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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 May, 2003, 09:30 GMT 10:30 UK
My war: The first-time protester

The war in Iraq inspired many people to get involved in protests for the first time. Ozgur Yazici an 18-year-old student from Turkey, explains how the war inspired him and his friends to take to the streets.

I live in Trabzon, in the north-east of Turkey, with my family.

I am taking college preparation courses and will take a big college entrance exam really soon.

But during the war people here forgot about their economic problems and I forgot about my college exams.

People my age didn't care much about what is happening in the world before the war. But all of a sudden we became one voice.

Women with banners at an anti-war protest in Turkey
I feel more mature now and I am more interested in what is happening around me
Ozgur Yazici

People in my country, especially youngsters, felt so hopeless because we weren't able to do anything about the war.

Me and my friends all agreed that President Bush wanted this war just because of Iraqi's oil. My friends kept believing that Americans would lose the war.

The only things we read in the newspapers were about the war and only thing we watched on TV was again the war. We weren't ready to see Iraqis suffering and kids dying. That made us so sad and upset. We were sure that Americans could not be as sad as us.

The only thing we could do was organise anti-war protests and set tables on the street to collect anti-war signatures from people. At the demonstrations there were lot of anti-American slogans.

The demonstrations were very exciting - lots of people took part in them before the war started.

Unnecessary war

Although I knew we would not change anything, we were trying to show that we could come together and make a noise. That was the first time my friends and I had taken to the streets of Trabzon.

However, you can't change anything with few people. Whole society should react.

The war wasn't necessary. It was successful for the Americans and they have the oil reserves now.

Anti-war protest in Turkey (photo: Ozgur Yazici)
Ozgur says the atmosphere at his first protest was exciting

I hope the Americans learnt a lesson from all of this and I hope they do not think that everything will be just fine now.

It won't, because the people of Iraq and the whole world saw what happened. People have lots of hatred inside them now - which is not helpful for the future of the world.

Those experiences I had during the war added so much to my life. I feel more mature now and I am more interested in what is happening around me.

War is still a horrible experience to learn lessons from. I wish it never happened and that we just learnt our lessons from our history books. But sadly it doesn't work that way.

I still feel the impact of the war, but now I have to focus on my studies.


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