Why Tamarod Is the Most Important Story of 2013

After Turkish authorities cleared protesters out of Taksim Square and banned public gatherings, a lone man walked into the square, placed his backpack at his feet, and stood facing the Ataturk Cultural Center. Erdem Gündüz, a choreographer concerned about Turks' rights, stood still for more than six hours, his hands thrust in his pockets, ignoring a few taunters and prods from confused police, staring up at the portrait of Ataturk as if to say "we're trying."

The silent, stoic protest spread as men and women not only joined Gündüz in the square, but at other sites of Turks' recent struggle: at the Otel Madımak in Sivas, where a Salafist mob burned alive 33 intellectuals and artists in 1993 because one man at the cultural festival had translated Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses; at the spot in Ankara where protester Ethem Sarısülük was killed in the June demonstrations; in front of the offices where newspaper editor Hrant Dink was assassinated in 2007.

Eventually Erdogan's squads moved into Taksim and reaped condemnation for arresting protesters doing nothing but silently gazing up at Ataturk. But the demonstration spoke volumes, and reminded all that Tamarod, God willing, is just getting started.

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