Timeline of Gezi Park protests
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Oct. 31, 2012: The government’s controversial renovation plan for the city center, widely known as the “Taksim pedestrianization project” started with the closure of roads leading to the heart of the city.
Nov. 8, 2012: Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş announced that a shopping mall could be built in place of Gezi Park, the former location of the Artillery Barracks, which had been demolished in 1940 and were planned to be rebuilt as part of the renovation project.
May 27, 2013: A group activists from Taksim Solidarity, a civil group that had voiced criticism of the renovation plans all along, gathered in Gezi Park after bulldozers came to the area to cut down the trees in the park.
May 28, 2013: At midday, Istanbul Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder intervened and blocked the bulldozers, using his parliamentary immunity, and had police remove their barricades surrounding Gezi Park, saying they did not have legal permission to cut down the trees. Later in the day, police moved in on the peaceful sit-in protesters, and an image of police spraying tear gas at a woman in a red dress spread around the world. The “woman in red” would later become the poster child of the events, encapsulating the excessive use of police force on peaceful protesters.
May 29, 2013: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan dismissed the protests during the kick-off ceremony for the third bridge construction, saying “Whatever they do, we have made up our minds and will do it.” Photographs of protesters reading books to the police officers standing guard at Gezi Park were widespread.
May 30, 2013: Police staged another operation at dawn, dispersing the crowd. An officer burned down the tents of the protesters, attracting more fury from the country. During the early morning Önder was again in the area, stopping demolition vehicles. The activists made a call through social media for a major gathering at the park. In the evening, more than 10,000 people were at Gezi Park.
May 31, 2013: In the biggest dawn operation so far, police dispersed a few hundred protesters from the park with tear gas and water cannons. They set up barricades around the empty park, standing guard. At 10 a.m., the Taksim Platform made a press statement outside the park, but more than 100 people, including reporters, were subjected to tear gas and pressurized water. Three reporters, Ahmet Şık from Birgün, Osman Orsal from Reuters and Emrah Gürel from the Hürriyet Daily News, were injured. Another sit-in protest at 1 p.m. at Taksim Square was again subject to police intervention, causing social media organizations for a major gathering in the city center in the evening.
At midday, business world supremos, including Cem and Ümit Boyner, announced that they would not participate if a mall were built in Taksim amid growing unrest.
By 8 p.m. an estimated 100,000 people were in the Beyoğlu district, but police blocked roads leading to the square with barriers, trying to disperse the crowds with gas and water.
In the coming hours, the protests quickly spread to other Istanbul districts, from Beşiktaş to Kadıköy, and other Turkish cities, such as Ankara and İzmir. At around 3 a.m. on June 1, hundreds started walking across the Bosphorus Bridge from Asia to the European side of the city. Some people joined the protests from their houses, flipping their house lights on and off and banging pots and pans to make noise.
June 1, 2013: Erdoğan remained defiant on the government efforts to rebuild the Artillery Barracks in the area, but said a shopping mall was not certain. He defended the police efforts to stop the protesters, calling on the people to stop the protests. However, hundreds of thousands of people in more than 40 Turkish cities continued to protest. Police continued to block roads to Taksim Square from all directions including İstiklal Avenue, Sıraselviler Avenue, Harbiye and Gümüşsuyu but slowly started withdrawing in the afternoon. They left the square and the park back the protesters, but clashes continued in Beşiktaş, the nearest district to Taksim. The central point of Istanbul clashes was outside the Prime Ministry Office in Beşiktaş, and clashes in virtually every street of the district were showered with gas.
Fiery clashes were held in Ankara and İzmir as well. Interior Minister Muammer Güler said 1,730 people had been detained in 235 protests held in 67 cities.
June 2, 2013: Erdoğan once again dismissed the protests and defended the police efforts in a press conference before leaving on a four-day trip to Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. President Abdullah Gül met with opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and then released a statement that “the message of the protesters was received,” urging the people to remain calm. Closed with barriers and freed from the police, peace prevailed in Taksim and Gezi Park, but clashes continued in Beşiktaş, as well as İzmir and Ankara. Mehmet Ayvalıtaş, a 20-year-old who was hit by a car during the protests in Istanbul, became the first casualty in the city.
June 3, 2013: A turning point happened when the Beşiktaş football team’s diehard fan group, Çarşı, who was the battles’ frontrunner in the district, agreed with the police to a “truce.” Beşiktaş became calm, but Ankara, İzmir and Antakya continued staging heavy protests. Abdullah Cömert, a 22-year-old CHP youth branch member, was killed during the clashes in Antakya.
June 4, 2013: Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç apologized for the excessive use of police force on the Gezi Park protesters during an address at the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) parliamentary group. Gül met with Arınç and Önder separately. Önder announced that “the democratic process would start” adding that the protests would go down in Turkey’s democratic history. Arınç announced that 244 police and 60 protesters had been injured in clashes. However, the Turkish Doctors’ Union (TTB) said the figures were much higher, saying 4,177 people had been injured during the protests in addition to the deaths of Cömert and Ayvalıtaş.
Late in the night, the eastern province of Tunceli staged heavy protests and police used help from the military in Antakya, which is on the Syrian border. In İzmir, police detained 29 people for things they had written on Twitter.
June 5, 2013: A group of six representatives from the Taksim Solidarity group met with Arınç, announcing their demands to the deputy prime minister. Doctors confirmed that Ethem Sarısülük, who was allegedly shot by a police officer in Ankara, was brain dead. Clashes continued in Ankara, Rize, Ankara and Dersim. In Istanbul, protesters marked the holy Muslim night of Lailat al–Mi’raj with several activities, including a call on no consummation of alcohol at the Park.
June 6, 2013: A police commissioner died falling from a bridge while pursuing protesters in the southern province of Adana.
A small crowd in Tunisia protested Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his visit to the North African country June 6.
Prime Minister refused to back down, saying the Artillery Barracks will be built no matter what. The harsh speech caused a severe drop at Turkey's stockexchange.
June 7, 2013: Thousands of AKP supporters flocked to
Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport to welcome Prime Minister Erdoğan on his arrival
from a four-day Africa visit in early hours of the day. Erdoğan did not back
down, blamed artists for provocating the protests.
June 8, 2013: Football fans from all colors, led by Beşiktaş fan group Çarşı, marched to the Taksim Square in a historic move in Turkish sports history. In the night, hundreds of thousands of people were at the Taksim district, but there were no police and no intervention. Elsewhere at the Gazi neighborhood of Istanbul and in Ankara, there were fiery clashes.
June 9, 2013: On a day of rallies, Taksim Square was the scene of a massive Gezi Park gathering, while Erdoğan gave six separate speeches in Ankara, Mersin and Adana. In the night, Ankara and Adana witnessed heavy clashes between police and protesters.
"Don't you see this? How can you attack my police? There are those who side with those swearing against the prime minister of this country. We are going to show patience, but patience has a limit as well," Erdoğan said, during his speech at the Ankara airport rally.
June 10, 2013: Police moved on the capital’s Kuğulu Park, and later on in the night, crowds wishing to march toward Kızılay Square were subjected to tear gas and TOMAs. Thirteen suspects in Turkey’s Adana were released after testifying to Adana’s public prosecutor following charges of provoking riots that had landed them in court. Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said representatives of the movement would meet with the prime minister on June 12.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed to take tougher action against protestors underlining that they would no longer tolerate massive rallies in Turkey, saying, “We will not only terminate these incidents, we will be on these terrorists’ back in the frame of law. No one will get away with what they did.”
June 11, 2013: Riot police entered Taksim Square after a ten-day détente in the harshest crackdown since the movement started. Police used tear gas and water cannons throughout the clashes, which lasted all day and well into the night. The Istanbul governor called on the Gezi protesters to return home, saying he no longer could guarantee their safety.
June 12, 2013: German pianist Davide Martello and Turkish musician Yiğit Özatalay performed a joint piano concert at Taksim Square in support of the Gezi Park protesters. Otherwise, the park and Taksim Square were relatively quiet late in the evening compared to previous nights." Premier Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan raised the possibility of bringing the issue of the demolition of Gezi Park to a referendum after meeting with a group of 11 representing the protesters.
June 13, 2013: In response to Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu's call for the mothers of Gezi Park protesters to "bring their children home," many mothers instead chose to join their children at the demonstration, forming a "human chain" between protesters and the police.
The Prime Minister held a surprise meeting for a second consecutive day at midnight with a new delegation comprising of members of the Taksim Solidarity Platform.
The meeting resulted in a government statement saying it would comply with a court decision suspending the demolition of Gezi Park.
June 14, 2013: The Health Ministry has opened an investigation into the Istanbul Chambers of Medicine for organizing a temporary health center at Gezi Park.
The Health Ministry’s Inspection Services Department’s chief inspector İzzet Taşçı had sent a notice to the Istanbul Chambers of Medicine asking why they did not ask for permission from the ministry before organizing a temporary health care center at Gezi Park.
However, the Turkish Doctors’ Union (TTB) has said that helping wounded people is a humanitarian duty.
June 15, 2013: Police used tear gas and water cannons against the protesters at Taksim Gezi Park and cleared the area of protesters, ending the days-long occupation of the park. All tents and placards belonging to the protesters were seized and destroyed by construction vehicles. The police began to stand guard at Taksim Square to prevent any gathering there.
June 16, 2013: Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressed hundreds of thousands of people in a massive show of strength in Istanbul’s Kazlıçeşme.
The police prevented many protesters from entering Taksim Square and Gezi Park through the day and night.
A group of people with batons in hand attacked the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) provincial branch building in Şişhane, breaking the windows with stones, while two CHP deputies, Binnaz Toprak and Melda Onur, were inside.
June 17, 2013: A single man who started standing silently in the middle Istanbul’s city center has provoked a silent struggle across Turkey for the right to protest. The young man, later identified as performance artist Erdem Gündüz, stood in the same place without moving for eight hours on June 17, staring at the flag of modern Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on the Atatürk Culture Center (AKM).
June 18, 2013: The protest inspired by the performance artist Erdem Gündüz spread across Turkey today as it was imitated by hundreds that transited through the Taksim Square who stopped near where he first stood still not moving for eight hours on June 17.
Anti-terror security teams detained several people in raids at their homes in Istanbul and Ankara.
The detained piano of Davide Martello, who had played it to crowds at Taksim Square in support of the Gezi Park protests, was released by the police on June 18.
June 19, 2013: A group of eight men held a counter-protest in Taksim Square against the anti-government demonstrators whose “standing” protest entered its third day.
Three members of of Beşiktaş’s famous supporters' club, known as Çarşı, were released on bail after being detained over Taksim Gezi Park protests. Two members of the group, Halil İbrahim Erol and İbrahim Halillulah, who were detained in the same police operation, were arrested for carrying guns.
June 20, 2013: Police raided the tents installed in the Gündoğdu Square of Izmir in support of the Gezi Park protests early morning June 20 and detained about 30 protestors.
A woman in a bikini joined protesters in Taksim Square June 20 to support the dissent in a new form of civil disobedience inspired by a performance artist's solo act.
A group of around 30 people attacked a forum organized last night at Yeniköy Park in support of the Gezi protests, reportedly lead by the town’s headman, Engin Cevahiroğlu. The forum crowd was reportedly first warned by Cevahiroğlu to “stop playing pots and pans,” according to daily Hürriyet. One person was wounded as a result of the attack.