Turkish Police Detained CNN’s Correspondent Ivan Watson

ıvanIstanbul is on alert on the first anniversary of the massive Gezi protests May 31 as calls were made for street action in the flashpoint area of Taksim Square, which was the heart of last year’s demonstrations.

Turkish police detained  CNN International reporter Ivan Watson and his  crew in the middle of a live report in Taksim Square. Watson said “Turkish police officer wasn’t satisfied my press card from Turkey’s Prime Ministry of Turkey. “Many are counterfeited”Police said. And “demanding passport”  Watson said.


Turkish police released CNN team after half an hour. Watson ” Officer apologized for another officer who kneed me while I was being detained. He said


Istanbul police, having canceled all holidays and increased the shifts of police officers to 12 hours until a second order, closed Gezi Park at 10:50 a.m., while the adjacent Taksim Square remained silent in the early hours of the day.

Along with fire trucks, water cannon trucks (TOMAs) and other anti-riot vehicles, some construction equipment, which are commonly used by the police to move road barricades, were seen at the square.

Additional policemen from 11 other provinces were deployed to the city as part of measures against possible protests, which are likely to begin later in the day.

The umbrella association which initiated last year’s protests against the cutting down of trees at Gezi Park, the Taksim Solidarity Platform, has called for gatherings on May 31 to remember victims who died following brutal police crackdowns across Turkey. The group also called for commemorations of Elif Çermik, a 64-year-old woman who became the latest victim of police violence on May 30 as she died after spending 159 days in coma due to a heart attack triggered by tear gas.

The Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK) also called on its members to participate in the demonstrations. May 31 marks the first anniversary since a dawn crackdown to remove activists from the park sparked national outrage, leading to protests in other cities.

But officials signaled that no demonstration would be allowed in Taksim and even in other parts of Istanbul, as the police ordered a sweeping deployment to crush any attempt of protest.

Photos: Hülya Karahan