Clashes between demonstrators and police are continuing since yesterday in the neighborhood of Tuzluçayır in Ankara’s Mamak district.
People are protesting against a government project, a mosque-djemevi combination, which locals see as an assimilation project against Alawi minorities, a joint organization by Fethullah Gülen and Cem Association.
Thousands of people gathered in the neighborhood to protest the construction after its opening on Sunday afternoon. Police attacked the demonstrators as they started to march to the construction area, using rubber bullets besides intense tear gas and pressure water.
Clashes in Tuzluçayır Square expanded to other areas in the neighborhood as more and more people joined the protesters in the evening. Demonstrators built barricades at four central spots.
The excessive use of police force also drew reactions from shopkeepers in the area where many shops were damaged by the tear gas canisters police casually fired around.
A local resident who responded to the police attack was brutally beaten by dozens of policemen and taken into custody.
Tuzluçayır Square turned into battlefield by night. A number of protesters were wounded or taken into custody by police.
Many people in Istanbul gathered at Galatasaray Square in the evening to protest the police crackdown on protestors in Tuzluçayır.
Istanbul police also attacked the demonstrators here using tear gas and pressure water.
In a statement released on Monday, BDP (Peace and Democracy Party) condemned the excessive use of police force against demonstrators in Tuzluçayır and commented the attack as the Turkish state’s intolerance of different beliefs, identities and cultures.
Remarking that many people were injured by tear gas canisters hitting them on the head, BDP underlined that Turkish police have once again shot at demonstrators deliberately, despite the death of five people and injury of hundreds during Gezi protests since late May.
BDP noted that the Alewi community disapprove the mosque-djemevi project which was developed without considering their demands ,and believe it aims to lead to a separation among the Alewi community.
BDP ended its statement by calling on the ruling AKP government to listen to the demands of Alewis and to abandon the projects and policies that ignore their belief and culture.
BDP added that the party would be standing by Alewis and the democratic struggle they are giving.
The party also demanded the urgent release of all those detained by police in Tuzluçayır.
ANF – Ankara
9 September 2013