Tag Archives: Taksim Square

Turkey’s Police Clash With Hundreds Defying Protest Ban On May Day

Protesters run and protect themselves as riot police use a water cannon against them during a May Day rally near Taksim Square in Istanbul on May 1, 2015

ISTANBUL, May 1 (Reuters) – Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon at hundreds of stone-throwing May Day protesters on Friday, after they defied a ban and tried to march on Istanbul’s Taksim Square.

Europe’s biggest city was under a security lockdown as thousands of police manned barricades and closed streets to stop demonstrations at Taksim, a traditional rallying ground for leftists that saw weeks of unrest in 2013.

Riot police unleashed water cannon and chased protesters down side streets in the nearby Besiktas neighborhood and also they also fired off canisters of tear gas, a Reuters reporter said. Demonstrators lobbed stones and bottles at police and set off fireworks.

Istanbul police said nearly 140 people had been detained, although activists said the number was nearly double that. The city’s governor said 6 police officers and 18 protestors had been injured in clashes, which died out as the afternoon wore on and a clean-up operation got underway.

Critics say President Tayyip Erdogan and the government have become more authoritarian in the buildup to June elections.

“People want to express their problems but the government doesn’t want those problems to be heard ahead of elections,” opposition politician Mahmut Tanal, holding a pocket-sized book of the Turkish constitution, told Reuters in Besiktas.

Demonstrators try to protect themselves from water, sprayed by a police water canon truck and tear gas, during clashes in Istanbul, Turkey, May 1, 2015

A usually bustling square lined with cafes and hotels, Taksim was filled with police buses, ambulances and satellite broadcast trucks. A pair of tourists emerged from a hotel to find the area sealed off and nervously made their way around police lines.

Much of Istanbul’s public transport had been shut down due to security concerns, and police helicopters buzzed over the city. Tens of thousands also gathered to march in the capital Ankara, where the mood was more festive, with dancing and singing.

A woman reacts as Turkish police use water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters during a May Day rally near Taksim Square in Istanbul on May 1, 2015

he government had said Taksim would only be open to those who came peacefully and not for “illegal demonstrations.”

“I wish May 1 to be celebrated in a festive mood without provocations,” Erdogan said in a statement.

Opposition parties and unions called on the government to lift the ban.

A protester kicks a tear gas canister during clashes with riot police during a May Day rally near Taksim Square in Istanbul on May 1, 2015

Erdogan has previously dismissed protesters as “riff-raff” and terrorists, outraged by the unrest in 2013 that brought unwanted international attention and posed the biggest challenge to his AK Party since it came to power in 2002.

Recent polls say AKP is on course for another election win in June but he may fall short of the massive victory Erdogan is targeting to allow him to change the constitution and bolster his presidential powers.

Demonstrators challenge riot police officers during clashes in Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, May 1, 2015.

he 2013 Taksim protests began as a peaceful demonstration against plans to redevelop Gezi Park, a leafy corner of the square. After a police crackdown the demonstration spiraled into weeks of nationwide protests against Erdogan’s rule.

Turkey heading to totalitarian regime, main opposition CHP leader says

Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (2R) speaks during a meeting with foreign media members in Istanbul on May 2. CHP deputy chairs Faruk Loğoğlu (R) adn Gürsel Tekin (2L) and CHP Istanbul provincial head Oğuz Kaan Salıcı (L) were also present at the meeting.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (2R) speaks during a meeting with foreign media members in Istanbul on May 2. CHP deputy chairs Faruk Loğoğlu (R) adn Gürsel Tekin (2L) and CHP Istanbul provincial head Oğuz Kaan Salıcı (L) were also present at the meeting.

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said the country is heading to a totalitarian regime, referring to the pressures on the press in Turkey during a meeting with foreign media members in Istanbul on May 2.

“Turkey is heading rapidly toward a totalitarian regime. One cannot speak of democracy in a country if there is no freedom of the press. The bans on Twitter, YouTube, the pressure on the newspapers and TV channels are unacceptable,” said Kılıçdaroğlu upon a question at the meeting in Istanbul.

Recalling that May 3 is World Press Freedom Day, Kılıçdaroğlu said Turkey is passing through a pressure regime which has practices fiercer than that of the times of the military coup.

“There are 44 journalists in jail today. Around 1,150 journalists have lost their jobs in past five years. We see practices harsher than those of the military rulers in this country,” said Kılıçdaroğlu in his address to foreign journalists.

The main opposition leader, however, voiced optimism over the end of his party’s struggle against totalitarianism.

“This is a difficult struggle. But I am sure of one thing: We will win in the end. An oppressive regime has never been successful in history. Societies have paid the price and we are ready to pay the price on this road,” said Kılıçdaroğlu during the meeting.

CHP deputy chair Gürsel Tekin, CHP deputy chair Faruk Loğoğlu, CHP deputy chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu, CHP deputy Şafak Pavey and CHP Istanbul provincial head Oğuz Kaan Salıcı were also present at the meeting held at a hotel in Istanbul’s Taksim neighborhood.

Kılıçdaroğlu said that there is no freedom in a country if people are not allowed to hold their celebrations at the place they want to, referring to the banning of Taksim Square to unionists on May 1. “There was martial law in Istanbul yesterday [May 1]. Workers should be allowed to celebrate their day wherever they want to. Besides, Taksim has a symbolic meaning for the workers,” said Kılıçdaroğlu criticizing the government’s efforts in blocking Taksim to workers and unions on May 1.

Presidential elections

Kılıçdaroğlu told foreign media members that the CHP will nominate the candidate who will get the most votes from the voters of other parties in the second round of the presidential elections scheduled for August.

“All parties will nominate their own candidates in the first round of the elections. This will have advantages and disadvantages. We believe that our candidate should be able to get votes from the voters of other parties in the second round,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.

He also criticized the fact that the debates over the presidential elections are reduced to one point, whether Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan or current President Abdullah Gül will run.

“We should discuss what characteristics our president should have. It is very dangerous if someone who is not acquitted in the court from the allegations against him becomes president. This will be a legitimization of the corruption,” said Kılıçdaroğlu referring to the recent corruption probe opened against high-profile names, including the sons of three former ministers.

Kılıçdaroğlu said the Erdoğan’s recent statement offering condolences to the relatives of the victims of the 1915 incidents should be seen as a humane act.

“It is very humane to give a statement of condolence to those who died during the 1915 incidents. All of these people who lost their lives were Ottoman citizens. We have already stated our opinion about the prime minister’s statement,” said Kılıçdaroğlu referring to Loğoğlu’s remarks that said these statements should have been said earlier regarding the issue.

Upon a question about a probe opened against Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who is in self-exile in the U.S., Kılıçdaroğlu said if there is any structure that damages the state, it should be tried before the court. However, Kılıçdaroğlu also stated that the rift between the Gülen movement and government is mainly caused by the fact that Erdoğan is attempting to create an enemy because “dictators tend to create enemies.” He also said it is ridiculous for Erdoğan to say that the Gülen movement has ruled the country for 12 years.

May/02/2014 via – hurriyetdailynews.

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Protester killed in Turkey clashes

A protester has been killed in violent clashes with police in Turkey. The country is witnessing a wave of unrest following the death of a 15-year-old who was shot by a tear-gas canister by police last summer and died in hospital after 269 days in a coma.

One protester in Istanbul died of a head injury after police cracked down on a crowd allegedly attacking police on Wednesday evening.

“There were two groups attacking the police and one youth suffered a head injury … and lost his life,” Aziz Babuscu, the ruling AK Party‘s Istanbul provincial head, told CNN Turk TV.

Riot police fire tear gas to disperse anti-government protesters during a demonstration in Istanbul March 12, 2014.

Turkey is gripped by unrest following the death of 15-year old Berkin Elvan who was injured in anti-government protests last summer.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators, many chanting political slogans, gathered for Elvan’s funeral on Wednesday in Istanbul. The crowd was also chanting “Tayyip! Killer!” Earlier on Wednesday, a group of Turkish activists hacked into the Twitter account of a top adviser to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, posting messages like “We know who Elvan’s killer is.”

Police deployed water cannons to block the crowd from marching to the central Taksim square. Tear gas and rubber bullets were shot to disperse the people while police in riot gear chased scattered protesters into the side streets.

Fireworks thrown by anti-government protesters explode near riot policemen during a demonstration in Istanbul March 12, 2014.

On Wednesday, police also clashed with demonstrators in several other Turkish cities as protesters flooded the streets in acts of civil disobedience across the country. More demonstrations are planned to ratchet up pressure on Prime Minister Erdogan in the run up to the March 30 election.

Erdogan, who has remained silent on Elvan’s death, said that holding massive streets protests 18 days before elections was against the spirit of democracy.

“Does democracy come with Molotov cocktails?,” Erdogan told throngs of cheering supporters at a campaign rally in the southeastern city of Siirt, as cited by Reuters.

“The path of democracy is the ballot box. If you have the power, go to the ballot box,” he said.

An armoured police vehicle drives through a barricade on fire during a demonstration in Ankara March 12, 2014.

 

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Protesters clash with police across Turkey as thousands mourn 15yo teen death

Police and protesters have clashed in several cities in Turkey as the country is gripped by unrest following the death of 15-year old Berkin Elvan. He was hit by tear-gas canister shot by police and died in hospital after 269 days in a coma.

Thousands of people took to the streets of Turkey’s biggest cities in Ankara and Istanbul after the family of Berkin Elvan confirmed his death and made the announcement on Twitter.

“To our people: We lost our son Berkin Elvan at 7am this morning. Condolences to us all,” Berkin’s parents wrote.

Hashtag #BerkinElvanÖlümsüzdür (“Berkin Elvan is eternal”) trended globally on Twitter, as news of his death spread.

Berkin Elvan became an accidental victim of anti-government protests over the Gezi Park re-development plan. On June, 16 he left home to buy some bread for his family, but on the way he was hit in the head with a tear-gas canister shot by the police during clashes with protesters.

Anti-government protesters run as riot police fires a water cannon during a demonstration in Ankara March 11, 2014.

“Elvan had an epilepsy attack on March 7th, when his heart stopped for nearly 20 minutes,” the attorney told Anadolu on Sunday adding that “Berkin who was 45 kilos when he was shot, shrunk down to 16 kilos.”

Upon learning about his death about 1,000 people staged a rally outside the Istanbul hospital where the teen was treated.

Outside the hospital security forces tried to disperse the crowd as some of the mourners attacked police cars with stone and sticks while forming barricades with rubbish containers, Anadolu Agency reported.

In Istanbul police used tear gas and water cannon after several dozen protesters outside the hospital hurled stones at a police bus and stole helmets and shields, English-language Hurriyet Daily News reported. It also cited an AFP photographer, who said that one demonstrator was injured.

Riot policemen shield themselves as fireworks thrown by protesters explode next to the statue of a bull, during an anti-government protest in the Kadikoy district of Istanbul March 11, 2014.

The boy’s mother Gulsum Elvan has blamed the death of her son on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who back in June praised the “legendary heroism” of police forces in quelling anti-government protests.

“It’s not God who took my son away but Prime Minister Erdogan,” she told reporters outside the Istanbul hospital.

Angry people confronted riot police, shouting “killers”.

Police reportedly announced that they would let the protesters give a press statement in Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue, but they would not allow marching to Taksim Square.

Protesters are hit by water cannon during clashes with riot police in Kadikoy, on the Anatolian side of Istanbul, on March 11, 2014.

In the capital city of Ankara around 2,000 students gathered outside the Middle East Technical University. As the crowd marched towards the headquarters of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, it partly blocked traffic on one of Ankara’s main streets.

Protesters chant slogans behind a barricade during clashes with riot police in Kadikoy, on the Anatolian side of Istanbul, on March 11, 2014.

As the protesters ignored a warning from security forces, police fired tear gas and water cannons to scatter the crowd.

People in many other cities around Turkey also went on to the streets to mourn the death of the young man.

Police and protesters have also clashed in the cities of Izmir, Adana, Antalya, Kocaeli and Mersin, according to Dogan News Agency reporters on the ground.

Anti-government protesters run as riot police fires a water cannon during a demonstration in Ankara March 11, 2014.

 

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Female activists scuffle with Istanbul police on Int’l Women’s Day

A Turkish woman shouts in front a barricade of riot policemen as she and other protesters march towards Taksim square as part of the "International Women's Day" on March 8, 2014, in Istanbul.

A Turkish woman shouts in front a barricade of riot policemen as she and other protesters march towards Taksim square as part of the “International Women’s Day” on March 8, 2014, in Istanbul.

Some 2,000 people marched peacefully in central Istanbul on International Women’s Day, protesting the Turkish government’s policies and violence against women. A small group of protesters later clashed with officers who blocked them from Taksim Square.

The demonstrators, mostly women, marched down the city’s landmark pedestrian Istiklal Street on Saturday towards Gezi Park at Taksim Square – the cradle of last year’s massive anti-government protests.

As riot police cordoned off the area, some protesters tried to break the police line, hitting officers with the sticks of the banners they were carrying, Ruptly news agency reported. Police used shields and batons to disperse the crowd.

The protesters shouted, “Police go home, the streets are ours” and “Tayyip (Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan) run away the women are coming,” Xinhua news agency reported.

According to a survey conducted by the Turkish Health Union, more than 79 percent of respondents believe there is gender inequality in the country, which has caused poverty and disadvantages among women.

Turkish women clash with riot policemen as they march towards Taksim square as part of the “International Women’s Day” on March 8, 2014, in Istanbul.

Turkish women are blocked by a barricade of riot policemen as they march towards Taksim square as part of the “International Women’s Day” on March 8, 2014, in Istanbul.

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Thousands across Turkey take to streets against graft, call on gov’t to resign

Protesters march during a demonstration against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in İstanbul on Tuesday. Riot police came out in force, firing water cannon and teargas to quell the protests.

Thousands of outraged people took to the streets on Tuesday evening with calls on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Cabinet to resign in response to a recently leaked voice recording allegedly of the prime minister instructing his son to dispose of vast amounts of cash amid an ongoing and deepening corruption scandal that has implicated Erdoğan’s close associates and family.The country was shaken on Monday evening by the voice recording of what is claimed to be Erdoğan briefing his son about recent police raids and asking him to “zero” at least $1 billion in cash stashed at five hou

ses. The conversation allegedly took place on Dec. 17, 2013, the day on which police raided a number of venues as part of a corruption investigation that has implicated the sons of three ministers, businessmen, several high-level bureaucrats and the chief of a state-run bank.

The İstanbul branch of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) staged a protest against the corruption scandal in Taksim Square on Wednesday. A crowd of protesters from the CHP gathered on İstiklal Street and chanted slogans against the government, saying, “We will ‘zero’ [erase] corruption” and “There are thieves [around us].” They attempted to march into Taksim Square itself, but the police did not allow it, as they have prohibited the act of protesting there since the Gezi Park protests of June 2013. The group stopped at the end of İstiklal Street and staged their protest there, distributing fake banknotes symbolizing the money mentioned in the most recent voice recording leak.

The first speech at the protest was delivered by CHP İstanbul provincial chairman Oğuz Kaan Salıcı, followed by a speech by Mustafa Sarıgül, the CHP’s candidate for İstanbul mayor in the local elections on March 30. Sarıgül reportedly condemned a number of media outlets — excluding Halk TV — for failing to broadcast the party’s protests. During his speech, Sarıgül said that in no democratic country are people banned from staging demonstrations, promising that he will open Taksim Square to the public if elected.

Furthermore, CHP deputies attended Parliament’s General Assembly meeting on Wednesday with banners that read “Gazi mecliste Hırsızlara yer yok” (There is no place for thieves in Parliament) in protest of the voice recording.

Nearly 4 million people listened to the voice recording on YouTube over the course of one day. Thousands of people staged demonstrations to protest the government corruption scandal in 11 cities across Turkey on Tuesday evening.

Led by various civil society organizations and leftist parties, people gathered in İstanbul’s Kadıköy district to express their dismay and deepening anger over the corruption allegations sweeping across the country. Nearly 500 people gathered at 7 p.m. in central Kadıköy and started marching towards Bahariye Street, shouting “Her yer rüşvet, her yer yolsuzluk” (Bribery is everywhere, corruption is everywhere).

A group that was calling on the government to resign headed toward the Kadıköy district branch office of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). However, riot police intervened, using pressurized water, teargas and rubber bullets. The protesters responded to the police intervention by throwing firecrackers, stones and bottles. The protesters then built barricades on a number of side streets and set the barricades on fire. Police detained nine protesters during the incidents.

İstanbul’s Bakırköy district was also filled with anti-corruption demonstrators on Tuesday evening. Gathering in Özgürlük Square at 7 p.m., a group of protesters marched down İncirli Street and shouted slogans such as “Hırsız var!” (There is a thief [around us]!). The group then read a press release in front of the AK Party’s Bakırköy district branch office. After the press release, the group dispersed without incident.

Nearly 500 demonstrators shouted slogans at Gündoğdu Square in the western city of İzmir on Tuesday evening, and police tried to disperse the group with pressurized water and teargas. The police have implemented strict security measures across the city.

A group of protesters held a large-scale demonstration in Ankara on Tuesday evening. Gathering at Kuğulu Park, the group shouted anti-government slogans and tried to close Kennedy Street to traffic, but police intervened with pressurized water to disperse the crowd. The protesters escaped by dispersing into the side streets.

Short-lived tensions erupted in the province of Eskişehir on Tuesday evening when a number of pro-AK Party supporters reacted to a group of protesters shouting anti-government slogans. A shop owner, S.Ö., reacted to the protesters while they were shouting slogans and was beaten up by the group. According to media reports, S.Ö.’s head is seriously injured and he is currently being treated in a hospital. The police, who are investigating the incident, are examining security camera footage from nearby shops to identify those responsible for the assault.

Over 200 protesters shouted slogans in Sakarya province on Tuesday evening calling on the government to resign. The police did not intervene in this protest, and the group dispersed without incident.

Groups of protesters in Aydın, Antalya, Bursa, Muğla, Çanakkale, Kocaeli and Trabzon held demonstrations in which they also called on the government to resign.

In reaction to the recording, a Twitter campaign called “Hırsız Var” was launched on Tuesday evening. The campaign calls on people to write “Hırsız Var” on banknotes. Some Twitter users taking part in the campaign shared photos of their banknotes on their pages.

The public has been riveted by sordid details of the alleged corruption as more and more information is leaked via social media and the Internet, the primary sources of information for the public given the government’s tightening grip on the press.

With recent legislation concerning the Internet, the government has cemented its firm control over websites after much wrangling between political parties in Parliament, as President Abdullah Gül signed a law last week granting the executive branch almost immediate authority to block websites without a court order.

Combined with anger over government crackdowns on the press and dissenting voices, the Internet law and a controversial national intelligence bill have given more ammunition to critics of the government, who accuse the AK Party of turning Turkey into an authoritarian state and who are wary of the direction the country has taken under Erdoğan’s administration.

There is also ongoing tension at Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ), where a group of students clashed with police ahead of the opening of a highway in Ankara on Tuesday. Police fired teargas and water cannons to disperse several hundred people gathered in front of ODTÜ’s main gate. Erdoğan and several ministers attended the opening of “1071 Malazgirt Boulevard” on Tuesday. Students on campus chanted slogans saying, “Resign, government” and “Tayyip Erdoğan is a thief”; they even set up a roadblock. Police intervention dispersed the crowd but the students reportedly gathered again in front of the rector’s office to continue their protest.

Thousands across Turkey take to streets against graft, call on gov’t to resign – Today’s Zaman, your gateway to Turkish daily news.

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