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Freedom of expression weekly bulletin_13.06.14_24
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Freedom of expression weekly bulletin_13.06.14_24

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We had a very intense week. …

We had a very intense week.

At the beginning, the President Abdullah Gul, deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinç and some others deputies’ messages about Gezi Park resistance were in a appeasing mood on the contrary to Prime Minister Erdogan’s ones which were increasing the tension, stated during his North African tour. After his return from North Africa, during his speeches/displays of power first held in the airport and then the next day in Ankara to his supporters (whom were clearly gathered together by AKP party organization) he has increased the tension instead of appeasing it.

The police attacked first Taksim then Gezi Park. The forces stormed Taksim firing teargas, using water cannon and received stones and molotov cocktails in return. Even the sites of medical emergencies were attacked with teargas bombs. As it was not enough, after being completely silent about the resistance for 24 hours, the main stream media has started to spread false information intentionally such as “people were in the mosque with their shoes on” or “ a veiled woman was attacked in Kabatas district” to support the government and to erase the good moments of solidarity and brotherhood of the resistance. Again, the false information broadcasted was attributed to all the demonstrators to discredit them which have proved us that we could not get rid of our bad tradition of discrediting.

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  • 1. Think, think... Freedom of Expression Weekly Bulletin (Issue 24/13, 14 June 2013) What happened last week(7-14 June 2013) We had a very intense week. At the beginning, the President Abdullah Gul, deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinç and some others deputies’ messages about Gezi Park resistance were in a appeasing mood on the contrary to Prime Minister Erdogan’s ones which were increasing the tension, stated during his North African tour. After his return from North Africa, during his speeches/displays of power first held in the airport and then the next day in Ankara to his supporters (whom were clearly gathered together by AKP party organization) he has increased the tension instead of appeasing it. The police attacked first Taksim then Gezi Park. The forces stormed Taksim firing teargas, using water cannon and received stones and molotov cocktails in return. Even the sites of medical emergencies were attacked with teargas bombs. As it was not enough, after being completely silent about the resistance for 24 hours, the main stream media has started to spread false information intentionally such as “people were in the mosque with their shoes on” or “ a veiled woman was attacked in Kabatas district” to support the government and to erase the good moments of solidarity and brotherhood of the resistance. Again, the false information broadcasted was attributed to all the demonstrators to discredit them which have proved us that we could not get rid of our bad tradition of discrediting. You will find the details about the incidents below. We cannot be optimistic about our future when we have a Prime Minister calling the peaceful demonstrators “looters” and ordering the Ministry of Internal Affairs to clear the area within 24 hours. But, as our website is supposed to be, in the framework of “Freedom of Expression”, we want to continue on writing about the Prime Minister’ talks and attitudes which are legally incorrect. Here you will find the words uttered by the Prime Minister Erdogan during the incidents of the last two weeks and the explanation of why his words are legally incorrect. 1. “You cannot do meetings or demonstrations wherever you want. We will decide for you where you can do the meetings and demonstrations.” No. According to the 34th Article of Turkish Constitution as well as the 3th article of law no. 2912; everyone has the right to hold unarmed and peaceful meetings and demonstration marches without prior permission.
  • 2. 2. “We will decide on what to do in Taksim, we won’t be consulting with you. The elections gave us the authorization to decide.” No. The EU regulations require the public participation of those who are residing in nearby neighbourhoods as well as those who work in and visit the area. AKP government had stated that they were going to respect these regulations. The governorship of Istanbul respected the public participation in decision making when they had asked people to choose the ferries for internal lines. 3. “Withdraw all your money from banks creating “interest rate lobby” and put your money in State banks.” This claim is a crime. The Article 56 of Turkish Commercial law state that unfair competition is the abuse of economic competition in any manner incompatible with good faith. And the Article 57 provides the examples of acts incompatible with good faith, in a non-exhaustive manner. On the other hand, the real translation of “interest lobby” remains unclear. “Interest” means in Turkish “benefit” and also “a charge for a loan”; maybe Erdogan’s consultant made a mistake of translation. “Lobby of benefit” exists as expression but no one knows about “lobby of a charge for a loan”. ... And there is hope again! We finished the weekly bulletin yesterday night (13 June 2013) by wishing his consultants to not repeat their mistakes of this kind but unexpected progress has happened. The governor of Istanbul Hüseyin Avni Mutlu met the Gezi Park demonstrators for 5 hours. At the same moment Erdogan was meeting people from different background in Ankara. After the meetings, he said, “If judiciary in the end allows the project we'll still apply the public vote. Istanbul Municipality will organize the vote according to existing laws.” If he keeps his promises, there will be a peaceful end to the Gezi Park resistance. No matter what happens at the end, things will never be the same anymore.
  • 3. 15th Day: Police has entered Gezi Park! On the 15th day of resistance, early in the morning, the riot police entered Taksim Square to remove barricades and banners and intervene Gezi Park. The police fired teargas, water cannon and rubber bullets at the demonstrators who were protesting the police who removed banners that had been hung from the building of Ataturk Cultural Center. The demonstrators protesting the removal of barricades have made a human chain encircling the square. However, a night before Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu was saying on his twitter account that there would not be an intervention in Gezi Park and Taksim square and people can feel safe around the police. The Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan thanked the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Governorship of Istanbul and the Police Department and invited the protesters to withdraw from Taksim. After the incidents, the police raided the SDP (Socialist Democracy Party) building and they had taken 70 people into custody. In addition to that, in midday, 49 lawyers had been taken into custody in Çağlayan Courthouse as they were supporting the Gezi Park resistance. The government’s strategy to provoke the protesters and how the government is forcing the mainstream media to cover their one sided news were the main topics discussed among the social media users.
  • 4. 16th Day: Gezi Park resists Despite the promises made by the governor via his twitter account that the park would not be attacked; the police entered Taksim Square and attacked Gezi Park. On the 15th and 16th day of resistance, the police fired teargas and percussion bombs, rubber bullets and water cannon every inch of the park including the site of medical emergency, the encampment and the library. The teargas bombs have caused fire in the encampment and the medical emergency’s site. Many people and animals have been injured. Following the police intervention throughout the night, Gezi Park has tried to recover. People were waiting for another police intervention, gathering together, cooking soups and distributing raincoats for free. The headlines of the day include: • Turkish President Abdullah Gül regarding the Gezi Park protests said, “What happened on the first day of Gezi Park protests was wrong; everyone noticed it and accepted it.” • It is told on newspapers that the Prime Minister Erdoğan was expected to meet a group of popular artists as Hülya Avşar, Necati Şaşmaz over Gezi Park resistance. The government has announced a list of 19 people that the Prime Minister would meet. But, any representative of Gezi Park resistance or Taksim Platform was included in the list. • Thousands of Turkish lawyers were protesting the detention of their colleagues, 50 lawyers amid Turkey's biggest anti-government protests in years at Çağlayan courthouse. • The Gezi Park protests had been discussed as “a main topic requiring immediate resolution” at the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament. Josette Durrieu, the rapporteur on Turkey for PACE (Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly) declared that in democracies the citizens have the right to peaceful protests and the intervention of the police should be proportionate.
  • 5. 17th Day: “The Gezi Park is safe until the police come” On the 17th day of Gezi Park Resistance, the Prime Minister Erdogan has conveyed his ultimatum: “These protests should be over in 24 hours”. The artists went to Gezi Park to prevent the police attack. The protesters in Gezi Park said “The Gezi Park is safe until the police come”. The headlines of the day: • The Prime Minister Erdogan said that he would not recognize any decision made by European Parliament related to Gezi Park resistance. • National Security Council Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden issued a statement on behalf of the White House, saying: "We believe that Turkey's long-term stability, security and prosperity is best guaranteed by upholding the fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly and association, and a free independent media". • The Prime Minister Erdogan met a delegation mostly made up of people that he had chosen and Hulya Avsar (a popular singer/actress) over Gezi Park resistance. • The Prime Minister Erdogan said the transformation project concerning Gezi Park might be asked to people. On the other hand, the interviews made with the demonstrators in Gezi Park show that people say no to referendum. They have two main arguments: 1. The court decision has not finalised yet. Without that decision, a further step cannot be taken. 2. The basic rights and freedom cannot the subject of a referendum. People of Istanbul need green spaces as parks and this need is a basic right. • The Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu has put out a Twitter message, telling those young people who have environmental sensitivity to meet face to face. He announced his cell phone number but people were complaining, as his line was always busy. • CHP (Republic Public Party) Istanbul MP Sabahat Akkiraz did her speech in the Parliament wearing a t-shirt with ‘Çapulcu’ (looter; PM Erdogan’s word for describing the protesters)
  • 6. • 42 people were taken into custody by Istanbul Police department on 17th day of resistance just because they were wearing helmets, medical masks or gas masks. • After the Turkey's Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) website has been rendered inaccessible by the Turkish members of Anonymous, yesterday late in the evening, RedHack (a group of Turkish hackers) has rendered the websites of Ankara Police Department and Istanbul Governorship inaccessible to users. • Turkish Journalists’ Association (TGC) has stated that among the journalists covering the news on Gezi Park resistance 18 of them were injured and police had taken 4 of them into custody. TGC called on the government, the opposition and the media to active duty to ensure the safety of journalists and underlined that media and press organizations must resist against all kinds of repression and perform a transparent duty while covering the news, so that they can reveal the truths and serve for people's freedom of information. • “It’s in the name of environmentalism, but it’s filthy,” Erdogan told a group of municipal officials. “It stinks of pee.” On the 18th day of resistance, the dialogue... Members of Taksim Solidarity, the umbrella group of organizations representing protesters camped in Gezi Park, met with PM Erdogan in Ankara on Thursday evening in a bid to find a solution to the stand-off. Taksim Solidarity said PM Erdogan had promised to abide by the outcome of a court case filed in an effort to stop the redevelopment and would hold a referendum on the plans if the court found in the government’s favor and to make the necessary investigations. Taksim Solidarity shared the highlights after the meeting: 1. The government will wait for the judicial decision. If judiciary in the end allows the project the government will still apply the public vote. 2. The government has promised to launch investigations on police violence and take the necessary precautions. 3. The results of the meeting will be discussed with people in Taksim tonight (14 June 2013)
  • 7. On the other hand... • The Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu hosted a meeting with young protesters of Gezi Park Resistance at a cafe in Dolmabahçe. The Istanbul governor said that he was satisfied with the meeting whereas the young protesters told that they couldn’t have answers to their questions. • Başbakan Erdoğan told that there would not be a referendum but a plebiscite. • The Turkish Health Ministry has launched an investigation into an Istanbul Chambers of Medicine health centre in Gezi Park. The Health Ministry’s Inspection Services Department’s requested details on their reasons for organizing health teams and the names of personnel. The Turkish Doctors’ Union (TTB) has said that they won’t tell any names to the Turkish Health Ministry. • The women made a human chain in Gezi Park. “Mothers are here”, “Mother are proud of their children” were the main slogans. “Dear police’ mothers, withdraw your children from the park” was written on a demonstration sign. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) implement a legal regulation on social media! AKP will be made Turkey the first country around the world to implement a legal regulation on social media through Penal Code. “Twitter lies’ are more dangerous than a car filled with bombs, a legal set up is a must for the social media”, said Ali Şahin, the AKP’s vice chairman of media and public relations responsible for social media. Since the beginning of Gezi Park Resistance, the Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu has been sending twits via his twitter account. Even though he said on his twitter account that there would be no intervention to the protesters on 11th of June, the same day the police fired teargas, water cannon and percussion bombs injuring many people with head trauma and cerebral hemorrhage.
  • 8. Turkey's Radio and Televison Supreme Council (RTÜK) orders Halk TV and Ulusal TV to pay fine Turkey's Radio and Televison Supreme Council (RTÜK) ordered several television networks such as Ulusal TV, Halk TV, Cem TV and EM TV -broadcasting live for days the Gezi Park resistance- to pay fine for “encouraging people to violence” and “violating broadcasting principles”. According to Meltem Özgenç from Hürriyet newspaper, the decision has been made yesterday during the meeting of RTUK. According to this decision, RTUK is highly criticizing the content of the TV programmes broadcasted during the Gezi Park Resistance as it could harm the physical, moral and mental development of children and young people which is a violation of broadcasting principles and for this reason, RTUK orders these channels to pay fine.
  • 9. National Intelligence Organization (MIT) has started to file private life. Taraf journalist Mehmet Baransu has claimed on his article that the citizens’ personal data are classified from the age of 5 through one’s trips, photos, e-mails, messages, phones’ records and properties. According to Baransu MIT (National Intelligence Organization) has signed a protocol classified as “highly confidential” with Turkish Airlines (THY), Education Ministry (MEB), the Postal and Telecommunications General Directorate (PTT) and the Turkish Land Registry Directorate. The personal data is being relayed to MIT by these organizations whenever MIT asks for it according to the protocol. Taraf says the protocol has only been signed with these 4 organizations so far. Whether MIT can get access to the bank accounts and credit cards or whether National Judiciary Informatics and System Social Security Institution are involved in this protocol remain unknown. According to the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) and the constitution, MIT violating the privacy of life and accessing to personal data without one’s authorization is a crime.