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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Taksim square’

More Clashes in Turkey, Police Use Tear Gas, Water Cannons

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

Police in Istanbul fired water cannons and tear gas at thousands of protesters in Taksim Square.

Protesters converged on the site Saturday, blatantly disregarding warnings to stay away. Organizers said they intended to march into the adjacent park that has been cordoned off by police.

The area has been the site of anti-government protests and clashes with police since late May, when police forcefully broke up a demonstration against a government plan to develop the park for commercial use. At least three civilians and one policeman have been killed, and many more injured, during the past month.

Protesters are angry at Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has threatened to use the army to disperse demonstrations, if necessary.

Turkey Rejects Egyptians’ Choice, Demands Egypt ‘Return to Democracy’

Friday, July 5th, 2013

It had been one of the warmest relations between Middle Eastern leaders: Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi.  Last year, Turkey pledged $2 billion in aid to Egypt whose economy, so dependent on tourism, had been battered by increasing – and realistic – fears of violence and protests.

This past spring, news stories had been floated that Morsi was going to accompany Erdoğan on a trip the Turkish leader has planned to make to Gaza. And last September, Morsi attended Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) congress in Ankara.

And then the Egyptian people, many millions strong, rejected their president’s many, rapid moves towards the rigid Islamization of their country, and the military removed President Morsi from power in the Egyptian people’s July 3 Revolution.

And as a loyal good friend, Erdoğan is now sticking up for his fellow Middle Eastern leader.  Erdoğan and his ministers are calling for a “return to democracy,” by which they mean the reinstatement of Morsi as Egypt’s president.

On Thursday, July 4, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu criticized the military intervention in Egypt, saying “Turkey does not accept the removal and detention of elected leaders from power through ‘illegitimate means,’” according to the Turkish newspaper, Hurriyet Daily News.

Of course, part of the driving force behind the Turkish government’s outrage over the removal of Morsi by the Egyptian military may be the hot breath they feel on their own necks; the Turkish government itself has been the target of three attempted military coups in recent history.

There are other similarities between the two leaders – both Morsi and Erdoğan moved their respective countries towards increasing Islamization, albeit Erdoğan’s shift has been more of a slow but steady creep away from the secularism of Turkey’s historic leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who transformed the former Ottoman Empire into a modern, secular nation, while Morsi’s was more of a mad dash from what was only a fleeting position of potential secularism.

“Leaders who come to power with open and transparent elections reflecting the will of the people can only be removed by elections, that is, the will of the nation,” Dovutoğlu said to reporters in Istanbul, on July 4. Dovutoğlu also spoke on Thursday about the situation in Egypt with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The United States, like Turkey, seemed stunned by the rapidity of Morsi’s fall, and until even the day of Morsi’s removal were still urging the Egyptian people to retain the first elected president in Egypt’s history.

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said the July 3 military intervention did not reflect the people’s will and urged the country to “return to democracy.” Perhaps none of the reporters had the nerve to ask how to measure the will of the people when millions of Egyptians showed up to demand Morsi’s removal.

“The power change in Egypt was not a result of the will of the people. The change was not in compliance with democracy and law,” Bozdağ said in Ankara. “In all democratic countries, elections are the only way to come to power,” he said.

“Everyone … who believes in democracy should naturally oppose the way this power change happened because a situation that cannot be accepted by democratic people has emerged in Egypt,” said Bozdağ.

Prime Minister Erdoğan cut short his holiday and returned to Turkey on Thursday to discuss the situation in Egypt with his top ministers.

A statement was released by the Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Commission, which was signed by parties across the Turkish political spectrum: the ruling Justice and Development Party, the main opposition Republican People’s Party, the opposition Nationalist Movement Party and the opposition Peace and Democracy Party.

The ruling power that was usurped by unauthorized powers should be given back to the [Egyptian] people. All democratic individuals and institutions across the world should stand against such moves, which have the potential for human rights violations.

Thus far the people of Turkey have not yet made clear their position about the ouster of the Egyptian president, so eyes will be back on Taksim Square to see whether the Turkish opposition is emboldened by the ability of the Egyptian street to topple their leader, and if so, to see how the Turkish government responds.

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.

What Took so Long: Jews Finally Blamed for Turkish Unrest?

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

In one of Turkey’s largest newspapers, Sabah, the blame for all the rioting and ensuing damage to the Turkish economy is finally being blamed on the same people who were blamed for the Bubonic Plague, the death of the leader of one of the world’s great religions and Mel Gibson’s fall from grace…the financial lobby – some would call that code for “Jews.”

On Friday, June 7, an article appears in Sabah that reveals Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke to “tens of thousands” of supporters who came out to greet him when he returned from a three day visit to North African countries.

Erdoğan’s trip abroad happened during the worst of the ongoing nationwide protests in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, which were sparked by plans to level a large park to be used instead for commercial purposes.

“We’ve gotten to this point despite the interest rates lobby, and this lobby right now thinks it’s threatening Turkey with speculation in the markets,” is how Bloomberg reported Erdoğan’s words from the event. “No power can stop Turkey’s rise except God,” while supporters chanted: “Open the way and we’ll crush Taksim.”

Erdogan has accused “extremist” groups, including terrorist from far-left organizations, and “unidentified foreign provocateurs” of having a role in the fiercest anti-government protests in years.

But Sabah, a fiercely pro-Erdoğan media outlet, merely quoted the Turkish Prime Minister of blaming a non-specific “financial lobby” or “interest lobby.”  Perhaps Walt or Mearsheimer are looking for reporting opportunities – they may be a good fit for Sabah.

In 2007, Erdoğan seized ownership of the Sabah newspaper.  He then sold it to the Turkuaz Media Group, owned by Çalık Holding. Ehmet Çalik is Erdoğan’s son-in-law.  He is also the 16th richest man in Turkey, with a net worth of $1.3 billion.

In an article on the economy published last year in Sabah, the headline of which appears on Google translate as “Appeared on big brother and the lobby,” there is quite a telling explanation of how the Rothschild family is behind the bad rap Turkey gets in the British media.  In the article it also “explains” how Turkey’s monetary policies cause great danger to the “Family,” which, presumably, is why the “Family” has been provoked into harming Turkey.

But the “Rothschild Family” is not only blamed for media manipulation that economically harms Turkey.  The Sabah article also explains how the Rothschilds made enormous profits from the concentration camps as the financiers of the gas used to kill the Jews, they also benefitted financially from the “Opium War” in the Far East, and from the U.S. war in Iraq and, indeed for both World War I and World War II.

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.

2nd Day of Protest in Turkey Threatening Erdogan’s Regime

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

On Saturday, Turkish Prime Minister, Islamist Tayyip Erdogan called for an immediate end to the most violent anti-government demonstrations seen in Turkey in many years, after two days in which thousands of protesters clashed with riot police in Istanbul and Ankara.

Thousands of protesters in Istanbul celebrated a victory as police gave up, for now, and withdrew from Taksim square. demonstrators shouted for the government to resign as riot police pulled back from the city’s central square.

Reuters reported that Turkish police fired teargas and water cannon on hundreds of demonstrators Friday and Saturday, to block their access to Istanbul’s central Taksim Square, where dozens of people have been injured this week – so much so that even Washington was expressing concern..

Anti-government demonstrators wearing handkerchiefs and surgical masks chanted “unite against fascism” and “government resign,” pushing their way to Taksim Square.

Images and videos coming out of Turkey depict a central Istanbul that has descended into chaos as police in riot gear and gas masks attempt to disperse a group of reportedly peaceful protesters with tear gas canister launchers, vehicle-mounted water cannons and other violent means, IBT reported. The decision to break up the protest came on the fourth day after hundreds set up an encampment associated with the Occupy movement in the Taksim Square Gezi Park.

The protest began at the Park late Monday, after trees were torn up in line with a government redevelopment plan for the area. The park, filled with sycamore trees, is the last large green space in downtown of Istanbul,

But as has been the case in other Muslim countries in recent years, what started as an environmental protest quickly ignited an all out demonstration against the authoritarianism of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP).

But before there was a protest against development plans, there was a ban on booze. In a surprise move last week, the Islamist government introduced a new law cracking down on the alcohol trade, banning the sale of drinks between 10 PM and 6 AM, and revoking the liquor licenses of restaurants situated close to near schools or mosques.

The partial ban on alcoholic beverages came on Erdogan’s 11th year in office, and after 3 consecutive election victories. From his very first day in office, it was the mission of the Islamist party’s leader to allay the fears both of secular, urban Turks, and—more important—of the secular military, that he was not going to rule with an Islamist agenda.

Erdogan remains the most popular politician in Turkey’s recent history, and has been considered a primary ally of the United States. So much so, that newly elected President Barack Obama visited Ankara before any other place, back in 2009.

Slowly, over his years in office, Erdogan has been pushing a slow, but patient, elimination of Turkey’s strict ban on religion from all public domains, a separation characteristic of modern Turkey since its inception, following the demise of the Ottoman Empire.

Despite Erdogan’s attempt to describe himself as a “Muslim prime minister of a secular state,” in 2008, his majority AKP in parliament passed an amendment to the constitution allowing women to wear the headscarf in Turkish universities.

He talked about encouraging the emergence of a “pious generation,” that would embrace religion willingly, and become better human beings. The new ban on late-night sale of alcohol was also presented not as the enforcement of the Muslim prohibition on booze, but as an effort to stop young Turks from “wandering about in a state of inebriation.”

On Saturday night, meanwhile, Prime Minister Erdogan has admitted there may have been some cases of extreme police action.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/2nd-day-of-protest-in-turkey-threatening-erdogans-regime/2013/06/01/

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