Monday, December 30, 2013

  • Monday, December 30, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
Turkish riot police have blasted opposition protesters with water cannons, tear gas and plastic bullets in Istanbul in scenes reminiscent of the summer's mass anti-government demonstrations.

Some of the protesters on Friday evening threw rocks and firecrackers at police, shouting, "Catch the thief!" in reference to a widening corruption scandal gripping Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government.

Similar protests were held in the city of Izmir, and in Ankara where police also fired water cannons to disperse the crowds.

Police blocked hundreds of protesters from gathering in Istanbul's central Taksim Square and pushed them away to the nearby streets.

At least 31 people, including three lawyers, have been detained in Istanbul, according to the Istanbul Bar Association.

Thousands of Erdogan backers, meanwhile, gathered at other spots showing their support for the embattled Erdogan.

Twenty-four people, including the sons of two former government ministers and the head of the state-owned financial institution, Halkbank, have been arrested on bribery charges.

Media reports say the probe is over alleged illicit money transfers to Iran and bribery for construction projects.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party is being directed by "arrogance," former Culture Minister Ertugrul Gunay said in a news conference on Friday announcing his resignation, adding that he was parting ways with the AKP.

Erdogan has continued to ignore the demands to step down.

"Those who call it a corruption inquiry are corrupt themselves," he told a large crowd of his supporters on Friday as he returned to Istanbul from a political rally in the northwest.

Erdogan also criticised politicians who quit his party because of the scandal, saying they "betrayed us along our journey"
Sometimes a small side story illuminates the bigger picture:
Enemy of the state
Turkish police detained a woman in the western province of Manisa on Dec. 29 after she protested against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with a shoebox, in a reference to money found in shoeboxes during a major corruption operation.

Police seized $4.5 million in cash in shoeboxes during the bribery raid in the house of Süleyman Aslan on Dec. 18, the general manager of the state-run lender Halkbank.

The woman, identified as Nurhan Gül, reportedly showed a shoebox from her balcony while Erdoğan was addressing his supporters during a rally in Manisa’s Akhisar district. Shortly after Gül’s protest, police and bodyguards of the prime minister came and detained the woman.

Gül has been released pending trial after she was taken to the police station and questioned for two hours.

“I waved the empty shoebox and sat at my balcony. I did not use any word or verbal expression. Bodyguards and police came to my house after one or two minutes. They asked who waved that box. I was detained after saying it was me,” Gül said in her testimony.
Amazingly, not one university association is calling to boycott Turkey, or is even publishing a statement about its corruption, arbitrary arrests, denial of freedom of assembly or any other violations of human rights. They must have overlooked it.

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