Freedom of expression weekly bulletin_13.06.07_23


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Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance
Lailat al Miraj
Taksim Solidarity has announced its demands from the government
Bulent Arinc apologized but...
Police attacked protestors in Kızılay
The Confederation of Public Laborers' Unions (KESK) is on strike and go to Gezi Park
Hidden Id Numbers on Police’s helmets

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Freedom of expression weekly bulletin_13.06.07_23

  1. 1. Think, think... Freedom of Expression Weekly Bulletin (Issue 23/13, 7 June 2013) Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance Taksim Platform an initiative created by people living around Taksim set up a camp for a while in Gezi Park. They were against the Taksim project which aimed to build a replica of an Ottoman artillery barrack which is planned to be used as a shopping mall in Gezi Park and they wanted to save the trees that were supposed to be cut down in the framework of the Taksim project. On the morning of 30 May, the police moved in with disproportionate force using compressed water and teargas to disperse the protestors. Thousands of people have gone to Taksim Square after hearing about the police brutality including burning the tents of the protestors. And yet, they have experienced again the police attack with teargas bombs. Since then, the riot did not calm down and the unrest has spread to more than 70 cities in Turkey including Ankara and Izmir. Only in 2 days, 3.400 people have been taken into custody and then, almost all of them have been released. More than 1.800 protestors and 200 policemen have been injured. Whereas The Prime Minister had dismissed the protestors as “a few looters” on the way to his trip to North Africa and had angered them more, The president Abdullah Gül, the deputy Prime Minister Arınç, the speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey Cemil Çiçek and the mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbaş tried to calm down the tension by using a much more moderate tone.
  2. 2. After the police backed off, people packed into Taksim Square and into the Gezi Park. Then, the life in Gezi Park appeared to be festive and peaceful. Every morning, some people are practicing yoga; some of them are collecting trashes, people are coming and going to Gezi Park. For the first time, people from different backgrounds from various football team supporters to atheists or religious, are gathering together; people are praying on Lailat al Miraj (a Muslim holiday) and performing salah. The Prime Minister Erdogan returned from The North African tour on June 6th and has welcomed back by his supporters at Istanbul airport. Erdogan addressed the crowd after landing and on the contrary of the moderate attitude of the other members of AKP, he used a combative tone blaming people of vandalism, demanding an end to the protests. He repeated that he wouldn’t give up on building the replica of the Ottoman artillery barrack and a mosque in Taksim. (Translation of the picture above) Lailat al Miraj (This event commemorates the Prophet Muhammad’s journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and his ascent into heaven. Muslims today celebrate the evening of the 27th day of Rajab with special prayers) • No alcoholic beverage There is respect • No clashes There is peace • No swearing There is prayer • No provocation
  3. 3. The reactions to the protests are as following: WHAT HAPPENED? Taksim Solidarity has announced its demands from the government Taksim Solidarity group who has been following the Gezi Park resistance from the beginning, after meeting Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has announced a press release to the government and the public opinion. “ It is clear that the mentality of governing that has crystallized in the intervention on Gezi Park is perceived by a large public, including women, men, young and old alike, as an “assault and condescension on their lifestyle and beliefs,” and we are responding “we exist, we are here and we have demands”, the group said about the intervention. The 6 main demands include clauses such as an official statement concerning the cancellation of any construction on Gezi Park, under the name of Topçu Kışlası or otherwise, the judging of the authorized persons, who were in charge during the police brutality and the immediate release of all the protestors who were taken into custody and the statement that they will not be charged. Bülent Arınç apologized but... The Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arınç apologized to citizens during a press conference held in the capital, Ankara on 6th of June. “The excessive violence that was used in the first instance against those who were behaving with respect for the environment was wrong. I apologized to those citizens. But we do not owe an apology to those who have caused damage in the streets and tried to hinder people's freedom", he said. But, Arınç also added, “People were right to protest the extreme precaution of our police against them. We have launched the investigation into the
  4. 4. incidents. The police as a citizen of this country have been in a delicate position for the last 5 days. They were doing their duties and will continue to do their duties against acts and provocations by illegal organizations.” Police attacked protestors in Kızılay Police attacked the resistance in Ankara again last Wednesday despite the festive atmosphere. According to the information given by Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) 12 people were taken into custody. Ulusal Kanal (National Channel) Ankara representative Mustafa Kaya and the cameraman Serkan Bayraktar who were taken into custody were released. The Confederation of Public Laborers' Unions (KESK) is on strike and go to Gezi Park The Federation of Public Laborers’ Unions (KESK) already declaring a nation-wide strike came to Gezi Park with hundreds of members. KESK has declared a sector-wide strike today at 12 am against the police’s attacks putting the citizen’s life in danger and came with hundreds of members to Gezi Park. In their press statement, “New pages were added to the history of social struggle and the ruling party hit the strongest roc, the people of Turkey” they said. They asked for the Internal Affairs Deputy, the Governor of Istanbul and the Commissioner of Police to be demoted and the release of people taken into custody and arrested.
  5. 5. Hidden Id Numbers on Police’s helmets The police are hiding their id numbers on their helmets with tape or marker. These identification numbers on the helmets help to identify who is using violence among the police when on duty. The deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arınç has been asked on this issue during the press conference held in Ankara. Arınç replied that he had not been informed about this matter. “If there is no twitter there is no democracy neither” 38 people sending messages on Twitter concerning Gezi Park resistance being taken into custody in Izmir has drawn public attention. Concerning the issue, the information technology lawyers Yaman Akdeniz and Kerem Altıparmak made a statement and said that the detentions are antidemocratic and against the international human right standards and drew attention to the importance of social media.
  6. 6. Reactions *** Demonstrators in Istanbul gathered outside the Maslak headquarter of Turkish television channel NTV- Doğuş Power Center to protest the censoring of NTV in its reporting Gezi Park Resistance and the police brutality of the mass protests which were going on since 31th May. Two thousand of demonstrators gathered outside the building at 12.30 pm. NTV mentioned the protest against the media on a live show. *** 13 cinema associations have condemned the non-existence of Gezi Park resistance on main stream media and have invited all concerned media companies to broadcast with principles of unbiased and objective journalism and to contribute of the establishment of democratic and free media. *** Psychiatric Association of Turkey (TPD) has released a press statement as a warning to the government regarding the police intervention to Gezi Park resistance. “Governments should listen and try to understand the demands of the people whom they promise a fair government. They cannot suppress the objections raised against them by using tear gas bombs and water cannon; they cannot attack their own people with murder strategies!” *** Editor’s Platform issued a press statement for Gezi Park Resistance on the 10th day of resistance. “…The people who want to live freely are not puppets. Nobody can put the will to live, the freedom to breathe -which is the most basic one on planet- under control. The people who want to live freely are not puppets. Nobody can put the will to live, the freedom to breathe -which is the most basic one on planet- under control. A human being is beautiful, just like a tree, while it resists.” *** Ahmet Altan has dedicated his award to the protestors of Gezi Park resistance. Turkish Publishers Association has granted the prize of freedom of though and expression of this year to writer Ahmet Altan, to publisher Gökhan Bulut and bookstore owner Nuran Sivri. Ahmet Altan has dedicated his award to the protestors of Gezi Park resistance.
  7. 7. *** USA and EU have openly stated their concern about the incidents. The U.S. secretary of state John Kerry stated that U.S. was troubled by reports of excessive force of police and was urging all people involved to avoid any provocation or violence. "The United States supports full freedom of expression and assembly, including the right of people to peaceful protest” he added. “The U.S. is following the situation closely and is troubled by reports of excessive force by the police”, Kerry told reporters. He called for an investigation into the violence and called on people to avoid provocations. *** Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and FIDH have released similar statements to support Gezi Park resistance. They condemned the police brutality against the protestors and the violations of the right of assembly, peaceful protest and freedom of expression by the government and emphasized the fact that people having a voice on decision making process about their environment is a basic condition of the democracy. To read the entire statements please click: *** Regarding the police brutality against the resistance in Turkey, many philosophers as Slavoj Zijek and Antonio Negri have signed the campaign launched by MonoKL magazine and have given their support. They asked the international companies and all those who defend democracy to make stop the police brutality and hold the government accountable for what happened. The campaign is signed up by Slavoj Zizek, Jean-Luc Nancy , Antonio Negri, Jacques Ranciere, Jacques-Alain Miller, Gianni Vattimo, Bernard Stiegler, Etienne Balibar, Judith Butler, Wendy Brown, Sara Ahmed, Jacob Rogozinski, François David Sebbah, Rene Major, Jelica Sumic Riha, Frederic Neyrat, Simon Critchley, Jodi Dean, Peter Hallward, Marco Assennato, Ian James, Gerard Bensussan, Michael Taussig, Guillaume Sibertin Blanc. ***Guest Chapullers: Pussy Riot, Roger Waters, Patty Smith and Noam Chomsky have joined the protestors as many artists including Madonna have joined to support the Gezi Park resistance. The message of support is released by a video where Chomsky chants the main slogan “ Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance”. On his back stands a large size paper
  8. 8. on which is written “I am also ‘çapulcu’ in solidarity” çapulcu meaning ‘looter’. Please click to watch: ... and the world keeps turning... Agenda: Child! Makes call for children to learn their rights if taken into custody Agenda: Child! Association draws attention to the fact that people under 18 should be careful about their right of being children in case of being held into custody as the protestations are going on and there is no respect at all for right to protest. According to Agenda: Child! Association 46 children were taken into custody in Ankara. Some of them were released with the help of lawyers. One of the children suffered from the police brutality in a bus and his nose was broken. The prosecutor asked aggravated life sentence for Füsun Erdoğan
  9. 9. The journalist Füsun Erdoğan who has been detained for 7 years, appeared in Istanbul 10th High Crimila Court, again. The aggravated life sentence is asked for the former editor of the publication Özgür Radyo and Bianet’s writer Füsun Erdoğan and 12 other suspects. The other suspects were asked between 7 years 6 months to 45 years of sentence. Her lawyer said that the suspects were not accorded the right to speak and he defended them on their behalf at the hearing. The judge decided to continue to detain the suspects. The next hearing will be held on 24 October. *************************************************************************