Three Istanbul neighborhoods declare self-government



ISTANBUL - Three Istanbul neighborhoods have now declared self-government in the face of police attacks.

Turkey's ruling AKP launched a violent war in Northern Kurdistan in the wake of its election defeat. In response, people across the region have been declaring self-government. Neighborhoods and towns have declared that they will defend themselves against state attacks. Now, three neighborhoods in Istanbul have joined them: Gazi, Gülsuyu and Kanarya.

One of the neighborhoods that declared self-government is Gazi. In 1995, 17 people died in police repression of neighborhood actions. Since then, Gazi has been a key neighborhood for revolutionaries from Turkey and Kurdistan. Last week, the Gazi Neighborhood People's Initiative declared self-government in the neighborhood.

"The working people of Gazi have been oppressed, colonized, and massacred. But they have lived side by side for years even with different languages, religions and cultures. The time has come for this people to say 'enough' to the cruelty, torture and massacres," said a speaker for the neighborhood initiative.

Gülsuyu, like Gazi, is a neighborhood dominated by the working class, Alevi Muslims and revolutionaries. The People's Initiative for Gülsuyu's Maltepe district joined the declarations of self-government. In their statement, the group denounced the police targeting of Kurdish politicians. They also decried the isolation of jailed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan and the bombing of Kurdish guerrilla zones.

The neighborhood of Kanarya is located in the city's Küçükçekmece district. Called "Istanbul's Kurdistan" for its large Kurdish population, Kanarya was a site of resistance. As a result, police raids were frequent. The people of Kanarya decided to join Gazi and Gülsuyu in declaring self-government. Neighborhood people now guard the streets against police attacks every night.