We’ve been offline since Friday, 5th July. Of course a lot has happened in Turkey [we are not ignoring Egypt but we need to focus on Turkey]….
A lot has happened reminds me what a Turkish businessman I was talking to said some years ago. He said: “they are asking about what long-term credit needs I have. In Turkey, short term is today, medium term is tomorrow, long term is the day after” …not much has changed since then.
Over the last couple of weeks, people have been active in various parks across various cities. They set up ‘forums’ where anyone can take up the floor and talk, plan activities; they have set up desks for information exchange and education; they have set up markets in which people can barter their goods or skills. The violence had paused, international media had lost interest, got diverted to Egypt but the awakening in Turkey is far from over – even though main media is still not reporting the news in a balanced way or in fact not reporting them at all.
On July 3rd, we translated the news that the court had ruled to stop the demolition of Gezi Park: http://bit.ly/1b8Dt9S
When offering to talk to the protesters, early in June, PM had said the court’s decision would be respected. It’s not clear this promise will be kept.
The park was closed to the public for days.
On Saturday Taksim Solidarity called people to go to the park in line with the court decision. There were attacks by the police and by AKP supporters with machetes and sticks. Later, the AKP supporters become an AKP supporter then became a local shop owner who had not voted AKP but had had enough. His father apologised from Turks and Kurds and everyone who wanted to go to Taksim. He said if AKP had not done all this neither the public neither the businesses would have suffered like this. http://www.gazeteport.com.tr/haber/139064/satirlinin-babasi-sorumlu-akpdir
The police was as brutal on Monday as they had been in June, including beating and arresting several journalists.
Earlier today, after 23 days of closure, Gezi Park was officially opened with the Mayor and Head of Municipality present (note that Mayor is appointed head of municipality is elected). The Mayor made a speech, park was left open for a while. A woman who was there with her husband asked the Mayor if they would be able to kiss in the park. The Mayor said they could if they thought it was in line with the society’s traditions and codes of ethics…
This evening (Monday 8) Taksim Solidarity called for people to go to the Park again. As we are writing this post, news came on twitter and facebook and in the newspaper link below that the park is closed again and
Police have been detained around 20 people including Mucella Yapici from Turkish Chamber of Architects and Ali Cerkezoglu, General Secretariat of Istanbul Medical Association – members of Taksim Solidarity. [as of now, 20:35UK time, the number is over 80]
Bagdat Cad (Street) on the Asian side of Istanbul is crowded with people protesting the attacks in and around Taksim.
CHP, Istanbul MP has just tweeted (just before 8 pm UK time) that CHP MPs are making speeches in the Parliament at this very moment asking for the violence in Taksim to stop but AKP MPs are like a wall, not listening, not showing any reaction
After the machete on Saturday now there is another white-shirted man (white shirt is becoming a symbol of suspected AKP supporters) drew his gun and fired 4 shots into the air. There is a video of it in the DHA (Dogan New Agency) here: http://www.dha.com.tr/taksim-istiklalde-silah-sesleri-sosyalmedya-son-dakika-haberi_496451.html
People are protesting the police attacks in Istanbul – tonight
Turkish Doctors Association General Secretary, Huseyin Demirdizen said: The most peaceful demonstration in the world has been turned by the government into an illegal activity. Today people went to the park, without carrying gas masks (which become an instrument of crime according to the police) and were attacked.
Bank-Sen (banking sector union) General Secretary, Önder Atay, said: “Our aims are clear. What’s not clear is where this government wants to take the country. The identities of those whom are taken into custody are known. What’s not known is the identity of those carrying machetes.”
A 17 year old man was hit on the head with a gas cannister. He is having a brain haemorrhage and is being operated on in hospital.
Picture below is tweeted by Leigh Turner, British Consul in Istanbul, shows gas canister thrown into British Consulate’s garden. Interesting that while David Cameron said nothing worth saying about the 1000s of canisters used in Turkey in more than a month, the British Consul tweets the first gas canister.
Istanbul Governor (Mayor) Mutlu says you can go into the park to take a walk but don’t wait around.
There are tweets [20:52 UK time] police was waiting outside the building where Taksim Solidarity [www.taksimdayanisma.org] held their press conference an hour ago and attacted and detained those leaving the building!
Towards midnight (Turkey time), there are reports that the police opened the park again, but attacks continue in the surrounding streets. In the meantime, the Mayor of Ankara is busy tweeting to get the #EUandUSAstophypocricytoEgypt number 1 trend in the world…
22:57 (UK time) – reports about an hour ago that police is increasingly using plastic bullets. http://www.sendika.org/2013/07/gezi-parki-kapatildi-polis-saldiriyor-halk-direniyor-dakika-dakika/
Park was opened about 20 minutes ago!
There are tweets about the police not allowing Mucella Yapici and Sabri Oran to take the medicines they use.