Erfahrungsbericht vom Angriff auf den Taksimplatz

Taksim - 11.06.2013

I have felt a very strong sense of duty to take part in all this uprising for freedom in Turkey. And I dismissed all the calls "this is not your county" as irrelevant and pathetic. After all, I have been living in Istanbul for over a decade and not sharing and aiding in this struggle of my Turkish friends for their basic freedoms would simply be selfish and blind and ungrateful. After all, for a decade I have relied on the hospitality of the people here, whether friends or simple people of all walks of life who have run to assist me with all the stupidities and complications the bureaucracy and practicalities have posed.

So, despite the threats of the government, which has repeatedly proclaimed that it will regard all foreigners who comment on the events as "foreign agents", and despite the fact that the danger of deportation looms like a sword of Damocles over our heads, I and many other expat friends equipped ourselves with masks and googles and ran to Taksim Square this morning, upon the news that the police was aiming to wrest its control from the protestors. I wanted to document the events.


Some provocators threw Molotof cocktails to the police; the crowd alleged they were civil police/ secret service people. A photo of one of the Molotof throwers with a walkie-talkie in his bottom pocket has circulated widely. Meanwhile, the government has embarked on a propaganda campaign, trying to portray the uprising as the outcome of an "interest rate lobby", of Kurdish "terrorists" and of foreign conspiracies of all sorts. When we arrived, the police had "cleansed" the square, but thousands of people had swarmed to it indignantly, and it was soon taken over again. The police had removed all banners from the AKM opera house, leaving only a Turkish flag and Ataturk's portrait (supposedly now this government with all its Islamising initiatives is making a move to protect the paraphernalia of the Kemalist cult :D ) The banners and flags of all sorts were soon put up again on the Ataturk Monument on the Square. We were gassed mercilessly. Although I had bought a gas mask and googles, I didn't have much time to put them on properly and it burnt very badly. Random strangers sprayed me with a solution against tear gas and another one against asthma, and I got better soon.

I lost my friends in the tear gas smoke. Then my friend called me up: someone told him the golden secret: VICKS. It's a cream you buy at the chemist's for a cold, but it does miracles against tear gas!!! After buying the necessary provisions, I had to walk past hundreds of police on the Square to reach Gezi Park. We regrouped there, with many journalists. Contrary to the government’s propaganda, the park is packed with people of the most diverse persuasions. For hours the police had remained in the vicinity of AKM, on the edge of Taksim Square. The latter was filled with people once more. There was fierce fighting for the control of the square. Barricades have been set up by the people in the backstreets of Talimhane and Tarlabasi and Stone-throwing and car and tyre-burning has taken place all day long. We spent most of the evening in the park, with Turkish and foreign friends. At about eight o’clock my friend felt tired and as we thought that there was too large a crowd on the square for the police to storm it and/or the park, we thought we’d go home and relax to return. As we were walking away down Siraselviler St, I thought we could have dinner at Selvi restaurant. The moment we sat down to eat, it happened. The police started bombarding the square with teargas, thousands started to run as fast as they could, wherever they could, as the canisters rained on them. The restaurant filled with teargas and will people crying, throwing up, screaming. It was a nightmare. It became, literally, like a gas chamber, and people who did not have VICKS and the famous TALCID solution were unable to breathe and about to faint… We spent much time VICKSing people to make them feel better and breath normally.

Indignant, we returned to the square. As soon as the gas effect had died out, the people started gathering on it. A crowd had gathered on the stairs leading from Taksim Sq to Gezi Park, and were shouting slogans. We spent some time touring in the park, when a fire drew our attention to the square. As we went to see what was going on and to take photographs, we saw hundreds of people pouring into Taksim and slogans thrown against the government and against the police. Then suddently, a rain of canisters fell upon us. It wasn’t teargas though; it was something else and not even VICKS could do anything against it. I could see nothing but the canisters landing a few centimetres to my left and right; I could hear only screams; I lost my balance and almost fainted. God knows how I managed to reach the Support Centre in the park, where some girls kindly gave me spray for asthma patients to inhale and I got my normal breathing back, after about twenty minutes.

None of this has made the people any less determined. Thousands have taken to the streets in other parts of Turkey to support the Gazi-Taksim crowd; there is anger and indignation at a government which gasses its people like vermin to be exterminated. Also today, the police arrested 49 lawyers who protested against the excessive use of force against the protesters, in order to intimidate them.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that the Governor of Istanbul warned the Gezi Park protestors to take all children out of the park, since “their life cannot be guaranteed”. He vowed to have the park emptied tonight…



P.S. ich hab diesen Erfahrungsbericht in den tiefen Weiten des Inernets gefunden, bei Facebook (deswegen keine Verlinkung), gefunden. Da es zwar einen Menge Artikel über den Widerstand in der Türkei gibt, jedoch kaum Erfahrungsberichte, habe ich es hier veröffentlicht.