#occupyGezi: Why Istanbul has turned into a warzone


2:59 pm - May 31st 2013

by Sunny Hundal    


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Police staged an early morning raid on protesters who resist against the demolition of Gezi Park in the heart of Istanbul for a shopping mall to be built.

What started with around a 100 protesters has turned into a spectacle of tens of thousands over recent days.

People camped out in the park, sang songs, read books, danced.

But yesterday, the police used a Mass Incident Intervention Vehicle (TOMA) to disperse the demonstrators and turned the surrounding of the park a warzone.

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The protesters have released this statement



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If you’re looking for photos from #occupygezi, try these http://on.fb.me/18Ds3Zs.
For quotes try Leyla Besktas: on Facebook, or via Twitter.

UPDATES: There are videos too

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Pictures copyright © Tolga Sezgin / NarPhotos

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Have you only just spotted what the Turkish government is like?

[deleted]

3. Ben Watson

Can you get rid of Jack’s comment please. No free speech for racists.

Those police spraying that woman need to be named and shamed. Turkey is very backward in many ways. There’s split I think between the more urban educated middle class people and the mass of the country. There’s not much we in western countries can do, it’s just the way they are. Turkey has been run by despots for hundreds of years.

More photos here http://occupygezipics.tumblr.com/ Amazing photos of people walking across the Bosphorus bridge, which is normally packed with vehicles.

There have been small protests in Netherlands, France and Spain too, whether out of solidarity, or Turkish people living there, likely a mix of both.
What is most bizarre is that much of Turkish televised media is apparently behaving as if this isn’t happening.

Also, the military are apparently handing out gas-masks to protesters and other wise helping them and offering shelter, whilst the police are clearly very pro-government. Interesting times.

The language of the statement makes it obvious this is a Trot-inspired protest – the last thing the Middle East is yet another destabilizing turn led by extremists seeking the dubious support of Western neo-con/liberal interventionists.

So any better analysis of this stuff in Turkey now?
It was started off by an ”Occupy” type movement, so it’s obvious why Liberal Conspiracy would be so keen on it initially. Though in Turkey they can never claim to really be the 99% – or even the 50%, as 50% voted for for the PM Erdogan and all the rest surly weren’t college educated liberal Twitter followers.
I heard some reporter saying that in a ”conservative” neighbourhood in Istanbul, locals there were calling the protesters hooligans and other bad names. I also heard protesters talking like they were opposed to the conservatism of much of the country.
Anyway, now that the football supporters have gotten involved and want to fight against the police, it just turns it into another really dumb riot situation like all the legitimate protests in Athens break down into.
People throwing rocks at the police and they then have some ”legitimacy” to be brutal in return.

9. Ted, liberal

@Kazza

“The language of the statement makes it obvious this is a Trot-inspired protest – the last thing the Middle East is yet another destabilizing turn led by extremists seeking the dubious support of Western neo-con/liberal interventionists”

Why do you facist idiots always include trot in your statements? Can we please just have an intelligent person tell him/her why he/she is an absolute thicko.
THIS IS A PEACEFUL PROTEST WHICH WAS BROKEN UP BY THE POLICE WITH EXCESSIVE FORCE. Not a riot which was prevented bravely by the plucky police.

They need help, not a right wing dip$it telling us all from his/her personal experience that the protesters had tear gass blasted in their faces so they could get Europe, America to invade Turkey.

10. Charlieman

@9. Ted, liberal: “Why do you facist idiots always include trot in your statements?”

We do not shout about fascists, trots, tankies etc on LC. And that rebuttal goes too to Kazza @7.

Exception is provided when commenters discuss some Guardian opinion pieces.


Many of us have read Marx, Mill and Orwell, perhaps in alphabetical order. It may even explain the confusion of Spiked.

The Turkish issue also has to be put into context. This is a man who was re-elected to power in what the international community has called free election. Sure, there are issues in the country that have long needed to be sorted out, but lets not kid ourselves into believing that this has somehow sprung from no where, and that it is somehow the actions of a dictator.

@3. Ben Watson

Free speech is not something that you get to define. It is not something that can be taken away by one group because they disagree with the views of another. It is fundamental to the person. If you stopped and thought for one second, you would appreciate the absurdity of one group having the power to define the free speech of another.

12. Ted, liberal

@charliemen
was being ironic saying fascist after he said trot.
Thanks for pointing it out.


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