Tag Archives: Istanbul

Istanbul bombing: Turkish PM tries to put blame on Kurds

A suicide bomber blew himself up in central Istanbul. With no-one claiming the attack, the Turkish government eagerly used it for their own propaganda.

By Joris Leverink. Published 1-29-2016 by ROAR Magazine.

Photo: Twitter

Photo: Twitter

On Tuesday, January 12 a big explosion took place in the heart of Istanbul’s tourist district of Sultanahmet. The explosion was caused by a suicide bomber who blew himself up next to a group of mainly German tourists, instantly killing ten and injuring 15 others. Soon, the bomber was identified as a Saudi born Syrian man who had recently entered Turkey as a refugee.

According to the Turkish authorities the man was linked to the so-called Islamic State (IS, or ISIS), making this the terrorist group’s fourth deadly suicide bombing in Turkey in one year. Previous attacks that have been ascribed to – but haven’t been claimed by – IS occurred in Diyarbakir in June, Suruç in July and Ankara in October, with a death toll totaling around 140. Continue reading

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From Shanghai to New York, the rent is too damn high

Fueled by years of record-low interest rates, a new housing crisis is rearing its head from London to L.A. This time, however, it will not go uncontested.

By Jerome Roos. Published 10-28-2015 at ROAR Magazine

A protest for increased corporate taxes and affordable housing in San Francisco.

A protest for increased corporate taxes and affordable housing in San Francisco.

Capitalism is a strange beast. Though incredibly resilient in the face of systemic crises and remarkably adaptive to ever-changing conditions, it never truly overcomes its structural contradictions. As the Marxist geographer David Harvey often points out, it merely displaces them in space and time.

The global financial crisis of 2008-’09 has been no exception in this regard. In fact, the very response to that calamity has already laid the foundations for the next big crisis. And just like its immediate predecessor, it looks like this one will be centered, at least in part, on a massive speculative housing bubble. Continue reading

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Martyr For Democracy

Berkin Elvan. Photo courtesy Facebook.

Berkin Elvan. Photo courtesy Facebook.

15 year-old Berkin Elvan was struck with a tear gas canister last June in Istanbul’s uprising at Gezi Park. He had gone out to buy bread for his family and was not part of the demonstrations, but became an innocent victim through the indiscriminate activities of the riot police. After nine months in a coma and 5 operations to save his life, Berkin died on Tuesday. His death and funeral sparked a resurgence of the demonstrations throughout Turkey.

The agony of grief shows in the face of Berkin Elvan's mother as his casket begins its journey through the streets of Istanbul. Photo courtesy Ozann Kosee via Twitter.

The agony of grief shows in the face of Berkin Elvan’s mother as his coffin begins its journey through the streets of Istanbul. Photo courtesy Ozann Kosee via Twitter.

President Abdullah Gul, along with other public figures, issued messages of condolence to the family of Berkin Elvan, while Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan stepped up his rhetoric, condemning the protestors and instructing riot police to fire water cannon, tear gas and rubber pellets on crowds in efforts to stop tens of thousands of protesters reaching Taksim Square in Istanbul.

Erdogan came to power 11 years ago, winning  elections after promising liberal reforms and a secular government that would help position Turkey on the world stage and possibly bring about entering the EU. He has succumbed more and more to pressures from religious leaders in his government, causing loss of support and contributing to the recent uprisings. He now faces local elections on March 30 with presidential elections scheduled for August. “The prime minister has vowed to step down if the AKP, in power since 2002, loses the March 30 elections, seen as a test of his popularity after last year’s unrest and an ongoing graft probe that has ensnared key AKP allies,” reports Dilay Gundogan in an AFP article.

Erdogan insists that the ruling Justice and Development Party will win in the municipal elections and has called on the opposition leaders to resign in the case of defeat after the March 30 vote. Earlier, he announced his readiness to quit politics if the ruling party does not win the municipal elections.

Ballot boxes are only as trustworthy as the process by which they are utilized. Judging by Erdogan’s declarations and views on democracy, we hesitate to place confidence in them.

Thousands gather as they carry the coffin of Berkin Elvan during his funeral in Turkey. Photo courtesy Ozann Kosee via Twitter.

Thousands gather as they carry the coffin of Berkin Elvan during his funeral in Turkey. Photo courtesy Ozann Kosee via Twitter.

Erdogan believes “democracy” would consist of a country that has limited, if any, internet access, outlawing YouTube and Facebook as well as other forms of social media, complete control of the press, and continuation of policies that pit Turkish populations against their Kurdish neighbors. In his world, “democracy” includes the persecution and systematic annihilation of an entire ethnic group living in his country. His future includes “democracy” as shown by letting the government do as they please, and the people are not allowed redress – not even assembly at parks and for national events. In his visions, “democracy” is alive when riot police attack mourners of a 15 year old boy who died through the actions of his orders.

What the Prime Minister does not seem to understand about democracy is that it speaks for itself. It does not need a government to unite neighbors when their last remaining park is threatened by development. Democracy is seen by looking at the millennial generation of young people in Turkey and Northern Kurdistan able to talk, communicate and share common goals and interests. Erdogan will be defeated by the death of Berkin Elvin and the dreams he represents for a people who now speak with their own united voice.

Occupy World Writes extends our deepest and most sincere sympathy to Berkin’s family. May his face be remembered as people unite for an election that gives them the power to choose true democracy versus Erdogan’s version.

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Impressions at Gezi Park

Taksim Square - Gezi Park Protests, İstanbul, 1 June 2013. Photo By Alan Hilditch from Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Taksim Square – Gezi Park Protests, İstanbul, 1 June 2013. Photo By Alan Hilditch from Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

On International Women’s Day, police used violence to prevent a group of approximately 50 women (an association against the murder of women), denouncing domestic violence against women from entering Gezi Park at Taksim Square in Istanbul.

A police officer in plainclothes approached the spokeswoman of the group while she was peacefully reading a statement and shouted: “You are not allowed to stage a demonstration here. Get out!” a report from the daily Hürriyet said. “The officer then violently pushed several women down the stairs, as the group refused to disperse and tried to resist the police attack with their banners.”

“In the aftermath of their violent removal from Gezi Park, hundreds of women gathered at Galatasaray Square before attempting to march on Taksim Square despite a steady downpour and cold temperatures. The demonstrators, who frequently chanted “Tayyip, escape, woman are coming” in Turkish and “Women, Life, Freedom” in Kurdish, advanced as far Zambak Street before they were met by a cordon of riot police. Police used their shields to shove a number of those that had reached the security force’s lines before organizational leaders called for a retreat toward Galatasaray,” the Hurrieyet continued.

Since the Gezi Park uprising began on May 31 of 2013, police often block off access to Gezi Park and Taksim Square’s central monument at the whim of the province’s governor, Hüseyin Avni Mutlu. The protestors are met with violent, military-style brutality, complete with chemical weapons like teargas, under Mutlu’s instructions.

The Gezi Park Occupation originated when civilians objected to the decision of the government to raze and develop the last public green space in Istanbul. The protest surged when the fans of three football teams took their energy and support from the huge, filled stadium to the park and united forces with the people there. Met with extremely brutal push-back from riot police, demonstrators went as far as to write their names and blood types in indelible marker on their arms, fearing the worst and wanting medics to know something should the unthinkable happen.

This 18 minute video report will take you inside the uprising, giving voice to the thousands of people who continue their united struggle for democracy in Turkey.


A video from June 2013 describing the situation in Istanbul as it was at that time.

The uprisings quickly spread to over 60 cities in Turkey, and the struggles continue today. Occupy World Writes stands in solidarity with the demonstrators of Gezi Park, the people of Turkey and northern Kurdistan, and all those who support the right of people to assemble and make redress of grievances against their governments who have failed them.

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