“Soma was not an accident. It was murder!”
[Nearly one year after the massive Gezi Park protests in Istanbul -- and only weeks after the country-wide rebellions at the death of hundreds of miners at Soma -- Turkey's government is launching yet another round of arrests and repression while the people's solidarity, resistance, and commemoration of the year since the upsurge which Gezi marked, declares the coming weeks of struggle. -- Frontlines ed.]
Hurriyet Daily, 27 May 2014 -- A Turkish court ordered the arrest of 47 suspects in the Gezi Park case on May 27, while the pioneers of last year’s protest called for a May 31 rally in Taksim to mark the anniversary of Turkey’s largest-ever civil uprising.
A total of 255 suspects, including seven foreigners, have been on trial since May 6 on charges ranging from “violating the Meeting and Rallies Law” to “resisting police” and “supporting a criminal.” Continue reading
Coal miners in Soma waited for news from rescuers after the biggest workplace disaster in Turkey’s history. The prime minister has sparked renewed protests by defending the company, which had boasted of its cost-cutting business model. Photo: Hilmi Hacaloğlu (VOA).
People in Turkey are sad and angry.
At least 300 workers lost their lives in the May 13 mine accident in Soma, a small town 300 miles from Istanbul. It was the biggest workplace disaster in Turkish history.
But instead of punishing management and promising to improve safety, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has openly defended the company.
Not just in Soma but in all parts of the country, people are angry and mobilizing against the government. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has reacted with police violence, pepper gas, and water cannons.
A May 15 general strike called by several union federations was one of the biggest strikes in years. Last summer, protesters defending Istanbul’s Gezi Park against bulldozers touched off national protests against the Erdoğan regime and its pro-business agenda, with significant union participation. Continue reading
Anger and grief boiled over into violent protests across Turkey, as officials announced at least 274 miners died in an explosion and fire in the town of Soma – the country’s deadliest mining disaster.
Nearly 450 other miners have been rescued, the mining company said, but the fate of an unknown number of others remained unclear.
Mass graves were being dug in the town, as it prepared to bury those who were brought to the surface by nightfall, in line with Muslim tradition.
Tensions were high as hundreds of relatives and miners jostled outside the coal mine waiting for news, countered by a heavy police presence. In downtown Soma, protesters mostly in their teens and 20s faced off against riot police in front of the ruling NKP party headquarters.
The protesters smashed the party’s office windows with rocks and some in the crowd shouted that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a ‘murderer!’ and a ‘thief!’ .
And in Istanbul, hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the headquarters of mine owner Soma Komur Isletmeleri A.S. , Erdogan, coal mining, Continue reading
[The following is a recent statement from revolutionary Maoists in Brazil, detailing their analysis of the ever-growing civil war in Syria as a proxy war by contending imperialist powers for control of the Middle East. It is an important contribution to the international debate among revolutionaries, over the shifting relations and aggressions, direct and indirect, by leading powers in the world imperialist system. -- Frontlines ed.]
Proletarians and oppressed people of the world, unite!
About the recent situation in Syria
In the last months, the imperialist Yankee has intensified its manipulations and provocations to justify its military invasion in Syria. The US propaganda machine is once again creating smokescreens to justify to the world public yet another predatory war. “To defend democracy,” “human rights”, “stop use of chemical weapons and weapons of mass destruction;” these are the new smokescreens of the Yankee imperialism in its counter-revolutionary offensive, reviving the “War on Terror”. These were also the same pretexts used to justify the aggression towards Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali, Libya, and many other countries. by the very forces who are the most responsible for countless massacres and use of weapons of mass destruction in human history; imperialism, mainly Yankee.
Since 2011, the people in Syria are subjected to imperialist predatory war that currently is conducted in the form of a civil war. The armed forces of Assad’s regime (sustained politically, economically, and militarily by Russian imperialism) and the self-proclaimed ‘Free Syrian Army’ (mercenary forces directly controlled by the USA through their intelligence services and regional allies) are the contenders of this inter-imperialist dispute on the Syrian territory. In this war all kinds of horrors against the masses have been practised, without this having motivated attention or outcry from the well know”international institutions”. Continue reading
By Brandon Jourdan and Marianne Maeckelbergh, Global Uprisings, August 5th, 2013
This short documentary tells the story of the occupation of Gezi Park, the eviction on July 15, 2013, and the protests that have continued in the aftermath. It includes interviews with many participants and footage never before seen.
Since the end of May 2013, political unrest has swept across Turkey. In Istanbul, a large part of the central Beyoğlu district became a battle zone for three consecutive weeks with conflicts continuing afterward. So far five people have died and thousands have been injured.
The protests were initially aimed at rescuing Istanbul’s Gezi Park from being demolished as part of a large scale urban renewal project. The police used extreme force during a series of police attacks that began on May 28th 2013 and which came to a dramatic head in the early morning hours of Friday May 31st when police attacked protesters sleeping in the park.
Over the course of a few days, the police attacks grew to shocking proportions. As the images of the heavy-handed policing spread across the world, the protests quickly transformed into a popular uprising against the Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his style of authoritarian rule.
Hurriyet, ISTANBUL, Saturday,June 29 2013
[Protestors are detained by the plainclothes police officers during an anti-government protest at Taksim Square in Istanbul. REUTERS photo]
Thousands of protesters have gathered at the Taksim square June 29 to denounce the government’s response to the Gezi Park protests, a week after another demonstration was quelled with water cannons and tear gas. The demonstration has been carried out peacefully without tension and most of the protesters dispersed after a couple of hours following police’s warning to end the gathering.
Riot police pushed them away from the square with shields and slow moving water cannon trucks although no water was fired. Announcements were made for protesters to return to their homes.
However, part of the protesters remained in the surroundings of the Taksim area as police entered the side streets chasing the protesters who were gathering back. More than ten protestors were detained, according to Hürriyet. Live footages showed officer in plainclothes taking the protesters into custody. Continue reading
Riot police have fired water cannon to clear protesters from Istanbul’s Taksim Square, in the first clash at the site for nearly a week.
The demonstrators had converged at the square for a memorial to those killed in nearly three weeks of anti-government protests.
The protesters laid carnations and shouted anti-government slogans in remembrance of three protesters and a police officer killed in the unrest. Continue reading
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News,
Monday,June 17 2013
A local court has banned reporting and broadcasting of claims that the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) had collected and filed data on companies owned by businessmen close to opposition parties, with the aim of stopping them from bidding in public tenders.
Daily Taraf claimed on June 13-14 that MİT had “illegally” collected data and kept records about the political tendencies of a number of businessmen, regarding their affiliation with the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). The court ruling stated that the reports were “targeting the institution” and could not be republished or broadcast in any other print or electronic media, including the paper itself.
MİT, which reports directly to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, declined to make any comment on the Taraf stories when they were printed.
Taraf allocated its front page to the court decision on June 16, showing a picture of a number of penguins in protest at the ruling. Penguins have become the symbol of Turkish mainstream media’s slowness in reporting the Taksim protests, after a prominent news channel broadcast a documentary on the antarctic animals at the same time as mass protests and police interventions were taking place. Taraf also opened a Twitter and Facebook account asking readers to “vote” on whether to carry on the claims about MİT despite the court decision, echoing the government’s recent decision to offer a potential referendum on the future of Taksim’s Gezi Park.
“We Are All Turkish Democrats”: a Statement of Solidarity with the Turkish
Abahlali baseMjondolo is a democratic, membership based movement of shack dwellers and other poor people in South Africa. In 2005 our experience of suffering and injustice led us to decided to organize ourselves and to represent ourselves. We are struggling for land and housing as a vital step towards the restoration of our dignity and the recognition of our equality. We have been severely punished by those who want to keep us in our place and we have faced serious repression.
When we have come under attack we have received solidarity from across the world – from Auckland to Istanbul, Nairobi, London and New York. We have stood with comrades facing repression in places like Haiti and Palestine. Today we stand with our comrades in Turkey and with all Turkish democrats.
We keep over movement strong by making sure that it always remains in the hands of its members and that we take forward the struggles that affect people’s everyday lives. We call this a living politics. But we take very seriously the fact that the system that has marginalized and oppressed us here in South Africa is the very system that marginalizes and oppresses the people of Turkey. And we have not forgotten that the first people to be in solidarity with our struggle outside of South Africa were the comrades at Sendika and People’s House in Turkey. Continue reading
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
More than 2,000 lawyers staged a massive protest June 12 inside Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse, where nearly 60 lawyers were detained in a police raid after protesting the government over the Gezi Park unrest.
“Everywhere Taksim, everywhere resistance,” “Resign, prosecutor,” “Prosecutor, look here, count how many we are,” were among the slogans the lawyers chanted.
Dozens of lawyers were detained for several hours by police at Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse on June 11 for joining the Taksim Gezi protests, which have been raging across the country for 17 days now. Continue reading
Istanbul park protests sow the seeds of a Turkish spring
A protest in a small Istanbul park has become a lightning rod for grievances against the government, and it could be explosive
guardian.co.uk, Friday 31 May 2013
This morning, Turkish police surrounded protesters in Taksim Gezi park, the central square in Istanbul, blocked all exits and attacked them with chemical sprays and teargas.
An Occupy-style movement has taken off in Istanbul. The ostensible issue of conflict is modest. Protesters started gathering in the park on 27 May, to oppose its demolition as part of a redevelopment plan. But this is more than an environmental protest. It has become a lightning conductor for all the grievances accumulated against the government.
Police have waited until the early hours of each morning to attack, just as police in the US did when dealing with Occupy protesters. They set fire to the tents in which protesters were sleeping and showered them with pepper spray and teargas. A student had to undergo surgery after injuries to his genitals.
The occupiers adapted and started to wear homemade gas masks. More importantly, they called for solidarity. In response to yesterday’s assault, thousands of protesters turned up, including opposition politicians. But this morning’s attack allowed no defence or escape. The park, and the area around it, is still closed, and still under clouds of gas. Continue reading
“This is an unprecedented, abrupt and unplanned public movement that has not been manipulated by any political party. It is a big surprise,” he told AFP.
Critics say that Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan’s rule has left Turkish society more polarised than ever, with opponents of the AKP government openly voicing concerns that Turkey is moving toward conservative Islam.
The ruling party has passed a series of reforms which have outraged many citizens who complain of a “fait accompli” and say it shows a slide toward an authoritarian and conservative agenda.
In 2004, the party attempted to submit a controversial amendment on banning adultery but had to back down amid criticism from opposition parties and women’s groups.
Last year, Erdogan provoked outrage when he likened abortion to murder, and his contentious education reform allowing clerical schools for the raising of what he described a “pious generation” was approved by the parliament in 2012, spreading fears among secularists.
More recently, Turkey’s parliament passed legislation curbing alcohol sales and advertising, which would be the toughest in the republic’s history if the president, a former AKP member, signs it into law.
In April, an Istanbul court ordered a retrial for world-renowned pianist Fazil Say, who was convicted earlier to 10 months in prison for blasphemy over a series of social media posts. The 43-year-old virtuoso has accused the AKP of being behind the case against him.
Critics accuse Erdogan’s government of using courts to silence dissenting voices.
Turkey is the leading jailer of journalists worldwide, imprisoning even more than China or Iran, according to rights groups.
Hundreds of military officers, academics and lawyers are also in detention — most of them accused of plotting against the government. Continue reading