Skip to main content

There are 40,000 people crossing from Asia to Europe on a bridge across the Bosphorus. According to tweets they are joining protesters in Istanbul. These protesters occupied Gezi park for days, battling police in riot gear. Many were injured and there are reports of people having been killed.

 photo Turkey-istanbul-bridge_zps5d191c4a.jpg

What's going on?

Update: Incredible set of photos here.  Example:


 photo turkey-old-man-down_zps61b11dd2.jpg

Another amazing set of photos via kimoconner:

http://occupygezipics.tumblr.com/


 photo turkey-tear-gas-zombie_zpsdabfe72d.jpg

According to the Guardian

Turkey has been engulfed by a series of protests across several cities after riot police turned Istanbul's busiest city centre hub into a battleground, deploying tear gas and water cannon against thousands of peaceful demonstrators...

Following several days of dawn police raids on the protesters seeking to occupy Gezi park on Taksim Square in Istanbul city centre, the clashes escalated violently, leaving more than 100 people injured, several of them seriously.

Police went on the rampage against protesters who had been sitting reading books and singing songs.

According to a BBC analyst:
People are angry and frustrated at the government's decision to build a shopping centre at the expense of one of Istanbul's most famous parks. But what started as a protest against the uprooting of trees is turning into a wider platform for expressing anger against government policies.



Environmentalists have been joined by gay and lesbian groups, as well as socialists, union workers, members of opposition parties from across the political landscape and even so-called "anti-capitalist Muslims". The excessive use of force by the riot police and the insistence of the government to pursue their plans for the park have escalated tensions.



Taksim Square has political significance for the anti-government protests. As part of the reconstruction plans, the square was banned as a venue for this year's May Day rally and any kind of demonstrations in the future; but now the government's heavy handed approach risks turning the square into a focal point for protests against its policies.


In a stunning example of hypocrisy the US expressed its "concern" about the events of the last few days:

"We believe that Turkey's long-term stability, security and prosperity is best guaranteed by upholding the fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly and association, which is what it seems these individuals were doing,'' state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

"These freedoms are crucial to any healthy democracy."

I don't have to wonder what the folks who tried to hold Zuccotti Park, Oscar Grant Plaza, Dilworth Plaza, Bradley Manning Plaza and the park outside of City Hall in Los Angeles would have to say about these freedoms being crucial to a healthy democracy.  Or was Jen Psaki merely observing how unhealthy democracy here in the Unites States has become?

One thing is different in Turkey than in the US:

In a sign of the tension, amateur video footage showed Turkish military personnel refusing to help the riot police, as well as handing out gas masks to demonstrators. There were also reports that some of the police had switched sides and joined the protests.

Fri May 31, 2013 at 10:42 PM PT: Another summary of events and circumstances:

On the night of May 27, bulldozers and backhoes rolled into Gezi Park, a tiny island of trees and grass at the center of Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, and started ripping it apart. This was part of a government project to “pedestrianize” the historic square—what that meant in this case, according to many blogs, was turning one of the last open green spaces in the city into a shopping mall. No community organizations or local people were asked what they thought about the plans for the park, devised by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which included rebuilding historical barracks that were demolished in the 1940s and adding sidewalks to make the square more friendly to pedestrians.

Four days later, after nonviolent protesters occupied the park and survived attacks by the police that included tear gas and water cannons, they've won at least a temporary victory thanks to a court decision. In fact, Istanbul's mayor, Kadir Topbaş, just announced that there was never any plan to build a mall. It's an amazing 11th-hour turnaround, but it didn't happen without a battle.

Protesters began gathering in the park as early as Monday, May 27, and word spread through social media as more pro-park, anti-government Turks showed up to sit in front of the bulldozers. By Wednesday, the police were involved, and they responded to the nonviolent protests with aggressive tactics—what really got everyone’s attention was a photo from Reuters showing a young, apparently peaceful environmentalist in a red dress getting pepper-sprayed by a gas-masked cop. That image became a symbol of the “occupation” of Gezi Park, as well as the cops’ terrorization of the protesters.

https://www.facebook.com/...

6:57 AM PT: NPR report this morning:

What started as a small protest against the redevelopment of a park in Istanbul, Turkey, has spread to other cities and turned into one of the largest government protests in recent memory. While numbers are hard to come by, Al Jazeera reports that about 10,000 people gathered in Ankara chanting "government resign" and "unite against fascism."

NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Istanbul that the government is refusing to halt the development project that sparked the demonstrations. Peter sent this report to our Newscast unit:



"As International criticism mounts over the aggressive police tactics used on peaceful demonstrators in Istanbul, prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the protesters should go home.

"'The Taksim project will go ahead,' Erdogan said. 'If you bring 100,000, I'll bring out a million.'

http://www.npr.org/...

7:00 AM PT: Recent tweet:





 

7:02 AM PT: Wow:




 photo turkey-no-resistance_zpsee32187d.jpg

7:08 AM PT: Call to action by Occupy Wall Street, supporters today in Zuccotti Park:

To The Member of the Press, International Human Rights Organizations, and the People of New York City,

We are artists, students, intellectuals and citizens of New York City. Together with supporters of Occupy Wall Street, we are here in Zuccotti Park to show solidarity with our friends and brothers and sisters who are occupying Gezi Parki in Istanbul. This is a peaceful event. Our goal is to attract public attention to the protests in Istanbul Gezi Parki and the consequent police brutality of the Erdogan/AKP government!

Since Monday, May 27th, citizens of Istanbul from all backgrounds have been staging a peaceful resistance in Gezi Park, the city's largest public park, protecting it and its trees from a large gentrification project to transform a public park into a shopping center. The demolition of the park should be understood as another incident of the government’s ongoing appropriation and privatization of public resources.

Since the peaceful occupation started three days ago, The Turkish police have repeatedly intervened, with each intervention more violent than the last. The riot police set fire to the occupier’s tents, and used tear gas relentlessly, causing serious injuries.

Finally on May 31st, the police attacks included rubber bullets, in addition to physically beating and ultimately killing of at least one protester.

Today, hundreds of thousands of people in Istanbul are resisting the AKP government’s neoliberal policies and the brutal attacks on the protestors continue.

This is not the first time protests have been met with state sanctions violence. Most recently, the Turkish police used unreasonable force to disperse May Day protestors again attacking a group of peaceful demonstrators in Istanbul’s Taksim Square. The Erdogan government’s excessive force and the use of tear gas and rubber bullets against peaceful protestors is unacceptable, it breaches international human rights criteria and must be stopped.

https://www.facebook.com/...

7:12 AM PT: Also protest today in San Francisco

https://www.facebook.com/...


7:41 AM PT:



 

8:26 AM PT: CNN latest report:

Istanbul, Turkey (CNN) -- After battling for nearly 36 hours with tear gas, water cannons and pepper spray, Turkish police retreated from Istanbul's central Taksim Square on Saturday afternoon, allowing tens of thousands of demonstrators to pour into the space.

A peaceful sit-in on Friday against government plans to demolish a park was met with a police crackdown, igniting the biggest anti-government riots this city has seen in a decade...

On Saturday, Turkey's fiery prime minister broke his silence about the protests, vowing not to back down to the demonstrators.

"The police where there yesterday, they are there today, and they will be there tomorrow. Taksim Square cannot be allowed to be a place where marginal groups can freely roam," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech transmitted live on Turkish television channels.

But Erdogan also conceded that Turkish security forces had made excessive use of tear gas against demonstrators.

http://www.cnn.com/...
9:06 AM PT:


9:41 AM PT: Analysis:

Taking a page out of the playbook of dictators from Damascus to Algiers, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has thus far refused any serious engagement with the thousands protesting the destruction of Gezi Park in Istanbul. His supporters have attempted to paint the protests—currently in their fifth day, and gathering momentum—as the work of fringe anarchists, atheists, foreign instigators, and government detractors. They have cited ‘ulterior motives’ and alluded to secularist conspirators trying to unseat the ruling, religiously inspired AKP (Justice and Development Party). Turkish television has been slow to provide coverage of the violence that has enveloped the park and the adjacent Taksim Square, the solidarity protests from Los Angeles to Sydney, or the thousands who have walked across the Bosphorus Bridge to aid those who were being forcefully removed—with teargas, water cannons, fists and batons—from downtown Istanbul. There are reports of Internet outages in areas around Taksim. Public transportation has been halted. Taksim Square is becoming the Tahrir of Turkey. It might just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Even if it is not, the government’s reaction will not soon be forgotten...

As Istanbul awakens to what some have described as the “Turkish Spring,” protesters in Gezi Park and elsewhere are resisting not only the brutality of the police, but also attempts to hijack their acts of resistance. Denouncing those calling for army intervention on behalf of the people and refusing to be baited by accusations of religious bigotry and intolerance, the protesters are adamant that theirs is the cause of democracy. For months now, Erdoğan has responded to protests over government decisions with the adage, “I have made my decision.” Today, protesters in Gezi Park, together with the thousands of others who have previously opposed the “rehabilitation” of public spaces into shopping malls, the razing of forests to create roads and bridges, or the countless other decisions taken without consultations and in disregard for democratic processes, are voicing their opposition to a democracy without democracy. They have gathered under banners proclaiming, “Everywhere is Takism, Resistance Everywhere.” The state has reacted with a show of force unbecoming of even the weakest of democracies.

Entire essay

Originally posted to jpmassar on Fri May 31, 2013 at 10:20 PM PDT.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, DFH Local No 420, and More and Better Democracies.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

skybluewater, Pat K California, felix19, Renee, Alumbrados, Angie in WA State, Sylv, filkertom, BOHICA, Odysseus, melo, grollen, Timaeus, AaronInSanDiego, glitterscale, native, Pandora, NYmom, PeterHug, Bob Love, Emerson, MouseThatRoared, Shockwave, wu ming, LynChi, LuvSet, Jay C, OLinda, eeff, xynz, recentdemocrat, Matilda, expatjourno, Creosote, RubDMC, Gustogirl, JohnDrake, Dr Know, cskendrick, Athenian, nyceve, whenwego, twcollier, ask, boadicea, cosmic debris, pedrito, Iberian, Cedwyn, sidnora, dksbook, wader, Texknight, Eric Blair, psnyder, NYC Sophia, mrkvica, Dr Colossus, CitizenOfEarth, pat bunny, 2laneIA, brainwave, TiaRachel, johanus, gerrilea, kj in missouri, churchylafemme, chantedor, hazzcon, renaissance grrrl, RebeccaG, lcrp, outragedinSF, Oaktown Girl, zerelda, ybruti, randallt, parryander, Vicky, boran2, sawgrass727, Brecht, rapala, Vespertine, joanneleon, kbman, jrooth, ichibon, caul, corvo, sap, Alice Venturi, Flint, basquebob, MT Spaces, ChemBob, llywrch, TigerMom, Dobber, Kevskos, boofdah, eru, bleeding blue, majcmb1, Sun Tzu, GreyHawk, Kayakbiker, Ice Blue, most peculiar mama, blue jersey mom, hilltopper, Ozymandius, kaliope, LieparDestin, WisePiper, Ginny in CO, sodalis, mightymouse, Alan Arizona, jay23, begone, Born in NOLA, kishik, martini, Knucklehead, poco, Nance, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, Medium Head Boy, 417els, Clytemnestra, Illinibeatle, Russgirl, Dvalkure, koNko, martyc35, AoT, KenBee, Wednesday Bizzare, Lefty Coaster, blueoasis, reid fan, Blue Wind, MJ via Chicago, global citizen, StrayCat, philipmerrill, DSPS owl, real world chick, ER Doc, inner light, democracy is coming, CA Nana, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Dianna, Stripe, Cassiodorus, blueoregon, shaharazade, Temmoku, Little, Nulwee, jobird, Aaa T Tudeattack, cpresley, tegrat, One Pissed Off Liberal, Sapere aude, pgm 01, out of left field, Habitat Vic, Haningchadus14, SpecialKinFlag, tgypsy, ninkasi23, offgrid, karmsy, Wino, edsbrooklyn, LillithMc, Mary Mike, la urracca, some other george, dclawyer06, deepeco, suejazz, joedemocrat, davehouck, NoMoJoe, Seneca Doane, artisan, US Blues, Aunt Martha, bobswern, CT Hank, leonard145b, JML9999, cville townie, rmonroe, JDWolverton, mconvente, misterwade, also mom of 5, ferment, kimoconnor, zerone, Johnny Nucleo, poligirl, Youffraita, Alexandre, Involuntary Exile, bythesea, elwior, Cat Servant, Old Lefty, Lujane, hwmnbn, MrJayTee, Wek, pickandshovel, bluesheep, Jeff Y, catly, brasilaaron, mofembot, petulans, phrogge prince, TexanJane, BYw, allie123, Nica24, sagansong, magicsister, billybam, cactusflinthead, GrannyOPhilly, ZhenRen, oldliberal, BvueDem, maggiejean, BerkshireDem, Rhysling, loftT, J M F, greengemini, lostinamerica, The Dead Man, not a cent, dharmasyd, Gorilla in the room, Fineena, socal altvibe, JesseCW, petral, UnaSpenser, elziax, asym, jazzence, Denise Oliver Velez, synductive99, Munchkn, stevenwag, astral66, citisven, Leftcandid, Railfan, Just Bob, hotdamn, chambord, commonmass, possodent, flitedocnm, indie17, David Harris Gershon, jakedog42, mookins, TealTerror, renzo capetti, gulfgal98, samanthab, pixxer, Lady Libertine, elginblt, Kristina40, DerAmi, Yasuragi, Publius2008, nirbama, Betty Pinson, DrTerwilliker, ericlewis0, Floande, science nerd, Oh Mary Oh, verdeo, Onomastic, slowbutsure, cooper888, Rick DeVille, FarWestGirl, asterkitty, smiley7, molunkusmol, boomerchick, marleycat, thomask, dle2GA, akmk, muddy boots, MRA NY, worldlotus, Fire bad tree pretty, antimony, poliwrangler, diffrntdrummr, stevie avebury, Marihilda, SteelerGrrl, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, zenox, DRo, SouthernLiberalinMD, MichaelNY, No one gets out alive, YaNevaNo, Pinto Pony, daysey, Eowyn9, anodnhajo, sow hat, Flying Goat, Siri, dance you monster, Eric Nelson, a2nite, JGibson, congenitalefty, Horace Boothroyd III, InAntalya, Mr Robert, jan4insight, JupiterSurf, whizdom, MartyM, OllieGarkey, Brown Thrasher, rat racer, PowWowPollock, AverageJoe42, Glen The Plumber, katiec, mythatsme, Lily O Lady, Chaddiwicker, Panacea Paola, countwebb, Linda1961, JayRaye, DustBunny, goodpractice, weck, howabout, Icicle68, solarbay, marcr22, pragmaticidealist, TheDuckManCometh, CenPhx, socindemsclothing, Hubbard Squash, Dad of a pack, eagleray, OldSoldier99, Weezerr1, gnosticator

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site