Meanwhile, In Turkey …

Jul 17 2013 @ 6:41pm

Elif Batuman reminds us that “normalcy has not yet returned to Turkey”:

A TV personality who believes in telekinesis has been made Erdoğan’s chief adviser. Thousands of people, including doctors who treated protesters, have been detained by police. The man with the machete is now in Casablanca; as the owner of a small business, he may be entitled to government compensation for his sufferings as a terror victim.

It’s hard to get a coherent picture of what’s going on from reading the news, partly because so many editors and reporters have been intimidated into vagueness or retirement. It’s unclear what will become of all the out-of-work journalists. Some journalists tried to stage a march on Saturday, but the police blocked them before they could march anywhere. Chaos spread through Taksim. An ice-cream-parlor employee reportedly helped seven or eight civil policemen beat up a customer. I didn’t go out myself, but friends who did narrowly missed being hit on the head with gas cannisters or run over by reconnaissance vehicles. Terrifying images circulated on Twitter. One showed an art professor from Mimar Sinan University bleeding from the mouth being led into police custody.

Claire Sadar has more on the situation:

In response to the heavy-handed tactics of authorities, there has been a boom in creative passive-resistance protest in recent weeks including public standing, walking, festivals and even Ramadan Iftar dinners.  There have also been move made toward creating a solid political movement out of the diverse grievances of the protestors through the creation of community forums throughout Istanbul.

These forums are of course only baby steps toward Occupy Gezi having representatives in local or national government.  In the short term, as myself and others repeatedly predicted, Erdogan and the AKP are not going anywhere.  Indeed some, including anthropologist of Turkey Jenny White*, have begun to question whether Westerners and Turkish elites have over estimated the real impact Occupy Gezi has had and will have on Turkish politics.  I certainly don’t discount her observations and they mesh with my own impression that away from the protest centers there is little sympathy for the movement.  In this way the AKP’s base has been little effected by Gezi and the party is sure to remain a force to be reckoned with in the short term.  However, the very existence of the Gezi movement itself remains remarkable and bodes well for the political future of Turkey.

More Dish coverage of Turkey here, here and here.