Turkey: From the Expoliations of Yesterday to the Police Violence of Today

Collectif VAN
Translated by Vartan Matiossian

Since May 27, Istanbulites of all social and political environments, of all ages and from the entire city have pursued a resistance that had started peacefully and in a civilized way in Gezi Park, the biggest public park of Istanbul (Turkey). Unfortunately, following the police repression that has continued from many days, certain demonstrators have clashed with the forces of order.
Istanbulites refuse that Gezi Park is demolished to open space to the project of construction of a big mall, conceived as the replica of the Ottoman military barracks of yore (Note of CVAN: the military barracks had been built at the time by Armenian architect Balian).
Since Monday [May 28], the militants of Istanbul chant "Gezi is ours!". All this citizenship mobilization could not also serve to return Gezi Park (and its surroundings) to their true owners?
For 370 years, a portion of Gezi Park has been an Armenian cemetery, the cemetery of Pangalti, considered the biggest non-Muslim cemetery in the history of Istanbul. Founded in 1560, it was demolished in the 1930s. In 1939, its marble tombstones were sold and used for the construction of the Gezi Parkı Inonu and the square Eminönü, conceived by French planner Henri Proust. A section of the cemetery of Pangalti is currently occupied in a very lucrative way by the Divan Hotel, the Hilton Hotel, the Hyatt Regency Hotel, and the facilities of the Turkish Radio and Television (TRT).
"Gezi is ours!" In any case, it belongs partially to the Armenian Hospital Surp Hagop of Istanbul, which has been despoiled, the same as many Armenian and Greek foundations.
Let the tree of Gezi not to hide the wood: the history of the places being claimed cannot be hidden. Turkish militant have the duty of not only working for the respect of their environment, not only against Erdogan's authoritarianism, but equally for the return of the properties confiscated from non-Turkish minorities following the genocide of 1915.

collectifvan.blogspot.com, May 31, 2013

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