An open letter to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

open letter 

By Anil Yoldascan Altun


 Dear Mr. Erdogan,

I am writing to express my concerns about the current situation in Turkey, in addition to your way of ruling the country since 2003.

During the last couple of years, I have followed social and political changes in Turkey very closely. Since I started taking an interest in politics, I have not seen one year in which you haven’t shocked me, either with one of the decisions you’ve made or words you said. Every time I thought it couldn’t get worse you, Mr. President, proved me wrong. I have so many things to say to you and even more questions to ask and in spite of the fact that I know that I will never receive any answers, I still want to write this letter to you.

I have witnessed many of your statements, Mr. President, in which you refer to some words that I do not believe we share a united understanding of.

In your speeches, you talk about peace but don’t appear interested in a solution for the conflict with the Kurdish PKK.

You use the word unity, yet your public statements seem to be designed to divide the Turkish society rather than unite it.

You talk about equality but then you advise women to stick to their gender-specific roles, as mothers, or so it is written in the Koran. You use large amounts of public money to build mosques and Islamic schools while public schools run into the ground. Is this your understanding of equality, Mr. President?

You talk about freedom but you forbid people to drink alcohol in public because, according to your religion, it is sinful. To others, it might not be. You regularly detain journalists because they have criticised you – so, as far as I am concerned, Mr. President, this is everything but the ‘freedom’ you so politely rant about.

In other talks you’ve thrown about the word ‘democracy’ but your actions make me believe that you do not accept opinions that differ from your own. In 2013 you killed 11 people and injured 8,000 during a wave of demonstrations resulting from extreme police violence against people who were originally peacefully demonstrating against an urban development plan for Taksim Gezi Park in Istanbul. A few weeks ago, you didn’t protect thousands of people who were peacefully protesting against the war you are fighting with the Kurds. At this event two bombs exploded and just short of 100 lives were lost. When such a large number of people come together, it is your responsibility to protect them. You ought to know that by now. I can’t help but notice that when your supporters come together the safety regulations are exceptional, even beyond the call of duty. Yet, when your public protest for peace, consequently against you, you do not protect them at all. Instead, the police are allowed to use tear gas and water cannons against those who were helping the wounded.

As already suggested by Selahattin Demirtas, the leader of the oppositional HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party), after your recent failings regarding inner security of publics whose opinions differ from your own: please resign – though, not before apologizing for the mess you have made.


Yours sincerely,

Anil Yoldascan Altun