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Author Topic: Protests in Istanbul  (Read 4272 times)

eleman

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Protests in Istanbul
« on: May 31, 2013, 04:49:24 PM »
Well, I know politics per se is not in the focus of DC, but tomorrow morning I'll be at Taksim square in Istanbul, joining the protests against the increasingly authoritarian government. If any DC members are around (and is willing to get a sniff of pepper spray from the police) I'd be glad to meet them there. My phone number is +90-541-3770399.

Çağrı

wraith808

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Re: Protests in Istanbul
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2013, 10:36:51 PM »
For online tracking of it, there's a tumblr: http://resistaksim.tumblr.com/

Warning- some graphic images there.  More than pepper spray being used, so be careful if you go!

40hz

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Re: Protests in Istanbul
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2013, 06:37:47 AM »
@eleman - please be careful? Catching a whiff of pepper spray is one thing - and bad enough. But bullets, or a personal encounter with police riot baton, will likely leave you with some much more serious physical damage.

Luck. :Thmbsup:

eleman

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Re: Protests in Istanbul
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2013, 05:11:51 AM »
Well I was at Taksim square for 7 hours yesterday. I got 4 shots of pepper spray canisters falling close by. My eyes were burnt badly despite swimming glasses I had to buy after the first shot of tear gas. Operating masks helped a bit with the breathing, but not much.

Police often attacked protestors with pressurized water, tear gas, and batons. Due to continuous police harassment (such as this one), peaceful protests began to take a turn for more violent action.

The protests were a culmination of events where the government increased the repression levels, confident in its tight control of the media and Islamist voter base. Throughout May, police repression and unpopular government policies followed one another. First the police attacked May Day protestors in a fashion similar to the recent brutality. Then a bombing took place in a town near the Syrian border. It is not clear who did it, but government claims that the Syrian regime perpetrated it. The majority of the people does not believe in that. Conspiracy theories are numerous, but there's a telling detail: People in the bombed town (Reyhanlı) protested against the prime minister and his policies of meddling in Syrian affairs, as well as harboring Al-Qaida fighters and mercenaries who fight against the Syrian regime. The prime minister was able to visit the town only after two weeks, during which the police achieved full control over the town. Imagine George Bush visiting ground zero only on 25th of September, no sooner.

Well, I'm not inclined to make any guesses about the future, but it looks like some things are about to happen around here.

mouser

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Re: Protests in Istanbul
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2013, 01:08:54 PM »
Glad to hear you are safe, eleman.

Tinman57

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Re: Protests in Istanbul
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2013, 07:18:36 PM »

  I was watching it on CNN today.  Some pretty hair raising stuff going on there.  I wouldn't want to be in the middle of it......

wraith808

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Re: Protests in Istanbul
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2013, 11:06:24 PM »
Sith just got real.

darthvader.jpg

(And it's really amazing that in a serious time like this, someone injected humor by wearing this at the protests...)

IainB

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Re: Protests in Istanbul
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2013, 03:09:37 AM »
Quote
Wikipedia - Accession of Turkey to the European Union
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

                        EU member
                        state average       Turkey

PPP GDP ($M)    552,780            1,288,638[1]
Area (km2)    165,048            783,562
Population            18,583,598       70,785,548

Status: Candidate
Opened chapters: 13
Closed chapters: 1
Website
abgs.gov.tr

Turkey's application to accede to the European Union was made on 14 April 1987. Turkey has been an associate member of the European Union (EU) and its predecessors since 1963.[2] After the ten founding members, Turkey was one of the first countries to become a member of the Council of Europe in 1949, and was also a founding member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1961[3] and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in 1973. The country has also been an associate member of the Western European Union since 1992, and is a part of the "Western Europe" branch of the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) at the United Nations. Turkey signed a Customs Union agreement with the EU in 1995 and was officially recognised as a candidate for full membership on 12 December 1999, at the Helsinki summit of the European Council. Negotiations were started on 3 October 2005, and the process, should it be in Turkey's favour, is likely to take at least a decade to complete.[4] The membership bid has become a major controversy of the ongoing enlargement of the European Union.[5]
________________________

Quote
CIA World Factbook on Turkey:
...Over the past decade, it has undertaken many reforms to strengthen its democracy and economy; it began accession membership talks with the European Union in 2005...
News update: Democracy under attack: #OccupyGezi – Turkish Police now using live rounds

"Live rounds"? Is that a euphemism for "real bullets"?
If it is, then I'm not sure whether this sort of method to "strengthen its democracy" would necessarily be par for the course for a potential or actual EU member state, but then one really never knows.
@eleman is probably a pretty brave person to deliberately go into a fight stacked with those odds.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 03:13:54 AM by IainB, Reason: Minor correction to link. »

eleman

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Re: Protests in Istanbul
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2013, 03:54:54 AM »
News update: Democracy under attack: #OccupyGezi – Turkish Police now using live rounds

"Live rounds"? Is that a euphemism for "real bullets"?
If it is, then I'm not sure whether this sort of method to "strengthen its democracy" would necessarily be par for the course for a potential or actual EU member state, but then one really never knows.
@eleman is probably a pretty brave person to deliberately go into a fight stacked with those odds.

I'm not sure about the live rounds. Disinformation is rife nowadays, since the mainstream media is under tight control of the government. The only news you can get is via twitter and facebook, which are not the beacons of accuracy and reliability.

Despite the protests the prime minister is not stepping back while the crowds feel that this is the point of no return. If we can't make him step back on this one, there will no longer be a substantial resistance, and he will use the government's powers to impose the islamist-conservative life style throughout Turkey. So it's the make or break point. I don't know if I'm brave or not, but I sure feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.

IainB

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Re: Protests in Istanbul
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2013, 06:58:43 AM »
@eleman: I hadn't realised you would be able to see the DC Forum. No Internet blackout?
Quote
I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.
As a general rule, any squishy bits in-between two hard objects usually risk being squashed.
I feel very sad for you and the Turkish people. Good luck. You will need it. I suspect you may be discovering (or about to discover) the real meaning of "religious authoritative totalitarianism".
Democratic independence and freedom seem to be things very hard-won but easily lost. Look how long it has taken to reverse what history tells us Turkey, through Ataturk, achieved in 1923 - now being undone in the blink of an eye.

The whole world should be concerned about what is happening in Turkey, and though no doubt some will be watching in horror at the unfolding events and their potential implications, probably no country will lift a finger to help you.

I hope you get out alive and in one piece. You've got some guts.

eleman

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Re: Protests in Istanbul
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2013, 07:10:37 AM »
Thank you for the support.

@eleman: I hadn't realised you would be able to see the DC Forum. No Internet blackout?

Nope, this is a country with a GDP exceeding one trillion dollars. I guess you can't turn off the internet above a certain threshold, it gets too costly.

Tinman57

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Re: Protests in Istanbul
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2013, 07:31:32 PM »
  I just wonder what the U.S. military bases in Turkey are doing while all this is happening.  You can just about bet that they're all on base restrictions right now.

IainB

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Re: Protests in Istanbul
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2013, 12:38:33 AM »
This Turkish TV gameshow host must have had some guts (post from HotAir.com):
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images or video links.)
Quote
Wow: Turkish game show host defies government censorship by making every answer protest-related
posted at 10:01 pm on June 5, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

In which the Turkish Guy Smiley shows CNN how it’s done:

    Perhaps one of the most striking attempts to pierce and criticize the veil of censorship on Turkish media came from a Quiz show host whose “Guess the Word” program airs. As citizens of Turkey watched with their jaws on the floor (and many standing up and clapping in front of their TV sets according to my social media feeds), he asked his quests to guess words such as “resistance,” “censorship,” twitter”, “tear gas”, and more. He finished his 70 questions with questions whose answers were “resign” and apologize.

    The next day, he was not allowed to air live and his fate remains uncertain.

Hat tip, Ace, who compiles some of the best questions and answers from the game show host with “B**** of Iron.”

    1- A journey undertaken to see, to have fun: GEZI –name of the park that is at the center of the protests.
    …

    4- An activity geared towards trying to change or improve a situation: A PROTEST [EYLEM]

    5- A coming together around a set of ideas without being divided: UNITY

    6- The metaphor for understanding what the facts are: TO WAKE UP

    7- The people Mustafa Kemal Ataturk said should be “the most important representatives of human dignity and qualities, defense of nation and freedom of speeech”:YOUTH

    8- The ability to make decisions according to correct, meaningful interpretation: COMMON SENSE

    …

    12-Democratic solution box: THE BALLOT BOX

    …

    14-The person that turns the right into not right and the protester into terrorist: PROVOCATEUR

    …

    22-To resist, to not give up: RESISTANCE

    23-To find an event or an application as unfair, and not accept it and resist it: PROTEST

    24-To be able to decide without undue pressure from outside: FREEDOM

Twitter went wild among Turkish users as the show aired.

Let’s keep host Ali Ihsan Varol in our thoughts and prayers. He told a Turkish paper that his situation is “somewhat complicated.”

The last two questions of the show:

    To voluntarily give up a position: Resign

    The act that makes a person bigger by asking to be forgiven for wrong actions: Apologize

The video is obviously not in English, but you can follow along with the translation a bit, here, and there’s no missing the undercurrent of emotion as Varol barely veils his intention and the contestant and audience start to realize what’s going on. I can imagine Turkish citizens standing up and cheering at their screens.

eleman

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Re: Protests in Istanbul
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2013, 03:03:07 PM »
Here's a nice and fun summary of the crisis.

And here's a catchy song by the protesters (with English subtitles).

The issue is dead serious, yet we try to preserve our sense of humor. It helps.

wraith808

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Re: Protests in Istanbul
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2013, 03:40:28 PM »
The issue is dead serious, yet we try to preserve our sense of humor. It helps.

I guess that was my point with my earlier post.  I couldn't believe that in the midst of such turmoil, the level of humor and preparation that took.

IainB

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Re: Protests in Istanbul
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2013, 07:18:43 PM »
Is @eleman in any of the photos here, I wonder?
In Turkey, a New Form of Protest: Standing Silently for Hours.

Probably not much fun if one has varicose veins...

eleman

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Re: Protests in Istanbul
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2013, 11:27:08 PM »
Is @eleman in any of the photos here, I wonder?
In Turkey, a New Form of Protest: Standing Silently for Hours.

I'm not in those photos but the form of protest went viral:
See.
The police is also puzzled about the order to take people into custody for just standing still.