Urban rally turns into graft protest in Istanbul's Kadıköy
Hundreds gathered in Kadıköy Square in protest at the Turkish government’s urban policies and recent corruption claims Dec. 22. DHA photoHundreds gathered in Kadıköy Square in protest at the Turkish government’s urban policies and recent corruption claims Dec. 22, witnessing a brief police intervention.
The Istanbul City Demonstration, which was planned to denounce the government’s mega construction projects that have threatened green areas of the city and urban transformation projects accused of causing social destruction, turned into a mass meeting of people to protest recent corruption allegations against four Cabinet members, their relatives, a mayor and a number of businessmen.
While protestors were walking towards the square along the ferry docks, a fight between some police officers and the protestors led police to fire tear gas and use water cannons on demonstrators to disperse them. The tensions, which reportedly erupted after a small group of protesters threw stones at officers, calmed down after a brief intervention.
The protesters also shout out slogans calling the government to resign and give account of the alleged fraud before the public.
The rally’s initial objective was voicing Istanbul people’s complaints regarding major transportation projects threatening to destroy thousands of trees in Istanbul.
The third Istanbul airport, third bridge, Northern Marmara Highway and crazy canal project envisioned by the prime minister are among those projects that are feared to destroy Istanbul’s greenest area, the northern forests. The government’s massive urban transportation projects, which have been one of the main roots of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) rulership’s development understanding, were also objected to by the participants of the rally.
Protesters argued these projects were actually aimed at “providing unearned income resources for some capital owners, local governments and state housing agency (TOKİ).” The projects are also criticized for being indifferent to the social consequences of such transformations.
Many roads on Istanbul’s Anatolian side were closed for the rally yesterday, which was officially permitted by the Istanbul Governor’s Office.