Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart
* OCCUPY TAKSIM
VIDEO @ http://vimeo.com/67545019
* REVIVAL OF URBAN ISTANBUL
The transformation of the urban environment and our living spaces has become the primary strategy of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AK Party and its stranglehold over the government and municipalities of Turkey.
These new urban policies have become a means of justifying segregation, neoliberal capitalist lifestyle, indebtedness, exploitation, racism, corruption, and a generalized state of exception that violates our human rights.
The Gezi Park occupation in Istanbul is a continuation of an urban movement that has transformed into a public movement. It is not only about protecting a green space against demolition for a new shopping mall and “reconstruction” of an “Ottoman” military barracks. It is a symbol of being together, of commoning in spite of our differences in Istanbul.
The month of April saw protests against the demolition of Emek Theater—a historical place that attracted people from different classes and environments over many years. In addition to political organizations, many opposition groups, neighborhood movements, and cultural movements were activated.
A few hundred people then occupied Gezi Park on 28 May. One of the organizers picked up a microphone and suggested that everyone meet each other. We turned our bodies and offered our hand, told each other our names, and met.
After police entered at 4am with tear gas and started to burn the tents, more people gathered in the afternoon of 29 May. At 5am on 30 May the police brutally attacked the gathering. People began to return at 9 that morning. By 10am on 30 May the public had gathered.
By the evening, thousands more people had arrived—not only other opposition movements, but even Islamic groups, football fans, and anti-authoritarian groups. The peaceful environment of reading books, singing, dancing, talking, eating popcorn and rice from street food vendors created a total environment of togetherness in spite of our differences. As Carlo Petrini has said, coming together in an unorganized way through meeting, getting know each other, and friendship, is vitally important for starting a movement.
After their brutal attack on 31 May, the police barricaded the park. When the public called for a press meeting to protest the attack and reenter the park, only a few hundred gathered, and I lost hope for a moment.
When we approached the barricade to try reentering, the police used force again with teargas and powerful water cannons. The attack continued until noon, as did the fight back.
The teargas is made from a strong chemical that disables you and renders you partially blind. Several people were injured. The luxury hotels around the park such as Divan Hotel let the protestors and activists inside and helped them.
People went to Taksim Square, which was partially under construction by the government to create a pedestrian walkway doubling as high ground for surveillance. The Taksim Square project was criticized and protested several times by many NGOs and organizations within Istanbul.
The peaceful protest that was only about sitting together at the entrance of İstiklâl—one of Istanbul’s main public streets—was attacked again around 1pm by teargas and water cannons. This time, the police began targeting individuals when they shot teargas canisters. They shot a teargas bomb into the Taksim subway station and closed the doors so that even children and babies in the subway were affected. This was the beginning of the chemical war against the citizens. Media coverage was silent, completely censored. On television you would find a demonstration of how to make risotto.
The 6th Administration Court of Istanbul suspended the Topçu Barracks Project—known publicly as the planned construction of a shopping mall at Taksim Gezi Park—before 5pm on Friday. We are not still sure what this means. It could mark either the success of our intervention into urban policy or a justification for detaining protesters. Meanwhile, some famous fashion brands and business communities have already announced publicly that they will have no part in any shopping mall built where “blood has been shed.”
Thus the public grew through İstiklâl and nearby districts until by 7pm the numbers reached into the thousands, and had spread to other districts such as the Anatolian side of Istanbul at Kadıköy. Police began again shooting teargas and flew helicopters over İstiklal, Beyoğlu, Tarlabaşı, Harbiye, Şişli. Facebook/Twitter and personal video recordings become the most important means of disseminating information.
The teargas formed a fog over Istanbul. From 7pm, the police began shooting plastic bullets. Around 10, we were told that more buses of police were arriving to block both parts of İstiklâl and the police were standing by for permission to use real bullets. […]
* ERDOGAN’S CRIMES
* ABUSES AGAINST THE PROTESTERS IN TURKEY: AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL CALLS FOR URGENT ACTION
Source: Amnesty International
With tens of thousands of protestors crossing by foot across the bridge connecting the Asian and European sides of the city it is clear that the protests in Istanbul and elsewhere in Turkey are intensifying. News reports indicate that “police from as far afield as Antalya are being drafted in to help quell the violence.”
The Turkish government has clearly taken a hard line. Prime Minister Erdogan is quoted by the BBC as saying, “Police were there (Taksim Square) yesterday; they’ll be on duty today and also tomorrow because Taksim Square cannot be an area where extremists are running wild.”
In fact, it is the police who seem to be “running wild,” using force excessively and indiscriminately. Here is the latest from Amnesty:
Friday night police used even greater levels of violence against demonstrators… There are unconfirmed reports of three deaths. Over 1000 people are thought to be injured, many of them seriously. More than 100 people have been detained in Istanbul. There are consistent reports of ill-treatment against those in detention.
Lawyers told Amnesty International that police beat protestors with truncheons when they apprehended them on the street, again at a police station close to Taksim. Similar violence against detainees was reported when protestors were transferred to the main security directorate in Istanbul.
According to reports, protestors on the street and in detention are being prevented access to appropriate medical care. Attempts by the Istanbul Medical Chamber to set up temporary medical facilities to treat injured demonstrators on the streets were prevented by continuous use of tear gas by police…
Medical professionals told Amnesty International that police security measures have also prevented many demonstrators from accessing the main public hospital in the Taksim area. Reports also indicate that the police fired tear gas close to the entrance to the hospital.
Reports also indicate that police apprehended injured demonstrators in need of hospital treatment and took them instead to police detention where they have not been able to access appropriate medical treatment. […]
* THE TURKISH PROTESTS AND THE GENIE OF REVOLUTION
By Jerome Roos, RoarMag
While the outcome remains uncertain, a closer look at the Turkish uprising reveals its intimate connection to the global struggle for real democracy.
genies, plural; genii, plural
A spirit of Arabian folklore, as traditionally depicted imprisoned within a bottle or oil lamp, and capable of granting wishes when summoned.
In 2011, a rebellious genie was let out of the suffocating bottle of the neoliberal world order. Ever since, world leaders have been struggling to put it back into place. This weekend, right when they started to feel that the genie had finally been contained, the revolutionary spirit arose once again in an unexpected location: in rapidly developing Turkey, a regional success story and darling of global capital and the neoliberal West. What began as a local struggle over the last green space in Istanbul’s urban landscape has now escalated into the biggest challenge to Erdogan’s 10-year rule and, according to some, “the most widespread civil unrest in Turkish history.” In an irony of historic proportions, the democratically elected leader who famously called on Mubarak and Assad to listen to their people and step down is now defying protesters with the same short-sighted authoritarian machismo of the dictators from whom he so avidly sought to distance himself.
For four days, Istanbul has been shrouded in thick clouds of tear gas as violent clashes between protesters and police have left the city’s streets resembling a war zone. On Saturday, police were forced to retreat from the iconic Taksim Square, which has since been occupied by tens of thousands of protesters. Violent demonstrations quickly spread to the capital, Ankara, and 70 other cities throughout the country. After Amnesty condemned the government’s brutal response to the initially peaceful protests, which left thousands injured and at least two dead, the protesters have become increasingly determined to push Erdogan from power. In a sign of their radical determination, protesters in Beşiktaş erected massive barricades and even commandeered an excavator, breaking through police lines in an attempt to reach the prime minister’s Istanbul office. Between the indignant roar of the protesters, the ominous hissing of the tear gas cannisters and the deafening sound of police sirens, one can slowly start to discern the revolutionary whispers of a newly empowered people. […]
READ / PHOTOS / VIDEOS @ http://roarmag.org/2013/06/tahrir-taksim-egypt-turkey-protests-revolution/
* WHAT THE MEDIA IS BARELY TELLING YOU ABOUT THE HISTORIC AND UNPRECEDENTED CIVILIAN UPRISING ACROSS TURKEY
The mainstream media is barely covering this story, but it is of utmost importance. What began as a quiet protest last week in Taksim Square against the razing of one of the last green parks in Istanbul turned horribly violent as police fired tear gas and aimed water cannons against peaceful protestors. One death and a number of blindings were reported.
What followed was a nationwide uprising against the anti-democratic rule of Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan as police brutality became a symbol and rallying point against an increasingly unpopular government. This regime has, bit by bit, stripped away the rights and liberties of its people. Despite promising respect for democratic principles, Erdogan has held a tight grip on media and clamped down on the opposition. During the protests over the past five days, state-run media instead ran story after story on Miss Turkey and “the world’s ugliest cat.”
Social media was said to have been the galvanizing force behind the uprisings in places like Iran and Egypt, and so it is no surprise that the Turkish government is now seeking to silence platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. After protests began, the authorities severed access to these popular social media sites, hoping that word of what had transpired would not get out. Even the Western media, which appears to have fallen well short of its obligation to report the truth, remains curiously silent, as if dependent on social media to gauge newsworthiness.
I hope to help turn the tables a bit here. This video, which I hope you’ll share, was made by a “Young Turk” named Gosku Eroglu. It hopes to convey to the world the spirit of the Turkish people as they strive to regain the freedoms slowly being stripped away, including the right to assembly and to a free media. We indeed “hear the people sing” in Turkey.
While any political uprising carries with it complex issues, and any “people’s revolution” could have various unknown factions involved, as we’ve seen in other regions and countries, one thing remains clear: The use of violent suppression can only lead to greater unrest and instability. So to Prime Minister Erdogan, I say this: The world is watching. We call upon your government to stop the violence and engage in peaceful dialogue with the Turkish people.
* REVOLT IN TURKEY: ERDOGAN’S GRIP ON POWER IS RAPIDLY WEAKENING
By Özlem Gezer, Maximilian Popp and Oliver Trenkamp, SpiegleOnline
For a decade, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has had a tight grip on power. But it suddenly looks to be weakening. Thousands have taken to the streets across the country and the threats to Erdogan’s rule are many. His reaction has revealed him to be hopelessly disconnected.
The rooftops of Istanbul can be seen in the background and next to them is a gigantic image of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey’s powerful prime minister is watching over the city — and is also monitoring the work of the political party he controls. At least that seems to be the message of the image, which can be found in a conference room at the headquarters of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).
These days, though, Istanbul is producing images that carry a distinctly different meaning — images of violent protests against the vagaries of Erdogan’s rule. And it is beginning to look as though the prime minister, the most powerful leader Turkey has seen since the days of modern Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, might be losing control.
As recently as mid-May, Erdogan boasted during an appearance at the Brookings Institute in Washington D.C. of the $29 billion airport his government was planning to build in Istanbul. “Turkey no longer talks about the world,” he said. “The world talks about Turkey.”
Just two weeks later, he appears to have been right — just not quite in the way he had anticipated. The world is looking at Turkey and speaking of the violence with which Turkish police are assaulting demonstrators at dozens of marches across the country. Increasingly, Erdogan is looking like an autocratic ruler whose people are no longer willing to tolerate him. […]
* THE DEEP STATE
By Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker
The Prime Minister is revered as a moderate, but how far will he go to stay in power?
Not long ago, at a resort in the Turkish town of Kızılcahamam, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stood before a gathering of leaders of the Justice and Development Party to celebrate both his country and himself. Erdoğan, a tall, athletic-looking man of fifty-eight, with a receding hairline and a pale mustache, wore a blue Western suit and no tie. His wife, Emine, wearing a traditional head scarf, looked on from a nearby seat. Erdoğan recalled the milestones in Turkey’s remarkable economic and geopolitical ascent since 2002, and the rise to power of the A.K. Party, as it is known by its Turkish initials. He pointed to the doubling of the gross domestic product; the sweeping transformation of the Turkish state and society; and the leading role that Turkey has come to play in world affairs. “With the A.K. Party, the whole world hears Turkey’s words,” Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan (pronounced er-do-wan) spoke with a vehemence that at times approached anger. When he came to the European Union, an organization that Turkey has aspired to join for forty-nine years, he practically shouted into the microphone. Over the past decade, he has led an ambitious campaign to remake the Turkish state as the Europeans asked him to, overhauling the judicial system and expanding the rights of women and minorities, only to find Turkey still outside the gates. “Look at their state of affairs,” he said of the E.U.’s member states. “They are crumbling! Their currency is in disarray!” He gripped the lectern, jabbing the air with his forefinger. “Turkey is on its feet—no thanks to them but to its own people!” He flashed a sharp, joyless grin suggesting both triumph and resentment. “Actually, we have already met the E.U. criteria. Why haven’t we become a member? you ask. They know very well why we haven’t been accepted, and we also know. . . . It doesn’t matter anyway.” Erdoğan was referring to the widespread belief among Turks that the E.U. has rebuffed Turkey because its population, of seventy-four million, is overwhelmingly Muslim.
Erdoğan carried on, mixing his paeans with bitter allusions to enemies and slights. The starting point of his speech was the state of affairs he inherited nine years ago, when Turkey was in an acute economic crisis and under the rule of an entrenched secular élite. There was also a deeply personal subtext. As every Turk knows, Erdoğan was imprisoned, in 1999, for his Islamist leanings. Now, with Turkey’s economy booming, and the opposition in disarray, the need for the Old Guard had receded, he suggested—and so had the need for dissent. “Dear friends, to be one, to be together, to walk together toward the same future is the biggest strength of our people,” he said. “For this reason, the first priority should be to eliminate those who do not want Turkey to grow, develop, and advance. Everyone should be at ease—we will not let anyone disturb this harmony.” […]
* WE NEED SUPPORT FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD