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reuters:

In Turkey, at least 100 injured as police use teargas, water cannons against protesters at Gezi Park:

“These people will not bow down to you” — protest banner 

Police raided the camps of demonstrators at dawn on Friday. The demonstrators have been in the park for days to protest plans to build a shopping mall. Clouds of teargas rose around Taksim Square, a historic venue for political protest in the country. 

Two Tumblrs are claiming to collect unconfirmed pictures of the protests: resistaksim.tumblr.com and occupygezipics.tumblr.com.

Protests began on Monday after developers destroyed trees in the park. It has since widened into a demonstration against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s political party, perceived policy brutality,  and the government’s stance on Syria.

The Istanbul Medical Chamber said at least 100 people sustained minor injuries, some when a wall collapsed as they tried to flee teargas. Amnesty International said it was concerned by what it described as “the use of excessive force” by the police.

Continue reading: http://reut.rs/18DxojA


Photos: Reuters photographers Osman Orsal and Murad Sezer

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75 notes &

globalvoices:

İstanbul is under police siege today, Public transport banned, roads blocked, pepper spray used extensively, police attacks demonstrators.

Teargas enveloped Istanbul as demonstrators defiantly merged onto the city’s symbolic Taksim Square, where they hold May Day protests every year. The government banned all events there this year, because the square is under construction. As protesters and police clashed they turned the 15 million strong metropolis into a war zone, leaving behind destroyed property and reportedly dozens of injured people. To get a grip on the increasing number of protesters, Turkey’s police fortified their ranks with four planes full of officers transfered from other cities. Among the injured were four journalists and a teenage high school student who suffered head injuries. and is in critical condition at the hospital. Opposition politicians affected from gas and police brutality were also hospitalized.

Teargas and Water Cannons for Istanbul’s Labor Day Protesters

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44 notes &

nationalpost:

The Arab Spring, the Syrian civil war what they mean for the conflict in GazaA lot has happened since the 2008/09 Gaza conflict. While the rebellion in Syria means the Jewish state can expect little substantial interference from one of its long-time adversaries, the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010 means Israel can also expect little public support from Turkey. Here’s a look at the geopolitical situation in the region today.

nationalpost:

The Arab Spring, the Syrian civil war what they mean for the conflict in Gaza
A lot has happened since the 2008/09 Gaza conflict. While the rebellion in Syria means the Jewish state can expect little substantial interference from one of its long-time adversaries, the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010 means Israel can also expect little public support from Turkey. Here’s a look at the geopolitical situation in the region today.

Filed under israel middle east asia iran syria lebanon turkey jordan

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Sooner rather than later there will be change, a transition. Our only hope is that this happens before more blood is shed, and before Syria self-destructs more than it already has.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul • Pushing for an end to the violence in Syria, and for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his inner circle to step down. After nearly a week of daily violence between the two nations, many in the international community are worried about yet another escalation of the Syrian uprising that has led to more than 20,000 deaths. source (via shortformblog)

(via shortformblog)

Filed under Syria turkey middle east asia civil war

1 note &

Syrian Rebels Carve Buffer Zone Near Turkish Border

At this isolated part of the Turkish border, there’s just one Turkish guard, a fence and, beyond an olive grove, Syria.

The Syrian side is just a short walk, perhaps 10 minutes. The area looks completely calm and there is no sign of the Syrian military.

Abu Amar, a rebel who has fought in Syria for five weeks, walked across this field from the Syrian village of Atma, which is now serving as a rebel headquarters. He says much of the northwestern province of Idlib is now controlled by the rebels, and it has become easy to move back and forth between Syria and Turkey here. 

"Actually we have a buffer zone now. I mean it’s not declared by the Turkish government," he says. "People transport arms freely. The Turks are closing their eyes. We bring our wounded people here; we go back and forth and nobody bothers us at all."

There are now more than 35,000 Syrian refugees living in camps inside Turkey, along the Syrian border, with several hundred more arriving every day. As the fighting in Syria escalates, these camps have become logistic bases for rebel fighters.

Syrian Troops Stay Away From Border

In June, Turkey moved anti-aircraft guns along its southern border after Syria shot down a Turkish jet over the Mediterranean. The effect has been the creation of a kind of no-fly zone for Syrian army helicopters that were patrolling the border. It is much safer now — for the rebels in northern Syria — and for Syrians who live in border camps just inside Turkey.

Refugee camp doesn’t quite describe the Kilis camp. It’s more like a city made up of shipping containers and can house 12,000 people. There are banks, schools and food markets, paid for and protected by the Turkish government.

When many of these Syrians first left their country, the trip was dangerous and long. Now, the picture is much different. The traffic goes both ways, and it’s a relatively safe journey.

Haj Nasr, who invites us to his camp home, says he now goes to northern Syria a couple times a week.

"We go back to bring families, children," he says.

He has become a logistics chief for the rebels in his village. When a Syrian government soldier defects, Nasr gets a call. 

"We took them to a safe place. They will take some rest and go back to the fight [for the rebels]," he says.

Filed under syria turkey middle east asia refugees

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Turkey PM Erdogan issues Syria border warning
Turkey says its military rules of engagement have changed after Syria shot down a Turkish plane that strayed into its territory.
PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan told parliament that if Syrian troops approached Turkey’s borders, they would be seen as a military threat.
Meanwhile Nato has expressed its condemnation of Syria’s attack as well as strong support for Turkey.
Syria insists the F-4 Phantom jet was shot down inside Syrian airspace.
The plane crashed into the eastern Mediterranean and its two pilots are missing.
Meanwhile, fierce fighting has been reported between the Syrian army and rebel forces in the suburbs of the capital Damascus.
Witnesses say it is some of the most intense violence in the area since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began more than a year ago.
Mr Erdogan spoke of Turkey’s “rage” at the decision to shoot down the F-4 Phantom on 22 June and described Syria as a “clear and present threat”.
"A short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack," he said. The Turkish jet was on a training flight, testing Turkey’s radars in the eastern Mediterranean, he said.
He made it clear that Turkey was adopting a “common sense” attitude, although that “shouldn’t be perceived as a weakness”.
"Every military element approaching Turkey from the Syrian border and representing a security risk and danger will be assessed as a military threat and will be treated as a military target," he said.
Turkey requested a meeting of the alliance’s ambassadors in Brussels after invoking Article 4 of Nato’s founding treaty, which entitles any member state to ask for consultations if it believes its security is threatened.
In a statement, the alliance’s 28 members said the shooting down of the plane was “unacceptable” and they stood together with Turkey “in the spirit of strong solidarity”.
Pictured: Syria has become an “open threat” to Turkey, PM Erdogan says

Turkey PM Erdogan issues Syria border warning

Turkey says its military rules of engagement have changed after Syria shot down a Turkish plane that strayed into its territory.

PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan told parliament that if Syrian troops approached Turkey’s borders, they would be seen as a military threat.

Meanwhile Nato has expressed its condemnation of Syria’s attack as well as strong support for Turkey.

Syria insists the F-4 Phantom jet was shot down inside Syrian airspace.

The plane crashed into the eastern Mediterranean and its two pilots are missing.

Meanwhile, fierce fighting has been reported between the Syrian army and rebel forces in the suburbs of the capital Damascus.

Witnesses say it is some of the most intense violence in the area since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began more than a year ago.

Mr Erdogan spoke of Turkey’s “rage” at the decision to shoot down the F-4 Phantom on 22 June and described Syria as a “clear and present threat”.

"A short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack," he said. The Turkish jet was on a training flight, testing Turkey’s radars in the eastern Mediterranean, he said.

He made it clear that Turkey was adopting a “common sense” attitude, although that “shouldn’t be perceived as a weakness”.

"Every military element approaching Turkey from the Syrian border and representing a security risk and danger will be assessed as a military threat and will be treated as a military target," he said.

Turkey requested a meeting of the alliance’s ambassadors in Brussels after invoking Article 4 of Nato’s founding treaty, which entitles any member state to ask for consultations if it believes its security is threatened.

In a statement, the alliance’s 28 members said the shooting down of the plane was “unacceptable” and they stood together with Turkey “in the spirit of strong solidarity”.

Pictured: Syria has become an “open threat” to Turkey, PM Erdogan says

Filed under turkey europe asia middle east syria Attacks

0 notes &

Thousands protest in Istanbul amid growing fears that Turkey’s Islamist government intends to ban abortion. The pro-choice rally on Sunday was stoked by reports that the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) are working on a bill to ban abortions after four weeks, except in emergencies. Terminations in Turkey are currently legal until the 10th week of gestation

(Source: Guardian)

Filed under turkey europe asia women's issues protests

2 notes &

In A Change, Turkey Tightens Its Border With Syria
The spring sun is warming the fields and orchards along the Turkey-Syria border, and new refugee camps are sprouting as well.
Smugglers who have long worked these mountain border trails are now busy moving civilians out of Syria to the safety of Turkish camps. They’re also moving medical and communications equipment and people into opposition-held neighborhoods in Syria. But recently, some say that’s getting harder.
A smuggler known as Abu Ayham says Turkish guards, who used to permit nonlethal aid to pass freely, have suddenly grown much tougher on the smugglers.
"The situation is very hard now," Ayham says. "On the Turkish side, if the guards catch you and you have nothing but a mobile phone, they will take it and they might jail you. The other day a group was stopped carrying only small tents for people hiding in the mountains. The guards said, ‘This is military equipment,’ and seized it."
Activists say it could be the whim of a local Turkish commander, and smugglers working different routes say they haven’t encountered similar problems.
On the other hand, analysts say Turkey recently caught 14 supporters of the separatist PKK Kurdish movement trying to cross into Turkey from Syria.
Turkey is worried that Syrian President Bashar Assad might revive Syria’s support for the Kurdish separatists seeking a homeland in southeastern Turkey, as his father, Hafez, did in the 1990s.
When asked about international assistance pledged for Syria, the smugglers say they haven’t seen it. But that may be because aid officials are worried about maintaining neutrality.
Pictured: Turkish army personnel patrol near the border with Syria in Kilis earlier this month. Activists and smugglers say it’s getting harder to get medical and communications equipment into Syria across the Turkish border.

In A Change, Turkey Tightens Its Border With Syria

The spring sun is warming the fields and orchards along the Turkey-Syria border, and new refugee camps are sprouting as well.

Smugglers who have long worked these mountain border trails are now busy moving civilians out of Syria to the safety of Turkish camps. They’re also moving medical and communications equipment and people into opposition-held neighborhoods in Syria. But recently, some say that’s getting harder.

A smuggler known as Abu Ayham says Turkish guards, who used to permit nonlethal aid to pass freely, have suddenly grown much tougher on the smugglers.

"The situation is very hard now," Ayham says. "On the Turkish side, if the guards catch you and you have nothing but a mobile phone, they will take it and they might jail you. The other day a group was stopped carrying only small tents for people hiding in the mountains. The guards said, ‘This is military equipment,’ and seized it."

Activists say it could be the whim of a local Turkish commander, and smugglers working different routes say they haven’t encountered similar problems.

On the other hand, analysts say Turkey recently caught 14 supporters of the separatist PKK Kurdish movement trying to cross into Turkey from Syria.

Turkey is worried that Syrian President Bashar Assad might revive Syria’s support for the Kurdish separatists seeking a homeland in southeastern Turkey, as his father, Hafez, did in the 1990s.

When asked about international assistance pledged for Syria, the smugglers say they haven’t seen it. But that may be because aid officials are worried about maintaining neutrality.

Pictured: Turkish army personnel patrol near the border with Syria in Kilis earlier this month. Activists and smugglers say it’s getting harder to get medical and communications equipment into Syria across the Turkish border.

Filed under turkey syria middle east asia europe refugees humanitarian aid

1 note &

Iran nuclear talks set to begin in Istanbul
Six world powers are to begin talks with Iran aimed at ending the deadlock over Tehran’s nuclear programme.
Officials from the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany hope the talks, in the Turkish city of Istanbul, halt rising tensions in the region.
Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful, but critics suspect it of seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
Israel has hinted in recent months that it could carry out a pre-emptive strike on Iran to prevent that happening.
On Thursday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his country was “standing firm on its fundamental rights and under the harshest pressure will not retreat an iota from its undeniable right”.
Pictured: Turkey’s foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu welcomed Iran’s chief negotiator, Saeed Jalil, on Friday

Iran nuclear talks set to begin in Istanbul

Six world powers are to begin talks with Iran aimed at ending the deadlock over Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Officials from the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany hope the talks, in the Turkish city of Istanbul, halt rising tensions in the region.

Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful, but critics suspect it of seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

Israel has hinted in recent months that it could carry out a pre-emptive strike on Iran to prevent that happening.

On Thursday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his country was “standing firm on its fundamental rights and under the harshest pressure will not retreat an iota from its undeniable right”.

Pictured: Turkey’s foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu welcomed Iran’s chief negotiator, Saeed Jalil, on Friday

Filed under iran turkey middle east asia nuclear power summit

0 notes &

Syrian forces have fired across the border into Turkey, hitting a refugee camp near the town of Kilis. There were unconfirmed reports of fatalities. The incident fuelled international concern about escalating violence as the UN deadline to end the Syrian crisis approached. The UN estimates that 9,000 people have been killed in Syria over the last 13 months

(Source: Guardian)

Filed under syria turkey middle east asia europe

0 notes &

As the political negotiations to end the crisis continue in Syria, as record numbers of Syrians are fleeing into neighbouring countries.

In Turkey alone more than two thousand Syrians entered the country just in one day alone.

Al Jazeera’s Anita McNaught reports on how some Syrians struggle to adapt to life as a refugee

(Source: aljazeera.com)

Filed under syria turkey middle east asia refugees