International media has lost attention but the turmoil in Turkey continues in the grimmest Kafkaesque fashion imaginable.
* This week, Yigit Bulut, a fierce critic-turned-ardent AKP supporter, pseudo-journalist, top demagogue and Turkey’s surrealist par excellence, has been named chief advisor to Erdogan. Bulut insists there is an international conspiracy to kill the prime minister via ‘telekinesis’.
* Construction on the controversial third Bosphorus bridge, with motorways through the forested area north of Istanbul, has been suspended when authorities ‘realised’ that it was being carried out at a ‘wrong’ location, unrelated to the plans at hand. Work will restart at the ‘correct’ location. Meanwhile, thousands of trees were mowed down at the ‘wrong’ location. It will be extremely naive bordering stupid to expect the ‘wrong’ area will be reforested. It will most likely be de-designated as forest and open to development….expect to hear about a 5-star hotel, shopping mall and luxury residence project soon.
* Two days ago, Ali Ismail Korkmaz, a 19 year old university student, brutally beaten by stick-wielding thugs while running away from police assault in the city of Eskisehir, died after a month in coma. He was denied immediate treatment at the hospital and told to report to the police, before he lost his consciousness due to brain damage. 18 minutes of vital CCTV footage has mysteriously disappeared, therefore there are no suspects.
* Yesterday Ali’s funeral was taken to his hometown of Antakya. This is the multi-ethnic, multi-religious province on the Syrian border that has faced extreme tensions since the outbreak of the Syrian war; it was here that Turkey’s worst terrorist attack killed 51 people only two months ago [and media was banned from reporting. PM Erdogan did not even make a condolence speech of note]. Thousands gathered to protest after the funeral and were met with a ferocious police response, now a daily occurrence in this once peaceful province. At least 18 are reported injured with two people blinded and one undergoing brain surgery.
* Last night, a public forum in Fatih, a conservative neighbourhood of Istanbul, was attacked by knife and stick-wielding men, while commemorating the death of Ali Ismail.
* A man caught on video swinging a meat cleaver at unarmed protestors at an earlier incident in Istanbul was released from police custody. Public outrage forced the authorities to issue a new arrest warrant. Today, it emerged that the man had left Turkey and is now vacationing in Morocco. He was supposed to be one of those small businessmen who are on the verge of bankruptcy due to the protests intervening with business.
*20 members of Taksim Solidarity group were detained, the arrest demand for them was rejected at court and they were released. Evidence for their setting up a terrorist organisation included sunglasses and the colour green.
* There are several young people in coma from being hit on the head with tear gas bomb canisters or sticks. One is only 14 years old and has been in coma for 27 days.