Security Situation Updates
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3/7/2014: Police clash with protesters in Eskisehir, Turkey, March 7. Additional rallies likely in Ankara and Istanbul in response to police violence.
Activist groups associated with the Diren Gezi Parki (Occupy Gezi Park) movement clashed with police in Eskisehir March 7 during a demonstration commemorating anti-government protester Ali Ismail Korkmaz. Police prevented the crowd from marching to the city center, deploying tear gas against protesters throwing bottles and rocks at police. Around 100 activists were detained in the incident, which continued when protesters built barricades to prevent police from dispersing the rally; additional clashes are possible late March 7. The protest preceded a rally by the ruling AK (Justice and Development) Party, where Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in attendance.
3/6/2014: Activists to stage rallies in Ankara, Antakya, and Istanbul, Turkey March 8 in memory of slain Gezi Park movement protester. Avoid all demonstrations.
Activists associated with the Diren Gezi Parki (Occupy Gezi Park) movement plan to stage rallies in at least three major Turkish cities beginning during the mid-afternoon of March 8. The purpose of the gatherings is to memorialize slain Gezi Park demonstrator Abdullah Comert and were timed to coincide with the anniversary of his birth.
3/3/2014: Hundreds Demonstrate against Alleged Government Corruption in Ankara.
On March 1, around 600 people protested in the capital, Ankara, against alleged corruption by the government of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. Demonstrators convened in Kizilay Square and distributed fake euro currency, chanting anti-government and anti-corruption slogans. Clashes reportedly broke out between the protesters and police, who used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the groups and blocked area roads. There were several reported arrests. It is unclear if the unrest led to any casualties.
2/26/2014: Anti-Erdogan Protests Turn Violent.
Anti-government demonstrations occurred in 11 cities late Feb. 25 with thousands of protesters demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the airing of an alleged audio recording of him discussing with his son a plan to hide USD tens of millions from a police anti-corruption operation. Riot police clashed with protesters In Istanbul, Bursa, and Eskisehir.
2/25/2014: Violent clashes with authorities likely at anti-government demonstrations in Ankara, Istanbul, and other cities in Turkey evening of Feb. 25. Avoid protests.
Social media are reporting efforts to organize anti-government protests in several areas of Turkey the evening of Feb. 25. The protests have the potential to become violent; police have dispersed similar student protests of this nature using tear gas, sound grenades, rubber bullets and water cannon, and will likely do so again
2/24/2014: Activist Stage Anti-Government Protests in Ankara and Izmir.
Several activist groups staged anti-government demonstrations in Ankara and Izmir Feb. 22. The purpose of the action was to protest the recent passage of a controversial bill, which activists contend amounts to Internet censorship in Turkey.
2/22/2014: Activist groups to stage anti-government protests in Ankara and Izmir, Turkey Feb. 22. Clashes with police possible.
Several activist groups plan to stage anti-government demonstrations in Ankara and Izmir Feb. 22. The purpose of the action is to protest the recent passage of a controversial bill, which activists contend amounts to Internet censorship in Turkey.
2/20/2014: Activist groups to stage anti-government protest in Taksim Square, Istanbul, Turkey starting 1900 Feb. 22. Clashes with police possible. Avoid the area.
Several activist groups plan to stage an anti-government demonstration at Istanbul's Taksim Square starting at 1900 Feb. 22. The purpose of the action is to protest the recent passage of a controversial bill, which activists contend amounts to Internet censorship in Turkey. Participants will likely first gather near the Galatasaray School before marching northeast along Istiklal Avenue to Taksim Square (map). Authorities will almost certainly deploy heavy security in the area; in such scenarios, police typically attempt to keep protesters contained to Istiklal Avenue and prevent them from reaching Taksim Square itself. Clashes between activists and security forces are possible. A similar rally on Feb. 8 drew a large number of participants and ended with police using water cannon to disperse the crowd.
2/19/2014: President Signs Controversial Internet Law; Amendments Planned.
President Abdullah Gul signed a controversial Internet bill Feb. 18, allowing it to be made into law, though lawmakers are planning to make two amendments, which will probably be passed in the near future. Under the law, the Telecommunications Authority (TIB) can block access to websites without prior court approval if they are deemed to be an invasion of privacy or insulting. The amendments would force the TIB to obtain judicial permission within 24 hours after denying access to websites; otherwise, TIB's block would be deemed invalid.
2/17/2014: Parliament Passes Bill on Judicial Reform.
On Feb. 15, Turkey's parliament approved a bill that would give the government more control over the appointment of judges and prosecutors. The reform package will transfer greater influence to the justice ministry over the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), an independent judicial body that is responsible for judicial appointments. It would also give the justice minister the right to launch investigations into its members. The measures were passed amid scuffles among parliamentarians, with 210 votes in favor and 28 against.
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2/17/2014: Protesters Rally Nationwide, Clash with Police.
Feb. 15 marked the 15th anniversary of the capture of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) founder Abdullah Ocalan by Turkish intelligence agents. Protesters rallied in major cities across the country to call for the release of the Kurdish rebel leader. Police intervened at many events, firing tear gas and water cannon to disperse the crowds. The largest and most violent gathering occurred in the country's southeastern region in Diyarbakir, where some 100 Kurdish protesters hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at police. In addition, one protester in Istanbul, Cihat Ozkan, was hospitalized after being hit by a gas canister. He reportedly remains in critical condition.
2/12/2014: Anti-government protesters planning more mass demonstrations in Bangkok, Thailand, Feb. 14-15. Attacks on rallies possible; avoid the protest camps.
Anti-government protest leaders are calling for new mass rallies in Bangkok Feb. 14-15 to demand the ouster of caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Leaders are calling for protesting rice farmers to join in their demonstrations, which could further bolster their numbers. Thousands of people are likely to participate in the rallies, which are set to take place at the protest camps at Lumpini Park, Pathumwan, Ratchaprasong, Asok-Sukhumvit, and Chaeng Watthana (map).
2/10/2014: Nationalist Movement Party Office Attacked.
Assailants attacked a Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) election office located in Istanbul's Okmeydani neighborhood at around 2300 Feb.6. Reports indicate that the attackers threw Molotov cocktails and shot at the facility; police have not yet publicly identified any suspects.
2/6/2014: Protest against Internet censorship to take place at Taksim Square, Istanbul, Turkey, starting at 1900 Feb. 8. Expect traffic disruptions. Violence possible.
A protest against Internet censorship legislation will take place at Taksim Square (map) in Istanbul starting at 1900 Feb. 8. Although credible estimates regarding the number of participants are unavailable, the controversial legislation could inspire a large crowd to rally. Anti-government activists have repeatedly demonstrated an ability to muster thousands of supporters on short notice, especially in the wake of contentious government actions. Protest-related transport disruptions will probably begin during the early evening as protesters travel to Taksim Square. Residual delays are likely after the rally ends, and demonstrators exit the area.
2/5/2014: Activists plan to stage anti-government protest at the courthouse in Antalya, Turkey, starting 0900 Feb. 6. Avoid the area.
Supporters of the Diren Gezi Parki (Occupy Gezi Park) movement plan to protest in front of the Antalya Courthouse (map) starting at 0900 Feb. 6. The purpose of the event is to call for the release of three local Gezi Park activists who have been jailed.
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2/5/2014: Activists to protest ongoing court case in Kadikoy district, Istanbul, Turkey at 2000 Feb. 5. Clashes with police possible. Avoid the area.
everal activist groups associated with the Diren Gezi Parki (Occupy Gezi Park) movement plan to stage an anti-government rally in Istanbul's Kadikoy district beginning at 2000 Feb. 5. Crowds will likely gather at the Boga Heykeli (Bull Statue) (map). Organizers called for the demonstration earlier Feb. 5 to protest an ongoing court case investigating the death of activist Mehmet Ayvalitas that was adjourned until May.
2/3/2014: Authorities deploy heavy security in Kayseri, Turkey, Feb. 3 as court trial in death of Gezi Park movement protester begins.
Authorities deployed heavy security around the courthouse complex in Kayseri Feb. 3 as the criminal trial of five police officers accused of involvement in the death of Diren Gezi Parki (Occupy Gezi Park) movement activist Ali Ismail Korkmaz got under way. Security forces have cordoned off a number of streets near the facility and deployed water cannon and other crowd-control vehicles in the vicinity as a precaution. They are also reportedly engaged in efforts to keep anti-government activists from traveling to Kayseri from other cities. At least nine busloads of protesters affiliated with the Gezi Park movement departed for Kayseri from Eskisehir, located about 442 km (275 miles) to the northwest, with the intent of demonstrating at the courthouse during the proceedings. However, authorities intercepted some of the buses and prevented them from entering the city. It is unclear how long the trial may last.
1/27/2014: Funeral for slain MHP spokesman to take place at Fatih Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, Jan. 27. Large crowds likely to attend. Heavy security; protests possible.
The funeral of slain Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) spokesman Cengiz Akyildiz will take place Jan. 27 following afternoon prayers at the Fatih Mosque in central Istanbul. Akyildiz was shot and killed Jan. 26 in an armed attack by unidentified assailants on the party's election headquarters in the city's Esenyurt neighborhood. Eight other party members were wounded in the attack.
1/19/2014: Anti-government marches likely in several Turkish cities Jan. 19 commemorating 7th anniversary of prominent journalist's murder. Avoid all protests.
Police in Istanbul closed Gezi Park and have deployed heavy security in the city center as thousands of activists began gathering in Taksim Square during the early afternoon of Jan. 19 in preparation for a mass march commemorating the murder of prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. Beginning at about 1330, participants will march from Taksim Square northward approximately 1.5 km (1 mile) to the offices of the Argos newspaper in the Pangalti neighborhood, where Dink was killed. Similar events are likely to take place in other major cities in Turkey, particularly in Ankara and Izmir, although the march in Istanbul will almost certainly be the largest. Any demonstrations that may materialize to commemorate the anniversary of Dink's murder will have an anti-government bias. Authorities will likely deploy increased security near traditional protest venues; clashes between protesters and police cannot be ruled out.
1/15/2014: Turkish Police Detain Dozens in Raids.
On Jan. 14, Turkish anti-terror police detained around 23 suspects in a nationwide operation against Al-Qaeda that targeted the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (IHH). The raids were directed at five homes of alleged Al-Qaeda leaders and an IHH office in Kilis Province, on the border with Syria. The chief of the Kilis police department's counterterrorism unit was dismissed later Jan. 14 after the operation.
1/9/2014: Police use teargas and rubber bullets to disperse Kurdish protesters on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul, Turkey Jan. 9.
Police clashed with a group of around 500 Kurdish protesters near the French Consulate in Istanbul Jan. 9. Police used rubber bullets and teargas to disperse the crowd that gathered in front of Galatasaray High School on Istiklal Avenue (map). There were no reports of injuries. The demonstrators were demanding justice for three female Kurdish militants who were killed in Paris on Jan. 9, 2013.
1/8/2014: Trade unions to rally in Ankara, Turkey, Jan. 11. Solidarity protests possible in Istanbul. Expect heightened security.
Leaders of major Turkish unions have called for an anti-corruption rally in Ankara on Jan. 11. The event will begin at 1200 on Sihhiye Meydani (Health Square) (map). Activists may also gather at additional common protest venues, including Kizilay Square, Guven Park, and Kugulu Park. Members of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DISK), Confederation of Public Workers' Unions (KESK), Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB), and Turkish Medical Association (TTB) called for the demonstration to protest an ongoing widespread corruption scandal that has led to the resignation of three government ministers. Additional solidarity protests are possible in Istanbul, particularly around Taksim Square (map). Authorities will likely deploy heavy security near the rally site. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out; police could be quick to use teargas and/or water cannon to disperse demonstrators.
1/5/2014: Activist groups to rally in Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara, Turkey, Jan. 5. Expect increased security. Clashes with police are possible. Avoid the rally venues.
Activists associated with the Diren Gezi Parki (Occupy Gezi Park) movement plan to stage at least three demonstrations Jan. 5 to mark the 15th birthday of Berkin Elvan. Elvan has been in a coma at an Istanbul hospital since June 2013, after being critically injured when clashes erupted between police and Gezi Park protesters near his home in the city's Okmeydani neighborhood.
1/3/2014: Activist groups and labor unions plan series of anti-government protests in Istanbul, Eskisehir and Ankara, Turkey, through Jan. 11. Violence possible.
Activist groups associated with the Diren Gezi Parki (Occupy Gezi Park) movement, as well as several labor unions plan to stage anti-government rallies at a number of locations in Turkey through at least Jan. 11. While it remains unclear how many participants the demonstrations will attract, these events have the potential to draw sizable crowds. Authorities will likely begin deploying heavy security near the announced gathering points during the hours leading up to the rallies. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out; police could be quick to use teargas and/or water cannon to disperse demonstrators.
12/27/2013: Activists associated with Occupy Gezi Park movement to stage anti-government protests in several Turkish cities starting 1900 Dec. 27. Avoid all protests.
Activists associated with the Diren Gezi Parki (Occupy Gezi Park) movement plan to stage new anti-government protests in several cities across Turkey beginning at 1900 Dec. 27. Specific locations where rallies have been announced to take place include: Adana: Ataturk Park; Ankara: Kugulu Park; Antalya: Republic Square (Cumhuriyet Meydani); Bursa: Kultur Parki* Denizli: Cinar Square; Eskisehir: Eti Park; Istanbul: Taksim Square; Izmir: Gundogdu Square.
12/26/2013: Anti-government Protests Occur in Istanbul amid Major Cabinet Reshuffle.
On Dec. 25, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan named 10 new ministers after submitting a new cabinet lineup to President Abdullah Gul. Earlier in the day, Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan, Interior Minister Muammer Guler, and Environment Minister Erdogan Bayraktar resigned amid a high-level bribery and corruption probe. Bayraktar, a member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), announced his resignation from the cabinet and Parliament, and called on Erdogan to step down as well. The three ex-ministers deny any wrongdoing. The bribery and corruption scandal triggered a new wave of anti-government protests late Dec. 25 in Istanbul's Kadikoy district, where protesters reportedly clashed with riot police. Members of several activist groups, including the Diren Gezi Parki (Occupy Gezi Park) movement, staged anti-government rallies at the Sogutlucesme Mosque and near the Haydarpasa Numune Teaching and Research Hospital (map).
12/24/2013: Additional anti-government protests possible in Kadikoy district, Istanbul, Turkey following violent Dec. 22 demonstration. Avoid protests.
Renewed opposition rallies are likely in Istanbul's Kadikoy district as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrestles with a government corruption scandal. On Dec. 22, several activist groups, including those associated with the Diren Gezi Parki (Occupy Gezi Park) movement, staged an anti-government rally in Istanbul's Kadikoy district. Organizers used two specific locations for the rallies -- in front of the Sogutlucesme Mosque and near the Haydarpasa Numune Teaching and Research Hospital (map). The demonstrators gathered to protest perceived corruption in government, the destruction of urban green areas, over-development, and other environmental and social issues. Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse activists in streets where protesters had set fire to makeshift barricades. More demonstrations are likely in coming days, if only to protest the government's harsh treatment of the demonstrators. Kadikoy has historically been a focus of anti-government sentiment. Authorities will likely deploy heavy security near gathering points and at other locations within the district during the hours leading up to any new protests. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out; police could be quick to use copious amounts of tear gas and/or water cannon to disperse demonstrators.
12/21/2013: Activists to stage anti-government protest in Kadikoy district, Istanbul, Turkey, 1200 Dec. 22. Clashes with police possible. Avoid the area.
Several activist groups, including those associated with the Diren Gezi Parki (Occupy Gezi Park) movement, plan to stage an anti-government rally in Istanbul's Kadikoy district beginning at 1200 Dec. 22. Organizers have announced two specific locations for participants to begin gathering -- in front of the Sogutlucesme Mosque and near the Haydarpasa Numune Teaching and Research Hospital (map). No details have been released regarding whether protesters will remain at these two locations or attempt to march to a third location. The purpose of the demonstration is to protest perceived corruption in government, the destruction of urban green areas, over-development and other environmental and social issues.
11/14/2013: Renewed unrest likely in several Turkish cities through early December as courts hear criminal cases in deaths of Gezi Park protesters.
There will be an increased potential for renewed demonstrations and other forms of civil unrest in a number of Turkish cities through at least Dec. 2 as courts in Ankara, Istanbul and Kayseri hear criminal cases filed in connection with the deaths of three activists from the Diren Gezi Parki (Occupy Gezi Park) movement. Criminal charges have also been brought in a fourth case concerning a 14-year old boy who has been in a coma since allegedly being struck in the head by a tear gas canister fired by police during an anti-government demonstration on June 16.
10/28/2013: Security forces use tear gas and water cannon to disperse protests at Ankara, Turkey courthouse Oct. 28.
Turkish security forces resorted to tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters outside an Ankara courthouse Oct. 28. They also arrested 13 protesters. The protesters were angry after a policeman accused of shooting a demonstrator June 1 was not arrested, but instead asked to testify in the Oct. 28 hearing about the shooting, with some reports claiming he was allowed to testify remotely. The accused claims he acted in self-defense. The alleged offer to allow testimony by videoconference - to ensure the safety of those involved - could serve to enrage protesters further. Dates of subsequent hearings - and hence of possible additional protests - have not yet been announced.
10/26/2013: Police clash with demonstrators at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, Oct. 26.
Violent clashes erupted between police and demonstrators at the campus of Ankara's Middle East Technical University (ODTU) during the evening of Oct. 26 after police used tear gas, sound grenades, rubber bullets and water cannon in an attempt to disperse a group of activists who had gathered to protest the destruction of a forested area on university grounds. The removal of the wooded area is part of a plan to construct a new road through the campus and is opposed by many students and local residents. The violence, which began at about 1845, is ongoing and may continue well into the night. Demonstrators have responded to the riot police use of force to break up the gathering by launching fireworks at the officers. Portions of the woods at ODTU have reportedly caught fire. About 20 persons have been arrested and an unknown number injured.
10/25/2013: Anti-Government Protest.
Activists staged an anti-government rally at the Boga Heykeli (Bull Statue) (map) in Istanbul's Kadikoy district Oct. 24. The purpose of the gathering was to show solidarity with recent demonstrations at Ankara's Middle East Technical University (ODTU).
10/24/2013: Activists to stage anti-government protest in Kadikoy district, Istanbul, 2030 Oct. 24. Violence possible. Avoid the area.
Activists plan to stage an anti-government rally at the Boga Heykeli (Bull Statue) (map) in Istanbul's Kadikoy district beginning at 2030 Oct. 24. The purpose of the gathering is to show solidarity with recent demonstrations at Ankara's Middle East Technical University (ODTU). While it remains unclear how many participants the demonstration will attract, the event has the potential to draw a sizable crowd given that it comes only two days after police clashed with a group of protesters near Taksim Square. Moreover, Kadikoy has historically been a focus of anti-government sentiment. Authorities will likely deploy heavy security near the venue and at other locations within the district during the hours leading up to the protest. Police could be quick to use teargas and/or water cannon to disperse demonstrators.
10/22/2013: Police clash with protesters on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul, Turkey, late Oct. 22. Additional protests possible in Ankara and Istanbul Oct. 23-27.
Police clashed with a group of around 50 protesters near Taksim Square, late Oct. 22. Police used water cannon trucks and teargas to disperse the crowd that gathered in front of Galatasaray High School on Istiklal Avenue (map). Activists called for the protest action in solidarity with recent demonstrations at Ankara's Middle East Technical University (ODTU). Anti-government protesters from the Diren Gezi Parki ("Occupy Gezi Park") movement may respond to the Oct. 22 police action with further protests, possibly gaining momentum through the weekend of Oct. 26-27. Protests could spread to other parts of the city, and may sporadically flare up over the coming days.
9/23/2013: Rockets Fired at Police Facility in Ankara.
At least three rockets were launched in the direction of a police facility in the Dikmen district of the Turkish capital of Ankara late Sept. 20. One of the rockets failed to explode and was found near the site; one of the facility's two buildings sustained damage. No casualties have been reported. According to Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek, one of the buildings has a restaurant and is rented for private functions on the weekends. The second building is an annex of the Police General Directorate's social service campus. All of the rockets were launched from bushes along Cetin Emec Boulevard. Police chased two suspects who tried to escape in the direction of the Middle East Technical University campus (map). Police officers reportedly killed one of the individuals and wounded the second.
9/19/2013: Turkish government closes main Oncupinar border crossing with Syria for security reasons Sept. 19. Further border closures possible; avoid the border area.
Turkey closed its Oncupinar border crossing (map) with Syria Sept. 19 following heavy clashes in Syria near the Turkish border. All humanitarian, passenger, and freight traffic is suspended indefinitely. Oncupinar is a main crossing point between the countries, and is close to a Syrian refugee camp.
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9/19/2013: Sporadic protests and occasional violent clashes likely to continue in Turkey into 2014 election season despite general decrease in unrest intensity/frequency.
Sporadic anti-government protests and occasional violent clashes between police and demonstrators will likely continue across Turkey well into the 2014 election season. Despite a general drop in the intensity and frequency of unrest related to the Diren Gezi Parki (Occupy Gezi Park) movement since nationwide demonstrations first erupted in late May, activists have shown that the movement remains sufficiently viable to muster thousands of supporters to participate in large protests on short notice.
9/17/2013:Syria (Security Rating: 5) and Turkey (Security Rating: 3) - Turkish Military Downs Syrian Helicopter after Violating Turkish Airspace.
At approximately 1600 Sept. 16, Turkish fighter jets shot down a Syrian military helicopter after it violated Turkish airspace near the border village of Guvecci, located in southern Turkey's Hatay Province. There were conflicting reports surrounding the incident, with initial information suggesting that Syrian insurgents may have downed the helicopter as it flew near the Turkish border. However, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc stated that Turkish F-16 fighter jets fired missiles at the helicopter after it flew 2 km (1.2 miles) into Turkish airspace and ignored repeated warnings to reverse course. The status of the Syrian pilots was not immediately known, although there are unconfirmed reports that the flight crew was killed by Syrian insurgents on Syrian territory.
9/14/2013: Demonstrations planned in Kadikoy district in Istanbul, Turkey, during protest-related funeral Sept. 15. Violence likely.
Activists from the Diren Gezi Parki (Occupy Gezi Park) movement plan to stage anti-government demonstrations in Istanbul's Kadikoy district Sept. 15 in the wake of the most recent death allegedly stemming from the police's perceived use of excessive force against protesters. The victim died of heart failure at an Istanbul hospital late Sept. 13. Occupy Gezi Park activists claim that security personnel's use of tear gas in the neighborhood where the man lived and worked over the course of three days exacerbated his pre-existing cardiac condition and caused his death.
9/13/2013 Update: Protests scheduled in Istanbul, Turkey, late Sept. 13. Rally venue near the main route to Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IST).
Anti-government protesters are planning to rally beginning at 2000 Sept. 13 on Cumhuriyet Meydani (Republic Square) in the Bakirkoy neighborhood (map) of Istanbul, west of the main downtown area and Taksim Square. Cumhuriyet Meydani is near the main route to Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IST). Expect sporadic road closures and traffic disruptions if traveling to IST late Sept. 13.
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9/13/2013: Police Disperse Anti-Government Rallies.
Turkish riot police continued to clash with anti-government protesters late Sept. 12-early Sept. 13, using tear gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets on crowds of demonstrators in cities across the country, including Ankara, Antakya, Istanbul, and Izmir. The latest unrest is related to the recent death of 22-year-old activist Ahmet Atakan. In Istanbul, approximately 3,000 protesters rallied on the Asian side of the city, in the district of Kadikoy, an opposition stronghold. In Ankara, demonstrations were centered at Kizilay Square, neighboring Guvenpark, and surrounding streets, with reports indicating that activists burned tires and set off fireworks in the area (map). Violent clashes also occurred in the flashpoint neighborhood of Armutlu in Antakya, Hatay Province.
9/11/2013: Police Disperse Protesters in Multiple Cities.
Riot police fired large quantities of tear gas, water cannon, and rubber bullets at crowds of protesters across Turkey - including Ankara, Adana, Antakya, Istanbul, and Izmir - late Sept. 10 following the death of Ahmet Atakan, a 22-year-old, anti-government demonstrator, earlier in the day. In Istanbul, activists attempted to rally on Taksim Square before police dispersed them via pedestrian Istiklal Avenue and side streets. Activists also rallied on the Asian side of the city, in the district of Kadikoy, and may attempt to join the Gezi Park protests. Sporadic regrouping of protesters and ensuing violent police dispersals will likely continue in the city through early Sept. 11. In Ankara, protests were centered at Kizilay Square, neighboring Guvenpark, and surrounding streets, with reports indicating some activists burned tires and set off fireworks in the area (map). In addition, violent clashes continued in the flashpoint neighborhood of Armutlu in Antakya, Hatay Province, after police monitored the funeral of Ahmet Atakan. Reports indicate that at least one protester was hospitalized in Antakya with severe wounds.
9/10/2013: Anti-government protests in Turkey likely to intensify following Sept. 9 death of demonstrator in Antakya. Violence likely.
Anti-government protests in Turkey will likely intensify over the upcoming days in the wake of the most recent death of an activist from the Diren Gezi Parki (Occupy Gezi Park) movement. Ahmet Atakan, a 22-year old demonstrator, died at a hospital in Antakya from injuries he suffered while participating in a protest in the city's Armutlu District during the small hours of Sept. 10. Atakan was reportedly severely injured as riot police were moving in to disperse the gathering, which was being held to show solidarity with student demonstrators at Ankara's Middle East Technical University (ODTU). Supporters of the Occupy Gezi Park movement allege that police fired a tear gas canister at Atakan from short range, striking him in the head. City officials, however, claim that Atakan was fatally injured in a fall from the roof of a nearby building.
9/9/2013: Activists plan to stage anti-government rally in several cities across Turkey Sept. 9. Clashes between protesters/police possible.
Anti-government activists plan to stage new rallies in several cities across Turkey Sept. 9 as a show of support for student demonstrators at Ankara's Middle East Technical University (ODTU).
9/8/2013: Activists plan to stage anti-government rally at Ataturk Park, Adana, Turkey, starting 1700 Sept. 8. Avoid the rally venue.
Activists in Adana plan to stage an anti-government protest in the city's Ataturk Park (map) starting 1700 Sept. 8. The purpose of the gathering is to show support for student demonstrators at Ankara's Middle East Technical University (ODTU). It remains unclear as yet how many participants the rally may draw. However, the fact that the individuals organizing the event are associated with the Diren Gezi Parki ("Occupy Gezi Park") movement will likely prompt authorities to deploy heavy security in and around Ataturk Park beginning a few hours prior to the demonstration's announced start time. Localized traffic disruptions are likely as the event is taking place; clashes between police and demonstrators cannot be ruled out.
9/6/2013: Police close Gezi Park ahead of planned protest in Istanbul, Turkey, late Sept. 6. Additional protests possible in Ankara and Istanbul Sept. 7-8.
Police closed Gezi Park and deployed security teams on Istiklal Caddesi in Istanbul (map) Sept. 6 after activists called for a rally in support of student demonstrators at Ankara's Middle East Technical University (ODTU). Anti-government protesters from the Diren Gezi Parki ("Occupy Gezi Park") movement may attempt to defy police orders and enter the park, possibly prompting the use water cannon and teargas to disperse the crowd. Protests could spread to other parts of the city, and may sporadically flare up Sept. 7-8.
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9/6/2013: US State Department warns of threats to US government facilities and personnel in Adana, Turkey, Sept. 6. Defer travel to southeastern Turkey.
On Sept. 6, the US Department of State issued a travel warning informing US citizens of threats to US government facilities and personnel in Adana, Turkey. It also recommended deferring nonessential travel to southeastern Turkey. Details about the alleged threats have not been disclosed. While the Department of State is permitting nonemergency staff and family members to depart Adana, it did not mandate an evacuation of staff. It also did not indicate a broader threat to other locations in Turkey such as Ankara or Istanbul. It is unclear how long the warning will remain in effect.
9/1/2013: Activists to stage Peace Day rallies and marches in several cities across Turkey Sept. 1. Expect increased security; avoid the demonstration venues.
Supporters of a number of activist groups, including political opposition parties, labor unions, LGBT organizations and the Occupy Gezi Park movement, plan to stage rallies and marches in a number of cities across Turkey Sept. 1 to mark the country's World Peace Day. (Although the United Nations' International Day of Peace falls on Sept. 21, Turkey observes its own World Peace Day on Sept. 1.)
8/30/2013: Turkish government increases security measures along Syrian border. Expect border restrictions; escalation possible, avoid the border area.
On Aug. 29, the Turkish government increased security measures in provinces along the Syrian border and closed the Akcakale border crossing in Sanliurfa Province altogether (map). The heightened measures may serve to control a potential mass wave of refugees into Turkey in the event of a Western military response to Damascus' presumed use of chemical weapons in Ghouta on Aug. 21. Further border restrictions and closures are likely.
8/18/2013: Occupy Gezi Park activists plan memorial gathering at Taksim Square, Istanbul, Turkey, at 1900 Aug. 17. Avoid Taksim Square and Istiklal Avenue.
Supporters of the Occupy Gezi Park movement plan to stage a memorial gathering at Istanbul's Taksim Square (map) starting at 1900 on Aug. 17. The event will primarily be dedicated to the five demonstrators who died during the nationwide wave of Occupy Gezi Park protests that began in Turkey May 31; however, it will also serve as to mark the 14th anniversary of the 1999 Izmit earthquake that left tens of thousands of people dead and injured. Organizers are instructing participants to carry carnations and wear black armbands. No further details about the event have been released; however, activists may attempt to march along Istiklal Avenue on their approach to the square.
8/1/2013: Police Forcibly Disperse Protesters in Taksim Square.
On July 31, police fired water cannons and tear gas at a group of around 500 protesters on Taksim Square. The demonstrators had gathered to protest violence used against 14-year-old Berkin Elvan, who has been in intensive care for 46 days after being hit by a tear gas canister in Istanbul during the Gezi Park unrest. Four activists were injured during the incident.
7/24/013: Arrests Spark New Protests in Antakya.
An early morning police operation targeting activists from the Occupy Gezi Park movement in Antakya drew new protests July 22. At dawn, law enforcement officers moved into Sevgi Park, arresting at least 15 individuals and dismantling a protester camp which had been set up there. At the same time, police raided addresses located elsewhere in the city, taking 17 anti-government activists into custody. At a press conference later in the day, Antakya Governor Celalettin Lekesiz stated that protests would no longer be permitted anywhere in the city and claimed that, during the raids, police had seized a variety of weapons, including knives, homemade clubs, and Molotov cocktails. Nevertheless, during the same evening, thousands of demonstrators gathered at Ugur Mumcu Square in the Armutlu district and began marching toward Sevgi Park to protest the police action. While authorities did deploy water cannon and roadblocks to disrupt the march, there is no indication that they used force to disperse the protesters.
7/17/2013: Police Arrest Gezi Park Protesters in Early Morning Istanbul Raids.
Turkish anti-terror police units raided about 100 addresses, including a number of student dormitories, in Istanbul during the early morning hours of July 16. During the operation, officers took into custody at least 30 individuals; all of the detainees are reported to be associated with the Occupy Gezi Park protest movement. Authorities have charged the individuals arrested in the raids with a number of violations ranging from membership in a terrorist organization to destruction of property and inciting a riot. At the same time, 11 of 15 activists who had been detained during similar police operations were arraigned at an Izmir court July 15, with the judge ordering them to be remanded to pretrial custody.
7/12/2013: Renewed Clashes Erupt in Antakya.
Violence erupted once more in Antakya, Hatay Province, following the burial of Occupy Gezi Park movement activist Ali Ismail Korkmaz July 11. Tens of thousands of mourners attended Korkmaz's funeral in the southeastern Turkish city, after which large crowds of demonstrators took to the streets to stage an anti-government protest march from the Armutlu district to Ugur Mumcu Square in the city's center (map). The violence broke out as police officers and gendarmes used tear gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse the crowd. The resulting clashes continued in the Armutlu and Gazi neighborhoods into the early hours of July 12 and left at least 18 people injured. At least one protester is reported to have suffered a life-threatening head wound when he was struck by a tear gas canister fired by police.
7/11/2013: Renewed clashes erupt in Antakya, Turkey, July 11-12 following funeral of Gezi Park movement protester. More unrest likely.
Violence erupted once more in Antakya, Hatay Province, following the burial of Occupy Gezi Park movement activist Ali Ismail Korkmaz July 11. Tens of thousands of mourners attended Korkmaz's funeral in the southeastern Turkish city, after which large crowds of demonstrators took to the streets to stage an anti-government protest march from the Armutlu district to Ugur Mumcu Square in the city's center (map). The violence broke out as police officers and gendarmes used tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse the crowd. The resulting clashes continued in the Armutlu and Gazi neighborhoods into the small hours of July 12 and left at least 18 persons injured. At least one protester is reported to have suffered a life-threatening head wound when he was struck by a tear gas canister fired by police.
7/10/2013 Update:Sporadic protests and occasional violent clashes continue in Turkey despite general decrease in unrest intensity. Istanbul remains epicenter of demonstrations.
Sporadic anti-government protests and occasional violent clashes between police and demonstrators will likely continue across Turkey over the upcoming weeks despite a general drop in the intensity of unrest related to the Occupy Gezi Park movement. Protests in most areas of the country have somewhat subsided since violent clashes in mid-June, when Turkish security forces cleared members of the Occupy Gezi Park movement from Istanbul's Taksim Square and Gezi Park, as well as Ankara's Kugulu Park. The action by police came immediately ahead of a series of pro-government rallies held by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
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7/10/2013: Death of Gezi Park protester in Eskisehir, Turkey, July 10 sparks anti-government protests in several cities. More unrest likely.
Tensions are high in Turkey following the July 10 death of Occupy Gezi Park movement activist Ali Ismail Korkmaz. The news immediately sparked a number of large anti-government protests and marches, with thousands of people taking to the streets not only in Eskisehir, where Korkmaz died, but also in Ankara, Antakya and Istanbul. In Antakya, activists protesting Korkmaz's death clashed with police in the city's Armudlu District (map); there have as yet been no reports of violence in the other cities where protests are taking place, however. The demonstrations will probably continue well into the night of July 10 and possibly into the small hours of July 11. Additional protests are likely in other cities across Turkey over the upcoming days, particularly once the arrangements for Korkmaz's funeral become known. Police may resort to the use of tear gas and water cannon to disperse crowds at any time.
7/9/2013: Police Disperse Anti-Government Protest.
Police in Istanbul fired rubber bullets, tear gas, and water cannons to disperse anti-government protesters from the Diren Gezi Parki ("Occupy Gezi Park") movement who attempted to enter Gezi Park (map) at around 1900 on July 8. Officers then used similar methods to break up a crowd of several thousand people marching along Istiklal Caddesi towards Taksim Square.
7/8/2013: Police use tear gas and water cannon to disperse anti-government protesters in central Istanbul, Turkey, July 8. Avoid Gezi Park and Taksim Square.
Police in Istanbul have resorted to using tear gas and water cannon in an attempt to disperse anti-government protesters from the Diren Gezi Parki ("Occupy Gezi Park") movement who attempted to enter Gezi Park (map) at around 1900 on July 8. Protests and clashes could spread to other portions of the city.
7/7/2013: Occupy Gezi Park supporters hold large festival in Istanbul's Kadikoy neighborhood, Turkey, 1730 July 7. Expect heavy security, transport disruptions.
Supporters of the Diren Gezi Parki ("Occupy Gezi Park") movement kicked off an event dubbed the Gazdan Adam ("Tear Gas Man") Festival in Istanbul's Kadikoy neighborhood 1730 July 7. The festival is taking place in the Kadikoy Square area near the Kadikoy Ferry Dock (map) and combines musical, comedy and fashion performances specifically aimed at lampooning the Turkish government's crackdown against the nationwide wave of protests that began at Gezi Park on May 31. Organizers expect very large numbers of people to attend the event; they have not announced any specific time at which the festival is scheduled to end, however.
7/6/2013: Police use tear gas and water cannon to disperse anti-government protesters in central Istanbul, Turkey, July 6. Avoid Istiklal Avenue and Taksim Square.
Police in Istanbul have begun using tear gas and water cannon in an attempt to disperse anti-government protesters from the Diren Gezi Parki ("Occupy Gezi Park") movement who attempted to enter Taksim Square July 6. Thousands of protesters are currently gathered along Istiklal Avenue clashing with security forces. Authorities are using riot control measures against the crowd within an area extending from Taksim Square at least as far as Galatasaray. Protests and clashes could spread to other portions of the city. Activists have converged on the area to move forward with a pre-announced demonstration despite warnings from Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu that such a gathering would be illegal and police would intervene swiftly. The incident comes on day before Gezi Park was scheduled to be re-opened to the public.
7/2/2013 Update: Memorial marches and anti-government demonstrations likely across Turkey July 2 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Sivas Massacre. Avoid all protests.
Anti-government protests and memorial demonstrations are likely in cities across Turkey July 2 as the country observes the 20th anniversary of the so-called Sivas Massacre. Thousands of people had gathered in front of the Madimak Hotel by noon July 2 to hold a mass memorial ceremony for the victims. While there have as yet been no reports of violence, authorities have deployed heavy security in the area and set up roadblocks on nearby streets as a precautionary measure. Moreover, during the evening of July 1, at least 2,000 people participated in a commemorative march in the southeastern city of Tunceli. Additionally, there are unconfirmed reports that groups associated with the Occupy Gezi Park movement plan to hold memorial demonstrations elsewhere around the country.
6/29/2013 Update: Security tightened for anti-government protests in central Istanbul, Turkey, June 29. Violent clashes, further protests likely.
On June 29, police deployed additional riot police around Taksim Square and Gezi Park to monitor two sizeable protests (map) in Istanbul. Thousands of people joined a Taksim Solidarity Platform rally against the government's harsh response to ongoing Gezi Park protests. The event began at 1900. Earlier June 29, a similarly large crowd participated in a peaceful, anti-government march organized by public sector unions and the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) along Istiklal Avenue. Police have blocked entrances to Taksim Sqaure and Gezi Park; activists will likely congregate on side streets around the area, and may continue to march and protest throughout the night. Authorities will probably use teargas and water cannon to disperse demonstrators if necessary.
6/28/013 Update: Suspected PKK Militants Stage Armed Attacks in Tunceli Province.
Two villages in the eastern province of Tunceli have been attacked since June 25, resulting in multiple kidnappings. At around 1200 June 27, unidentified armed assailants entered a private chromium mining company in the Kirklare village, district of Pulumur (map). They burned a building and six vehicles at the site before kidnapping several mining construction workers. Regional authorities launched a large-scale operation to release the kidnapped workers. In another attack late June 25, attackers targeted a construction supervisor working at the Kocatepe military station in Kaymaztepe village, also in Tunceli's Pulumur district; Turkish special forces deployed to locate the worker. In a separate incident, two engineers kidnapped by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) were released in the afternoon hours on June 27, after they had been taken from a stone quarry in the southeastern Bitlis Province (map) June 21.
6/26/2013 Update: Anti-government protest in Ankara, June 26 prompts police to use tear gas and water cannon.
Tensions are high in Ankara (map) after riot police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse some 2,000 protesters in the capital early June 26. Authorities arrested at least 16 of the activists, who had attempted to erect barricades and block traffic in Ankara's Dikmen district. The group of demonstrators were protesting the release of a police officer accused of fatally wounding an activist during the country's recent violence. Expect increased security and traffic disruptions in the area.The unrest is currently focused in the Dikmen district; however, the situation has the potential for demonstrations to materialize in other areas of the capital.
6/23/2013 Update: Police use water cannon to disperse protesters in Taksim Square.
Istanbul police have resorted to a water cannon to clear several thousand anti-government protesters from Istabul's central Taksim Square (map) late on June 22. The protesters returned to the square from which police had cleared June 12 to place flowers, and began shouting anti-government slogans.
6/21/2013 Update: Turkey's AKP to stage rallies in Samsun/Erzurum June 22-23.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erodogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) plans to stage pro-government rallies in Samsun and Erzurum June 22 and 3, respectively. The event in Samsun will take place at Republic Square (Cumhuriyet Meydani) (map) starting at 1700, while the Erzurum gathering will be held at Station Square (Istasyon Meydani) (map) beginning at 1700. The AKP had originally planned to stage a similar rally at Izmir's Gundogdu Square (map) June 23, but the party postponed that event and has yet to announce a new date for it. The purpose of the events is to send a message to the supporters of the Occupy Gezi Park movement, as well as to launch local election campaigns.
Additionally, the opposition Nationalist People's Party (MHP) has scheduled an unrelated rally at Erzurum's Station Square beginning 1700 June 22 - exactly 24 hours prior to the AKP event in that city. This will be the fourth in a series of nine rallies the MHP is staging nationwide as part of the party's "Protect and Promote National Values" campaign.
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Supporters of the Occupy Gezi Park movement will probably continue to stage anti-government protests in Mersin through June 30. Expect a heavy police presence, road closures, and traffic disruptions to persist near the Mersin Forum Shopping Center (map). Violence cannot be ruled out. Mersin is located about 65 km (40 miles) southwest of Adana.
A June 21 protest by supporters of the Occupy Gezi Park movement in Mersin was the second in as many nights. The demonstration, which began about 1700, remained peaceful, though watched by more than 100 riot police with several water cannons at the ready to ensure crowd control.
6/16/2013 Update: Security forces launch crackdown on activities in Gezi Park, Istanbul.
Large numbers of security forces launched a crackdown against protesting activists in central Istanbul's Gezi Park (map) early in the evening of June 15. Police have fired large amounts of tear gas and used water cannons to disperse several hundred demonstrators from the area, and there are unconfirmed reports that security forces are preventing journalists and medics from accessing the park, thus preventing an accurate count of possible casualties. Additional protests, and accompanying clashes between participants and security forces, are likely in the upcoming days.
6/13/2013 Update: Activists plan to stage anti-government protest in central Bursa, Turkey, 2000 June 15. Violence is possible.
Activists from Diren Bursa (Occupy Bursa) plan to stage an anti-government protest in the city's Heykel neighborhood beginning at 2000 June 15. While the organizers have not stated the specific venue for the gathering, the most likely location will be at the Heykel clock tower square at the intersection of Ataturk and Inonu Avenues. The demonstration is the latest of several that have taken place in Bursa as part of the Occupy Gezi Park movement. The demonstrators will be demanding the following:
- Cancellation of the Turkish government's plan to develop Istanbul's Gezi Park into a shopping center;
- Dismissal of the Istanbul, Ankara and Antakya (Hatay) governors and police chiefs for authorities' use of excessive force against protesters;
- The immediate release of all jailed Occupy Gezi Park protesters;
- The abolition of prohibitions on rallies and demonstrations in city squares and other public areas nationwide, in particular Taksim Square in Istanbul and Kizilay Square in Ankara.
6/12/2013 Update: Police clear Taksim Square.
Istanbul police have cleared Taksim Square, central Istanbul (map) of protesters after violent clashes that broke out June 11 continued through the night into the morning of June 12. Police engaged in running battles with protesters from the Occupy Gezi Park movement, firing mass amounts of tear gas and using water cannons in a bid to disperse crowds as demonstrators retaliated by setting off fireworks and throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails in an attempt to retain their occupation of the square. Authorities also used bulldozers to remove blockades protesters had erected on roads near Taksim Square. No estimates have as yet been released concerning the number of persons injured in the clashes.
The events of June 11-12 represent the most violent confrontation between demonstrators and police since violence first erupted May 31. Authorities will almost certainly maintain heavy security in and around Taksim Square and Gezi Park for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, the Occupy Gezi Park protesters will probably attempt to regroup and retake the square -- a move that would likely result in further clashes with police and could provide additional fuel to marches and rallies taking place in other Turkish cities.
6/11/2013 Update: Police fire large amounts of tear gas as protests continue around Taksim Square.
Police fired mass amounts of tear gas and used water cannons in a bid to disperse crowds of protesters in Taksim Square, central Istanbul map), throughout the day June 11. Riot police attempted to drive the thousands of protesters into narrow side streets, and reports indicate that some activists moved in toward the military academy (Harbiye) area, where further clashes occurred. Later in the evening, clashes intensified after security officials allowed thousands of people back into the square. Protesters set off fireworks and threw rocks and Molotov cocktails in an attempt to "reoccupy" Taksim Square. Activists may continue to regroup throughout Istanbul during the night.
The governor of Istanbul, Huseyin Avni Mutlu, has reported that security operations in Taksim Square will continue "day and night" until the square is cleared. This renewed use of force may prompt violent clashes and new demonstrations.
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Prime Minister of Turkey declares "end of tolerance" for protests. Violent unrest likely if security forces try to disperse gatherings.
In a clear indication that authorities are escalating their campaign against protesters, police moved against supporters of the Diren Gezi Parki (Occupy Gezi Park) movement in Istanbul's Taksim Square June 11. The move followed an earlier announcement by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he would show "no more tolerance" toward protesters. Police units used rubber bullets, water cannons, and tear gas to disperse the protesters, who responded by hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails. The move came as a surprise to many protesters, since the government agreed on June 10 to meet with protest leaders. In Ankara, meanwhile, police fired tear gas at protesters for a third consecutive day June 11.
The use of police force in Istanbul and Ankara will probably garner additional support for the protesters, as demonstrations had been mostly peaceful before authorities moved to disperse them. So far, estimates indicate at least 2,300 people have been injured and three people killed, since the protests began May 31. The security situation across the country remains highly fluid; violent clashes cannot be ruled out anywhere, especially if Erdogan's supporters begin staging counter-demonstrations - currently planned for June 15 in Ankara and June 16 in Istanbul. It had always been unlikely that authorities would allow protesters to remain in Taksim Square indefinitely, as it is surrounded by a number of hotels and other tourist sites. Meanwhile, while it is unlikely that Occupy Gezi Park activists will be able to maintain the current level of activity indefinitely, the movement is not showing any definitive signs of collapsing soon.
6/10/2013 Update: Mass protests continue in Turkey despite government calls to disband. Violent unrest likely if security forces try to disperse gatherings.
Tens of thousands of supporters of the Diren Gezi Parki (Occupy Gezi Park) movement are continuing demonstrations across Turkey, despite calls by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to halt all protests. Authorities said that crowds participating in rallies in Istanbul June 8 were the largest seen since the unrest began. Police have made no attempts to clear the thousands of protesters, who are primarily gathered in Taksim Square, though a smaller demonstration also continues at Gezi Park. Violence is continuing in some of Istanbul's suburbs, including Gazi, where police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse demonstrators. Police used similar measures to disperse a protest in Kizilay Square, Ankara, June 8 involving an estimated 10,000 people. Several people were injured in the unrest.
The use of police force in Ankara may prompt additional support for the protesters, as the rally was apparently peaceful before authorities moved to disperse it. The security situation across the country remains highly fluid and violent clashes cannot be ruled out anywhere, especially if supporters of Erdogan begin staging counter-demonstrations. Violence is also likely should police attempt to forcibly disperse other protest groups, especially in Istanbul; however, authorities are unlikely to allow protesters to remain in Taksim Square indefinitely, as the location is surrounded by a number of hotels and other tourist sites. Meanwhile, while it is unlikely that Occupy Gezi Park activists will be able to maintain the current level of activity indefinitely, the movement is as yet showing no definitive signs of collapsing soon.
The locations listed below are the primary focal points for ongoing protests and will present the most likely flashpoints for renewed clashes in the upcoming days and weeks.
Adana: Ataturk Park (map)
Ankara: Kizilay Square and Kugulu Park (map)
Antakya: Armutlu District (map)
Istanbul: Taksim Square, Gezi Park, and Besiktas (primarily in Dolmabahce Palace area) (map)
Izmir: Gundogdu Square and the Alsancak neighborhood (map)
Tunceli (Dersim): Cumhuriyet Avenue (map)
6/5/2013 - Read this SPECIAL BULLETIN for an in-depth analysis of the emerging tension in Turkey.
6/3/2013 - Situation Overview
Violent demonstrations calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan continue across Turkey since May 31; the security situation in the country remains fluid. Tens of thousands of angry protesters have taken to the streets in more than 60 cities, with the largest rallies occurring in Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. Riot police have clashed with hundreds of activists, firing tear gas and water cannons to disperse crowds, who have in some cases set fire to trash containers, lit fireworks, and thrown stones at security personnel. In Istanbul, security forces briefly withdrew from Taksim Square on June 1, but clashes resumed late June 2. Istanbul was mostly calm during the day on June 3, but clashes between protesters and riot police did erupt in the Besiktas neighborhood, where the Dolmabahce Palace houses Erdogan's office. Additionally, unconfirmed information indicated that activist groups planned to launch renewed demonstrations at a number of locations within the city, including the Kadikoy, Sancaktepe, and possibly Bakirkoy areas, during the mid-evening of June 3. Violence continued throughout the day in the capital Ankara and the western coastal city of Izmir as police clashed with students groups and other protesters.
Activists in the southeastern city of Gaziantep have also been staging protests to show solidarity with the demonstrators in Istanbul and condemn the police actions at Gezi Park. The largest such demonstration in Gaziantep thus far has been a two-day event on June 1-2 involving thousands of protesters who gathered at Kikayak Park and marched to Demokrasi Square. Rallies have also taken place in the Kalyon area of the city and in front of Gaziantep University.
Hundreds of civilians and security forces have been injured during the ongoing unrest. Expect riot police to continue to react quickly and harshly to spontaneous protests. However, the direct threat to foreigners operating in the country remains low; the greatest risk is getting caught between protesters and security forces.
Prominent protest venues include Taksim Square, Gezi Park, Dolmabahce Palace in Besiktas municipality, and surrounding areas (map) in Istanbul and Kizilay Square in Ankara. In Izmir, clashes have primarily taken place near Gundogdu Square and elsewhere in the Alsancak neighborhood.
The unrest started May 31 when police clashed with about 3,000 protesters who were occupying Taksim Square and the adjacent Gezi Park in central Istanbul. Authorities also blanketed groups of demonstrators in surrounding areas with tear gas to try to halt protests. Foreigners were reportedly among the dozens of people injured in the melee. Protesters then started rallying in other areas of Istanbul and marched down streets such as Yunus Emre Caddesi and Cengiz Topel Caddesi late May 31, but police set up barriers and roadblocks to check their progress. Similar unrest reportedly occurred in Kizilay Square in Ankara and in parts of Izmir. Activists had initially been rallying against plans to raze the park to build a shopping mall, but the protest has quickly devolved into a broader anti-government demonstration in response to police heavy-handedness and criticism of Erdogan and the AK Party's Islamist leanings. Such accusations are not new, but a hastily passed law curtailing the sale of alcohol 2200-0600 and a complete ban on alcoholic beverage advertising occurred just days before the protests against the razing of Gezi Park, and the two events in close proximity have raised tensions nationwide.
Strictly avoid any aforementioned demonstration venues, crowds of protesters, and large concentrations of police; immediately move to a secure area if a demonstration materializes. Seek shelter inside buildings if clashes erupt, but do not relocate to underground metro stations, where tear gas concentrations may be high.