The people’s resistance and mobilisation is in its 20th day. Since 8 pm Saturday night, in Taksim Square and many districts there have been non-stop clashes with police. Police have used excessive violence and have attacked peaceful protesters with pep …

Walton Pantland


The people’s resistance and mobilisation is in its 20th day.

Since 8 pm Saturday night, in Taksim Square and many districts there have been non-stop clashes with police. Police have used excessive violence and have attacked peaceful protesters with pepper and tear gas, water cannons and water with liquid pepper gas and plastic bullets.

On Friday early morning, PM Erdoğan met with Taksim Solidarity representatives including DİSK (The Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey) General Secretary Mrs. Dr. Çerkezoğlu, Turkish Doctors Association, Turkish Architectures Association and other mass organisations to find a solution. The PM was very angry and aggressive; he targeted DISK Secretary, claiming that she is a “ultra unionist”. After the meeting, a government spokesperson stated that they would respect legal court’s decision that ruled against the construction of the shopping mall in Gezi Park, the only green public place in central Istanbul.

However this is not sufficient for people. If government had stated this 20 days ago, this might be a solution, however in these 20 days;

– 5 people died

– Almost 7.000 people were injured

– 15 people lost their eyes.

– There are 50 heavily injured people.

– Thousands of people were taken under custody.

– In all cities millions poured to the streets demanding resignation of the government.

– The press estimated that 10 million people have joined this mobilisation.

On Saturday, Taksim Solidarity decided to normalise the process, they cleaned some barricades and decided to establish one symbolic tent and lift all other tents by now in their hundreds. Platform decided to continue mobilization with other peaceful mass demonstrations. However despite such decision, at 8 pm, police attacked Gezi Park with intense gas bombs, injured hundreds of people and destroyed all tents. Since then, spontaneously, hundred thousands poured onto the streets in all parts of Istanbul, ten thousands people closed the traffic on the main international motorway and marched over the Taksim Square. Ten thousands marched in Asian side over Bosphorus Bridge. They clashed with police and passed all police barricades.

Police forces normally have numbers in their helmets but in this two days, there is no any number in helmets of police that let them to do whatever they like. They even got in Shopping Malls and 5 star hotels where protestors try to hide. They send pepper gas inside hotels, cafes and normal houses. There is no limit of the police violence.

Clashes still continue in many districts and people insist on pouring streets and marching over police by using ferries, buses, cars and on foot since 8 pm last night. (this is written on 6 pm) People will meet at 7 and 9 pm as well. People only use peaceful ways, protesting police, horning their cars and they try to re-send pepper gases back to police.

Last night one lady (55) died in Istanbul by hearth attack after police attack with pepper gas. Today there are many heavily injured people and there may be more deads.

Clashes have spread to Ankara, Adana. In Ankara since last night, clashes have been continuing. Today there was a funeral of a young man, Ethem Sarısülük, who was killed last week by police bullet that was recorded by TV channels. Police even attacked the funeral with water cannons. There are mass demonstrations in Izmir, Eskişehir, Bursa, Trabzon and even strongholds of the government as Kayseri, Konya.

DİSK and KESK declared a strike and called their members to be at demonstrations to protest government.

Government and PM Erdoğan’s reaction was to polarise people and suppress the mobilisation with violence. He calls for the mobilisation of his supporters. On Saturday, he had a mass meeting in Ankara and he declared that he will clean Taksim Square and just two hours later police started intervention. Now he organizes a mass meeting in Istanbul. Government uses all public sources to mobilise his supporters with free transport and free meals. Erdoğan targets CNN; BBC and other international media channels by giving fabricated news and blaming foreign and domestic interest groups to stop raise of Turkish State as a global power. But until today, he was defending to be a part of EU, NATO and he was enjoying the US support. He is threatening protesters and making propaganda of fabricated lies as showing people as looters, anti-religion, anti-nationalist people.

His aim is to consolidate his support. He had almost 50% vote in the election and he defends that he is still having support of 50% and threatening the other 50%. But it is widely known that AKP government is a coalition with different groups. It is estimated that political Islamists have almost 10% vote power. AKP Government came to power after the 2001 economic crisis in which central right parties had collapsed. People who vote for central right, secular parties voted for him for the economic stability. And he knows that he may lose this support immediately as a result of this mobilization and authoritarian rule of PM. Additionally, economy is not going well for over 1 year. Also his adventurous Syrian policy had conflicted with the US policy, so he had danger of losing support of the US. It is necessary to note that Turkish economy is heavily dependent to short flow of foreign debt. The Government fears losing a flow of debt that would definitely bankrupt the economy. Now from one hand, by polarising people, he tried to consolidate his power and tried to show that he preserves mass support to an international public.

However hundred thousands of people who are resisting against excessive police violence in Istanbul and in almost all cities, demonstrates that this is the final phase of the PM Erdoğan.

We call for international support for the cause of people.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.
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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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