A Letter From Istanbul
“The protest started 5 days ago. People were gathered to protest against the only park in Istanbul being turned into a shopping mall. Gezi park is the equivalent of Hyde Park or Central park. It started as a calm protest, many people reading and young students exchanging ideas.
Things really escalated when the police burnt down their tents and started to tear gas the non violent protesters. Tanks currently patrol the streets and gas bombs are being dropped by helicopter.
The Turkish ruling party has recently really started to show its fierce authoritarian side. last week alcohol laws were put in place and they are also planning on banning ‘public displays of affection’ aka kissing in the street!
There are other things too.
The big thing is that the Turkish media is NOT broadcasting the protests. 40,000 people walked over the bridge to protest on the weekend. Nothing is on the TV or in the newspapers. Turkish people in towns and villages have no idea what is happening. This media censorship is a huge part of the problem.
Many are injured, and Istanbul is becoming a police state. It is not just the park that has caused this reaction, it is because our basic civil liberties are being taken away from us by a man who was not voted into power democratically.
It is rumoured that Facebook and Twitter will soon be shut down in Turkey. We want people to know what is happening. Many countries in the Middle East look at Turkey as an example of how a country can be run, but young people, writers, artists and musicians are beaten by the police, looked up in jail and tortured. these figures can be seen on Amnesty International’s website.”
- Selvi May