movements with a focus on Latin America. He edited Encyclopedia of Democratic Thought and a co-authored  Governing Latin America. His current research deploys classical democratic theory to analyze the nature of Latin American democracy. His latest book is Democracy and its Discontents in Latin America.

Protesting the Death of Tahir Elçi

Tahir Elçi, a celebrated human rights lawyer and activist promoting peace, was killed in Diyarbakir after a gun battle between the police and unidentified shooters.

He was issuing a press statement, calling out for an end to violence between the Turkish state and the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) when he was shot dead. He was 49 years old.

Masses gathered after hearing the news of his death in Istanbul by organising a vigil at Istiklal Street.

It can be said that the vigil happened spontaneously as over the years Istiklal Street became the main venue to protest injustice.

His death incited anger as he was an advocate for peace and reconciliation.

Almost everyone who knew him stated that “he was a good man that helped everyone around him.”

The protestors held photos of Elci and stayed in silence to commemorate him, then chanted slogans to express their outrage.

The following slogans were chanted: “Murderer State”, “You can’t kill us all”, “Şehîd Namirin” which means martyrs never die in Kurdish.

The police tried to disperse the crowd by driving armoured vehicles towards them and fired water cannons.

Yet the crowds remained.

It was a sad day for peace in Turkey.

It was a sad day.

Testimonies: Remembering Hrant Dink

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Jonathan Fryer had defined Hrant Dink in his obituary in the Guardian as “a warm, sensitive man, who would greet an old friend with a bear hug…”

He notes how Hrant Dink experienced harassment and threats, what Dink names and Fryer records as “psychological torture.”

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Fryer further reflects on Dink’s words: “I am just like a pigeon, obsessively looking to my left and to my right, in front of me and behind me.”

This quote is remembered every year, transferred to generations.

I learned about Dink by joining these protests.

I knew little of him when I first joined and over the years got to know what he stood for and what he did.

Younger people are also learning about him by accompanying their families, friends or just turning up after hearing about this unjust death.

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Being there makes one aware of the networks of solidarity and gives the feeling that one is not alone to stand up to injustices.

Thousands march to commemorate this sincere writer who was killed due to the predominance of hate, institutional hate.

Yet the hate that is maintained in institutions is being countered by the masses, with solidarity and objection.

These photos were taken on the 19th of January, 2015.

This is the day that the Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was killed eight years ago.

The march again was commemorating the life that had a lot to give, experience and was lost in an unjust and sudden way.

Hrant Dink has become a symbol of peace for many, every year thousands remember him and chant “Never Again”, “We are here!”


Articles and Sources on Hrant Dink

Hrag Vartanian (2006). A Voice in the Wilderness

Hrant Dink Foundation

Section from his book “Two close peoples two distant Neighbours”


Bianet Yazı Dizisi- Arap Ayaklanmalarının Beşinci Yılı


Alıntı: Arap Ayaklanmaları Yazı Dizisine Başlarken 

‘2011’de değişim için yürüyen kitleler ekmek ve adalet için sokaklara dökülmüştü. Bu yüzden 2011’in hedeflerinden 2016’nın hayal kırıklıklarına ve umuduna uzanan yolculukta bu coğrafyanın insanlarının sesini duyurmaya çalıştık’.

 Serinin Yazıları

Mete Çubukçu Ayaklanmaların 5 Yılını Anlattı

Arap Ayaklanmaları’nın 5. Yılı: Kronoloji

Yedi Ülkede Arap Ayaklanmaları’nın Dünü Bugünü

Mısır’da Her Şey Mümkündü; Buraya Nasıl Geldik?

“Ulusal Mutabakat Sağlanmadan Mısır Halkı Güvende Olmayacaktır”

“Mısır, İran Devrimi Gibi Kendi Değerlerinden Döndü”

Amerikalı Bir Gazetecinin Ortadoğu Güncesi

Beş Yıl Sonra Ayaklanmanın Başladığı Tunus’ta 

 Arap Devrimleri ve Suriye: Beş Yıl Sonra 

Suriye Devrimi’nin Yaratıcı Hafızası

“Görmüyor musun Ben Vatanımı Kaybettim?”

Mısır Devrimi’nin Sesi Essam’ın Hikayesi: “Çalınan Bahar”

Can Ertuna’nın Gözünden Arap İsyanları

Seri için tıklayın.

Voices From Egypt After the Military Coup: A Quest For National Consensus

This is an extract of the POMEAS (Project on the Middle East After the Arab Spring) interview.
Mahmoud Makade, a resident of Cairo and the general secretary of Tomorrows Youth Liberal Organization answers our questions about the Egyptian uprising of 2011 and the path that re- created an elevated form of authoritarianism in the country.
To start off from an individual point of view, how can you describe the uprising, were you part of the movement then, how was the first mobilization setting off from the streets of Cairo?
I was the general secretary of Tomorrows Youth Liberal Organization since 2010 he was a university student in Cairo. For us the demonstrations did not start in 2011. We prepared for protesting before 2010, with the 6th of April movement. There were also people in support of different figures, Muslim
Brotherhood, socialists. There were various active political groups before the revolution. They were preparing huge protest for reforms in 14 January 2011.
When Bin Ali ran away from Tunisia and we heard about the Jasmine revolution impatience rose in Egypt. We were ready to ask for more. So we felt that we had the power at 25 th of January to march. We made banners in public areas around Cairo trying to ask people to make a demonstration against Hosni Mubarak.
We were surprised because we didn’t accept this turnout.
So why do you think they joined the protest, then?
First, in the last ten years there was a certain date for protesting in squares with a demand. This started with 9 th of April 2003 when American invaded Iraq. It was the first time when Egyptian people protested against the regime. This was the first time after 1952 they started to chant against the head of government.
Then what happened in 2004 remained crucial. The Kefaya- كفاية (Enough) movement said no for extension and no for heritability. There was a new opening in 2005 when Ayman Nour was a candidate of the Liberal Party against Hosni Mubarak. But the conclusion was the fraud elections and then they
arrested him for 5 years.
6 April Movement was one of the most important social protests but still, it was not massive. So, 25 January came like a carnival for us. It was a result of the struggling of almost 7 years. In 2005 we weren’t more than 200-300 protestors when we were chanting against Hosni Mubarak. In January we were 250 000 in
60 minutes at Tahrir square.
The popular congestion came with the high prices and the non-changing rates of poverty and unemployment. 12 million Egyptians live in the suburbs and they were upset and had enough. So we used these problems against Hosni Mubarak.
We used another technique, which was really important. It was the slums they are not organized by the government. So we tried to communicate with youth groups that are not related to political parties. We used it for football fans and we succeed to communicate with them. Al-Ahly and Al-Zamalek Ultras fans, we
couldn’t have this revolution without them.
The difference from any protests since 2005 to 2011 was that 2005 wasn’t a mass movement. The mass movement made a revolution. What about the influence of workers on the revolution?
The workers have their story with strikes since the 1970s; they had a lot of important strikes since 2010 until the military coup until 2013. The 2013 coup repressed the worker movement like any other movement in Egypt. Between the strikes of the 1980s and now there is a difference. The slogans were different. In
The 1970s there were chanting for democracy and freedom now today they only say functional slogans, not for broader ones. Their outlook is a certain target.
Strikes took place in Mahalla textile workers In Mahalla 2008 they smashed the statue of Hosni Mubarak with their shoes. During the 18 days of the revolution, they used civil disobedience, most of them didn’t go to work.
The Copts have supported the revolution and experienced the military-policy brutality in and in the aftermath of the fall of Mubarak like the Maspero events.
How about their position now with the Sisi government? It is said that the Copts support Sisi. Can you name some of the reasons for this support?
In the Tahrir uprising, the head of the Coptic church Pope Shenouda III told the Christian Egyptians not to join the protests against Hosni Mubarak. The pope was really popular and they really liked him, but the Christian youth kept sharing videos on the Internet that meant ‘we respect the pope we got his orders but we are Egyptian and we have the right of revolution and be against Hosni Mubarak’.
The Christians were one of the main actors of the Egyptian Revolution. Unfortunately, many accidents happened. From the radical Islamists in many cities there were attacks and also they destroyed a church in Cairo. They cut an ear of Christian man. When a Christian governor was elected in Qena they protested in front of his office and because of the protests, the government replaced him. There were speeches from people around Morsi with negative statements.
That is what made them stand by anyone who will topple the Muslim Brotherhood. They didn’t want Muslims to reach authority. Until 1952 there was no difference between Muslims, Jews, Christians. For more than 60 years the military rule they destroyed this togetherness. The huge part of the Muslims in
Egypt sees Christians just as guests and they should leave and I am not kidding they have monsters in church for attacking Muslims.
On the other hand, Christians think that they own Egypt and the Muslims came from Arabia and they forced Egyptian people to convert to Islam and Egypt is a Christian country once the Muslims will leave it will be Coptic again.
The regime of Sisi is playing with fire and is double-faced. It says that it is protecting Copts from Muslim groups but Sisi was arresting people who were eating at Ramadan, at the same time he is arresting Christian people and accusing them that they are Muslim Brotherhood.
What about the popular faces that appeared after Tahrir? Bloggers, alternative media and revolution were an important point of discussion. Where are those people today?
They were a lot of public figures like Yusri Fuda, Moataz Matar, Reem Majid, Basem Yousif who were really speaking with the voice of the revolution. These voices are silent now. Some of them were depressed, felt helpless and they saw their selves like they did something wrong they are disappointed that the
revolution ended like this. Some left Egypt, some are in Turkey, some are banned on TV.
In Morsi era the media-revolution relations were different. He tried to push the public figures and make them close circles but he didn’t arrest them and put a censor on them but the Sisi regime is doing it directly. He is doing it directly to the public figures not to show their ideas.
What were the new parties that were born from the movement of the revolution and were crucial for the movement itself?
I think the most important one was ‘No to Military Trials for Civilians’. University students like Mona Seif led it. She was a 19-year- old student now in the jail for 3 years. They charged her with the protest law.
A lot of feminist groups started since the revolution and it was very important for women. The problem of the movements was that they didn’t work well together that is why we are seeing this picture now.
Most of them lay on the ground in front of the tank or depressed in their home or dead or prison in his cell. Some of the parties who showed up in the revolution led by businessman Naguib Sawiris and also Amr Musa today they are today pro Sisi.
We know that under the Sisi regime not only Muslim Brotherhood but also people from different groups are arrested like fans, students what kind of organizations do they come from what are they sentenced for?
What is happening in Egypt now is arresting anyone who is trying to think, anyone with creative ideas from every part of the society. It can be said that it was the same in the 1952 military coup. There is a resemblance between the eras. They prepare the charge before each one is arrested with no investigation.
When they judge someone they put the label the terrorist organization.
The regime is judging with terror even pro Sisi people are getting arrested. So in your opinion would there still be a coup no matter who governed like if there wasn’t an Islamist government would there still be a coup? I think that who ever controlling Egypt after the revolution would have the same faith. It wouldn’t matter if it is leftist liberal Islamism. But Morsi made mistakes with rebels and the national coalition. The Egyptian revolution made this coup easier.
On the other hand Morsi trusted Sisi, which turned out to be one of his main mistakes. When Morsi made the ministries he was thinking Sisi agreed with theMuslim Brotherhood. He was saying that the Muslim Brotherhood Sisi made Islam entering the Egyptian army.
In this atmosphere is there a place for free jurisdiction?
In 11 February 2011 our problem was the police till killing arresting and torturing us. Before, we trusted the army and courts more or less. Today we don’t trust anyone nor the court and the army and it is a huge problem that Egypt faces.
After the coup the trust between the people army and court is over. I don’t know where it will take us for sure there are honest judges but the problem is the system itself. Judges working in the Mubarak regime are still in power. The stability of all our ministries was necessary for a victory. So it was clear that the
revolution was not finished in Egypt we need independence of judges we need to have main government organizations to change army and police.
Political activity in Egypt stopped at 3 July we do protests sometimes we try to protest and invite people to continue the revolution each time we protest the government arrests most of our group.
The vice president of our organization was shot by a gun when he was protesting he is still in the hospital. The Egyptian government attacked our main office and throw our stuff at the street now they are pushing us not to open office again. The political is linked with the economy there is no economic development without
democracy there is no democracy without freedom there is no freedom without being safe and there is no safety for Egyptians before national consensus. For that there has to be unity among Egyptian people, there has to be transitional justice.
Sisi after the 2nd of June 2013 became a main part of the problem, the only solution is him leaving. Sisi is trying to calm the people down but there will be a spark that will start an explosion. Maybe this explosion will be kind of a hunger revolution and I hope that won’t happen as a hunger revolution with high
consequences. Or maybe this explosion will be the national consensus between the rebel parties that was separated in the Egyptian revolution.
There are millions who adore Sisi but every day he loses support. That was clear when he was candidate people didn’t go to box. Every political, economic, social failure feeds the unpopularity. The problems increased after the revolution but in Sisi time it got worse. He said that he would build building units for people in the slums, but nothing. The economic situation will destroy Sisi because it is not
sustainable. All the rebels are arrested and there are more than 40 000 political prisoners, the government here doesn’t build houses but jails.
So as a last word national consensus is a must. This was our mistake in the revolution. This is what we will try to reach first.


A Year of Terrorist Bombings in Turkey (2015)


“While the ruling elite remains emotionally and physically unaffected by the bombings, this year of violence has left thousands dead and injured, broken dozens of families, and shattered the previously fragile peace in the country’s southeast.

In a state where funerals and lawlessness have become common, the victims of these mass atrocities feel isolated.

At a time when Turkey should be protecting and defending its citizens, there is a profound lack of justice for those who are most deeply affected by the country’s many, recent tragedies.”

See full text at

Gülseren Onanç’tan Barış İçin Kadın Koalisyonu Önerisi

Bu yazının bir kısmı Bianet’de yayınlanmıştır.

Erişmek için tıklayınız.

Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi Meclis Üyesi ve eski Genel Başkan Yardımcısı Gülseren Onanç Kadın Forum’unda Kuzey İrlanda’da kurulan kadın koalisyonunun Türkiye’de barışın tesisinde önemli bir örnek olacağını belirtti ve ısrarla diyaloğun altını çizdi.

Diyaloğun önemi

Onanç konuşmasına kendi deneyiminden yola çıkarak, kadın hareketindeki deneyimin onun dönüşümünde önemli rol oynadığının belirterek başladı. 10 yıl önce kadın ve Kürt meselelerinin beraber tartışılmasının bugün Kürt sorununa empati kurmasına katkıda bulunduğunu belirtti ve diyaloğun sadece kendileri gibi düşünenlerle değil karşı taraflarla da yürütülmesi gerektiğini söyledi.

AKP’li kadın vekiller sürece katılmalı

AKP’den de vekilleri sürece katarak kadın kimliği üzerinden bilinci arttırmanın değişimini tetiklenebileceğini söyleyen Onanç uzun dönemli barış için karşı taraftakileri kendi saflarına çekmeleri gerektiğini belirtti.

Kadın koalisyonu fikri

Bu Mart ayında hem siyasi partilerinde hem de sivil toplum örgütlerinin katıldığı , DPI’ın (Democratic Progress Institute) ev sahipliğinde Kuzey İrlanda’ya giden ve kadınların barış sürecindeki rolünü inceleyen Onanç İrlanda’dakine benzer bir koalisyonun Türkiye’de oluşabilmesinin imkanlarını sorgulayarak, girişimlerini belirtti.
‘IRA ile İngiltere arasındaki süreçte kadın koalisyonu bir oyuncu olarak geliyor ama kurulurken kendine prensipler belirliyor
  1. Çatışmaların silahla değil müzakere ve diyalog ile çözülmesi
  2. İdeolojiler üstü bir siyaset zeminine duyulan ihtiyaca cevap verme
  3. Ayrıştıran siyaset yerine uzlaştıran, ilkeler yerine iş yapan siyaset anlayışın tesis edilmesi
  4. Kadınlar çatışmaların mağdurudur ve dayanışma içinde olmalıdır ilkesi
  5. Dünyada çözülemeyecek hiç bir çatışma yoktur yeter ki diyalog ve müzakereler olsun anlayışı.’


‘Diyalogu bizim başlatmamız gerekiyor’

‘Çatışma çözümlerinde etkili olmanın yolu ayrım yapmayan kapsayıcı bir iletişim ve ilişki sürdürmek adına önyargıları kırmaktan korkmamalıdır. Öncelikle önyargılarımızı kırmak üzere diyalogu bizim başlatmamız gerekiyor. Diyaloğun çok  önemli olduğuna inanıyorum ve insanı kadını ve sistemi değiştirebileceğine inanıyorum.
Uzun dönemde yapılacak barış görüşmeleri içerisinde kurulacak bir kadın koalisyonunun, fakat bütün siyasi yelpazeyi içeren bir koalisyonun yarın kurulacak her hangi bir masada yer alması gerekiyor’ dedi.