Freedom Is Fleeting in Turkey


I lived and taught English in Turkey for 2.5 years.  I fell in love with that beautiful country and even married a Turkish man.  When the Gezi Park freedom protests began a year ago today, I covered them first-hand, writing articles, taking photos, and uploading videos.  I even got attacked by the Turkish police, and my Turkish husband was tortured by them.  We left Turkey days before police showed up at our old apartment near Istanbul to arrest me for a photo I’d published.

Of all the photos I took in Turkey, this one defined a turning point.  I was in Antalya, watching some high school students march with the Turkish flag even though their Islamist Prime Minister had forbidden any parades.  I stopped being just an American English teacher and became part of the Turkish people when I witnessed how much they want freedom.

Read my tribute to the Gezi Park protest anniversary here:

Freedom is Fleeting


A Turkish business owner holds up a portrait of Ataturk, founder of Turkey’s secular democracy

Freedom is in danger throughout this planet.  Dictators in all corners of the earth try to control people’s behavior and even their thoughts.  This past week in Turkey, protesters who had enough of such control took to the streets to make their voices heard.

Although freedom may be fleeting, dictators always fall.  No matter how high he reaches, a tyrant eventually becomes the sand that children play in.  Men who establish freedom for other people, however, are remembered like lights shining in a dark place.


Lights inside Ataturk’s tomb (Anitkabir) in Ankara

Freedom Day in Turkey


Students proudly wave the Turkish flag to celebrate Freedom Day (October 29) in Antalya

Today in Turkey, despite the orders of the current repressive Islamist regime not to celebrate, many people around Turkey are celebrating Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s proclamation of the secular, democratic Republic of Turkey in 1923.  At a big gathering in the country’s capital, Ankara, police opened fire with water canons and pepper spray bombs on the peaceful marchers.  However, the Turkish president told them to stand down because of popular opinion against his police actions.


Students play music to celebrate Freedom Day in Antalya

To see more photos about Freedom Day in Turkey, see my album “Faces of Freedom”:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Silhouette

I snapped this shot through a bus window outside of Izmir, Turkey, near the Aegean Sea. I was amazed to see a giant silhouette of Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish Republic, carved into a marble cliffside. Notice the Turkish flag below.

Ataturk believed in freedom of speech, religion, and the press. He established a secular democracy in Turkey. This Monday, October 29, celebrates Ataturk and his ideals. The current administration in Turkey is not happy about this day and wants to limit its celebration. Long live Ataturk and freedom!

Let Freedom Ring! Short Quotes (aka poetry)

In some countries, under the veil of censorship, black market books abound. People must be free to pick their books!

Censorship exists where truth is feared.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” And then He invited people to follow him, fully respecting their right to choose.

One door shuts, another opens–such a better view than the first!

I didn’t know what freedom was until I lived in a place where there wasn’t really freedom.

Freedom clearly calls, “You have a choice!!” Oppression gives people free refrigerators and iPads while slowly taking away their choices.

Some dictators shoot their people in the streets. Others shut their people in prisons, hoping the world does not notice.

The worst kind of evil is that which pretends to be good, tolerant, unprejudiced–while secretly destroying those who disagree with it.

Truth does not need to be defended. A lie, always insecure, will force itself upon people.

So many journalists risk their lives to tell the truth!

Let Freedom Ring!  One clear sound, a silver bell struck once—not blaring all day long on a loudspeaker.

Truth is often silent, speaking to the heart.

Censorship is alive and well in Turkey.  When will they come and silent me?  I am applying for Alaskan jobs!

I am close to the Middle East.  People all around me are crying out for freedom.  They are tired of religious and political oppression.

History proves that dictators, dynasties, empires—do not stand forever.  The proud do not see their coming doom.

Even the stately building will someday fall, stone upon stone of castle wall.

We all seek a revelation, lighthouse blazing down on our dark path.

I seek a cottage at the end of my dark-wood way:  windows lit, fireplace blazing by a cup of tea, and a friend to whom I tell my journey.

I wished for a golden ring upon my path, but I found flowers.  Which is more valuable?

God’s Good News is simple, so a child could understand, yet men have written volumes of books about it.