Another man dies in Istanbul – wounded and ignored by the police

Berkin Elvan died in March

Yesterday High School Dev-Genc (a left group amongst high schools) staged a protest in Okmeydani. I don’t know why yesterday.

Police shot and killed Ugur Kurt who had nothing to do with the protests but was at Okmeydani Djemevi for a funeral (see previous post).

Yesterday evening, people were out on the streets protesting Ugur Kurt’s killing, when another man (who remains unidentified) was shot in the head by a tear gas canister and this morning he was pronounced dead.

Sadly, this is a vicious cycle familiar to Turkey and elsewhere: someone dies, people protest, one of the protesters gets killed, people protest, one of the protesters gets killed…

What’s unbelievably sad is that this man was shot and lied on the road, according to reports by 45 minutes, when the police did not allow anyone to come to his help.

These pictures show, he lied there long enough for his blood to flow down to the police officers, as if pointing towards his killers. This is unacceptable and the responsibility of PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan who said “Berkin Elvan died and that’s that [get over it]” “I am in awe of how patient the police are” and its his government and judicial system which made sure that the police photographed and filmed as killing Ethem Sarisuluk last summer in Ankara walked free.

And now, the society is being pushed to a bigger drive between Alevi and Sunni. I just hope people will be smarter and more patient than RTE and his police and not fall for these provocations.

ignore edilen adam 2 ignore edilen adam 1












For more in Turkish:

A by stander is killed – 2nd victim to police bullet

Yesterday, it was local and European elections in the UK where this blogger is based.

I voted on the way to work …what a lovely experience, and a privilege…even if it doesn’t means as much in the greater scheme of things, I don’t care. And the poll clerks were very friendly, the pride in their job was pulpable and they certainly didn’t look like they were worried about how fairly the votes would be counted and they were not planning on sleeping on the ballot paper bags over night to make sure that the ruling party does not swap them with false papers. [see March 30 election stories from Turkey] I felt genuinely happy leaving the polling station. More so than I’ve felt for a while now. 

then I came online and saw that police has shot a young man in the head in Okmeydani, Istanbul. By the evening, he was dead. Not just dead. Killed. By the police. With a gun. He was not a protester. He was at a Djemevi (Alevi place of worshiip) attending a funeral.

And now more and more people are asking the question – why are the majority of people who died since Gezi Alevis? and remind us all the other times Alevis were killed by the state, or their losses were not acknowledged by the state. Others point out that there isn’t a deliberate targeting of Alevis. I hope the latter are correct as I am seriously concerned about the future of the country and cannot get rid of visions of civil war. 

More on Ugur Kurt, who was killed yesterday. We wish his family all the patience in the world and are very sory for their, our, loss.

the text below is from

you can watch him being shot or the moments leading to it, on this link, too. I can’t bring myself to watch it.


Uğur Kurt (30), a contract worker in Beyoğlu Municipality, was shot dead with live ammo fired by police attacking the Okmeydanı weekly student protest for murdered Gezi protester Berkin Elvan.

Istanbul police have staged a crackdown on members of Dev-Genç youth organization of high school students who staged a march in the district of Okmeydanı today for Berkin Elvan who was murdered by police at the age of 15 during last year’s Gezi Park protests in Istanbul.

Uğur Kurt, was attending a funeral in nearby Djemevi (Alevi place of worship), when he was shot in the head by a real bullet fired by police attacking the student protest. Kurt who has been rushed to Okmeydanı Training and Research Hospital is reported to have been passed away.


For more photos, see:


İstanbul’s historical peninsula disappearing

The historical peninsula, İstanbul’s Old City, is like a huge outdoor museum, with thousands of artifacts and architectural masterpieces; however, it is little-by-little being destroyed by grand transportation projects, urban transformation, faulty restorations, the obliteration of the city’s identity and the expansion of touristic facilities, urbanism experts say.

Academics who convened last week at a panel discussion titled “What is Happening on the Historical Peninsula” at Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts (MSGSÜ) were in almost unanimous agreement in the belief that the historical peninsula is in danger of being wiped off the face of the earth.

Aykut Köksal, an instructor at MSGSÜ, estimated that the region will become unrecognizable given the current pace of changes. For him, the strongest intrusion in the region’s rich history is in Yenikapı, an area of the historical peninsula. The Marmaray tunnel, which connects the two sides of the Bosporus via channels for railed and wheeled vehicles, will render the region a significant center of transportation, leaving it exposed to the severe threat of also becoming more densely populated with residents, Köksal said.

Marmaray, which opened on Oct. 29, 2013, sees 40 times more people crossing the Bosporus than the Bosporus Bridge. Similarly, with the launch of the tunnel for vehicles in a few years, the region — and especially Yenikapı on the southern side of the peninsula — will not be able to handle the tide of traffic, experts warn.

Jean-François Perouse, director of the French Institute of Anatolian Studies (IFEA), says the historical peninsula has become an attractive residential center because of a number of recent projects and pieces of legislation.

9,665 registered artifacts on peninsula

Noting that legislation adopted back in 2005 has opened the gates for a flock of new residents to move to the peninsula, Perouse said projects like the Marmaray tunnel and the Haliç metro bridge over the Golden Horn make access to the peninsula much easier. He suggested that the special emphasis the people put on rulers like Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror and events like the conquest of İstanbul in 1453 creates a sense of pride among the population, pulling a large number of people to the peninsula.

The historical peninsula is included on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Cultural Heritage list and accommodates 200 varieties of real estate properties as well as 9,665 registered buildings and artifacts, such as historical mosques, churches, schools, fountains, squares and cisterns. World-famous buildings such as Mimar Sinan’s Süleymaniye Mosque, Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque) and Topkapı Palace are the most significant buildings on the peninsula.

According to the Archaeological Settlements in Turkey (TAY) project, 173 structures on the peninsula date back to the Byzantine period. Engin Akyürek, an academic from İstanbul University’s Department of Art History, says if the cisterns that were found later were included on this list, the number of total Byzantine-period structures would exceed 200. “This means that the largest number of Byzantine-period structures would be located on the peninsula,” he added. Stating that 30 of those buildings are still in use, Akyürek said the churches that have survived to the present time were almost all transformed into mosques, and most of those that were not transformed were demolished over time.

İclal Dinçer from Yıldız Technical University’s Faculty of Architecture said that the basic reasons for why there are threats to the historical peninsula are activities to redevelop the coastline of Yenikapı, grand transformation projects and privatization projects.

Indicating that tourism attractions are speedily expanding from the Blue Mosque toward the surroundings of the Süleymaniye Mosque, Dinçer said the greater part of the peninsula will be transformed, particularly with the Transformation of Areas at Risk for Disaster Law No. 6306 that entered into force in 2012, adding that she is very concerned that the historical fabric of the peninsula will be seriously damaged with those transformations.

Noting that the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning is preparing a number of projects for the peninsula, Dinçer said society organizations cannot perform any kind of inspection of the ministry or municipality projects and that the decision-making process of public institutions should be more transparent.

Zeynep Eres, also from İstanbul Technical University’s Faculty of Architecture, said many artifacts and the 8,500-year-old cultural history of the peninsula will be damaged by the transformation activities taking place there. Eres said, “The unearned income [from urban transformation projects] has turned the peninsula into a cancer patient.”

Restoration of historical artifacts not professional

Pointing out that the restoration of many historical artifacts on the peninsula is not being conducted in a professional manner, Köksal said the restoration workers do not even bother to preserve the original aspects of the artifacts. Köksal said one of the most outstanding examples of bad restoration was that of Tekfur Sarayı (Palace of the Sovereign).

Akyürek says the restoration projects being conducted on 377 historical buildings in the Marmara region are not completely based on the original states of the artifacts.

As there are more than 100 restoration projects being conducted on the peninsula, Eres said that restoration should be based on the original structure of the artifacts, adding that modern tiles are used in the restoration of historical artifacts. “The uniqueness of cultural assets is damaged,” Eres stated.

Experts have also reacted strongly against the planned Avrasya tunnel. Dinçer says the tunnel will damage the whole concept of the nearby Marmaray tunnel, and that even the Marmaray engineers oppose the plans to launch such a project without first observing the consequences of the transformation of circulation created by the Marmaray tunnel. Dinçer also said that according to UNESCO, even if the tunnel is constructed, the exits should be located outside of the peninsula.

Pointing to the prevalence of shanty settlements on the peninsula, Eres says the fact that the authorities have failed to prevent those settlements from propagating on the peninsula is also one of the reasons why the silhouette of the historical peninsula is at risk.

Turkey purges police force

8th Jan 2014 – Istanbul (CNN) — In what appears to be a broader government purge of Turkey’s police force, 350 police officers were removed from their positions in the capital of Ankara on Tuesday. Police commanders were also removed from their posts in at least nine other cities around the country, the semiofficial Anadolu news agency reported. According to Turkish state media reports, most of the police officers affected were working in departments that battle terrorism, smuggling and organized crime.

“The majority of the chiefs and police in question were appointed to the traffic unit,” state broadcaster TRT reported on its website. The mass reassignment of police officers came amid reports of a fresh wave of police raids targeting suspects in a corruption case in the port city of Izmir.

The Turkish government first began firing and reassigning scores of police officers last month, after police detained dozens of suspects closely linked to the government in an anti-corruption investigation.

Amid corruption inquiry, Turkish prosecutor slams police

Police reportedly found large amounts of cash and a money counting machine in the home of the son of the interior minister, as well as shoe boxes full of cash in the residence of the director of the state-owned HalkBank.


Turkish police fire water cannon, plastic bullets to disperse anti-government protesters

27th Dec 2013 – Turkish riot police fired water cannon and plastic bullets to break up an anti-government demonstration by hundreds of protesters.

Police blocked hundreds of protesters from gathering in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square and pushed them away to the nearby streets. A high-level bribery and corruption investigation involving close government allies has led to a new outpouring of anger against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

Voice of Russia, AFP

Demonstrations in Istanbul

Thousands in anti-corruption protests; Erdogan defiant

22nd Dec 2013 – (Reuters) – Thousands took to the streets of Istanbul on Sunday to protest against the government over a corruption scandal that has led to multiple arrests and exposed a rift between Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and an influential U.S.-based Muslim cleric. Twenty-four people, including the sons of two ministers and the head of state-owned Halkbank, have been formally charged in connection with the corruption inquiry that Erdogan has called a “dirty operation” to undermine his rule.

A woman holds a sign during a protest against Turkey's ruling Ak Party and PM Erdogan in Ankara

In response, Erdogan has sacked or moved to different posts about 70 police officers, including the powerful head of Istanbul’s force, in a widening crackdown on the force that launched the investigation.

Erdogan drew thousands of cheering supporters when he toured the north of the country on Sunday.

But in Istanbul, anti-government demonstrators flooded into Kadikoy Square, where a protest against government urbanisation plans had been scheduled to take place, before they were largely dispersed by police firing teargas and water cannon. “Everywhere is (Erdogan’s) AK Party, everywhere is corruption,” they chanted, a reference to the slogan of summer anti-government protests that centred on Istanbul’s Taksim Square, “Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance”.

As in the case of the summer protests, the fiercest since he came to power in 2002, Erdogan has pointed to foreign hands in the crisis. “They are setting wicked and dark traps in our country, using their local pawns to disrupt Turkey‘s unity and integrity,” Erdogan said in the Black Sea city of Giresun on Sunday. The Economy Minister and Interior Minister, whose sons were among the 16 arrested on Saturday, echoed Erdogan on Sunday, saying via Twitter and the media that the allegations were part of ‘big trap’.