Monthly Archives: January 2017

Why were there protests all over Istanbul and other Turkish cities in 2013?

Published / by Omar / Leave a Comment

The protests in Turkey throughout 2013 were as a result of the continuing demonstrations and actions of Turkish citizens against the government. The wave of protests in Istanbul began on 28 May 2013 with demonstrations against a planned development on the grounds of Gezi Park, directly adjacent to Taksim Square.

Following the escalation of the conflict, which occurred as a result of a violent police operation on 31 May 2013, demonstrators in several Turkish cities were opposed to the perceived authoritarian policies of the conservative Islamic governing party.

The protest movement received overwhelming demonstrations of solidarity by Turkish citizens throughout June 2013. The Taksim Gezi Park was a symbol of society’s civil resistance to the system of government and against excessive police violence. The president was violently evicted on 15 June by the police, and three weeks later, for the first time in a long while, parliament opened for a few hours.

The occupation of Taksim Square played an important role in the protests. Around the square were violent clashes with the police, as the media televised coverage with the catchy label of “Turkish Spring”, inspired by the Arab movement of the same name. This conceptual analogy, however, is rejected by both sides of the debate, as shown by the response of social networks.

Besides, Istanbul was a particularly chaotic venue with ongoing protests and violent clashes at Kızılay Square, Kuğulu Park and in the Dikmen district. In the multi-ethnic province of Hatay, near the Syrian border, the remaining tensions became quieter during August before escalating once again in September.

Armutlu saw the most serious clashes between demonstrators and police during the riots in of Alevis, dominating the neighborhoods Hatay throughout the Hatay province. According to official figures, protest actions increased for the first three months, with active protestors increasing from 5,000 to 3.5 million.

During the protests came demonstrations of solidarity with ethnic Kurdish protests, mostly throughout the month of June, in the province of Diyarbakir. In fact, during one of these protests, a person of Kurdish ethnicity was killed.

Until 1 August 2013, the Turkish Medical Association noted that a total of four civilians and a policeman were killed. Unfortunately, at this time all is still not well, with many people’s lives still hanging in the balance. This is in addition to the protester fatally injured during the Gezi Park protests demonstration, on 9 September 2013.

For the period of 112 days, from the end May to September, five deaths have occurred according to Turkish security authorities. Of the slain protesters, the majority were members of the Alevi minority, of which three were from Antakya.

Over the entire period, over 8,100 injuries have been registered; including 4,329 from Turkish security agencies and 697 police officers. Of the approximately 5,000 people who have been arrested, according to Turkish security authorities, nearly 80 percent have been Alevis.