Police search houses of Gezi protests’ starter group members

Police search houses of Gezi protests’ starter group members

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Police search houses of Gezi protests’ starter group members

The platform says 48 people who are representatives and leaders of workers’ groups have been detained 'without legal basis.' AA photo

Police are searching the houses of representatives of the Taksim Solidarity Platform, which has also has called on prosecutors to release 48 protesters - including their leading figures - who were detained on July 8 in the fierce police intervention in Gezi Park. The platform has been standing against the redevelopment plans for the park from the beginning, and was involved in the initial protests that sparked the nation-wide anti-government demonstrations at the end of May.

Police started a search in the house of the recently detained Secretary of the Chamber of Architects Mücella Yapıcı, as well as eight other addresses linked to other Taksim Solidarity Platform members, the group announced.

The group’s lawyers said the police’s detention warrant contained no accusation, and that they objected to the search. They said the police ignored their objections and continued their “illegal searches” regardless.

The platform, which was formed by some 120 non-governmental organizations, said 48 people who are representatives and leaders of workers’ groups were detained on July 8 “without legal basis” and just to “oppress their democratic movement.”

“The lie that Gezi Park was opened to the public didn’t last long this time. A short while ago, constituents of Taksim Solidarity who were trying to get to Gezi Park were stopped on İstiklal Avenue. The police once again attacked the people with tear-gas and water cannons. Now we are at a point where conscience, wisdom, laws and democracy end,” stated the joint press release read out by Mehmet Soğancı of the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB), in a press conference today in an Istanbul hotel in Taksim Square.

Yapıcı, and her architect daughter Cansu Yapıcı, second Chair of the Chamber of Architects Sabri Orcan, Istanbul Medical Chamber General Secretary Ali Çerkezoğlu, Chamber of Urban Planners Secretary Akif Burak Atlar, and urban planner Sezi Zaman were among the 48 detainees.

Aside from 48 members of the non-governmental organization, nearly 40 other protesters were also taken under arrest on July 8, Soğancı said.

Turkish Medical Association (TTB) president Ahmet Özdemir Aktan said police used rubber bullets much more enthusiastically on July 8, and 17-year-old Mustafa Ali Tombul was heavily injured in his head.

Aktan also said Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu was “confused” about the plans for Gezi’s redevelopment. “It was he [Gov. Mutlu] who invited citizens to the park, but the people arriving in the park faced gas bombs, rubber bullets, water cannons once again. Was it a trap for his own citizens?” he said.

DİSK head Arzu Çerkezoğlu, who was previously criticized by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for being “an extremist unionist,” said Turkey had entered an irreversible process.

“Nothing is going to be the same again. Tayyip Erdoğan is the loser of this process, and the [Justice and Development Party] AKP. The streets won this,” she said.

The group, accompanied by some 50 protesters, then headed to Gezi Park. At the park, a lawyer, Can Atalay, explained that despite the court’s verdict to stop the redevelopment plan the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality had continued the paving process in the park.

The Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK), the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK), and the Turkish Doctors’ Union (TTB) heads were also present at the meeting.