Louis Fishman paints a picture of the prime minister’s arrogance that would make even Mike Bloomberg blush:
From implementing policies encouraging women to have three children, to his goal to raise a ‘moral’ generation of youth that will sign up to his interpretation of what a good Muslim is, more and more Turks have become tired of a Prime Minister who promotes policies that interfere with their daily lives. Just before the protest began new laws were enacted aimed at curbing alcohol consumption in the public sphere. It should be clear it is not that so many Turks would be affected by the laws; even if drinking Raki (and beer to some extent) is considered by many as a Turkish pastime, actually a low percentage of them actually drink on a regular basis. Rather, it was in the very condescending way Erdogan related his disdain for those who do drink, inferring that they were all drunks.
Parallel to this, Erdogan’s personal dictation of the policies of urban renewal and of massive infrastructure projects have taken their toll on the Turkish population. It seems that no power is strong enough to stop a project that the Prime Minister supports; whether it is the third Bosphorus bridge, the new mega-airport, or the numerous dams that are flooding cities throughout the Anatolian heartland. In fact, it was due to this very reason that the Erdogan’s obsession to replicate an Ottoman armory, even stressing his wish that it be used as a shopping mall, irked so many, regardless of political affiliation or social background. As high rises replace shanty towns, and shopping malls blossom at the speed of flowers in the spring, the 606 trees at Taksim Park turned into a real issue for many.