Columnist’s call to behead Gezi Park protesters

A columnist in Turkey’s mass circulating daily Takvim newspaper has called for people who joined the Gezi Park protests in 2013 to be beheaded.

Columnist Erkan Tan said that people who attended the Gezi protests had used guns, thrown stones and Molotov cocktails.

“Not only did the protesters damaged public property but damaged the properties of civilians and because of that the heads of the Gezi Protesters should be cut off.” Tan wrote.  

The Gezi Park protests on 28 May 2013 erupted over an urban development plan for Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park.  

They erupted following the violent eviction of a sit-in at the park protesting the planned development. Subsequently, supporting protests and strikes took place across Turkey in about 90 cities, protesters expressed concerns over various issues such as press, of expression, freedom of assembly, and the government’s encroachment on Turkey’s secularism.

According to some estimates as many as three million people took part in some 5,000 demonstrations across the country in which 22 people were killed and thousands were injured. More than 3000 people were arrested.

Tan made the comments in his column after saying that some in Turkey who were watching the ongoing “yellow vest protests” in France were hoping that those same protests would erupt in Turkey.

In the column, which was published with the headline “From now on, end of the people who dreams Yellow Vest protests in Turkey will be Yellow Skirt”,  he asked: “Aren’t there in Turkey some people who think that if France is burning then Turkey also should burn? Aren’t there some people, who think that they should go to the streets and burn everything out, paralyze the economy and attack policemen as if they are enemy soldiers?”

Referring to the Gezi Park protest, he wrote: “Weren’t the looters, who are beloved supporters of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and People’s Democratic Party (HDP), hoping that they could possibly overturn the elected government? Weren’t they being supported by imperialist cannibals?”

Tan is also known for his shows that he often uses Ottoman Mehter March” (Ottoman Military March) as a background music to emphasis the importance of the topic that he presents on the A Haber News Channel, which is aligned with Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). 

The Takvim newspaper is a rightwing populist newspaper that sells more than 100,000 copies daily and gained notoriety for running a fake interview of CNN International anchor Christiane Amanpour during the Gezi Park protests. The report appeared to be real apart from a small disclaimer that read: ““This interview is not real, but what you will read here is real.”

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan labeled the Gezi Park protesters as “looters”.

Gezi Park is one of the last green spaces in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district and one of the smallest parks of Istanbul. The plans to replace the park with a shopping mall sparked the countrywide protests to which Tan refers.

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