Frontlines of Revolutionary Struggle

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Taksim Commune: Gezi Park And The Uprising In Turkey

By Brandon Jourdan and Marianne Maeckelbergh, Global Uprisings,

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.

Turkey: Police detain protesters as thousands gather at Taksim Square

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

[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

Sky News: “Riot Police Clash With Protesters In Turkey”

cegrab-20130622-184125-211-1-522x293Police push back against thousands of protesters in Istanbul as unrest returns to the city’s Taksim Square.

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

Turkey: Court bans reports on intelligence data collection, penguins printed in protest

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.

On Sunday, Taraf came out with a front page that included photos of penguins.....a reference to a documentary Turkish mainstream TV network CNN Türk controversially broadcast about penguins while protests were growing in Taksim on Friday and Saturday.

On Sunday, Taraf came out with a front page that included photos of penguins…..a reference to a documentary Turkish mainstream TV network CNN Türk broadcast about penguins while protests were growing in Taksim on Friday and Saturday.

The Ankara 2nd Magistrate Court decided on the ban June 14, according to a demand from the Ankara Prosecutor’s Office, which acted following a complaint from MİT itself.

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.

June/17/2013

Hürriyet Daily News: “Thousands of Turkish lawyers protest detention of their colleagues” | VIDEO

click this link to see lawyers protest — Hürriyet Daily News | VIDEO.

ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency

More than 2,000 lawyers staged a massive protest June 12 inside Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse. DHA photo

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

Turkish protesters have long list of complaints

02 Jun 2013
ANKARA (AFP)turkey 6-1-13  What started as a small group opposed to an development project in Istanbul has become an outpouring of national anger over how the Islamist-rooted government treats its citizens, testing Ankara’s quest to be a model country in its neighbourhood.Turks are increasingly frustrated about what they see as restrictions on their freedom after a series of last-minute reforms were rushed through parliament by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which enjoys an overwhelming majority.”This is a movement which is a result of growing frustration and disappointment among secular segments of society who could not influence politics over the last decade,” said Sinan Ulgen, visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe.

“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.

A small park and its 600 trees at Istanbul’s iconic Taksim square was the spark for the protests that snowballed into one of the biggest nationwide campaigns against the ruling party’s tturkey taksimen-year rule.

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

Turkish prison authorities beat Kurdish political prisoner suffering from cancer

by Alliance for Kurdish RightsTaylan Çintay, a Kurdish political prisoner suffering from cancer, was hospitalized one day after his medical operation. He started bleeding as he was beaten at the entrance of the prison and was taken to the emergency room. The prison authorities launched an investigation against him, alleging that “he got wounded by hitting himself against the wall,” Bianet reported.

36-year-old Taylan Çintay, a seriously ill cancer patient, has been in prison for 15 years. He underwent five medical operations due to bladder cancer during that period.

Çintay was transferred to Sincan Prison in Ankara from Diyarbakır Prison where he had been held and underwent an operation at Ankara Numune Hospital on May 19. He was discharged from the hospital on May 20 and taken back to Sincan Prison. Continue reading

10,000 More Prisoners To Join The Kurdish Hunger Strikes In Turkey

Turkish riot police fire water and tear gas as they clash with Kurdish demonstrators during a protest in support of a hunger strike movement by Kurdish prisoners, on November 4, 2012, in Istanbul (AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)

By Kurd Net, Ekurd.net, 06 November, 2012

ANKARA— Shortly after the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) announced that thousands of more prisoners were to join a collective hunger strike, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç made an open call to all prisoners to end the strike.

On Sunday BDP deputy Sabahat Tuncel said 10,000 more prisoners currently held in the country’s prisons for various crimes, including membership in the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its Iranian offshoot, the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), would join the hunger strike on Monday.

Around 700 Kurdish prisoners began the hunger strike on September 12, with a host of demands including the release of the Kurdish (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan and demanding the right to receive an education in their mother tongue, Kurdish, and the right to address courts in Kurdish.

Protest in support of Kurdish hunger strikers in Berlin. Image by Thomas Rossi Rassloff via Flickr

Tuncel said on Sunday during a press conference she called after attending an Istanbul demonstration by pro-BDP protestors in support of prisoners on hunger strike, “Ten thousand more prisoners are going to join the hunger strike on Monday [Nov. 5] without a time limit or the possibility of backpedaling [before their demands are met by the government].” Continue reading

Turkish Police Use Tear-Gas Against Protesting Mothers

Written by Ruwayda Mustafah Rabar

5 November 2012

Kurdish political prisoners have reached their 55th day of hunger strike. There are hundreds of political prisoners on hunger strike in Turkey, and this has led to solidarity protests throughout Europe, and in particular within Turkey. Earlier yesterday [November 4, 2012], the mothers of some of the political prisoners staged a sit-in, and were met with tear-gas [1], as well as water canisters was sprayed directly on them. Turkish mainstream media and governmental ministers remain oblivious to unfolding anger by Kurdish people, and their disregard for a political settlement of Turkey’s Kurdish question has made the situation worse. Continue reading

Hunger Strike: The Irish Experience

by DENIS O’HEARN

When people ask me, “what is the most important thing you learned about Bobby Sands?” I tell them one simple thing. The most important thing about Bobby Sands is not how he died on hunger strike, it is how he lived.

New York – Bıa news agency, 5 November 2012

The hunger strikes of 1980/1981, in which ten men including Bobby Sands died, are the most famous use of that political weapon. Yet hunger striking has a long history in Irish political culture. It is said that the ancient Celts practiced a form of hunger strike called Troscadh or Cealachan, where someone who had been wronged by a man of wealth fasted on his doorstep. Some historians claim that this was a death fast, which usually achieved justice because of the shame one would incur from allowing someone to die on their doorstep. Others say it was a token act that was never carried out to the death – it was simply meant to publicly shame the offender. In any case, both forms of protest have been used quite regularly as a political weapon in modern Ireland.

The history of Irish resistance to British colonialism is full of heroes who died on hunger strike. Some of the best-known include Thomas Ashe, a veteran of the 1916 “Easter Rising”, who died after he was force-fed by the British in Dublin’s Mountjoy Jail. In 1920, three men including the mayor of Cork City Terence MacSwiney died on hunger strike in England’s Brixton Prison. In October 1923 two men died when up to 8,000 IRA prisoners went on hunger strike to protest their imprisonment by the new “Irish Free State” (formed after the partition of Ireland in 1921). Three men died on hunger strike against the Irish government in the 1940s. After the IRA was reformed in the 1970s, hunger strikes became common once again. IRA man Michael Gaughan died after being force-fed in a British prison in 1974. And Frank Stagg died in a British jail after a 62-day hunger strike in 1976.

Unlike in Turkey, the Irish make no distinction between a “hunger strike” and a “death fast,” although many hunger strikes have started without the intention of anyone dying. In 1972, IRA prisoners successfully won status as political prisoners after a hunger strike in which no one died. They were then moved to Long Kesh prison camp, where they lived in dormitory-style huts and self-organized their education (including guerrilla training), work (including cooperative handicrafts production), recreation, and attempts to escape and rejoin the conflict. The prisoners used their relative freedom to raise their collective and individual consciousness about their struggle against British occupation of Ireland. They read international revolutionaries like Che Guevara and Irish socialists such as James Connolly. This was, in turn, a foundation for rebuilding the IRA on a basis that included a less hierarchical and more participative structure, with a higher emphasis on community politics as a part of armed struggle.

As the IRA rebuilt their organization in prison the British government also changed strategy. The main pillar of the new strategy was a “conveyor belt” of security operations that included widespread arrests of young Catholic males, heavy interrogation including torture, and juryless courts in which a single judge pronounced guilt often on the sole basis of verbal or written statements under interrogation. Continue reading

Turkey: Silent Treatment of Hunger Strike met with Anger by Kurds

by Ruwayda Mustafah Rabar, Global Voices Online

On 21 October 2012

Hundreds of Kurdish political prisoners in Turkey have entered an indefinite hunger strike [1]. The non-violent protest has gone unnoticed by international media agencies and human rights organisations. One activist, who has been vocal about this protest, says the hunger strike demands the following:

@hevallo: [2] Releasing Kurdish leader of Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK) rebels to negotiate a peace settlement

@hevallo [3]: Freedom to use Kurdish language in public sphere

@hevallo: [4] Political settlement for the Kurdish question in Turkey

Today marks the 40th day of their hunger strike, and since their start there has been very little information about the prisoners on hunger strike, and their demands in media outlets. Al Jazeera’s The Stream [5] has showed some interest to highlight the hunger strike, while other media agencies that respond to social networking demands have remained silent. Continue reading

Turkey: Hundreds of Kurdish Political Prisoners go on Hunger Strike

by Ruwayda Mustafah Rabar, 17 October 2012

Hundreds of Kurdish political prisoners have entered an indefinite hunger strike, challenging Turkey’s treatment of Kurdish political prisoners. Through their protest, some are demanding re-trials and language rights while others want to raise international attention about Turkey’s treatment of Kurdish political prisoners. Despite their hunger strike, which is nearing six weeks, international media outlets have largely remained silent. This is not particularly surprising, since domestic media outlets in Turkey have both ignored the hunger strikes, and refused to report on them.

A Kurdish blogger explains how the protests began. Memed Boran, currently residing in London, says [1];

On 12th September 2012, nine women prisoners in Diyarbakir E type prison began an indefinite hunger-strike. In the statement they made via lawyers they highlighted two demands: the right to use their Kurdish mother tongue in the public sphere, including court and the removal of obstacles preventing imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan from negotiating in peace talks with the Turkish state. Soon after, many other inmates, men and women, from prisons in every corner of Turkey began joining the hunger-strike; sometimes in groups and in certain prisons individually. Now there are 380 prisoners in 39 prisons who are on what has surpassed a hunger-strike and become a ‘death fast.’

The number of Kurdish political prisoners is unknown, but according to Human Rights agencies there are thousands of political prisoners in Turkey, and this had led activists to believe that all of them, or rather significant number of them are on hunger strike. Elif [2] from Turkey, Istanbul says the media has chosen to ignore Kurds on hunger strike, and that many of them may soon die.

One Pro-Kurdish rights activist, who tweets under @Hevallo [3] has been desperately trying to get people on Twitter to send Vitamin B1 tablets to the prisoners on hunger strike, in an attempt to minimise the damage to their bodies, and the potentially inevitable consequence, death.

On Facebook Sedat Yezdan [4]says:

In the last 3 years Turkish state has arrested more than 10,000 Kurds, who are students, children, mothers, activists, journalists, lawyers, doctors, mayors, MPs, and many people who are member of Peace & Democracy Party(BDP).

Hunger strikes are a form of non-violent protest, and despite the ongoing and large number of hunger strikers, Turkish media has willfully ignored their plight, perhaps hoping that through their silence the international human rights agencies will also follow a similar path. The lack of interviews with prisoners on hunger strikes has facilitated a justification for media outlets to ignore it, particularly journalists who complain about the lack of resources available.


Article printed from Global Voices: http://globalvoicesonline.org

URL to article: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/10/17/turkey-hundreds-of-kurdish-political-prisoners-go-on-hunger-strike/

Open letter of the Syrian Revolutionary left to support the Syrian popular revolution!

[The views and voice of the Syrian revolutionary left has been difficult to hear amidst the clamor of contending distortions by international media--whether Western, Russian, Chinese, or from within the Middle East.  We are seeking more information from popular secular forces involved in the uprising--including more information about the revolutionary left forces.  The following is an important statement and analysis by the Revolutionary Left in Syria, detailing the role and relations of the various forces within Syria and of the world imperialist and regional forces who have been attempting to seize control of the uprising.  We will report further materials confirming and contextualizing this, as they become available. --  Frontlines ed.]

“The major Western imperialists powers, and other world imperialist powers such as Russia and China, as well as regional ones such as Iran and Turkey, in their entirety and without exception, continue to try to implement a Yemeni-type solution in Syria – in other words, to cut off the head of the regime, the dictator Bashar Al Assad, while keeping its structure intact, as was witnessed during meetings between U.S. and Russian officials, or at the international conference in June 30 in Geneva. The only sticking point is the Russian position of still trying by all means to keep Assad in power, but Russia may sacrifice this in the near future to protect its interests in Syria. The United States in turn has repeatedly expressed its desire to preserve the structure of the military and security services intact.”  – from the Open Letter of the Syrian Revolutionary left

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 The resistance of the Syrian people has not ceased to grow since the revolutionary process began in March 2011. The struggle of the Syrian people is part of the popular struggles in Tunisia and Egypt, which has spread to other countries in the region.

Similarly, the Syrian revolutionary process is part of the global anti-capitalist struggles. The “Indignados” or “occupied” movements and occupations have taken their inspiration from the Arab revolutions. More than 700 cities in over 70 countries have resonated and for some still resonate of slogans and demands of a movement that demonstrates against poverty and the power of finance. In the same time, the resistance of the Greek people against the dictates imposed by financial agencies and notations is also a battle for dignity and social justice, but also the emancipation against the capitalist order and not its submission, joining the struggles of the peoples of the region.

The Syrian uprising, arising out of the global financial and economic crisis is also a revolt against the neoliberal policies imposed by the authoritarian regime, and encouraged by international financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB).

The neoliberal policies were used to dismantle and to weaken increasingly the public services in the country, to the removal of subsidies, especially for basic necessities, while accelerating the privatization process, often in favor of the ruling and bourgeois classes linked to the political power.

The neoliberal reforms of the regime have encouraged a policy based on the reception and the welcoming of foreign direct investment, the development of exports and of the service sector, especially tourism. The repressive apparatus of this country has served as a “security agent” for these companies, protecting them of all disorders or social demands. This State has played the role of matchmaker for foreign capital and multinationals, while ensuring the enrichment of a bourgeois class linked to the regime.

The ills and consequences of these neoliberal policies in Syria are numerous. This includes the high rate of unemployment, particularly among young university graduates who cannot find opportunities in an economy now focused on low value-added jobs, and where skilled labor is scarce, or characterized by underemployment, a direct consequence of these measures. Continue reading

Turkey: Turkish Arlines workers fighting strike bans and mass firings

[Turkish airline workers are fighting for basic rights, and are asking for international support and solidarity.  See the article and petition, below.  -- Frontlines ed.]

Withdraw the ban on aviation strikes!  Solidarity with the Turkish Airlines workers!

Over the last 6 weeks Turkish Airlines (THY) staff have been fighting against unjust dismissals along with the ban on the right to strike. The attacks on the workers of Turkish Airlines are continuing and becoming ever more fierce as the management rely upon government support to do as it pleases.

The sudden proposition of banning strikes

Negotiations between HAVA-IS (Civil Aviation Union- Turkey) and Turkish Airlines has broken down after several months of meetings regarding Collective Bargaining Agreements (TIS) and has come to a point where a “middleman” is needed to continue the negotiations. In a space of 1 week after the breakdown, the government, after gaining approval from President Abdullah Gul, changed the laws and forbid workers in the aviation sector from taking strike action.

In response to the ban on strikes, THY staff stood firmly side by side and took one-day strike action as a warning to the government. The management of THY however, accused the workers of “illegally taking strike action” and shortly after sent mobile text messages to 305 workers notifying them of their dismissal.

The one-day strike action taken by the workers is legitimate and within the bounds of national and international regulations. Continue reading

Turkey: Court Sentences Singer to Two Years in Prison for Speech

by AHMerdan

TURKEY | 27 – 06 – 2012 | A specially authorized court in the eastern province of Malatya sentenced Kurdish-Alevi singer Ferhat Tunç to two years in prison on terrorism related charges due to his invocation of the names of deceased Turkish leftists during a speech on May 1, 2011.

The Malatya specially authorized Third Court for Serious Crimes sentenced Kurdish-Alevi singer and composer Ferhat Tunç to two years behind bars on the charge of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” due to his invocation of the names of deceased Turkish leftists Deniz Gezmiş, Mahir Çayan and İbrahim Kaypakkaya during a speech he gave on May 1, 2011 in the eastern province of Dersim (Tunceli.)

“I greet you all in the revolutionary spirit of Deniz Gezmiş, Mahir Çayan and İbrahim Kaypakkaya,” Ferhat Tunç had said during the May 1st celebrations in Dersim in 2011.

The decision was unexpected and politically motivated, Tunç told bianet.

Lawyer Ercan Kanar, who represents Tunç in court, also said the court had convicted his client on the claim that he was making propaganda on behalf of the Maoist Communist Party (MKP) because of his reference to İbrahim Kaypakkaya during the speech. Continue reading