The following dispatch has been received from two Tidal correspondents in Turkey. Given the crisis they describe, we are posting it anonymously. It was written on June 16th, when there was an illegal curfew. The authors are activists, not journalists. The dispatch is meant as an “on the ground” report from the eyes of participants.
We are writing to reach out to you regarding the undeclared state of emergency and extreme police violence in Turkey.
Since May 28th, thousands of people have taken to the streets of Istanbul as well as other major cities, erecting barricades and starting bonfires against brutal police attacks.
On June 15, Gezi Park (Istanbul), which had been occupied by more than 200,000 people, was evicted by the extreme use of lethal chemicals, pepper gas, and rubber bullets, as well as water cannons spraying water mixed again with chemicals.
Mainstream media here is censored by the government’s decree; TV channels, newspapers, and radio either conceal the facts or misrepresent the events. Millions of people rely on social media; however Twitter and Facebook accounts have also been censored.
- Hundreds or thousands of people have been detained. They are “lost” by the state, and their detainee status is not recognized. Nobody knows where they are, or even whether they are alive or not. The Bar Association has declared the urgency of finding the detainees. As of June 16, hundreds of protesters have been lost for more than 24th hours. We are extremely concerned about what might happen to the detainees who have been literally kidnapped and tortured by Turkish state’s armed forces.
- Infirmaries and hospitals have been attacked and heavily damaged. Voluntary doctors who were helping the evicted occupiers have been arrested. No information on the medical doctors who were detained has been revealed. We are concerned about their lives.
- Excessive use of lethal chemicals has also caused the death of migrant birds, stray dogs and cats. Streets are full of carcasses of stray animals that have been violently murdered during this massive scale of police violence that is heavily destructive of entire habitat in the cities.
- Minister for EU (European Union) Affairs and Chief Negotiator, Egemen Bagis, declared everybody entering Taksim as terrorists, and asked the police to treat them as such. The government did not declare a state of emergency, yet all the necessary measures have been forcefully taken. Military forces have been joined with the police force. Civil, political and democratic rights are indefinitely suspended. International conventions are breached. Human rights have been violated with widespread use of lethal chemicals in public spaces.
- Some members of the members of the parliament were physically attacked by the police in Istanbul. Police terror on civilians is entirely denied, while undercover policemen keep provoking street attacks, which are often followed by lethal injuries, physical traumas and pro-government mob violence on protesters.
- As of June 16, the government declared indefinite curfew throughout the cities, and those who have been out to protest were severely injured and taken under custody.
Please help us spread the word. International support from academics, media and NGOs is the only way for millions of people to get out from this hell. This is urgent.
- Taksim Solidarity’s web site in English: http://taksimdayanisma.org/?
- Taksim Gezi Park protest meetings, photos and short information: http://showdiscontent.com/
- Periodic information in 7 languages: http://turkishspring.nadir.
- TV live broadcast from Taksim Gezi Park: http://capul.tv/
- Latest events on BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/
We urgently need your political support in reaching out to the world, in making this crime public to the entire world. We would like you to help us in condemning this government controlled violation of human rights, suspension of any legal rights and violation of democratic regime in Turkey.
Originally published in Tidal.