Saturday, June 1, 2013

What in the World is going on in Turkey?!?

Turkey Protests Rage On: Nearly 1,000 Arrested

Police arrest 939 people in more than 90 demonstrations as anti-government protests in Istanbul spread to Ankara and other areas.

9:35pm UK, Saturday 01 June 2013

Authorities in Turkey have arrested almost a 1,000 people across the country in the fiercest anti-government demonstrations the nation has seen for years.
Police withdrew from a main Istanbul square to allow in tens of thousands of protesters, as clashes spread to the capital Ankara and other towns and cities.
Officers removed barricades - some of which had been set alight - in a bid to calm tensions after days of clashes with demonstrators who hurled objects including fireworks at them.
Demonstrators clash with police during a protest against Turkey's PM Erdogan and his ruling AKP in central Ankara
Protesters clash with police in central Ankara
Riot police backed by armoured vehicles and helicopters in Istanbul had for much of Saturday fought running battles with thousands of people who turned out to protect a park in the city's central Taksim Square.
Police, who have been accused of using disproportionate force to quash the demonstrations, attempted to disperse crowds with water cannon and tear gas.
What started as a peaceful environmental protest over plans to redevelop the Gezi Parka has turned into a national demonstration against the Islamist-rooted government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that is seen by many as authoritarian.
Riot police use a water canon to restrain a protester during an anti-government protest at Taksim Square in central Istanbul
Water cannon is used to restrain one protester
In a surprise move last week, the government quickly passed legislation curbing the sale and advertising of alcoholic drinks, alarming secularists. Many felt insulted when he defended the legislation by calling people who drink "alcoholics."
Crowds of protesters chanting "shoulder to shoulder against fascism" and "government resign" marched on Taksim Square, littered with broken glass, rocks and an overturned vehicle.
A defiant Mr Erdogan said the redevelopment would go ahead despite the opposition and vowed to bring the unrest under control.
Demonstrators throw stones as they clash with riot police in front of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's Istanbul office
Protesters clash with police outside the PM's Istanbul office
"Police were there yesterday, they'll be on duty today and also tomorrow because Taksim Square cannot be an area where extremists are running wild," he said in televised remarks.
"If this is about holding meetings, if this is a social movement, where they gather 20, I will get up and gather 200,000 people. Where they gather 100,000, I will bring together one million from my party.
"Every four years we hold elections and this nation makes its choice. Those who have a problem with government policies can express their opinions within the framework of law and democracy."
Riot police shield themselves from stones thrown by protesters during an anti-government protest in central Istanbul
Riot police shield themselves from stones thrown by protesters
Support rallies have gathered in Ankara, Izmir, Kocaeli and Adana and their numbers are increasing.
Interior Minister Muammer Guler said 939 arrests had been made in more than 90 separate demonstrations.
As in Istanbul, water cannon and tear gas were also used to stop protesters from reaching the parliament building in the capital, Ankara.
Riot police use tear gas to disperse the crowd during an anti-government protest at Taksim Square in central Istanbul
Tear gas and water cannon are used to disperse a crowd
First pictures, then videos of brutal police attacks on unarmed protesters in Istanbul caused the protests to spread to other towns and cities.
Earlier in the week on Thursday morning, riot police were sent to disperse the sleeping protesters camping in the park. Videos of masked police burning down tents and firing tear gas at unarmed people shocked the public.
The protesters rallied once more on Thursday night and the situation got worse on Friday morning.
Protesters gather in Taksim Square's Gezi Parka
The police raid was more brutal than the previous day and people who were trying to escape police got crushed under a wall they were trying to climb.
The videos spread quickly through social networks while news channels and mainstream media failed to report on what was starting to become a social resistance movement.
Throughout Friday, protesters tried re-entering the park that had been sealed off by police barricades.
A demonstrator throws a tear gas canister back at riot police during an anti-government protest in central Istanbul
A protester throws a tear gas canister back at police
People from all walks of life rallied around this seemingly unimportant protest. University students, actors, journalists, artists, young or old, conservative or liberal, were all united in the movement.
Social media has become the main source of information and people are now afraid the government will shut down the internet.
Twitter has become the eyes and ears of the Gezi movement. Protesters relay crucial information about police barricades, open roads, injury status or emergency situations.
Demonstrators shout slogans during an anti-government protest in Istanbul
Demonstrators shout slogans as they march through the streets
Police closed access to ambulances on Friday and protesters who were injured asked for medical help via Twitter or Facebook.
A group of medical students and doctors volunteered and their names and numbers were quickly broadcast on Twitter, urging protesters to call them if anyone was seriously injured.
Lawyers have volunteered their services to those who have been arrested.
read more @ SKY NEWS - PLUS VIDEO

Turkey Rage Not Just About The Park

Updated: 9:07pm UK, Saturday 01 June 2013
Turkey is protesting over beer. Sort of.
The building of a new shopping mall on a green park in Istanbul is not the only reason for the violent clashes in Turkey.
The protests reflect a general displeasure in a government that many in the country fear is becoming increasingly authoritarian.
Just over a week ago, the government rushed through new laws governing the sale and advertising of alcohol.
Drinks companies cannot sponsor events anymore, shops will be prevented from selling alcohol between 10pm and 6am and there will also be stricter punishments for drink driving.
The government argues it is to protect society from the harmful effects of alcohol but many regard it as proof that their leaders are becoming increasingly conservative in their policy-making. (Shiari law?)
Foreign journalists currently in Turkey are reporting that local media, for whatever reason, is largely ignoring the protests. That is sinister.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan insists he promotes democracy - he has won the last three elections, with increasing majorities. In the most recent, his party polled almost 50% of the vote.
Turkey is enjoying a growing economy which is the envy of most European countries.
Mr Erdogan has continued to steer the country away from military rule that has been such a significant part of its recent history.
He is an accomplished politician and in the event of an ongoing crisis in the Middle East, a friend of the West.
Turkey is predominantly Islamic - around 99% of the population are Muslims and the Ankara-based government is traditionally sectarian.
Western leaders would hold it up as an example to follow for countries that underwent change in the Arab Spring.
But it is living under the threat of spill-over violence from neighbouring Syria and a resulting humanitarian emergency on its border.
"The protests are a test of Mr Erdogan's power.
His message earlier that the population gets its chance to voice its opinions in general elections was directed as much at the international community as it was to the demonstrators.
Three consecutive terms as prime minister is impressive for any democratically elected leader.
But history has shown that for most such a hat trick of triumphs is also the start of the end.
If that is the case for PM Erdogan, and if these protests are truly reflecting the wider will of the nation, then when the time comes for him to step down, Turkey's future (which is certainly promising) will depend on how he does it."