Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Erdogan to go ahead with controversial Gezi park redevelopment plans

Press TV – June 19, 2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced the revival of controversial plans to redevelop a central Istanbul park that sparked major anti-government protests back in 2013.

“A project that we need to address in a courageous manner is (that of) Gezi park in Taksim. We will build this historic structure,” said Erdogan during a Saturday speech in Istanbul.

The plans consist of rebuilding an Ottoman-era barrack and other buildings on land currently occupied by Gezi park, which is one of the few remaining green spaces in Istanbul. The barracks was originally built in 1789 and was torn down in the 1940.

At least eight people were killed and thousands more were injured in the demonstrations which followed the announcement of the redevelopment plans.

Following the wave of protests, Turkish authorities halted the plans. But, last year, they changed their decision following a request by the city’s municipality.

“If we want to preserve our history we must rebuild this historic structure, we will rebuild it,” Erdogan added.

“One of the issues that we have to be brave [about] is Gezi park in Taksim,” Erdogan added. “We will construct that historical building there,” he said.

June 19, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Turkey announces plans ‘for gas’ and cyber security in face of Gezi protests

RT | June 20, 2013

Turkey has announced plans to purchase 100,000 gas bomb cartridges and launch a central cyber security agency, local media report. This comes after protests across the country which also saw a series of attacks on government websites.

The order for the 100,000 new cartridges will be accompanied by an order for 60 water cannon vehicles, the daily local newspaper Milliyet reported, also stating that the excessive use of gas bomb cartridges meant that Turkish riot police used up some 130,000 units across the space of a mere 20 days.

The protests began in Istanbul, but nationwide demonstrations shortly followed suit, drawing thousands in support of the Gezi Park protesters suffering brutal police repressions. In one of the instances, a horrifying video emerged of a man in a wheelchair being fired at by a similar [water canon] vehicle on June 11.

“The excessive use of force by the police has turned this issue into a security one,” said Galip Dalay, a research assistant with the SETA foundation.

At the same time, Turkish Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Binali Yildirim announced the formation of a new cyber security agency on Thursday. He declared “The Center for Response to National Cyber Threats,” (or USOM) was to be founded on the grounds that cyber-attacks during the Gezi Park protests were a global threat and “likely to increase.”

At the beginning of June, Anonymous hacking group launched #OpTurkey, which took down the Turkish President’s website, along with that of the country’s ruling party, in support of anti-government protests.

Another mid-June attack on over 225 tourist, library, and private business websites was blamed on Kurdish group ColdHackers.

On Thursday, Turkish hacker group Redhack claimed responsibility for all tweets relating to the Gezi protests after the launching of an investigation into some 5 million Gezi Park tweets was announced by the AKP (Justice and Development Party).

“We have posted all tweets and hacked thousands of people’s computers. Don’t take on the innocent ones, we are here,” Redhack wrote on its Twitter account, going on to say that any accounts that appeared to play a role in the organization of resistance were to re-tweet their message, and those that did had been hacked by the group.

Following the claim of responsibility, Twitter users began to announce that they were hacked by Redhack using the hashtag #wewerehackedbyredhack.

After 29 people’s houses were raided and they were subsequently detained for tweets related to the protests on June 5, the group recommended that “users can tell the police that their account was hacked by Redhack. We would take the blame with pleasure.”

Social media activists had been accused of using Twitter to “instigate public hatred and animosity,” according to Turkish media.

PM Erdogan even blamed social media for the unrest stating “there is now a menace which is called Twitter,” in the midst of the upheaval, dismissing the protests as being organized by extreme societal elements. “The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society,” he said.

Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım stressed however on June 19 that the government was working to “fight against cyber-crime, not to regulate social media,” with Deputy PM Bülent Arınç adding that people were free to communicate on social media but should be deterred from encouraging crime or violence.

As the protests have continued to draw support across the country, the Turkish government has used increasingly retaliatory measures against anyone involved in protests, culminating in threats to deploy the armed forces on Tuesday, the day after using tear gas and water cannons to disperse Monday’s demonstrators. Over 130 were arrested on Thursday alone, and six people have died to date as a result of the unrest, which is not scaling down despite authorities halting proposed renovations of Gezi Park.

“They’ve left branches hanging off trees and water and debris all over the streets” said RT’s Tom Barton in Ankara on Thursday.

Peaceful demonstrations began on May 28 when a group of environmentalists gathered together to campaign against the proposed development of a shopping mall in Istanbul neighborhood’s only remaining park – Gezi Park – next to Taksim Square. The violent suppression after Erdogan announced that he had already made his decision motivated thousands nationwide to display their solidarity.

June 21, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Comments Off on Turkey announces plans ‘for gas’ and cyber security in face of Gezi protests

Turkish Unions Protest Erdogan Crackdown, Announce Strike

Al-Manar | June 17, 2013

Two of Turkey’s main trade unions started a nationwide strike on Monday after police cleared protests from Istanbul protest park.

The KESK and DISK trade unions, who together represent hundreds of thousands of workers, called a one-day stoppage to object to the police violence against anti-government protesters, and said they planned to hold demos in the late afternoon.

“Our demand is for police violence to end immediately,” KESK spokesman Baki Cinar told AFP, adding that the unions would be joined by striking engineers, dentists and doctors.

Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Guler condemned the stoppage as “illegal” and warned strikers not to take to the streets, as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended his crackdown on Gezi Park, the epicenter of the protest movement.

Riot police were still firing volleys of tear gas and water at pockets of demonstrators in Istanbul and the capital Ankara early on Monday, after a weekend of clashes sparked by the eviction of protesters occupying Gezi Park.

Nearly 600 people were arrested in the scuffles on Sunday alone, according to the Ankara and Istanbul bar associations.

The weekend violence has intensified a crisis that poses the biggest challenge yet to Erdogan’s decade-long rule.

At a rally of more than 100,000 supporters of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Sunday, the premier insisted it was his “duty” to order police to storm Gezi Park after protesters defied his warnings to clear out.

“I said we were at an end. That it was unbearable. Yesterday the operation was carried out and it was cleaned up,” a combative Erdogan told a sea of flag-waving loyalists. “It was my duty as prime minister.”

Erdogan’s words were met with roaring approval from the audience, the largest crowd to assemble since the crisis began. Many chanted: “The people are here, where are the looters?”, using Erdogan’s description of the demonstrators.

At the same time, riot police were fighting running battles with thousands of protesters determined to regroup after being ousted from Gezi Park and the adjoining Taksim Square, a mere 10 kilometers (six miles) away from the AKP rally.

Turkey’s political turmoil first began when a peaceful sit-in to save Gezi Park’s 600 trees from being razed prompted a brutal police response on May 31, spiralling into countrywide demonstrations against Erdogan.

The crisis has claimed four lives and injured nearly 7,500 people so far, according to the Turkish Medical Association.

June 17, 2013 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | Comments Off on Turkish Unions Protest Erdogan Crackdown, Announce Strike

Turkey will consider protesters staying at Taksim terrorists, official says

Press TV – June 16, 2013

Turkey’s European Union minister has warned that Turkish police will consider protesters in Istanbul’s Taksim Square as members or supporters of terrorist groups.

“I request our citizens who supported the protests until today kindly to return to their homes,” Egemen Bagis said in a late Saturday interview with Turkish channel A Haber.

“From now on the state will unfortunately have to consider everyone who remains there a supporter or member of a terror organization,” Bagis stated.

He went on to say that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan “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.”

The unrest in Turkey erupted after police broke up a sit-in staged at Taksim Square on May 31 to protest against a government plan for the redevelopment of Gezi Park.

On Saturday night, Turkish police attacked anti-government protesters at Taksim, shortly after Erdogan ordered the demonstrators to evacuate the area.

Police also stormed the protest camp in Gezi Park, firing tear gas and using water cannons to disperse thousands of protesters defying the prime minister’s order to leave.

Several protesters have also been detained or wounded – some of them allegedly by rubber bullets.

Also on Saturday, Erdogan told the protesters that they would face the police if they did not leave Gezi Park.

“I say this very clearly: either Taksim Square is cleared, or if it isn’t cleared, then the security forces of this country will know how to clear it,” the Turkish prime minister said in a speech to his supporters in the Ankara suburb of Sincan.

The embattled premier said the demonstrations – which have been the largest street protests during his 10 years in power – were part of an organized plot against him.

However, the protesters have vowed to continue their campaign until their demands are met and the detained people are released.

The Turkish prime minister has faced international condemnation for his handling of the crisis. Turkish police have also been strongly criticized for using excessive force against the peaceful protests.

Five people, including a police officer, have reportedly died in the clashes and more than 5,000 protesters and 600 police officers have been wounded.

June 16, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Comments Off on Turkey will consider protesters staying at Taksim terrorists, official says

Erdogan Agrees to Halt Contentious Park Project, Protesters Welcome as Positive

Al-Manar | June 14, 2013

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday agreed to halt plans to redevelop an Istanbul park at the center of two weeks of mass anti-government unrest, in a move protesters welcomed as “positive”.

It marked the first easing of tensions in the standoff, which has presented the government with the biggest challenge of its decade-long rule.

Hours after giving a “last warning” to defiant demonstrators camping out in Gezi Park, Erdogan made the concession in his first talks with a key group of protesters to defuse tensions in the crisis.

“The positive outcome from tonight is the prime minister’s explanation that the project will not continue before the final court decision,” Tayfun Kahraman, a spokesman for the Taksim Solidary group, seen as the most representative of the protest movement, said in televised remarks.

A peaceful sit-in to save Gezi Park’s 600 trees from being razed prompted a brutal police response on May 31, spiralling into nationwide outpourings of anger against Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), seen as increasingly authoritarian.

The promise to abide by a court decision suspending the redevelopment of Gezi Park was hailed as a win by the protesters, who had earlier balked at Erdogan’s offer to hold a referendum over plans to reconstruct Ottoman-era military barracks on the site in return for evacuating the park.

Speaking after the four-hour emergency meeting, Deputy Prime Minister
Huseyin Celik said the government would respect the court’s decision on the project suspension and insisted a popular vote to seal the fate of the park
would go ahead.

“But Gezi Park protesters should stop their demonstration now,” he warned.

The court process is expected to take several months. In the meantime, a probe is under way to investigate the use of excessive police force in dealing with the protesters across the country, Celik added.

Some 5,000 people have been injured and four were killed by the police so far, because of the use of tear gas, rubber ballets and water cannons on demonstrators.

Source: AFP

June 14, 2013 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Comments Off on Erdogan Agrees to Halt Contentious Park Project, Protesters Welcome as Positive

What is Happening in Istanbul?

By İnsanlik Hali | defnesumanblogs | June 1, 2013

To my friends who live outside of Turkey:

I am writing to let you know what is going on in Istanbul for the last five days. I personally have to write this because most of the media sources are shut down by the government and the word of mouth and the internet are the only ways left for us to explain ourselves and call for help and support.

Four days ago a group of people most of whom did not belong to any specific organization or ideology got together in Istanbul’s Gezi Park. Among them there were many of my friends and students.  Their reason was simple: To prevent and protest the upcoming demolishing of the park for the sake of building yet another shopping mall at very center of the city. There are numerous shopping malls in Istanbul, at least one in every neighborhood! The tearing down of the trees was supposed to begin early Thursday morning. People went to the park with their blankets, books and children. They put their tents down and spent the night under the trees.  Early in the morning when the bulldozers started to pull the hundred-year-old trees out of the ground, they stood up against them to stop the operation.

They did nothing other than standing in front of the machines.

No newspaper, no television channel was there to report the protest. It was a complete media black out.

But the police arrived with water cannon vehicles and pepper spray.  They chased the crowds out of the park.

In the evening the number of protesters multiplied. So did the number of police forces around the park. Meanwhile local government of Istanbul shut down all the ways leading up to Taksim square where the Gezi Park is located. The metro was shut down, ferries were cancelled, roads were blocked.

Yet more and more people made their way up to the center of the city by walking.

They came from all around Istanbul. They came from all different backgrounds, different ideologies, different religions. They all gathered to prevent the demolition of something bigger than the park:

The right to live as honorable citizens of this country.

They gathered and marched. Police chased them with pepper spray and tear gas and drove their tanks over people who offered the police food in return. Two young people were run over by the panzers and were killed. Another young woman, a friend of mine, was hit in the head by one of the incoming tear gas canisters. The police were shooting them straight into the crowd.  After a three hour operation she is still in Intensive Care Unit and in  very critical condition. As I write this we don’t know if she is going to make it. This blog is dedicated to her.

These people are my friends. They are my students, my relatives. They have no «hidden agenda» as the state likes to say. Their agenda is out there. It is very clear. The whole country is being sold to corporations by the government, for the construction of malls, luxury condominiums, freeways, dams and nuclear plants. The government is looking for (and creating when necessary) any excuse to attack Syria against its people’s will.

On top of all that, the government control over its people’s personal lives has become unbearable as of late. The state, under its conservative agenda passed many laws and regulations concerning abortion, cesarean birth, sale and use of alcohol and even the color of lipstick worn by the airline stewardesses.

People who are marching to the center of Istanbul are demanding their right to live freely and receive justice, protection and respect from the State. They demand to be involved in the decision-making processes about the city they live in.

What they have received instead is excessive force and enormous amounts of tear gas shot straight into their faces. Three people lost their eyes.

Yet they still march. Hundred of thousands join them. Couple of more thousand passed the Bosporus Bridge on foot to support the people of Taksim.

No newspaper or TV channel was there to report the events. They were busy with broadcasting news about Miss Turkey and “the strangest cat of the world”.

Police kept chasing people and spraying them with pepper spray to an extent that stray dogs and cats were poisoned and died by it.

Schools, hospitals and even 5 star hotels around Taksim Square opened their doors to the injured. Doctors filled the classrooms and hotel rooms to provide first aid. Some police officers refused to spray innocent people with tear gas and quit their jobs. Around the square they placed jammers to prevent internet connection and 3g networks were blocked. Residents and businesses in the area provided free wireless network for the people on the streets. Restaurants offered food and water for free.

People in Ankara and İzmir gathered on the streets to support the resistance in Istanbul.

Mainstream media kept showing Miss Turkey and “the strangest cat of the world”.

***

I am writing this letter so that you know what is going on in Istanbul. Mass media will not tell you any of this. Not in my country at least. Please post as many as articles as you see on the Internet and spread the word.

As I was posting articles that explained what is happening in Istanbul on my Facebook page last night someone asked me the following question:

«What are you hoping to gain by complaining about our country to foreigners?»

This blog is my answer to her.

By so called «complaining» about my country I am hoping to gain:

Freedom of expression and speech,

Respect for human rights,

Control over the decisions I make concerning my on my body,

The right to legally congregate in any part of the city without being considered a terrorist.

But most of all by spreading the word to you, my friends who live in other parts of the world, I am hoping to get your awareness, support and help!

Please spread the word and share this blog.

Thank you!

For futher info and things you can do for help please see Amnesty International’s Call for Urgent Help

Görsel

Taken from Occupy Gezi Facebook page. Also used by Reuters

June 3, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment