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Turkey Protests – update

    A short summary for those who do not speak Turkish based on info I have gleaned from friends, Twitter, and the Turkish press and TV that are covering  events.

    The protests  continue all over Turkey and have been joined by large numbers of workers, who went on strike in support of the Gezi Park campaign and also to demand an improvement in job security and working conditions. Thousands of football fans from different supporters clubs also staged a support march, each wearing the shirts of the opposing team.  There were reports of over a million people joining the rally yesterday in Taksim Square, Istanbul. Since the police attacks on protesters in Gezi Park have stopped,  much international media attention has been focused on the  incredible spirit of solidarity and tolerance being built there by the protesters. Outside of the park, there have been intense and violent attacks on protesters and numerous arrests both in other parts of Istanbul and across the country. In Istanbul, many areas staged their own protests-  Beşiktaş, and Gazi Mahallesi which  is predominantly home to Alevi and Kurdish citizens, there were reports of particularly brutal attacks and large numbers of injured. Outside of the capital, there were huge protests, even in areas known to be traditionally favourable to the ruling party. In Ankara and Izmir , there were again ugly scenes of seemingly random violence dished out by police and the internet is awash with pictures of individuals, many  not even actively involved in protest but sitting nearby or walking away from it,  being punched and kicked by police. So far 3 people, 2 protesters and 1 policeman have been killed in the unrest, there are thousands of injured people, and the newspaper Hürriyet today stated that 6 police have committed suicide since the protests began.

    The prime minister showed no signs of negotiating with the protestors and was generally considered to have inflamed the situation even more by his provocative comments, threatening to call up on his supporters to teach the protesters a lesson. I have just  seen in the Turkish newspaper Radikal that  a member of the AKP  ruling party, has told  protestors that the prime minister may be prepared to talk with them and asked them to put together a  representative group.

    The bravery and resilience of huge numbers of people who continue to spill out onto the streets, despite the tear gas, beatings and plastic bullets is astounding. I stand in awe of them all.  I recommend this article from the Economist which gives a  really good potted  summary of historical issues that have shaped the protests and the dynamics now at play.

    Turkey erupts – the New Young Turks

    The Turkish newspaper Hürriyet has an English language version and you can also follow events from there.

    Hürriyet daily news


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