Black Lives Matter
The massive outpouring of support for U.S. Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris by American celebrities brings to mind the difficult position of Turkish artists who dare wade into politics. One cannot forget the harsh reaction from the ruling AKP to Turkish celebrities who expressed support to Istanbul Mayor İmamoğlu last year.
Footage of the detentions of five individuals detained at pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party's (HDP) press conference in Istanbul reveal shouts from the civilians begging the police to stop pressing on their backs and telling them that their chest hurts. The images of police pressing on the detainee's backs is reminiscent of the recent police killing of black Minneapolis resident George Floyd, remembered with his words "I can't breathe!"
Police detained some 15 people at an Ankara protest condemning the police killing of black Minneapolis resident George Floyd. The protesters chanted some of Floyd's last words as he was suffocated to death by the officer, "Please, I can't breathe!"
Though some of the correspondences are superficial, the coincidence of the protests in the U.S. erupting just as people here are commemorating Gezi has lead to some soul searching about the similarities and differences in state violence and racism in both countries.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan condemned the May 27 police killing of black Minneapolis resident George Floyd in a series of tweets. The president said the mentality that killed Floyd was "racist and fascist" and condemned the "inhumane mentality." Turkey has been experiencing a period of increased police violence since the 2013 anti-government Gezi protests when more than 20 people were killed.