Begone, this nation is ours.
This was the clear and angry anti-government demand by a protester protesting against a commercial development on a treasured Istanbul park.
The park protest has since evolved into a nationwide protest against the government itself.
It’s interesting to compare events in Turkey with how Irish citizens and in particular young Irish citizens respond to government abuse of power.
The protest in Turkey is being led by young people and powered by social media.
The underlying fear is that the government, led by conservative Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is moving away from the secular Ataturk republic towards an Islamic state
It’s interesting to note that Turkish citizens have taken to the streets as a result of very minor changes made by the government.
For example, some restrictions on the sale of alcohol, restrictions on water-pipe smoking and plans to ban fortune tellers from reading coffee cups in café’s and, finally, the trigger, the attempt to destroy one of the last remaining green areas in Istanbul to make way for a shopping centre.
Clearly, Turkish citizens know they own their country and are prepared to take to the streets when that ownership is threatened as one protester made clear:
He has a big ego, he thinks of himself as the next Sultan. He needs to stop doing that, he’s just a Prime Minister, he needs to remember that the people elected him.
Meanwhile, here in Ireland the political abuse, arrogance and corruption, which has resulted in disaster for Ireland and its people, goes unchallenged.
No nationwide protests, no reaction from young people, no utilization of social media to organize the destruction of the corrupt system.
Why? Because Irish citizens do not know they own their country, they have no real sense of nationhood or democracy.
Politically, most Irish citizens look no further than electing the local gombeen gangster in return for petty favours paid for out of their own pockets.