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<nettime> #occupyGezi The 12th Night
Andreas Treske on Sun, 9 Jun 2013 11:07:45 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> #occupyGezi The 12th Night

Hi, I am forwarding another article by my colleague David Barchard to sum up todays events. 

with regards


From: David Barchard <dbarchard {AT} gmail.com>
Subject: The Twelfth Night
Date: June 8, 2013 9:20:51 PM GMT+03:00
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

The Twelfth Night (by David Barchard)


Saturday, the 12th day of the Gezi Park demonstrations, passed peacefully, though as this letter was being written, thousands of demonstrators were once again converging on Taksim Square. The media, so far at least, have once more ignored a major development. An nearby eyewitness observer commented in an e-mail: âJust this minute as I am writing this to you tens of thousands of  people are shouting and protesting and walking towards Taksim, I can see them from my Terrace and it is so  loud, but what do the leading TV stations NTV, CNN, SKY and Haber T do?
Not a single word !! They still haven't learned their lessons.

      As I write, CNN Turk, now famous for its âpenguinsâ documentary is running its   evening news bulletinâand the  news is entirely about a meeting between the prime minister and the president of the Grand Nation Assembly. NTV however seems to have changed â its 8 pm bulletin is running film of a massive joint demonstration at Taksim by supporters of all Istanbulâs main football clubs. It is rather like the âBluesâ and the âGreensâ of 532 AD all over again. It implies a significant widening of the popular base of the protest  from the professional middle class environmentalists among whom the movement began. [See photograph attached.] The new demonstrators are complaining: âNo one has listened to our demands and no real steps have been taken.â

      An observer in Taksim comments: âCarsi rocking Taksim Square: siyah!(black) beyaz!(white). Red flares.Taksim is a stadium now- protesters never been this hyped up.â Another wrily observes: âFirst time in Turkish history, BeÅiktaÅ fans cheering for the arrival of vast FenerbahÃe numbers into their territory.âPeople on the spot claim that the demonstrators are well over 100,000.

     A similar demonstration by football supporters is also taking place around TunalÄ Hilmi Caddesi: the placards the demonstrators are carrying make it clear that they criticize the government and its policies. But in Ankara it is raining. In Izmir the demonstrations are described as being âlike a festival.â In Antalya they are banging saucepans, and in Kocaeli (Äzmit) a little strangely, they are protesting by dancing the tango in the streets.

      The BBC Turkish Service transmission however took a different tack tonight â it opened this evening with a report on the degree of popular support for Mr ErdoÄan. Then it switched to news sequence about the war in Syria.

     Meanwhile everyoneâs thoughts are already turning to what may â or may not â happen next week. A Russian observer, Leonid Bershidsky, forecast glumly today that the Turkish riots were more like the Russian ones of 6 May 2012, and not like those in the Arab world â where many casualties were sustained. Turkish demonstrators, like Russian ones, are middle class kids and Mr Bershidsky believes the demonstrators will cave in quickly once âan interventionâ starts. [http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-06/turkey-s-revolt-will-fail-ask-the-russians-.html] TÃrkiye newspaper gave an indication of what may follow. It says the public prosecutors are seeing whether charges can be brought against demonstrators under Article 312 of the criminal code â attempting to stage an armed coup. So far arrests have been few in number.   

      (Lots of people, including the former Chief of General Staff Älker BaÅbuÄ who was in court Friday, are already facing such charges. General BaÅbuÄ who was head of the armed forces between 2008 and 2010 told the court to let his colleagues go and do whatever they were going to do to him alone.) In Russia only 12 people are on trial for the May 2012 protests, but Turkish trials traditionally include hundreds. So far repercussions are small: Five people were detained in Adana for tweeting and seven more are wanted by police. CNNTurk news reported earlier in the day that a Greek Erasmus student, named only as Iatridis, is being deported for "speaking to a TV channel.â  Not a single police officer is definitely known to have been detained, though there have been claims of action against individuals who showed excessive violence.

      Meanwhile the AKP considered its options. After a central committee meeting, the deputy prime minister, HÃseyin Ãelik, deputy chairman of the AKP and party spokesman, announced that â contrary to speculationâthe party was not contemplating early elections. (Apart from racheting up tensions, these would have been extremely unpopular with parliamentary deputies who strongly dislike losing two years of the life of parliament.)

        Kadir TopbaÅ, Istanbulâs mayor, declared that there would not now be a shopping mall or hotel at Taksim Square âbut instead a replica of the military barracks of Mahmut II would be constructed this was because the prime minister wanted it.. There would be lots of trees.  TopbaÅ made it clear that this extremely local decision is being taken personally by the prime minister rather than any subordinate person or body. This news disappointed the governmentsâ critics.

     The American journalist and commentator, Claire Berlinski, said that she had heard rumours â but she stressed they were only rumoursâabout a build up of police in Istanbul. âIt would require going full-on Tiananmen. They just can't be that stupid,â Berlinski wrote.


         The United States Embassy deleted the tweet it published on Friday in response to the prime ministerâs claim that 17 people had been killed by American police in the OccupyWallStreet riotsâbut told reporters that it stood by the facts.

It emerged in the London Times that Britain had recently supplied at least some of the tear gas being used by the Turkish authoritiesâand tweeters claimed that the UK government (which has remained steadfastly tight-lipped over the 12 days) is considering issuing an export license to sell more gas to Turkey.

     One UK body, Amnesty International, which, in some peoplesâ view, has been somewhat uncommunicative about the human rights situation in Turkey in recent years  has issued a strong statement.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYOPgvi_Nk4

      Meanwhile the New York Times brushed aside complaints from the prime minister about its willingness to publish a full page advertisement proclaiming the demonstratorâs demands. The Minister for EU Affairs, Egemen BaÄÄÅ, suggested that  Turkish expatriates who organised and partly funded the $53,000 advertisement were âtrying to block foreign investmentâ He asked "Do they think NYT readers have power over us?"

    Finally Norman Stone, Scotlandâs finest living writer and professor at Bilkent, has launched a salvo of pithily-written articles in the British press about the demonstrations. They can be found at:






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