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Trouble in Turkey

We have received this urgent appeal from the President of the Union of Journalists in Turkey.


Dear colleagues,

Everything is getting worse. In Istanbul, on Saturday evening, police entered Gezi Park using tear gas and water cannon against civilian people including women and children. Police also used tear gas in hotels around the area, where injured people had gone for treatment. Police do not allow the press to work freely in Taksim or other places where they attack to people. Pictures of a photo-journalist (Cem Türkel from Akşam daily) were deleted by using force in Harbiye near Taksim on Saturday night.

On Sunday, police began to arrest the doctors from the hotels who treated the people there. Police also made operation in some houses to arrest the leaders of Çarşı group (fans of Beşiktaş football team who were very active at the protesting demonstrations).

In Ankara, there was a funeral ceremony for Ethem Sarısülük, who was killed by a plastic bullet fired by police. Police do not allow people to meet in Kızılay, the center of Ankara. Police used water cannon against people, also by targeting journalists, especially cameramen who try to broadcast live.

Most of the Turkish media companies do not publish the realities. The people share the information and pictures mainly by social media, and a few tv companies and daily newspapers. The Radio and Television High Council fined four tv companies because they broadcast the demonstration related to Gezi Park resistance.

On Sunday, it was announced that the publication of Taraf daily has been banned. People were inside a big shopping center (Cevahir AVM) in Mecidiyeköy district, protesting against police attacks and the government. Police were also wait within the building.

There is an unseen, brutal attack against civilian people in Turkey. This is a crime against humanity. I make the criminal complaint against the Prime Minister who ordered the police attack.

The Prime Minister said on Saturday at the meeting in Ankara held by his party: "Everybody should empty Taksim by tomorrow (when there was a second mass meeting of the Prime Minister in Istanbul), otherwise my police knows how to empty that place".

Egemen Bağış, the Minister of the Responsible for EU Relations, declared that "everyone who wants to go to Taksim from now is a terrorist".

I ask all of you to protest to the Turkish government by emphasizing the situation of Turkey with respect to the freedom of press and expression.

I ask you to urge your governments and the European Union to condemn the Turkish government.

I hope I will have a chance to travel to Brussels on Wednesday to participate in the Speak-up conference.

But before the conference, please speak up!

Ercan Ipekci
President
Journalists' Union of Turkey
(Türkiye Gazeteciler Sendikası - TGS)

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