Archives For: Gezi Park Protests

Tonight in Istanbul, police made good on Erdogan’s “final warning” this week and stormed Gezi Park, clearing out all demonstrators with more tear gas, water canons, and rubber bullets. Then came the demolition:

Bulldozers moved in afterward, scooping up debris as crews of workmen in hard hats and fluorescent yellow vests tore down the tents. Protesters put up little physical resistance, even as plain-clothes police shoved many of them to drive them from the park. White smoke billowed skyward as a phalanx of riot police marched inside the park on Saturday. They tore down protesters’ banners, toppled a communal food stall, and sprayed tear gas over the tents and urging those inside to get out.

The civilians under fire fled to nearby cafes and hotels to rest and tend to each other’s injuries. Before long, police entered the Divan Hotel and filled the lobby with tear gas (seen in the above video):

[P]olice stormed the hotel beating protesters, while a later assault left the lobby of the luxury hotel thick with gas. The Observer saw two elderly women who had passed out, being carried out on stretchers to an ambulance.

Recent Dish on Turkey’s unrest here.

Turkey Is Still Broiling, Ctd

Jun 13 2013 @ 3:57pm

Protestors in Istanbul’s Gezi Park have appropriated a song from the Le Mis soundtrack:

Meanwhile, the prime minister issued a “final warning” to the protestors earlier today. Ben Judah argues that Erdogan “doesn’t get it because he is still fighting his last battle – the secretive civil war within the Turkish elite”:

[J]ust as Erdogan seemed to have finally defeated the “Deep State,” these protestors have appeared across Turkey attacking his leadership and calling for his removal. He must have felt blind-sided by the spontaneous demonstrations because the last time there were similar mass protests in Turkey, back in 2007, they were organized by the military in alliance with the opposition Republican People’s Party. Those protests brought hundreds of thousands out onto the streets in an effort to block Erdogan from winning the election. Gigantic crowds in Ankara and Izmir numbered more than 350,000 Turkish flag-waving secularists.

Erdogan smells conspiracy because, until 2011, Turkish politics has been nothing but conspiracy.

Koplow adds:

[Erdogan] is quite clearly trying to mobilize his supporters by acting as if his opponents are attempting to carry out a civilian coup, and by repeatedly refusing to stand down and instead upping the ante with tear gas, truncheons, water cannons, and endless tone deaf insults, he is beginning to tear the country apart. There are numerous cleavages in Turkish society that run along fault lines of religious-secular, rural-urban, conservative-liberal, rich-poor, and Sunni-Alevi-Kurdish, to name just a few. Some of these have been more under wraps than others, but this brings them all to the surface in a way that will be difficult to undo.

Recent Dish on the unrest in Turkey here and here.

Turkey Is Still Broiling

Jun 11 2013 @ 3:40pm


This morning (NYT), one day after Erdogan scheduled a meeting with the demonstrators, riot police rushed into Taksim Square and subdued the lingering protestors with tear gas and water canons. By all accounts so far, police were provoked by a few people throwing rocks and molotov cocktails:

Amid Tuesday’s clashes, Erdogan made it more than clear that he had come to the end of his tolerance. “To those who … are at Taksim and elsewhere taking part in the demonstrations with sincere feelings: I call on you to leave those places and to end these incidents and I send you my love. But for those who want to continue with the incidents I say: ‘It’s over.’ As of now we have no tolerance for them,” Erdogan said, speaking in the capital, Ankara.

Can Oz, “the owner of the biggest literary publishing house in the country,” was there and fled the scene:

Some say the protesters’ firebomb attack was staged, and while I don’t have certain proof that this was the case, it wouldn’t surprise me: over the past few days I have witnessed so many lies from the police and government that I don’t think I can ever trust them again.

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Face Of The Day

Jun 9 2013 @ 9:30pm

Unrest Continues In Turkey With Anti Government Protests

Thousands of demonstrators attend the demonstration in Taksim Square on the ninth day of the nationwide protests on June 8, 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul has seen protests rage on for more than a week, with two protesters and one police officer killed. Initially a protest over the fate of Taksim Gezi Park it has broadened into anger over what has been seen as a heavy-handed response of the police and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government’s increasingly authoritarian agenda. By Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images.

Brian Merchant shares some troubling news out of Turkey:

[Tuesday] night, police raided 38 homes where citizens who had tweeted messages sympathetic to the protests lived—16 were arrested.

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What’s Erdogan’s Next Move?

Jun 5 2013 @ 2:41pm

Mustafa Akyol and HA Hellyer ponder the way forward for the Turkish government, noting a few encouraging signs:

The events of the past few days do not mean Erdogan has to resign – but it does suggest he ought to try to be a force for reconciliation. A good step was taken on Tuesday, when Bulent Arinc, Erdogan’s deputy, gave a press conference in which he promised police restraint, dialogue with the opposition, and “self-criticism” within the cabinet. Erdogan will do a great service, to himself and his country, if he uses similarly calming language on return from north Africa. His visit to that region ought to remind him that the best governments listen seriously to the demands of all citizens, not just those who voted them in. Erdogan’s accomplishments are so significant that the alternative route – of further confrontation and crisis – would be a great pity.

Claire Berlinski feels more pessimistic:

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Face Of The Day

Jun 4 2013 @ 6:50pm

Tensions Grow As Demonstrations Against The Government Continue In Istanbul

A protestor wears a mask at the Gezi Park in Taksim Square on June 4, 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey. The protests began initially over the fate of Taksim Gezi Park, one of the last significant green spaces in the center of the city. The heavy-handed viewed response of the police, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government’s increasingly authoritarian agenda has broadened the rage of the clashes. By Uriel Sinai/Getty Images.


Pablo Barberá and Megan Metzger examine how social media is being used during the current protests:

What is unique about this particular case is how Twitter is being used to spread information about the demonstrations from the ground. Unlike some other recent uprisings, around 90% of all geolocated tweets are coming from within Turkey, and 50% from within Istanbul (see map below). In comparison, Starbird (2012) estimated that only 30% of those tweeting during the Egyptian revolution were actually in the country. Additionally, approximately 88% of the tweets are in Turkish, which suggests the audience of the tweets is other Turkish citizens and not so much the international community.

Oray Egin highlights how, more and more, the country is turning to the tweets:

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The strange parallels:

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In our first video from Fareed, he explains why he’s not worried about the ongoing protests:

Henri J. Barkey points out that the country’s only opposition party is a mess:

[T]he Republican People’s Party, [or CHP,] is a party in name only. It has proven incapable of appealing to voters, organizing itself to contest elections; and, most importantly, offering alternative policies to the AKP. Instead, it is in a state of constant turmoil as cadres fight for spoils that can at best be described as crumbs. The hapless state of the opposition propels the demonstrators: people have found out that they cannot count on the opposition to fight for their rights. Hence, the only outlet they have is the street.

He also notes Erdogan’s increasing insularity:

Having surrounded himself with yes-men (and yes, they are all men), he has become a victim of groupthink.

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