Impressions from Ankara: the Turkish protest movement

I will be livid if this picture doesn't win the Pulitzer this year.

A first person account, some background, and some analysis of the ongoing protests in Turkey.

I've been living in Ankara for the past six months and last night I had the opportunity to head down to the main protest in the city. I in no way want to pretend this account is complete and would very much welcome feedback, additions, and corrections from others who may be more familiar with the situation.

I'll begin with some background, go into a bit of a personal account, and then finish up with some analysis of protest tactics.

Turkish politics: on one hand, you have the neo-liberal, openly Islamic, and increasingly authoritarian government the AK Party. Against that, you have a large section of the population who identify in the “Kemalist” tradition of Kemal Ataturk, the founder and first leader of modern Turkey. There's a serious cult of personality around Ataturk and his picture can be found in literally every public building and place of business. Literally. To his supporters, he represents secularism and a European-style social liberalism that stands between them and an overtly Islamist government.

All the major parties are openly nationalist and the main symbol that I've seen during the protests has been the Turkish national flag. But it often seems that Ataturk is all things to all people with protesters expressing grievances that run the gamut from increasing religious fundamentalism, social issues, erosion of civil liberties and government corruption to economic concerns.

The AK Party is strongest in rural parts of Turkey and resistance to the government has been strongest in the traditionally socially liberal, left-leaning, and more European cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. The Turkish Left is larger than anything I've ever experienced in the States or the UK and appears to be dominated by Leninists. An anarchist presences seems negligible at best. In terms of traditional class struggle activities, May Day is huge although I've heard little of strike action outside of some very limited disputes centered in Istanbul.

For those who don't know, things kicked off when the government announced plans to clear a park in the Taksim part of Istanbul. Aside from environmental concerns, this is one of very few green spaces in the city. As it came time for the bulldozers to arrive, protests and an occupation broke out. The police arrived, violently evicted the occupiers, burned tents and belongings, and used tear gas and water cannon to clear out the encampment. Dozens were injured, some seriously, with reports of protesters losing eyes due to the violence.

This only sparked more protests and within 48 hours, ongoing demonstrations began to crop up in other cities. Of course, the protests are about far more than Gezi Park. It's a culmination of rising tensions directed against Tayyip Erdogan's government. And it's been a truly grassroots affair. Politicos are present and opposition politicians are trying to make political capital of the movement, but the vast majority of people are attending because they're pissed off. Gezi Park just provided the spark which unleashed a torrent of pent-up anger.

I think this is part of the reason the flags are so prominent. The demands are trapped in the standard political discourse. The sixties and seventies saw major social turmoil in Turkey. But since the last major military coup in 1980, active resistance to the government hasn't been on the streets. The choice has been between centre-left, but highly nationalist, secular parties and Islamist parties. In any case, the widespread acceptance of neo-liberalism has been the economic backdrop against which politics has occurred. Whether the current protest discourse can expand to include a deeper understanding of class issues and move beyond a knee-jerk nationalism, it's way too early to tell.

Again, I want to clarify here: I don't speak Turkish, I'm based in one city, and my Turkish history is not fantastic. These are just impressions and I'd be happy to be corrected by those more knowledgeable.

Some in Turkey have begun calling this the “Turkish Spring”. The western media has begun comparing Taksim Square to Tahir Square in Egypt. I'm not in Istanbul, but these sort of pronouncement seem premature to me. The Prime Minister has been defiant and despite the brutality, this is not the full force of the state. Things will probably have to get a lot nastier and by that point it won't be a matter of saving Gezi, but the resignation of the current government. A lot of that, or course, will depend on the ability of the protests to not only maintain momentum, but to develop more sophisticated tactics against the police.

As it stands now, the movement is everywhere. It dominates the social media (although there are reports that Twitter and Facebook have been down), it's the only thing people are talking about on the buses, and I can hear a constant chorus of celebratory car horns from my apartment.

Like much of the Occupy movement, protesters' tactics so far have been much more radical than their proclaimed aims. The protests in Istanbul may have started out peacefully—I don't know—but any pretence of that is gone. People show up prepared. There's an expectation that protesters will be tear-gassed and they come with surgical masks, handkerchiefs, homemade gas masks, and a variety of home remedies for tear gas exposure (which, trust me, is not much fun). And these are often first-time protesters. They know the score, they go on the internet to find out how to recover from a tear-gas attack, and protest in the full knowledge they'll probably go to bed with burning eyes and an aching head. Once a public space is claimed for the protesters, a bonfire is lit. Protesters begin chants and bang loudly on whatever is available. Graffiti is everywhere.

Currently, the main tactic seems to be waves of people arriving, getting tear-gassed, and then being replaced by a subsequent wave. This is bolstered by bonfires and barricades, including some made of city buses and mobile food stands owned by a company with ties to the current mayor of the city.

I should also note that I can only speak to the situation in Ankara. My understanding is that police are now allowing protests in Istanbul and the focal point of confrontation has moved to the Ankara, the capital.

Over the past couple of days the protests have been building and show no sign of abating. But energy and determination are not enough. The police response will continue to be heavy-handed and simply occupying a public space won't be enough for the movement to win. It's going to have to be able to score victories against the police.

Fortunately, as the 2010 student movement in the UK has shown, the previously unpoliticised are very capable of learning on their feet and devising effective tactics to continue the fight. The fact that the pretence of peaceful protest has been rightfully abandoned seems to suggest that the space for effective resistance is that much wider.

Posted By

Chilli Sauce
Jun 1 2013 22:37

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  • Simply occupying a public space won't be enough for the movement to win, it's going to have to be able to score victories against the police.

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Comments

Ablokeimet
Jun 2 2013 02:28

Coming prepared to be tear gassed by the riot cops is not "abandoning the pretence of peaceful protest". It's abandoning the illusion that cops will reciprocate non-violence. If our side has the advantage of overwhelming numbers, the only recourse that the State has is the deployment of violence. When the State uses violence against us in these circumstances, we need only to rely on a principle universally conceded - the right to use reasonable force in self defence.

Devrim
Jun 2 2013 07:10
Quote:
In terms of traditional class struggle activities, May Day is huge although I've heard little of strike action outside of some very limited disputes centered in Istanbul.

I think this is more about what you have heard rather than what there is. I remember seeing some statistics a few years ago, and Turkey had a significantly higher number of days lost to strikes than any other European country.

At the moment for example THY has been on strike for the last two weeks, and there is a KESK public sector strike this Wednesday. Of course a lot goes on in Istanbul just by its very size, but both of these strikes will be in Ankara too.

Devrim

Chilli Sauce
Jun 2 2013 08:10

Cool, thanks Devrim. Any other feedback or thoughts on the situation, please do jump in (even better now that I finally understand what your name means wink )

Ablokeimet, are you in Turkey? Because maybe I wasn't as clear as I could have been, but it's more than just coming prepared. The protests have staked out public space and are defending it against the cops. Burning barricades, to me anyway, are more than reasonable self-defense. It's active offence against the cops.

Plus, as far as I can tell, the liberal discourse of non-violence (which I've experienced as the dominant discourse in just about every protest I've ever been to the UK and the States) seems entirely absent. There is an acceptance that the protesters will have to defend themselves and that when opportunities arises, activity should move from the defensive to the offensive.

Entdinglichung
Jun 3 2013 13:39
Quote:
The Turkish Left is larger than anything I've ever experienced in the States or the UK and appears to be dominated by Leninists.

to be more precise, groups who identify as Marxist-Leninist, either from an pro-soviet union, a maoist/anti-revisionist or a guevarist background or groups who come from this background and still bear some ML elements, some Kemalist but today most of them anti-Kemalist ... the genuinely non-stalinist Left is tiny, Trotskyism and related currents always played a negligable role

mikail firtinaci
Jun 2 2013 11:39

Actually the Turkish left is not that large. Compared to Greece the strength of Turkish left can be considered as negligible. The Turkish CP takes less then 50.000 votes in elections in a country of 80 millions.

Still compared to Western Europe the Turkish left may look incredibly active and strong in proportion to its numerical strength. I think this is because Turkish left has a strong militant spirit. Turkish leftists have a very strong emotional and cultural attachment to their political traditions and the state violence did nothing but cemented that. I mean this has not always born out of a rational political calculations. It is more a reaction to the state in addition to a sentimental reaction to the crisis of stalinism. Unlike western Europe or US the Leninist tendencies here could never have a breathing space. The severity of the state pressure forced self-criticism into a perceived no-choice between betrayal or resistance.

That is why Turkish and Kurdish leftists first criterion in judging any left tendency is its fighting spirit and not theoretical consistency. That is why paradoxically for many on the left anarchism did not look as radical but as liberal armchair leftisms for a long time during 1990s and early 2000s when it has first emerged on the scene.

Chilli Sauce
Jun 2 2013 12:24

I'm going to put this up with a TRIGGER WARNING, but it seems fatalities are pretty much a definite at this point. But don't watch this if you're not prepared to see that:

Chilli Sauce
Jun 2 2013 21:43

So I just got back from another night in central Ankara. Things are definitely escalating. Burning barricades are up everywhere and the protesters are holding huge swaths of the downtown area. And they're innovating, too. Tonight, I saw people with plastic wrap over their eyes and goggles were much more common this time around (small shops, it seems as well, have discovered this lucrative market).

One of my favorite sights was the waiters at the restaurants just outside the main protest area standing outside with plates of lemons to hand out to the protesters to reduce the effects of the tear gas.

Everywhere you go, there are people banging pots and pans out windows and every trestle bridge in the entire city seems to have people on it chanting and generally making a ruckus. There's non-stop honking, graffiti is everywhere, and shops and banks are starting to get smashed up. I legitimately don't think this can be called a demonstration anymore, it's just nightly social unrest.

I guess I never fully understood the critique of the trade union A-B marches we have in London. Seriously, if this is what happened every time the TUC called one of their shitty one-day strikes, it'd be a whole f*cking different ballgame.

On a personal note, I thought I was teargassed last night. I was teargassed tonight. In the States, I've seen a lot of insurrectionary types who bring gas masks on the smallest, tamest demo and I've always had a little laugh. But, f*ck me, if I was planning on staying in Turkey more long-term, I'd invest.

Entdinglichung
Jun 3 2013 21:27
mikail firtinaci wrote:
Actually the Turkish left is not that large. Compared to Greece the strength of Turkish left can be considered as negligible. The Turkish CP takes less then 50.000 votes in elections in a country of 80 millions.

but many of the ML groups, apart from TKP and EMEP plus the people around or in BDP or ÖDP are banned and do not run in elections, e.g. TKP/ML, MKP, MLKP, etc., who have as far as I know their strongholds in some Alevi communities and in immigrant communities in Europe

mikail firtinaci wrote:
Still compared to Western Europe the Turkish left may look incredibly active and strong in proportion to its numerical strength. I think this is because Turkish left has a strong militant spirit. Turkish leftists have a very strong emotional and cultural attachment to their political traditions and the state violence did nothing but cemented that. I mean this has not always born out of a rational political calculations. It is more a reaction to the state in addition to a sentimental reaction to the crisis of stalinism. Unlike western Europe or US the Leninist tendencies here could never have a breathing space. The severity of the state pressure forced self-criticism into a perceived no-choice between betrayal or resistance.

especially in jail: I knew a guy who was banged up for eight years for being a member of a Maoist group involved in armed struggle who became a Trotskyist in jail which ment, that he at least officially lost the solidarity of his former org, around 10 years ago, I've read that the small number of Anarchists, Trotskyists, non-dogmatic left socialists and other non-stalinists and non-PKK members form sometimes a kind of an unofficial collective when in prison ... additional, you often have overlapping family/community and organisational structures in many ML groups, e.g. it was my perception that in some ML groups in Hamburg, you had very few people who were not Zaza-speaking Alevis (not seeing a problem of being an MLer and also attending a Cem) from Dersim

mikail firtinaci wrote:
That is why Turkish and Kurdish leftists first criterion in judging any left tendency is its fighting spirit and not theoretical consistency. That is why paradoxically for many on the left anarchism did not look as radical but as liberal armchair leftisms for a long time during 1990s and early 2000s when it has first emerged on the scene.

apart from it, it is my experience that there are many really lovely people in Turkish/Kurdish ML groups who are often very reliable and trustworthy when working with them (exception is the DHKP-C, try to avoid any contact with them!!!) and do not bother, if your "ideology" is a bit different from theirs

Entdinglichung
Jun 3 2013 08:40

@mikail firtinaci

what about Hikmet Kıvılcımlı? someone told me that he wrote at least some slightly interesting stuff

commieprincess
Jun 3 2013 09:54

Here's just a quick little account of what happened to me in Ankara last night. Shit is getting real here.

Last night we were on a bridge overlooking Kızılay at what seemed like a nice comfortable distance from the hardcore protesting. We'd been trying to meet up with a friend who's ears were fucked up by a sound bomb.

Suddenly there was a stampede of people running away from the square, so we followed.

A huge crowd of us walked down quite a narrow side street, people were calling out "yavaş" (slow) to try to keep down any stampede or panic. Then, the police started shooting flares, tear gas, and some other kind of smoke bomb into the crowd. Repeatedly. That felt like a bit of a zombie apocalypse nightmare. We saw people fainting and looking really ill in the crowd. We also saw people being carried through the crowd who'd obviously been more seriously injured.

Two of us got separated from our friends as we tried to escape the gas in a side alley. We stayed there for a minute before we saw a crowd running towards us from the other end. So we ran. After a bit of scampering about, we managed to meet back up with our friends.

At this point we were all ready to go home. We started trying to find a way around Kızılay that didn't involve police or tear gas. We started to go down a fairly empty street, when from nowhere, a group of about 5 police started casually shooting tear gas towards us. I mean really just casually and for really, really no reason. So again, we had to run. At this point I was very aware of how out of shape I am and how I should probably start jogging.

Turkish people know how to protest. There's serious comradeship amongst protesters - strangers just helping each other constantly, putting up barricades together, tipping each other off on which roads to avoid, giving out surgical masks, and waving spray bottles of milk in the air in case any one needs treatment from the gas etc. From every window and balcony in the centre, there are groups of people banging pots, flicking their lights on and off and cheering to show support for the protests. Every car, taxi, bus has their horn down constantly and their emergency lights on. As our mini bus went past groups of protesters, the driver would hoot support and everyone on the bus would cheer and clap. I've never seen anything like it.

Anyway, Saturday night was protest tourism, last night shit got real.

Ablokeimet
Jun 3 2013 11:53
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Ablokeimet, are you in Turkey? ...

Plus, as far as I can tell, the liberal discourse of non-violence (which I've experienced as the dominant discourse in just about every protest I've ever been to the UK and the States) seems entirely absent. There is an acceptance that the protesters will have to defend themselves and that when opportunities arises, activity should move from the defensive to the offensive.

No, I'm not in Turkey. Click on my user name to find out more.

Non-violence is something I grew out of some time ago, when I realised that it means allowing the ruling class to be as violent as it likes without any comeback. All you need is a couple of percent of the population to be prepared, as military or police, to use totally ruthless violence (e.g. wiping out a city "to encourage the others") and you're stuffed.

That said, however, we can't afford to allow the principle to develop that violence is an acceptable method of resolving disputes (especially as disputes will continue after the Revolution). Contrary to Engels, who said that "A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is", a revolution is the mass withdrawal of the working class from the wage labour relationship and the establishment of co-operative relations amongst workers to replace it.

The only place violence comes into the revolutionary process is to defend the new revolutionary system from attack by the ancien regime. Similarly, the political content of a given struggle against capital does not rely on whether the working class has taken up arms against the State. Rather, the political content needs to be judged according to the social relationships forged in the struggle. The only violence in which we should engage is that which is reasonably necessary in self defence. Of course, if the State has deployed battalions of riot coppers against us and they're running beserk in the manner described in the reports coming out, "reasonable force" can be quite extensive.

commieprincess
Jun 3 2013 19:12

There are calls from the second largest union for a general strike - tomorrow and wednesday. Will update when I hear more.

Chilli Sauce
Jun 3 2013 21:23

There are also now roving marches through the suburbs of Ankara. It lacks the intensity of what's happening downtown (and seems more overtly nationalistic/Kemalist than what's happening in Kizilay), but the majority of marchers appears to be teenagers--momentum is still building.

Chilli Sauce
Jun 3 2013 21:57

There's also an amazing video doing the rounds on Facebook of a couple of suited-up, gasmasked protesters who pick up the lit tear gas canisters and stick them into 5 litre buckets half full with water to extinguish them. F*cking heros.

If anybody's come across it on youtube, please do post it up.

P.S. Thanks Harrison, for splitting the thread. They're definitely two different conversations.

Harrison
Jun 3 2013 22:05

Hey Ablokeimet, i responded to your post by making a thread here
http://libcom.org/forums/theory/violence-03062013

yusufcemal
Jun 4 2013 10:32

I think Mikail absolutely right when he said Turkish left was not large. And as a tradition, they love colouring their own power. You can't hear from them "We were wrong on this issue". And if someone says this sentence, this means "I'm defecting to the political right or the liberal tendency" Sad but true.

After Coup D'Etat, a lot of political refuges spreaded out to whole Europe. Especially Alevi people. Because Alevi people were one of the main fuel for Turkish left machine before the coup. After İstanbul's extraordinary and freakish expansion in 80s, this tradition was getting slightly changed although the previous riot was in an Alevi working class district in İstanbul (March 1995 Gazi Quarter riots).

Some mile stones of the workers movement in Turkey after the coup:
1989-90 Spring Activity and Mine-workers walk to Ankara
1995-96 State Employee movement
July 1999 "No to the retirement in grave" meeting

Then a huge silence.

But in 2013, a lot of workers started to struggle against their live conditions. But it can not be named a struggle wave yet. A lot of them were lost. After obscured murders and low density war for past 30 years, the Kurdish national movement believes the "peace" is around the corner. And of course Chili Sauce is right when said knee-jerk nationalism. Gezi protests was started in this atmosphere.

Our main tactics in İstanbul are what Chili told. We didn't use molotov cocktails against water cannon panzers. Because the cops might have used real bullet against us. Instead, we used the cobbles and stones - another traditional way. Barricades were of burning cars, buses, TIRs/trailers, concrete blocks, cops' road blocks and even a huge excavator. The cops named water cannon panzers as TOMA ( Intervening Vehicle to Social Events). And the excavator was named as POMA (Intervening Vehicle to Police Events) by the protesters. smile We were trying to enrage cops by shouting some slogans. Our purpose was that killing cops exhausted. smile After getting tear gases, when the front line was replaced by a subsequent wave, a lot of people sprayed our faces with anti-tear gas liquids. Like a factory band. Yesterday, someones used the laser beam pointers against the cop helicopters when they observed us and perhaps spreaded their sort of tear gases. We have at least two martyr. Not in Gezi Park. But during Gezi Park protests in a working class district in İstanbul and Hatay – a Syria border city. A lot of people lost their eyes due to tear gas bullets. But as Chili said, this was not full force of state. We remember the dirty war against Kurds and Gazi Quarter Riots.

Now, we are trying to call a general strike. After a lot of lost strikes, is it possible? I don't know. We will try and observe.

akai
Jun 4 2013 11:34

I was just on vacation there when things broke out. The nearest big city to me had a rather bad demo of Kemalists, with very nationalist ideas. They had OK criticisms of development of Turkey but tended to see this as a problem of imported capitalism rather than capitalism. Went on further, some barricades in the street, tear gas, pepper spray, typical riots.

Just wonder if the comrades from Turkey could say if at least some people are getting across good anti-cap analyses or not.

Steven.
Jun 4 2013 18:09

Yusuf, thank you for that post. Solidarity and please keep us informed of your struggle!

Chilli Sauce
Jun 4 2013 20:01

Yeah, thanks for that Yusuf, do keep us updated. And solidarity.

So, I'm struggling to figure out what sort of "general strike" has been called. As best I can tell, the two largest union confederations have called a general strike of all their members in the state sector. But, I'm really confused about how strikes are called in Turkey and who's protected and who's not.

I ask this because we've got enough people at the my workplace who want to strike, but we can't seem to find straight information about what's actually been called.

What I will say is that we phoned the two different unions and were told we'd only have protection if we (a) joined and (b) were state workers. They then went on to say that if we decided to strike and were disciplined for it afterwards, we'd be provided with help and legal support from the union. Now, I know that Turkish trade unions--like any trade union--suffer from certain structural limitations. But UNISON they ain't, I'll say that much for them.

I know the obvious answer to this is that our power is in the numbers of us who walk out. And if private sector wildcats develop, I think it's a real possibility we could participate in that. In the meantime, if anybody knows any good English-language sites regarding strike legislation, please let me know.

Devrim
Jun 4 2013 20:18
Quote:
So, I'm struggling to figure out what sort of "general strike" has been called. As best I can tell, the two largest union confederations have called a general strike of all their members in the state sector. But, I'm really confused about how strikes are called in Turkey and who's protected and who's not.

It is not a 'general strike' in that not all workers are involved. The unions that have made this call are DİSK (private sector), KESK (public employees), EĞTİM-SEN (education), TTMOB (chamber of engineers), and TOB (chamber of doctors).

The largest union Türk-İş is not participating in this strike though an opposition platform within it has called for people to do a list of things to participate in struggles, the last one of, which is strike.

I would expect over half a million on strike on Wednesday.

Devrim

Baderneiro Miseravel
Jun 4 2013 21:21

These impressions were translated and published here

Quote:
Turquia: Impressões do movimento de protesto em Ankara

De forma similar à grande parte do movimento Occupy, as táticas dos manifestantes até agora têm sido bem mais radicais que os seus objetivos proclamados. Por Chilli Sauce

Admin note: Post edited to keep this page cleaner, full translation text on link above - thanks

Chilli Sauce
Jun 4 2013 22:10

Thanks for the translation Baderneiro! Solidarity!

Thanks to Devrim as well. Couple more questions if you'd be so kind, comrade:

So, private sector workers are being called out as well? Because when we called, the unions said we'd have to be public sector to be legally protected. Is it simply a matter that neither of the unions we spoke to organise private sector education workers, and therefore they can't extend us protections?

And, is it a situation where simply being a union member gives you protection to strike? Would the union need to be recognised by your employer to you to have legal protection? How does it work, do you know?

And, how are strikes called? There wasn't a ballot as far as I can tell? I mean, things only kicked off Friday. My understanding is that that one union (KESK, I think) already had a strike planned for Wednesday, but it seems this other confederation went into emergency session two days ago and came out of it calling a strike. Surely, that can't be all it takes to call a strike in Turkey?

Also, the information I read said that "political" and "solidarity" strikes are unlawful in Turkey. How are the unions justifying the strikes?

Liss56
Jun 5 2013 11:51

Hello,

A very interesting analysis, thanks.
I have a question. I am Russian journalist, I work for the weekly The New Times in Moscow (www.ne wtimes).
Coming to Ankara tonight and wanted to ask if you have some time to meet up...

Thanks in advance,
Sergey Khazov
s.khazov@newtimes.ru

Devrim
Jun 5 2013 11:52

Basically strikes have to be called in advance. Obviously these strikes excepting the KESK one, don't conform to legal niceties. I suppose it is a question of power.

I have pmed you about your personal union situation.

Devrim

Jacques Roux
Jun 6 2013 16:49

Bit late to this thread, but great comments. Thanks all, especially Yusuf Cemal - would be interested if you could write more for libcom when you have a chance.

Some more background in the Huff Post = http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hasan-turunc/turkey-protests_b_3379544.html which cites:

Quote:
Freedom of speech and media, Monopolization of power, Imposition of a conservative morality, Unrestrained development drive

All as major factors which play into whats happening in Turkey right now.

iexist
Jun 11 2013 23:40

where are all the posts after Jun 5

Chilli Sauce
Jun 17 2013 19:48

Sorry for the lack of updates. I've been really busy with personal stuff and, tbh, the Sleepless in Istanbul updates have been covering the situation better that I can anyway.

What I do want to say is that you can feel things building again. Today, Erdogan threatened to use the military against continued protests and the strikes as well seem to help building pressure. The protests did dip for a week, but in terms of intensity and numbers, they're growing again. Everyone seems to be saying--almost verbatim--that the protests have reached another stage. And I think that's true.

On another inspiring note, Erdogan patronizingly told Turkish mothers to 'take their children by the hand lead them out of Gezi' or some shit like that. In response, mothers formed a human chain between the protesters and the police to demonstrate their support for the children/the protests in general. Beautiful. Protesters also brought a piano into Taksim square last week and had one of the most inspiring renditions of Bella Ciao I've ever heard.

jef costello
Jun 17 2013 21:52

Erdogan has also been accusing demonstrators of 'attacking our veiled sisters' and of drinking alcohol and having orgies in the mosques.
This blog in French is based in Ankara and talks about it, pointing out that medical students have set up a makeshift hospital their for those injured by the police. There's a video in Turkish but I can't work out how to link to it.

It's just so ridiculous, with people covering their faces due to tear gas then being beaten by police he is creating 'veiled sisters' and attacking them!

Chilli Sauce
Jun 18 2013 08:55

Good article from Wobbly Erik Forman covering the events in Turkey in some detail, as well as giving some background:

Quote:

A Turkish Spring?

Some tents. Some protesters.

Zuccotti Park?

Five protesters dead. Police cars burned. Barricades in the streets. Hundreds of thousands of workers on strike. Protests across the country.

Not Zuccotti Park.

It’s Gezi Park, adjacent to Taksim Square, one of only a few remaining public green spaces in Istanbul. When bulldozers appeared at Gezi Park on May 28, a progressive coalition called “Taksim Platform” put the word out to supporters that the government was moving forward with its plan to raze the park in order to build a shopping mall.

Built in the 1920s as a “prestige project” for the post-Ottoman Turkish Republic, Taksim Square has long been a battlefield for Turkey’s identity. The square houses the Monument to the Republic, built in 1928 to celebrate the five-year anniversary of IDAtatürk’s secular, modern state. And as the site of rallies and demonstrations for decades, Taksim is also the beating heart of Turkish labor and social movements. Generations of workers have duked it out with the police and military on the square’s paving stones in the struggle for freedom and democracy.

But perhaps the real significance of Taksim Square is more banal: Every week, thousands of young Istanbul residents study, converse, break bread, drink, flirt, and relax together in the square and its environs. Taksim Square has always been the house of the people...

http://inthesetimes.com/article/15151/a_turkish_spring/

Chilli Sauce
Jun 20 2013 08:47

Just a quick update: Went down to the protests last night. Clashes seem to still be happening sporadically most night, but the numbers are certainly down. It seems to be mostly a dedicated hardcore of protesters left and more power to them, but I certainly didn't feel as confident in crowds of hundreds as it did in the crowds of thousands of thousands two weeks back.

I was also told that the assemblies are happening here in Ankara as well. Although Leo here on libcom is probably a better person to speak to that.