Get PJ Media on your Apple

Rubin Reports

Massive Demonstrations Shake Turkey

June 2nd, 2013 - 3:22 pm

More than 1000 people have been injured in several days of protests in Istanbul and 11 other cities against Turkey’s Islamist regime.  The number of dead is not clear. There have been more than 90 demonstrations, making these the biggest anti-Islamist protests in a decade. Hundreds more were hurt in conflicts with police in Ankara, the capital. The demonstrations began as an environmental protest about the destruction of a famous Istanbul park but had spread to Ankara, too.

The movement began in Taksim Square, Istanbul’s most famous. The police responded toughly using tear gas and pepper spray. Some compared this to the Arab Spring demonstrations elsewhere in the Middle East, though this idea seems exaggerated.

Gradually the Justice and Development Party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been working to transform Turkey into something much closer to an Islamist state. Hundreds of political prisoners have been jailed on trumped-up charges of planned coups; the army has been forced to submit; a new constitution is being developed; and the independent judiciary is under assault by the government.

Much of the mass media has been bought up or intimidated. One must also take into account educational system changes, the declining status of women, and rising efforts to reduce the sale of alcohol. Turkey has more journalists in jail than any other country in the world.

It all began when a small group of young people camped at a park in central Istanbul to protest Erdogan’s personal plan to build a shopping center on the site. Police raided the park just before sunrise using tear gas; they evicted the protesters and removed their tents. Up to this point, it was a normal response.

A few days later, about 30 young people returned and set up the tents again, and the police once more launched a raid. This time, however, a great deal of force was used, including pepper spray. Tear gas was squirted into the faces of some young people. There were also beatings.

In response, thousands of people gathered around the square and park. The police attacked with water cannons mounted on vehicles in a major escalation. They attacked protesters, chasing them into side streets in downtown Istanbul past the many hotels and stores in the area. Those who tried non-violent sit-ins were beaten, including two members of parliament.

Protests spread all over Turkey, with participants counted in the tens of thousands. The issue now was the growing repression by the Islamist regime. Large areas were filled with pepper spray, tear gas, and the water cannons firing several times a minute. Many apartment buildings were deluged in gas.

Little or no provocation was offered by the crowd. Demonstrators charged that police undercover agents entered the protest areas, threw stones, and then went back behind the police lines. Oppositionists were especially outraged by the use of ambulances driving down streets to clear the crowds. Another tactic was to set tents ablaze and then claim the demonstrators had started the fires.

The political implications of the protests are not clear. They are probably unlikely to shake the determination of the government. “We do not have a government, we have Tayyip Erdogan,” political scientist and protester Koray Caliskan told the Reuters news agency.

Erdogan is very arrogant, has a strong base of support, and enjoys the full support of the Obama administration.  The Turkish economy is generally considered to be strong. Erdogan will have to decide whether to slow down the Islamization process—he has been clever at being patient—or, perhaps, on the contrary, to speed it up, claiming his regime is facing sabotage.

You can see photos here. And here’s a good background article. And here is regularly updated news and photos.

Comments are closed.

All Comments   (17)
All Comments   (17)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
I read an article many years ago on how revolutions get started and it outlined the steps. One was to hold a protest demonstration and try to provoke a strong govt. reaction that is seen by the people as an over reaction. Another bigger protest is held because more people are upset with govt. policies and actions. The govt. obligingly gets more violent and angers even more people. At this point it is near impossible to what back to civil relations and the govt. hardens their position and rule with little public support. This is a pattern that has been repeated in many countries. The original protesters pretend to become reluctant leaders of the aroused mobs. Govt. hubris works against compromise.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Another Islamist dictatorship on the rise.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ten bucks says that Turkey will be a little Iran within 10 yrs...
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
@Barry Is there any hope in Turkey for an alliance between urban modernists (the people who are demonstrating) and the disaffected Kurds at least some of whom are secular socialists to form an electoral majority? I know the PPK and any Turkish regime have been at loggerheads for a long time, but sometimes political landscapes change.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
@PacRimJim I am reminded of V.S. Naipaul's 1979 Among the Believers where he describes the the various factions and energies in the Islamic world. He describes how it is the rural village people in Indonesia who go into reactionary shock when they migrate to the big cities and try to recreate the simplicity of their childhoods through Islamism. I hope that we have not heard the last of Ataturk's reforms in Turkey.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Israel, instigate, instigate, instigate, don't waste another crisis, Turkey is the exception where helping one side, the anti islamists, helps you. With all the other 4th century idiots send both sides ammunition.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Typically, urban folk want reform, so dictators use rural folk as police to hold power.
There's a natural tension between the two groups, so dictators often resort to this expedient.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is such a sad development for Turkey. For almost a century they have benefited from the insight of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk that Turkey would be far better served by following the Western model, segregating religion from government, and liberalizing the country. And Turkey has had a modern economy, a democratic government, and far more individual liberty than any other country in the Middle East.

Ataturk put in place safeguards to prevent Islamists from taking back the country after his time, which did their job well until Erdogan. Erdogan purged the incumbent generals from the army, which had been set up as a check on religious capture of the government, and installed his own puppets in their place. That opened the door to impose Islamism on the people.

The Turks have now forgotten Ataturk, to their great peril.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
It was the EU that forced the obliteration of Attaturk's safeguards. All in the name of human rights and as a teaser for acceptance into the EU. Edrogan just took advantage of the breach they forced.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
My Turkish musician friend in Istanbul has been singing the praises of Mustapha Kemal for weeks. They haven't forgotten him a bit. It's worth speculating that a confederation of junior officers (which MK was when he began organizing to take down the Young Turk gummint at end of WWI) may make an attempt to overturn Erdogan to return power to the Army.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think Ankara deserves a little Arab Spring even if Turks aren't Arabs. Ataturk's solution to radical Islam (the Caliphate, if you prefer) is the correct one, at least for Turkey.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Quote from article:

"Little or no provocation was offered by the crowd. Demonstrators charged that police undercover agents entered the protest areas, threw stones, and then went back behind the police lines. Oppositionists were especially outraged by the use of ambulances driving down streets to clear the crowds. Another tactic was to set tents ablaze and then claim the demonstrators had started the fires."

Sounds like American Union Members and police in Wisconsin.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 Next View All