Turkey: Police storm Taksim Square, repression continues

KT News and Comment:Police storm Taksim

Turkish riot police stormed Istanbul’s Taksim Square this morning, removing banners that had been put up by protestors and leaving only a Turkish flag and a portrait of Kemal Attaturk.

The Architects and Engineers Chambers Union of Turkey’s Chemical Engineers Chamber (TMMOB) has said that pepper gas bombs and bullets used by police against demonstrators are in the banned chemical weapons category, reports bianet.

“When we take a look at the gas bombs canister used in public demonstrations in Turkey, we observe that OC, CR and CS are generally used” said TMMOB. “According to the Chemical Weapons Convention signed in 1993, these bombs fall into tear gas category and are considered as chemical weapons. The convention strictly forbids the use of all chemical gasses including pepper gas to intervene public demonstrations.”

Today the media has shown images of people wearing gas masks and throwing molotov cocktails at armoured police vehicles. The police have since beseiged the Istanbul offices of the Socialist Democracy Party although the organisation has denied that its members were involved. This is the first incident with molotov cocktails since the protests began: It is ‘convenient’ for the government that it should happen at this juncture, and inevitably there is speculation about the possible involvement of state provocateurs.

Despite peace process, Kurdish publishers are still repressed:

Last week,  reports Hurriyet Daily News, the Turkish Publishers Association (TYB) gave its annual Freedom prize – recognising activity promoting freedom of expression – to writer Ahmet Altan, bookstore owner Nuran Sivri and publisher Gökhan Bulut of Aram publishing house, which prints books in Kurdish or about Kurdish history and society.

“Every year I say ‘we wish that we won’t have to give this prize next year,’ but this year I won’t repeat it, because it is getting darker every year” said TYB chair, Metin Celal. “There are incredible amount of laws, codes and articles preventing people’s freedom of expression. No matter how much you change them, there is another article forcing bans”.

Gökhan Bulut said the Aram publishing house is still facing legal action despite the peace process. “We have paid heavy prices,” Bulut told the Hürriyet Daily News. “Everyone defending the freedom of expression faced pressure, but as the Aram publishing house, we had bigger problems since we focused on Kurdish books.”


Infografik has published the following infographic illustrating the story of ’10 Days of Resistance’:



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