June 15, 2013

Three More Days Of Resistance In Turkey

It has been three days since we last blogged about the rebellion in Turkey. Let's look at some of the main features of the rebellion there since our last post.

1. Protesters in Gezi Park in Istanbul have apparently decided to stay in place despite some moves taken by the government which are seen as conciliatory by conservative forces. The demand that prisoners be released, the siege be lifted and those responsible for the police violence be held accountable remains in place and unanswered.

Bianet English described some events leading up to the decision by the protesters which give us a full flavor of what is going on there:

Addressing to Gezi Park protestors, Tayfun Kahraman from Taksim Solidarity said they mentioned Erdoğan on the police violence in full detail and reiterated their demands to see Gezi Park as a public park. Some of the highlights from Kahraman’s speech included:
* The decision-makers of ongoing talks with the government is only Gezi Parkers. We have forwarded all their demands. This is the legitimate and representative space.
* Our demand for the prosecution of policemen who abused their duties was responded by the government as follows: 3 policemen were fired and they would take necessary measures from now on.
* Our demand for the immediate release of detained protestors left unanswered.
* Our demand for the freedom expression in Turkey’s public squares left unanswered.
* We heard about last night’s police violence in Ankara after we left the meeting. We had no knowledge on the incident in the meanwhile.
Following Kahraman, advocate Can Atalay addressed the crowd. “We will decide together, we will win together. They are trying to weaken the circle around us. We shouldn’t forget this and must act accordingly. They can no longer resume the politics bans in Taksim, Kızılay and other public squares. We will not let this happen,” he said.
“Our park will remain as a public park. They won’t even put a pin in the park. We will form our own organization against that.”

Atalay also underscored the spirit of union and invited all activists to support SDP in Istanbul Courthouse tomorrow at 5 pm local time.

2.The government continues to use violent force, cajoling and pleading in order to move the protesters. This reflects a crisis in the ruling party and a lack of options for the government. Typical of this are the following comments by Prime Minister Erdogan:

“Youngsters look, you have stayed here as much as you could, you gave your message. If their message is about Taksim Gezi Park, their message has been received and evaluated.” 


“Withdraw from Gezi Park now, go home. If there are still some left from illegal organizations, leave us alone with them.”


“They should not urge us to resort to different measures,” Erdogan said, while maintaining that he was hoping the Gezi protests would come to an end as of that day. “I am hoping that this will be over today.”

(quoted from Hurriyet)

The ruling party is kicking off its electoral campaign this weekend with rallies. How big will these rallies be and what will be their tone? Will they turn to violence? Will they reflect this confused anger and lack of options?

3. A number of tv stations are facing heavy fines and one network has been shut down after covering the protests. The Health Ministry is also investigating doctors who have provided medical help to protesters.

4. Eren Buglalilar has written a strong analysis of the the Turkish Model and gives us a background for the protests here. This article comes highly recommended.

5. Hevallo has posted a great selection of photos and videos on Kurdish support for the protests. See that here. This sets the record straight on Kurdish support for the rebellion.


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