Turkish Americans in Washington, DC rallied for a third time on Sunday, June 16 to show support for their countrymen protesting government repression in Istanbul. In the previous two days, hundreds of police raided Gezi Park and Taksim Square, firing tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets, sending the people scattering into side streets. The injured took refuge in makeshift clinics in nearby hotels, but police even dispersed tear gas inside the hotels.
The marchers focused their anger on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Marchers shouted, “Fascist Erdogan!” and “Chemical Tayyip!” Police deployed tear gas in massive amounts and water blasted at protesters contained chemicals which burned.
The solidarity protestors in Washington, DC also carried flags and signs depicting Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, credited as the founder of the Republic of Turkey as a secular state. Opponents complain that Erdogan goes against Turkey’s secular tradition by promoting conservative Islamist policies.
In this video interview, activist Yurter Ozcan explains why Turkish citizens are protesting Prime Minister Erdogan’s government.