Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/16897
Turkey - Police launch brutal assault
Yesterday Turkey's security forces launched a large-scale brutal attack, using tear gas, water cannon, plastic bullets and beatings, on a peaceful concert and protesters in Istanbul's Gezi park and Taksim square.
As reported in today's Observer:
"NUT executive member Martin Powell-Davies was part of a British trade union delegation that had approached the fringes of the square as police moved in.
Protestors gather outside Gezi park - Frame grab from video sent to the Socialist Party by Martin Powell-Davies
"He said: 'There was a concert by a well-known musician with hundreds of people and families in a festival atmosphere in the square and then suddenly from all sides the police came with water cannons and teargas.'
"He struggled to speak as he choked on teargas and protesters regrouped to chant anti-government slogans.
"He said: 'There are hundreds of Istanbul residents who have come out on to the streets to show their opposition. They are banging the shutters in protest at the sides of the streets.' "
The full article in the Observer can be read by clicking:
Martin send the Socialist Party a video clip of the protest outside Taksim square.
Also see his blog:
Oktay Sahbaz from London's Day-Mer centre has urged Socialist Party members, supporters and others to send protests to Turkey. He said yesterday evening:
"Police have attacked people in Taksim square and Gezi park when they were having a concert. Hundreds of people have been injured by extensive use of tear gas, water cannon and plastic bullets.
A delegation of trade unionists from Germany, Britain, Holland and Switzerland were at Taksim square when police attacked.
Some are thought to be injured and tear gassed. Thousands of people from all over Istanbul are marching towards Taksim square. In all, in 81 cities in Turkey, protests and demonstrations have started.
Children who were in Gezi park at the time of the attack have also been attacked and tear gassed. Early reports are suggesting that a nine year old child is fighting for his life after been tear gassed.
Water cannon vehicles have been driven on top of people hitting and injuring people as they were trapped under the vehicle.
We need your help! Please send protests to the below government organisations to demand a stop."
Oktay interviewed Martin Powell-Davies over the phone. Click here for interview.
Please phone or send your protest to the following numbers/addresses:
The Turkish Republic, Prime Ministry
Tel: +90 312 422 10 00
Fax: +90 312 422 18 99
Mayor of Istanbul
Tel: +90 212 204555953
The Turkish Republic Ministry of Internal Affairs
Fax: +90 312 418 12 60
Turkish Embassy in Britain
Tel: 020 7393 0202
Fax: 020 7393 0066
Turkish Consulate in London
Tel: 020 7591 6900
Fax 020 7591 6911
Demonstration in Trafalgar Square, London
Sunday 16 June, 1pm
This demo will welcome back the trade union delegation from their solidarity visit to Turkey, which included Socialist Party member Martin Powell-Davies from the NUT and Steve Hedley from the RMT.
Press release from Day-Mer written on 16.6.13
Riot police storm in on protesters in Gezi Park, Turkey
Peaceful protestors were violently attacked last night
The Gezi Park protest in Istanbul, Turkey, which had a festival atmosphere up until yesterday evening (15/6/2013) was suddenly attacked violently by police and the park has been forcefully evacuated last night.
Threats made by the Turkish prime minister
The disproportionate attack on the protesters in Gezi Park, which included women and children, came at around 8pm yesterday after the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, demanded that people evacuate the park or they would be forced to leave.
In preparation for his own rally, the Turkish prime minster told thousands of government supporters at a rally in Ankara yesterday that Gezi Park must be evacuated otherwise security forces "know how to evacuate it".
Potential use of chemical substance on the protesters
Overwhelming force was used last night as police attacked unarmed protestors who had, prior to police intervention, created a festival like atmosphere and were running a number of cultural activities open to the public where they were occupying Gezi Park.
The police advanced violently into the park wearing riot shields and gas masks and using water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets against peaceful protesters who were in a public green space.
There are reports by protesters that water cannons with chemical substances have been used on them. The situation in Turkey escalated rapidly and became a war zone with a prime minister akin to a dictator refusing to listen to the concerns of the people.
Troops deployed against protesters
Troops were also used to attack the protesters in front of the famous Divan Hotel which had opened its doors to injured protesters who were also seeking safety.
There are hundreds of people injured since yesterday according to the news on social media and other official websites.
At least five people have lost their lives since the first day of the protests. The Bosphorus bridge which connects the Asian side to the European side of Istanbul has also been blocked by the army to prevent protesters marching into Taksim Square in support of fellow protesters.
People continue to resist
European countries portray current Turkish "democracy" as a model for the Islamic world. However as witnessed by many in Turkey this is more akin to a dictatorship and cannot be used as a model.
Any support given to the Turkish government which brutally attacks its own people should be withdrawn and condemned.
In the early hours of today (16/6/2013) hundreds of thousands of people in Turkey were on the streets continuing to protest.
We condemn the actions of the Turkish government and call for an end to the police brutality on innocent people.
The demands of the protesters must be addressed without delay. We are urging you to support the people of Turkey by calling on the AKP government to stop its attacks on innocent people.
What you can do?
- Contact your local MP, ask them to make a public statement calling on the Turkish government to stop its attacks on the public.
- Send emails to the Turkish Republic, Prime Ministry at firstname.lastname@example.org and mayor of Istanbul; email@example.com, Turkish Consulate in London at firstname.lastname@example.org, condemning the police brutality on innocent people and ask the officials to respond to the Taksim Solidarity group calls which currently represents the protest group.
- Attend the Public Meeting on Wednesday 19th June 2013 @7pm to find more about issues in Turkey. Speakers will include Kevin Courtney (NUT), Chris Baugh (PCS), Jenny Sutton (UCU), Oktay Sahbaz (Day-Mer) + Members of the delegation who visited Turkey during 14-16th June 2013.
- Finally, we strongly encourage you to partake in the petition started in solidarity with the protesters in Turkey by visiting the following site: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/turkish-prime-minister-recep-tayip-erdogan-end-the-suppression-release-all-people-in-custody-immediately