Another day and night of excessive police force, tons of gas of many types, TOMAs, panzers and thousands of batons mark a historic and unforgettably dark day in history for Taksim and for Turkey. Although Governor Mutlu had declared that there would be no intervention and that the lives of those in and around Gezi Park are under the police’s responsibility and will be safeguarded, there came a wave of attacks and raids against the protesters. While the peaceful protests were continuing, the Governor stated that the square needed cleaning and sent out expedition teams for yet another dawn operation. As day broke, all TV channels broadcasted live how “a few protesters were throwing Molotov cocktails at police while barricades were being lifted.” However, the people throwing Molotovs were in fact undercover policemen, which was proven later by their guns and transmitters.
After the dawn operation, when police removed the banners and flags belonging to leftist groups, thousands of white-collar people marched to Taksim during their lunch break to show support. When they had gone back to their offices, police attacks continued and grew in focus. Surrounding the square from all sides and applying a military strategy of an invasion force, the army of riot police charged the protesters. While the men in uniform acted like that, their compatriots under cover were slightly more civilized. They applied arbitrary violence and body searches as well as searches of private items. Several people got into quarrels with civilian-police which resulted in the police showing more violent reactions and then leaving.
During the night, Turkish people turned to CNN International to get their news from CNN’s war reporter; while Turkish media insisted on showing scenes with the title: “Violent protesters attack police!” When government officials and AKP advisor Ibrahim Kalin were asked about the events, they tried to give completely unrelated answers, most of which were not even true. While these explanations were being given, at the same time Istanbul’s Governor wanted to come on live TV and declare his gratitude to those who stayed in Gezi Park as police took over Taksim square. His words however should be heard as something much worse, much deeper. His words were “Come pick up your son from the park, we can not guarantee their lives any more!”
The PM’s remarks on the issues were clear; “Be an avenger of your hatred, a follower of your fury… Never forget” he told his supporters, while the protesters receive the message very well for their cause, swearing never to forget this brutal crackdown on unarmed peaceful civilians. It is obvious now that all promises given by the government officials failed to become reality. The working conditions of millions of workers and laborers, unemployed youth, the shattered dreams of a more liberal and democratic Turkey, all contributing to the protests, have now turned into a movement that will leave its mark on the understanding of current politics.
Amnesty International called for urgent global action by all activists in every city in the world, and other international humanitarian organizations show solidarity. The AKP government would be happy if pressure from the with international community were limited to NGOs and humanitarian organizations. But even the UN’s calling on Turkey to respect the rights of the protesters, as it is not binding, may not affect the PM’s decisions at all.
While looking at the events with watery eyes due to the extreme amount of peppery tear gas in the air, one cannot but wonder if the remark made by a CNN viewer may not reflect reality: “Europe now has a second Hitler!”