Ankara bans all "protests" after dark, includes press events and group singing

Ankara bans all
When dusk falls over Ankara, officials will expect a hushed capital. Pictured is the presidential palace.
By bne IntelliNews May 26, 2017

Ankara has banned all "acts of protest" after dark. The wide-ranging ban, announced on May 26, even forbids press events, group singing and the shouting of slogans in public places after sunset, the office of the Ankara governor has announced according to Hurriyet Daily News.

The governor’s office added on its website that it was exercising powers granted under Turkey’s extended state of emergency to eliminate risks to “public order”. Risks included events that create targets for terrorists by attracting large numbers of people, it said.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is able to in many instances rule by decree under the state of emergency brought in after the attempted coup in July last year, has made it clear that he does not intend to drop the state of emergency until Turkey achieves "welfare and peace".

Responding to developments, Emma Sinclair-Webb, the country chief for Human Rights Watch in Turkey, told Bloomberg: “This is happening in the context of an unprecedented clampdown on free speech that scoops up both people who are known and have a high profile on social media, like journalists, as well as unknown people."

Erdogan, meanwhile, has instructed the sports minister to order the removal of the word “arena” from the names of all sports stadia across Turkey, Hurriyet Daily News also reported on May 26.

“I am against arenas. You know what they do in arenas. People were dismembered there by animals. I have given the instruction to the minister and we will remove the name ‘arena’ from stadiums. There is no such thing in our language,” Erdogan said, according to the newspaper.

The Ankara ban followed the arresting and jailing of two teachers, Nuriye Gulmen and Semih Ozakca, who were on the 76th day of a joint hunger strike to protest against losing their jobs. Gulmen and Ozakca, accused by Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu of belonging to a leftist terrorist organisation, the DHKP-C - something which they deny - and of faking the hunger strike as a publicity stunt face prison terms of up to 20 years.

More than 100,000 public sector workers, including 40,000 people working in the education field, have been fired since the failed coup with ministers typically citing claims of affiliation with Fethullah Gulen, the exiled cleric living in the US who has been accused of masterminding the attempted coup. Gulen has strenuously refuted the claim.

President Erdogan, meanwhile, has come under fire from the Foreign Affairs Committee in the US House of Representatives, which on May 25 unanimously passed a resolution condemning members of his security detail who were filmed attacking protesters outside the Turkish diplomatic residence in Washington during his recent state visit. 

House Speaker Paul Ryan called for Turkish leaders to apologise while House Intelligence Committee Chairman and fellow Republican Devin Nunes stated: “Erdogan is busy turning his own country into an authoritarian state, but he needs to know that his thugs are not welcome here.”

The Turkish foreign ministry rejected the resolution. Describing it as “one-sided”, it criticised what it claimed were insufficient US security measures and alleged that the protesters were affiliated with Kurdish terrorist organisations.

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