June 29, 2013

CLAIRE BERLINSKI: The Gezi Diaries: Can We Still Call Turkey Civilized? “Throughout the country, protests sparked by the sight of cops kicking the snot out of peaceful protesters have been met by more cops kicking far more snot out of (largely) peaceful protesters. It’s true that some protesters have lost their cool and broken windows, smashed cars, and—in one remarkable case—hotwired a sizable backhoe to face down the police. But even the most violent protester is no match for what is, effectively, an army. Not a day goes by without reports of protesters getting pummeled. And that is not the worst of it: Not a day goes by without reports of arrests. What this means, in Turkey, is that hundreds of families may never see some of their loved ones again. . . . Yet, in the past decade, since the rise of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his AKP party, the world has decided that Turkey is finally democratizing—and this precisely as the screws have in fact tightened around crucial pieces of what you would call an ordinary democratic civil discourse and judicial norms. Indeed, Erdoğan has so thoroughly undermined free civic expression and the rule of law that a great many Turks feel that their country has been ripped from their hands.”