Turkey Uprising updates: May 31st - June 4th

This is a day-by-day compilation of this post, perhaps summarized a little bit for coherency.

Note that this is not intended to be an explanation of our cause, nor a compilation of action photos. Also note that I will start by May 31st and not by May 28th when the camp started.

In any case, you should watch the summary of the first week here:

For the curious, here are a few links:

  • Also, on Twitter: #resistaksim #occupygezi #direngeziparkı

I started that post on June 1st by the following "What's happening in Turkey is much bigger than anything you could imagine. There is continuous tear gas charge for around 42 hours by the police. The protesters are fighting by substitution. The people in front resist as much as they can, and later replaced by the ones on the back."

When I wrote that, I suspected that I was exaggerating.  It turns out I couldn't possibly exaggerate the courage of the protesters. The next day, a protester tweets
"We had our rest. So if the police is ready too, shall we?", following a long night:

Taksim, June 1st, 3.40 am

This was what we resisted for hours, and for days to come.

Here's a protester's testimony [my translation]: "Dear prime minister. You made such a good thing for us, you have no idea. You ordered the police to kill us. But here's what I saw: I saw Galatasaray fans helping out injured Fenerbahçe fans. I saw students sharing their bread and water. I saw Kurdish and Turkish people walking shoulder to shoulder. I saw “whores” coming out of the brothels to give water and lemon to the protesters. I saw travesties opening up hotel rooms for shelter. I saw lawyers and doctors giving out their phone numbers. I saw medical students treating the wounded in the ER. I saw old ladies distributing clothes with vinegar. I saw shopkeepers sharing the wireless passwords, I saw hotel owners letting the injured to the lobby rooms. I saw pharmacies open all night long. And be sure, our eyes are full of tears, not because of your tear gas, but because of pride!"

One parenthesis: Football club fans joined in, and they discovered something curious. They brought black spray and sprayed the masks of the police. The policemen had to take off their gas masks, therefore having some opportunity for "empathy". Close parenthesis.

June 1st started excitingly. Tens of thousands were recorded crossing the Bosphorus Bridge on foot, and this before sunrise.

And of course came the solidarity demonstrations all around the country. I believe in some 200 towns.

Ankara: helicopters threw teargas bombs, hundreds injured.

Eskişehir: hundreds detained, here is a short video:

İzmir: protesters spent the whole night in streets.

Another important discovery of the protesters was to write down your blood type on your arm. On Twitter, people shared instructions on how to make a gas mask at home.

One cannot exaggerate the courage of the protesters.
Police finally retreated and Taksim square (and Gezi park) were liberated and immediately occupied by hundreds of thousands of people. Once the police retreated, corporate media started live streaming of Taksim. Their attitude was already confirmed by AKP General Vice President, the ex Minister of Education, Minister of Culture Huseyin Celik: "By the way, our media is going through a historic test. Greetings and love to all..."

Taksim liberated, June 1st.

Yet the "battle" in Ankara got more serious and continued all night long. Here is a testimony of a protester in Ankara.

Ankara, June 1st, 6.30 pm

 In the meanwhile, Tayyip (the Prime Minister, leader of AKP) tweeted the following statement:

"The leader of the main opposing party is telling that he is going to organize a public assembly at Kadikoy this evening. It’s his right, of course he can.
Yet, he should know that if he uses any impulsive statements, this nation will not forgive him and his party, CHP.
We can gather 1 million people where the opposition gathers 100 thousand, however we do not have a such purpose.

The timing of the decision of district courts on stopping the construction is very interesting.

We have never surrendered to gang, political body or mafia-like organization. We get our support first from God and then from the people.

The current incidents are obvious. It is said that the trees are going to be cut down at Taksim. 

I don’t know who came up with it, it’s made up.

I don’t know what these people want. If you want trees, come over and we will give you trees. If you want trees planted on your yards, we can also provide that. 

But it’s not the problem. The problem is: “How can we hit AK Parti?” No matter from where you hit us, we will stand erect."

Having said this.. did I already mentioned how one cannot exaggerate the courage of the protesters (this is a must-see) ?

And June 2nd started before June 1st ended:

Police: You have 1 minute to leave the space.
Çarşı [Beşiktaş Fan Club]: You have 20 seconds left.

In İzmir, demonstrators burnt down to AKP offices. Violent police fights in Antalya. Police torture reported from Eskişehir. 400 detentions in Adana. At a single night, around 450 injuries reported in Ankara.

Antalya, June 2nd.

In Taksim, on the other hand, the protesters maintained their camp despite of police attacks around the neighbourhood. The fights continued all day long. Police murdered two protesters, Mehmet Ayvalıtaş and Abdullah Cömert.

Mehmet Ayvalıtaş

Abdullah Cömert

As one protester said, "Man, when the guy [referring to Tayyip, the PM] said we were marginals, he had a point. It's 1 am and we are wandering around in Beşiktaş with underwater goggles. We are the kings of marginality."

RedHack hacked the following websites: Presidency, İstanbul Police Department, İstanbul Governorship, Ankara Municipality. Not that we needed any of them...

Taksim Solidarity Platform, the initiator of the camping in Taksim, released its demands, nay, "our conditions":

* Gezi Park, will remain as a park. We will not allow neither Topçu Barracks project, nor anything else that would violate the nature and our living areas.  
* All officials - including Istanbul governor Police Commissioner - who prevented people from using their democratic rights, who gave oppression orders, who executed these orders,  who caused several injuries must resign immediately. Use of tear gas bombs must be banned. 
* Our friends who were detained all across Turkey to join the resistance must be released immediately and all charges must be dropped. 

* All public demonstration bans especially in Taksim Square but also throughout Turkey must end.

And so June 2nd ended.

On June 3rd, corporate media had a good coverage of the peaceful Taksim as the police was attacking violently in Ankara. Conflicts continued all around the country.

Ankara, June 3rd.

Oh, here is a nice one: The Syrian Information Minister invited Tayyip to resignation and to go to exile in Doha.

And later that day, we discovered the last message sent by Abdullah Cömert, killed in Antakya.

I only got five hours of sleep in three days. I was exposed to gas bombs so many times. Three times I had a close brush with death. And do you know what people say: ‘Is it you to save the country?’ Yes. Even if we can’t save it, we will die for it. (I am so much tired. For three days, I am standing with seven energy drinks and nine pain pills. I have got a hoarse voice but I am still on the streets since six o’clock in the morning. Just for the revolution!

The conflicts in Ankara calmed down later that night. Police seemed to have retreated everywhere.

Finally (I mean "finally" for this particular post), here are some news for June 4th.

First of all, this interview was reported from İzmir:

Journalist: Why did you destroy the AKP building? Protester: Oh well, we gonna build a shopping mall instead.

Later on, Bülent Arınç (President of the Assembly) proved he still doesn't get it. He stated:
- 244 Policeman, 60 civilian wounded [Ankara Chamber of Medics announced 414 wounded in only in Ankara on Sunday.]
- Not many people under custody [An MP declared 1500 only on Sunday, only at Ankara.]

- I want to thank everyone for their common sense and our Police for performing their duty.
The police is ... taking action exactly according to our commands.

- The press outside Turkey making non-objective broadcasts. They're not sensible like the Turkish Media. Same things happen in UK, Spain, Italy, Greece. Our government and state is strong, We won't be deterred by the street. We'll take care of it.

While they are on it, lawyers occupied the Palace of Justice in İstanbul, demanding justice, and Turkish Medical Association announced that 1500 got injured in Istanbul, and 3500 all around Turkey. I don't know if this blog counts as "press outside", but for all I know, this is a daily conversation in Turkey at the moment:

- Is that road safe?
- No, there is police on that side. 

And this:  Friends, you heard Arınç's speech. Police hasn't slept for 5 days. Please, everyone, bring your own teargas and apply it to your own eyes tonight.

I heard you told my son "Get your mama and go away.", you called my grandson a looter. I am 87 years old and cannot get out of the bed anymore. Come here, come closer, I'll tell you something.

While I'm writing this: Police attacks in Antakya is continuing brutally. In Dersim, barricades were formed by the protesters to stop police attacks. In Ankara, police is reported to act hostile, they do not let the protesters reach the meeting area. (22pm, June 4th)

Taksim Solidarity Platform announced that they will have a meeting with Bülent Arınç (yes, that guy cited above).

As a closure, let me remark the international support for Tayyip: Golden Dawn from Greece denounced the uprising in Taksim.

I will continue to update the blog as much as I can.

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