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    Turkey

    Loads of shit going on in Turkey over the last couple of days, and especially yesterday and last night. Massive demonstrations and protests spreading from a park in Istanbul to cover many other cities.

    I have a lot of Turkish friends and my facebook timeline has exploded with anger and reports and so on - social media seems to the forum for this as apparently the Turkish mainstream media is not reporting it (and is suspected of being leant on heavily by the government)

    Interesting to hear what Antepli has to say, and if we could coax him back from retirement, David O.

    My sense from spending a fair amount of time there over the years, and in the last two years in particular is that the liberal, secular, middle class hate Erdogan and the AKP, but that the urban poor and the rural community are fully behind him. So, what seems to be universal condemnation on my FB timeline (populated primarily by liberal, secular, middle class Turks from liberal cities like Izmir and Istanbul) and on social media in general, may not be quite so universal on the ground.

    This has the potential to be big though, and could result in some serious schisms in Turkey (schisms which are obviously already there, but this may be the event that brings them fully out into the open)

    #2
    Turkey

    Dear friends from around the world.

    Sadly we are driven to be even more polarized with the recent events... Here is a summary of what is happening in Turkey.

    " For the past few days, peaceful Turkish citizens have been protesting the demolition of Taksim Gezi Park, one of the few green areas left in the center of Istanbul. The plan by the Erdogan-run AKP government is to build a large shopping center instead, benefitting his own interests and filling his own pockets.

    What started with a mere 100 protestors turned into tens of thousands over the course of a few days. People camped out in the park, sang songs, read books, danced. I was there yesterday and it was heartwarming.

    Prime Minister Erdogan made a public announcement two days ago stating, 'We have made up our minds', and that nothing will stop his plans to destroy the park.

    He subsequently ordered his police forces to attack protestors in the park using water cannons and tear gas without warning in the early hours of the morning. This has been happening for the past two days, and continues as I write these words. Tents were burned, innocent citizens were dragged away and people had tear gas sprayed directly into their faces.

    Innocent people are being attacked, injured and hospitalized. There are unofficial reports of one person being dead with his ID confiscated by officials (an eerie replay of the May 1 attacks when an innocent young girl was put into a coma due to tear gas attacks. This girl was later labeled by the government as a terrorist)

    This has become a matter about more than just saving trees. This is an 'I can do whatever I damn well want', fascist mentality that not only supresses but attacks its own people.

    To make matters worse, media channels are being censored so as not to display the news.

    #direngeziparki is now the 2nd worldwide trending topic on Twitter.

    Please be aware and spread the word, It is very important to get international support for us. The message below is a summary of what's happening in my country since 3 days. And this is only one example of how the current government created a country of horror with its police force.

    International Human Rights Organizations and Dear Friends, Comrades, Press Members from all over the world;

    This is an urgent call from human rights defenders, activists, NGOs, professional chambers, grassroots, neighborhood associations and Istanbulites.

    Since the 27th of May, Istanbulites from all social and political backgrounds and ages and from all over the city had been continuing a peaceful resistance in Gezi Park, the city's largest public park, soon to be demolished due to a so-called renewal project. This Project foresees the erection of a big mall (designed as the replica of the once Ottoman Artillery Barracks) in the place of those trees.



    http://www.bianet.org/english/english/147016-demonstrators-plant-trees-against-destruction-in-taksim-gezi-park

    The police intervened in the park 3 times, each more violent than the other:

    The first intervention was in the morning of May 28th, a crowd of about 50 protestors were tear-gassed directly in their faces.

    http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/201305302148-0022796

    In solidarity with the protestors, hundreds arrived in the evening and the occupation movement grew bigger. Right afterwards, the second intervention came early in the morning of May 30th at 5 am. The riot police set fire to the tents and tear gas and pepper sprays were used incessantly, causing serious injuries.



    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/protester-to-undergo-surgery-after-morning-police-intervention-at-taksim-park--.aspx?pageID=238&nID=47878&NewsCatID=341

    Against this inhumanity and extreme violence, the reaction was the occupation of the park, this time by thousands.

    And this morning proved to be the culmination of violence and barbarism that no words can describe, with an unproportional use of force. The exit of the park was blocked by the police, thus locking the group in the park. The protester were then taken under crossfire of tear gas and pepper bombs, nearly getting choked to death. The only way out was by breaking the walls and many were wounded during this escape.

    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/protester-to-undergo-surgery-after-morning-police-intervention-at-taksim-park--.aspx?pageID=238&nID=47878&NewsCatID=341.

    At the moment, brutal intervention against the protestors continues. The group has been pepper-sprayed and tear-gassed once more as they were leaving the area after reading their press call! At the moment, some are in Divan Hotel at Elmadag, having taken refuge there from the effect of the gas attacks.

    Literally, almost all of Taksim Area, where Gezi Park is, is tear-gassed and
    pepper gas-sprayed; especially the side streets around Taksim Square are under clouds of gas.

    Dear friends, we believe we need nothing else to add; the scenes talk for themselves.

    The resistance for democracy and human rights will not be terminated; we are determined to continue our struggle against a government determined to crush each and every opposition, a government that cannot tolerate even a peaceful opposition for saving trees. The present Turkish government has violated all international human rights conventions and mechanisms it is a party to.

    Your valuable support and solidarity will indeed fortify our determination and resistance. Please share this news, name it and shame and blame the responsibles so that this insanity and brutality practiced against human rights defenders can be terminated through international pressure.

    Please help us to share this message and stop Erdogan's ruthless, inhumane acts.

    As our friends overseas, we need your help. Send this message to everyone you know. Create awareness internationally about our plight, or matters are going to get much, much worse. We want all international media channels - soclal and mass - to report this news.

    What you can do:
    - Forward this message to everyone you know
    - Send your support messages through twitter with the #direngeziparki hashtag
    - Tag @bbc @cnn @reuters and other large media channels in these posts
    - Post this message on facebook
    - Let your local and national media channels know"

    In the name of solidarity and friendship
    Urban Movements Istanbul / Habitat International Coalition

    Comment


      #3
      Turkey

      Thank you for posting this.

      It seems to have been noticed by Auntie (and at least, the Guardian).

      The world is falling apart. And there is very little 'we' (meaning 'I') can do about it. Sorry.

      Comment


        #4
        Turkey

        I was going to post almost exactly the same thing last night, ad hoc - my facebook feed's gone the same way, full of some pretty disturbing pictures showing what's going on (it seems to look a lot worse than is being reported).

        I get the same impression re: the thoughts toward the AKP as you do. Travelling through Turkey, you do notice how split it is - between the coastal region in the west (and some of the south) and rural Anatolia. Currently trying to ascertain that everyone I know is OK (a few are protesting, one not in Istanbul, as it's spread to other cities)

        Comment


          #5
          Turkey

          Fazil Say's recent 10 month suspended prison sentence for tweeting a couple of very mild jokes about Islam seems to be pretty indicative of the ongoing crackdown against free or dissenting speech against the government or its religion.

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            #6
            Turkey

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              #7
              Turkey

              I've been told that's fake ad hoc. TV pictures suggest that at night it was busy but not like this.

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                #8
                Turkey

                I understood this picture was taken this morning.

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                  #9
                  Turkey

                  Excuse me: Fucking hell.

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                    #10
                    Turkey

                    If that's fake, it's the best I have seen in years.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Turkey

                      dalliance wrote: Fazil Say's recent 10 month suspended prison sentence for tweeting a couple of very mild jokes about Islam seems to be pretty indicative of the ongoing crackdown against free or dissenting speech against the government or its religion.
                      The latest target of the government is Atatürk, founding father of the Republic of Turkey.

                      His drinking and lack of religious belief is the target.

                      The AKP are out to destroy the secular state and return to the days of the Ottoman Empire with Sultan Tayyip as the head.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Turkey

                        ad hoc wrote: I understood this picture was taken this morning.
                        I got sent the same photo this morning with a warning of photoshop.

                        With the mainstream media apparently banned from reporting this or self-censoring it is really difficult to tell.

                        Regardless of that these are crucial times for the opposition to the AKP to develop.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Turkey

                          Comparison picture approaching the bridge - this from a friend's fb feed.



                          It looks busy but there's still traffic on the bridge, I'd be surprised if it had ended up closed to traffic given that it's the principal cross-channel road. Public transport is largely locked down, hence the 'marches', in case anyone is wondering.

                          Also, this one's been doing the rounds via facebook to give some small amount of background to how this has escalated.

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                            #14
                            Turkey

                            Also - fucking hell, they're trying to take on Ataturk? Surely they're on a hiding to nothing there, I'd have thought the level to which he's still revered means they would simply lose.

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                              #15
                              Turkey

                              Great picture VV.

                              So the police are withdrawn from Taksim but the story still gets no coverage. Most worryingly is the limitations being placed on social media in a heavily censored country. What's coming next?

                              Did anyone see Channel 4 News and their interview with Peter? Lovely guy but not the right person to comment. Surely they could have found our ex-OTFer like they did with the Istanbul bombings.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Turkey

                                Quite a few cities now, despite the blackout. This was Antalya a little earlier



                                The media blackout - the fact that almost no channel inside Turkey, including CNN Türk for the most part, is virtually not reporting on this - is seriously sinister.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Turkey

                                  I've seen pictures on facebook from as far east as Adana.

                                  I was last there (Izmir and Adana) a month ago, and what the sense was that Erdogan was politically playing an extremely canny game, slowly but surely building up unassailable mass support, with the fear being that what would happen when that moment was reached was that he'd then show his full Islamist colours . This feels like his first mis-step, actually, being too dictatorial too early. And it was clear than that it would end up being broadly an Ataturk vs Islam fight, and that he was tryig to move into a post-Ataturk era. I think he's gone too soon, though. (Last year in Izmir they carved a mt Rushmore-esque Ataturk in the rock face. This was not a coincidence*, and Ataturk is still a very potent symbol which even Erdogan's supporters will have trouble ignoring.

                                  (*Izmir is still one of the few places which is not under the political control of the AKP, being traditionally Turkey's most liberal city)

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Turkey

                                    An update, in that apparently Erdogan has gone on television. The protestors are generally 'terrorists'/'extremists' (of course) and he's intimated that if they're going to call him a dictator then he's going to have to get tougher on them. Insane.

                                    My closest friend is now leaving Antalya for a scheduled trip back to the UK, she's gutted to have to be leaving but in a selfish sense I'm relieved she's out of there for now.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Turkey

                                      Turkey has an appalling current record on treatment of journalists, and treatment of trade unionists. I interviewed a bloke from their textile union a while back - I'll see if I can dig it up.

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                                        #20
                                        Turkey

                                        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22744728

                                        PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan said protesters were trying to undermine democracy.
                                        - No. They're protesting to protect democracy you ridiculous little tit.

                                        Comment


                                          #21
                                          Turkey

                                          France's vociferous opposition to potential Turkish accession to EU membership a few years back is looking a sage call now.

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                                            #22
                                            Turkey

                                            The EU will eventually have to take Turkey in at some point in the future, due to severe demographic pressures. Populations pyramids are totally out of whack in most countries (including most new members from the east) with a few exceptions like France adn Ireland.

                                            As bad as Erdogan's governement is, it is leagues ahead of most of their counterparts in eastern Europe and of course the middle east, where that governement is widely viewed as a model. A lot of the issues here are cultural, Turkey being by and large a very conservative country. And to his credit, Erdogan's government has had a very positive record in international politics.

                                            By our standards it is a repressive governement, but perhaps not by Turskish historic standards, and as AE points out the main alternatives aren't better.

                                            Comment


                                              #23
                                              Turkey

                                              If I thought French opposition to Turkey's membership was for good reasons, I'd agree, but it was so obviously driven by simple racism that I can't call it sage.

                                              Comment


                                                #24
                                                Turkey

                                                Well French opposition was part influenced by the sizeable Armenian minority which also drove the attempt to introduce the Genocide Denial Bill - another area in which Turkey shamefully and aggressively attempts to quell any discussion about.

                                                There would have been no point of even going through the charade of making encouraging noises to Turkey about accession when are a million miles away from meeting most of the criteria. However much they might 'look to the west,' they're not going to pull out of northern Cyprus are they.

                                                Comment


                                                  #25
                                                  Turkey

                                                  Christ, the PM of Turkey is like IDS. Thinks he can spout any rubbish and people can't look it up on the internet.

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