Reuters reports this morning: “Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accused anti-government protesters on Monday of walking ‘arm-in-arm with terrorism,’ remarks that could further inflame public anger after three days of some of the most violent riots in decades.” Late yesterday, Reuters reported: “Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Turkey’s four biggest cities on Sunday and clashed with riot police firing tear gas on the third day of the fiercest anti-government demonstrations in years.” See on twitter: #occupyTurkey.
ASLI BALI, bali at law.ucla.edu
Available for a limited number of interviews, Bali is assistant professor at the UCLA School of Law. She just left Istanbul and is arriving in New York City Monday night where she will be available for interviews until 5 p.m. Tuesday when she leaves for Los Angeles.
She said today: “The Taksim excursion park protests cut across the clichéd secularist-Islamist divide that dominates the western image of Turkish politics. They give voice to widespread frustrations with the prime minister’s arrogant and dismissive treatment of all forms of dissent. From his pro-business urban development projects to his Syria foreign policy to his daily pronouncements on public morals to his crackdown on journalists and free speech, these protests reflect a public repudiation of Erdogan’s recent high profile policy initiatives and heavy-handed hubris. The initial police brutality galvanized a protest movement that has now spread across the country and is a clear sign that there may be a limit to Erdogan’s capacity to manufacture consent. In the absence of opposition political parties capable of offering a united front in parliament against the government’s excesses, the people have taken their opposition to the streets.”
VEDAT TOPRAK, vedattoprak at anadolu.edu.tr, skype: toprakvedat
An activist in Ankara, Toprak said today: “We want to be heard because Turkish media does not cover what has happened.”
BANU IBAOGLU VAUGHN, ibaoglu at yahoo.com, skype: banu60
Ibaoglu Vaughn is a doctoral student in psychology with a focus in consciousness and society at the University of West Georgia. She was last in her native Turkey in March and is following developments closely. She said today: “This is something that has been building. There’s a general fear in Turkey of speaking out that has been intensified in recent years. This goes beyond any particular party, it’s about trying to find a way to meaningfully participate and be heard. The prime minister called social media a menace and the government has apparently blocked wireless service in select areas at select times. The very limited coverage in mainstream media in Turkey has lead to a dual reality, but people are doing their best to talk and share information.”
MATTHEW JOHNSON, mwjohnson19 at gmail.com
A graduate student in peace and conflict resolution studies, Johnson recently returned to the U.S. form Turkey. He just wrote the piece “The REAL Turkish March” on his TheTurkishMarch blog.
BERK KARADENIZ, sbkaradeniz at gmail.com, skype: brkkrdnz
A program assistant at a university in Ankara, Karadeniz wrote to IPA late Sunday: “All day long the police have kept shooting tear gas shells by aiming directly at people. … I was with a surgeon today, running around and giving emergency medical aid to people in need. …
“The excessive and disproportionate violence continues by the police, more people are going out to join.The most interesting part is that the decision makers and the officials of AKP (Justice and Development Party) are still not taking it seriously and the prime minister still calls the protesters ‘a few bums.’ The trees in the park to be demolished was the last drop that made people say enough, and excessive force to stop the first protest in Taksim was the spark. Now it is a total movement which is a demand of personal freedoms, rights.”