Istanbul – The regime’s masquerade and the struggles of June 11th

After the Istanbul regional governor announced that there would be no attack on the protestors at Gezi Park and Taksim Square, the police marched into Taksim under the pretext of “cleaning” the square. Allegedly, they wanted to “clear” the square of barricades and forbidden flags and symbols like the PKK or Kurdistan flag and banners with Abdullah Ocalan on them.

Well equipped riot police units and TOMA armoured vehicles (armed with water cannon) advanced into the square, and a fight erupted shortly afterwards with a smaller group of demonstrators who did not want to let the police remove the barricades, banners and flags. All of the media, who up until then had only reported vaguely, or not at all, about the events, were now ready at the scene to report live on the clashes.

Two smaller groups holding flags of the BDP and SPS (the latter being a relatively unknown social-democratic party) suddenly started throwing Molotov cocktails. Questions that necessarily arise are as follows: How come government affiliated media suddenly went live? Where did the demonstrators get the Molotovs from, when they were not using them before and could not have known about what was going to happen? How do they then proceed with missing large and easy targets such as the TOMA trucks? Why do these people have gas masks worth 120 euros and walkie-talkies in their hands, while under their tucked-in shirts pistol grips can be seen? Why is it, that the TOMA trucks now systematically miss their Molotov-armed assailants, whereas in the past week they could effortlessly hit people in the head? Why didn’t the numerically superior riot police simply charge that small band of attackers, as they did in the previous days? Why did they reject the proposal of a part of the demonstrators, who were standing on the sidelines the whole time, to cease firing tear gas shells and water cannon, so that they could themselves “handle” this bunch?

The answer to all these questions is fairly simple: this is a textbook police provocation. From the very beginning it was obvious to everyone that “the Taksim theatre play”, as demonstrators called this morning’s events, was a provocation. After this unsuccessful attempt to provoke a mass clash, an attack ensued to test the demonstrators’ willingness to defend the liberated space. Unfortunately, since many people now had to go to work and negotiations with Erdogan had been announced, there were only a few thousand people left at Taksim and Gezi. Thus, Taksim was lost.

However, as soon as the police tried to enter the park with the intent of smashing the tents and banners – this despite the governor’s claims to the contrary – the protestors gathered and started chanting: “Police out!” The police cordon came to a halt and after a minor clash retreated. In the meantime, the masses started arriving at Taksim.

At the same time, the police raided the SDP building because the Molotov throwers were carrying flags and shields with “SDP” written on them. The SDP headquarters proclaimed they did not know who these attackers were, but 70 people got arrested anyway. By the afternoon, the police arrested 73 lawyers who had assembled in Caglayan Court to read out an appeal for dialogue between the government and the demonstrators, as well as for the ceasing of police violence.

There have been sporadic clashes ever since. The police occupied Taksim, and groups of demonstrators, despite throwing stones from multiple directions and throwing back tear gas canisters, failed to fight them off.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister “Gasdogan” performed in front of his party colleagues in Ankara. He called on the protestors again to clear the streets, claiming that the wave of antigovernment protests is actually part of a deliberate ploy to damage the international image and economy of Turkey. “These violent protests that are erupting across the country are hiding behind the protest at Gezi Parki... I ask all activists to look at the bigger picture, recognize the conspiracy and retreat from the streets.” He said that the protests are actually a ruse to “mask illegal activities“. The day earlier, in another of his (acting) performances, he referred to the demonstrators again as bandits and vandals, and their supporters as “members of the same family”.

The clashes at Taksim, Gezi Park and neighbouring streets are continuing. Tens of thousands of people arrived during the day. Despite the police brutality, the people are putting up fierce resistance and are refusing to surrender.

In Ankara, clashes with the police are even more frequent and fierce. The number of injured is growing fast, and protests and skirmishes are occurring at multiple locations. Protests and clashes also erupted in cities like Izmir, Niğde, Bursa, Antakija, Dijarbakr, Mersin, Kocaeli, Ordu, Denizli, Muğla, Eskišehir, Adana, Samsun, Edirne. The slogans are all the same, as are the wishes of the people: “Tayyip, resign!”, “The government, resign”!

The servant of the bourgeoisie, “Chemical Tayyip”, also announced counter-protests in Istanbul and Ankara for the following weekend. What this wannabe sultan – who once argued that a woman without a hijab is like a house without curtains: either for sale or for rent – does not realise, is that the people are looking at the bigger picture and have seen through his conspiracies. These conspiracies include robbing the people through privatisations; limiting their freedoms through bans like that on kissing in the subway, or on abortion; ever more security checks; and most importantly, the gradual restricting of the right to strike. This barking buffoon cannot see that the AKP’s political demise lies in his hard-line stance and “neo-liberal” Islamist policy. For some members of the police the pressure is already becoming too much to bear. As many as six police officers have committed suicide since the beginning of the protests.

As these lines are being written, the fighting people are erecting barricades at the entrance of Gazi Park in an attempt to stop the advancing police. Tear gas is being thrown into the park, and several tents are on fire. At Gazi Mahalla and Kartal (two different city quarters) tens of thousands of people are on the streets and the E-5 motorway is blocked. Reports of clashes in Ankara are also coming in. Any illusions of negotiating with the wannabe sultan are now surely gone. The Great Diktator now will not achieve anything by occupying Taksim Square and Gezi Park, for he cannot do the same with the whole of Istanbul, let alone the whole of Turkey. The people have understood his deceptions and lies, and will not give up the fight easily.

Taksim is everywhere!
The struggle is everywhere!
Keep on fighting, Gezi!
Keep on fighting, people of Turkey!