Sunday, June 16, 2013

Turkey protest - June 16 - 18 , 2013 .... Sex as a police punishment for protesters - really in 2013 ? Police to consider ( treat ) protesters as terrorists - are the police going to escalate to live rounds ? Latest police raid on Gezi Park.... ...

Hundreds stand in silence imitating the 'standing man'


 A mannequin is placed during a protest at Taksim Square in Istanbul June 18. REUTERS photo
A mannequin is placed during a protest at Taksim Square in Istanbul June 18. REUTERS photo
The protest inspired by the performance artist Erdem Gündüz spread across Turkey today as it was imitated by hundreds that transited through the Taksim Square who stopped near where he first stood still not moving for eight hours on June 17.

Gürbüz, who was detained for a short period of time last night, was not back at the square but a mannequin was placed on the square to symbolically represent him. He was dubbed the “standing man” (duran adam) and reports on his solo act of civil disobediance had quickly spread on social media. Many people from other cities also joined the new protest wave, such as at Kuğulu Park in Ankara.

Earlier, the Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Güler had assured that the protest would not be subject to an intervention unless it began to constitute a menace against public order.

Meanwhile, as the security forces did not allow the public to enter Gezi Park, many people gathered in small parks all across Istanbul holding forums of discussion in the evening.

Yoğurtçu Park in Kadıköy’s Moda neighborhood and Abbasağa Park in Beşiktaş became the rally point of many citizens. The future of the protests was discussed in the forums that continued until late at night. Daily Hürriyet reported that a crowd of hundreds of people in the Abbasağa Park made a silent demonstration standing still and without talking for minutes.

Another new form of protest was performed in the Galatasaray Square with people gugging each other and those walking in the İstiklal Avenue.

The protests over the demolition attempt of Gezi Park have entered its fourth after another massive police crackdown on the week-end that sparked huge outcry among the demonstrators. The security officers have not let anybody enter the park since.

Turkish prime minister vows to increase police force


Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. AP Photo
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. AP Photo
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that the government will be increasing the intervention force exercised by the police, regarding possible incidents related to the ongoing Gezi protests.

“Within the authority the law provides, from now on, our police will not overlook any lawlessness, will continue to fulfill its duty. We will further strengthen our police. We will strengthen further in every way. So that we will increase the intervention power against these events,” Erdoğan said on June 18 in a speech at his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) parliamentary group meeting,

Regarding the widespread criticism of the police’s vast use of tear gas, Erdoğan responded, “It is their most inherent right, they will. You will see that in the EU acquis communautaire. When you do not obey, the police use this authority.”

Erdoğan took a step further in siding with the police. “What did they do? Did they shoot bullets? Use bullets? No,” adding that the accusations of police violence were unfounded.

He also said they would be inquiring into who was behind the Gezi protests, arguing that it was all a massive conspiracy, prepared very professionally in collaboration with social media, companies, the interest rate lobby, media and some “internal traitors and external collaborators.” He added that their true colors had now been revealed.

“It was prepared very professionally,” Erdoğan said. “Social media was prepared for this, made equipped. The strongest advertising companies of our country, certain capital groups, the interest rate lobby, organizations on the inside and outside, hubs, they were ready, equipped for this.”

Erdoğan slammed the opposition, saying they are hiding behind vandals’ backs since they fell short on opposing within Parliament. Amid particularly slamming the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Erdoğan was harsh regarding the party’s leader, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, arguing that he was not worthy to fill the post. Erdoğan accused Kılıçdaroğlu of acting like the head of a terrorist organization by calling on the police not to obey orders.

“From the public poll we have conducted, we have seen that those involved in Gezi Park events voted for the CHP by 76 percent and are their followers; 16 percent are from the BDP [Peace and Democracy Party]; 1.2 percent are from the AKP and 1.2 percent are from the MHP [Nationalist Movement Party]. This is the picture,” Erdoğan said, adding the CHP was involved in the protests.

Erdoğan also spoke about his power showdown at his two recent rallies. “Have those who continuously ask us whether we got the people’s message taken the message of hundreds of thousands in Sincan and over 1 million people in Kazlıçeşme?”

Erdoğan did not skip slamming the labor organizations that went on a strike on June 17 to protest against the police violence over the previous weekend in Gezi Park, arguing that the strike was “unlawful.” He once again implicitly pointed at Mehmet Ali Alabora, an actor who has openly supported the protests and been criticized repeatedly by the prime minister.

Erdoğan also said that those who promised him to evacuate the Gezi Park in negotiation talks, referring to two delegations he met in order to settle the unrest, did not keep their promise.

‘Standing man’ inspires a new type of civil disobedience in Turkey


This DHA photo shows 'standing man' as he started the silent act of resistance, before he was joined by a large group. 

This DHA photo shows 'standing man' as he started the silent act of resistance, before he was joined by a large group.
A single man who started standing silently in the middle Istanbul’s city center has provoked a silent struggle across Turkey for the right to protest.

The young man, later identified as performance artist Erdem Gündüz, stood in the same place without moving for eight hours on June 17, staring at the flag of modern Turkey’s founder Mustafa KemalAtatürk on the Atatürk Culture Center (AKM).

The police have been limiting access to the city center following the crackdown on Gezi Park protesters. Over the weekend, the police evacuated the city center to stop the Gezi Park occupation, which started three weeks ago against a controversial renovation plan, and the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality planted trees and flowers in the park, which is closed to the public now.

“Clearing out Taksim Square [to pedestrians] as if nothing happened, planting trees in Gezi Park... Pretending as if nothing happened [in Taksim] is in fact the biggest violence,” he told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Targeting both the media and the government, he said, “What happens in Taksim Square, in Dolmabahçe is not shown on television.”

Gündüz was soon joined by a group of around 300 fellow demonstrators, who all came to stand in silence beside him, staring in the same direction.

He then left the scene right before police intervened against the protestors around 2 a.m. Ten people, who “insisted on standing” were taken into custody by the police and around 100 policemen were charged to wait right where he stood.

However, the protest was continued with other supporters on June 18 during the day. Despite the reactions, the police detained five more people.

News of the “standing man” began spreading on social media shortly after the act of defiance began, and the Twitter hashtag #duranadam (standing man) quickly became the world’s top Twitter trending topic.

We won’t intervene against ‘standing man’ protest, unless it disrupts public order: Turkish minister

Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Güler has said that the protest would not be subject to an intervention unless it began to constitute a menace against public order.

“We don’t intervene against any protest that does not disrupt public order or affect life in general,” he said.

“If it doesn’t turn into an act of violence, does not disrupt the public order and does not limit other people’s freedom, everyone has such a right [to stage a protest].”

Güler also said this protest shouldn’t affect traffic and also excluded the legitimacy of a protest in Ankara’s Kızılay that would continue from morning till night. “This is all about public order,” he added.

'Standing’ not a crime: Bar Association head 

Union of Turkish Bar Associations head Metin Feyzioğlu also declared that the standing man’s act was not a crime according to the Turkish Criminal Code.

Though the detention of a man who stands still on pavement would have a provision in the Turkish Criminal Code, the policeman would at least be guilty of “malpractice” or “restricting freedom.”

“‘Standing’ does not constitute a crime by any means,” he said, adding that there was no stance more democratic than this. “Humanity cannot find a more democratic type of protest,” he said.

In conformity with the remarks of the interior minister, “If a person does not block the traffic and does not break the public order, he can stand. The police cannot intervene,” Feyzioğlu said.

Act of defiance turned into nationwide silent struggle 

People across the country were quick to pick up the new protest, and hundreds of photos showing people standing still have been shared so far.

The protest spread across the country hours after Gündüz’s launch.

In the western province of İzmir, a group of around 100 people blocked the traffic at Gündoğan Square around 2:30 a.m. in the morning, shortly after a ‘standing woman’ started standing in the middle of Kızılay Square in the Turkish capital of Ankara.

A small group of people, including lawyers, also “stood” for more than one hour June 18 in the Istanbul courthouse in support of the “standing man.”

Another man joined the action in the Aegean province of Muğla with an umbrella to protect himself from the 37 degree of temperature.

One photo showed people standing still in the Central Anatolian province of Sivas, in front of the Madımak Hotel where 33 intellectuals and two hotel workers died when radical Islamists attacked the hotel on July 2, 1993.

Another photo showed three people standing in front of the offices of weekly Agos, where Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink was shot and killed on Jan. 19, 2007.


Young protester loses eye from rubber bullet, mother wants justice

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News

Mahir Gür, 22, lost sight in left eye due to a rubber bullet in Taksim. DAILY NEWS photo 

Mahir Gür, 22, lost sight in left eye due to a rubber bullet in Taksim. DAILY NEWS photo
    Sevim Songün DemirezenSevim Songün
    One young man, who was shot with a rubber bullet during the police intervention in the demonstrations in Taksim Gezi Park last week, lost his sight in one eye but counts himself lucky for being alive. His family, however, are demanding justice and want those responsible to be brought to justice immediately.

    “I am thankful that I am alive. But I was unlucky that I lost my eye,” said Mahir Gür, 22-year-old university student, said in an interview with Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

    On June 11, he was shot by a rubber bullet in his left eye and broke his left cheekbone. Three protesters and one policeman have died during the countrywide protests so far.

    “I went to Gezi to find my friends. It was the first time I went there [since the demonstrations started.] Around five minutes after I went there, the police intervention started and the police shot me with the rubber bullet,” said Gür, adding that it was the first time he had been to Taksim since the protests started. He said his friends took him to hospital while he was passing in and out of consciousness.

    Gür was discharged from the hospital on June 17, after staying at the hospital for a week and having surgery on his eye. He said he was told by the doctors that he had a very low chance of being able to see with his left eye again and that he had to undergo at least two more surgeries.

    He was still suffering the trauma of the incident, hardly speaking about his emotions, mostly standing silent and sad. He said he can no longer watch the TV and only gets updated about the incidents when his friends call him. Gür said he was not member of any group, party or organization and went to Gezi Park for the fate of the park as well as for the freedoms and against the pressures.

    No apologies from gov’t officials, mother says

    His mother, who wanted to remain anonymous, demanded an apology from the government officials and asked them to bring those responsible to justice.

    “He could apologize to people, who are suffering so much pain by now,” said Gür’s mother, adding that her son had never been part of any illegal action or organization.

    “I want those who did this to my son to be found. I want them to bring my son’s eye back.

    Can they do this? My son’s head was targeted by a rubber bullet. Who would do to this to a human?” asked his mother. Working as a cook in a suburban area of Istanbul, Gür’s mother comes home once every three hours to treat her son’s eyes. She said it is hard to cover the hospital costs, but added that they will find a way somehow.

    The family started a legal action against those responsible and expects the government to bring those responsible to justice.

    Devastated by his son’s situation, his mother says she would have preferred for her son to be beaten with batons instead of rubber bullets. “He would have a broken leg or arm. Now, he lost his eye. They have darkened his world,” she said in a shivering voice.


    Dozens arrested as Turkish police raid private addresses in Ankara, Istanbul

    Published time: June 18, 2013 10:50
    A protestor reacts as he is arrested by Turkish police officers, in Istanbul, on June 16, 2013.(AFP Photo / Ronny Roman)
    A protestor reacts as he is arrested by Turkish police officers, in Istanbul, on June 16, 2013.(AFP Photo / Ronny Roman)

    Turkish police are conducting raids on left-wing groups in Istanbul and Ankara, making dozens of arrests. The unrest that has gripped the country for over two weeks shows little sign of abating, and the government has threatened to deploy the military.
    Police in Ankara made 25 arrests on Tuesday in multiple raids at addresses across the Turkish capital, local media reported. In a similar crackdown in Istanbul officers took 66 activists into custody, as well as 13 in the western city of Eskisehir. 
    Clashes erupted once again on Monday as police in Istanbul sought to disperse striking trade union workers who were demanding an end to police violence. Officers used teargas and water cannons on protesters who scuffled with police at different points around the city. Separately, a number of demonstrations were held across the country in solidarity with the ‘Occupy Gezi Park’ movement. 
    The Turkish government condemned the unrest on Monday, and said it may deploy the military to bring the anti-government protests under control. 
    “Our police, our security forces are doing their jobs. If it’s not enough then the gendarmes will do their jobs. If that’s not enough… we could even use elements of the Turkish Armed Forces,” Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told state TV. He decried the unions’ strike as “illegal,” and warned that further protests would not be tolerated. 
    Arinc’s words echo the government’s increasingly strong rhetoric against the protesters. During an AK party rally on Sunday, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told supporters that the activists were being manipulated by terrorists and dismissed accusations that he was behaving like a dictator.
    Erdem Gunduz stands in a silent protest at Taksim Square in Istanbul early June 18, 2013.(Reuters / Marko Djurica)
    Erdem Gunduz stands in a silent protest at Taksim Square in Istanbul early June 18, 2013.(Reuters / Marko Djurica)

    In a strong rebuke of the European Parliament’s condemnation of recent Turkish police brutality, he stated the institution had “no honesty” and needed to “learn its place.” Erdogan has defended the police’s use of pepper spray against protesters, calling it their “natural right.” 
    He added that the protests have now caused around $60 million of damage. 
    The protests first began on May 28 over a plan to redevelop Gezi Park, located on Taksim Square, and have now snowballed into national movement against a government that activists regard as overly “authoritarian.” Many have criticized Erdogan for his autocratic approach to government, and for impressing conservative Islamist values on a secular society. 
    The violent unrest sweeping Turkey has so far left over 5,000 people injured and at least four dead. In the last 48 hours, police have taken over 500 people into custody.
    Police fire tear gas at demonstrators during protests at Kizilay square in central Ankara.(Reuters / Dado Ruvic)
    Police fire tear gas at demonstrators during protests at Kizilay square in central Ankara.(Reuters / Dado Ruvic)

    Turkish police stand guard at the entrance of Gezi Park at Taksim Square in Istanbul.(Reuters / Marko Djurica)
    Turkish police stand guard at the entrance of Gezi Park at Taksim Square in Istanbul.(Reuters / Marko Djurica)

    Turkey threatens to deploy Army against protesters, dubs unions strike ‘illegal’

    Published time: June 17, 2013 15:22
    Edited time: June 17, 2013 15:59
    Anti-government protesters demonstrate in central Ankara on June 17, 2013 (AFP Photo / Adem Altan)
    Anti-government protesters demonstrate in central Ankara on June 17, 2013 (AFP Photo / Adem Altan)

    Turkish government said it could deploy armed forces to quell anti-government protests. It also called the nationwide general strike announced by unions “illegal.” In Ankara the police have blocked the striking workers, threatening them with use of force.
    Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc on Monday warned the anti-government demonstrators that the army could be used if they don’t stop their protests.
    “Our police, our security forces are doing their jobs. If it’s not enough then the gendarmes will do their jobs. If that’s not enough ... we could even use elements of the Turkish Armed Forces,” Arinc told Turkey’s state-run TRT television, as quoted by Reuters.
    Meanwhile, water cannon-backed riot police have stopped a thousand-strong march of trade union workers in the Turkish capital, Ankara. The police threatened the workers with force if they didn’t give up their advance towards the city’s Kizilay district, where fierce clashes were going on yesterday.
    “Those of you on the streets must stop blocking the streets. Do not be provoked. The police will use force,” they shouted through megaphones.
    However, Turkish trade unionists kept calling for strikes and marches in cities like Istanbul, despite government threats.
    Anti-government protesters demonstrate in central Ankara on June 17, 2013 (AFP Photo / Adem Altan)
    Anti-government protesters demonstrate in central Ankara on June 17, 2013 (AFP Photo / Adem Altan)

    Five Turkish trade unions, including the 240,000-member-strong public sector union confederation KESK, have announced a nationwide strike on Monday, June 17 in protest of police violence at Taksim.
    “There is an attempt to bring people on to the streets through illegal protests like a strike. I want to state that it will not be permitted,” was Interior Minister Muammer Guler’s, response as quoted by AFP.
    On Sunday, the Ankara governor’s office said it was banning all downtown demonstrations from June 16, and threatened protesters with immediate police intervention.
    Clashes have been reported on Monday in the northwestern Turkish city of Eskisehir. The police have fired tear gas and peppered water to disperse crowds of protesters, and then demolished hundreds of their tents, Dogan news agency reported.
    In Istanbul, the police arrested 441 people during violent street clashes overnight, the city’s bar association has said. Riot police raided and chased groups of protesters marching towards the landmark Taksim Square on Sunday, using rounds of tear gas and water cannon to prevent them from regrouping.

    EU: 'We watch with concerns'

    Turkey’s tough response to the protests has triggered concerns among the EU officials, fuelling doubts as the country’s suitability for admission to the bloc.
    “Turkey needs de-escalation and dialogue, not continuation of excessive use of force against peaceful protesters. We watch with concerns,” European Union enlargement commissioner Stefan Fuele tweeted overnight.
    Protesters escape from a water cannon as they clash with police during an anti-government demonstration in Ankara on June 16, 2013 (AFP Photo / Adem Altan)
    Protesters escape from a water cannon as they clash with police during an anti-government demonstration in Ankara on June 16, 2013 (AFP Photo / Adem Altan)

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she is “appalled, like many others” with the developments in Turkey.
    “What’s happening in Turkey at the moment is not in line with our idea of the freedom to demonstrate or freedom of speech,” Merkel told the German broadcaster RTL.
    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has bluntly responded to such concerns by saying “know your place” to the EU institutions at his AK party’s Istanbul rally on Sunday.
    Erdogan has said there is “no honesty” and “no respect for democracy” in European Parliament, referring to the EP statement which has condemned the Turkish police brutality against peaceful protesters. 

    Turkey unions strike over crackdown

    About 800,000 workers abstain from work on Monday, following police action against protesters in Istanbul park.

    Last Modified: 17 Jun 2013 08:51

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    Members of two union federations in Turkey have gone on a one-day strike over the forced evictions of protesters from Istanbul's Gezi Park, the focal point of fierce anti-government demonstrations that swept much of the country over the past two weeks.
    Labour groups representing doctors, engineers and dentists are also said to have joined the strike on Monday. The striking groups represent about 800,000 workers.
    The Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Guler said the strike was "illegal" and warned of police action.
    The call for the strike came as police and protesters clashed sporadically in Istanbul overnight following a weekend of scuffles in the city.
    Riot police backed by a helicopter, some in plain clothes and carrying batons, fired teargas and chased groups of rock-throwing youths into side streets around the iconic Taksim Square and Gezi Park late on Sunday night, trying to prevent them from regrouping.

    There were also disturbances in other parts of the city that had so far largely been spared the violence, including around the Galata bridge, which crosses to the historic Sultanahmet district, and the upmarket Nisantasi neighbourhood.

    Erdogan supporters
    The police had earlier during the day moved in to clear Gezi Park of protesters occupying the area adjoining Taksim Square, as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed hundreds of thousands of his supporters at an Istanbul parade.
    Follow Al Jazeera's coverage of growing political unrest
    Erdogan told a sea of flag-waving supporters that two weeks of unrest had been manipulated by "terrorists" and dismissed suggestions that he was behaving like a dictator, a constant refrain from those who have taken to the streets.
    "They say 'you are too tough', they say 'dictator'. What kind of a dictator is this who met the Gezi Park occupiers and honest environmentalists? Is there such a dictator?" Erdogan said to roars of approval from the crowd.

    He dismissed the demonstrations as "nothing more than the minority's attempt to dominate the majority ... We could not have allowed this and we will not allow it."
    A small-scale environmental protest against government plans to redevelop Gezi Park had snowballed into a larger movement against the government of Erdogan.
    The clashes pose no immediate threat to Erdogan's leadership, but they have tarnished Turkey's image as an oasis of stability on the fringes of the volatile Middle East, and presented him with the greatest challenge of his 10-year rule.
    Show of strength

    The prime minister has long been Turkey's most popular politician, overseeing a decade of unprecedented prosperity, and his AK Party has won an increasing share of the vote in three successive election victories.
    Erdogan, who also addressed supporters of his ruling AK Party in Ankara on Saturday, said the rallies were to kick off campaigning for local elections next year and not related to the unrest, but they were widely seen as a show of strength.
    The crowds who packed Istanbul's Kazlicesme festival ground, many of whom walked for kilometres, turned out to support a leader who they feel has been under siege.
    "We are the silent majority, not the riff-raff who are trying to frighten us," said Ruveyda Alkan, 32, her head covered in a black veil and waving a red Turkish flag.
    The two weeks of unrest have left four people dead and about 5,000 injured, according to the Turkish Medical Association.

    Water Cannon And Tear Gas In Turkey: The Photo Exhibition

    Tyler Durden's picture

    Two weeks after the break out of protests in Turkey, often times violent, the local discontent is nowhere closer to resolution. In fact, it is getting worse, and is on its way to converge with the "resolutions" adopted in its neighbor Greece following news that two Turkish union federations said on Sunday they would stage a one-day nationwide strike on Monday in protest at the forced eviction by riot police of hundreds of anti-government demonstrators from an Istanbul park. From Reuters
    "The Confederation of Public Workers' Unions (KESK), which has some 240,000 members in 11 unions, and the Confederation of Revolutionary Trade Unions (DISK) announced the strike in a joint statement. Three other groups representing doctors, engineers and dentists will also join the action, it said."
    And so "the economy gets it" until the politicians respond to the protestors in a satisfactory fashion, which may be a problem, because just like in the "Occupy XXX" movement in the US, nobody is exactly sure just what the demands are.
    Regardless, the local protests, now accompanied daily by high pressure water cannon and constant tear gas make for some spectacular stills, such as the following series of photos over the weekend from Istanbul and Ankara.
    A protester is attacked by water cannon during crowds in Kizilay square in central Ankara, June 16, 2013.

    People take cover from water cannons during a protest at Kizilay square in central Ankara, June 16, 2013.

    A protester is sprayed by a police water cannon during a demonstration at Taksim Square in Istanbul June 16, 2013.

    A protester is being sprayed by the police's water cannon during a demonstration at Kizilay square in central Ankara June 16, 2013.

    Riot police use a water cannon to disperse anti-government protesters at Taksim square in central Istanbul June 15, 2013.

    Protesters are attacked by police water cannon at the entrance Gezi Park near Istanbul's Taksim square June 15, 2013.

    A woman is attacked by water cannon during protests in Kizilay square in central Ankara, June 16, 2013.

    A riot policeman orders protesters to evacuate Gezi Park near Istanbul's Taksim square June 15, 2013.

    Protesters are attacked by police water cannon next to Gezi Park near Istanbul's Taksim square June 15, 2013

    A riot policeman fires teargas during an anti-government protest in Istanbul late June 15, 2013.

    A riot policeman fires tear gas during an anti-government protest in Istanbul early June 16, 2013.

    Riot police fire tear gas and a water cannon at Taksim Square in Istanbul June 15, 2013
    Photos: Reuters

    Police and protesters clash in Istanbul

    Clashes come as protesters attempt Taksim Square entry, as PM supporters set to rally in the same city.

    Last Modified: 16 Jun 2013 15:05

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    Protesters were forcibly evicted from Taksim Square in Istanbul by riot police late on Saturday night [Reuters]
    Clashes have taken place between police and anti-government protesters in streets leading to a central square in Istanbul, as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan prepares for a show of strength in a rally organised by his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party.
    Thousands of protesters have been trying to reach Taksim Square on Sunday after overnight police intervention at an Istanbul park where anti-government protests were first ignited more than two weeks ago.
    Follow Al Jazeera's coverage of growing political unrest
    Riot police fired bursts of tear gas and water cannon on Sunday after a night of unrest to try to prevent demonstrators from regrouping and keep them away from Taksim Square, where Gezi Park is located.
    Bulldozers removed barricades and municipal workers swept the streets around the central Taksim Square, sealed off by police, after thousands took to the streets overnight following the raid on the park.
    Throughout the night, police forces have entered hotels and other buildings harbouring injured protesters in Istanbul, using tear gas inside buildings and detaining demonstrators.
    There have been rallies and clashes in cities such as capital Ankara, Izmir, Eskisehir, Bursa, Antalya and Adana following police’s intervention in Gezi Park in Saturday evening.
    Hundreds of police officers have poured into Istanbul in order to work around Taksim Square and Kazlicesme, where the pro-government rally will take place.
    ‘No access to Taksim Square’
    Meanwhile, Istanbul's governor said on Sunday that the planned gathering by an anti-government protest group in Taksim Square would not be allowed to go ahead.
    "There is a call for gathering in Taksim at 4:00pm [local time; 13:00GMT]," Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu told reporters. "Any call for Taksim will not contribute to peace and security. After the current environment becomes stable, they can continue exercising their democratic rights. Under current circumstances we will not allow any gathering."
    Mutlu said two police officers were shot during Saturday’s riots by live ammunition, adding that they are in good condition.
    He also confirmed the reports that doctors helping protesters were arrested. "Yes, doctors have been arrested but they are acting in conjunction with the protesters," he said.
    He also rejected reports claiming that water sprayed from water cannon at protesters contained any additional chemicals.
    Pro-Erdogan rally in Istanbul
    Meanwhile, Erdogan is to deliver a speech at a political rally in the Kazlicesme district of Istanbul, about 10km away from the square.

    In an AK Party rally in Ankara on Saturday, Prime Minister Erdogan issued a Sunday deadline for those occupying the park to leave or face eviction.
    He also accused "a network of treachery" of being responsible for the unrest that has gripped the country for more than two weeks.
    Erdogan said that the protests are not about the environment, as those in Taksim Square say, but are part of a plot "coordinated inside and outside" Turkey.
    "I will reveal this network of treachery with the documents proving [it]," he added.
    In Ankara, police forces have prevented a large group of people from entering capital Ankara’s central Kizilay Square. Water cannon and tear gas have been used by riot police against protesters.
    The group was trying to enter the square following protester Ethem Sarisuluk's funeral in order to commemorate him where he died.
    The government says the demonstrators are being manipulated by illegal groups seeking to sow instability while the movement says that the government has been acting increasingly authoritarian.
    Turkey has been in turmoil since late May after a sit-in protest against an urban development project at Gezi Park of Istanbul transformed into countrywide anti-government demonstrations.

    Turkish police clamp down on anti-government protests: LIVE UPDATES

    Published time: May 31, 2013 22:31
    Edited time: June 16, 2013 15:21
    A demonstrator's clothes are set on fire during clashes with riot police in Taksim square on June 11, 2013 (AFP Photo / Oren Ziv)
    Five people have been killed and thousands injured as Turkey continues to be rocked by its biggest wave of anti-government protests in years. Ankara has been criticized for its crackdown on the protests, which it has been trying to downplay in the media.
    15:21 GMT: Official Turkish news agency Anadolu claims “millions” are welcoming Prime Minister Erdogan at his AK party’s Istanbul rally.

    Millions ready to welcome Turkish PM Erdogan for "Respect to National Will" rally in Istanbul
    Посмотреть изображение в Твиттере

    NOW: Literal Army of people getting ready to retake Square again.
    Посмотреть изображение в Твиттере

    Sex as a police punishment

    What you will read below is extremely disturbing. It is the firsthand impressions of a Boğaziçi (Bosphorus) University student who was detained by police in connection with the Gezi Park incidents in Istanbul.

    We, as a generation, grew up in an atmosphere of state brutality, when most of the time sex crimes were part of the torture process during military regimes. Horrible stories and horrible statements were heard. One example is the unforgettable self-confession of a retired general of the September 12 regime. He said, “When I have rock-hard young men at my service, why should I use batons?” when he was asked about torture done with batons… He was arguing that it did not happen, why he should use the baton, when he had other weapons…

    Daily News Photo, Emrah Gürel 

    That was the 1980s. We thought those days were over… Now, it is 33 years later. We live in the age of limitless, endless information exchange where nothing can be hidden… When everything is documented, police brutality is filmed, recorded, not tolerated, unless encouraged by dark-minded administrators…

    I will not go on discussing how pathetic a man can be when he uses his sexual skills as a punishment for the other sex. How pathetic it is for him to see sex as punishment… We can discuss that later.

    The entry you will read below came through the Internet. It was on the Facebook page of the person narrating. It was also in Hürriyet columnist Yalçın Bayer’s web version of his column. It was sent to Yalçın Bayer by Professor Işık Aytaç, again from Bosphorus University, as the account of her student Erkan Yolalan, who shared his story on his Facebook page.

    Erkan Yolalan first thanks everybody who has assisted him, especially to those who fetched him a lawyer.
    Here is his story:

    “I am at home, I’m fine. I want to write what I went through. My only aim is that everybody knows what is being experienced while in detention. I have no other aim; I want to say that at the beginning. I will write all of the events that happened to me from the beginning and with all swear words and insults included. With all its openness…

    “Last night (June 3, 2013) around 9 p.m. I was detained in Beşiktaş, at traffic lights on Barbaros Avenue. I was not involved in any action like swearing or throwing stones. They took me in bending my arm the moment they saw me. Some friends of mine saw on TV how I was taken into custody. Then hell began.

    “After crossing the lights in the direction of the seaside, while I was at the edge of the platform where the IETT bus stops are at the seaside, any policeman who was there and any riot police squad member (çevik kuvvet) who saw me started kicking and punching me. For about 100-150 meters, in other words, all the way to the Kadıköy ferry station, whoever was present there was kicking and punching. Insults and curses such as ‘Are you the ones to save this country, mother f***, sons of ****,’ never ended. I could not count how many people hit me before I reached the detention bus.

    “Just as I was taken near the buses, a few policemen called from behind a bus, ‘Bring him here.’ They took me behind the bus and started kicking and punching me there. I learned later that because of the cameras they took me behind the bus to beat me.

    “When I was inside the detention bus (İETT) the lights were out, and I heard a girl’s voice begging inside the bus: ‘I did not do anything, sir.’ I could not even see who was hitting me as I was taken inside the bus and after I was in the bus. The only thing I was able to do in the dark was to cover my head. Curses and insults continued. I sat. Everyone who was passing near me was hitting me. I got up and went to a corner. They wanted me to take a seat again. I told them everyone who passed by was hitting me when I was seated.

    They again swore, slapped and punched me and made me sit.

    “They were hitting the girl and throttling her. A civilian policeman whose name is İsmail said exactly this to the girl, ‘I will bend you over and f*** you right now.’ [He – Erkan Yolalan- later added that this policeman İsmail also said, “Now that it is dark and the lights are off I will ****”]

    “And the response of the girl was heartbreaking. With a low voice, she could only say ‘Yes, sir.’
    “And next, we, the three people present at the bus, were forced to shout: ‘I love the Turkish police. I love my country.’ They made us yell this again and again ordered us to make it ‘louder, louder.’ The insults and beating did not come to an end.

    “The atmosphere seemed a bit calmer, but this time they brought another young person. The guy’s nose was broken. When I asked him why he didn’t protect his face, he told me ‘Two people held me by force and a third person punched my nose three times.’ From time to time there were others brought in.

    “A young person named Mustafa from Bahçeşehir University was brought then. Twenty policemen from the riot squad had attacked him, and he looked too weak even to stand up. Slapping and punching him near the detention bus was not enough for them, they hit his head with a helmet. That was not enough either, they hit his head on the bus window. They took him inside the bus while continuously hitting him. His hands were cuffed from behind; his head was bleeding; they made him sit on the floor.

    “We saw his head bleeding. I went near him and held a cloth (the bloody t-shirt of the guy whose nose was broken) to his wound to stop the bleeding. This police named Süleyman cursed at me and told me to ‘f*** off’ to my seat. I told him, ‘He is bleeding.’ He said, ‘He can bleed.’ He did not care at all. They were holding the guy in handcuffs with all his injuries. We pointed that out to a couple of policemen. Finally, one of them opened the cuffs.

    “Actually the second heartbreaking incident happened when we were at the police station for statements. Mustafa asked me this: ‘Did they hit me at the bus? What happened?’ The guy could not remember. He was not fully conscious while he was on the bus.

    “As a last point, we could not go to the toilet while we were at the bus. They only gave us a bottle of water. Then we were taken to the hospital for doctor’s reports and then to the police station.

    “Once we were at the police station, an army of lawyers was waiting for us. And the policemen now were talking to us on polite terms.

    “I want to thank all the lawyers, all our friends who called the lawyers and everybody who was worried about us. There is not a bit of an exaggeration in this piece. Everything that has been experienced is true and my only aim is for everybody to hear it firsthand.

    Revolt against brutality is continuing. This fascist order will be destroyed.”

    New Information: This story was at Parliament today, June 6. Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Antalya deputy Yıldıray Sapan spoke in Parliament. He referred in short to this incident and demanded that this civilian police officer be found. Sapan also asked how the prime minister, Arınç or the interior minister would feel if such words were said to their daughters, wives, sisters or any other person they know.

    I want that policeman to be found also. And the others.

    Note to international readers: Do you know what will happen? This person Erkan will be terrorized with scores of lawsuits filed against him by the policemen in question, all testifying that he attacked them first. The public prosecutor will process these cases much faster, even before the cases against them begin. Collecting the evidence will take ages. The guy and all the others on that detention bus and any others testifying for him will be found guilty and will be given jail sentences. Earmark this paragraph for future reference.

    Police to consider protesters in Istanbul’s Taksim Square terror organization members: Minister


    Egemen Bağış has been very critical of foreign media reports of the ongoing protests in Turkey. DHA photo
    Egemen Bağış has been very critical of foreign media reports of the ongoing protests in Turkey. DHA photo
    Everyone who enters Istanbul’s Taksim Square, the heart of nearly 20-day-long protests against the government, will be considered a member or a supporter of a terrorist organization, Turkey’sEuropean Union minister said in a televised interview late last night.

    “I request our citizens who supported the protests until today kindly to return to their homes,” Egemen Bağış said in an interview on broadcaster A Haber.

    “From now on the state will unfortunately have to consider everyone who remains there a supporter or member of a terror organization,” he said. “Our prime minister has already assured [activists] about their aim with the protests. The protests from now on will play into the hands of some separatist organizations that want to break the peace and prioritize vandalism and terrorism.”

    High-ranking Turkish officials have been posting warnings on the issue and everyone should act in a sensitive manner, he said.

    Clashes between the police and protesters in Istanbul continued around the square along with some other parts of the city until this morning.

    Bağış repeated his criticism of foreign media for exaggerating the protests in Turkey.

    “Unfortunately, the foreign press has made a big mistake on this issue,” he said, saying that they wanted to reflect Turkey as a country where life has halted.

    “Hours-long broadcasting that is even not interrupted by commercials has damaged Turkey’s image,” he said.

    “But these long broadcasts surely have a financial reason, and this will be revealed. International channels such as BBC and CNN never do such broadcasting without any advertisement. Somebody somehow financed these broadcasts. Like our prime minister said, the losses of the interest rate lobby due to low interest rates have exceeded $650 billion in Turkey,” he said, adding that this was a result of the government’s dedication. “This drives them crazy and they are doing everything to disturb the calm in our country and win back their losses.”


    Police raid on İstanbul Gezi Park triggers night of rioting

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    People run as riot police fire water cannon on Gezi Park protesters at Taksim Square in İstanbul on June 15, 2013. (Photo: Reuters, Osman Orsal)
    Thousands of people took to the streets of İstanbul overnight on Sunday, erecting barricades and starting bonfires, after riot police firing tear gas and water cannon stormed a park at the center of two weeks of anti-government unrest.
    Within a half-hour, the sweep by white-helmeted riot police had emptied Gezi Park in central İstanbul, leaving a series of colorful, abandoned tents behind. Bulldozers moved in afterward, scooping up debris as crews of workmen in hard hats and fluorescent yellow vests tore down the tents. Protesters put up little physical resistance, even as plain-clothes police shoved many of them to drive them from the park.
    After announcing through speakers to protesters to leave the square as soon as possible, riot police entered the park after controlling Taksim Square. Police shouted to the protesters: "This is an illegal act, this is our last warning to you - Evacuate." Police also said the intervention targeted illegal groups in the square.
    After the park was evacuated by the police, municipal workers began to remove the tents set up in the park.
    A main public-sector union confederation, KESK, which has some 240,000 members, said it would call a national strike for Monday, while a second union grouping said it was holding an emergency meeting to decide whether to join the action.
    İstanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu told reporters late on Saturday that at least 44 people were injured but only three people were hospitalized after the police intervention. He added that none of them was in serious condition.
    Mutlu said there is misinformation in the foreign media over the number of injured. He added that police warned the protesters before the intervention and that majority of them had left the park. He said only members of illegal groups clashed with police.
    Mutlu added that police intervention was “a legal necessity” after efforts to persuade protesters to leave the park proved futile.
    Mutlu tweeted early on Sunday that some provocateurs were now using "weapons" and two police officers were slightly injured after being fired on.
    Thousands of people spilled onto a main avenue leading to Taksim Square after the raid, ripping up street signs and starting to build barricades, while police fired tear gas into back streets around the square to try to prevent protesters from regrouping.
    Local television footage showed groups of demonstrators blocking a main highway to Atatürk airport on the western edge of the city, while to the east several hundred walked towards a main bridge crossing the Bosporus waterway towards Taksim.
    Residents in surrounding neighborhoods took to their balconies or leant out of windows banging pots and pans, while car drivers sounded their horns in support of the protesters.
    Protesters also gathered in Ankara around the central Kuğulu Park, including opposition deputies who sat in the streets in an effort to prevent the police firing tear gas.
    "One million people to Taksim" -- a call for more anti-government demonstrations later on Sunday -- was a top-trending hashtag on Twitter.
    Clashes between police and protesters continued for more than five hours on Sıraselviler Avenue near Taksim Square, with police firing tear gas and using water cannons to disperse the crowd. Police were also heavy-handed outside the Divan hotel near Gezi Park and many trapped inside the hotel had hard time breathing because of tear gas fired by police.
    Thousands of people were marching toward the Bosporus Bridge from the Kadıköy district on the Asian side of the city late on Saturday but police had built barricades near the Fikirtepe metrobus station. Police and protesters briefly clashed in Fikirtepe, Uzunçayır and Altunizade but officers allowed the protesters to cross the bridge early on Sunday.
    Protesters also blocked many highways, including the D-100 Highway near Okmeydanı, İncirli, Avcılar and Beylikdüzü. People also completely stopped the traffic on the TEM highway near the Gazi neighborhood. Only in Okmeydanı, police used tear gas to disperse the crowd.
    In İzmir, protesters blocked Talatpaşa Boulevard and gathered in huge numbers in Gündoğdu Square. The protests in the Aegean city were largely peaceful.
    After two weeks of protests against his leadership, Erdoğan vowed to crush his opponents in elections next year, in a speech on Saturday to tens of thousands of flag-waving supporters on the outskirts of the capital, Ankara.
    "We will bring them to account in eight months at the ballot box. We will not make a concession; we will resist by ignoring their agitation. We will embrace victory one more time," he said, his voice cracking as he roared at the crowds.
    He warned protesters still occupying Gezi Park on the edge of Taksim Square in central İstanbul that they should leave before a second ruling party rally, planned for Sunday on the edge of the city, or face intervention.
    Supporters of Erdoğan converged in Sincan, a suburb of the capital Ankara that is a stronghold of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party). The rally came just hours after protesters in Gezi Park defied Erdoğan's warning that they must leave, vowing to press on with a two-week sit-in that has galvanized demonstrations around the country.
    "Over the last 17 days, I know that in all corners of Turkey, millions and billions have prayed for us," Erdoğan said, as he moved about the stage. "You saw the plot that was being carried out, the trap being set." He said his supporters represented the "silent masses."
    "You are here, and you are spoiling the treacherous plot, the treacherous attack!" he said, insisting unspecified groups both inside and outside Turkey had conspired to mount the protests centered on İstanbul -- and that he had the documents to prove it.
    The crowd chanted in response: "Stand straight, don't bow, the people are with you!"
    A violent police crackdown on what began as an environmental protest over a redevelopment plan at Gezi Park has sparked a much broader expression of discontent about Erdoğan's government, and what many say is his increasingly authoritarian manner of governing.
    Erdoğan, who was elected with 50 percent of the vote for his third term in 2011, vehemently rejects the accusations. But the protests put some of the greatest political pressure on him in his 10-year tenure.
    Erdoğan has previously said that Saturday's rally of supporters and another planned Sunday in İstanbul were not designed as "an alternative" to the demonstrations at Gezi Park, but part of early campaigning for local elections next March.
    In his speech, he focused on some protesters who have clashed with polices -- at times by throwing stones and firebombs.
    "There is no breaking and burning here; we are people of love," Erdoğan said. "If people want to see the real Turkey, they should come here to Sincan."
    Erdoğan already has offered to defer to a court ruling on the legality of the government's contested park redevelopment plan, and floated the possibility of a referendum on it. But concessions over the park seem to no longer be enough.
    Earlier this week, Erdoğan ordered the adjacent Taksim Square to be cleared of protesters. Police moved past improvised barricades on Tuesday, firing tear gas and rubber bullets and using water cannons to fend off small groups of demonstrators throwing stones, bottles and firebombs. Tear gas was also fired through the trees into the park, although the protesters were not removed.
    Taksim Square itself returned to normal right after the end of the police operation early Wednesday. Traffic returned, the protest banners and flags were taken down, and cafes set up their chairs and tables outside again. At night, demonstrators still spill out from the park down the steps, while riot police keep watch from the edges.
    Tayfun Kahraman, a Taksim Solidarity member who met with Erdoğan in last-ditch talks that lasted until the pre-dawn hours Friday, said the protesters had agreed to continue their sit-in at Gezi Park after holding a series of discussions about their response to the pledges made by Erdoğan.
    "We shall remain in the park until all of our democratic rights are recognized," he told The Associated Press, insisting that four key demands laid out by protesters in the talks had not been met.
    The group has demanded that apart from the park being left intact, anyone responsible for excessive police force must resign or be fired, all activists detained in the protests should be released, and the police use of tear gas and other non-lethal weapons be banned.
    "As of today, with the dynamism and strength that comes from the struggle that has spread to the whole country, and even the world, we shall continue the resistance against all kinds of injustice and victimization in our country," Taksim Solidarity said in a statement posted on its website and later read out in the park. The group didn't say explicitly that it would remain in the park.
    As the statement was read out, many among the gathered crowd clapped and began shouting, "This is just the beginning -- the struggle continues!"
    Although the most prominent group to emerge from the protests, Taksim Solidarity doesn't speak for everyone occupying Gezi. With many protesters saying they have no affiliation to any group or political party, many could make individual decisions on whether to stay or leave.
    But there were few signs of anyone intending to pack up Saturday afternoon, and the daily activity in what has become a tent city continued with little indication of change. Deliveries of bottles of water and food arrived, people lined up for servings of lunch, while others cleared garbage and swept the paths clean after the morning rain.
    According to the government's redevelopment plan for Taksim Square, the park would be replaced with a replica Ottoman-era barracks. Under initial plans, the construction would have housed a shopping mall, though that has since been amended to the possibility of an opera house, a theater and a museum with cafes.
    Protesters angered by the project began occupying the park last month, but the police crackdown on May 31 saw the demonstrations spread to dozens of cities across the country. In recent days they have concentrated on İstanbul and the capital, Ankara.
    The anger has been fanned because riot police have at times used tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets to disperse mostly peaceful protesters. Five people, including a police officer, have died and thousands of people have been injured, denting Erdoğan's international reputation.
    Earlier Saturday, President Abdullah Gül wrote on Twitter that "everyone should now return home," insisting that "the channels for discussion and dialogue" have opened -- an apparent reference to the talks between Erdoğan and a small group of delegates from the protest.

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