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In Istanbul, just 1.5% of the land is devoted to public green space, of which nine acres are located in Gezi park. On Monday, construction crews began the demolition of the park to make way for a shopping mall. Protests of the demolition grew from around 50 people on Monday to around 10,000 by Thursday night, despite the use of pepper-spray and tear-gas to disperse protesters. Friday morning saw the most aggressive use of force yet, with police using water cannons and excessive force in an attempt to clear the park of people delivering speeches, chanting, singing, and preparing camps.
NOTE: All times are in Istanbul’s time zone.
UPDATE (June 1, 5:26 AM): We have started putting together a Twitter list of people tweeting in English about #OccupyGezi. You can also follow that for up-to-the-minute information. If you have suggestions for people to be added (or removed) from the list, please tweet at us.
UPDATE (June 1, 7:43 PM):
We’ve compiled a short list of recommended readings on Occupy Gezi. If you have suggestions for articles, books, or websites to be added, please tweet at us.
The Right to the City Movement and the Turkish Summer
Everywhere is Taksim, Resistance Everywhere
Istanbul Taksim Gezi Park is Not About Trees
Protests in Turkey Part of Growing Cycle of Discontent
Solidarity with Istanbul
Violence, Tear Gas Greet Protests to Save One of the Last Public Parks in Istanbul
Gezi Park: Towards a New Political Consensus?
ReclaimIstanbul.com is a good resource for background on the fight over urban space in Istanbul.
As yesterday was our 8th consecutive day of live blogging, we realized that was unsustainable for us, as an all-volunteer collective, to continue to update this live blog in a responsible way without letting some facets of this story slip through the cracks. We started this live blog because there was a lack of reliable and timely info coming out of Turkey, especially in English. We’re proud to say that for a few days we did a better job covering breaking news coming out of Turkey than major outlets with budgets 1,000 times our size. Now there are numerous resources available in English (see below). We believe this live blog played its role and can now function as an archive of the beginning of this movement.
- Al Jazeera English live blog
- Occupy Gezi English Facebook page
- Bianet English – Turkish alternative media website, not just covering the protests
- Translating Taksim – blog dedicated to translating information from Turkey
- Translate for Gezi – another blog similar to the above
- Mashallah News’s Twitter list
Special thanks to our team of volunteer translators who made our coverage possible.
Protest picture from Hatay (Antioch), and translation from the Facebook account of Yusef Gören:
The banners read (from left to right):
Murderous police shall account for this.”
“Comrade Abdullah is our pride.”
”If you’re an ‘asik’, strum the ‘baglama’* / If you’re a cop, throw the gas / If you’re Erdogan, flee to Morocco!”
*: “baglama” is a traditional Anatolian string instrument. “asik” is the one who performs it, can be translated as ‘bard’ or ‘poet’.
Seda Öz submitted a personal account from Ankara:
I spent last weekend with my sister at Kizilay, Ankara. There was a taxi driver, who didn’t want to take us there, there was also one, who told us “Abla, we’ll go as much as we can together, then you’ll walk the rest. And don’t forget your gas masks”. While in Kizilay, all we did was to say “How nice is Guven Park, what a nice weather” and chanting some protests. There was nothing violent about any of them. Then police started using tear gas. Holding hands with my sister, we were trying to find our way in a cloud of gas. Cloud or not we weren’t seeing anything anyway because our eyes were tearing up so badly due to the gas. At that moment, 2 young men pulled us towards a sheltered corner, gave their last lemon to us and told “Use this lemon on your eyes and eat the rest”. When we told them “but then you’re not going to have any lemon for yourself”, they replied “don’t worry, we’ll find someone who will share their lemons with us as well”. This was my weekend in Ankara.
I saw plenty of beautiful cities but Ankara, you’re the one for me, no other city can replace you in my heart.
On Sunday June 2nd, the anti-capitalist Islamic group “Revolutionary Muslims” [Devrimci Müslümanlar] posted an open letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on their Facebook page. “Revolutionary Muslims” were among the first groups to occupy Gezi Park in protest against its destruction. The letter is written by Islamic intellectual and author Recep Kaya. Mashallah News has published a translation of the letter into English.
“When we voted for you, we voted because we were tired of being seen as “second class citizens”! Today, you have implemented the oppression we have suffered to those who oppose you. Our sisters who you told to comfortably work and study in their headscarves voted for you but today you don’t let youth with different political thought be comfortable even at school.
Files were kept on us because we prayed, worship will be our freedom you said, and we voted for you, today plainclothes police and religious brotherhood membersgo as far as the countryside to keep files on the youth of the families who voted for you. We voted for you because we were exposed to persecution and today you have come to practice it. We were tortured by the military, our sisters couldn’t go to swearing-in ceremonies so we voted for you, today you’ve transformed this country into a police-dominated state where we’ve become afraid to walk in the street.”
A year ago, Mashallah News conducted an interview with Turkish architect Cem Kozar about the destruction of Istanbul’s architectural heritage.
“In 2010, architects Cem Kozar and Işıl Ünal of PATTU agency presented an alternative history of Istanbul, virtually restoring 12 buildings throughout the city that had been destroyed by urban planning decisions, political events or natural disasters. Their city-wide exhibition was primarily a critique of the megalopolis’ uncontrolled urban sprawl, which has resulted in the premature destruction of many historic buildings. The young architects challenge the government: Why destroy and rebuild, when architecture can upgrade historic buildings?”
Read more background on Cem Kozar and Işıl Ünal’s work here, and watch the interview (with architectural pictures for reference) below.
Alternative media website Bianet reports that discussion of a bill on the Preservation of Nature and Biological diversity, scheduled for today in Parliament, was suspended.
Bill Proposal on the Preservation of Nature and Biological Diversity – a draft law that was expected to be discussed by the parliament yesterday – has been suspended as the trees in Gezi Park became the symbol of rebellion in Turkey.
Bianet also includes a list of some perceived problems with the bill, according to leftists and environmentalists:
When we look at the rationale and totality of the draft, we observe that it aims to open environment, biological and landscape to usage and ensure the sustainability of consumption.
The bill holds the Ministry of Environment and Urbanism in charge of the determination of preservation sites. This does not only prevent independent feedback from scientific institutions and participation of citizens, but also threatens local protection measures and allow exclusively politicians to decide on natural and protection areas.
More than 1,200 natural protection areas (SIT) will be off-listed.
Read the full article for more.
Kardeş Türküler’ song for Occupy Gezi, “The Sound of Pots and Pans.” The banging of household pots and pans as a form of protest has been heard widely in neighborhoods across Turkey for the past week.
This morning, seven national newspapers all ran the same headline, a phrase from Erdoğan’s speech last night. The headline translates as “We would lay down our lives for democratic demands.” Zaman is the most widely read newspaper in Turkey.
Seedlings are being planted in Gezi Park to replace the trees that have been uprooted. Source: Gezi Medya
A map for finding one’s way around Gezi Park. Includes: infirmary, food station, kitchen, doctor, pharmacy, clothing, library, press room, and more. Source
A photo of solidarity protesters standing on top of the ancient city walls in Amed (Diyarbakır) in the Kurdish Southeast. Banner reads: “A thousand greetings from Amed to the resistance.”
Here is a link to the full English translation of PM Erdoğan’s speech at the airport last night. Translated by Ayşe Zarakolu of University of Cambridge.
11th morning in Taksim Square.
To visualize urban change in Istanbul and get a lot of contextual information, you can watch Ekümenopolis (2011), a film shot by İmre Azem, by clicking on the picture below.
Istanbul`s rapid urbanization and its neoliberal transformation, that shifted planning priorities, are discussed in the documentary Ekümenopolis: City without limits, directed by İmre Azem. The film does not only focus on issues around transportation challenges, which have arose due to the city`s urbanization throughout the last years, but also questions the transformation process and its dynamics. Interviews with experts, academics, writers, investors, city-dwellers and community leaders make the film become a holistic experience.
Nice series of photos taken yesterday in Taksim by Murat Germen.
Amnesty International released a video urging Turkey to stop the police violence. In the video, Amnesty researcher Andrew Gardner gives an account of the protests and the use of police violence in Turkey.
A photo from Espark in Eskişehir. The banner reads: “This area has been expropriated by the people of Eskişehir!”
The feminist tent in Gezi Park. The banners say: “The love of men kills 3 women every day. We revolt!” and “our bodies/ our labor/ our identity / is ours.”
A stencil from unknown location/artist:
The ones below are from Ankara. They say “Vinegaaaar!” and “Lemooon!” in reference to the tear gas remedies that protesters use.
“We will die for you, Erdogan”
Earlier this evening, as Prime Minister Erdoğan returned from a trip to the Maghreb, Al Jazeera reported that over 10,000 supporters of the PM showed up at a rally to welcome him at the Atatürk airport in Istanbul.
More than 10,000 supporters flocked to the airport late on Thursday, chanting “We will die for you, Erdogan”.
Istanbul Municipality ruled by Erdogan’s AK Party extended the metro hours until 4am (local time) to allow his supporters to commute to the airport more easily.
Emre Kızılkaya notes the difference in tone between demonstrations at the airport and in Gezi Park:
— Emre KIZILKAYA (@ekizilkaya) 6 Juin 2013
Apparently, during Erdoğan’s trip to Morocco, he was not received by Moroccan King Mohammed VI.
Below are some photos from today and tonight in Ankara.
All photos by Ömer Kavuk.
Below are some photos from İzmir earlier today.
Protesters camp out near the Alsancak pier. Source
An Ege University professor took his lesson to the seaside where all his students were protesting. Source
Taksim Solidarity called a rally from Galatasaray to Taksim Square starting at 7pm to remember all who have been injured and killed as a result of police violence around the country. Below is a photo from earlier tonight.
Solidarity protesters in Tunisia during Erdoğan’s visit.
Kenan Evren, military commander who led the 1980 coup and was president of Turkey 1980-99. This newspaper clip quotes his 30 August message from 1984. The headline says “Çapulcu will learn their lesson” and the text following it quotes his condemnation of “those who seek ways outside the system, those who see their individual benefits above the country’s,” stating that Turkish armed forces will always be against them. This is either or both a reference to radical leftist groups and/or the Kurdish movement.
In 1984, when PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) took its first armed action and attacked a police station in Eruh, then PM Turgut Özal was reported to have said it was the work of “3-5 çapulcu.“ 7:23 PM The urban geography of the protests over the first couple days, by Kerim Bayer (via Turkish economist @sevincrende)
Creative video (with English subtitles) by the workers of Turkish Airlines, who have been on strike since May 15.
Hürriyet Daily News reported the 4th death in protests as a policeman named Mustafa Sarı who fell off a bridge while chasing protesters in Adana: “A police commissioner has succumbed to injuries sustained on June 5 after he fell from a bridge while pursuing protesters in the southern province of Adana. Mustafa Sarı fell from the five-meter-high bridge during protests in Adana in support for the Gezi Park movement and was taken to a local public hospital. Critically injured, Sarı was later transferred to Yüreğir Başkent Hospital where he was pronounced dead.” Source: Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish daily Radikal reports that 4 Erasmus exchange students are facing deportation after being detained for participating in the protests. One of them is French national Lorraine Klein, detained on Tuesday in Taksim. She has also been prevented from sitting for her final exams at Galatasaray University. Her professor Özgürol Öztürk told Radikal that Klein was at the protests to write a news article in response to a call by Le Monde. It was also reported that she sustained injuries to her head and arm.
PM Erdoğan held a press conference in Tunisia during his last day on official North Africa trip. He announced that the redevelopment of Gezi Park and Taksim Square will go on as planned.When asked to comment on deputy PM Bülent Arınç’s apology for “excessive violence” against protesters, Erdogan did not repeat the apology but stated that his deputy made the necessary statements. The Turkish stock market fell by 6% shortly after the PM’s comments.
New York Times put out a call to send images documenting the change of public space in Istanbul: “At the heart of the protests gripping Turkey this week is a debate over the changing physical landscape of Istanbul. As Tim Arango reports, the development of Istanbul reflects a struggle between what some consider progress and what others view as the autocratic ambitions of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Where have you seen the most dramatic change? Show us how Istanbul’s public spaces have transformed in the past 10 years. Send us one photograph that encapsulates this change, of a location either as it was in the past or as it is today. We will publish a selection of the photos and comments.” See the original here.
LGBTs in Gezi Park Photo source
It was Miraç Kandili (Isra and Mir’aj) last night, a holy night for Muslims which marks Mohammed’s ascent to heaven. Below are some related highlights from the night.
The football fan group Çarşı distributed kandil simidi in front of Dolmabahçe Bezm-i Alem Valide Sultan Mosque, and thanked the imam who opened the mosque’s doors to protesters during clashes to be used as an infirmary run by volunteer doctors.
Photo source 26-year old Ethem Sarısülük becomes the third person killed in protests. He was in intensive care since June 3rd after sustaining a head injury in the protests in Ankara. It is unclear whether Sarısülük was shot in the head by a live bullet. BDP (Peace and Democracy Party) MP Ertuğrul Kürkçü hadsubmitted a question to the parliament on Monday, asking whether orders to shoot were given to police in Ankara.
34 people were arrested in Izmir yesterday for“spreading untrue information to incite anti-government sentiment.” 29 have since been released, according to IHA.
PM Erdoğan had denounced Twitter in his speech, calling it a “menace to society.” This is the cover of comics mag Leman from yesterday.
A DISK worker in Taksim.
Workers walking with DISK flags in Taksim Square. The graffiti on the wall reads: “Tayyip, this is the beginning of the end.” (Tayyip is the first name of PM Erdoğan.)
Leading the unions’ walk to Taksim. Source: Nar Photos.
We wrote about Arıkan’s digital art on Mashallah News in 2011, read it here to learn more about his work.
Also earlier tonight a resurgence of violence began in Ankara and was as of this writing ongoing.
According to the reporter of the segment in Haber Türk, recorded and now online, police warned protesters to leave and then attacked with water cannons and riot control vehicles five minutes later. (This is a link to the same segment on YouTube)
A statement was released by the Sociology Students Collective of Ankara, translated below:
Even a group of 10 people can be exposed to police brutality with no questions asked.
GREETINGS FROM ANKARA TO ALL THE RESISTANCE IN TAKSIM!!!
As you know, almost everyone in Ankara have flooded the streets beginning May 31st to support Occupy Gezi Park and to protest the narcissistic impatience the government, especially PM Erdogan, exerted upon the people of Turkey. The streets and squares have been barricaded. People have supported the movement with pans and spoons [making noise], protected the protesters by greeting them in their homes. However the police, backed up by their previous violent interventions and the rumors of agent provocateurs in the crowd propagated by the government and the mass media, attacked the crowd even with an unprecedentedly disproportional force. Today, the police attacked Kizilay Square with 7 TOMA [armed with water cannon] and 7 Scorpion [crowd control] vehicle and countless police officers. The police officers attacked Kizilay Square, followed by Sakarya Blvd., Ziya Gokalp Blvd., Kolej, Kurtulus Park, then by Kennedy Blvd., Tunali Hilmi Blvd. and finally Kugulu Park, while the only announcement they made was “There are agent provocateurs in the crowd, they plan to attack us, break the crowd.” Yet no one have attacked them. Despite this fact, tens of people were injured by the police officers near Kizilay Mall, the police used rubber bullets in Guvenpark and Sakarya. Right now, even a group of 10 people -even if they are in the group by pure coincidence, can be exposed to police brutality with no questions asked and can be broken away. Moreover, the media is trying to spread the word that the situation is in a better shape; the TV channels broadcasting live from Taksim Square are not mentioning what is happening in other cities like Ankara, Dersim, Hatay, Rize or even Besiktas [which is about a mile away from Taksim].
In short, Ankara is resisting no matter what. However, we don’t want hundreds of people in Taksim to be silent against the police brutality we have suffered. Please hear our call. Protest the police brutality happening in Ankara. Inform people about the rumors of the government concerning agent provocateurs within the crowds. Ankara is in bad shape, the police terror goes on in Ankara and in suburbs, speak up.
For all the honorable people of the country, we are proud of you…
A photo from the Gazi neighborhood of Ankara tonight:
And another from Ankara:
Tonight saw an explosion of violence in Rize, a city located in northeastern Turkey, along the Black Sea. Translation of tweet below, from the Twitter account of leftist website Sendika.org: “Fascists who have attacked KESK (Confederation of Public Workers’ Unions) action this morning later attacked ADD (Atatürk Thought Association) and TGB (Union of Turkey Youth.) 50-100 people still stranded in ADD building.”
Rize’de sabah KESK’in eylemine saldıran faşistler, daha sonra ADD ve TGB’ye saldırdı. Hala 50 ila 100 kişi ADD binasında mahsur bulunu
— sendika.org (@sendika_org) 5 Juin 2013
This latter tweet is a reference to the Sivas Massacre in 1993 which resulted in the killing of several Alevi intellectuals.
Finally, at 11:10 PM, the Twitter account of Taksim Solidarity tweeted (translated): “The tension in Rize is over. Protests continue in Hopa Kemalpaşa to remind people that Rize will not be Madımak.”
Resistance activist Kaan Dayı reports from the frontlines (06/02/2013 Istanbul):
“Some information on the chemical weapons used on people by the police in Istanbul:
The ammo used by the police are riot control weapons. They are 15 kinds of them. I witnessed the below being used in Istanbul.
GL – 310 (The white canisters with blue words on it): Tear gas bomb produced by the company called CONDOR. I can call this the mildest among them. The bomb that rolled right next to my foot.
You can find the company’s list of inventory here.
GL – 202 (The little metal fuse): Police shoots this with a rifle looking weapon and the fuse travels long range. This is pepper spray. I don’t think anyone needs to hear what it does to you. This bomb is also produced by CONDOR, you can see it at the link above. The fuse police uses to shoot long range.
The bomb that went online as “the historic bomb”; DEFENSE -TECHNOLOGIES 1092(Han-Ball).
It’s an advanced pepper spray. It’s being produced in the USA by Defense Technologies.
The spray exerted on the “girl with the red dress” on the first day of Gezi Park resistance is pepper spray. Also called wet pepper spray. This substance is more effective than the bombs. It’s extremely irritative. Used in short range. Stay away from this. If you are subjected to it, along with applying vinegar, lemon, etc, try to clean it off of your skin and eyes. It will burn more because its wet.
And there is also the CN gas which I never handled or saw, but am sure I was subjected to yesterday by the Inonu stadium. This is ten times worse than pepper spray. It’s strong enough to cause lasting damage.
Rest assured, there was no use of Agent Orange. If it had been used, it would cause lasting damage not only to the resistance but also to vegetation and the police themselves. This is a weapon of mass distruction and it would not be used in the middle of a metropolis, no matter how mad the police gets. This gas is colorless.”
Graphic of Taksim Solidarity’s demands.
— Taksim Dayanışması (@taksimdayanisma) 5 Juin 2013
Flowers in Antakya where Abdullah Cömert was killed.
@mriamonde has been tweeting about police violence in Ankara.
Watch a livestream from the protests in Ankara here.
The Kurdish Communities Union has released a statement on the protests:
The protests which started 9 days ago and strengthened around the events in Gezi Park, exhibit a significant picture. The use of water cannons, truncheon’s and tear-gas by the police against the development of a civilian democratic reflex, is the adoption of an anti-democratic sovereign, nation-state mentality. The Kurdish people who have experienced state-violence the most, know exactly what this violence means. The use of such police violence against the civilian society by the AKP is a clear rejection and contradiction to the soul of the currently on-going Democratic Peace Process. The Democratic Peace Process is not only a process aiming to resolve the Kurdish question but is a critical period aiming to democratise the whole of Turkey. In order to democratise and become a civil, democratic country, violence and a militarised personality needs to be demolished. However, despite the AKP pushing the armed forces back, the domination of the police into the scene leaves the same nature of violence to exist. The perspective of the Democratic Peace Process is to create a new and democratic Turkey. The civilian reflex against the intervention of the government into the private lives of individuals and attacking their green, living spaces, has presented a definitive, communal stance. The use of police violence to repress the use of this freedom has posed a messy result.
Similar to other “Occupy” protests, the site of occupation itself retains a festival-like atmosphere.
[Notice the sign in the back. The death of Comert (see previous posts on the liveblog) remains a rallying point for protesters against police violence.]
[Cleaning in front of the open park library.]
Source: Nar Photos
Top left: Are you sure you want 3 kids like us? (A reference to Erdoğan’s exhortation that all Turkish families should have 3 children) Top right: “Gassed and Furious.” A play on the “Fast and Furious” films – “Hizli ve Öfkeli” in in Turkish) Bottom left: ”They said you can’t make revolution in a day. We did and it will be.” Bottom right: Playing on the “everyday I’m shuffling” meme. See our previous post on the use of the word “çaplucu” in the protests.
— ASLI TUNC (@aslitunc) 4 Juin 2013
The English translation of a statement released today by Taksim Solidarity, who have been involved in the protests since May 27. Taksim Solidarity is now a coalition of groups that are organising activities in Gezi Park.
Sadly the government has been pursuing violence, pressure and prohibition to respond to the people’s demands.
To the Government of the Turkish Republic and the Public
The citizens of Turkey have been voicing their democratic opposition against the police brutality that followed the manifestation of social awareness by people concerning the demolition of trees in Taksim Gezi Park at 22.00 on May 27th, 2013.
First and foremost, we share the pain of the families of Abdullah Cömert and Mehmet Ayvalıtaş who lost their lives in the events, and wish speedy recovery to thousands of citizens who were injured.
Sadly the government has been pursuing violence, pressure and prohibition to respond to the people’s demands which concern democracy and human rights. Let it be know that we are working hard to establish a social climate in which democratic demands can be voiced without a nose bleed through the eradication of tensions.
To this end, as Taksim Solidarity we ask that the government take concrete steps to realize our demands that follow:
That Gezi Park remain as a park. There will be no construction on Gezi Park, be it under the name of Topçu Kışlası or otherwise. We demand that an official statement be made concerning the cancellation of this project and any plans towards the demolition of Atatürk Cultural Center be immediately be stopped.
That the Governors of İstanbul, Hatay, Ankara as well as the police chiefs who have denied the people their democratic rights, ordered or implemented severe oppression and violence injuring many and killing two citizens be taken from duty.
That the use of tear-gas and such substances be banned.
That those who have been arrested for their participation in the protests across the country be immediately released and an official statement be made that they will not be charged.
That the ban on demonstrations in all squares, parks and public spaces areas such Taksim Square and Kızılay be rescinded, both officially and in practice – especially for May Day
We also believe that the content, spirit, hopes and demands that have been voiced in the squares, streets and all public spaces since May 27th, 2013 22.00 should be heard and taken into consideration by officials. Trying to designate what transpired onto “marginal groups” is turning a blind eye to it. It is clear that the mentality of governing that has crystallized in the intervention on Gezi Park is perceived by a large public, including women, men, young and old alike, as an “assault and condescension on their lifestyle and beliefs,” and we are responding “we exist, we are here and we have demands”.
The content of the rising opposition include “the assault on our ecological resources caused by the 3rd bridge project, 3rd airport, Canal İstanbul, Atatürk Forest Farm in Ankara, and the small-scale hydroelectric dam projects; the objections towards the government’s Protection of Natural and Biological Diversity Draft Law; the opposition to the war mentality towards our country and our region and the demand for peace; the sensibilities of Alevite citizens and the rightful demands of those who are disenfranchised by urban transformation; the voices raised against the patriarchal policies that are governing the bodies of female citizens; the push-back against pressures on Universities, the juridical system and artists; the demands of Turkish Airlines workers on strike and all workers against the encroachment on their rights; all struggles against discrimination due to sexual orientation and gender identities; citizens demands that all obstacles in their access to education and health-care be removed.
New entry on Wikipedia: “Chapulling”, derived from Erdogan’s speech where he used the word ”çapulcu”, which means looter or marauder, when talking about the peaceful protesters.
Why the protests in Istanbul happened
Bülent Journal (@BulentJournal) is translating from Turkish to English and tweeting it all on #WhatHappenedInMay
Photo update from Taksim Square by @myriamonde
Istanbul Bilgi University did a survey (in Turkish) with input from 3000 demonstrators in Gezi Parki. Here’s a brief translation in English:
via Özge Ersoy
The Turkish Medical Association released their latest data concerning the life toll.
A total of 4177 injured persons treated in hospitals and volunteer infirmaries. 2 dead, 43 severly wounded, 15 severe head traumas, 10 eye losses.
Istanbul: 1505 injured (880 treated in hospitals and 625 in volunteer infirmaries); 12 severely wounded, 1 dead. 26 in-patients, 5 intensive care, 2 in life-threatening condition (head trauma)
Ankara: 1088 injured (788 treated in hospitals and 300 in volunteer infirmaries); 19 severely wounded, 6 head traumas, 3 vision loss, 1 in critical condition and 5 blinded.
İzmir: 800 injured; 2 severe.
Antakya: 1 dead.
Adana: 117 injured; 5 severe, 5 head traumas.
Eskişehir: 300 injured; 3 severe, 2 intensive care, 1 head trauma.
Muğla: 50 injured; 1 severe, 1 risk of losing vision.
Bursa: 2 injured; head trauma.
Balıkesir: 155 injured.
Kocaeli: 10 injured
Antalya: 150 injured; 1 eye loss.
More data forthcoming from Çanakkale, Samsun, Mersin and Antakya.
Happy 5 June World Environment Day!
Yesterday, Deputy PM Bülent Arınç offered a partial apology to for the violent police crackdown on protesters. Representatives from Taksim Solidarity will meet Arınç at the PM’s office today at 11 AM to convey demands.
Photo source: Radikal
Taksim Solidarity Press Release (in Turkish)
Delilim Var is a tumblr blog which collects and archives photos and videos submitted by protesters which document both police and civil violence. They use the hashtag #DelilimVar to collect submissions on Twitter.
Warning: some submissions include graphic content.
A few days ago, we had reported on the alleged “thugs” whose photos were making the rounds in social media, reportedly following police and beating protesters with clubs. Izmir Police Directorate confirmed today that these individuals are plain-clothes police, not civilians. The Ministry of Interior Affairs has started an investigation on the matter.
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations has issued a press briefing yesterday:
“We are concerned about reports of excessive use of force by law enforcement officers against protestors who initially gathered to express their dissatisfaction with the redevelopment of the historic Taksim square – an important venue for political protests – and Gezi Park, and against others who joined demonstrations to support them throughout Turkey.
We welcome the acknowledgment on the part of authorities that disproportionate force may have been used and their call for an investigation of law enforcement officers who are alleged to have broken the law and violated international human rights standards. Such investigations should be prompt, thorough, independent and impartial, and perpetrators should be brought to justice.
There have also been reports that a high number of people have been arrested and dozens have been injured throughout Turkey. All those injured must have prompt access to medical care and human rights safeguards during arrest and detention must be upheld to avoid unlawful or arbitrary detentions.
We call on the Government of Turkey to ensure that the right to freedom of peaceful assembly is fully respected and urge protestors to ensure that demonstrations remain peaceful.
We encourage the authorities to enter into a genuine dialogue with the civil society, including neighbourhood associations, on the urban projects in the Taksim square and Gezi park.”
The photo below has been circulating in social media all day. It calls on protesters to respect the Muslim holy day of Miraç Kandili, which celebrates prophet Mohammad’s ascent to heaven and will take place the night of June 5th this year. On the left bottom part of the peace sign, it says: “No alcohol / No quarrels / No swearing / No provocation / NO VIOLENCE.” On the right of it we read “Have Respect / Have Peace / Pray / Protest / Have some Kandil Simidi! [the traditional baked good for the holy-day]” A friend who shares the call on Facebook adds: “To clarify, this is not a request to ban the alcohol, it’s about being respectful to others and -most of all- being respectful to the cause.”
Another place where clashes are taking place is Dersim. Clashes started at around 8:50 PM and have been intensifying since. Below is a picture of protesters building barricades.
We posted about the mass arrests in Ankara the other day, people were being gathered in gyms and made to wait for hours. A volunteer translated a first-hand account. Original post in Turkish comes from what seems to be a reliable Facebook account opened in 2007. Here is an excerpt:
” … Some people protesting on Monday were smashed up and cornered by the police as we all know. We … were cornered at a mall near Kizilay. … a group of policeman and SWAT officers brought us downstairs and asked us to get on the floor. …around 10PM, we were thrown in a basketball arena close by the headquarters, with 300 people at least. … We were there from 10PM to 2PM next day, with some water only given during the first hours. The restrooms were open only for the first 1-2 hours, they gave us no food at all. … Mock lawyers came to make us sign some stupid documents and take our photos. Most of our comrades had to accept this but about 50-60 people including me resisted, claiming we won’t sign anything without our lawyers. Later, some lawyers from the bar came to support and defend us within their full power. …Later, we learned that at 10PM next day, our legal 24 hours under custody time was up and the police did not let us go. We were threatened and by the police officers when we had the legal right to walk away from custody. Of course, they immediately issued an extension of custody and everything was swept under the rug right before our very eyes. We were interrogated after long hours of wait, under pressure and censure. Then, we were dispatched to another hospital again to be “examined” at a distance only by the words “Are you doing OK?” and finally we have been released.We were called “terrorist” explicitly because we were protesting. …WE ARE PROUD to be there [protests] and I’ll go there as soon as I feel better! They detained us to keep us from protesting but we never regretted, we were never worn out. Please don’t ever give up because I came to understand that they did what they did because THEY ARE TERRIFIED OF US.”
Gezi Park Library
A diverse crowd of demonstrators in Istanbul: here lawyers at the Caglayan courthouse
Via Diren Gezi Parkı.
An image from Gezi Parki earlier today, posted by Ötekilerin Postası.
At noon today, a strike was announced by KESK and a warning action by DİSK, the Revolutionary Workers Unions Conference with 100 000 members. They will continue tomorrow as well. DİSK just announcedthat there will be a work stoppage tomorrow June 5. Here’s an English translation of parts of the Turkish text:
“DİSK goes to strike and takes to streets against the AKP dictatorship.
DİSK’s Council of Presidents held an emergency meeting regarding the accumulated resentment of AKP’s rule into a growing country-wide reaction. The council evaluated the decision of Gezi Park Resistance and DISK Board to spread the so-called ‘Protests to warn against AKP’s dictatorship.’
From the very first day, DİSK has been with the people in streets. The demonstrators are from a variety of different political backgrounds and have all taken a stand against the policies of plundering.
In accordance with the decisions taken by the board, DİSK supported the resistance in a disciplined fashion, without asserting its institutional identity.
At this point, the DİSK board and Council of Presidents have decided to express DİSK’s open support to put the so-called ‘Conditions of resistance’ into practice.”
“You took our graveyard, you cannot take our park.” Armenians of Turkey
From Qatar-based cartoonist Khalid Al-Baih: a cartoon of Erdogan.
Clashes began in Antakya following the funeral of the Abdullah Cömert, the second protester killed. Cömert was buried around 6PM tonight and clashes started shortly after. They were still ongoing at 2.28 AM, according to sendika.org.
Last year we did an interview with Khalid Al-Baih, find it here.
“C’mon sweetie! We’re going to the park!”
Turkish PM Tayyip Erdoğan embarked on a four-day official visit to Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia yesterday morning to bolster foreign policy in North Africa. A protester in Gezi Park holds a sign that says “Resist Africa” in response.
A line of 200 people building barricades below Taşkışla by passing stones hand-to-hand.
“This video displays all geolocated tweets related to the #occupygezi #direngezipark protests in Istanbul, from May 31 to June 3, 2013. It shows the high volume of activity on Twitter over this period, and how the protest started in Gezi Park but then spread to the entire city in the matter of hours.”
“Gezi Park has displayed a heterotopic character—bringing diverse groups of anarchist-activists, urban grassroots organizations (e.g., Taksim Platform, which has been organizing against the transformation of the Gezi Park is a main one, itself composed of a number of movements and associations), neighborhood associations, various socialist groups and platforms, football fan groups, LGBT groups, artists, precarious service/professional class, some trade unions, university and high school students, professionals like academics, doctors, lawyers, city planners, some parliamentary members, and just ordinary citizens, some of which have come out to protest under such conditions of police violence for the first time in their lives. What brings these groups into a chain of equivalence is that they are positioned against the top down and increasingly authoritarian neoliberal governance of the AKP, or perhaps even more narrowly, the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.”
What is happening in Istanbul?, a platform which has been set up by activists on the ground to provide accurate information about the protests, published the video linked below. The video summarizes the events of last week in 7 minutes, in English.
Linked below is a video of a volunteer doctor trying to coordinate medical students who were volunteering yesterday to treat the wounded in the protests in Dolmabahce Mosque in Besiktas, Istanbul.
We have three materials in our hands: Pain killers, ventolin (inhaler), first aid. To those who are short of breath, give ventolin. Painkillers to those in pain. Tend to the ones that require sutures.
“Guys, we are not at med school. We are not at a hospital. We have three materials in our hands: Pain killers, ventolin (inhaler), first aid. To those who are short of breath, give ventolin. Painkillers to those in pain. Tend to the ones that require sutures. There are orthopedists here. Direct them and trauma victims to the center. (…) Those with limited knowledge or those that are still in school, interns, generalists will be gathered towards the right. Otherwise, we are creating chaos here and nothing else. You are excited and you want to help. But emergency treatment does not work like this, especially in a mosque.. People with breathing problems this way, and the trauma victims under the lights. Wrap the wounds, stitch them up, provide pain killers. You cannot do anything else. Measuring blood pressure will not do any good. Listening to their breathing at length will not work, you cannot put a breathing tube, you cannot operate. This is a mosque. Do what is necessary and we will guide you. Other than that you are creating chaos. Stay calm and try to maintain 3-4 doctors by the patients. If you are not sure about something, seek guidance. Direct the patients to where they should go . There is nothing else you can do.”
The director of Hatay Medical Association and Hatay Governorateconfirmed the death of Abdullah Cömert. Cömert died from a head wound he received from a live bullet around 11.35 PM. The shooter is unidentified at present and an investigation is underway.
Cömert’s death is the second confirmed in the protests.
Opposition party CHP (Republican People’s Party) confirmed that a member of their youth wing, Abdullah Cömert, was shot in the head with a bullet and died during the protests in Antakya (Hatay.)
We are waiting for confirmation from independent sources.
Taksim from above at 12.30AM
A recommended interview with Professor David Harvey conducted by the Tarlabaşı Istanbul blog on urban renewal, gentrification, and the class segregation of cities.
Another reminder that the protests are not “just about a park.” The third Bosphorus Bridge is emblematic of the same problematic and exclusive decision-making processes that go into urban planning in Istanbul as those which are behind the Gezi Park project. Jay Cassano writes in Jadaliyya: “If built, the third bridge is expected to complete Istanbul’s deforestation by subjecting the northern Belgrade Forest to development. The third bridge is another example of the AKP’s development-driven, car-oriented designs for Istanbul, with complete disregard for the viability of the city in ecological and social terms.”
Image via Tarlabaşı Istanbul
Civil engineer Professor Dr. Semih Tezcan said in a 2010 symposium that more public urban transportation is the answer: “The bridge traffic increases by seven percent every year. This means that we would have to build five bridges in 2010, and 15 bridges in 2015.” And he continued: “150,000 people a day can cross the bridge. Will that bring a solution to transportation problems? If there would be a rail transportation system, 1.5 million people a day could profit from it. That way, there would be no need for a bridge.”
“We will make flowers with your bombs”
Image via Ötekilerin Postası.
“It was never just about trees, but the accumulation of many incidents. With the world’s highest number of imprisoned journalists, thousands of political prisoners (trade unionists, politicians, activists, students, lawyers) Turkey has been turned into an open-air prison already.”
The first death in the protests has been confirmed by the Turkish Medical Association, which published a statement on the website of the daily Radikal. The deceased was a young man named Mehmet Ayvalıtaş, a member of Socialist Solidarity Platform (SODAP). He was run over by a vehicle in Istanbul’s 1 Mayıs Mahallesi (May Day Neighborhood) while he was protesting on TEM highway last night around 10PM. It was reported that the vehicle would not stop despite many warnings.
The Turkish Medical Association also reported a total of 1,845 injured in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, 2 of those in critical (“life-threatening”) condition. There are also reports of many injured in other cities, including Adana, Eskişehir, Gaziantep, Kocaeli, Antalya and Hatay, numbers still unconfirmed.
The Turkish Medical Association condemned the police violence in the protests, declaring most of the injuries resulted from pressurized water being aimed at bodies, tear gas canisters being shot at protesters as well as being directly aimed at bodies, and the shooting of rubber bullets from close range. Injuries include eye loss, skull fractures, and cerebral hemorrhaging.
As far as we can tell, this death was not the result of police violence. It is unclear if the death was accidental or not.
Below is a post translated from the live blog on Sendika.org, originally posted at 1:14 PM
“There are 560 detained in Ankara. 360 of these processed. 200 people are waiting in buses in front of the Police Directorate. The detained are being distributed to different jails in Ankara after a visit to Forensic Medicine. Lawyers are prevented from serving more than one client at a time. Thus, the police are preventing the detained from exercising some of their rights.”
Below is a photo of the “arrest buses” that protesters are being processed into that Sendika.org posted early this morning at 3:20 AM. According to Sendika.org, there were minors under the age of 18 detained last night and held for hours.
Inside the Lobby of Doğuş Center, NTV’s headquarters, employees want to join the protesters outside but security bars their exit.
More humor: a tweeter tries throwing some penguins into the picture to see if it helps Turkish media cover the protests. This is a reference to CNN Turk showing a documentary about penguins on June 2nd while CNN international broadcasted live from Taksim Square.
140journos posted this photo of Akaretler (Beşiktaş) from 5.20 AM. Streets seem to have calmed down a little while Istanbul gets some rest to prepare for a new day.
Sendika.org reports that DISK (Revolutionary Workers’ Unions Confederation), KESK (Confederation of Public Workers’ Unions) and other progressive labor-professional organizations will be meeting on the morning of 3 June and the possibility of general strike is on the agenda.
Ankara Branch No.5 of Egitim Sen also joins the call to strike. The poster below reads:
“Against the eradication of job security, forced relocations, flexible labor, rotations, exiles and drudgery; impoverishment and state terror, we are on strike on 3-4-5 June”
Below is a post translated from the website Sendika.org
Calls for unions to strike have started in order to be in solidarity with the people’s resistance and to protest the police attacks against the people. Istanbul Eğitim Sen (Education and Science Workers Union) Branch No 6 announced that they will be doing a work stoppage action on 3-4 June.
The call by Eğitim Sen Branch No 6 included these words:
We call on all our members and university workers to support our work stoppage action with the conscience and responsibility of these historic days, and to elevate our righteous (just?) struggle againgst AKP’s anti-labor policies and state terror.
THY (Turkish Airlines) strike which Hava-iş (Civil Aviation Union) had started on 15 May continues
There has been a lot of contention around some of the slogans shouted out yesterday and today, particularly around chants that are sexist or homophobic. Mashallah News contributor Cihan Tekay tweets out one such chant and the response.
Some protesters say “Son of a Whore Tayyip” & sex workers respond “We whores are sure that Tayyip is not our child” https://t.co/ehC8Ub46r7
— Cihan Tekay (@ctekay) 3 Juin 2013
Amazingly, despite widespread protest in every major city in Turkey, Erdogan seems set on visiting North Africa from June 3 – 6, according to the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (Turkey’s national public broadcasting network).
2000 protesters gathered in front of the NTV building to protest their lack of coverage. NTV started broadcasting live about the protests shortly after.
As we reported earlier (see previous tweets and our new article by Gezi Park occupier Lara Fresko), the main clashes have now moved from Taksim to Besiktas, and Turkey’s other cities are now also in a major state of unrest.
— Ivan Watson (@IvanCNN) 2 Juin 2013
Picture taken earlier today of a bakery in Istanbul: “Off to resist, will be back”.
We have a new piece written by one of the Gezi Park occupiers, Lara Fresko:
“This morning the city seemed quiet and rain was falling as if to clean the trees of tear-gas. What seems most hopeful is that such a mobilization was triggered by a will to protect Gezi Parkı. People from all walks of life came to support each other against police brutality and violence. This solidarity in the face of police violence symbolized the materialization of a discontent against neoliberalism and those guarding it. The chants heard during previous nights were filled with rage against the police, the current government and especially the prime minister. They communicated outrage against growing inequality, consuming, painful urban transformation and a total disregard for democratic values of participation.
Emre Kizilkaya from Hurriyet news reports that some of the protesters have released 4 demands:
some members of #occupygezi has just announced DEMANDS: 1) The park wont be destroyed. 2) The governor and the Police Chief must resign.
— Emre KIZILKAYA (@ekizilkaya) 2 Juin 2013
Over the day, crowds have been dispersing from Taksim to Besitktas, which is turning rather chaotic. Istanbul-based photojournalist Monique Jacques:
— Monique Jaques (@moniquejaques) 2 Juin 2013
One of the most time-consuming aspects of liveblogging is confirming and double-confirming the tweets, facebook shares, and photos. As we continue to cull our twitter list of reliable tweeps, @oemoral has stood out as a careful fact-checker and accurate source. He tweets from Izmir, where protests have grown rapidly over the past two days.
— Στράτος Μωραΐτης (@oemoral) 2 Juin 2013
For those wanting to know about the grassroots work done by activists in the past years before Occupy Gezi, check out this article Mashallah published last November about dissident art addressing the Taksim Square construction: “What Will Happen to Taksim Square?”
One of the longer-running precursors to Occupy Gezi is the Occupy Starbucks movement in Turkish universities over the past two years. AMashallah article on the Occupy Starbucks movementfrom January 2012 shows how these two movements are deeply connected through an underlying dispute: the privatization of previously accessible and public spaces in Turkey.
“The ruling junta and the subsequent administration of Turgut Özal began a long process of privatisation and neoliberal ‘structural adjustment’ of the country, a process from which the educational system was not exempt. Private universities were starting to be allowed, and universities like Boğaziçi now had to compete with them. Tuition was raised and scholarships cut. “‘This is the last straw’ is a line often heard from the occupiers. Starbucks, when it opened, became the symbolic tipping point. For the occupying students, cheap quality food availability is the explicit issue (the simmering cauldrons of pilav or beans which they distribute free of charge attest to their priorities), but they also see the occupation as a starting point; an open forum for discussing what is happening to higher education in Turkey.” Images from Starbucks in Istanbul today.
Great humor from the protests: “We’ll just put a little mall here.”
Earlier this evening Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (referred to as RTE on Twitter) gave a highly publicized and highly criticized speech about the protests. Below is a translation of excerpts from the speech, based on the report given here. Inside square brackets [ ] are contextual notes offered without opinion. Parentheses is original Turkish. We have provided some commentary after the excerpts. Excerpts from Erdogan’s speech:
We are undertaking the pedestrianization project of Taksim Square, and we will continue. It’s going to be completed. Second, there is the artillery barracks built in 1780 during the rule of Selim III which was subsequently destroyed by the mentality of Republican People’s Party (CHP) and turned into a stadium. [He refers to the rearrangement of the inside courtyards of the Barracks. The Barracks were demolished in 1940 and the terrain turned into Gezi Park as a part of larger complex of parks.] There too, as we protect the original everywhere else, we will build the original historic barracks. Excuse me, this is very clear.
We will not remain on the sidelines and be an audience to a few hooligans/bums (çapulcu) that come to that Square and provoke our people. Because, when our nation voted for us, they did so that we reclaim our history.
Are we now to stop the construction of the [3rd Bosphorus] Bridge just because 300 to 500 individuals came to protest? These types also opposed the tunnels and the underwater tunnel across the Bosphorus. [He is referring to the fact that significant archaeological findings slowed down the construction of the tunnel.] …
What is it? They claim Erdoğan is a dictator. I am not the lord of this nation. Dictatorship is not in my blood; I am a servant of this nation. If they are looking for a dictator, they should look at their own histories. Look here at Taksim Square, in Ankara, here and there. [He is refering to the forgotten and unused longer name of the Park, “İnönü” Gezi Parkı, or to the Atatürk Cultural Center, or various other symbols early Republic years that Erdoğan designates as dictators.] In the name of what, do those vandals break the glass frames of the merchant shops? [Here Erdoğan uses a word, “esnaf,” that refers to small-scale middle-class independent shop-owners and merchants.] Does this have anything to do with law? Does this have anything to do with democracy? Does this have anything to do with the struggle for the rights? Who will pay for the damage now? They are taking away what’s due for little, helpless orphans (“tüyü bitmemiş yetim hakkı”). However, we will remedy the situation; the government will pay for the glass, the frame of the shopkeepers.
This mentality is one of the CHP, the party that lent its support to those who roam this terror. This is in their very constitution.
I am not going to ask for permission. Neither from the Deputy Chairman of CHP nor from a few marauders (çapulcu). The public has already given us the permission in the polls.
Some individuals come out and say: “The prime minister is being very provocative.” I have no intention to provoke. Two times two is four, and four in winter and four in summer. The name of this is truth, the truth. No one has the power to reverse the truths, the facts. We are running on in the name of these truths, facts. And we will take the necessary measures to accomplish this.
Erdoğan claims the Taksim project is a “pedestrianization” but, as many commentators on urban space in Istanbul have stressed, it will actually make the square much less accessible to pedestrians.
Erdoğan is clearly trying to frame the uprising as opposition by CHP, even though CHP played no role in launching the protestand can currently lay no claim to organizing the protest on the ground. We noted earlier that today we have seen an increase in party banners in Taksim Square, but those banners are from many different parties and are not evidence that this is a CHP-led rebellion.
Erdoğan refers to İstiklal businesses using the word “esnaf,” implying that they are independent shopkeepers. However, on İstiklal Avenue the main objects of destruction have been banks and international chains such as Pizza Hut, Starbucks, etc.
A live stream from Ankara just went up.
A photo from Izmir, in western Turkey, 40 minutes ago. A protester can be seen throwing something.
The protest rages on in Istanbul. We just saw on the RT livestream a shot of people on the roof of the Atatürk Cultural Center (Atatürk Kültür Merkezi), a landmark on the eastern side of Taksim Square that has been under repairs for five years, since 2008. It’s unclear how protesters got up there. Screenshots below:
The live blog on the website of the Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos reports that as of 5pm police have retreated from the protests in Adana, a city in southern Turkey.
Roar Mag has published a series of some of the most powerful images from around Turkey.
Meanwhile, massive protests are continuing in Ankara as well. Reports put numbers at tens of thousands. There are also reports of clashes with police. It appears to be very chaotic. From Ankara:
The photo below, tweeted one hour ago shows people in Gezi Park who have set up food stations using salvaged police barricades. They are seen here with tables of simit, a kind of Turkish bagel.
Yesterday in Taksim Square people were urging people not to bring party banners and saying that this isn’t about political parties. For the 2 PM convergence today it appears that formal groups are out and more organized. The RT livestream shows a lot of party banners, particularly in the foreground from Halk Kurtuluş Partısı (People’s Liberation Party), a fairly marginal socialist party. Here is a screenshot:
As you can in the screenshot, there are lots of other banners besides HKP, those just happen to be the ones we can clearly make out.
Note that their blurb for the livestream falsely states that this is the third day of protests. In fact, protests began on May 27.
Before the livestream went down, some of the slogans we heard included: “Shoulder to shoulder against fascism” “Tayyip resign!” “Long live the people’s brotherhood!”
RT livestream is down. We’re looking for another.
We didn’t link to it before, so here is Amnesty International’s press release from yesterday calling for the end to the what they call the “disgraceful use of excessive police force in Istanbul.”
“Excessive use of force by police officers can be routine in Turkey but the excessively heavy-handed response to the entirely peaceful protests in Taksim has been truly disgraceful. It has hugely inflamed the situation on the streets of Istanbul where scores of people have been injured,” said John Dalhusien, Director of Amnesty International for Europe.
A big convergence was called for 2 PM in Taksim Square. RT has a livestream.
There has been a lot of buzz on Twitter about the police using expired tear gas on protesters. It has been difficult to verify these claims. However, just one hour ago someone tweeted a picture of an ordinance two years past its expiration date that is verified by a picture of today’s newspaper behind it.
Unfortunately the person tweeting this photo is still spreading the Agent Orange rumor, which us and others have previously debunked, because she does not believe this munition is tear gas. Nonetheless, the photo appears to be legitimate. Someone on Twitter then asked us:
We dug through the tweet archives and found this photo, which we previously considered unverified.
As you can see, based on the shape of the munition, the same manufacturing date (2006), the same expiration date (2011), and being produced in “Casper, WY” these appear to be the same munitions. So we now consider the claims of expired munitions to be verified and true – though it’s unclear if it’s tear gas or something else. The person who tweeted at us above then did some research for us and found that this expired ordinance appears to come from Defense Technology, a U.S. manufacturer of “less lethal” weapons.
Below is a screen shot of the grenade from Defense Technology’s website
According to the product guide from Defense Technology the grenade comes in CS, CN, and Smoke vareties. We’re not sure which variety is being used in Turkey. Given the fact that Istanbul’s tear gas reserves were running low and they had to import tear gas from the nearby city of Bursa, our best guess is that police resorted to using these expired grenades as their supply of other tear gas was dwindling.
12 PM Noon
Calls for a new gathering at 2 PM in Taksim Gezi Park from several organizations and platforms. Here from Halkevleri (People’s Houses): “We cleaned Gezi Park together, we started to prepare a for new gathering. Let’s meet at 2 PM in Taksim.
It is raining in Istanbul, some morning pictures from Taksim area.
— duygu demirdag (@duygudemirdag) June 2, 2013
More images of barricades which have been taken down by protesters:
Protests started in the very core of Istanbul but actually suburbs are the main target of AKP-style fast and uniform urbanization. This picture was taken in 2011 by Mashallah News contributor Nicolas Brodard in Kayaşehir, a western suburb of Istanbul, it is part of his ongoing project called Borderline Istanbul. For him, it represents “the urbanistic face of Turkish government”.
Latest update from Socialist Feminist Collective (Sosyalist Feminist Kolektif) on Facebook:
Taksim’de bayram havası var. Herkes Gezi Park zaferini kutluyor. Ancak Beşiktaş’ta çatışmalar devam ediyor. Gümüşsuyu’nda barikat kuruluyor. Gezi Park’ta çatışma ihtimaline karşılık hazırlık yapılıyor.
There is a celebration atmosphere in Taskim. Everyone is celebrating the victory in Gezi park. But clashes go on in Beşiktaş. Barricades are raised in Gümüşsuyu. In Gezi Park, people are getting ready for possible clashes.
Reuters reports that the Turkish Doctors’ Association is claiming around 1,000 people have been injured in Istanbul. At least four lost their eyesight after being hit by gas canisters, while four more were being treated for fractured skulls.
Protests have gone from national (across Turkey) to international. Photo from a solidarity protest in Boston.
Mashallah’s web editor Jay Cassano has just published a piece in Jadaliyya providing background and context for the protests. We’ll be putting together a recommended reading list soon.
Demonstrations taking place in Ankara and other parts of Turkey too.
— Sevinc Rende (@SevincRende) June 1, 2013
This picture was taken in Ankara, where police forces are used tear gas to split up the crowds.
— Burcu Baykurt (@BurcuBaykurt) June 1, 2013
A video posted by Jennifer Hattam shows protesters chanting “Shoulder to shoulder against fascism” as armored police vehicles roll past.
Protestors still heading to Taksim.
— MARC GUILLET (@Turkeyreport) June 1, 2013
There are accounts of police violence and riots right now in Taksim. It seems that the police had retreated for a while, letting the protestors gather, to then start firing tear gas at them.
All hell breaking loose in Taksim again.Cops let thousands enter Taksim and Gezi Park, then unleashed tear gas. Now demonstrators rioting
— Ivan Watson (@IvanCNN) June 1, 2013
Carlos Latuff’s take on the protests. Original image here.
Protestors are moving to Taksim from the different parts of the city.
— Mehmet Binay (@mehmetbinay) June 1, 2013
According to a Reuters report quoting the Turkish Doctors’ Association, more than 1,000 have been injured in yesterday’s clashes in Istanbul.
Picture by The Guide Istanbul showing that the crowds are still out in force on Istiklal street, as the tear gas and water cannons continue to be used on protesters.
12 PM (Noon)
Picture showing huge mobilization in Turkey and other countries. Demonstrators in other Turkish cities are also massively arrested.
— ctekay (@ctekay) 1 juin 2013
— ctekay (@ctekay) 1 juin 2013
Turkish police forces have been using massive amount of tear gas. According MSN Turkey, they are now running out of gas containers:
“Öte yandan İstanbul polisinin gaz bombası stokunun azaldığı belirtildi. Bursa’dan takviye biber gazı istenirken, polis telsizlerinden gazların idareli kullanılması anonslarının yapıldığı öğrenildi.”
“On the other hand, it has been indicated that Istanbul police’s gas stock has been lessened. Additional gas has been requested from Bursa and police are announcing on their walkie talkies – cautioning each other to use gas moderately.”
Istanbul based Socialist Feminist Collective (Sosyalist Feminist Kolektif) commenting on this picture:
“It is official how much tear gas the police is using … A picture from yesterday evening (…)”
— Sevinc Rende (@SevincRende) June 1, 2013
Mashallah News contributor Gregory Dziedzic is covering the protests. You can check his pictures on his Facebook page. Here, two photos of yesterday night.
Growing discontent on social media about – predictably – censored and biased coverage of the protests on Turkish mainstream media. Most of them are closely controlled by the AKP. This graffiti says “Revolution won’t be televised”.
— Ozzie (@ozziewashere) June 1, 2013
— ilhan tanir (@WashingtonPoint) June 1, 2013
AKP is following the same strategy as last May Day, including blocking public transportation.
let this be “juneday” from now on, akp repeats mayday measures, cancelling transportation, flying in backup cops #occupygezi
— meyrem♥☭♀ (@myriamonde) June 1, 2013
A petition was launched by Avaaz.org to stop police violence and destruction of Gezi Park. Almost 2500 people signed it so far.
“I am writing this from Taksim Square in Istanbul where peaceful protesters are being attacked with gas cannisters and pressurized water cannons. Hundreds of us are still here despite the police violence, protesting the destruction of Gezi park which the government wants to turn into a shopping mall.
This started simply as a peaceful sit-in to save a park as a symbol of opposing the wild gentrification of the city, but it’s become one of the worst state attacks on protesters in recent memory — and a frightening example of the Turkish government’s growing eagerness to crackdown on its own citizens. The security forces have been individually targeting protesters to terrify, wound and kill us. 12 people have already suffered trauma injuries from gas canisters — one man died of heart attack, and hundreds are suffering from excessive gas inhalation.
Now more than ever, we need massive public pressure to urge the government to stop using excessive force against protesters immediately, to stop demolishing one of the few green spaces left in Istanbul, and to stop cracking on citizens who are peacefully assembling or expressing their opinions. Sign the urgent petition now then share this widely. Only a giant outcry will pressure Erdogan to act immediately.”
In Harbiye neigbourhood, very close to Taksim area, a bus driver blocked the avenue in order to prevent police vehicles from going further.
Short text by Archinect.com analyzing the situation and calling for worldwide solidarity. Many solidarity actions are already taking place and facing police violence in the biggest Turkish cities. More will be organized in Turkey and worldwide today. Protests are inspiring artists to create posters and artworks. Below an illustration by Seha Can.
“The oppressively social and urbanistic nature of the unilateral action of the government and the regional authorities seem to hit a particular nerve with the public who has been occupying the park with an unprecedented determination.
This is an important turning point in Turkish urbanism when the public is showing an increasing resistance to violent police action never seen before for the urban design policies of the government. This is a behind the doors deal of the government with their favored development partners for consumerist profit making at the cost of public access to much needed green spaces in this densely overbuilt city. This is a top down urban policy repeated across in this world treasure city with 4000 years of cultural history.This is now a movement in Istanbul and must be supported by architects and urbanists world over. Show your support for Istanbul, spread the news and write to Turkish embassies in your country.”
Duman, one of the most famous Turkish rock bands (their name means smoke), has released a homemade song called Eyvallah dedicated to Taksim Gezi Park movement.
Photo report about the past night mobilization by Yücel Tunca. Here, a demonstrator sets on fire a huge billboard promoting Tarlabaşı renewal project, another massive state sponsored real estate project very close to Taksim. Check our latest photo series about Tarlabaşı.
Citizens crossed the bridge and are now entering Beşiktaş distric which the closest to Beyoğlu on the European side of Istanbul.
— ismail TAŞCI (@ismailtasci) June 1, 2013
An absolutely striking photo of people marching over the Bosphorus bridge. This tweet claims 40,000 people walking towards Taksim (unverified)
— Barış Çakan (@Baricaka) June 1, 2013
We didn’t know if people would be able to cross by foot from the Asian side of Istanbul over the Bosphorus Bridge, which is usually closed to pedestrians. It seems like people are marching across in large numbers and with no problems.
— ctekay (@ctekay) June 1, 2013
The sun is coming up in Istanbul. Here is a live feed of people marching to Taksim.
Major developments have mostly stopped for the night. Reports on twitter are that people got pushed out of Taksim and those still in Taksim are mostly just trying to survive and fend off the police. In response, people have started organizing in their own neighborhoods and walking to Taksim en masse. (For those who don’t know, Istanbul is geographically massive, with a metropolitan area of over 2,000 square miles/ 5,300 square kilometers.)
This photo below is of people marching on Istanbul’s E-5 highway, the main highway that spans across this city. The person who tweeted it writes: “We are on the bridge. We are coming.”
Here in Mashallah HQ (note: we don’t have a headquarters) we’ll be using the downtime to create some more resources that will be useful to people following this story.
— ΣτράτοςΜωραΐτης (@oemoral) May 31, 2013
This is not the first Occupy Istanbul. Back in January last year, we wrote about Occupy Starbucks at Boğaziçi University. The piece is well worth a read, not least because it shares a lot of interesting stuff about the history of political activism in Turkey.
The Urban Movements Istanbul calls for international solidarity
İhsan Yılmaz writes in Today’s Zaman about the “cementization” of Istanbul & the current government’s role in the process:
“In the city, other than the squatter houses, we have only a few one or two-storey houses that are only for the super-rich. Ordinary people, who make up 95 percent of the city’s 15 million population, live in apartment buildings. The previous governments did not have any urban planning, so people simply went to the places that were inhabited, bought or occupied some land and built homes in an ad hoc fashion. In these areas, infrastructure followed the urban development, not vice versa. Squatter houses were turned into apartment blocks when these people became a little richer and their families expanded. Yet, because of the lack of urban planning, in these areas the roads are very narrow and there are neither parks nor trees.”
According to Istanbul Chamber of Doctors there are about 100 injured people, says Nar Photos.
© Nar Photos / Adnan Onur Acar
Close up view of a tear gas canister being used on protesters posted by @justinvela. Manufactured in the United States.
Tourist cameras on Taksim, which were serving as a live-stream of the protests, now appear to be disabled.
12:04 AM – Short break
We’ll be taking a short break from live blogging momentarily. We will resume soon. In the meantime, here are some twitter handles you can try for English-language updates (in no particular order and with no promises of accuracy):
@techsoc @canevrenol @Dilmunite @tgistanbul @kitabet @mariluetta @myriamonde @oemoral @EzoEzo_ @PINAR_OGUN @aslitunc @purescapism @memetalialabora @Sinanthropus @BanuAkdenizli @almonitor @BanuAkdenizli @hoppipolla_
Protests – and injuries from police brutality – continuing into the night.
© Nar Photos / Adnan Onur Acar
15 minutes ago NTV, the Turkish MSNBC affiliate published a statement from CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu [Turkish] in which he said “Istanbul does not have a governor any more.”
The Taksim Solidarity Facebook page is announcing that Gümüşsuyu Military Hospital is distributing antiacids and asthma medicine for those affected by tear gas.
Reports that cellphone 3G signals are being jammed. Ekşi Sözlük is compiling wifi passwords in the Taksim area to compensate.
The live blog on sendika.org confirmed 15 minutes ago that a group entered Gezi Park from the Harbiye side.
More football solidarity! (See previous updates) A photo of protesters wearing Galatasary and Beşiktaş uniforms side-by-side. A sight rarely seen in Istanbul!
Translation of tweet below: “I asked the police, “how many tons of gas do you still have?” “A lot. We received orders, we won’t let them in Taksim” “What if they enter?” I said, they said: “we will be defeated”
Polise sordum,”daha kaç ton gazınız var?” “Çoook. Emir aldık, Taksim’e sokmayacağız” dedi. “Girseler ne olur?” dedim “Yenilmiş oluruz” dedi.
— Ayşe Hür (@HurAyse) May 31, 2013
A follow-up, in English, to the previous tweet update about Beşiktaş Çarşı:
— Meric (@zalambOdOnt) May 31, 2013
Translation of tweet below: “Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe groups are resisting against police attacking Çarşı. This is it!”
— Diren Gezi Parkı (@DirenGeziParki) May 31, 2013
This is significant because Çarşı are the quasi-anarchist, quasi-hooligan supporters of the Beşiktaş football club. Beşiktaş, as one of the “big three” Istanbul clubs, is rivals with Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe. But in Gezi Park today, old football rivalries don’t matter! All hooligans are united! It seems as though Çarşı was trying to break through the police barricade and re-enter a restricted area.
In tweet below, Istanbul LGBTT is reporting that Binnaz Toprak, a professor and MP from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) was beaten by police.
İstiklal starbucksın önünde Binnaz Toprak ve danışmanı Erhan Ersöz darp edildi. Polis Binnaz hocaya yumruk atmış
— İstanbul LGBTT (@istanbulLGBT) May 31, 2013
Translation of tweet below: A group on the Tarlabaşı side has dismantled the barricade and is using it as as shield against police.
— 140journos (@140journos) May 31, 2013
Protest has stayed nonviolent throughout the day, in spite of police violence.
Protests, police violence still going on, well into the 15th hour. haven’t seen anyone throwing anything at police/break things. #istanbul
— Nigâr Hacızade (@nhacizade) May 31, 2013
Earlier this morning, there was a confrontation between police and the military [Turkish]. Police wanted to use the parking lot of a military hospital to turn around their crowd control vehicle, but the military refused to open the gate. The police then reportedly threatened to tear gas the soldiers.
Soldiers also apparently handed out rudimentary gas masks to protesters.
Reporters Without Borders condemns the use of police violence against reporters covering the Occupy Gezi Park protests:
“Well-known freelance journalist Ahmet Sik was hit on the head by a tear gas canister this morning while photographing clashes between police and protesters from a position near a group of parliamentary representatives of the opposition CHP party. Onlookers said the canister was deliberately thrown at Sik from a distance of about 10 metres.
Sik was hospitalized with injuries to the back of the head and right side of his face. Reporters Without Borders representative Erol Önderoglu said Sik was conscious but medical staff wanted to keep him under observation and conduct additional tests.”
A protester holds a sign calling Erdogan “Chemical Tayyip,” in reference to Iraq’s “Chemical Ali” (Ali Hassan al-Majid) for his use of chemical weapons against Iraqi Kurds.
© Tolga Sezgin / NarPhotos
“It started as a park but now it represents everything”
A man pushes back against Mass Incident Intervention Vehicle (TOMA) used to disperse demonstrators in the park.
© Nar Photos Eren Aytuğ, Serra Akcan, Tolga Sezgin.
Police has completely blockaded entries to taksim sq and shut off mobile data access #occupytaksim
— Akin Unver (@AkinUnver) May 31, 2013
Protesters continuing to come to Taksim Square prepared with gas masks and lemons (for the tear gas):
Schedule of “Occupy Gezi Park” solidarity protests in parks of various Turkish cities:
Celebratory “carnival atmosphere” in Kugulu Park in Ankara in response to the court ruling:
— Andy Carvin (@acarvin) May 31, 2013
An Istanbul court has ruled in favor of halting the project until all parties have submitted their legal arguments to court, according to the Anatolian News Agency.
© Tolga Sezgin / NarPhotos
According to Istanbul Chamber of Doctors explanation there are approximately 100 injured people.
© Tolga Sezgin
“Following the police intervention and attacks, activists set up tents and launched a campaign against the planned construction of a shopping mall in Taksim Gezi Park. The group started a petition and planted trees in the park where a handful of trees were uprooted yesterday.”