Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’
Turkish protesters – “Çapulcu”.
The right-wing Islamist Prime Minister of Turkey has launched a “counter-offensive” against protesters.
Le Monde reports that violent incidents broke out over the weekend between opponents and supporters of the ruling Islamist party, the AKP.
The Associated Press continues,
Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the most inflammatory of his speeches as he arrived in the capital of Ankara. Erdogan belittled the protesters, again calling them “capulcu,” the Turkish word for looters or vandals. He made his speech in Ankara on an open-top bus, which then drove into the city in a motorcade.
“If you look in the dictionary, you will see how right a description this is,” Erdogan said, speaking to thousands of supporters who greeted him at the airport. “Those who burn and destroy are calledcapulcu. Those who back them are of the same family.”
Erdogan said his patience was running out with the protesters, who have occupied Istanbul’s main Taksim Square for more than a week and have held hundreds of demonstrations in at least 78 cities across the country. The increasingly fiery tone could inflame tensions. On two occasions, including one in the southern city of Adana on Saturday night, clashes have been reported between Erdogan supporters and protesters.
“All they do is to break and destroy, to attack public buildings. … They didn’t stop at that,” Erdogan said. “They attacked daughters who wear headscarves. They entered Dolmabahce mosque with their beer bottles and their shoes.”
Some of the injured in the initial clashes in Istanbul’s Besiktas area were treated in Dolmabahce mosque. The mosque’s imam has denied reports that people entered with beer. In the initial days of the protests, some women said they were verbally harassed. The majority of protesters, however, have denounced those who did it and have been welcoming toward them. Erdogan’s comment about shoes refers to the Muslim taboo against wearing shoes inside a mosque.
Anti-government protesters have turned Erdogan’s label of them as capulcu* into a humorous retort, printing stickers with the word, scrawling it on their tents and uploading music videos onto social network sites.
* Babylon translation: “raider, depredator, freebooter, looter, marauder, plunderer, swag man.”
This morning the French public radio station France-Inter ran a special programme direct from Turkey, FRANCE INTER À ISTANBUL.
Commentator Bernard Guetta expressed the view that the Islamist Party may split into two: a hard-right populist group which emphasises religion and Turkish identity, and another, more centre-right and liberal organisation.
He suggested that the AKP and Erdogan represented a section of Turkish society that was bound to lose in the long-term as the country develops. Guetta noted that the Turkish protectors had more in common with other European liberal and left wing movements than with the past Erdogan represents.
Yorum: Revolutionary and Socialist Music.
Four hundred protesters, according to organisers, demonstrated on Saturday evening at the Place du Luxembourg in Brussels to protest against police violence in Turkey.
Muharrem Cengiz Caner Bozkurt from the Turkish music group Yorum talked about the events at Taskim Square in Turkey, at Sazz n’Jazz.
Several musicians from Yorum have participated in demonstrations in Gezi Park, close to Taksim Square in Istanbul.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered the withdrawal of police on Saturday afternoon, after two days of police repression. “This action to save the last green island in the ocean of what became concrete Istanbul has turned into a social movement against Erdogan’s policy.” explained Bahar Kimyongür, a Belgian activist of Turkish origin.
Members of Yorum the are regularly prosecuted for their alleged link with the Turkish extreme left group DHKP-C. Five members were arrested only this January.
The treatment of Yorum is is an important illustration of the limits of the Turkish Islamist government-state’s ‘liberalism’.
This is from Wikipedia:
Grup Yorum is a Turkish band known for their political song writing. Grup Yorum (Yorum means interpretation or comment in Turkish) has released twenty albums since 1987. Some of the group’s concerts and albums were banned over the years, and some of the group members were allegedly arrested or tortured] Yorum remains popular and their albums continue to sell well in Turkey and internationally. Yorum has also given concerts in Germany, Austria, Australia, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, United Kingdom, and Greece.
Then we have this, “70 journalists in Turkey are currently being prosecuted and kept in jail all over the country.”
We could go on but recommend reading this from Human Rights Watch,
Turkey’s Justice and Development Party government maintained economic growth in 2012 despite a slowdown and has taken a strong focus on developing a leading regional role. However, the government failed to take convincing steps to address the country’s worsening domestic human rights record and democratic deficit. Prosecutors and courts continue to use terrorism laws to prosecute and prolong the incarceration of thousands of Kurdish political activists, human rights defenders, students, journalists, lawyers, and trade unionists. Free speech and media remain restricted, and there are ongoing serious violations of fair trial rights.
The BBC sets the scene,
Turkey has entered a second day of violent protests, with fresh clashes between police and demonstrators in Istanbul and the capital, Ankara.
The unrest began as a sit-in over plans to redevelop Gezi Park in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, but escalated after police used tear gas.
Tear gas was again fired on Saturday in the square and police clashed with protesters crossing a Bosphorus bridge.
In Ankara, protesters tried to march on the parliament building.
Correspondents say that what began as a local issue has spiralled into more widespread anger at the government and ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party.
Alper Balli added
People are angry and frustrated at the government’s decision to build a shopping centre at the expense of one of Istanbul’s most famous parks. But what started as a protest against the uprooting of trees is turning into a wider platform for expressing anger against government policies.
Environmentalists have been joined by gay and lesbian groups, as well as socialists, union workers, members of opposition parties from across the political landscape and even so-called “anti-capitalist Muslims”. The excessive use of force by the riot police and the insistence of the government to pursue their plans for the park have escalated tensions.
Taksim Square has political significance for the anti-government protests. As part of the reconstruction plans, the square was banned as a venue for this year’s May Day rally and any kind of demonstrations in the future; but now the government’s heavy handed approach risks turning the square into a focal point for protests against its policies.
Al Jazeera also cites this political context,
Many of the protesters are angry at Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted government, which some Turks argue has been displaying increasingly authoritarian and uncompromising tendencies in its third successive term in office.
Last week, the government enacted a law restricting the sale and advertising of alcohol which has alarmed secular Turks who fear an encroachment on more liberal lifestyles.
Earlier this week, the government went ahead with a ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a disputed third bridge across the Bosphorus Strait which some say will destroy the few remaining green areas of the city.
It also named the bridge after a controversial Ottoman sultan believed to have ordered a massacre of a minority Shia Muslim group, instead of choosing a more unifying figure.
Gezi Park protestors held a large poster with a caricature depicting Erdogan as an Ottoman sultan with a caption that read: “The people won’t yield to you.”
Erdogan dismissed the protesters’ demands for the park’s protection, saying the government would go ahead with renovation plans “no matter what they do”.
Turkey is said to be run by a model ‘moderate’ Islamist government of Erdoğan and his party, the Justice and Development Party ( Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi). They say they are democrats, and support democracy in Syria.
What exactly is this ‘moderation’ and ‘democracy’?
L’Humanité carries this story today.
Un tribunal turc de Bursa a confirmé lundi l’interdiction de quitter la Turquie imposée à l’étudiante franco-turque Sevil Sevimli, accusée d’avoir entretenu des liens avec un groupe d’extrême-gauche interdit, et fixé la prochaine audience de son procès au 16 janvier.
A Turkish Tribunal at Bursa confirmed on Monday that the Franco-Turk student Sevil Sevimli, accused of having links with a banned Turkish extreme-left group is forbidden to leave Turkey. The next court appearance will be on the 16th of January.
Les InRocks states that there are at present 2824 students imprisoned in Turkey. 95 journalists are also in gaol under the ‘anti-terrrorism’ law’ aimed principally at the Kurdish Workers’ Party, the PKK.
This is background to her case,
À 20 ans, Sevil Sevimli a été incarcérée en Turquie le 9 mai pour des liens supposés avec une organisation terroriste d’extrême gauche. En année d’Erasmus à Eskisehir, dans l’Anatolie, l’étudiante lyonnaise en journalisme est accusée d’avoir défilé avec des milliers de manifestants à Istanbul. D’avoir assisté à un concert de Yorum, un groupe de rock turc contestataire. Puis collé des affiches pour l’enseignement gratuit. Pour ces chefs d’accusation, elle encourt entre 15 et 32 ans de prison.
Sevil Sevimli is 20 years old,. She has been imprisoned in Turkey since the 9th of May on allegations that she has links with a terrorist organisation of the far left. On an Erasmus bursary at Eskisehir, in Anatolia, the student in journalism from Lyon is accused of having demonstrated with thousands of others in Istanbul and having attended a concert of the radical group Yorum. She then stuck up posters calling for free education. For these offences she risks from 15 to 32 years in Prison.
In the InRocks interview asked about the Turkish tradition of hospitality Sevimli states,
Dès qu’on rentre en Turquie, c’est une autre histoire. Dès qu’on exprime une volonté de laïcité, on n’est pas dans la norme. Si on n’est pas croyant, on est marginal. Dans un journal, il y avait une caricature faite sur moi. Au lieu du « bienvenue en Turquie », on pouvait lire « bienvenue dans une organisation armée terroriste ».
When you come to Turkey it’s another story. As soon as you express support for secularism you’re not normal. If you’re not a believer, you’re marginal. In a newspaper there was a caricature of me. Instead of saying ‘Welcome to Turkey’ you could read, ‘Welcome to an armed terrorist group’.
A support group states,
“Sevil is not alone in her case, far from it, hundreds of people, journalists, academicians, students and intellectuals are imprisoned in Turkey due to the exception laws that are supposed to fight against terrorism. The problem is that these laws became an instrument to gag any kind of contestation in the country. Sevil is a symbol because in her situation the injustice is obvious and there are hefty fines out of all proportion to the alleged offenses: she is accused to “belong to a terrorist group”.”