There is no other way than to struggle against censure!
By Sirri Sureyya Onder
The year is 2017. August 16. On that day, something unprecedented happened in the protest history of our country. About 100 heart patients were marching towards the Mugla Governor's Office. They demanded the reinstatement of their doctor, Yasemin Demirci, whom a state of emergency decree had dismissed. On the way, they were stopped twice by the police and subjected to GBT checks. When we say GBT, do not consider it a medical examination. Patients' records and criminal records were checked.
The prevention of the march caused panic among the patients, many of whom were elderly.
The lawyers who came to the scene made it a matter of record that the participants were elderly heart patients and that there might be trouble in case of confusion. The march continued. When they arrived at the Governor's Office, a massive police force and panzers awaited them.
Two days later, Engin Karatas, a teacher dismissed by a state of emergency decree, tried to make his situation visible with a peaceful protest in Bodrum Square.
Engin was pressured, insulted, and threatened with death in front of the cameras by a man known to be involved in boat repair work. In the presence of the riot police who arrived at the scene, Engin was taken into custody instead of the attacker, who continued his behavior.
Director Nejla Demirci presented this story with a documentary film and summarized what happened to them during the filming process: "Since July 14, 2017, our cameras have been turned off by the police with no justification, and we have been constantly detained. Some civilians and private security guards have attacked us. From what kind of documentary the documentary will be to where it will be published, we have been constantly questioned by the police in the field and detention."
This documentary tells the story of the struggle of YASEMİN, a doctor, and ENGİN, a teacher, who was dismissed from public service with a decree law on July 14, 2017. Pushed into isolation and ostracized from society, these two people want to return to their jobs despite all the difficulties. But all their attempts are lost in the labyrinths of state law.
Two doctors and 17 academic and teaching staff members have been fired from the city where Yasemin and Engin reside. As a result of Yasemin and Engin's encounter, she met other instructors who had been let go by the state of emergency decree, and their friendship developed into one of support.
Staged by the Turkish Chamber of Medicine, Dostoevsky's story "Crocodile" is adapted to the lives of people subjected to state of emergency decrees today. Yasemin is the lead actress in this reading theater where world-renowned academician doctors with emergency decree laws, such as Şebnem Korur Fincancı and Onur Hamzaoglu, take the stage. The family of Teacher Engin, who watched this theater at Yasemin's invitation, now believes that their child is innocent.
Together with the transformative power of art, the documentary film 'Kanun Hukmunde' shows us the struggle and great sadness of Engin teacher's students and parents and Dr. Yasemin's patients, proving us that the list of the victims of the Emergency Decree includes not only these two dismissed professionals.
Engin Teacher, who defends scientific education, is loved by his students, and Dr. Yasemin, who is against the commercialization of health, is loved by her patients. When the story of these two people, who do their jobs with love, meets other teachers and doctors subjected to the Emergency Decree, it reveals the injustice experienced strikingly.
Let's listen to Director Demirci again.
"On 18.01.2018, when Dr. Yasemin and her patients came to the field to support teacher Engin and our documentary, we were detained as 17 people. The Anti-Terror Commissioner shouted at me. I was accused of supporting terrorism with this documentary, that it was a crime to make a documentary about terrorists, that they would never forgive us when they saw us once again in the field with the camera, and that the governorate banned me from making a documentary. The anti-terror commissioner threatened me they would not leave me alone even if I stopped shooting the documentary and that I would be arrested in the presence of the people I was detained with.
Shortly after the documentary was banned, when I wanted to visit Engin, who was protesting in Bodrum Square, they tried to detain me. I could no longer see Engin's teacher without a camera."
After that, the political authority tried every means to prevent the filming of this documentary. Nejla Demirci sought her rights in a process that went to the Constitutional Court and won. Judging by the recent decision to remove the film from the screening at the Golden Orange Festival, the government does not seem to have given up on this attempt at intimidation.
There is no other way than objection and a determined struggle against this judgmental attitude of the government.
There is another channel that feeds this harshness and lawlessness of the government and cannot be ignored. This is the wimpy, sycophantic approach of the Municipality and the Organization's tradespeople.
When I read the decision of the Festival Committee that they would not screen the film, I felt ashamed to the bone.
This is being the chief pitcher for the censors.
They don't want to influence the judiciary; they will release it after the process is over, blah blah blah...
Who are you to influence the judiciary, my poor brother?
What can the institutions you think you will influence do but laugh at you?
You can't be the only one who doesn't know how and in what way the judiciary is affected!
If art is not interested in social problems, what else is it for?
Can it be called art if it does nothing for change and progress?
The primary fuel of power is your empty idleness.
If you cannot do it, do not attempt it. Do not block the path of those who can and who pay any price for this cause.
Greetings to those who created this film!
May all the organizations and artists who raise solidarity prosper.
And woe to all the institutions and artists who think, "Don't spill my milk," and try to do so with sophisticated ways and methods.
The tide will surely turn one day. Don't do things that will embarrass you in the future!