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September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’

Erdogan Goes to War; Police Wound Hundreds, Attack Drivers

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Turkish police went to war against protesters Saturday night, using rubber bullets and tear gas to clear thousands from Taksim Square and on pedestrians trying to cross a foot bridge, where drivers also suffered the effects of the gas.

Hundreds of people, including motorists, were injured, while official government statements claimed the number of wounded was 44.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had issued an ultimatum to the protesters to leave Taksim Square in favor of a pro-Erdogan rally scheduled for Sunday.

One hour later, police, backed by armored vehicles, raided the square and attacked pedestrians before they could cross a foot bridge leading to the square.

Turkey’s European Union minister Egemen Bağış said in a televised interview that anyone trying to enter Taksim Square will be treated like a “terrorist.”

He lived up to his word.

“We tried to flee and the police pursued us. It was like war,” Claudia Roth, a German politician who was on the scene to show her support for the protesters, told Reuters. “There are dozens of injured shot with rubber bullets or who couldn’t go to the hospital,” according to the Taksim Solidarity Platform that represents the Gezi Park protesters.

In a statement quoted by Turkey’s Hurriyet News, the Platform added, “The attack with rubber bullets, intense tear gas and stun grenades at a moment when there were a lot of women, kids and elderly people were at the park is a crime against humanity.

“This attack that took place at a moment when there was no demonstration at the park shows that the prime minister’s intention is to increase the social polarization and satisfy his ambition of authority by oppressing his people.”

The Platform and Erdogan struck a compromise Thursday night whereby development plans for Gezi Park would be altered. Erdogan apparently has used the agreement as a signal, or excuse, to clear the protesters and stage his own pro-government rally Sunday.

“We have our Istanbul rally tomorrow. I say it clearly: Taksim Square must be evacuated, otherwise this country’s security forces know how to evacuate it,” Erdogan told supporters in Ankara on Saturday.

Hurriyet quoted sources last week that the Israel’s Mossad boss met with Turkish intelligence officials and that Syria  and/or Iran may be behind the protest movement.

Regardless, Erdogan’s heavy-handed response has only made the protest movement more popular, as has happened in every other Muslim country where brute force has been used to quell protests.

Erdogan, like other leaders of Muslim regimes, cast Twitter and social networks as the villain. He said Twitter was begin used to slander the government and therefore should not be allowed.

However, it was Turkish President Abdullah Gul who took to Twitter Saturday, saying that “everyone should return home now,” and that “the channels for discussion and dialogue” are open.

More than five people have been killed by police and 10 people have lost an eye after being hit by plastic bullets since the protest movement began three weeks ago over a plan to redevelop Gezi Park. The violent response by police resulted in much larger demonstrations against police violence.

Riot Police Storm Istanbul’s Taksim Square

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Turkish riot police stormed Taksim Square early Tuesday morning and clashed with protesters, one day before protests leaders were to meet with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Authorities said the police only entered the area ‘”to clear the banners and flags on [a] statue and the AKM cultural center.” However, they also told the demonstrators to retreat to the nearby Gezi park, also occupied by the protest movement now in its second week.

Turkish television showed live video of clashes between police and protesters, who said they would not leave Taksim Square. At least two people were injured,one of them hit in the back by a tear gas canister.

Authorities issued a written statement that the police would not enter Gezi Park, but regardless of the pretty words, police entered Taksim Square with armored vehicles and fired tear gas at crowds.

Protesters hurled firebombs at police, who responded by spraying them with water cannons.

Ironically, the police statement that its force simply wanted to clean up banners was issued via Twitter, the social network that Erdogan has said should be censored because it is being used to “slander” the government.

The wave of demonstrations began in response to government plans to redevelop Gezi Park. Ostensibly, it was a pro-environment reaction, but the park is a symbol of secular Turkey, and Erdogan’s development plan includes placing military barracks and a mosque in the park.

As in other countries, tens of thousands of others jumped on the opportunity to express their outrage stemming from a wide variety of religious and governmental issues, such as restricting the sale of alcohol, the growing influence of Islam in public affairs, and Erdogan’s growing authoritarianism.

The surprise storming of Taksim Square is likely to anger the protesters even more and remove any chance of trust in the prime minister. His hard-line stance has dumped fuel on the fire of demonstrators.

Three people have died and more than 5,000 have been treated for effects of tear gas fired by the police. One doctor said last week that the effects of the gassing indicate that police are using CR gas, a chemical which can be lethal.

Demonstrations against Erdogan have been staged in 78 cities across the country., and every time Erdogan spews condemnation of the “vandals” and “terrorists,” the protest movement grows.

Jeremy Salt, associate professor at Bilkent University in Ankara, told the Russian RT website that the rebellious social mood n the country is a result of Erdogan’s  government taking the country “over a different path.”

Taksim Square symbolizes the modern secular Turkish Republic.

“Erdogan wants to turn it [Taksim Square] into symbol of something else. He wants to put up military barracks and a mosque there to totally change the face of Taksim Square to represent what he wants Turkey to become – which is a religious society,” Salt said.

Erdogan’s Party Finds Terror Weapon Deadlier than Car Bombs:Twitter

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party vowed to annihilate Tweeter “slander” that “is much more dangerous that a vehicle loaded with a bomb.”

Ali Sahin, the vice chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was quoted by Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper as saying, “People must be held responsible for the content they write. If as a result of a tweet they write, people loot shops and burn vehicles, the one who wrote it must bear its costs.

“A tweet containing lies and slander is much more dangerous that a vehicle loaded with a bomb. The explosion of a vehicle loaded with a bomb would be limited, but a tweet filled with lies and slander can lead to a climate of conflict.”

The party took the cue from Erdogan, who has blamed the Twitter social network for the success of opposition elements to stage mass protests that are well into their second week.

Isn’t censoring Twitter a violation of rights?

Not at all. The opposite is true, according to the party’s logic.

“Sahin said people’s personal rights, legal personalities of companies and public institutions were being attacked while commercial activities were harmed due to news spreading on social media,” Hurriyet reported.

Sahin added, “The elected government is being conspired against, there is an intention to topple the government through social media and people are being sworn at. All these things should have a cost, a sanction. Cursing at people is not freedom… Social media must be brought under order and regularity. Such a draft law can be considered.”

Now it all makes sense.

Anyone wanting to topple Erdogan’s government and cursing it  through social media is violating the freedom of others, especially that of Erdogan to remain at the helm. Got it?

Erdogan is doing his best to prove to the world that he is an ego-centric power seeker.

An article for CBS Marketwatch by freelance journalist Craig Mellow described Erdogan as a prisoner of his own desires. “Like other transformational leaders who came before him, Prime Minister Erdogan in his third term now looks more like a captive of power than an agent wielding it for the nation’s good,” Mellow wrote.

With one speech one day last week, Erdogan managed to sink the country’s stock market by 5 percent. That’s pretty good work for one day.

As the Jewish Press reported on Sunday, Erdogan might have been able to let the protest movement die from lack of oxygen had he talked them eye-to-eye, as he finally plans to do on Tuesday, instead of calling them vandals and terrorists.

“Erdogan decried what he called the ’interest rate lobby,’ which ‘thinks they can threaten us with speculation on the stock exchange,” Mellow wrote. “That lobby duly dumped more Turkish shares, bringing the decline in the benchmark Istanbul Stock Exchange National 100 Index to 15% since the protests began.

Mellow praised Erdogan for his first years in office, when he turned Turkey around and created one of the world’s healthiest baking systems and ushered in a period of tremendous economic growth.

“Along the way, Erdogan laid down what looked like a promising blueprint for a modern Islamic state that honored its own traditions without sending secret police house-to-house to enforce them,” Mellow continued. “Turkey’s reputation changed. No longer the butt of Europe, Turkey became its vibrant oasis….

“But… Erdogan in his third term now looks more like a captive of power than an agent wielding it for the nation’s good. A la Putin, he is constructing an end-run around term limits that would allow him to stay in charge of Turkey by being elected president….

Recep Erdogan is teetering on the edge of a classic tragedy, wherein a powerful and potentially positive character is done in by a moral flaw that is revealed by extraordinary events.”

But at least Erdogan will make sure to make Turkey safe from those awful Tweets that can cause car bomb explosions.

Massive Demonstrations Shake Turkey

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

More than 1000 people have been injured in several days of protests in Istanbul against Turkey’s Islamist regime, involving more than 90 demonstrations, the biggest anti-Islamist protest in a decade. Hundreds more were hurt in conflicts with police in Ankara, the capital. The demonstration began as an environmental protest about the destruction of a famous Istanbul park but had spread to Ankara, too.

The movement began in Taksim Square, Istanbul’s most famous. The police responded toughly using tear gas and pepper spray. Some compared this to the Arab Spring demonstrations elsewhere in the Middle East though this idea seems exaggerated.

Gradually the Justice and Development Party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan been working to transform Turkey into something much closer to an Islamist state. Hundreds of political prisoners have been jailed on trumped-up charges of planned coups; the army has been forced to submit; a new constitution is being developed; and the independent judiciary is under assault by the government.

Much of the mass media has been bought up or intimidated along with educational system changes, the declining status of women, and rising effort to reduce the sale of alcohol. Turkey has more journalists in jail than any other country in the world.

It all began when a small group of young people camped at a park in central Istanbul to protest Erdogan’s personal plan to build a shopping center on the site. Police raided the park just before sunrise, using tear gas, evicted the protesters, and removed their tents. Up to this point it was a normal response.

A few days later, about 30 young people returned and set up the tents again and the police once more launched a raid. This time, however, a great deal of force was used, including pepper spray. Tear gas was squirted into the faces of some young people, kicking and beating them, then burning the tents.

In response, thousands of people gathered around the square and park. The police attacked with water cannon mounted on vehicles in a major escalation. They attacked protesters, chasing them into side streets in downtown Istanbul past the many hotels and stores in the area. Those who tried non-violent sit-ins were beaten, including two members of parliament.

Protests spread all over Turkey, with participants counted in the tens of thousands. The issue now was the growing repression by the Islamist regime. Large areas were filled with pepper spray, tear gas, and the water cannons firing several times a minute. Many apartment buildings were deluged in gas.

Little or no provocation was offered by the crowd. Demonstrators charged that police undercover agents entered the protest areas, threw stones, and then went back behind the police lines.

Oppositionists were especially outraged by the use of ambulances driving down streets to clear the crowds. Another tactic was to set tents ablaze and then claim the demonstrators had started the fires.
The political implications of the protests are not clear. They are probably unlikely to shake the determination of the government. “We do not have a government, we have Tayyip Erdogan,” political scientist and protester Koray Caliskan told the Reuters news agency.

Erdogan is very arrogant, has a strong base of support, and enjoys the full support of the Obama Administration. The Turkish economy is generally considered to be strong. Erdogan will have to decide whether to slow down the Islamization process—he has been clever at being patient—or perhaps will, on the contrary, speed it up claiming his regime is facing sabotage.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/massive-demonstrations-shake-turkey/2013/06/03/

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