POV

Save a Park and get Gassed. Really.

a violent police reaction against a peaceful protest in Istanbul’s Gezi Park turns into an International Social Media uproar

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Imagine you woke up to the news that Central Park was to be grazed to the ground to build a shopping mall. It’s happening in Istanbul. Gezi Park is one of the few green areas left in the center of Istanbul with large beautiful trees hundreds of years old. Say good bye to all that. The Erdogan run AKP Government has ordered the annihilation of Gezi Park and has authorized the building of the mall. Istanbul citizens have obviously taken to the streets and occupied the park trying to stop the bulldozers. It started with a few hundred protesters a few days ago, and, thanks to a tremendous social media coverage, thousands of people have now defended to the park. Prime Minister Erdogan made an announcement a couple of days ago confirming the government’s mind was made up and there was no turning back.

Courtesy-World-Bulletin

Courtesy-World-Bulletin Associated Press

Hence, the answer to the peaceful protest has been overly and unnecessary violent. The Turkish Police has descended on Gezi park with water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets. Dozens have been injured so far including a Reuters’ photographer and a member of parliament. A 34 year old Egyptian tourist has been hit by a gas canister and had to undergo emergency surgery to stop a brain hemorrhage. The protest is quickly widening against all the anti-democracy non secular measures recently adopted by Mr. Erdogan’s government.
Restrictions on alcohol sales have been tightened; warnings have been issued against public displays of affection. The stance with the Syrian crisis has also been criticized. Many journalists and members of the Army are languishing in jail, victims of a non-democratic, summary justice. The EU has recently reiterated that Turkey still has to work on its human rights policies before admission in the EU is considered.

REUTERS-Osman-Orsal

REUTERS-Osman-Orsal

Turkey has been blessed with a rapid economic expansion in the last few years that rival China’s. But numbers have been slowing down for the most part of 2012 and recovery in 2013 has been slow. Some attribute the economic slowdown to wrong moves by Turkish Central Bank, others clearly hold Mr Erdogan’s government domestic and international policies of late responsible for the slowdown.

The Gezi Park protest could be a turning point in this country so strategically important on the Middle-East chessboard. The fundamentalist push by the government seemed to have reached a tipping point with the most secular inhabitants of Istanbul and the confrontation promises to be long and, unfortunately violent.

“This is an uprising, a protest against the increasing bans,” said Michelle Demishevich, an activist and member of Turkey’s Green Party. “Perhaps just like we saw the Arab Spring, this will be the Turkish Spring.”

Sources from this report have been obtained from different media sites. Nihan Aygun, our correspondent in Turkey has contributed to this piece.
Twitter Feed: #direngeziparki
The New York Times  – CNN   –   Hurriyet Daily News  –  The Atlantic Cities  –  World Bulletin

Oze Kose Agence France Presse

Oze Kose Agence France Presse

Courtesy-National-Turk

Courtesy-National-Turk

 

Courtesy-National-Turk

Courtesy-National-Turk

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@ Tolga-Sezgin--Nar-Photos

@ Tolga-Sezgin–Nar-Photos

 

@ World-Bulletin

@ World-Bulletin

Gezi park Istanbul

Gezi park Istanbul

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