Revolt and Protest – İstanbul Voices Unheard Voices of İstanbul Sat, 17 Jun 2017 20:59:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 POLICE ATTACK PROTESTORS AGAIN IN TAKSIM SQUARE Sun, 23 Jun 2013 16:25:22 +0000

Police attacked over ten thousand peaceful protestors in Istanbul’s Taksim Square on Saturday. This was the first mass gathering of protestors since the police crackdown a week earlier in Gezi Park. Saturday’s protest was in response to the Gezi Park police crack down which left nearly 300 injured. Clashes between protestors and police went on into the early morning around Taksim Square. The police used rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons to dispel the crowd into the back streets of Taksim District.

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Activists held gatherings in Ankara and other Turkish cities at the same time as yesterday’s protest. These gatherings show that the resistance to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has not been slowed by last week’s police re-occupation of Gezi Park.

water cannon ataturk flag

Brazil and Ataturk


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“STANDING MAN” PROTESTS SPREAD IN SILENCE Fri, 21 Jun 2013 12:40:23 +0000 One day after the police crackdown against the Gezi Park protestors, a man stood silent and motionless for six hours in Taksim Square. Reminiscent of the Chinese protestor confronting tanks in Tiananmen Square “the Standing Man” became the focus of a new form of protest against the Turkish state. The protesting “Standing Man” was arrested after a few hours. However, the past few days has seen the spreading of the “Standing Man” protests.

Many dissatisfied people we speak to on the streets of Istanbul say they are resisting the brutality of the Erdoğan regime. Some have battled with the police and built barricades. Others have gathered silently, in profound passive resistance. Even if the police are everywhere, Turkey appears to be entering a new “enlightenment period.”


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POLICE ATTACK PROTESTERS ACROSS ISTANBUL Sun, 16 Jun 2013 10:08:34 +0000 The police moved as an army against the crowd of protestors using batons and shields and tear gas and water cannons. For the police it was the march of the victorious. They shot tear gas directly into the crowd, washing over eyes and faces. When one cannot breath and cannot see (stumbling and falling) one only wants to live. Some in the crowd collapsed from the tear gas canisters hitting them in their heads and all of the crowd ran, the fear lit in minds like a flame… “We want to live, we want to live, we want to live”… The protestors of Gezi Park crowded into the back streets of the city, falling over each other.

Many who had run hid in cafes, apartment flats and restaurants. The people of downtown Istanbul stayed in their hiding places under table tops, lights turned off, curtains pulled as the police marched by outside. The people gasped for breath in the chemicalized haze of super-powerful tear gas engineered in far away lands. Faces and eyes were doused with lemons and anti-tear gas liquid. Breathing came hard. Special chemicals in the water from the police tank cannons burned the skin for hours. From the first whiff the tear gas almost knocked one unconscious.

As the night went on people checked facebook and twitter, the only dependable sources of information in this Revolt of Turkey. They learned that Divan Hotel, which was the makeshift hospital for the Gezi Park Resistance, had been totally gassed. Volunteer doctors who were caring for the gravely injured were arrested. Supporters of the Gezi Park movement shared pictures of protestors shot with buckshot and of skin burns from the police water cannons.

Gazi Mahallesinde 30 - 40 Bin Kişi Tem otoyolunu keserek Taksime Yürüdü

And yet other news arose. New groups of citizens were on the streets from Gezi Mahallesi, Kadıköy, Eyüp, Beşiktaş, Sarıyer.. huge numbers of new protestors made their way to downtown Istanbul and there in the late morning hours fought with the national Police and the Gendarme (military police) in Nişantaşı and Osmanbey neighborhoods. Settle in world, this Revolt and Resistance of Turkey is not going anywhere.

Pictures and Video by Sinan Targay and Sean David Hobbs

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HUNDREDS INJURED IN POLICE ATTACK ON GEZI PARK Sun, 16 Jun 2013 00:58:00 +0000 saldırı

At 8:50 pm on Saturday evening, June 15th the Turkish police with the help of their plain clothes officers over ran the occupying protestors of Istanbul’s Gezi Park. After the initial attacks a few hours ago, the Governor of Istanbul Avni Mutlu said that only 29 people were “slightly injured” in the attacks which started because, Mutlu explained, “marginal leftist groups” attacked the police in Taksim Square.

Avni Mutlu

(Avni Mutlu)

However, all the reports we have seen indicate that the peaceful protestors in Gezi Park made no movements against the police. Also, the reports we are getting state that many more people than “29 people” were injured in tonight’s crack down on the protestors in Istanbul. The injuries are said to be of the “serious to critical” nature.

Sinan's foto

Here is a picture from facebook of a boy being carried into Divan Hotel behind Gezi Park this evening after the attack. Volunteer Gezi Park supporting doctors have reportedly set up a clinic in Divan Hotel.


While no one knows an exact causality number pictures have spread of vicious chemical burn attacks from the “tear gas” which would indicate that the Turkish police are using specialized chemical weapons against its citizenry. These reporters/bloggers was personally burned on our arms by a gas attack in the Harbiye District of Istanbul behind the Gezi Park as the police pushed into crowds shooting indiscriminate gas canisters and “noise bombs” at the crowd.

burn victim from police attacks in Taksim

(Above is a picture from this evening of a protestor who was reportedly burned from the tear gas shot by the police)

(Below is a picture of what appears to be buckshot wounds sustained by a protestor in this evening’s attacks)

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To top all of this off police have reportedly entered Divan Hotel and are arresting the Gezi Park volunteer doctors. The police are also reportedly trying to close up the makeshift medical clinic which is proving services to the Gezi Park injured in the hotel.

police in Divan hotel, gas entering hotel, insisting on arrest of volunteer Gezi Park doctors


In a final chilling scene see a person on facebook shared pictures from this night or early morning of the scene of gas covering Divan Hotel.

people in divan hotel

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POLICE ATTACK TAKSIM SQUARE: AN INSIDE JOB Tue, 11 Jun 2013 15:05:10 +0000 I sit in my favorite cafe off of Taksim Square, the tear gas rolling in through the windows and I know in my heart that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – democratically elected three times to the highest office in Turkey – is a dictator. Turkey has become a dictatorship.


At 7:30 am this morning the national Turkish police attacked the peacefully organized protestors in Taksim Square. Plain clothes policemen reportedly were in the crowd of protestors and in a lovely job of play acting threw Molotov Cocktails at their brother police… which then gave the police the excuse they needed to push into the square. Erdoğan and the AK Parti were behind this attack. The national police listen only to Erdoğan and his government.


In the past two weeks Dictator Erdoğan has refused to listen to the valid critiques of his government from peaceful protestors within Gezi Park. He has said instead that “outside forces” are trying to destroy Turkey. He has spread fear and in so doing his government has lost its authentic democratic right to rule. The only way Erdoğan and the rest of the AK Parti stay in power now is by gun point and beton and tear gas and water hose. That’s it.


For many pundits in Europe and the US, Erdoğan was the savior of their 9/11 fears. He was a safe Muslim capitalist! His regime pushed neo-liberalism. But now we clearly see that the system Erdoğan is at the top of is brutal and centered on power, power, power.


Oh, and by the way, Erdoğan is not giving up on the image of “Erdoğan.” As long as Dictator Erdoğan feels he has friends who will stand by him in Turkey Erdoğan and his AK Parti boys are not going anywhere. I foresee much blood on the streets of Turkey in the near future.


I want to be clear about something. At one point (a few months ago in fact) I was sort of an AK Parti supporter. I liked how Erdoğan and AK Parti had weakened the dictatorial Turkish army and Kemalist state structure. I thought that perhaps some magic could happen in which Erdoğan’s neo-liberalism could give Kurds their freedom and respect everyone’s right to freedom of speech. I was very, very, very, very wrong.


See how the police reacted this afternoon to a group of nearly fifty lawyers who gathered at the Istanbul Courthouse to protest this morning’s attacks on Taksim Square.

Lawyers Arrest

In Turkey no police officer can touch a lawyer unless first the police get permission from the Turkish Ministry of Justice. Did these cops get permission from the Justice Minister to attack and arrest peacefully gathered lawyers?

Arrested Lawyers on Bus

(Lawyers on bus after arrest)

My close friend, a Turkish lawyer says it is impossible to get permission to arrest such a large number of lawyers. And yet, the police went right ahead with the arrests.

Lawyer arrested

(A Turkish Lawyer after his arrest)

Inside I knew that Erdoğan and AK Parti would never give up their power. Yet it breaks my heart to see that Anatolia, the place I love as a second homeland as now a dictatorship. Yet, I remember the voices of Gezi Park. Those are the voices of enlightenment, of a third way into the future. We can see a new Turkey, a new world from what is created in that park. Long live the resistance.



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NEW TURKEY FORGED IN GEZI PARK Thu, 06 Jun 2013 14:09:03 +0000 Just last year the Turkish economy was booming. The wealthy were getting wealthy. The poor poorer. Nike told us to just do it and we just did it. Everyone seemed happy.


But now things have changed never to be the same again. Kurds are protesting arm in arm with pro-Kemal/Atatürk secularists who are marching with Communists. The Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual movements are shoulder to shoulder with people who repressed them in the past. Protestors have taken over the entire downtown of Istanbul. It’s amazing and unprecedented. Why did it all happen?


One factor is the growing tension over Syria. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg… What is more important to the creation of the Gezi Park Revolt is the Uludere Massacre by the Turkish government which left 34 Kurdish villagers dead in December of 2011. The Uludere Massacre was quickly covered up the Erdoğan government. Then last month’s Syrian attack against the municipality of Rayhanlı on the Syrian border was followed by state controlled blackout of the bombing in the Turkish media. This led to anger at Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s two faced dealings with the public.


Also, many who are protesting decry the alliance between Erdoğan’s AK Parti and the Islamist Gülen Movement. The Gülen Movement is a group of Islamists organized around the teachings of Fethullah Gülen, an inspirational Turkish imam who is in self-imposed exile in the Catskills of Pennsylvania. The religious network of Sunni Muslims which support Gülen has become influential in Turkey’s judicial and police sectors, not to mention in the business, media and education fields of the country. Erdoğan and Gülen are thought by many protestors to be closely allied. The reality is much more complex with AK Parti and the Gülenists being involved in a complex dance. The two groups are only allied only when it is convenient for both sides. At any rate, Erdoğan is thought by many involved in the revolt to be pushing for a direct Islamist cultural and political take over of Turkey.


In the past few years Erdoğan has stepped up government control of formally independent media outlets. Arrests of academics, lawyers, and politicians has increased as police and national prosecutors flex new muscles. All of these complaints came to a head in the conflict over the last green space in downtown Istanbul, Gezi Park. The Erdoğan government planned to tear down the park and in its place build a shopping mall and a mosque. It was at this meeting point of state repression, media control, neo-liberal privatization and conservation that Turkey exploded.


Erdoğan responded to the protests and police clashes in his typical chauvinistic manner. He claimed that he could have one million of his own supporters in the park. But none of Erdoğan’s supporters came. The opposite happened. The revolt grew. Now the resistance against the Erdoğan government in Taksim Square’s Gezi Park is historic. We are living in a new Turkey.


The engine that keeps Gezi Park in Taksim Square crowded is the remarkable coalition that’s formed among otherwise warring groups–the secularist Atatürkists, the Kurdish rights supporters and leftists. This is not a protest about economic problems or about political parties. It’s an ideological protest. All the political and economic stuff will be worked out after a new ideology is formed in Gezi Park.


Groups have come together because they don’t like the direction the country is going.  There’s a huge Ataturk pro-Kemalist group that’s secular and doesn’t approve of the Islamist tilt of the government. Some of these Atatürkists are supporters of the military and so tend to be oppressive and anti-democratic themselves. But other Atatürkists, while adoring Atatürk, are more democratically inclined.


Meanwhile, many Kurds in Gezi Park see Atatürk as a villain who directly destroyed their national goals of independence. Kurdish leaders who are connected with the Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) have related to me that being Kurdish in Turkey is like being “Black or Latino in the US.” Many Kurds say they are between “two fascisms”; Ataturk’s Turkish nationalism and Erdoğan’s Islamic capitalism. So, progressive Kurds and other leftists are looking for a third way or “Third Wave” by using the unifying concept of minority rights. Then there are the communists, socialists, leftists, gays, lesbians, bisexuals and feminists. These groups have – in some way shape or form – become allied with the Kurdish rights party, the BDP. Perhaps it will be the BDP and the BDP’s charismatic Istanbul Representative Sırrı Süreyya Önder who will be able to organize a new “Third Wave” ideology in Turkey.


Presently the BDP Kurds and leftists and the nationalist secular Atatürkists have a working alliance. Neither side trusts the other but both sides are opposed to the ruling Islamist AK Parti of Prime Minister Erdoğan.


If there’s a split in this coalition — like if the Atatürkists attack the pro-independent Peace and Democratic Party of the Kurds — the coalition will come apart.


Presently few protestors are listening or reading to the state controlled mass media. Like in Egypt and Tunisia the digital media outlets of Facebook and Twitter have become the new recorders of society. All the older TV stations and newspapers are distrusted. If it were not for social media this present revolt would not have been possible.


I think it is inevitable that the coalition of Atatürkists and Kurds and leftists will break down but before this happens I think we will have time for real social change to happen in Turkey. This is a time, a blessed chance for enlightenment. Gezi Park is a wonderful place to be right now! It makes me think of the Summer of Love in San Francisco in 1967 and Paris in 1968. All the grand sides of Anatolian culture are present; friendship and tolerance and gentleness abide in Gezi Park. The last time Turkey went through something like this was during the Constitutional Revolution in 1908-1909. Just as Ataturk’s social revolution resulted from the events in 1908-1909, so too will a new ideology be forged today which will effect Turkey and the world in the coming years.

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DIFFERENT FREEDOMS: POLITICS OF REVOLT IN TURKEY Mon, 03 Jun 2013 21:15:38 +0000 One of the striking things about the revolt in Taksim Square’s Gezi Park is the combination of formally opposed political groups. The secular nationalist Atatürkists have joined with the leftists/Kurdish rights supporters. This alliance was impossible until recently.



Leftists and Kurdish rights supporters used to view the nationalist Atatürkists as the oppressive rulers of Turkey. The Atatürkists used to view Kurdish rights supporters and leftists as a dangerous fifth column in Turkey.

Now these various groups are united in one goal; to oppose the Islamist AK Parti and Prime Minister Erdogan.

However, do these historically opposed groups trust each other?


When pressed leftists and Kurdish rights supporters state that the Atatürkists are former bourgeois who have lost their position of leadership to Erdogan’s Islamists. Many leftist Kurdish supporters are afraid of Atatürkists and what the Atatürkists might do if they come back to power.

And yet the arrogance, pride and domination of the Erdogan led police/judicial state has brought these two groups into a working alliance.

Imagine two former enemies with knives in their hands. Presently the two former enemies are fighting a mutual enemy. The two former enemies work together but they will not trust each other. Both are afraid of being stabbed in the back by the other.

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BLASTS OF FREEDOM IN TAKSIM SQUARE Sun, 02 Jun 2013 20:49:28 +0000 This is the first time I have ever seen Turkey free. Truly free.


Today in the early morning I went to Taksim Square with Young Kurd, one of the voices of this Istanbul blog. Young Kurd and I had heard the police had pulled back from Gezi Park and Taksim Square. We wanted to see for ourselves.



On the walk through Istanbul neighborhoods the clash of pots and pans rang. This is the sound of revolt against the government in Turkish culture. Turkish citizens young and old were on the streets. A wrong had been done. The Erdogan AK Parti government had stifled civil rights for too long. Had championed privatization for too long. Had pushed the religious agenda for too long.


A cop car sped through the neighborhood, rushing right past us! The cop car blared its horn at everyone and then was forced to stop behind a slow moving taxi.


Livid at the slowness of the taxi driver the cop driving the police car pulled up along the side of the taxi and made the cabbie pull over.


The cabbie did. But he was not afraid. The cabbie argued with the police officer. Up until 2 days ago openly arguing with the police was impossible in most parts of Turkey.


The cop got out of his car, bully club in hand, ready to beat the cabbie into submission.


But we were all there. The whole neighborhood came out to the police officer. Old anuties. Young people. Young Kurd himself went up and in an act of great courage calmed the inflamed police officer.


The angered officer shouted that, “All of what is happening… is not my fault!! I didn’t do this! We police are just like you! We are servants of the public good! We ARE JUST FOLLOWING ORDERS! ORDERS COME TO US AND WE FOLLOW THEM!!”


Okay okay Young Kurd said to the crazed officer. Just go. Go on. Leave this cabbie in peace. Leave this neighborhood in peace.


And the police officer, tail between his order-following legs did just that.


He left us in peace.

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EVERYWHERE REVOLT EVERYWHERE Sat, 01 Jun 2013 14:24:24 +0000 The ideology of Neo-liberalism takes another slap in the face and Istanbul is rockin with revolution! Welcome world to the new Turkey.

This morning at 1 pm college kids from Bogazici University (Turkey’s equivalent of Berkeley University in the USA) got angry. They learned that at least three peaceful protesters in Istanbul’s Gezi Park had been killed on May 31st by Turkish police. A spontaneous protest march began from Bogazici Campus. Within an hour a few hundred students had turned into over 5,000 residents from all walks of life in Turkey. The crowd’s goal was to march to heart of Istanbul, Taksim Square where protesters had lost their lives the day before.

But the police were waiting.



The result you see in the above video. A serious clash.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the rest of Erdogan’s AK Parti folk must be nervous. Today Erdogan and the AK Parti tried to spin to the world media that this morning’s protesters were just a bunch of drunk college kids looking to impress their boyfriends or girlfriends one late night during Finals time. Erdogan even boasted that if protestors could bring 100,000 people to Taksim Square he could bring 1,000,000.

But. That AK Parti media line is pure, well cooked, well baked, well sugar-ed bullshit.

Nothing like this has ever happened in Turkey since perhaps the 1970s.

Maybe not even then.

This morning’s crowd was massive and consisted of different political ideologies. It also happened suddenly. All at once. Young and old were arm and arm against the neo-liberal policies of Erdogan’s government.  While there were many young people involved in the fighting with the police, there were also a large number of middle aged and older Istanbulites in attendance. These kinds of protests are what make social transformation possible.

The fact that Turks are protesting ought to make government leaders such as Obama and Morsi shiver. The “Turkish model”, as it is euphemistically called in the Middle East, is supposed to be working. AK Parti appealed to the Turkish public through a combination of Islamism and privatizing capitalism. Capitalism loved Erdogan because he was giving the world a brand of “Protestant Ethic” Islamism; i.e. money making Muslims. Who could ask for anything more? And what’s the result?

Mass numbers of Turkish citizens on the streets fighting with the police.

Hyper-Capitalism might be here to stay. It might be. It might not be. But this is a break in the edifice.

This blog is officially dusted-off and up and running again!

Eyvallah dostlarım! Nicely done, my dear dear friends!

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