06/01/2013, 00.00
TURKEY
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Istanbul rocked by protests and police violence

by NAT da Polis
Hundreds injured in Taksim Square, opponents of a building project that destroys Gezi Park. Soldiers defend the protesters against the police. Growing opposition to Erdogan’s ambitious projects, based on economic successes, neo-Ottoman revival, creeping Islamization.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - There have been nationwide protests and hundreds of people in response to Turkish police violence in clashes with protesters of "Occupy Gezi Park", who have been staging peaceful opposition to the transformation of Gezi Park into a shopping mall. The park is one of the few green lungs left in the city.

The central and most important square in Istanbul, Taksim Square, is about to about to undergo a frightening transformation, due to building speculation. It was this very square that was literally heavily bombarded with chemicals - tear gas - last night by Turkish police in their attempts to disperse the protesters, who have long opposed the building project.

The protesters object to this type of project and economic model, very popular in a neo-Ottoman and consumer Turkey promoted by the AKP party as a model for the Islamic world.

There is talk of hundreds of wounded. Social networks report that one woman died. According to the same social networks, the orders were clear: suppress the protest at all costs.

Sirin Oder, a Kurdish parliamentarian and member of the pro-Kurdish BDP party, as well as the journalist Ahmet Sik Among were among the wounded.

Turkish police forces - closely tied to the ruling AKP - they tried to track down all protesters, who in a desperate attempt to avoid the violent repression found shelter in a nearby military hospital in the central Gumusuyu cadessi. The military barred police access to the hospital and even distributed gas masks to protesters, to protect people from the tear gas.

The protests of last night spread to the capital of Turkey, Ankara, Bodrum, Konya and Izmir, with under the slogan 'Taksim Square is everywhere. "

The origin of these protests run deep. Istanbul's demonstrations are seen as a sign of the resistance of one part of society against the creeping neo-Ottoman Islamic homogenization that Erdogan's AKP is arrogantly implementing, thanks to its economic success. It is in short, is the protest of a movement that takes on the character of opposition to the overwhelming power of Erdogan and all his attempts at an authoritarian imposition.

This protest is also supported by the opposition CHP party, which so far has been unable to produce a viable political alternative.

Against the brutal repression of Istanbul, there is also a position of the European Union. Stefan Fule, spokesperson of Commissioner for Enlargement, said that Turkey as a nation on probation for EU membership must respect the right of expression and association of its citizens.

 

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