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Foreign Office warning over Turkey protests.

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Foreign Office warning over Turkey protests.

Post  Panda on Sat 1 Jun - 15:29

Foreign Office warning over Turkey protests


The Foreign Office has warned Britons to avoid areas where violent protests
are ongoing across Turkey, including in Istanbul's tourist epicentre.











560
315
TelegraphPlayer_10092940
























By Barney Henderson

12:32PM BST 01 Jun 2013





An environmental demonstration in Istanbul on Friday quickly spiralled into a
wider, violent nationwide protests against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's
increasingly authoritarian government.


The Foreign Office advised Britons to avoid the areas where protests were
taking place in Istanbul, Ankara and several other cities.


"Demonstrations are taking place in Istanbul and in other cities across
Turkey, including Ankara. Police are using tear gas and water cannons in
response. We advise British nationals to avoid all demonstrations," the Foreign
Office said.


"Demonstrations occur regularly in major cities and have the potential to
turn violent."


Tear gas and water canon were deployed against hundreds of people trying
cross the Bosporus Bridge to reach Istanbul's central Taksim square on Saturday,
while in Astana, protesters were blocked from marching on the parliament.




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The initial protests were triggered by the heavy-handed tactics of police
trying to break-up a peaceful sit-in at Gezi Park in Taksim square on Friday.
The protesters were campaigning against a redevelopment project for the park
that is designed to reduce congestion in the square – but would involve trees
being uprooted.

The unrest soon escalated and became focused on what protesters view as an
increasingly Islamist government, spreading to several other Turkish cities.


A human rights group said hundreds of people were injured in scuffles with
police that lasted overnight on Friday and into Saturday and that hundreds of
people had been arrested.

There were reports that police dropped tear gas canisters from helicopters
onto protesters.

A group of around 500 people waving Turkish flags, most of whom were young,
marched on the square in Istanbul on Saturday. Chanting "unite against fascism"
and "government resign", they were blocked by a heavy police presence on the
bridge, driving them back with water canon and a thick wall of tear gas.

Some protesters threw rocks at the police, while several tourists – including
an Egyptian who was seriously injured after being hit by a tear-gas canister –
were caught in the clashes. One witness reported that as many as 40,000 people
had gathered near the bridge that connects the Asian and European shores of the
city.

It was the fiercest anti-government demonstration since Mr Erdogan first came
to power in 2002. The prime minister and his ruling Justice and Development (AK)
Party stand accused of an increasingly uncompromising stance, an inching
Islamisation of the country and showing little tolerance of criticism.

Last week, the government quickly passed legislation curbing the sale and
advertising of alcoholic drinks, in a surprise move that alarmed secularists.
Many felt insulted when he defended the legislation by calling people who drink
"alcoholics".

"The trees, it's the drop that made the vase overflow," said Ozkan, a
philosophy student in Istanbul who did not want to give his full name. "People
are sick and tired of everything that this government is doing to them."

Mr Erdogan remained defiant on Saturday, vowing to push ahead with the
redevelopment plan for Taksim Square and calling on protesters "to stop their
demonstrations immediately".

"Police were there yesterday, they'll be on duty today and also tomorrow
because Taksim Square cannot be an area where extremists are running wild," he
said.

Asli Aydintasbas, a commentator for the daily Milliyet newspaper, wrote:
"These people are not just hugging trees ... what they are objecting to more
than anything is that the prime minister is the sole decision maker in every
aspect of our lives."

The US, Turkey's main ally, said it was concerned by the number of injured,
while Ozturk Turkdogan, the head of the Turkish Human Rights Association said:
"The use of (tear) gas at such proportions is unacceptable. It is a danger to
public health and as such is a crime... The people are standing up against
Erdogan who is trying to monopolise power and is meddling in all aspects of
life."

























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Re: Foreign Office warning over Turkey protests.

Post  Panda on Sun 2 Jun - 5:40

Turkish PM Defiant As Protests Rage On


Two people are reportedly killed in Istanbul as violent
protests enter a third day across the country.



5:03am UK,
Sunday 02 June 2013



Video: Violent Protests Rage On In
Turkey
Enlarge










  • Thousands of people flooded Istanbul's main square after police
    withdrew following one of the largest demonstrations against Turkey's
    Islamist-rooted government.

    Amnesty International said there had been two deaths, with Western allies
    including Britain and the US calling on the Turkish government to show
    restraint.

    Taksim Square has become the epicentre of demonstrations that have left
    dozens injured and many affected by tear gas fired by police.

    What began as an outcry against plans to build a shopping centre has
    snowballed into a broader protest against what critics claims is the
    government's conservative and authoritarian agenda.
    Amnesty International said two protesters have
    been killed in clashes
    Since the first clashes erupted on Friday, unrest has spread to other cities
    across the country.

    On Saturday, police in Ankara blocked a group of demonstrators from marching
    on the parliament and the prime minister's office.

    Officers fired tear gas and turned water cannons on demonstrators.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan admitted there had been examples of
    "extreme" police action.

    But he added: "I call on the protesters to stop their demonstrations
    immediately."

    The interior ministry said that legal action would be taken against police
    officers who had acted "disproportionately" and added 939 people had been
    arrested in more than 90 demonstrations over three days in Turkey.

    The country's Doctors' Association said four people have permanently lost
    their eyesight after being hit by gas canisters or plastic bullets.

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Re: Foreign Office warning over Turkey protests.

Post  Guest on Sun 2 Jun - 20:11

The Turkish people are getting more and more disillusioned with this Government. The Turks want to be thought of as Western, they want to join the Eu. Although it is a Muslim country they are very tolerant and welcoming of other cultures and faiths. Too many people are unhappy about what they see is a Governmental shift to Fundamentalist Islam. Even in thr past couple of years I have noticed for example, more foreign websites being blocked by the government firewall.


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Re: Foreign Office warning over Turkey protests.

Post  AnnaEsse on Sun 2 Jun - 21:02

Iris wrote:The Turkish people are getting more and more disillusioned with this Government. The Turks want to be thought of as Western, they want to join the Eu. Although it is a Muslim country they are very tolerant and welcoming of other cultures and faiths. Too many people are unhappy about what they see is a Governmental shift to Fundamentalist Islam. Even in thr past couple of years I have noticed for example, more foreign websites being blocked by the government firewall.


My son went to Turkey a few years ago and really liked the country. He brought me back a Gucci watch!

_________________________________________________________________________________________________
"You can run on for a long time, Run on for a long time, Run on for a long time, Sooner or later God'll cut you down." (Johnny Cash)

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Re: Foreign Office warning over Turkey protests.

Post  Guest on Sun 2 Jun - 21:15

Its certainly the best place to go for all your genuine fakes.

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Re: Foreign Office warning over Turkey protests.

Post  AnnaEsse on Sun 2 Jun - 21:44

Iris wrote:Its certainly the best place to go for all your genuine fakes.

Son brought back lots of top brand name clothes! Good quality too and I love my Gucci watch. He also brought back a beautiful hand-made Turkish rug.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________
"You can run on for a long time, Run on for a long time, Run on for a long time, Sooner or later God'll cut you down." (Johnny Cash)

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Re: Foreign Office warning over Turkey protests.

Post  Panda on Mon 3 Jun - 7:23

Turkey Protests Rage On: More Than 1,700 Held


Protesters stream back to Taksim Square as the British
Foreign Office warns against all but essential travel to parts of Turkey.



5:48am UK,
Monday 03 June 2013



Video: Unrest Rages In Istanbul And
Ankara
Enlarge


Turkey looks to repair the damage after a series of big
anti-government protests. Katie Stallard reports from a main shopping street
where police and protesters fought a sustained battle.

Video: Protests Leave Turkish Streets
Damaged
Enlarge









Thousands of demonstrators have gathered in central Istanbul for
a third day of protests against Turkey's Islamist-rooted government.

After a few hours of calm earlier in the day, Taksim Square, the focal point
of the protests, began to fill up again with protesters waving flags, chanting
anti-government slogans and calling on the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan,
to step down.

"They call me a dictator," he said in a speech on Sunday, a day after he
called for an immediate end to the protests.

"If they liken a humble servant to a dictator, then I am at a loss for
words."
Police guard the PM's office in the capital,
Ankara
Dozens have been injured and more than 1,700 people arrested in 235
demonstrations that have flared up in 67 cities across the vast nation.

In the capital, Ankara, on Sunday, police reportedly fired tear gas in an
attempt to disperse a crowd demonstrating against the government as crowds
returned to Kizilay Square.

The Foreign Office has issued advice to British tourists to avoid the
demonstrations. It also advises against all but essential travel to parts of the
country that are close to the Syrian border, and warns of the "high threat" from
terrorism.
Crowds take to Taskim Square in Istanbul for a
third day
According to The Association of British Travel Agents, around 15,000
holidaymakers from the UK would have been in Turkey over the past weekend during
the half-term break.

However, many would have returned at the weekend with the end of the
holidays.

Some protesters camped overnight at Istanbul's Taksim Square, gathering
around the monument to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern secular
Turkey.

Akin, who has been in Taksim for the past four days, said: "We are not
leaving. The only answer now is for this government to fall. We are tired of
this oppressive government constantly putting pressure on us.
Amnesty International said two protesters have
been killed in clashes
"This is no longer about these trees," he said, referring to Taksim's Gezi
Park, which was the initial focus of the protests.

Amnesty International said there had been two deaths, and Turkey's Western
allies including Britain and the US called on the government to show
restraint.

Police withdrew from Taksim Square on Saturday after violent clashes in which
they fired tear gas and turned water cannon against the demonstrators.

The interior ministry said 53 civilians and 26 police officers were hurt
during the violence, while Amnesty put the number of wounded in the
hundreds.
Anti-government graffiti sprayed on the walls
of Istanbul
What began as an outcry against plans to build a shopping centre or
apartments on the park snowballed into a broader protest against the government,
which critics say has become increasingly authoritarian.

Istanbul mayor Kadir Topbas has said he regrets "not informing the people
enough" on the details of the construction project in Taksim, the spark that led
to the protests.

Earlier, shopkeepers and municipal workers started cleaning up the streets
where the violence had taken place.

Sky's correspondent Katie Stallard said that rubble littered the main streets
around Taksim Square.
The police crackdown on the protests began on
Friday
"There is about 48 hours-worth of damage done here," she said.

"There is graffiti up and down the street calling for Tayyip Erdogan, the
prime minister, to resign; calling for people to unite against fascism."

Shopkeepers scrubbed anti-government graffiti off walls, and slogans were
also sprayed on burnt-out vehicles including a police car and a bus.

On Saturday, Mr Erdogan said there had been examples of "extreme" police
action, but said that the Taksim Square develpment would go ahead.

He added: "I call on the protesters to stop their demonstrations
immediately."

The Interior Ministry said that legal action would be taken against police
officers who had acted "disproportionately".

The country's Doctors' Association said four people have permanently lost
their eyesight after being hit by gas canisters or plastic bullets.



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Re: Foreign Office warning over Turkey protests.

Post  Panda on Mon 3 Jun - 18:02

Turkey: Erdoğan besieged in his ivory tower

3 June 2013Radikal Istanbul


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Police disperse demonstrators in Ankara. June 1, 2013

Why have the demonstrations against an urban planning project in Istanbul turned into protests against the power of the Prime Minister? Because he has refused to listen to criticism for far too long and seems determined to push ahead regardless, writes a columnist.

Orhan Kemal Cengiz Hearing the comments made by the Prime Minister after the start of the events in Taksim Square, one quickly grasps the problems democracy is facing in our country. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is criticising everyone: the opposition, the protesters, and even the police, who went too far in their use of tear gas. Just in passing, he forgets to criticise his own actions and those of his government. Even the Governor of Istanbul has been spared.
And so the responsibility for the latest events falls entirely on junior police officers. If it was just a matter of police excesses, in a democratic state the government should be accountable for them. What’s more, Turkey has no law that sets out precisely the conditions under which this gas may be used. The government that has given the police such power has not even taken the trouble to bring in a little legislation on this subject.
That said, the crisis that started in Gezi Park goes far beyond the excesses of the police in using tear gas. Indeed, it is a true civil disobedience movement that is emerging today, following a mobilisation against the felling of trees, the legal basis for which is questionable [Radikal has revealed the existence of an official expert report denying the legitimacy of this project to transform the Gezi Park]. What we are witnessing is a response to a form of State terrorism that denies the right of assembly and demonstration.
Responding violently to demonstrators

Erdoğan, who is holed up in an ivory tower where criticism can no longer reach him, is unwilling to see that the projects he has decided on and considers useful to the community actually raise serious objections in many sections of society. He does not want to hear that this society no longer accepts that all the decision-making levers should be in the hands of one man.
He fails to see that bringing the media to heel, dismissing critical editorialists, choosing a name for the third bridge over the Bosphorus that has deeply shocked the Alevis [the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, after the Ottoman Sultan Selim I, 1470-1520, known for his repression of the Alevis, heterodox Anatolian Shiites], bringing in severe restrictions on the consumption of alcohol on the pretext of protecting health, and responding violently to the demonstrators at Gezi Park have created the feeling that everything has been imposed by force and that tyranny now reigns.
The Prime Minister is asking that the absence of criticism that marks the atmosphere of his party be extended to the rest of society. He does not even want to hear the objections of conservatives, observant Muslims and liberals who have long supported him. He refuses to see the profound unhappiness in the very different sections of society caused by the rise of authoritarianism while he was still in a position to create the only democratic regime of the Muslim world that attracted so much interest internationally.
The virtue of flexibility

He has not grasped that to make room for the minority, even if he does have a comfortable majority, is not a sign of a lack of power but indeed evidence of virtue, and that to be able to show flexibility when required is not a sign of weakness but of a great political intelligence.
Instead of looking at himself critically, he poured oil on the flames and seems to be hoping that the protest movement will be taken over by radical organisations, all the better to discredit it. By declaring that he will knock down the Ataturk Cultural Centre [AKM, convention centre, concert hall and opera house located on Taksim Square] and erect a mosque there, hoping thereby to bring practicing Muslims onside, he is playing with the polarisation of society, and so embarking on an extremely risky business.

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Re: Foreign Office warning over Turkey protests.

Post  Panda on Tue 4 Jun - 5:01

Turkey Protests: Fourth Night Of Violence


Riot police fire tear gas at protesters in Ankara and
Istanbul as the Turkish prime minister rejects calls to resign.



2:17am UK,
Tuesday 04 June 2013



Video: Turkey Demos: Police Fire Tear
Gas
Enlarge





  • Protesters shout anti-government slogans in Turkey's capital, Ankara.

    1 of 26


  • Protesters gather behind a flaming barricade in Ankara on Monday.

    2 of 26


  • Ankara protesters hide behind a parasol during clashes with police.

    3 of 26


  • A riot police officer fires tear gas against protesters in Ankara.

    4 of 26


  • Protesters shout anti-government slogans during a demonstration at Taksim
    Square in central Istanbul on Monday.

    5 of 26


  • Trouble erupted between students and police in Ankara on Monday morning.

    6 of 26


  • A student protester kicks away a gas bomb fired by police in Ankara.

    7 of 26


  • Protesters carry the Turkish flag and shout anti-government slogans during a
    demonstration at Gezi Park near Taksim Square.

    8 of 26


  • Riot police near the office of the Prime Minister in Ankara on Monday. Recep
    Tayyip Erdogan has started on four-day foreign tour.

    9 of 26


  • Violent anti-government demonstrations continued for a third night running in
    Turkey's four biggest cities on Sunday.

    10 of 26


  • Clashes with riot police during a demonstration in Ankara. Prime Minister
    Tayyip Erdogan blamed the main secular opposition party for inciting the crowds
    and said the protests were aimed at depriving his ruling AK Party of votes as
    elections begin next year.

    11 of 26


  • Riot police detain a protester during demonstrations in central Ankara. A
    doctors' union in the city said before the latest clashes that more than 400
    civilians had been injured there, including some with serious head wounds.

    12 of 26


  • Protesters attack an armoured police vehicle in Istanbul on Sunday. There
    were clashes with riot police into the early hours of Monday with some
    protesters setting fire to offices of the ruling AK Party.

    13 of 26


  • Demonstrators react to riot police during an anti-government protest in
    central Istanbul on Sunday.

    14 of 26


  • Anti-government protesters clash with riot police near Prime Minister Tayyip
    Erdogan's office in Istanbul.

    15 of 26


  • A protester sleeps in a damaged vehicle at Taksim Square in central Istanbul
    on Monday morning.

    16 of 26


  • A man walks past damaged cars at Taksim Square.

    17 of 26


  • A protester walks past a burning car at Taksim Square.

    18 of 26


  • More than 1,700 people were arrested in the unrest nationwide, although most
    have since been released.

    19 of 26


  • Protests lasted into the early hours of the morning.

    20 of 26


  • The demonstrations started in Istanbul but then spread across the country.
    Here, protesters gather on a main street in Ankara late on Saturday.

    21 of 26


  • Residents stand by a damage bus.

    22 of 26


  • Pockets of demonstrators remained in Istanbul's Taksim Square into the early
    hours of Sunday.

    23 of 26


  • Rubble littered the streets, cars and buses were damaged and windows were
    smashed.

    24 of 26


  • The protests are directed against the Islamist-rooted government of the Prime
    Minister.

    25 of 26


  • The protesters sprayed anti-government slogans on walls and vehicles.

    26 of 26
PreviousNext
Gallery: Fourth Day Of Protests In
Turkey
Enlarge











  • Turkish riot police have fired more tear gas at protesters on a
    fourth night of violent clashes in Ankara and Istanbul.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected protesters' demands that he
    resign and claims the unrest is the work of Turkey's opposition.

    Violent protests have rocked Turkey since Friday, when police launched a
    pre-dawn raid against a peaceful sit-in protesting against plans to develop
    Istanbul's Taksim Square.

    Since then, the unrest by mostly secular-minded Turks has spiralled into
    Turkey's biggest anti-government disturbances in years.

    In Istanbul, clouds of tear gas in the Besiktas area forced protesters to run
    for cover. Riot police deployed water cannons to keep protesters back.

    In Ankara, demonstrators chanted for Mr Erdogan to resign.
    Students took to the streets of the Turkish
    capital Ankara on Monday
    Turkey's stock exchange dropped 10.5% on Monday over concerns about the
    destabilising effect of the protests.

    The Turkish Doctor's Association said one person, named as 20-year-old Mehmet
    Ayyalitas, died after a taxi slammed into a crowd in Istanbul, but the
    government's office insisted the man's death was accidental.

    Eight people hurt in Ankara were also in critical condition.

    The protests are seen as a display of frustration with Mr Erdogan, whom
    critics say has become increasingly authoritarian.

    But he has rejected the criticism. He said: "The protests weren't about the
    squares or the trees, some parties were not happy about results of the
    elections.

    "The situation is a lot calmer now and reason seems to be prevailing. I think
    things will return to normal.

    "These demonstrations are not all over Turkey, just in some big
    cities."
    Taksim Square was littered with damaged cars
    on Monday
    Turkey's public sector workers union said its members would stage a two-day
    strike to protest against so-called "state terror" against the
    demonstrations.

    The strike by the 240,000-member Confederation of Public Workers' Unions
    (KESK) is likely to affect schools, universities and public offices throughout
    the country.

    In a statement on its website said: "The state terror implemented against
    entirely peaceful protests is continuing in a way that threatens civilians' life
    safety."

    It comes after the Obama administration voiced concern over the crackdown on
    protesters, urging authorities to exercise restraint.

    Secretary of State John Kerry, who has traveled to Turkey three times since
    becoming America's top diplomat, said the US was following the situation closely
    and was troubled by reports of excessive force by the police.

    He also said Washington is "deeply concerned" by the large number of people
    who have been injured.
    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called
    protesters a 'bunch of vandals'
    Groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have denounced
    the police reaction as excessive.

    The Foreign Office has advised British tourists to avoid the demonstrations.
    It also advises against all but essential travel to areas close to the Syrian
    border and warns of a "high threat" from terrorism.

    Some 1,700 people were arrested nationwide but most have now been released,
    according to Interior Minister Muammer Guler, who estimated the cost of the
    protests to be more than 20m liras (£6.55m)

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Re: Foreign Office warning over Turkey protests.

Post  Panda on Wed 5 Jun - 17:53

Turkey: Erdoğan besieged in his ivory tower

3 June 2013Radikal Istanbul


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Police disperse demonstrators in Ankara. June 1, 2013

Why have the demonstrations against an urban planning project in Istanbul turned into protests against the power of the Prime Minister? Because he has refused to listen to criticism for far too long and seems determined to push ahead regardless, writes a columnist.

Orhan Kemal Cengiz Hearing the comments made by the Prime Minister after the start of the events in Taksim Square, one quickly grasps the problems democracy is facing in our country. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is criticising everyone: the opposition, the protesters, and even the police, who went too far in their use of tear gas. Just in passing, he forgets to criticise his own actions and those of his government. Even the Governor of Istanbul has been spared.
And so the responsibility for the latest events falls entirely on junior police officers. If it was just a matter of police excesses, in a democratic state the government should be accountable for them. What’s more, Turkey has no law that sets out precisely the conditions under which this gas may be used. The government that has given the police such power has not even taken the trouble to bring in a little legislation on this subject.
That said, the crisis that started in Gezi Park goes far beyond the excesses of the police in using tear gas. Indeed, it is a true civil disobedience movement that is emerging today, following a mobilisation against the felling of trees, the legal basis for which is questionable [Radikal has revealed the existence of an official expert report denying the legitimacy of this project to transform the Gezi Park]. What we are witnessing is a response to a form of State terrorism that denies the right of assembly and demonstration.
Responding violently to demonstrators

Erdoğan, who is holed up in an ivory tower where criticism can no longer reach him, is unwilling to see that the projects he has decided on and considers useful to the community actually raise serious objections in many sections of society. He does not want to hear that this society no longer accepts that all the decision-making levers should be in the hands of one man.
He fails to see that bringing the media to heel, dismissing critical editorialists, choosing a name for the third bridge over the Bosphorus that has deeply shocked the Alevis [the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, after the Ottoman Sultan Selim I, 1470-1520, known for his repression of the Alevis, heterodox Anatolian Shiites], bringing in severe restrictions on the consumption of alcohol on the pretext of protecting health, and responding violently to the demonstrators at Gezi Park have created the feeling that everything has been imposed by force and that tyranny now reigns.
The Prime Minister is asking that the absence of criticism that marks the atmosphere of his party be extended to the rest of society. He does not even want to hear the objections of conservatives, observant Muslims and liberals who have long supported him. He refuses to see the profound unhappiness in the very different sections of society caused by the rise of authoritarianism while he was still in a position to create the only democratic regime of the Muslim world that attracted so much interest internationally.
The virtue of flexibility

He has not grasped that to make room for the minority, even if he does have a comfortable majority, is not a sign of a lack of power but indeed evidence of virtue, and that to be able to show flexibility when required is not a sign of weakness but of a great political intelligence.
Instead of looking at himself critically, he poured oil on the flames and seems to be hoping that the protest movement will be taken over by radical organisations, all the better to discredit it. By declaring that he will knock down the Ataturk Cultural Centre [AKM, convention centre, concert hall and opera house located on Taksim Square] and erect a mosque there, hoping thereby to bring practicing Muslims onside, he is playing with the polarisation of society, and so embarking on an extremely risky business.

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Re: Foreign Office warning over Turkey protests.

Post  Panda on Sat 8 Jun - 0:24

Turkey protests: Erdogan rejects EU criticism


Turkish officials admit the
police response to the initial protest was excessive
Continue
reading the main story

Turkish protests



  • Inside protest HQ
  • Izmir fiercely anti-Erdogan
  • Erdogan's support still strong
  • Turkey's financial fragility exposed

Turkey must investigate the excessive
use of force by police against anti-government protesters, a senior EU official
has said in Istanbul.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele was speaking ahead of talks on
Turkey's ambition to join the EU.

In response, Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan said similar protests in Europe
would be dealt with more harshly.

Turkey has seen a week of civil unrest sparked by a police crackdown on a
local protest over an Istanbul park.

Mr Fuele and Mr Erdogan were both speaking at a conference in Istanbul on
Turkey's relations with the EU.

The EU enlargement commissioner said the EU had no intention of giving up on
Turkey's accession, but Turkey had to maintain values of freedom and fundamental
rights.

Continue reading the main story
Analysis



Chris Morris BBC News,
Brussels



Turkey's long march towards the EU has slowed in recent years to a reluctant
crawl. Formal talks on membership began in 2005, but there's been a distinct
lack of enthusiasm on both sides.

It has been a virtual stalemate since 2010 when France and Cyprus vetoed the
opening of negotiations on 11 of the 35 policy areas, or chapters, which
countries have to complete to be eligible for membership.

As a result, support for EU membership in Turkey itself has plummeted. But
there have been signs recently that things are changing. Both Germany and France
have suggested that they want to get things moving again - and it's expected
that talks on one of the blocked chapters, regional aid, will begin later this
month.

It's only a small step forward, and there is a very long way to go. German
Chancellor Angela Merkel admits that she still has doubts about Turkish
membership, but she wants the process to continue.

The fact that Turkey's economy has continued to boom, while the eurozone has
been mired in crisis, may have contributed to the change of heart.

The other member of the EU's big three, the UK, has always been a leading
supporter of Turkey's application.

He urged a "swift and transparent" investigation and
those responsible should be held to account.

"Peaceful demonstrations constitute a legitimate way for groups to express
their views in a democratic society," he said.

"Excessive use of force by police against these demonstrations has no place
in such a democracy".
Defiant
In response, Mr Erdogan accused the EU of double standards, saying police in
Europe and the US used the similar methods.

"Similar protests have taken place in Britain, France, Germany and bigger
ones in Greece," he said.

His government was open to "democratic demands", he added, but would not
accept "terrorism, violence and vandalism".

The Turkish leader also complained about the slow pace of the EU accession
process, saying Turkey faced "unjust obstructions".

Human rights concerns have always been an important obstacle to Turkey's
membership bid, along with the division of Cyprus and other issues.

The BBC's Mark Lowen in Istanbul says the pull of the EU has waned
considerably in Turkey in recent years.

When accession talks began in 2005, over 70% of Turks were in favour of
joining; now, some polls put support at just 30%.

Continue reading the main story


  • Protesters use humour as a
    weapon


Many Turks see a bloc unwilling to welcome a large
Muslim-majority nation to the east, especially with the opposition of founding
EU members such as France, our correspondent says.

The Turkish government has acknowledged that police used excessive force
against the original protest over the planned redevelopment of Gezi Park in
Istanbul.

But they say the wider protest movement that ensued in cities across the
country has been hijacked by extremists.

On Thursday night Mr Erdogan was welcomed back to Turkey by thousands of
cheering supporters who waited at the airport to greet him.

It was the first major show of support for Mr Erdogan following a week of
protests in which his opponents have called for him to resign.




How the crisis spiralled - in 90 seconds

Four people, including a police officer, are reported to have died since the
protests began, with thousands more hurt and hundreds arrested.

The government says more than 500 police officers are among the injured.

The protesters accuse Mr Erdogan's government of becoming increasingly
authoritarian and trying to impose conservative Islamic values on a secular
state.

His Justice and Development Party (AKP) has governed Turkey since 2002,
winning successive election victories

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Re: Foreign Office warning over Turkey protests.

Post  Panda on Tue 11 Jun - 17:54

Turkey Protests: Riot Police Clash With ActivistsPolice use rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon to disperse activists who fight back with petrol bombs.1:16pm UK, Tuesday 11 June 2013 Video: Police move past barricades into Taksim Square, Istanbul
Enlarge Riot police fired water cannon and tear gas at protesters in Istanbul's Taksim Square as protestors threw molotov cocktails on Tuesday, entering the square for the first time since demonstrations against plans to develop a park there turned violent. Click through for more pictures.

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A protester throws a petrol bomb towards police.

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PreviousNextGallery: Turkey: Police and Protesters Clash
Enlarge EmailTurkey's prime minister has warned he has "no more tolerance" for the mass anti-government protests that are taking place across the country.

A defiant Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a live TV broadcast: "To those who ... at Taksim and elsewhere taking part in the demonstrations with sincere feelings: I call on you to leave those places and to end these incidents, and I send you my love.


A protester throws a petrol bomb
"But for those who want to continue with the incidents, I say, 'it's over'. We won't show any more tolerance."

It came after riot police stormed through barricades to clear Istanbul's main square, prompting fresh clashes with protesters.

The big push by hundreds of officers at 9am local time forced many thousands of demonstrators, who had occupied Taksim Square for more than a week, to flee the area.

Diggers mowed down barricades as police used rubber bullets, water cannon, tear gas and stun grenades to disperse crowds, as activists hit back with petrol bombs, fireworks and stones.

Protesters ran into Gezi Park where many had been camping - and where the demonstration first started on May 31 as a protest against the planned redevelopment of the green space into a shopping centre.


Protesters form a human chain

A violent police crackdown then on the protest has turned what started off as a single peaceful demonstration into a national uprising against the Islamist-rooted government of Mr Erdogan that is seen by many as authoritarian.

Smoke could be seen rising from Taksim Square as protesters set fire to tyres and rubbish to force back police lines.

They also took to social media websites like Twitter to call on more waves of protesters to join them for a mass demonstration later this evening.


Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the Turkish parliament

Sky's Katie Stallard, in Taksim Square, said: "It would seem that the end of the government's patience has been reached.

"It is predominantly a young generation who are here ... questioning the rule of Prime Minister Erdogan, who still has huge pockets of support ... they do not speak for all of Turkey, or indeed Istanbul.

"Protesters have set fire to their barricades. They have been throwing rocks at police and we have seen petrol bombs being thrown.

"What some of the protesters are doing is they are trying to grab canisters of gas and throw them back into the police lines.

"The police say they are removing banners, barricades. They say that if the protesters leave them to do that they won't touch them.


Police use tear gas and water cannon to disperse demonstrators

"But the people here do not believe the police. What is happening is people are coming out from the park and also the surrounding streets in numbers to try to get towards the police lines.

"Once the protesters stop and move back, the police stop too.

"In Gezi Park, protesters are chanting their defiant slogans again, while outside police are clearing sections of Taksim Square.

"The majority of them are there in the central camp and sitting down and trying to keep calm.

"I spoke to one mother yesterday who was determined that they would stay in the park until the end of this operation," she added.


A police water cannon on fire in Taksim Square

Demonstrators had earlier manned the barricades and prepared for a possible intervention when officers began massing in the area and replaced activists' banners with a large Turkish flag and a poster of Mustafa Kemel Ataturk, founder of the republic.

A protester in Ankara said the police clampdown in Taksim Square would make the demonstrators more resolute.

"They chose not to listen to our youth," Onur Sivav said. "We will always show resistance when they attack us like today and this (protest) will spread all over the country."

Scenes in Taksim Square on Tuesday morning contrasted starkly with the carnival-like atmosphere over the weekend.

There was a feeling among protesters then that once Mr Erdogan accepted the scale and strength of the nationwide protests, stretching to scores of towns and cities including the capital Ankara, there would be some level of compromise.


A petrol bomb explodes in front of riot police officers

However, that has not happened. He remains defiant and has been rallying his supporters.

Tensions have escalated after his vow to press ahead with the Gezi Park redevelopment and his dismissal of protesters as fringe extremists and their demonstrations as undemocratic plots to topple his government which was elected with 50% support.

Three protesters have died and thousands have been treated for injuries or the effects of tear gas during the protests.

Addressing the Turkish parliament amid the fresh clashes in Istanbul earlier, Mr Erdogan said a policeman had also lost his life in the demonstrations.

The PM had said he would meet the Gezi Park protesters on Wednesday, following a request by some activists.


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Re: Foreign Office warning over Turkey protests.

Post  Panda on Tue 18 Jun - 0:06


Rodrigo
When he came to power more than ten years ago, Turkey’s prime minister made his country’s accession to the EU a priority. However, differences with the EU seem to have persuaded him to change his mind, a perception reinforced by his attitude towards recent weeks’ protests.
Ariane Bonzon
In 2002, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was on the campaign trail, and his party went on to victory in elections a few months later. He spoke in concrete terms of day-to-day life and freedoms of religion, culture, language and expression. The atmosphere was rather good-natured and less nationalistic than at the meetings of certain other parties.
Preparing to join the European Union was, he said, a necessary and useful step, and the best way to reform the country. To foreign audiences he explained that his new Party of Justice and Prosperity (AKP) had transformed and broken with its Islamist, anti-European past.
Eleven years later, during the night between Thursday 6 and Friday June 7, there was none of that talk to be heard. Erdoğan’s references were to the Ottoman Empire. He called on Allah to make “brotherhood”, the “union” and Arab-Muslim solidarity “eternal”, and he played on the Turkish nationalist pride of thousands of his supporters, the “soldiers” who had come to welcome him and declare themselves ready to go “wipe out” the “Vandals”.
The Turkish prime minister had nothing to say about the protests against his government’s authoritarian excesses, against unbridled capitalism, for freedom of expression and lifestyle, of the tens of thousands youth who have been on the streets since May 31.
And not a word about Europe, apart from a few remarks some hours later at a press conference he held jointly with the European Commissioner Stefan Füle. While claiming to be open to the “needs of democracy”, Erdoğan used the conference to accuse the European Union of “hypocrisy” and “double standards”. He complained about the lack of progress in the accession negotiations, a “tragi-comic situation”, and reminded those who would criticise his management of the current crisis that when it comes to democracy Turkey has nothing to learn from “certain European countries”.
Erdoğan’s gloves were off. His remarks were offensive and undiplomatic. To speak that way, the prime minister must have abandoned all hope and desire for European integration.
What happened? The contrast between the man of 2002 and 2013 is starkly clear. Should we be surprised? Or, on the contrary, can we see evidence here, like his most diehard opponents do, of the “double agenda” of Erdoğan and the AKP? Those who, once freed from the tutelage of the Turkish military thanks to the support of the EU, had free rein to roll out a hidden, neo-Ottoman policy, well removed from secular, democratic and Western values.
Coming to power in 2002, the AKP government has continued and amplified a series of substantive democratic reforms that had been initiated by the coalition previously in power. And that astonished their fiercest opponents.
Brussels appreciated it too: Turkey was given a date – October 2005 – for the start of the EU accession negotiations. The AKP presented itself as a “Muslim Democratic” party after the fashion of the Christian Democratic tradition, the most European-minded of the prevailing political currents. Turkey’s joining the European Union would be the “anti-clash” of civilizations, Erdoğan declared.
Ultra-minorities, the liberal left media, and persuaded Europeans, were, without really knowing it, his zealous ambassadors to diplomats and Western journalists. They had finally found, in the AKP, a party that had the courage and means to decapitate their common enemy: the Turkish military (responsible for four military coups in almost thirty years) and to send it back to its barracks.
This momentum and these reforms, however, were soon to come to a sudden stop. It happened from 2004-2005, well before the battle against the military had been won.
There were two reasons. The first is little known, but essential to understanding Erdoğan.
In 2003, the European Court of Human Rights }]upheld the dissolution by the Turkish Constitutional Court of the Islamic Refah Party, justified because, in Turkey, the party was a threat to democracy. At the same time, though, the dissolution of Communist or autonomist parties was held to be contrary to European law. Erdoğan could not comprehend the difference.
Worse yet, in June 2004, handing down its final decision in }]the Leila Sahin case, the High Court in Strasbourg upheld the exclusion of the plaintiff from a Turkish university for wearing a veil. It came as a shock to Erdoğan, whose daughters had to leave to study in the United States to keep their veils. There again, he does not understand that what is allowed in most European countries – to wear a veil at a university – is subject to a contrary opinion when it comes to Turkey, where the ban on headscarves in universities is still in place.
And when he speaks of “double standards”, it is essentially these two decisions that he has in mind. Those decisions have weakened his fragile belief that the European Union guarantees religious freedoms.
The second reason is better known. In 2005, the French were to make a statement on the Treaty establishing a European Constitution. Turkey’s candidacy was subjected to a violent campaign of denigration. Turkey played the role of scarecrow, exploited for electoral purposes by President Nicolas Sarkozy, who proposed, with Germany, to offer Turkey a “privileged partnership” – an empty formula for the only candidate country that has signed a customs union agreement with the European Union, and a very long time ago (1995).
If Erdoğan wants to give back to the Turks who elected him some pride, a national destiny, the opposite is happening. This marks him deeply, and he feels humiliated. A vicious circle has begun.
A majority of Turkish officials no longer believe in this European Union that is snubbing them. Turkey has decided to slow, stop or even reverse the liberal and democratic reforms necessary for an integration that remains too hypothetical. It refuses to apply the rules of the customs union to Cyprus, now a member of the European Union, and whose northern part it still occupies.
Since October 2005, 13 of the 33 “chapters” have been opened for negotiation, but only one has been closed. Since June 2010, no new “chapter" has been opened. In July 2012 Ankara suspended all contact with the European Union during the six months that Cyprus, which Ankara still refuses to recognise, held the presidency of the European Union.
Erdoğan now finds himself in a quasi-schizophrenic situation regarding the European Union. On one hand, he is becoming aware that the Ottoman dream has not seduced his Arab neighbors, and that the influence of Turkish diplomacy in the region is in good part due to Turkey’s strong Western backing. On the other, it has now become almost impossible for him to admit to his public that integration with Europe would be, in the end – economically and diplomatically, in any case – the best thing that could happen to Turkey.
Translated from the French by Anton Baer

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Re: Foreign Office warning over Turkey protests.

Post  Panda on Sat 27 Jul - 7:47

26 July 2013 Last updated at 23:17 Share this pageEmail Print Share this page

1.1KShareFacebookTwitter.Turkish PM Erdogan threatens to sue Times over open letter Critics of Mr Erdogan accuse him of being increasingly authoritarian Continue reading the main story
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Turkey's prime minister has threatened legal action against a UK newspaper for publishing an open letter criticising his handling of recent protests.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the Times of "renting out its pages for money".

Hollywood celebrities and academics were among those who signed the letter this week accusing Turkey's government of "dictatorial rule".

A row over a park in Istanbul last month triggered widespread anti-government protests.

At least four people were killed and thousands more injured as police cracked down on demonstrators who accused Mr Erdogan of becoming increasingly authoritarian.

"The press wants to throw mud to see if it sticks," Mr Erdogan told reporters in comments broadcast on Turkey's NTV channel.

"The Times is renting out its own pages for money. This is the Times' failing. We will pursue legal channels regarding the Times."

Mr Erdogan has referred to the anti-government protesters as "thugs"
Mr Erdogan said those who signed the letter - taken out as an full-page advertisement - had "rented out their thoughts" and did not genuinely support democracy.

"If they truly believed in democracy, they couldn't have displayed such a lack of character to call the leader of a party that won 50% of the vote a dictator," the prime minister said.

The Times has so far not commented on the remarks.

The open letter was signed by 30 people including Turkish pianist Fazil Say, US film stars Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon, film director David Lynch and British historian David Starkey.

They condemned the crackdown on anti-government protesters and compared giant pro-government rallies - organised by Mr Erdogan's AKP party to counter the protests - to the huge rallies staged in Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany.

The wave of unrest in Turkey was sparked by demonstrations against controversial plans to redevelop Istanbul's Gezi Park.

The authorities' heavy-handed response sparked anti-government protests nationwide.

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Re: Foreign Office warning over Turkey protests.

Post  Panda on Sun 28 Jul - 6:01

Police: 6 killed in attack on Turkish embassy in SomaliaBy Omar Nor and Greg Botelho, CNN
July 28, 2013 -- Updated 0242 GMT (1042 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
NEW: Somali president decries what he calls an "act of cowardly desperation"
A minivan full of explosives blows up outside Turkish embassy in Mogadishu
Two security guards, a student and three attackers die, Somali police say
Islamist militant group al-Shabaab claims responsibility
Mogadishu, Somalia (CNN) -- Blood and body parts littered the ground outside Turkey's embassy in Somalia on Saturday afternoon, the grisly result of a blast that police said left six dead and nine wounded.

A minivan packed with explosives went off around 5 p.m. in the heart of Mogadishu, just a few meters from the Turkish diplomatic post, said police Col. Ahmed Mohamud.

When it was over, two Somali security guards, a university student and three attackers were dead, according to Mohamud.

Turkish embassy sources said that two of its staff members were among the wounded.

Somali police and Turkish embassy guards, meanwhile, converged on the scene. Mangled buses and cars ended up in a disfigured heap, while the windows of numerous nearby apartments were shattered.

Al-Shabaab -- a militant Islamist group with connections to al Qaeda -- claimed responsibility for the attack.

"We are behind the martyrdom explosion," the group claimed via Twitter. "The Turkish were our main target."

The U.S. government reacted Saturday to "the terrorist attack" by pledging its solidarity with Turkey, "the people of Somalia ... and all members of the international community who are working for peace and stability in Somalia."

"This cowardly act will not shake our commitment to continue working for the brighter, more democratic and prosperous future the people of Somalia deserve," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud similarly blasted what he called "an act of cowardly desperation by terrorists" against one of his nation's "most determined and dependable allies." He lauded Turks' "tireless efforts" over the past two years to help build new schools and hospitals, among other contributions.

"I condemn this criminal act of terrorism and my government and security forces will do everything it can to catch those who planned and directed it," Hassan said.

"We must continue to stand firm against those who seek to destroy this country and, with the brave support of our allies, we must double our efforts to deliver the peaceful future the Somali people so desperately want."

Saturday's bombing was the second major attack in Mogadishu in a few days: On Wednesday, at least one person died in the capital after a bomb hidden in a lawmaker's car blew up.

The targeted member of Parliament, Sheikh Adan Mader, and other lawmakers were out of the car when the blast occurred and were unharmed, police said.

Designated a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. government in 2008, al-Shabaab has waged a war with Somali's government in an effort to implement a stricter form of Islamic law in the country.

Its forces were pushed out of Mogadishu in summer 2011 by Somali and other African forces, raising hopes of a return to relative security in a city after about 20 years of violence.

But the militants have persisted by maintaining control of large rural areas of southern and central Somalia and staging guerrilla-style attacks. In one such attack that al-Shabaab took credit for, in June, at least 14 people died and 15 were wounded in an attack on U.N. headquarters in Mogadishu.

In addition to its volatile security situation, Somalia has been plagued by famine.

A May report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network, found that 258,000 Somalis had died in the famine between October 2010 and April 2012. Half of the famine victims were children younger than 5.

Journalist Omar Nor reported from Somalia, and CNN's Greg Botelho wrote this story from Atlanta.


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Turkish Blockade to the west of exclusive economic Cyprus zone.

Post  Panda on Tue 30 Jul - 16:19

PoliticsMember States

Cyprus: ‘Turkish blockade to the west of the exclusive economic zone’



30 July 2013

Presseurop
Politis
Politis, 30 July 2013

Last week a warship from the occupied part of Cyprus prevented an Italian ship from entering the Republic of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) which is currently the site of undersea gas exploration, reports Politis.

The Italian craft Odin Finder, which was to participate in the laying of undersea optical fibre to link Cyprus and other Mediterranean countries, was finally obliged to withdraw from the area. Nicosia has complained about the incident to both the Italian and American embassies.

This is the third serious incident of this type in so many months, notes the daily. Turkey refuses to recognise the agreements on maritime borders which Cyprus has concluded with other neighbouring countries, and is threatening to deploy warships to prevent drilling for gas in the EEZ.

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Re: Foreign Office warning over Turkey protests.

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