As Halil Berktay divulged, the bloody incidents that occurred 35 years ago started when left-wing groups clashed with each other. This disclosure was in stark contrast with the oft-voiced claim that several police officers opened fire on the rallying crowd from the rooftop of the [İstanbul] Waterworks Authority (İSKİ). Berktay's unsettling claim actually relies on a long-standing rumor. According to this argument, during the rally held in Taksim Square, İstanbul, on May 1, 1977, there was a show of force between left-wing groups -- particularly between Maoist groups and the Revolutionary Youth (Dev-Genç) -- and armed clashes occurred when some groups refused to allow others in.
With a good journalistic instinct, Yıldıray Oğur of the Taraf daily interviewed the person who shot the images based on which people claimed that someone opened fire from the rooftop of the Waterworks Authority. "They didn't open fire," İshak Işıtan told Oğur.
Speaking to Ezgi Başaran of Radikal, then-İstanbul Mayor Ahmet İsvan said, "I saw the men [on the rooftop] with guns," lending support to the claim that someone opened fire from the rooftop of the Waterworks Authority. "There was hostility among the groups,” he adds, noting that this hostility was shockingly high. Still, he acknowledged, "Two groups who were trying to take the square under their control opened fire against each other."
Many people were involved in this Bloody May Day debate. Some of them are considerably concerned about these disclosures about the contention between the left-wing groups. Others are happy about having open discussions about a matter that has long been discussed behind closed doors. But our focus must be on the question, "Was the first bullet fired by the police or did left-wing groups kill their companions?" There were and still are armed groups who are open to provocation and manipulation by “deep” networks in Turkey. And there will still be in the future if this goes on without change.
The groups that are warm to armed struggle tend to declare people who do not support them “traitors” or “collaborators,” and, at the same time, they engage in operations by forming ties with shady groups of the establishment. This is the truth we have discovered during investigations into the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK). The “deep” state assigns the duty of creating a chaotic atmosphere to people who disguise themselves as different figures in different environments and stir up social conflicts. Most of the time, the young people who are employed as contract killers are not aware of this game.
The secret alliances brought to light during the trial of Ergenekon, a clandestine organization nested within the state and trying to overthrow or manipulate the democratically elected government, display this affiliation and coordination between armed groups and shady networks. Activists who are being manipulated as contract killers are hardly aware of this as they focus on their own class struggle or interests mediated through the ideologies of nationalism or neo-nationalism. Our population is young, our people are easily agitated and our society is tense. The words "We are losing the homeland" resonate among young people while propaganda that says "Imperialist forces are conquering our country" resonates with groups with other political views.
Thirty-five years have passed since Bloody May Day, but some left-wing groups still maintain their old positions. They tend to attack shops and people at random or throw Molotov cocktails, etc. The world has changed and the left around the world has changed, but ours stays the same. They change neither their discourse nor their actions. They are waiting to be manipulated at all times. Some young people in the right wing, too, suffer from the same ignorance. There are so many people who are vulnerable to being manipulated by those trying to stir up conflict among political groups. Neo-nationalism, secularism, nationalist and even the peaceful religion of Islam can be wrongly interpreted to make so many adventurous people vulnerable to manipulation. And this is a terrifying fact.
The dark propaganda is in full bloom. For instance, there are some unfounded lies which some groups try to make people believe in through repetition. Thus, a false claim is voiced so many times that even sane people become ready to believe in it. For instance, since the start of the probe into match-rigging claims, a small group of people who were trying to influence the club put the blame on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the "Community," also known as the Gülen Movement, inspired by ideas of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. Recently, they shifted their focus to only the "Community" and started to voice the propaganda, "The Community is trying to seize Fenerbahçe," in an effort to influence Fenerbahçe fans. This is a claim that true Fenerbahçe fans -- and everyone who is interested in soccer -- would laugh away. Indeed, soccer clubs by their nature are able to bring together people from all social groups. This is a completely absurd and irrational argument for those who understand the “Community.” Why?
Why should the “Community” want to seize control of a sports club? Suppose it has seized control. What will it do with a club? How will it benefit from it? How will it treat the people from other beliefs and ideologies who put their hearts into supporting the club? How will the supporters of the “Community” who are in other clubs or fans of other soccer teams react? Won't they be offended by the “Community” supporting a specific club? These and dozens of other questions can asked as part of rebutting the claim that the “Community” is trying to seize the club, ultimately showing that such a claim is extremely irrational. This a claim that is completely unfounded and in stark contrast with the “Community's” attempt to establish ties with everyone. Those who seek to create paranoia that the “Community” is using a soccer club have other aims. A true fan will not bow to such cheap provocations and let him or herself be deceived by such nonsense.
There hundreds of thousands and even millions of Fenerbahçe supporters inside the group they call the “Community.” They are many fans of Galatasaray, Beşiktaş, Trabzonspor and Bursaspor as well. That big mass of people called the “Community” includes fans of every soccer team in Turkey. The “Community” is the natural part of the society. If you give them the keys to a club, they would not accept and turn their backs, saying, "You deserve it better. With their pluralistic structures, soccer clubs serve as places of friendship and union." So it is unfair to voice such charges against them. Those who are deceived by this black propaganda don't know the “Community” or lend themselves easily to manipulations of some people who resort to psychological warfare tactics. We should not submit ourselves to this dark propaganda as this will drive people away from a sport seen by many as a venue for social union.