So… apparently internet access to our newsletter is currently blocked by court order in Turkey… our thanks to Cemal, Belgin, and Nazan for calling this to our attention. We don’t know the reason, or even whether we were specifically targeted (because of the clumsy way in which such bans are implemented in Turkey, it could just as easily be the host site that was blocked). We’ll find out more next week.
Of course, such bans are not uncommon in Turkey. When I do research in Turkey (I am a volunteer with Amnesty… my day job is as a historian), I routinely use a VPN to get around Turkish censors. For a long while, Facebook was banned. So was Youtube. The bans come and go and it is often difficult to ascertain why. The very arbitrariness of the system only underlines the way it threatens freedom of expression.
But that discussion can be left to another day. Before this crisis we distributed our newsletter once a month…. currently we produce one nearly every day. For now, here are a couple of simple work-arounds for those who wish to receive our newsletter in Turkey (the newsletter itself was originally developed for Americans who wanted to work with Amnesty on Turkish human rights issues):
1. If you contact Natsumi Ajiki, a member of the AI-USA TURKRAN team, she will add you to our mailing list: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. For the time being, I’ll include a cut and paste of the newsletter here with the profound hope that we do not have similar on this site (see below).
Yours in struggle
St. Lawrence University
Turkey Must Stop Disgraceful Police Violence
(updated June 7, 2013)
Since May 29th, over 4,000 people have been injured, many seriously, and there is at
least one confirmed death, across Turkey after police used water cannon and tear gas
against demonstrators. Protests began in Gezi Park in Taksim, in the centre of Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, on May 27th. A few hundred protesters occupied the park to demonstrate against its destruction to make way for the building of a shopping centre. In the early hours of May 29th, police started to disperse them, using tear gas, water cannon, and excessive force. Protests spread across the country, and by Sunday June 2nd, there were hundreds of protests in 67 provinces. According to Amnesty’s short video clip, police brutality “has reached new levels”. As protests continue throughout Turkey, the toll of the outrageous and indiscriminate use of excessive force by Turkish police continues to rise. Since May 31, more than 4,000 protesters have been injured, many seriously, and there is at least one confirmed death across Turkey. Countless people have been unjustly detained and abused by police forces amid massive protests. Turkish officials say police are acting in line with human rights standards. However, we have witnessed police brutality against people, both protesters and bystanders alike, including indiscriminate beatings, and firing of tear gas canisters directly not only at nonviolent protesters, but also into homes, metro station, businesses, and at the entrance of a hospital. Amnesty International has been playing a crucial role in helping victims and calling attention to what Turkey’s government is doing. Add your voice NOW to the tens of thousands who have already added their names to Amnesty’s call to the Turkish government:
1. Immediately end its excessive use of force against peaceful protestors;
2. Protect its citizens’ basic rights of freedom of expression and assembly; and
3. Lunch investigations into abuse by security services and hold accountable those
FOUR STEPS YOU CAN TAKE NOW to stop the abuse of protesters in Turkey:
1) Sign Amnesty International USA online petition:
It takes only 2 minutes. So please encourage your friends and family to sign the petition right now by clicking here.
2) Twitter campaign:
If you are active on twitter, please retweetus @ AIUSA_TURKRAN.
Here are some suggested tweets:
.@RT_Erdogan Intervene now! No more abusive use of force by police @aforgutu
#insanhakları #humanrightsforturkey #humanrights
.@RT_Erdogan Turkish authorities must allow the right to peaceful protest of the
demonstrators @aforgutu #insanhakları #humanrightsforturkey
.@RT_Erdogan No more police beatings! No more firing tear gas canisters deliberately at
protesters @aforgutu #humanrightsforturkey
.@RT_Erdogan Release up to date and accurate information on numbers and extent of
injuries @aforgutu #insanhakları #humanrightsforturkey
.@RT_Erdogan Call immediate, independent & impartial investigation into allegations of
excessive force @aforgutu #humanrightsforturkey
.@RT_Erdogan Change track: Stop the violence, allow peaceful protest, investigate
abuses and never allow it again @aforgutu #insanhakları
.@RT_Erdogan No more deaths at demonstrations in #Turkey! @aforgutu #insanhakları
3) Write directly to the Turkish government!
1. Calling on the authorities to immediately end the excessive use of force against
2. Calling for them to ensure the right to freedom of expression and assembly; and
3. Urging for a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into the excessive use of
force and bring to justice law enforcement officials found to have ill-treated
demonstrators or other members of the public.
I have been shocked by images showing police actions against demonstrators in Istanbul and other Turkish cities, and call upon the Turkish government to immediately end the excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrators. There needs to be a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into the excesses committed by law enforcement officials so that those who have ill treated demonstrators and other members
of the public can be brought to justice. I hope that in the future Turkish authorities will ensure the right to freedom of expression and assembly, rights that are essential for any truly democratic state. PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 17 JUNE 2013 TO:
Prime Minister Mr Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Office of the Prime Minister,
06573 Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 (312) 422 1899
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister
Minister of Interior Mr. Muammer Güler
Fax: +90 312 418 1795
Salutation: Dear Minister
And copies to:
Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights Chair Ayhan Sefer Üstün
TBMM İnsan Hakları İnceleme Komisyonu
Bakanlıklar, 06543 Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 420 53 94
Ambassador Namik Tan
Embassy, Republic of Turkey
2525 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20008
* If you live outside the USA, please copy to diplomatic representatives accredited to your
country. You can find their mailing information here.
4) Raise Awareness & Stay informed
Share this document with your friends and family around the world and encourage them to take actions with you right now. One voice of protest can be ignored, but thousands, and
hundreds of thousands cannot! Stay informed by following Amnesty USA’s work on Turkey on our facebook page, blog site, Human Rights in Turkey, and twitter @AIUSA_TURKRAN and we will keep you up to date on how to take further actions.
Questions? Email AIUSA TURKRAN Coordinator Natsumi Ajiki at email@example.com.
Amnesty International publications on the crisis:
● “What You Can Do NOW to Stop the Abuse of Protesters in Turkey” (June 4, 2013)
● “Turkey must end abusive use of force and reveal the extent of injuries” (June 3, 2013)
● “Alarming Increase in Police Violence and Abusive Force Against Peaceful Protesters in
Turkey” (June 3, 2013)
● “Turkey: Disgraceful use of excessive police force in Istanbul” (June 1, 2013)
● “Turkey must halt brutal police repression and investigate abuses at Istanbul protest”
(May 31, 2013)
● “Amnesty International condemns use of excessive force against peaceful protestors”
(May 30, 2013)