Originally posted by MRuss
Leading a group here.
Originally posted by MRuss
I'm an American. Leading a group of Tourists. We're all Americans
Originally posted by MRuss
Okay. I'll say it again
I'm just telling you what I'm seeing.
There is a media blackout, so no, I'm not in the know. They aren't reporting the deaths.
Our guide says Turkish Spring is beginning.
Saw police And protestors.
The 2013 Taksim Gezi Park protests in Turkey or 2013 Taksim protests or Occupy Gezi are ongoing protests in Turkey, led by environmentalists, against replacing Taksim Gezi Park with a reconstruction of Taksim Military Barracks (demolished 1940) intended to house a shopping mall.
The protests developed into riots when a group occupying the park was attacked by police. The protests are strongly influenced by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's words on the planned barracks of "Whatever you do, we've made our decision and we will implement it," and by Tahrir Square protests and the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Protesters have taken to the Taksim Square of Istanbul and streets in Ankara, Antalya, Eskişehir, İzmir, Mersin and Diyarbakır.
Increasingly violent protests have rocked Istanbul for the fifth day. What began May 27 as a peaceful sit-in against the Turkish government’s plan to replace a small park in the centrally-located Taksim neighborhood with a shopping mall has morphed into resistance against Turkey’s growing authoritarianism, highlighted both by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s curt dismissal of protestor concerns, and an AKP parliamentarian’s wisecrack that some young people “are in need of gas.
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. Protesters waded through tear gas on Friday at Taksim Square in Istanbul.
Istanbul was rocked by a violent police crackdown Friday when Turkish police moved in on the thousands of demonstrators who have been protesting in a downtown park since Monday.
Istanbul park protests sow the seeds of a Turkish spring
A protest in a small Istanbul park has become a lightning rod for grievances
against the government, and it could be explosive
guardian.co.uk, Friday 31 May 2013 12.34 EDT
morning, Turkish police surrounded protesters in Taksim Gezi park, the central square in Istanbul, blocked all exits and attacked them with chemical sprays and teargas.
An Occupy-style movement has taken off in Istanbul. The ostensible issue of conflict is modest. Protesters started gathering in the park on 27 May, to oppose its demolition as part of a redevelopment plan. But this is more than an environmental protest. It has become a lightning conductor for all the grievances accumulated against the government.
Police have waited until the early hours of each morning to attack, just as police in the US did when dealing with Occupy protesters. They set fire to the tents in which protesters were sleeping and showered them with pepper spray and teargas. A student had to undergo surgery after injuries to his genitals.
The occupiers adapted and started to wear homemade gas masks. More importantly, they called for solidarity. In response to yesterday's assault, thousands of protesters turned up, including opposition politicians. But this morning's attack allowed no defence or escape. The park, and the area around it, is still closed, and still under clouds of gas.
In April, a Justice and Development party (AKP) leader warned that the liberals who had supported them in the last decade would no longer do so. This was as good a sign as any that the repression would increase, as the neoliberal Islamist party forced through its modernisation agenda.
The AKP represents a peculiar type of conservative populism. Its bedrock, enriched immensely in the last decade, is the conservative Muslim bourgeoisie that first emerged as a result of Turgut Özal's economic policies in the 1980s. But, while denying it is a religious party, it has used the politics of piety to gain a popular base and to strengthen the urban rightwing.
It has spent more than a decade in government building up its authority. The privatisation process has led to accelerated inequality, accompanied by repression. But it has also attracted floods of international investment, leading to growth rates of close to 5% a year. This has enabled the regime to pay off the last of its IMF loans, so that it was even in a position to offer the IMF $5bn to help with the Eurozone crisis in 2012.
In the meantime, the AKP has gradually consolidated its support within the state apparatus and media, and no longer needs its liberal backers. The Turkish military leadership has been compelled to accept the Islamists, having suffered a significant loss of power relative to other branches of the state such as the police and judiciary. While the erosion of the military's power should be a gain for democracy, journalists have also ended up in jail on charges of plotting coup d'etats.
Of course, there is a history of coup plotting. And the government charged 86 people with plotting to bring down the government in 2008, as part of its investigation into the Turkish "deep state". But it has been able to use this fear to conflate all opposition with anti-democratic instigation, and crush it ruthlessly. During this time, its vote has risen from 34.28% to 49.90%.
It has also demonstrated confidence in the way it has attempted to deal with the Kurdish question, and in its regional strategy. The government embarked on significant new negotiations with the Kurdish Workers party (PKK) in 2009, partly because it wants to forge a lucrative relationship with the Kurdish regional government in Iraq.
Under the AKP, Turkey has been increasing its relative autonomy from traditional supporters in the White House and Tel Aviv, forging close relations with Iran, Hezbollah and even – until recently – President Assad of Syria. This has been interpreted, hysterically, as "neo-Ottomanism". It is simply an assertion of Turkey's new power.
Thus strengthened, the government is on the offensive. It has never needed the left or the labour movement, which it has repressed. It no longer needs the liberals, as its attacks on women's reproductive rights, and its imposition of alcohol-free zones, show.
This is the context in which a struggle over a small park in a congested city centre has become an emergency for the regime, and the basis for a potential Turkish spring.
Turkey protests spread after violence in Istanbul over park demolition
Demonstrations against Erdogan government in several cities as riot officers
use tear gas to control protesters in Istanbul
Constanze Letsch in Istanbul
The Guardian, Friday 31 May 2013
Turkey has been engulfed by a series of protests across several cities after riot police turned Istanbul's busiest city centre hub into a battleground, deploying tear gas and water cannon against thousands of peaceful demonstrators.
In one of the biggest challenges to the 10-year rule of the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, demonstrators took to the streets of Ankara, Izmir, Bodrum and several other cities as well as Istanbul to vent their frustration at what is seen to be an increasingly authoritarian administration.
The air of government nervousness was reinforced by the relative lack of mainstream media coverage of the drama in central Istanbul, fuelling speculation that the Erdogan government was leaning on the main television stations to impose a blackout on the ugly scenes.
Following several days of dawn police raids on the protesters seeking to occupy Gezi park on Taksim Square in Istanbul city centre, the clashes escalated violently, leaving more than 100 people injured, several of them seriously.
Police went on the rampage against protesters who had been sitting reading books and singing songs.
There was widespread criticism of the heavy-handed intervention and of the government, which is committed to demolishing the park to erect a shopping centre.
The US state department said: "We certainly support universally peaceful protests, as we would in this case." In Brussels, MEPs called on the EU to act.
What started at the beginning of the week as an environmental protest aimed at saving an Istanbul city centre park from shopping centre developers backed by the government appeared to be snowballing into a national display of anger at the perceived high-handedness of the Erdogan government.
"They have declared war on us," said an Istanbul shopkeeper in a back street, as he handed out lemon juice to counter the teargas to protesters. "This is out of all proportion."
"Today is a turning point for the AKP," said Koray Caliskan, a political scientist at Istanbul's Bosphorus University. "Erdogan is a very confident and very authoritarian politician, and he doesn't listen to anyone anymore. But he needs to understand that Turkey is no kingdom, and that he cannot rule Istanbul from Ankara all by himself."
Ugur Tanyeli, an architecture historian, said: "The real problem is not Taksim, and not the park, but the lack of any form of democratic decision-making process and the utter lack of consensus. We now have a PM who does whatever he wants."
The protests started late on Monday after developers tore up trees to make way for the controversial construction project featuring a shopping centre in nostalgic Ottoman style and building a replica of an old military barracks.
Police staged consecutive raids on protesters, using tear gas and water cannon, but the protests grew in scale, with artists, intellectuals and opposition MPs joining the ranks.
According to the Istanbul Medical Chamber, at least 100 people were injured during the police raids on Friday . Some sustained injuries when a wall they were trying to climb collapsed as they fled from the tear gas. At least seven people were treated for head wounds. Later on Friday police also used tear gas against protesters in Ankara.
In Istanbul, Sirri Süreyya Önder, an MP from the Kurdish BDP party, was taken to hospital after he was reportedly hit in the shoulder by a tear gas cartridge.
Amnesty International condemned the "use of excessive force" by police.
There were reports of a woman having died. In a sign of the tension, amateur video footage showed Turkish military personnel refusing to help the riot police, as well as handing out gas masks to demonstrators. There were also reports that some of the police had switched sides and joined the protests.
With the Erdogan government facing an uncommon popular challenge after 10 years in power, an MP from the governing AK party angered the protesters, tweeting: "It looks like some people needed gas." Sirin Ünal added: "If you go away, you will have a nice day. One has to obey the system."
For the burgeoning protest movement, the park issue is the tip of the iceberg. Another building project, the construction of a bridge spanning the Bosphorus, was launched this week, with Erdogan dismissing public opinion.
"They can do whatever they want," he said. "We've made our decision, and we will do as we have decided," he said. He defended the reconstruction of the Ottoman barracks as a matter of "respecting history". Opponents argue the project will destroy one of the last green spaces in central Istanbul
LIVE UPDATES: Turkish police clamp down on anti-government protests
Published time: May 31, 2013 22:31
Edited time: June 01, 2013 06:48
04:55 GMT: Thousands are crossing the Bosphorus Bridge this morning, to get to Taskim Square in the heart of Istanbul, marking the second day of protest turbulence engulfing Istanbul.
02:34 GMT: The photos show angry crowds in the streets of the Turkish capital, Ankara, overnight. Thousands rallied in the center of the city earlier on Friday chanting for the government to resign. Police fired tear gas to disperse several dozen opposition supporters trying to reach the AKP headquarters.
01:20 GMT: Thousands of fans from the three largest soccer teams in Turkey joined the demonstrators in Istanbul, Ayda said.
01:18 GMT: As of 3:00am local time, even the most remote and quiet neighborhoods of Istanbul had joined in the protest, Ayda, a demonstrator, told RT. People are "banging on pots and pans, yelling, honking their car horns on the streets, and yelling slogans like "Erdogan, istifa!" (Turkish: Erdogan, resign!)."
00:00 GMT: Istanbul resident Tan Tunali told RT Istiklal Caddesi, the street leading to Taksim Square, was almost empty as of 2:00am local time, with the protesters spreading to other streets. “Now a lot of people spontaneously started taking to the streets and probably many of them are trying to get to Taksim.”
Saturday, June 1
23:50 GMT: According to an Istanbul-based activist, who has chosen to go by the alias Pink Pig, the protest is growing bigger. “People are coming from everywhere.” A witness video shows that the demonstration has spread to the Besiktas Sqaure, which is to the west of Taksim Square.
So we can better serve you, we encourage you to register with the Embassy and/or Consulate(s) through the State Department website if you will be travelling or living in Turkey.
For regular and emergency services during work hours please call 90-212-335 9006, for emergency services outside of normal work hours please call 90-212-335 9000 for connection to the appropriate extension.
The Bureau of Consular Affairs Office of Overseas Citizen Services has established a call center to receive inquiries regarding the safety and security of American citizens overseas. You can call the center from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, in times of crisis the hours are extended to 24 hours. The toll-free phone number in the U.S. is 1-888-407-4747. From outside the U.S., the call center may be reached by dialing 1-317-472-2328.
This is a new and additional resource for Americans looking to receive the most up to date information without having to make international phone calls. Americans residing in or visiting Turkey may wish to pass this phone number to their friends and family in the United States who may be worried about them.
Messages For U.S. Citizens
This information about Turkey is provided to inform residents and visitors to Turkey of potential security concerns. In times of international tension, we suggest you consult this home page.
Emergency Messages for U.S. Citizens:
•Emergency Message to U.S. Citizens: Demonstrations (May 31, 2013)
May 31, 2013
The U.S. Embassy informs U.S. citizens that a demonstration will be held at 7:00pm today in Kugulu Park (Swan Park) in Ankara. Additional demonstrations may be held in Ankara, Adana, Izmir, and Eskisehir tonight and in the coming days. There are protests ongoing in Istanbul in Taksim Square, Gezi Park, and surrounding areas. U.S. Consulate Istanbul has received reports indicating the use of tear gas and water cannons by authorities. The Turkish National Police and the protestors continue to clash and the security environment has deteriorated.
U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Turkey should be alert to the potential for violence, avoid those areas where disturbances have occurred, and avoid demonstrations and large gatherings. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. U.S. citizens are therefore urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution if in the vicinity of any demonstrations.
Review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, including local events, and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance, take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security, and follow instructions of local authorities.
We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens and nationals traveling to or residing in Turkey enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens and nationals without Internet access may enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Enrolling signs you up to receive updated information about areas abroad and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or consulate to communicate with you or your designated contact in case of emergency.
Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or a regular toll line at +1-202-501-4444 for callers from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
You can also stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. Download our free Smart Traveler App, available through iTunes and the Google play market to have travel information at your fingertips.
Contact information for the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Turkey:
The U.S. Embassy in Ankara is located at 110 Ataturk Boulevard, tel: (90)(312) 455-5555, fax (90)(312) 468-6131.
The U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul is located at 2 Uçsehitler Sokagi, 34460, Istinye, Sariyer, tel: (90) (212) 335-9000, fax (90) (212) 335-9102.
The U.S. Consulate in Adana is located at 212 Girne Bulvari, Guzelevler Mahallesi, Yuregir, Adana, Turkey. tel: (90)(322) 346-6262, fax (90)(322) 346-7916.
The Consular Agency in Izmir can be reached at tel: (90) (232) 464-8755, fax (90) (232) 464-8916.
A Letter to the Rest of the World
By ateloco | Posted 11 hours ago | Turkey
A Letter to the Rest of the World
I can be the first to admit that I've never been very politically active. I always watched from the sidelines. This is the first time in my 30 years that tears well up for what is happening just up the road from where I write these words.
Living abroad for many years, it was easy to brush off foreign news of civil unrest. Watching it on TV was always like some action movie, easily commented upon and then quickly brushed off as I watched in local bars or airport lounges.
Seeing the Istanbul police attacks for the first time today was chilling. Police are not only using tear gas, but plastic bullets, water cannons and physical violence. The photographs are all over social media worldwide.
Police are packing people into the subway stations and throwing in tear gas, attacking hospitals where the injured are being treated. A man and a girl have reportedly been killed. Even a politician has been seriously injured.
People from all ages and races, all political viewpoints are coming together to fight. People are moving up towards Taksim, being attacked and pushed out and then relentlessly returning to the site of the attacks. People are angry to the core of their beings.
Amongst the plight, it warms the soul to see people uniting together. While being attacked earlier, people threw lemons from their houses to remedy the effects of tear gas. Others let each other into shops. People are leaving out food and water for each other on street corners.
At the moment I write these words, helicopters are throwing gas bombs onto innocent civilians just up the road. The chilling sound of sirens is in the air. Its almost like one of those films you watch from afar. Sirens and the sound of the night mosque prayer come together in an ironic harmony.
The Turkish media has been silenced and it is up to the rest of the world to help spread the word of these civilian attacks. Notify your local and national media, and tag them on twitter to make them speak the truth about what is happening. This is a for humanity, no less.
Twitter tags may be tagged with the following media outlet tags:
@bbc @cnn @aljazeera @nytimes @foxnews @newsweek @theeconomist @reuters @huffingtonpost @whitehouse @bbcclick @usatoday @gawker @usweekly @parisreview @usabreakingnews @bbcworld @abc @cnnlive @politico @newyorkpost @abc7
For live streaming of the attacks (click on the blue video icon on the top right corner)
For continually updated photos of the attacks:
Twitters top trending tag:
Originally posted by Magister
I would seriously consider coming home! If things are coming apart there it's no place to hang around. Stay safe!