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Gezi Park Forums Have Spread Across Turkey

13 Aug

by Saygun Gökarıksel /

gezi forums“Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere resistance” is one of the most famous slogans of the popular uprising that emerged out of Taksim Gezi park protests in Istanbul in May and June. Ironically, the June 15 police crackdown that violently pushed the protesters out of Gezi park has given occasion to organize more elaborate “forums” and “people’s assemblies” in different public parks of Istanbul and other, predominantly western cities of Turkey.

Today many of these parks offer the much needed space to speak, discuss, criticize and organize cultural events (e.g. film screenings, photography exhibitions) around social issues to build a common political vocabulary and a sense of solidarity for thousands of protesters from all walks of life. However, the questions that often confront uprisings of such massive scale — where millions have taken to the streets for systemic changes, not for a cosmetic makeover — remain to be engaged. They are questions of political strategy and organization, such as: How to sustain and expand the popular force of the uprising and transform it into a movement that will produce lasting revolutionary effects? And what is the role of the forums in this regard?

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From Turkey to Myanmar, Trees Become Triggers for Revolution

19 Jun

by Carl Pope / Huffington Post

The protest sweeping Turkey began with trees — specifically, the last remaining downtown green space in this ancient capital, a park in Taksim Square. Protestors began gathering peacefully to try to stop government plans to replace the trees with a shopping mall. Disturbingly, the government and police overreacted viciously, clearing the square with powerful hoses mixing water and tear gas. Now, according to the Interior Ministry, 53 civilians and 26 police officers have been injured, and the protest movement has spread to 48 cities with over 900 arrests so far.

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Armed Permaculturists Explain Strategy of Seed Bomb Explosives

12 Jun

from Earth First Newswire

This beautiful short documentary sheds some light on a little-known international perma-eco-terra-ist group calling itself SLF-NAG (Seed Liberation Frontier-North Aegean Guerrillas). The mysterious organization has gone public to explain the motives behind their seed-bombing campaign:

“Seed control is an issue of growing importance not only for the consumers, but also for the producers. The current state of affairs endangers not only the public health but also the freedom of the people. Hence, there is an urgent need for innovative and radical means of reaction.

“In our days it is the mass media which shapes the reality. Documentaries, on the other hand, often act as key instruments for deconstructing the ‘”reality” and unveil the truth behind. Therefore, documentaries should also be used to inform the public, challenge well-established views of reality and, subsequently, to turn the propaganda upside down.”

Wait a minute… Do those accents sound a little fishy to anyone else?

The Horrific Extent of Police Brutality in Turkey

8 Jun

by Belgin Tan / Hurriyet Daily News

What you will read below is extremely disturbing. It is the firsthand impressions of a Boğaziçi (Bosphorus) University student who was detained by police in connection with the Gezi Park incidents in Istanbul.

Erkan Yolalan first thanks everybody who has assisted him, especially to those who fetched him a lawyer.
Here is his story:

“I am at home, I’m fine. I want to write what I went through. My only aim is that everybody knows what is being experienced while in detention. I have no other aim; I want to say that at the beginning. I will write all of the events that happened to me from the beginning and with all swear words and insults included. With all its openness…

“Last night (June 3, 2013) around 9 p.m. I was detained in Beşiktaş, at traffic lights on Barbaros Avenue. I was not involved in any action like swearing or throwing stones. They took me in bending my arm the moment they saw me. Some friends of mine saw on TV how I was taken into custody. Then hell began.

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I Am Writing To You On the Motor Hood of a Knocked-over Police Car, Taksim Square

4 Jun
A barricade in Taksim Square, Istanbul, Turkey

A barricade in Taksim Square, Istanbul, Turkey

Raising Our Voices in Taksim Square

by Kıvanç Eliaçık / Labor Notes

What began in Turkey seven days ago as the takeover of Gezi Park turned into a national uprising from Istanbul to other major cities. A small protest to protect public space – which the government had ordered to be razed to make room for a shopping mall – united a wide range of citizens protesting what they see as the Prime Minister’s pro-business, authoritarian, and religious policies. Tomorrow, June 4, the public sector union coalition, KESK, will strike in solidarity with the protests.

This is a first-hand account from Taksim Square in Istanbul, written by trade union leader Kıvanç Eliaçık, originally posted at Equal Times.

My trade union, the Revolutionary Worker Unions Confederation of Turkey (DISK), is part of a platform with professional associations and neighborhood organisations.

This platform protests the construction work in Taksim Square, Istanbul, that will demolish the park there, replacing it with a shopping centre.

When I heard that bulldozers came and cut the trees in the park on Tuesday, I ran to the park. Continue reading