Turkey’s Environment Protest Swings to General Protest Against PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan

occupy gezi bridge, istanbul Turkey protests
It started as a peaceful protest against mall construction in Gezi park in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, and it quickly led to a full-blown protest – Arab Spring style – against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to the BBC, the Occupy Gezi protests are continuing today into a third day.

Erdogan reportedly has said that the protesters are “extremists running wild” but if you look at the images of the people in the protest they hardly look like extremists – just every day young people looking for some change.

By yesterday the protests started becoming violent as demonstrators clashed with police. One witness on the ground wrote to Green Prophet telling us that Facebook and Twitter resources in Turkey have been shut down.

Police have been using tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds, and more recently the police have started withdrawing as the protests grow in other Turkish cities.

There was a pretty impressive image of protesters marching from the east to the west side of Istanbul over the Bosphorus river.

Erdogan has called for an end to the protests and he promised he would push ahead for development in Taksim Square.

Young people in Turkey are protesting what they say is an increasingly authoritarian Islamic regime.

Some joined the protests in cities like Ankara to protest a new law restricting the sale of alcohol. Islam prohibits alcohol consumption, a tradition not followed by secularists.

Thousands are expected to be injured, including six who lost eyes, according to the Turkish Doctors’ Association. Some reports are saying that one woman died, but we have failed to find a confirmation on mainstream media sites.

We laud young people who demonstrate for the environment. Let’s hope that some of this brutality we are seeing now in Turkey will lead to some positive change.

For background, read these stories on Green Prophet to learn more about Taksim Square and what the original demonstrators are fighting against:

Controversial Renovation on Istanbul’s Taksim Square has Begun

Istanbul’s Taksim Square To Become Lifeless And Isolated In New Urban Plan, Opponents Warn

Above image of protestors on bridge via OccupyGezi

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10 thoughts on “Turkey’s Environment Protest Swings to General Protest Against PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan”

  1. Stephen Lewis says:

    This is not just about young people! The marching of young people is the tip of the iceberg in a groundswell of rage against oligarchy, real estate development cronyism, and dictatorial governance of public space. My gray hair, wrinkled face, broken teeth, and 1947 date of birth did not hold me back from marching nor protect me from tear gas, the same goes for many Turkish friends of similar agedness, including those who simply banged on pots and pans in protest or gave their more mobile kids moral support. Courage and political activism are more than youthful fashion statements.

  2. fredrik says:

    This photo of the bridge has been debunked a myraid of times over the past few days. This is NOT a picture from the protests, but from a marathon in 2012. http://twitchy.com/2013/06/01/debunked-photo-of-occupygezi-crowds-crossing-istanbul-bridge-is-a-fake/

    1. Thanks for the comment, fredrik.

  3. s k says:

    i have two corrections to make:
    1. This protest has never been just about young people. Turkish citizens of all ages are out on the streets, walking and chanting within their might.
    2. People just don’t want to give up their green space and Erdoğan remains indifferent to all these days long protests, saying he will do whatever he wants and will erect the building he is planning no matter what.

    Please look for the photos of the protests to have a objective idea of your own. Words will be needless after that.

  4. Elle says:

    Yeah. These really look like a group of “extremists” protesting against something small, huh? I LOVED to hear that the authorities sent out to contain the populace began to give up and retreat. THAT’S

    1. Elle says:

      oOOPS! Missed a key–What I meant to type was

      …THAT’S what we need to see around the entire world. Especially, the USA whose people sleep like a lazy dog on a hot day thinking someone else will do the necessary work. When people simply get enough of this sh*t and begin to come together. In this case, around the most important issue of protecting the environment–no matter how small the crime against it. Something as seemingly small as another commercial mall has tipped the balance of rage here. It has begun happening all over the world. Good luck Turkey. REMEMBER that the only thing worth fighting for but FREEDOM. Freedom from being controlled, freedom to live in a clean world and freedom from a slow and eventual death by those killing our environment. We are not countries or governments–we are humans.

  5. Over a small park in Taksim square area the people are demonstrating in huge numbers. New generations are holding the banner of change, Mother Earth has finally been appreciated and thus defended fiercely . Hope that the Turks will also stop the nuclear project on the Mediterranean and the other on the Black Sea. Who needs more risk and perpetual radioactive pollution except big nuclear cartels and those locals who benefit from their commissions?

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