An Interview with the Couple Who Met and (Almost) Wed at Gezi: “We’re like Nâzım Hikmet’s Poetry” – PART 2

23.07.2013
Translated from Turkish by Translators for Justice
Source: http://haber.sol.org.tr/devlet-ve-siyaset/gezi-cifti-anlatti-nazimin-siiri-gibiyiz-haberi-76847

by Neslihan Koçaslan

To view the first part of the interview, click here.

Nuray

The ruling party sees everyone except themselves as terrorists, provocateurs, anarchists, and rioters. This was something that was late and should have happened before.

But now, the public is standing up and doesn’t believe the lies. They were trying to scare people with ridiculous things called “evidence.” Supposedly torture is over in compliance with European Union standards.  That’s not true.  Torture has moved from police stations to the streets. For many years leftists were told that they’d been used. But now the police are being used against their nation. People have learned how to struggle against it. They learned resistance. Look at Armutlu***! [?] People are throwing away their stuff, like furniture, to use for barricades. That should happen. Much more should happen. People should take to the streets more so that the revolution happens.

You were together continuously without being aware of each other in a month. How did you gain confidence in each other and how has this bond formed?

Özgür

We, Nuray and I, were comrades in arms. We trusted each other; we resigned our lives to each other like everyone else there. However, one day my lucky green T-shirt  got wet a lot. Nuray said, “Take it off, or you’ll get ill!” “This is so valuable  for me,” I said. “You’ll learn to trust me,” she replied.  The story of the green T-shirt made us more special. I wasn’t ever sure [?] that it was Nuray who had taken it. Somebody told me I was going to get myself killed and ordered me to take it off, so I did so.

Nuray

I didn’t take the T-shirt, because Özgür was my divine love. One of my comrade’s got wet and told me that the T-shirt was important for him. So, I kept it. While we were talking about this with you and sharing it, we were surprised that this had become such a big deal, because every insurgent in Gezi has done this. We are not special. There are such amazing comradeship and love stories. People consider themselves brothers or sisters now. I don’t recall a minute that I chatted in personal sense. The dialogue was like this: “Let’s throw out the garbage, or let’s buy that medicine,” etc. We were also observing the others. We were taking care of each other. For instance, we were protecting each other by saying such things as,  “Neslihan, you haven’t slept for 24 hours. Go and get some rest.”  We were in control. We were work-oriented. Then, what happened in the last infirmary? Every left except us in the last day. I was gathering the necessary stuff. I found out long after that Özgür had finished gathering his stuff and had been looking for the green T-shirt. The police came even closer. There were one or two steps between us. I told him that they’d arrived. He ordered me to run away. So, it was an order and I obeyed it, but that will always be the biggest regret in my life. Ultimately, people were discharged from Gezi, Nobody remained there. So we need to be in the field to help people.

After Gezi had been dispersed, what did you experience? How did you meet again?

Özgür

We acted with humanitarian feelings, but this is not always the best way. For example, a policeman was wounded. We treated him and  brought him to his friends. They used tear gas on us in return. Nuray left. I looked for my T-shirt, but I couldn’t find it. I hooked the stretcher on to my wrist and I was leaving. There was a 10-year-old blond girl just on my right side. Her head was bleeding. Her father was covering her. She was screaming “Dad,” but her father couldn’t even couldn’t move toward her voice. A policeman arrived. We were face-to-face with him. “Clear the field. We’re going out!” I shouted. Holding a tear-gas tube, he shot [?] a tear gas tube at the girl’s face. I can’t forget that moment. When I sprinted toward her, her father took her and went out. The three were in front of me then. They hit me on my legs and my back. After dragging me, they were going to throw me from the top, but they let me go. Then I stopped by home, and then I issued a call for medicine again. After that, we went to the Ramada Hotel, nervously. However, the owner was super. He opened his hotel to us. There was a wedding ceremony there. We asked if there were any doctors in the house. We took three doctors with us and they helped us. It was a marvelous show of solidarity. It was a night in which we felt happiness and pain at the same time.

Nuray

After leaving Divan Hotel, I went home. Then I came to the back of Ramada Hotel. We were on the same side, but we didn’t know that. He was on my mind all the time, because I left him there after he told me to run away. I was calling him and asking him if he was alright. I was phoning him to ask if he could come. Then Özgür left the Ramada. I created an infirmary there. Two more days passed like that, on the streets, until the streets became quiet. Özgür came to our house. Meanwhile, there were doctors and wounded people there. There were also five undercover policemen in front of the house. I started saying over and over, “Özgür will come here, and we’ll take him and step out,” because I was feeling a twinge of guilt about leaving him there all alone. There was a possibility of a police raid too. Finally, Özgür came to my house and his phone rang. He went to a room in order to talk to [WHO?]. That room was my bedroom. He said, “I saw a scene,” and  hung up. A chair and the green T-shirt on it were in the front of the balcony. He came to me and said, “The balcony of your house is lovely.”  I said, “You really should see the one up.” He took me to the room and  made me look at the scene by showing me the T-shirt. We hugged there. There wasn’t any romantic thing there for me then. He talked to himself. “That’s her.” Later he explained that he had been imagining such a thing. When we describe each other we say the same things and I am proud of this description. Both parties will be strong, revolutionaries, warriors in life, as well as a bit mad. Both parties will like living an unplanned life, etc. He thought all of this, but he didn’t tell me anything then. On my side, I was happy because my friend was happy. I didn’t have such feelings or thoughts at that time. Later, we evacuated my house, and after that I didn’t stay there. Then there were two days of clashes elsewhere. We treated people there, too. When it rained, they stopped. There was no space where we were staying that night. I snuggled closer to Özgür. My friends don’t believe me. They tease me that I arranged something.. There was really no [OTHER?] place.

After all, two people who have worked together and have been curious about each other would, of course, hug tightly. Is there anything more natural than this? My reaction to the question – Do you need anything? – that night we hugged and continued until the morning. It was the most beautiful and peaceful sleep in my life. When we woke up I asked him where he had been for 32 years. I decided to be with him that night. That snuggling wasn’t like any sexual thing at all. We were two comrades and we still are.

So how did you decide to be together and get married?

Özgür

While I was talking on the phone, I saw the T-shirt. I hugged her and I told myself, “That’s it.”

Nuray

We decided to be a couple. Three days after, we announced it to our friends. They were surprised because they thought that we were already a couple. Nobody were surprised but us. They were asking him where Yenge – a friend’s wife or aunt-in-law – was. He was asking them who yenge was. They were saying ‘Sinem.’  ‘Sinem’ was written on the back of my apron. Anyway, we decided to be together. Özgür said, “Let’s get married! Why should we wait?” I waited for three days. I was trying to understand how serious he was, because we hadn’t even chatted. One of our friends wrote that we hadn’t been to the cinema and we hadn’t had dinner with candle light. We hadn’t even had a cup of coffee together.

Özgür

Moreover, Nuray told me that I loved her even though I had seen the worst of her.

Nuray

But think about it! You don’t have time to wash. You make your ponytail and wear your track suit. Özgür said, ‘We are who we’re. Let’s get married’. We’re compatible. We couldn’t be like that, otherwise.  We could only be two revolutionaries and  two lovers. However, it’s not like that. We complete each other’s sentences. We’ve realized that we’ve thought about and intervened in the same things, at the same time, and we’ve discovered that our approach to problems is the same. I asked him if he was sure about it. He said, “Let’s get married.” Finally, we decided to marry.

Özgür

Think about two families. Both parents only have one child. Both children are known as torn-up and rebellious in the family. Each of the parents say they’re good children but they wouldn’t amount to anything.  However, it was pleasant that from the unification of these two such a beautiful thing emerged.

Nuray

We were married on the 20th, exactly one month after we met by chance.

You wanted to get married in Gezi park. But that was hindered, too. Can you describe your experiences and your feelings on your wedding day?

Özgür

We asked ourselves where we would marry. We said, “We met there. We came thorough that spirit. So, we should get married there.”

Nuray

We immediately said, “Gezi!” We didn’t even discuss it.

The meetings of Mustafa Sarıgül and İsmail Ünal were held on the same day as our wedding day. We found this a little bit baffling. Both mayors came to the forefront in order to marry us. But it turned out that both had meetings at the same time. Both withdrew from performing it. The moment we heard that we understood that we couldn’t enter Gezi park and there would be an intervention. it weren’t for our families, we would have resisted. We had to get married in order to say “We’re getting married by resisting vigorously.” It’s not problem for me to fight with my wedding gown and high heels. I can hit their heads with high-heeled shoes. But the registrar didn’t come to Gezi. The Istanbul Police Department called him three times and threatened him. They ordered him not to go to Gezi. So we met him at the registry office. Since we announced it, it was quite crowded there. We performed the best wedding ceremony in the world. There were a lot of slogans. A hairdresser, an chapuller from İzmit came to do my hair. We didn’t know her. She said, “I brought you greetings from Kocaeli,” and she did my hair, attended the wedding ceremony and left.

Özgür

We became the symbol of love. During the big raid, people who trusted each other resigned from their lives each other and stuck together; they lost their bags and phones. Most of them didn’t know to keep contact. We united them in our marriage ceremony. Hundreds came. There were so many great feelings, a great soul, and a great power beyond our wedding. That was the equivalent of my marriage in my subconscious.  We actually were happy to achieve that.

Nuray

Çarşı wrote a song for us. It’s lyrics are, Here you go, Here you go, take our girl, wear the wedding ring, perform your marriage ceremony, be happy, here you go.” They surprised us. Some people were in pain, somewhere, and some people were dealing with death. We didn’t forget them because of our ceremony. We were sorry that only one newspaper wrote about our marriage ceremony. I had two witnesses and Özgür had two witnesses. After the registrar asked them if they would witness, I got the microphone. We said, “We want to ask our other witnesses.” We asked, “Çarşı, will you witness?” They said, “We’re here. “LGBT, will you witness? They said, ‘We’re here.” We asked, ‘Central infirmary, will you witness?” They said “We’re here.”  The entire hall was screaming. “Ali İsmail, will you witness? Ethem, Abdullah, Mustafa, Mehmet, will you witness?” We were nourished on this resistance. We wanted the martyrs of our revolution to witness our marriage. This resistance is such a beautiful movement , including the events in Armutlu and Adana. That thousands came for our marriage despite the continuation of raids made us cry until yesterday morning.

Özgür 

After the ceremony we would go to the square and wave our marriage certificate to the police. We thought that Gezi was empty, because it was banned. We would drive to The Marmara, but we were stuck in traffic. Nuray said “There’s no police in that part of Gezi. Let’s pass it from there.”

Nuray

While we were casually passing through Gezi we saw thousands people. We were shocked. We didn’t know it. Most of them were also pushed back [?]. We got on the stage and saluted them. We shouted slogans together and sent our kisses and asked them to come down. They didn’t hear us. While we were going to Taksim, police clashed with demonstrators. The police didn’t let the others pass except for us. Çarşı and people were behind us. It was a wedding convoy. We were celebrating our marriage. But they didn’t understand. Özgür and I wanted to clear space to let people move. The police pushed us back. They were assaulting me because of my miniskirt. Then Çarşı arrived. They wrapped me up and protected me. I said, “I became your friend’s wife.” TOMA- – riot control vehicles- – confronted us. We waved our hands and our marriage certificate at the TOMA. It was a very serious riot. I was about to faint, then. Fatigue from the day, the excitement, my head was spinning, I blacked out. We saw The Marmara in a gap. We got there to rest and drink water. Then we went  to the auto park of the Şişli Registry Office. We wanted our wedding to be in Gezi, but it didn’t happen. We continued our fun with bittersweet happiness. Bosporus Jazz Chorus sang us fabulous songs. Yaşar Kurt and Group Arte joined us. We danced the halay. We went crazy with happiness in Taksim and in Gezi Park. It was so crowded with such beautiful people that we experienced unforgettable moments.

Özgür

There have never been a wedding more beautiful and more natural, without convention, than this.

What will Özgür and Nuray do after that? What do you think will happen in Turkey?

Özgür

We’ll try to work. We are thinking about going to Egypt. We’ll be with Egyptian people there.

I predict that more serious protests than we experienced will happen with the opening of school. They are trying to oppress people with jail because the solidarity in Gezi had a great influence on people. From now on, students are going to act together. There will be awesome crowds again.

Nuray

We both will continue to fight. There were individuals named Özgür and Nuray, but now they’ve become one. We don’t consider ourselves to be two different people. We feel we’re like the poetry of Nazım. On the other hand, in this union, there are realities of life. We will have a home and children. Our view on life will continue as it is. We will have children who chapul.  We are getting ready for 2023. Turkey has been shaken up. They don’t listen to partisan media anymore.  People have their own media channels. People have learned how to resist. Beautiful Turkey is waiting for us. If you ask me my dream, I imagine a world without borders and without discrimination of religion, language and, race. I dream of a socialist world and we will fight for it. We will produce new things.

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