Last night I ate dinner at a local pizza place, ran a few errands and then watched the new TV show Motive... slept soundly and woke up to a beautiful day full of peace and opportunity. After checking my twitter feed I noticed a few posts from a good friend of the TradingPub that lives and trades in Turkey. While the world gets smaller every day, it is important not to be blinded by our comfort about what other people are going through.
We asked our friend to share some information so we could help spread the news because as of right now most major news sites are talking about Obamacare, IRS Scandals, Justin Bieber or how the Queen of England's portrait was not flattering.
While we have a limited sphere of influence, there is power in speech as well as numbers so we ware exercising our rights and freedom to share with you about the current situation. We hope that you will do the same.
Here is the open letter our friend shared with us this morning:
International Human Rights Organizations and Dear Friends, Comrades, Press Members from all over the world;
This is an urgent call from human rights defenders, activists, NGOs, professional chambers, grassroots, neighborhood associations and Istanbulites.
Since the 27th of May, Istanbulites from all social and political backgrounds and ages and from all over the city had been continuing a peaceful resistance in Gezi Park, the city's largest public park, soon to be demolished due to a so-called renewal project. This Project foresees the erection of a big mall (designed as the replica of the once Ottoman Artillery Barracks) in the place of those trees.
The police intervened in the park 3 times, each more violent than the other:
The first intervention was in the morning of May 28th, a crowd of about 50 protestors were tear-gassed directly in their faces.
In solidarity with the protestors, hundreds arrived in the evening and the occupation movement grew bigger. Right afterwards, the second intervention came early in the morning of May 30th at 5 am. The riot police set fire to the tents and tear gas and pepper sprays were used incessantly, causing serious injuries.
Against this inhumanity and extreme violence, the reaction was the occupation of the park, this time by thousands.
And this morning proved to be the culmination of violence and barbarism that no words can describe, with an unproportional use of force. The exit of the park was blocked by the police, thus locking the group in the park. The protester were then taken under crossfire of tear gas and pepper bombs, nearly getting choked to death. The only way out was by breaking the walls and many were wounded during this escape.
At the moment, brutal intervention against the protestors continues. The group has been pepper-sprayed and tear-gassed once more as they were leaving the area after reading their press call! At the moment, some are in Divan Hotel at Elmadag, having taken refuge there from the effect of the gas attacks.
Literally, almost all of Taksim Area, where Gezi Park is, is tear-gassed and
pepper gas-sprayed; especially the side streets around Taksim Square are under clouds of gas.
Dear friends, we believe we need nothing else to add; the scenes talk for themselves.
The resistance for democracy and human rights will not be terminated; we are determined to continue our struggle against a government determined to crush each and every opposition, a government that cannot tolerate even a peaceful opposition for saving trees. The present Turkish government has violated all international human rights conventions and mechanisms it is a party to.
Your valuable support and solidarity will indeed fortify our determination and resistance. Please share this news, name it and shame and blame the responsibles so that this insanity and brutality practiced against human rights defenders can be terminated through international pressure.
CALL TO THE INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITEE
This is also a call to the IOC to take Turkey out of its list of 2020.
If Olympics means friendship, if Olympic Games mean peace and companionship, these videos are enough proof of how the government violates the ideals of Olympics. Having Istanbul on the list will be tantamount to pepper-gassing these ideals.
In the name of solidarity and friendship
Urban Movements Istanbul / Habitat International Coalition
More pictures of the event are updated here: GEZI PARK