Strike In Turkey As Workers Extend Support To Occupy Taksim, 2 Dead
04 June, 2013
As protests and clashes with police continued into the night on Monday and riot police fired more tear gas at protesters on a night of violent clashes in Ankara and Istanbul , public sector workers in Turkey start a two-day strike to support the continuing anti-government protests.
A left-wing union confederation today begins the strike to protest against what they have condemned as "state terror" against the demonstrations.
The strike by the 240,000-member Confederation of Public Workers' Unions (KESK) is likely to affect schools, universities and public offices throughout the country.
In a statement on its website KESK said: "The state terror implemented against entirely peaceful protests is continuing in a way that threatens civilians' life safety."
The union confederation representing 11 unions accused the government of undermining democracy.
A second death in the protests has been confirmed by the governor's office in the southern city of Antakya .
Abdullah Comert, 22, a member of the youth wing of the opposition Republican People's Party, was "seriously wounded... after gunfire from an unidentified person," the governor's office said, adding that he died later in hospital.
Earlier, A Socialist Solidarity Platform (SODAP) member has been hit and killed after a car driver ignored warnings to stop for protesters organizing a Gezi Park solidarity demonstration,
The Turkish Doctors' Union (TTB) said: The victim, 20-year-old Mehmet Ayvalitas, is the first confirmed death in protests that have engulfed the entire country.
The hacker group RedHack also released a statement, saying Ayvalitas was a member, while implying that the killing was the intentional work of a fascist.
Republican People's Party (CHP) Sabahat Akkiraz extended her condolences on the Ayvalitas while describing him as a “martyr.”
A TTB statement accused the government of conducting a provocative agenda, citing several remarks of Erdogan which claimed he was “barely holding back the 50 percent” of the country that voted for him from coming onto the street.
The TTB called on government to pull back all police forces, and release all those detained throughout the protests.
There were further clashes on Monday between police and protesters which continued in Istanbul and the capital, Ankara .
Protesters use clingfilm to guard against teargas
Thousands of demonstrators again gathered in Istanbul 's Taksim Square , the focus of the protests.
Many protesters shouted "Tayyip, resign!" while waving red flags and banners and blowing whistles, and tear gas could be seen wafting over the square.
Police also used tear gas again to disperse protesters near Erdogan's office in the Besiktas district of the city.
Hundreds of protesters were reported to have gathered in the early hours of Tuesday in Ankara where they were met by more tear gas and water cannon.
Unrest was also reported in the city of Izmir , Adana and Gaziantep .
Erdogan's Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) is trying to impose conservative Islamic values on the officially secular country and infringe on their personal freedoms, correspondents say.
The protests began on May 28.
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kiliçdaroglu met with president Abdullah Gül to share his worries over the week-long protests across the country, criticizing prime minister Erdogan's attitude on the issue.
After the meeting, Kiliçdaroglu answered questions from reporters.
“I said the language of the prime minister tended to escalate incidents, rather than calm them. I said a president had important tasks to do,” he said.
Commenting on Erdogan's recent words that he would struggle to stop 50 percent of society keeping out of the tension, Kiliçdaroglu said that only a prime minister without a sense of responsibility would make such a statement.
“It is not democracy when you say ‘I hold control of 50 percent of the society and I can put them on the field with sticks in their hands whenever I want to, and then a battle will come out,' this is the discourse of dictators,” Kiliçdaroglu said.
Over 1,480 people have so far been wounded in Istanbul , with five people in intensive care and two more in critical condition, the TTB said, adding that around 414 injuries have so far been recorded by Ankara 's Doctors' Union , with 420 more in Izmir.
Erdogan has rejected protesters' demands that he resign.
In Ankara , demonstrators chanted for Erdogan to resign.
The protests are seen as a display of frustration with Erdogan, whom critics say has become increasingly authoritarian.
Groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have denounced the police reaction as excessive.
Bullet in eye
Prominent Turkish academic Ahmet Insel said on the night of June 3 a young boy had lost his eye after being shot with a plastic bullet during the Gezi Park protests.
In an interview with CNN Türk, Insel said the young boy had undergone an operation to remove the bullet in his eye.
He said the boy preferred to remain anonymous, and was injured on the Talimhane side of Taksim Square .
Turkish stock market falls 10.5%
Turkey 's main share index closed 10.47% down following investor concerns over the escalation of anti-government protests.
The Borsa Istanbul 100 index tumbled as investors feared the demonstrations could hit the economy, and the Turkish lira fell to 16-month lows.
There was also a big rise in the cost of insuring Turkey 's debt against default. It has risen to a two-month high.
Turkey 's central bank cut its main interest rates by 50 basis points last month in a bid to stimulate the faltering economy. The central bank has been trying to boost its economy with rate cuts since the middle of last year when economic growth slowed sharply.
Hurriyet Daily News, BBC, news.sky.com
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