Turkish government escalates attack on democratic rights amid explosive social conditions | #socialmedia

On Sunday, the annual Pride March in Beyoğlu, Istanbul, attended by thousands of people, was violently attacked by police. In Istanbul, 371 people were detained, including AFP photojournalist Bülent Kılıç, along with dozens more in other cities, including Izmir and Ankara. According to news reports and statements by lawyers, those detained were released in the following hours.

The Istanbul Governor’s Office closed some roads to traffic on Sunday morning in Beyoğlu, where Taksim Square is located, and deployed a large number of police forces in the area ahead of the peaceful march, citing “calls for unauthorized meetings, demonstrations and similar activities on social media.” During the day, the police relentlessly attacked those who wanted to gather, while marches and protests took place on various streets despite the crackdown.

People display rainbow flags as Turkish police officers cordon an area off during the LGBTQ Pride March in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, June 26, 2022 [AP Photo/Emrah Gurel]

Last week, the district governorships of Beyoğlu and Kadıköy announced a one-week ban on “LGBTI+ Pride Week” events. In the Kadıköy District Governorship’s statement, the arbitrary ban was based on Article 17 of Law No. 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations, hypocritically citing “the protection of peace, security and well-being and the prevention of crime.”

In fact, this law effectively abolishes the Constitutional article stating that “Everyone has the right to organize unarmed and nonviolent meetings and demonstrations without prior permission.” This arbitrary police attack, ordered by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government, is one of the largest detention operations in recent years and an obvious onslaught on basic democratic rights.

The main target of the Erdoğan government’s increased police state repression and authoritarianism is the working class, which is beginning to mobilize together with its international class brothers and sisters against skyrocketing costs of living and growing attacks on social conditions.

Inflation—triggered by the massive printing of money by central banks around the world, further enriching the super-rich and exacerbated by the NATO war against Russia in Ukraine—has pushed the cost of living in Turkey to unprecedented levels. According to a survey conducted in March, 90 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Under these explosive social conditions, the strike and protest movement of various sections of the working class, especially health workers, is developing.

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