gozel-radio-isyanbul-185x1851On Istanbul Mayday 2012, the windows of multinational corporations like Starbucks, McDonald’s, Burger King, and the windows and ATM’s of banks were broken by some anarchists in Anarchist Block. These attacks were turned into a wide-spread witch-hunt, in an attempt to defend the security and interests of international investment and to suppress opposition.
On 14 May 2012, the offices of some anarchist organizations, and the houses of activists were raided by Anti-Terror Squads at 5 a.m. Around 60 people were taken into custody, and their computers, hard drives, books, and irrelevant personal belongings were confiscated as evidence. One of the people who was taken into custody was an 8-month pregnant woman, who did not even participate to the Mayday Meeting.
It was learnt that those taken into custody were accused of “harming public property in the name of a terrorist organization.” Not only that most of the people did not even know each other, let alone be a member of a terrorist organization, no guns or other weapons were found in the house raids. The evidence sent to the Public Prosecutor was composed of some legal books, Facebook communication, or videos seen, or articles read, and shared on Facebook or from other anarchist web-sites. Also, a perfectly legal organization working on animal liberation, human rights, and ecological issues was tried to be shown as “the terrorist organization disguised as animal protection organization”.
The police questionings were filled with further absurdities. Not only that a “terrorist organization” were tried to be established out of anarchists who do not even know each other, and a “leader” was tried to be identified, but also that the very animal liberation-human rights-ecology organization was tried to be linked to KCK operations against the Kurdish opponents. Following the similarities in the sounds of the words Kuerk (Fur) and Kuert (Kurdish), the organization’s members were questioned on what they were doing in protesting the “Kurdish Fair” –whereas the organization was protesting the “Fur Fair.”
In the house of another animal liberation-ecology activist, telescopes and binoculars are taken as evidence, along with ornithology bulletins and books on nature. Also, the activists were questioned on the ecology organizations and movements against nuclear, thermal and hydroelectric power plants, indicating that the scope of the operation was not limited to smashing a few shop windows.
The mainstream media was fed with police videos identifying those who allegedly broke the windows with those taken into custody, and discrediting those taken into custody, through saying that so-called anarchists were some upper-middle class spoilt kids, if not a bunch of drunkards, and pot-heads. Their actions were said to create a wide “public outrage”, and even Minister of State, Bulent Arinc claimed that “they are the victims of a false mentality which can even destruct flowers. There are some sick souls who say against the police, they say “we are anarchists, we destroy and burn down anything, we crash the windows of banks, hospitals, tax offices.” It is them who pose the real danger. And our heroic police officers do their job against them.”
After a hearing on 18 May 2012, 9 of the people taken into custody were arrested pending trial. Yet, the operations continued, and 5 other people were also arrested in the following days.
As one of the activists taken into custody puts it, “people do not need the anarchists to insurrect. The rage against banks and global corporations can not be hidden, and the truth can not be disguised as something related to ‘a few marginal individuals’”.
It is also known that “100 journalists and 35 newspaper distributors were in jail in April. Journalists were in the streets and courts in order to claim the rights of their prisoner colleagues and to ensure a fair trial. 47 journalists were sentenced to prison in April 2011.
“100 journalists and 35 newspaper distributors are labeled as “journalists trying to create a media environment for the illegal organizations” by  “following up certain news and incidents”, “writing a book”, “government-critical journalism” or “working for a Kurdish media outlet” claims.
More than 600 students are also in prison: “Cihan Kırmızıgül was arrested while waiting for the bus at Çağlayan, İstanbul on February 2010 and has been detained for 25 months. He was tried under allegations of “membership in an illegal organization” and “he might have been part of the incident” because he was wearing a keffiyeh (Puşi) which is a traditional Arab headdress made from a square black and white piece of cloth.
“He was released pending trial at the eighth hearing of his case on Friday (23 March) however as a result of the hearing held on May 11th Friday at Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court, he was sentenced to 11 years 3 months of imprisonment in total.”
As of 7 June 2012, Istanbul 10th Criminal Court sentenced Berna Yilmaz and Ferhat Tuezer to 8 years and 5 months of imprisonment for opening a poster demanding free education, at Prime Minister Erdogan’s March 2010 `Roman Opening’ meeting. Their fellow student Utku Ayar was sentenced to 2 years and 2 months, for aiding and abetting a terrorist organization.
In an open letter to the public, dated 27 May 2012, the anarchist prisoners, who were labeled as “Godless Terrorists” which implies a threat to their lives, at their first day in prison, stated that “We know that we are in prison just because of our political ideas. Because of that, we do not regret anything we did or we did not. We know the purposes of the ones who have arrested us: it is not just to threaten us so that we will not be involved in any action, but to turn us into the ones scared to defend the tiniest bit of their own rights. But the thing they do not know is that, the prisons of their disgusting civilization will not be able to suppress our ideas, and stop us from feeling stronger than ever before.”
Also, “Solidarity with Mayday Prisoners Initiative” held a rally on 2 June 2012. In the press declaration, it was stated that “the state’s attack against revolutionaries, workers, Kurdish people, women and the nature is continuing without cease. The wave of taking into custody and imprisonment now included anarchist-libertarian individuals and groups.”
Regarding the accusation of harming the property of multinational corporations and banks, it was said that “Although this accusation do not fall within the authority of Anti-Terror Squads, and Special Courts, the claim that our friends are members of a “terrorist organization” are in contradiction even to the universal bourgeois law and formal democracy.”
In relation to other arrests and false accusations, it was underlined that “The common point is that all those people are opponents of the government and the system. And this leads to one conclusion: the state and its power-holder, the government, see everyone that does not think like itself as terrorists. The presumption of innocence is disregarded for our friends by the police and the media.”
It was also said that “As the states and corporations fed by the environment of war and conflict they themselves have created are attacking life with economic games, it is life itself that the righteous fury of the people who are defending their life-worlds and freedoms are directed to the rulers.”