The Gezi resistance continues to create its own public spaces. Since the occupation at Gezi Park was forced out by the police on 15 June, public forums (popular assemblies) are being held in over 30 parks around Istanbul in the evenings, as well as in other cities including Ankara, İzmir, Adana, Mersin, Eskişehir. While some of these forums, such as Abbasağa Park Forum in Beşiktaş, and Yoğurtçu Park Forum in Kadıköy, have been held every day since 16 June except for evenings for which demonstrations were scheduled, others take place less frequently but regularly. The different groups and sections of society that make up Gezi resistance meet at the forums to continue self-organizing, to discuss and debate the wider political issues and seek new directions for the resistance movement.
This is a roundup of events and developments over the last few days in Istanbul. Gezi Park was reopened to public access, then closed, then opened again, after hours of police terror on the streets of central Istanbul on Monday, which resulted in close to 80 detentions, including 32 members of Taksim Solidarity, the umbrella organisation that has been central to the coordination at Gezi. On Wednesday, university student Ali İsmail Korkmaz died in a hospital in Eskişehir at age 19. He had been in a coma since undergoing a surgery on 4 June after being beaten by a group of people in plain clothes as he was trying to run away from police attacks on a demonstration on 3 June.
On 8 July Monday, at 2:30pm a cohort of officials including Istanbul Governor Avni Mutlu, Istanbul Mayor, the Police Chief of Istanbul, and Beyoğlu Mayor came to Gezi Park to officially “open” it. The park had been closed to the public since 15 June when the occupation was forced out by brutal police attacks. The Governor of Istanbul’s address to the press in Gezi Park on Monday afternoon was a rare exercise in Alice-in-Wonderland logic. Continue reading
Taksim Gezi Park has been closed to the public since June 15th. From that time onwards, the police has been patrolling the park, ‘protecting’ a public space from ‘the people’. Taksim Solidarity called for a rally yesterday at 7pm in Taksim Gezi Park to serve notice to the authorities of a court decision that has annulled redevelopment plans for Gezi Park and the larger vicinity of Taksim Square. Police did not wait until the scheduled 7pm demonstration and attacked groups of protesters an hour in advance with water cannons, plastic bullets and pepper gas. Earlier in the afternoon, before the 7pm demo, a group of feminists had gathered in Galatasaray and marched to Taksim to protest police violence and sexual harassment. Meanwhile another group of protestors had gathered in Taksim Square with plastic water-guns to mock the ongoing excessive use of water-cannons by the police.
Police attacks spread out to the areas around Taksim: Tünel, Galatasaray, Cihangir, Sıraselviler Street, İstiklal Street, and Beyoğlu’s side streets. A gang of machete and cleaver-wielding civilians attacked protesters in the Talimhane area with backing from the police. The police attacks continued into the early hours of the morning, and the Istanbul Bar Association has reported that 52 people were taken into custody since last night. There were incidents which have proved that the police treated journalists in a particularly brutal manner. Beaten, clubbed or shot with plastic bullets, it is reported that at least 10 journalists were assaulted by the police.
The governor of Istanbul announced yesterday, only few hours before the 7pm gathering, that the park will be re-opened for public use on 7 July (today). It still remains unclear who will open the park, for whom and when exactly.
Videos from yesterday’s attacks… Continue reading
1 July 2013
One of the biggest casualties of yesterday’s events in Egypt is US Ambassador, Anne Patterson. For months now, she has been insisting on a slanted reading of the political scene in Egypt, constantly letting the Muslim Brotherhood off the hook (in a bizarre move last week, she even visited Khayrat El-Shater, the strong man of the MB in his personal office), and giving erroneous accounts to John Kerry about the opposition to President Morsy.
A collection of English news and articles on Gezi Park incidents and their repurcussions (Chronologically ordered): http://readlists.com/919501ec/
Gezi Park Resistance is the most noteworthy contribution to the waves of social opposition that have been steadily growing and strengthening in Turkey. The rapidity with which the resistance has spread across the country shows that it has great symbolic value as well. That the state reverts to dictatorial reflexes in order to oppress its people who attempt to use their democratic rights to express their objections or preferences is not news: We could hark back to recent instances such as the suppression of protests around Metin Lokumcu’s death, the violence used against demonstrators to prevent May 1 celebrations, the ban on demonstrations in Taksim Square, and the attacks on protests targeting urban regeneration projects, including the illegal demolition of Emek movie theatre in Istanbul.
Gezi Resistance represents not only the expression of rightful demands but also a strong reaction precisely against this dictatorial reflex. The police violence that has been continuing since May 28 casts a dark shadow over hopes regarding the future, just at a time when the prospect of establishing peace through a strong civil popular democratic struggle finally appeared after 30 years of war against the Kurdish insurgency. The effectiveness of civil popular democratic struggle as a method is being tested in the Gezi Resistance. The government’s ballot-box notion of democracy has come into conflict with the pluralist direct democracy imagined by the Resistance. The government is trying to restrict civil popular democratic struggle as much as possible by terrorizing through police violence those who join the Resistance. Continue reading