This growing “statist” approach has found itself in the latest remarks of EU Minister Egemen Bağış, who said “From now on, the state will unfortunately have to consider everyone who remains there [Taksim Square] a supporter or member of a terror organization.”
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Turkey to take action if border threat identified: Foreign Minister Davutoğlu
ANKARA – Anatolia News Agency
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu addresses the media in Ankara, on June 13. AFP photo
“If there was any violation of the border as a real threat to national security again, of course we would act and respond,” Davutoğlu told Al-Jazeera in an interview aired on June 19.
He added that in their investigation into the Reyhanlı attacks, the Turkish authorities had established certain linkages with the Syrian regime and were now gathering the evidence.
Commenting on the U.S. government’s statement that evidence had been obtained showing that Syria had used chemical weapons, Davutoğlu said this was not “something surprising” for Ankara. “As Turkey, as a neighboring country we had our own investigation, we had several cases, incidents where we suspected that chemical weapons were being used and there was special research regarding injured people and we also found strong evidences regarding the use of chemical weapons,” he said. “We hope the international community will act decisively on that issue."
During Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Washington visit on May 16, the Turkish delegation had reportedly presented their evidence on chemical weapon use by the Bashar al-Assad forces in Syria. Erdoğan had also previously accused al-Assad of using chemicals and said that he had already “crossed the red lines” of U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration with respect to its Syria policy.
Calls on Iran for a new approach on Syria
Davutoğlu also said during the interview that he was hopeful the new Iranian administration under the leadership of Hassan Rowhani, elected this week-end, would be more cooperative on Syria. “We hope that the new Iranian administration will understand the situation in Syria better than before, they will listen to the Syrian people more,” he said, adding that they expected Iran to “understand Syria” and contribute for a solution.
Davutoğlu also touched upon the ongoing Gezi Park protests that have entered their fourth week. He repeated his criticism of foreign media coverage, and especially of CNN’s reporting of the protests.
"I was shocked when I saw CNN International or some other international reporters, they used gas masks during the day when there was no tear gas being used, they broadcast as if there was a war. While, on the same days, thousands of people were being killed in Qusair, Syria, there was no coverage at all,” Davutoğlu said.
Foreign media outlets have become the target of the Turkish government while the domestic media networks were often criticized by the public for intentionally not covering the protests and the clashes that resulted from the police’s crackdown on demonstrators.
Group stands against 'standing man' in Istanbul protest square
A group of eight men responded to the initial 'standing man' protest with a counter-protest. In the end they only stayed for 30 minutes before leaving Taksim Square. DHA Photo
Eight men, wearing t-shirts on which was written “Man standing against the ‘standing man’” arrived to stand in front of the original protestors in the afternoon.
The so-called “standing man” protest started on June 17, when performance artist Erdem Gündüz stood in front of the AtatürkCulture Center in Taksim Square without speaking or moving for more than five hours, as part of the ongoing Gezi Park protests. Many men and women inspired by Gündüz’s solo protest have held similar protests in several cities including Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir since then.
Some read books while standing, others held a sit-in protest and one man dressed in a traditional costume. Some stand for hours, some for a few minutes, but these new silent protests seem to be the new phenomenon of the Gezi Park protests.
Police members also read books
Among those whose who were reading books were also members of the police. Upon the initiative of Istanbul's Police Department, an itinerant library has been set up with more than 100 books from Tolstoy's classics to the essays of the renowned Turkish psychologist Doğan Cüceloğlu's, which focus mostly on communication skills. Whatever they were reading, many of the officers standing guard on the steps of Taksim Square held a book in their hand.
Several people held a standing protest in Ankara at the exact place where Ethem Sarısülük was killed allegedly due to a gunshot by a police officer during the demonstrations.
In İzmir one demonstrator held a “standing” protest for 24 hours, Doğan news agency reported. Erdal Çoban started his standing protest at Gündoğdu Square in İzmir and stood drinking only mineral water and water for 24 hours. He was wearing the costume of an efe, local bandits from Ottoman times, and had dyed his body silver. Many others joined him, standing around or taking pictures with him.
Meanwhile, after Gezi Park was sealed off from protesters, many people started to gather at other parks in Istanbul at around 9:00 p.m. to hold discussions.
On June 19 parks including Abbasağa Park, Maçka Park in Beşiktaş, Yoğurtçu Park in Kadıköy, Çarşı Park in Ümraniye, Cihangir Park in Beyoğlu and Saraçhane Park in Fatih were cited as the places to gather and talk in calls distributed via social media.
Protests continue all night long in Eskişehir
As the tension of the protests started to calm down in big cities, the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir staged a police intervention with gas bombs and water cannons against nearly 5,000 protesters’ all-night action late on June 18.
Three protesters, a journalist and a police officer were injured in the police intervention, Doğan news agency reported.
Slogans like “everywhere Taksim, everywhere resistance” and “government resign” were chanted by the crowd in front of a mall called Espark in the city’s Eskibağlar neighborhood.
The police’s heavy crackdown managed to disperse the group; however a group of 500 people stayed in the mall and blocked the way in front of it.
The clashes lasted until 5 a.m. on June 19. Eskişehir has been one of the most remarkable provinces in Turkey, attending Gezi Park protests across the country from the very beginning of the Occupy Taksim movement.