The government of Turkey has launched a massive attack on people seeking to protect the Gezi Park/Taksim Square
6/1 SF Action To Protest Attack By Turkey's Government On Istanbul's Gezi Park/Taksim Square Protesters
OCCUPY GEZI PARKI PRESS RELEASE
To all nature loving people and members of the media:
Currently Istanbul's one of the few remaining green areas, the Hyde Park of Istanbul, Gezi Parki is under construction to become a shopping mall. Residents, politicians, activists, artists and those who want to hold on to this piece of nature, are facing excessive police force. So far, 51 people are arrested, many are injured, one being in a coma. There are rumors of 2 deaths. Occupy Gezi Parki Movement has turned into a protest against the current anti democratic Tayyip Erdogan Goverment. In other cities of Turkey, such as Ankara and Izmir, ordinary people are on the streets, siding against this oppressive regime. We, approximately 400 Turkish Americans living in the Bay Area, will gather in front of San Francisco Civic Center on Saturday June 1st at 11 am, to show our support. Please help us bring this brutality to your viewer's attention.
SF Bay Area Turkish Americans
Protest Against Police Repression Tomorrow Saturday at 11:00 AM at Civic Center
• OCCUPY GEZI PARKI SAN FRANCISCO - GEZI PARKI ICIN SEN DE DESTEK VER
Public · By TC SN G Moya, Tugrul Bingol and Bugra Bakan
• Saturday, June 1, 2013
• 11:00am in PDT
Yarina hazirlik icin gonullu olmak isteyenler lutfen bu Facebook grubuna uye olsun: https://www.facebook.com/groups/175539005943622/
We are showing our support for our trees, our city, our people who are protesting in Istanbul's Taksim Square.
Please meet with us at San Francisco Civic Center tomorrow (6/1) at 11:00am.
KALIFORNIYA KORFEZ BOLGESI TURKIYE CUMHURIYETI VATANDASLARINA ACIL EYLEM CAGRISI
Gezi Parki icin, Gezi Park'inda agaclari savunan insanlara yapilan canavarliklari kinamak icin desteginizi bekliyoruz.
6/1 Cumartesi hepinizi San Francisco Civic Center'da saat 11:00'de eylemimize bekliyoruz, afisinizi, bayraginizi resimlerinizi getiriniz.
To all nature loving people and members of the media:
Currently Istanbul's one of the few remaining green areas, the Hyde Park of Istanbul, Gezi Park, is under construction to become a shopping mall.
Residents, politicians, activists, artists and those who want to hold on to this piece of nature, are facing extreme levels of police brutality.
So far, 51 people are arrested, there are many injured protesters in hospital, one being in a coma.
We, the Turkish Americans living in the Bay Area, are gathered to show our support to the protesters in Istanbul, and let them know that they are not alone. Their efforts are noble and even though we can't physically be there, our hearts and minds are with them.
We hope that those in power would yield to public demand and would leave the trees of Gezi Parki alone, so the city residents can continue to enjoy the park.
SF Bay Area Turkish Americans http://www.vgtv.no/#!/video/65023/direkte-oppt
Police Attack Protesters in Istanbul’s Taksim Square http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/01/world/europe/police-attack-protesters-in-istanbuls-taksim-square.html?hpw
By TIM ARANGO and CEYLAN YEGINSUMAY 31, 2013
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Turkish riot police officers used tear gas in an attempt to break up a four-day sit-in.
Ozan Kose/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
ISTANBUL — Police officers attacked a group of peaceful demonstrators on Friday in Istanbul’s Taksim Square with water cannons and tear gas, sending scores of people, protesters and tourists alike, scurrying into shops and luxury hotels and turning the center of this city into a battle zone at the height of tourist season.
The police action was the latest violent crackdown by the government against a growing protest movement challenging plans to replace a park in Taksim Square, Istanbul’s equivalent of Cairo’s Tahrir Square, with a replica Ottoman-era army barracks that would house a shopping mall.
But while the removal of the park, which is filled with sycamore trees and is the last significant green space in the center of Istanbul, set off the protests at the beginning of the week, the gatherings have broadened into a wider expression of anger against the heavy-handed tactics and urban development plans of the government and its leader, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. His party, now in power a decade, is increasingly viewed by many Turks as becoming authoritarian.
Mr. Erdogan still has great support among Turkey’s religious masses, but secular critics cite his government’s sweeping prosecution and intimidation of journalists as evidence of its intolerance of dissent.
Much of the anger also centers on the struggle over Istanbul’s public spaces. Mr. Erdogan’s government has proceeded with disputed urban development plans with little public input, while his police forces have increasingly used tear gas against peaceful protesters, resulting in scores of injuries, including the hospitalization on Friday of a Kurdish lawmaker, who had become a vocal participant in the protests, after he was hit by a tear gas canister.
The protest movement comes amid continued public anger at Turkey’s policy of supporting the rebels in Syria, which many Turks feel has led to a violent spillover inside Turkey, including recent car bombings in the southern city of Reyhanli, which killed dozens of people. The rising public disenchantment represents a significant political challenge to Mr. Erdogan, who is planning to run for the presidency next year and has been trying to alter the Constitution to create a more powerful presidential system.
In the early afternoon Friday, as protesters gathered and began shouting antigovernment chants, police officers in riot gear began surrounding the group, positioning vehicles that resembled tanks at the edge of the square around the protesters, who were mostly sitting.
Protesters waded through tear gas on Friday at Taksim Square in Istanbul.
Tolga Bozoglu/European Pressphoto Agency
“Taksim is ours, we are not giving it to the A.K.P.!” they chanted, referring to Mr. Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party, known as A.K.P.
As they chanted, police officers casually put on their gas masks and the operators of the tanklike vehicles aimed their big guns, which fire a mixture of water and tear gas, at the group. Then chaos erupted. Protesters and onlookers, some of them tourists, ran down side streets where shopkeepers offered sliced lemons to soothe the burning sensation of the gas, and pharmacists doled out ointments for skin burns.
“The pigs, the pigs,” said Esra Yurtnac, who was crying as she sought refuge in a bakery after being gassed. “All they know is how to use gas.”
She added, “They think they can silence us with force, but they won’t.”
Hours after the clashes with protesters, an Istanbul court on Friday ruled in favor of a petition by a local advocacy group and halted the project until parties submitted their legal arguments to court, the semiofficial Anatolian News Agency reported. The interior minister also pledged on Friday that claims of excessive force would be investigated.
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The chaos followed a dawn raid on an Occupy Wall Street-style encampment in Gezi Park, near Taksim, in which the police also used tear gas to drive away protesters and later barricaded the park. In an earlier raid on the camp, on Thursday, the police set fire to some tents. The brief occupation of the park, which began after bulldozers had started to take down trees, had taken on a festival-like atmosphere, with yoga, barbecues and musical performances, while those gathered chanted, “Taksim is ours! Istanbul is ours!”
The people adorned the camp with banners expressing the rising anger at the reshaping of Istanbul’s urban spaces by the government. One read, “Don’t touch our neighborhood, our squares, our trees, our water, our soil, our homes, our villages, our cities and our parks.”
Another referred to Mr. Erdogan and the growing number of shopping malls being built around the city. “Let all shopping malls crumble and let Tayyip get crushed by their rubble,” the banner read.
In building new mosques and emphasizing Turkey’s Islamic past over its Byzantine and Roman legacies, Mr. Erdogan has been referred to as a latter-day Ottoman sultan, with little regard for seeking public input on the projects. On Wednesday, the government held a groundbreaking ceremony for a third bridge over the Bosporus that is being named for an Ottoman sultan.
“It’s all about superiority, and ruling over the people like sultans,” said one of the protesters, Seckin Barbaros, 26, a former journalist who is now unemployed. “When were we asked what we wanted? We have three times the amount of mosques as we do schools. Yet they are building new mosques. There are eight shopping malls in the vicinity of Taksim, yet they want to build another.”
In a speech earlier in the week, Mr. Erdogan dismissed the protesters and said the destruction of park would go ahead, “no matter what they do.”
The anger in the streets is also a rebuke to the economic policies of the government, which have relied heavily on construction and new housing in Istanbul to power economic growth. Turkey has had a resilient economy that emerged relatively unscathed from the global financial crisis, eclipsing the performance of Europe and many other nations. But some analysts worry the government’s focus on construction projects could lead to a bubble much like the one in the United States that led to the economic collapse of 2008.
Ms. Barbaros said, “What about the day when all these shopping malls will be empty like in Greece and then they will wish they never constructed them.”
She added: “Where are the opera houses? The theaters? The culture and youth centers? What about those? They only choose what will bring them the most profit without considering what we need.”
Another demonstrator, Seyfettin Sabaz, who is training to be a dentist, said: “Many of the Turkish public think that we are here as environmentalists to save our sycamore trees. But that’s not it. We are here to stand up against those that are trying to make a profit from our land.”
Around Taksim Square, the site of several other tear gas attacks on protesters this year, including one on May Day demonstrators, the chaos is taking on a sense of the familiar to shopkeepers who are becoming accustomed to offering shelter and aid to tear gas victims.
Sebnem Arsu contributed reporting from Antakya, Turkey.
Istanbul Peaceful Sit-in Brutally Repressed-Pepper Gassing The Idea Of The Olympics
Dear member of press reporting from Turkey,
below and as a link please find the declaration of a vast urban coalition of Istanbuliots defending their only parc in the city center. The peaceful sit-in has been brutally attacked by the police... https://docs.google.com/document/d/1j0oh1qHxf-KAtnrklBuV78xSbZ9yGq1ErBrl1NDFAB4/preview?sle=true
International Human Rights Organizations and Dear Friends, Comrades, Press Members from all over the world;
This is an urgent call from human rights defenders, activists, NGOs, professional chambers, grassroots, neighborhood associations and Istanbulites.
Since the 27th of May, Istanbulites from all social and political backgrounds and ages and from all over the city had been continuing a peaceful resistance in Gezi Park, the city's largest public park, soon to be demolished due to a so-called renewal project. This Project foresees the erection of a big mall (designed as the replica of the once Ottoman Artillery Barracks) in the place of those trees. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgBRGl341ZA http://www.bianet.org/english/english/147016-demonstrators-plant-trees-against-destruction-in-taksim-gezi-park
The police intervened in the park 3 times, each more violent than the other:
The first intervention was in the morning of May 28th, a crowd of about 50 protestors were tear-gassed directly in their faces. http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/201305302148-0022796
In solidarity with the protestors, hundreds arrived in the evening and the occupation movement grew bigger. Right afterwards, the second intervention came early in the morning of May 30th at 5 am. The riot police set fire to the tents and tear gas and pepper sprays were used incessantly, causing serious injuries. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suEVcTIpzxA&list=UUNwGZGYteEB64ywTGCn0w2g&index=2 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/protester-to-undergo-surgery-after-morning-police-intervention-at-taksim-park--.aspx?pageID=238&nID=47878&NewsCatID=341
Against this inhumanity and extreme violence, the reaction was the occupation of the park, this time by thousands.
And this morning proved to be the culmination of violence and barbarism that no words can describe, with an unproportional use of force. The exit of the park was blocked by the police, thus locking the group in the park. The protester were then taken under crossfire of tear gas and pepper bombs, nearly getting choked to death. The only way out was by breaking the walls and many were wounded during this escape. http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/protester-to-undergo-surgery-after-morning-police-intervention-at-taksim-park--.aspx?pageID=238&nID=47878&NewsCatID=341
At the moment, brutal intervention against the protestors continues. The group has been pepper-sprayed and tear-gassed once more as they were leaving the area after reading their press call! At the moment, some are in Divan Hotel at Elmadag, having taken refuge there from the effect of the gas attacks.
Literally, almost all of Taksim Area, where Gezi Park is, is tear-gassed and
pepper gas-sprayed; especially the side streets around Taksim Square are under clouds of gas.
Dear friends, we believe we need nothing else to add; the scenes talk for themselves.
The resistance for democracy and human rights will not be terminated; we are determined to continue our struggle against a government determined to crush each and every opposition, a government that cannot tolerate even a peaceful opposition for saving trees. The present Turkish government has violated all international human rights conventions and mechanisms it is a party to.
Your valuable support and solidarity will indeed fortify our determination and resistance. Please share this news, name it and shame and blame the responsibles so that this insanity and brutality practiced against human rights defenders can be terminated through international pressure.
CALL TO THE INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITEE
This is also a call to the IOC to take Turkey out of its list of 2020.
If Olympics means friendship, if Olympic Games mean peace and companionship, these videos are enough proof of how the government violates the ideals of Olympics. Having Istanbul on the list will be tantamount to pepper-gassing these ideals.
In the name of solidarity and friendship
Urban Movements Istanbul / Habitat International Coalition
Aslı Odman http://independent.academia.edu/AsliOdman