Tag Archive: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

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Why Turkey Stabbed Russia in the Back

By: Pepe Escobar


Russia’s and Turkey’s objectives in fighting the Islamic State group are diametrically opposed.

It’s absolutely impossible to understand why the Turkish government would engage in the suicidal strategy of downing a Russian Su-24 over Syrian territory – technically a NATO declaration of war on Russia – without putting in context the Turkish power play in northern Syria.

President Vladmir Putin said the downing of the Russian fighter jet was a “stab in the back.” So let’s see how facts on the ground allowed it to happen.

Ankara uses, finances, and weaponizes a basket case of extremist outfits across northern Syria, and needs by all means to keep supply line corridors from southern Turkey open for them; after all they need to conquer Aleppo, which would open the way for Ankara’s Holy Grail: regime change in Damascus.

At the same time Ankara is terrified of the YPG – the Syrian Kurd People’s Protection Units – a sister organization of the leftist PKK. These must be contained at all costs.


So the Islamic State group – against which the United Nations has declared war – is a mere detail in the overall Ankara strategy, which is essentially to fight, contain or even bomb Kurds; support all manner of Takfiris and Salafi-jihadis, including the Islamic State group; and get regime change in Damascus.


Unsurprisingly, the YPG Syrian Kurds are vastly demonized in Turkey, accused of at least trying to ethnic cleanse Arab and Turkmen villages in northern Syria. Yet, what the Syrian Kurds are attempting – and to Ankara’s alarm, somewhat supported by the U.S. – is to link what are for the moment three patches of Kurdish land in northern Syria.

A look at an imperfect Turkish map at least reveals how two of these patches of land (in yellow) are already linked, to the northeast. To accomplish that, the Syrian Kurds, helped by the PKK, defeated The Islamic State group in Kobani and environs. To get to the third patch of land, they need to get to Afryn. Yet on the way (in blue) there is a collection of Turkmen villages north of Aleppo.

The strategic importance of these Turkmen lands cannot be emphasized enough. It’s exactly in this area, reaching as much as 35 km inland, that Ankara wants to install its so-called “safe zone,” which will be in fact a no-fly zone, in Syrian territory, ostensibly to house Syrian refugees, and with everything paid by the EU, which has already unblocked 3 billion euros, starting Jan. 1, via the European Commission (EC).

The now insurmountable obstacle for Turkey to get its no-fly zone is, predictably, Russia.

Using the Turkmen


Research Paper: ISIS-Turkey List

Posted: 11/09/2014 11:25 am EST Updated: 11/29/2015 11:59 pm EST

By David L. Phillips



Is Turkey collaborating with the Islamic State (ISIS)? Allegations range from military cooperation and weapons transfers to logistical support, financial assistance, and the provision of medical services. It is also alleged that Turkey turned a blind eye to ISIS attacks against Kobani.President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu strongly deny complicity with ISIS. Erdogan visited the Council on Foreign Relations on September 22, 2014. He criticized “smear campaigns [and] attempts to distort perception about us.” Erdogan decried, “A systematic attack on Turkey’s international reputation, “complaining that “Turkey has been subject to very unjust and ill-intentioned news items from media organizations.” Erdogan posited: “My request from our friends in the United States is to make your assessment about Turkey by basing your information on objective sources.”

Columbia University’s Program on Peace-building and Rights assigned a team of researchers in the United States, Europe, and Turkey to examine Turkish and international media, assessing the credibility of allegations. This report draws on a variety of international sources — The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, BBC, Sky News, as well as Turkish sources, CNN Turk, Hurriyet Daily News, Taraf, Cumhuriyet, and Radikal among others.

AllegationsTurkey Provides Military Equipment to ISIS• An ISIS commander told The Washington Post on August 12, 2014: “Most of the fighters who joined us in the beginning of the war came via Turkey, and so did our equipment and supplies.”

• Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, head of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), produced a statement from the Adana Office of the Prosecutor on October 14, 2014 maintaining that Turkey supplied weapons to terror groups. He also produced interview transcripts from truck drivers who delivered weapons to the groups. According to Kiliçdaroglu, the Turkish government claims the trucks were for humanitarian aid to the Turkmen, but the Turkmen said no humanitarian aid was delivered.

• According to CHP Vice President Bulent Tezcan, three trucks were stopped in Adana for inspection on January 19, 2014. The trucks were loaded with weapons in Esenboga Airport in Ankara. The drivers drove the trucks to the border, where a MIT agent was supposed to take over and drive the trucks to Syria to deliver materials to ISIS and groups in Syria. This happened many times. When the trucks were stopped, MIT agents tried to keep the inspectors from looking inside the crates. The inspectors found rockets, arms, and ammunitions.

• Cumhuriyet reports that Fuat Avni, a preeminent Twitter user who reported on the December 17th corruption probe, that audio tapes confirm that Turkey provided financial and military aid to terrorist groups associated with Al Qaeda on October 12, 2014. On the tapes, Erdogan pressured the Turkish Armed Forces to go to war with Syria. Erdogan demanded that Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MIT), come up with a justification for attacking Syria.

• Hakan Fidan told Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Yasar Guler, a senior defense official, and Feridun Sinirlioglu, a senior foreign affairs official: “If need be, I’ll send 4 men into Syria. I’ll formulate a reason to go to war by shooting 8 rockets into Turkey; I’ll have them attack the Tomb of Suleiman Shah.”

• Documents surfaced on September 19th, 2014 showing that the Saudi Emir Bender Bin Sultan financed the transportation of arms to ISIS through Turkey. A flight leaving Germany dropped off arms in the Etimesgut airport in Turkey, which was then split into three containers, two of which were given to ISIS and one to Gaza.

Turkey Provided Transport and Logistical Assistance to ISIS Fighters• According to Radikal on June 13, 2014, Interior Minister Muammar Guler signed a directive: “According to our regional gains, we will help al-Nusra militants against the branch of PKK terrorist organization, the PYD, within our borders…Hatay is a strategic location for the mujahideen crossing from within our borders to Syria. Logistical support for Islamist groups will be increased, and their training, hospital care, and safe passage will mostly take place in Hatay…MIT and the Religious Affairs Directorate will coordinate the placement of fighters in public accommodations.”

• The Daily Mail reported on August 25, 2014 that many foreign militants joined ISIS in Syria and Iraq after traveling through Turkey, but Turkey did not try to stop them. This article describes how foreign militants, especially from the UK, go to Syria and Iraq through the Turkish border. They call the border the “Gateway to Jihad.” Turkish army soldiers either turn a blind eye and let them pass, or the jihadists pay the border guards as little as $10 to facilitate their crossing.

• Britain’s Sky News obtained documents showing that the Turkish government has stamped passports of foreign militants seeking to cross the Turkey border into Syria to join ISIS.

• The BBC interviewed villagers, who claim that buses travel at night, carrying jihadists to fight Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq, not the Syrian Armed Forces.

• A senior Egyptian official indicated on October 9, 2014 that Turkish intelligence is passing satellite imagery and other data to ISIS.

Turkey Provided Training to ISIS Fighters


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SU-24 bomber

Turkey ‘Ambushed’ Russian Su-24 to Protect Its ‘Proxies’ in Syria

© Sputnik
Middle East
21:30 26.11.2015(updated 14:06 27.11.2015)

The shooting down of the Russian Su-24 bomber was a planned attack and a trap set by the Turkish Air Force, Dr. Mark Galeotti, the Professor of Global Affairs at the New York University, told Radio Sputnik.

“What it in fact seems to be, as many are saying, it was more of an ambush than anything else,” Galeotti told Sputnik.

By downing the Russian plane, Turkey had two things in mind. First of all, Ankara wants to assert itself as a powerful regional actor, especially considering Russia’s active participation in Syria. The Turkish government thought that by shooting down its plane Turkey would make Russia take Ankara more seriously in the future.

Secondly, the Turkish government wanted to protect its allies, whom Russia’s currently bombing in Syria, Galeotti, an expert in Russo-Turkish relations, explained.

Turkey intends to protect ISIL, as it has direct financial interests involved in the delivery of oil extracted from ISIL-controlled territories. Various estimates place oil revenues generated by ISIL somewhere between $40 and $50 million a month. A day prior to the downing of the Su-24, Russian airstrikes destroyed over 1,000 semi-truck tankers carrying crude oil to ISIL refineries, a large oil storage facility and an oil refinery in Syria.


Syrian Turkmen commander who ‘killed’ Russian pilot turns out to be Turkish ultranationalist

© RT / DHA
A Syrian rebel commander who boasted of killing a Russian pilot after Turkey downed Russian jet on Tuesday appeared to be Turkish ultranationalist and a son of former mayor in one of Turkish provinces.

Alparslan Celik, deputy commander of a Syrian Turkmen brigade turned out to be the son of a mayor of a Keban municipality in Turkey’s Elazig province.

He also turned out to be the member of The Grey Wolves ultranationalist group, members of which have carried out scores of political murders since 1970s.


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Did Washington just tell Erdogan to ‘man up’?

 By Finian Cunningham
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan © Umit Bektas
In the space of a few hours, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan went from running scared to defiant belligerence over the shooting down of the Russian fighter jet. It would appear that someone had a stiff word in his ear.

Tough-talking Turkish President? No. More like somebody’s message boy.

When the news first broke on Tuesday that Turkish F-16s had downed a Russian Su-24 bomber near the Syrian border, the Erdogan government in Ankara immediately called for an emergency NATO summit.

Ankara rushed to explain that it was the party that had incurred an act of aggression from Russia. Erdogan was running scared because the facts were such that it was the Turks who had actually carried out an act of aggression against Russia, not the other way around.

And they knew it.

Suspiciously, Ankara did not contact Moscow about the incident, which would have seemed a normal thing to do in the aftermath of a serious incident in which a Russian aircrew was forced to eject and one of the pilots was subsequently killed.

Recall that Turkey claimed that it did not know the identity of the Russian warplane as it allegedly approached Turkish airspace. So if, as it turned out, the Turks shot down a Russian jet in a rapid encounter of uncertainty about its “national security”, then why didn’t Ankara make subsequent attempts to resolve the matter with the Russians as an urgent matter when the circumstances soon became clear? That would have been the expected behavior if the incident was simply an unfortunate, unforeseen confrontation.

Again, the inference is that Ankara knew full well that it was committing a sinister deed.


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Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Ireland, he is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.



847 shotguns seized in Italy en route from Turkey to Belgium

© Pupia Crime
A large cargo of shotguns without transportation permits has been seized by the Italian police at the Port of Trieste. The 847 Turkish-made Winchester shotguns worth about €500,000 were on their way to Belgium.

The weapons were declared along with other cargoes destined for Germany and the Netherlands on a Dutch-registered truck driven by a Turkish citizen. Gun shipments from Turkey are nothing new in Trieste, but this time the shipment was missing a key document: authorization for transportation in the EU.

The shipment consisted of 847 pump-action Winchester shotguns: 781 SXP 12-51 and 66 SXP 12-47 models, La Stampa reports.

The Haddad I departed from the Turkish port of Iskenderun and was heading to the Libyan city of Misrata. After intelligence services informed the Greek coastal guards about the ship’s cargo of guns, the vessel was intercepted south of Crete by the Open Sea Coast Patrol.


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Putin: US knew the flight plan of the Russian jet



Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks during a press conference following talks with French President Francois Hollande (L) in the Kremlin, Moscow, Russia, 26 November 2015.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he expected from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to simply apologise, but the latest ruled out such a move

President Vladimir Putin said that Russia had given prior information to the United States of the flight path of the Su-24 downed by the Turkish Air Force on the Syrian border. The US leads the anti-Daesh coalition, in which Turkey is member.

“The American side, which leads the coalition that Turkey belongs to, knew about the location and time of our planes’ flights, and we were hit exactly there and at that time,” Putin said at a joint press conference with French counterpart Francois Hollande in the Kremlin. ”Why did we give this information to the Americans if they did not pass it along to the rest of the coalition?”

Moreover, Putin dismissed as “rubbish” Turkey’s claim that it didn’t know the nationality of the plane when the Turkish Air Force hit it. “They (Russian military jets) have identification signs and these are well visible,” Putin said and added. “If it was an American aircraft, would they have struck an American?…What we hear instead is they have nothing to apologize for.”


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Thousands rally against Erdogan as Turkey mourns deadliest attack


Associated Press Videos

Raw: Thousands Mourn Victims of Ankara Blast

Raw: Thousands Mourn Victims of Ankara Blast

Ankara (AFP) – Thousands of mourners filled the streets of Ankara Sunday and vented their anger at President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after 97 people were killed in the country’s worst-ever terror attack, while the government raced to identify the two male suicide bombers it blamed for the bloodshed.

Flags flew at half-mast across Turkey on the first of three days of national mourning declared by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, as questions grew over who could have ordered Saturday’s bombings on a peace rally in Ankara.

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), one of the groups that had organised the rally, said it believes the death toll now stands at 128.

The attacks have raised tensions in Turkey just three weeks before snap elections are due on November 1 and as the military wages an offensive against Islamic State (IS) jihadists and Kurdish militants.

With the country on edge, Erdogan issued a statement condemning the “heinous” bombings and cancelled a planned visit to Turkmenistan but he has yet to speak in public since the attack that shocked the nation.

On Sunday, thousands of demonstrators thronged central Ankara’s Sihhiye Square, close to the blast site by the city’s main train station, to pay tribute to the victims.

Many of those gathered accused the government of failing to provide security at the ill-fated rally and several anti-government demonstrators shouted “Erdogan murderer” and “government resign!”

“I am a mother, I’m worried about my grandchildren, I am marching for our children, for our future. Each time there are people dead, I also die a little,” said Zahide, who like many others carried a pink carnation flower to commemorate the victims.

The premier’s office said 97 people were killed when the bombs exploded just after 10:00 am (0700 GMT) as leftist and pro-Kurdish activists assembled for the rally.

It added that 507 people were wounded, with 160 still in hospital and 65 in intensive care in 19 hospitals.

An AFP correspondent said the scene of the blast was littered with ball bearings, indicating the explosions were intended to cause maximum damage.

– ‘Topple the dictator’ –

In an emotional address to the mourners in Ankara, the HDP’s leader Selahattin Demirtas said that rather than seeking revenge people should aim to end Erdogan’s rule, starting with the upcoming legislative elections.


Fury towards Erdogan intensifies after Ankara attack


A Turkish woman argues with police who are blocking the way to the site of the bomb attacks in Ankara, on October 11, 2015

Ankara (AFP) – Anger towards President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over Turkey’s worst-ever terrorist attack intensified as authorities raced to identify the two male suicide bombers it blamed for the bloodshed.

The streets of Ankara filled with anti-government and pro-Kurdish protesters accusing the government of responsibility for the blast that ripped through a peace rally a day earlier, with several shouting “Erdogan murderer” and “government resign!”In Istanbul on Saturday, a 10,000-strong crowd accused the government of failing to protect citizens by providing security for the event, carrying placards reading “the state is a killer” and “we know the murderers”.

As tributes poured in from world leaders, Selahattin Demirtas, leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), was cited as saying “State attacked the people. Condolences recipient should be the people not Erdogan” on the party’s Twitter account.

In an emotional address to mourners in Ankara, Demirtas said that citizens should aim to end Erdogan’s rule, starting with the upcoming legislative elections.

“We are not going to act out of revenge and hatred. But we are going to ask for (people to be held to) account,” he added, saying the vote would be part of a process to “topple the dictator.”

The party believes the death toll now stands at 128, higher than the 97 people the prime minister’s office said were killed when the bombs exploded on Saturday morning as leftist and pro-Kurdish activists assembled by the city’s main train station.

The official toll also said 507 people were wounded, with 160 still in hospital and 65 in intensive care in 19 hospitals.

– Erdogan silent


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Voice  Of America

Turkey Begins Espionage Investigation After Syria Leak

YouTube logos displayed on a laptop screen partially covered with Turkey's national flag in this photo illustration taken in Ankara, March 27, 2014.  YouTube logos displayed on a laptop screen partially covered with Turkey’s national flag in this photo illustration taken in Ankara, March 27, 2014.

The recording of the meeting between Turkey’s intelligence chief, foreign minister and deputy head of the military was by far the most serious breach in weeks of highly sensitive leaks, a scandal which Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has cast as a plot to sabotage the state and topple him.

Erdogan and his aides have blamed the Hizmet movement of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former ally whose followers have influence in the police and judiciary, of running a “dirty campaign” of espionage to implicate him in corruption ahead of crucial nationwide municipal elections on Sunday.

“Tomorrow we will teach those liars and slanderers a lesson,” Erdogan told a jubilant crowd of supporters in Istanbul’s working class Kartal district on Saturday, vowing his ruling AK Party would triumph at the polls.

Gulen has vociferously denied orchestrating the leak scandal, but those close to his network have said they fear a heavy crackdown once the local elections have passed.

Police overnight briefly detained Onder Aytac, a prominent writer and journalist known to be close to the Hizmet movement, on suspicion of having information about the bugging of the foreign ministry meeting, the Hurriyet newspaper said.

CNN Turk meanwhile reported Erdogan’s lawyers asked prosecutors to take precautionary measures to stop both Aytac and Emre Uslu, a newspaper columnist, academic and former senior anti-terrorism police official, from fleeing abroad.

Aytac said in a statement on the Hizmet-affiliated Samanyolu news website that he had been asked whether he was a spy and how he had known so much about the content of the leaked recording, after he discussed it on a television program.

“I made my assessment as an academic in that program. They are trying to intimidate people who think like me in this election process,” he said in the statement.

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‘We have not responded to punches with punches. From now on security forces will respond differently,’ Turkish PM says



Turkey: protesters at entrance to Gezi Park

Protesters at the entrance to Gezi Park, which Istanbul’s governor has ordered them to clear for their own safety. Photograph: Sedat Suna/EPA


Turkey‘s prime minister defied a growing wave of international criticism on Wednesday and issued a chilling warning to the protesters who have captured central Istanbul for a fortnight, declaring that the demonstrations against his rule would be over within 24 hours.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ultimatum, which he said was conveyed to his police chief and interior minister, ratcheted up the tension in Turkey after a relatively calm day following the mass teargas attacks by riot police in Istanbul city centre on Tuesday evening.

“We have not responded to punches with punches. From now on security forces will respond differently,” Erdoğan said after meeting a team said to be representing the protesters for the first time. “This issue will be over in 24 hours.”

The sense of a looming denouement at Gezi Park off Taksim Square in central Istanbul was reinforced when a deputy leader of Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) said the park had to be cleared of demonstrators as soon as possible.

Thousands of protesters again gathered at the park yesterday, with phalanxes of riot police marshalling nearby.

The ruling party’s deputy chairman and government Hüseyin Çelik added that a city-wide referendum could be held on the initial issue that sparked the wave of national protest – whether the park should be demolished to make way for a shopping mall and a replica of an old military barracks.

The belligerent statement, contrasting with more conciliatory language from President Abdullah Gül, who urged dialogue with legitimate peaceful protesters, the vast majority of the tens of thousands who have taken to the streets over the past two weeks.

The sense of a final showdown was reinforced by Istanbul’s governor, Hüseyin Avni Mutlu, who ordered the protesters to clear the park for their own “safety”.

“Families should take their children out of there,” he warned.


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Turkish government open to referendum to end protests

Protesters sleep on a bench at the Gezi Park in Istanbul, Turkey. Riot police fired tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets in day-long clashes that lasted into the early hours Wednesday. Photo: AP
Protesters sleep on a bench at the Gezi Park in Istanbul, Turkey. Riot police fired tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets in day-long clashes that lasted into the early hours Wednesday. Photo: AP

Despite the offer, protesters continued to converge on Istanbul’s Taksim Square, the epicentre of repeated clashes between riot police firing tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets.


Turkey’s government on Wednesday offered a first concrete gesture aimed at ending nearly two weeks of street protests, proposing a referendum on a development project in Istanbul that triggered demonstrations that have become the biggest challenge to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s 10-year tenure.


Despite the offer, protesters continued to converge on Istanbul’s Taksim Square, the epicentre of repeated clashes between riot police firing tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets, and stone-throwing youths for 13 days an early sign that the proposal hadn’t defused the demonstrators’ concerns.


Word of such a referendum came after Mr. Erdogan hosted talks with a small group of activists. Many civil society groups behind the protests boycotted those talks in the capital, Ankara, saying they weren’t invited and that the attendees didn’t represent them.


The discussion was the first sign that Mr. Erdogan was looking for an exit from the showdown, and came hours after some European leaders expressed concern about strong-arm Turkish police tactics and hopes that the prime minister would soften his stance.

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Updating: 13:26, 12 June 2013 Wednesday


The headscarfed mother, infant attacked by Gezi Park protestors


The headscarfed mother, infant attacked by Gezi Park protestors

A report has been published about the mother who was attacked by a mob of Gezi Park protestors for wearing a headscarf. Both mother and infant suffered physical injury.


World Bulletin/News Desk


The Taksim Gezi protests, which began with a small group with environmental concerns, have turned into nation-wide protests which have resulted in groups violently attacking people throughout Turkey.


The efforts by the secularist-nationalist fronts, which have provided direct support to the protests, to provoke the crowds and polarize society have reached an appalling scale. One mortifying case has been the attack on the daughter-in-law of an AK Party mayor of a township in Istanbul as she was walking with her 6 month old baby.


Suffering from trauma, the mother whose entire body is bruised has been unable to nurse her infant since the attack.


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omer gashi

Published on Jun 11, 2013

Police use rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon to disperse crowds, sparking fresh fierce clashes with activists.

Video: Police move past barricades into Taksim Square, Istanbul
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Riot police have stormed through barricades to clear Istanbul’s main square prompting fresh clashes with anti-government protesters.

The big push by hundreds of officers at 9am local time forced many thousands of protesters, who had occupied Taksim Square for more than a week, to flee the area.

Diggers mowed down barricades as police used rubber bullets, water cannon, tear gas and stun grenades to disperse crowds, as activists hit back with petrol bombs, fireworks and stones.

Police use tear gas and water cannon to disperse demonstrators

Protesters ran into Gezi Park where many had been camping – and where the demonstration first started on May 31 as a protest against the planned redevelopment of the green space into a shopping centre.

A violent police crackdown then on the protest has turned what started off as a single peaceful demonstration into a national uprising against the Islamist-rooted government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that is seen by many as authoritarian.

Sky’s Katie Stallard, in Taksim Square, said: “Protesters have set fire to their barricades. They have been throwing rocks at police and we have seen petrol bombs being thrown.

“What some of the protesters are doing is they are trying to grab canisters of gas and throw them back into the police lines.

The police say they are removing banners, barricades. They say that if the protesters leave them to do that they won’t touch them.

“But what is happening is people are coming out from the park and also the surrounding streets in numbers to try to get towards the police lines.

“Once the protesters stop and move back, the police stop too.

“In Gezi Park, protesters are chanting their defiant slogans again, while outside police are clearing sections of Taksim Square.

“The majority of them are there in the central camp and sitting down and trying to keep calm.

“I spoke to one mother yesterday who was determined that they would stay in the park until the end of this operation.”

Demonstrators had earlier manned the barricades and prepared for a possible intervention when officers began massing in the area and replaced activists’ banners with a large Turkish flag and a poster of Mustafa Kemel Ataturk, founder of the republic.


Police crush barricades in Istanbul square, fire tear gas and water cannons at protesters

ISTANBUL — Hundreds of riot police overran improvised barricades at Istanbul’s Taksim Square on Tuesday, firing tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons in running battles with protesters who have been occupying the area for more than a week.The police raid, which came on the 12th day of nationwide anti-government protests, sparked clashes with groups of demonstrators well into the afternoon. Many other protesters fled into the adjacent Gezi Park, where hundreds have been camping out to stop developers from cutting down trees in the park.
As police moved in, bulldozers began demolishing the barricades and the makeshift shelters.A peaceful demonstration against the park’s redevelopment has morphed into a test of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authority and a rejection of what some see as his autocratic ways.Erdogan, however, made it clear Tuesday that he had come to the end of his patience with the protesters, whom he accused of sullying Turkey’s image abroad.

“To those who … are at Taksim and elsewhere taking part in the demonstrations with sincere feelings, I call on you to leave those places and to end these incidents, and I send you my love. But for those who want to continue with the incidents I say: ‘It’s over.’ As of now we have no tolerance for them,” Erdogan said, speaking in the capital, Ankara, as the raid was taking place.

“Not only will we end the actions, we will be at the necks of the provocateurs and terrorists, and no one will get away with it,” he added.

The unrest — which has spread to 78 cities across Turkey — has been inspired in part by what some see as Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian style of governing and his perceived attempts to impose a religious and conservative lifestyle in a country with secular laws.

Erdogan, a devout Muslim, says he is committed to Turkey’s secular laws and denies charges of autocracy. Yet as he defended his tough stance, he gave critics little hope of a shift in his position.

“Were we supposed to kneel before them and say please remove your pieces of rags? They can call me harsh, but this Tayyip Erdogan won’t change,” he said.

Erdogan was referring to the banners and posters that activists had hung from a building and a monument at Taksim Square, which police removed.

Erdogan spoke before a meeting with President Abdullah Gul to discuss the protests, their first since they erupted. Contrary to Erdogan, Gul has defended people’s rights to express democratic rights.

By afternoon, the clashes had extended to the very edge of Gezi Park, with acrid tear gas covering its sides, even though authorities had promised not to go into the park. Several people were rushed on stretchers to a first aid station manned by protesters before being taken to ambulances. Others were carried, overcome by tear gas.

Selin Akuner, a volunteer at a makeshift infirmary at the park, said some 300 people had sought treatment, mostly for the effects of tear gas. Nearly 50 people had been hit by rubber bullets or gas canisters, 12 had head traumas and about eight had injured legs or arms, she said. The governor’s office said one demonstrator and one police officer were hospitalized.

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Turkish riot police enter Taksim Square in Istanbul

Riot police entered Istanbul’s Taksim Square on Tuesday morning, firing teargas to disperse protesters at the site, which has been the centre of ongoing anti-government demonstrations in Turkey.

By News Wires (text)

Hundreds of Turkish riot police entered Istanbul’s Taksim Square on Tuesday, firing water cannon and teargas to scatter small numbers of protesters involved in demonstrations against plans to redevelop a park there, a Reuters witness said.

Police removed protesters’ banners which had been hung from a building overlooking the square and the local governor said the police had no intention of breaking up the protest in the adjoining Gezi Park.

“Our aim is to remove the signs and pictures on Ataturk statue and the Ataturk Cultural Centre. We have no other aim,” Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu wrote on Twitter. “Gezi Park and Taksim will not be touched.”


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Turkey PM Erdogan warns protesters of ‘limited patience’

Supporters of Prime Minister Erdogan gather around his convoy waving flags
Mr Erdogan addressed several rallies of gathered supporters on Sunday

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned his patience “has a limit” as anti-government protests continued for a 10th day.

Mr Erdogan dismissed the protesters as “looters”, in a defiant address to supporters in the capital, Ankara.

Thousands of protesters gathered in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square and Ankara’s Kizilay Square on Sunday.

The anti-government unrest was sparked by a police crackdown on a local protest over an Istanbul park.

The initial protest has since spiralled into nationwide demonstrations, with protesters accusing Mr Erdogan’s government of becoming increasingly authoritarian and trying to impose conservative Islamic values on a secular state.

For a second night in a row, riot police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse the demonstrators in the centre of Ankara on Sunday.


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Turkish police fire tear gas at anti-government protesters in Ankara

Anti-government protesters including union workers demonstrate in Turkish capital Ankara, on June 5, 2013.

Anti-government protesters including union workers demonstrate in Turkish capital Ankara, on June 5, 2013.
Wed Jun 5, 2013 5:31PM GMT
Turkish police have fired tear gas to disperse protesters demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the capital Ankara.

On Wednesday, thousands of protesters including union workers gathered near Kizilay square in the city and clashed with riot police who responded with tear gas.

At least four people passed out after teargas blew into nearby restaurants.

Two major trade union confederations also started a two-day strike on Tuesday.

The strike, which involves 600,000 union members, is a major public support for the protesters who are standing their ground despite police harsh crackdown.

Since Friday, tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrations have been held in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Mugla, Antalya, and many other cities and towns.

The unrest in Turkey began after police broke up a sit-in which was held in Taksim Square on May 31 in protest against the planned demolition of Gezi Park.

The protesters said Gezi Park, which is a traditional gathering point for rallies and demonstrations as well as a popular tourist destination, is Istanbul’s last public green space.

At least four people have been killed and more than a thousand injured since the beginning of anti-government protests in Turkey. Authorities say over 2,000 people have been also detained.



Turkish authorities arrest social media users; calls for Erdogan to resign continue

By Michael Pearson and Gul Tuysuz, CNN
updated 8:59 PM EDT, Wed June 5, 2013
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Lady in red doesn’t want symbol status

  • NEW: Worldwide, headlines and social media abuzz with photos of pepper-sprayed woman
  • Police arrest social media users for spreading allegedly false information
  • NEW: In Hatay Province, protesters shouted “Tayyip istifa!” calling for prime minister’s resignation
  • Authorities have blamed social media for inciting violent protests

Istanbul (CNN) — Thousands of people of all ages gathered Wednesday evening in Ugur Mumcu square in Antakya, a picturesque town in the Hatay province of Turkey.

They chanted “Tayyip istifa!” or “Tayyip resign,” demanding that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan leave office. On nearly every street, CNN journalists heard pots and pans banging and saw security forces.

The authorities, who have violently clashed with protesters across Turkey, seemed to be avoiding the demonstrators.

Though it was mostly quiet around 10 p.m. local time in Antakya, it seemed that the situation nationally was only getting worse.

Anti-government riots erupt in Turkey Anti-government riots erupt in Turkey

In a move likely to inflame the anger of Turkish protesters, authorities earlier arrested two dozen social media users on accusations of spreading false information about demonstrations sweeping the nation.

Police detained 25 people and were searching for 13 more on accusations of using social media networks such as Twitter to spread false details about the anti-government protests and police reaction to them, according to the semiofficial Anadolu Agency news service.

Read more: Is Turkey on the verge of a meltdown?

The government response to the protests — tear gas, pepper spray and water cannons — has drawn condemnation from protesters and rights groups.

Worldwide, headlines and social media have spread photos of a young woman in a red dress, apparently unarmed, being pepper sprayed by police in Istanbul. She carried only a white satchel and was walking past demonstrators when an officer lunged and sprayed her.

Even as she tried to turn away, photos show he continued spraying her, hitting the back of her neck. There have been tweets of support for the woman and the protesters. The woman, however, has said she doesn’t want the attention.

READ: Who is the now famous woman in red?

On Wednesday, an official at the police station in Izmir confirmed to CNN that some of those accused of spreading false information on social media were brought in Tuesday night and remained in custody. But the official, who declined to give his name, refused Wednesday to provide additional details.

CNN Explains: What’s driving unrest in Turkey?

The mother of one suspect told CNN that police with the Smuggling and Organized Crime Unit showed up in force looking for her daughter — a high school senior — but she refused to hand her over without assurances that she would not languish in custody.

“I’m not giving my daughter up,” teenage suspect Begum Ozpaklar’s mother said. “I spoke to our lawyer, who spoke with the police, and I’m not handing my daughter to them until I know that they will take her statement immediately.”

“Those kids are being held behind bars, no sunlight. It’s not healthy,” she said.

Twitter ‘menace’

It wasn’t immediately clear what those arrested had posted to draw the attention of authorities, but the Turkish Interior Ministry said Wednesday that false information shared over social media had “misguided the youth” and led to protests that “threatened the security of life and property of people,” according to Anadolu.

Erdogan, who has been the target of protesters’ ire over what they call his dismissive and authoritarian style, on Sunday described Twitter as society’s “main menace,” saying it is full of exaggerations and lies.


Turkish Protesters Remain Defiant

‘Turkish Spring’ tests Erdogan’s rule

  1. By Nikolaj Nielsen


  • Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Twitter is a menace to society (Photo: svenwerk)

A violent crackdown on a peaceful demonstration on Friday (31 May) against plans to demolish a park and to erect a shopping centre in Taksim Square in central Istanbul quickly prompted a larger protest.

Pent-up public frustration against heavy-handed government rule and perceived lack of accountability poured out into the streets in Turkey’s largest city to be met head on by battalions of police.

The protest spread to 67 other cities and 81 provinces over the weekend, says the government.

An estimated 1,000 people have been injured in Istanbul and another 700 in Ankara, reports the Associated Press.

The streets around Taksim were on Monday littered with spent canisters of tear gas.

One 23-year-old student from Istanbul Technical University lost an eye after being shot at close range by police.

For her part, the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she “regrets disproportionate use of force by members of the Turkish police” in a statement on Sunday (2 June).

She called for calm and restraint on all sides.

Police eventually backed off on Sunday, as thousands remained in Taksim square.

The mood later turned festive, with people chanting victory slogans and calling Erdogan a “dictator.”

But clashes were still reported late on Sunday evening in Istanbul’s seaside neighbourhood of Besiktas.

Protests the same day also turned violent in Ankara.

The long-serving Prime Minister has won three mandates but is seen as becoming increasingly autocratic and Islamist by his critics.

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Blood In the Streets: Turkey Explodes In Violence (**Extremely Graphic Content**)

in Breaking News 1 day ago

Editor’s Note: Coming soon to a neighborhood near you. These protests reportedly erupted a few days ago when activists staged a sit-in at a local park. Now there are thousands of Greeks in the streets, hundreds arrested, and scores brutally beaten. So much so, that there are literally pools of blood flowing through the streets. It only takes a seemingly innocuous catalyst for all hell to break loose. These people aren’t being motivated because a park is being razed for commercial purposes. The resentment and anger goes much, much deeper than that.

Report Contributed by The Daily Sheeple:


Turkey is entering its third day of violent protests as police have withdrawn from Taksim Square and allowed the mass protests to continue.

Over 900 people have been arrested across Turkey for what the authorities called a security measure.

The first photo below was taken from a CNN IReport that CNN themselves have not vetted.

Blood in streets near Taksim Turkey


A shocking video report from RT shows violent clashes between police and protesters:

An RT article covered various aspects of the protests including how they started and what they stand for:

Police in Istanbul have withdrawn from Taksim Square, allowing the mass protest to continue unabated, Turkish media report. Istanbul and Ankara are entering the third day of violent protests, with tear gas and water cannon deployed and over 900 arrested.

Follow RT’s live updates on Taksim Square protest

Minor scuffles broke out after protesters lobbed fireworks at officers as they were drawing back, the state-run Anadolu Agency reports. Police removed barricades around the square, located in the heart of the city, which had previously been erected to prevent the anti-government protests, Private Dogan news agency said.

Despite the authorities decision to allow tens of thousands to flood onto the square, the main subway gateway to Taksim, the central station in the city’s metro network, has reportedly been shut down in an effort to keep more people from reaching the ongoing protests.

In the capital, Ankara, security forces battled with demonstrators who had amassed at a park near Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office. Rallies have also been staged in the cities of Bodrum, Konya and Izmir.

Protestors take care of an injured demonstrator during a demonstration in support of protests in Istanbul and against the Turkish Prime Minister and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), in Ankara, on June 1, 2013 (AFP Photo / Adem Altan)
Protestors take care of an injured demonstrator during a demonstration in support of protests in Istanbul and against the Turkish Prime Minister and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), in Ankara, on June 1, 2013 (AFP Photo / Adem Altan)

Confronted with the growing street opposition, Erdogan remained defiant, demanding that protesters “stop their demonstrations immediately.”

“Police were there yesterday, they’ll be on duty today and also tomorrow because Taksim Square cannot be an area where extremists are running wild,” the PM warned.

In two days about 939 people have been detained across the Turkey as part of “necessary security measures,” Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Güler said.

Police use a water cannon to disperse protestors near the Taksim Gezi park in Istanbul after clashes with riot police, on June 1, 2013, during a demonstration against the demolition of the park (AFP Photo / Gurcan Ozturk)
Police use a water cannon to disperse protestors near the Taksim Gezi park in Istanbul after clashes with riot police, on June 1, 2013, during a demonstration against the demolition of the park (AFP Photo / Gurcan Ozturk)

Many have wondered how the protests originally erupted and the answer to that question is that it apparently started after dozens of activists decided to attempt a sit in at a park that was set to be destroyed for commercial use.

After the police became overzealous and clearly attacked peaceful protesters, many other people within Turkish society joined their ranks.

On Monday, several dozen activists tried to stage a sit-in in Gezi Park, the last area of green space left on Taksim Square, after several trees were torn up to make way for a commercial redevelopment.

Erdogan dismissed the small protest on Wednesday, saying authorities would go ahead with the plan, which entails the construction of a replica Ottoman-era barracks that could house a shopping mall or apartments.

Following three days of police pressure, which saw officers douse peaceful protesters with pepper spray and tear gas, the sit-in attracted support from broad sections of Turkish society.

Protestors run away from tear gas at the Taksim Gezi park in Istanbul after clashes with riot police, on June 1, 2013, during a demonstration against the demolition of the park (AFP Photo / Gurcan Ozturk)
Protestors run away from tear gas at the Taksim Gezi park in Istanbul after clashes with riot police, on June 1, 2013, during a demonstration against the demolition of the park (AFP Photo / Gurcan Ozturk)

The heavy-handed tactics deployed by police have been viewed by demonstrators as a sign of the government’s increasingly authoritarian bent, with the park demonstration turning into a broader, nationwide protest against Erdogan’s government.

Similar demonstrations have flared up around the country despite a court decision to temporarily halt demolition of the park.


Read Full Article Here


Turkish police and protesters battle for Taksim square

Turkish police fired tear gas at demonstrators before retreating from Taksim Square in Istanbu.

8:28PM BST 01 Jun 2013

Some protesters hurled objects at officers and police vehicles, prompting police to fire several rounds of tear gas.

In Ankara, a police vehicle hit two demonstrators who were crouched in the middle of the street, barricading themselves behind rubbish bins.

One of the men who was hit was seen being rescued by other demonstrators and loaded into an ambulance while flashing a “V” for victory sign.

The other man was thrown in the air but appeared to not have been seriously injured.

A demonstration that started in Istanbul on Friday as a peaceful sit-in to save an inner-city green space has turned into nationwide anti-government protests in Turkey, revealing the depth of public anger against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


Read Full Article Here


Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan Rejects ‘Dictator’ Claims

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Protesters shout slogans as they hold a Turkish flag during the third day of nationwide anti-government protest at the Taksim square in Istanbul, June 2, 2013. Fierce clashes have followed a police crackdown on a peaceful gathering, as protesters denounced what they see as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian style. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

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Thousands of protesters gather for the third day of nationwide anti-government protest at the Taskim square in Istanbul, Sunday, June 2, 2013. After days of fierce clashes following a police crackdown on a peaceful gathering as protesters denounced what they see as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian style. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ISTANBUL—An estimated ten thousand protesters gathered Sunday on Taksim Square for the third day of protests against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Initially it appeared things were returning back to normal Sunday morning after most protesters left the square following a morning rain. But at noon, protesters started flooding back into Taksim Square, many waving flags, chanting “Victory, victory, victory” and calling on Erdogan’s government to resign.

Erdogan on Sunday rejected claims that he is a “dictator,” dismissing the protesters as an extremist fringe.

In another speech, delivered an hour later, Erdogan said: “I am not the master of the people. Dictatorship does not run in my blood or in my character. I am the servant of the people.”

Erdogan delivered two speeches Sunday and appeared in a television interview.

Read Full Article and  View Additional  Photos Here


Turkey PM Erdogan issues warning to Republican opposition

01/06 15:36 CET

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Turkey’s main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), of manipulating this week’s protests in Istanbul.

In a speech at Turkey’s Exporter’s Assembly, Erdogan issued a warning to CHP chief Kemal Kilicdaroglu not to use “provocative words” in his upcoming speech in the city.

Erdogan also vowed to press on with plans to build on Gezi Park in Taksim Square, which has sparked days of demonstrations. Erdogan said he would not give in to “wild extremists.”

The Turkish premier pleaded with the demonstrators to pack up and leave, describing the movement as “ideological” rather than “environmental.”

Read Full Article and  Watch Video Here


Turkish youths shout slogan ” Tayyip, resign! ” as they clash with security forces in Ankara, Turkey, June 1, 2013. Turkish police retreated from a main Istanbul square Saturday, removing barricades and allowing in thousands of protesters in a move to calm tensions after furious anti-government protests turned the city center into a battlefield. (AP Photo / Burhan Ozbilici)

ISTANBUL—Protests that started Friday in Istanbul intensified Saturday with both police and protesters turning out in greater numbers.

Protesters wearing gas masks marched Saturday towards Taksim Square, which has been at the center of the protests. Police used large amounts of tear gas to disperse the protests and put up blockades on the square.

In an apparent attempt to calm tensions, police retreated from the square later in the day, allowing thousands of protesters onto the square.

Chaos erupted in Istanbul Friday after police forcefully ended a sit-in protest against the construction of a shopping mall on a park’s grounds.

“It’s not about a park, it’s about the abuse of state power,” said one protester, who wished to remain anonymous. She had flown into Istanbul from the city of Bodrum, located 500 miles away.

“It’s about media being censored, it’s about democracy! It’s about police attacking innocent people,” she said.

Read Full Article Here


This is how we UNITE! This is how we STRUGGLE! @ISTANBUL, Besiktas

Bu Daha Başlangıç Bu Daha Başlangıç


RussiaToday RussiaToday

Thousands of protesters in Istanbul clashed with police in the most violent rally Turkey has seen in years. Hundreds have been injured and dozens arrested in fierce rioting which the media has dubbed the Turkish Spring as it spreads across the country. FOLLOW LIVE UPDATES: http://on.rt.com/2dow77 PHOTO GALLERY: http://on.rt.com/3fto6s



Activists in Tel Aviv protest police violence in Turkey

Bearing signs reading ‘Occupy Gezi,’ 50 people demonstrate outside Turkish Embassy

June 2, 2013, 10:05 pm
Demonstrators outside the Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv in solidarity with protesters in Taksim Square. (photo credit: Ricky Ben-David/Times of Israel staff)

Demonstrators outside the Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv in solidarity with protesters in Taksim Square. (photo credit: Ricky Ben-David/Times of Israel staff)

Though it paled in comparison to the throngs gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, several dozen protesters on Sunday evening gathered outside the Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv in a symbolic act of solidarity with the Turkish people.

Demonstrators outside the Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv in solidarity with protesters in Taksim Square. (photo credit: Ricky Ben David/Times of Israel staff)

Demonstrators protest against Turkish government policies outside the Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv, Sunday, June 2 (photo credit: Ricky Ben-David/Times of Israel staff)

Holding aloft placards in Turkish and English and waving a black flag, the small crowd of human rights activists chanted slogans in Hebrew against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and denounced police violence against peaceful protesters.

“Enough with the violence by the state and the police,” they said. ”Democracy or rebellion,” said others.

Asaf Nisan Guler, a young Turkish-Israeli citizen, gave his opinion:
“I’m speaking to my friends in Turkey who are out protesting; they are not afraid, their hearts are transformed. They are against oppression in their country. The way the government handled the protests was wrong, violent, fascist, illegitimate … all those things.

“I don’t think this is a Turkish Spring, not quite yet. Not like the Arab Spring, which was some sectors of society against others. The Turkish protesters are peaceful; they don’t do provocations … they just want the oppression to stop. I don’t see it turning into something like the Arab Spring. Turkey is, after all, an established democracy.”


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Turkish People victory against Erdogan Government, Police withdraw from Taksim Square

Date and Time:2 June 2013 – 8:23

turkey2Police in Istanbul have withdrawn from Taksim Square, allowing the mass protest to continue unabated, Turkish media report. Istanbul and Ankara are entering the third day of violent protests, with tear gas and water cannon deployed and over 900 arrested.


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