Home > Anything Else, Radical Islam, Wars and Rumors of War > ‘Turkish Summer’? Fiercest Anti-Government Protests In Years Erupt In Istanbul, Scores Wounded After Police Attempt To Disperse Demonstrators

‘Turkish Summer’? Fiercest Anti-Government Protests In Years Erupt In Istanbul, Scores Wounded After Police Attempt To Disperse Demonstrators

First it was the “Arab Spring”. Now it’s the “Turkish Summer”. Tip of the hat to Kurt J for the link, who also points out that even though every Arab Spring protest initially began with elements of liberalism and the hope of true democratic freedom, the end result was the ousting of one dictatorship being replaced by another that was much worse. Turkey will get tough to douse the flames of protests, but too much force will only add fuel to the fire. And if recent history is any indicator, any potential removal of Erdogan and the current government may only result in another that is even more Islamist than the one it replaces …

By Ayla Jean Yackley, Reuters –  “ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon on Friday at demonstrators in central Istanbul, wounding scores of people and prompting rallies in other cities in the fiercest anti-government protests for years.

Thousands of demonstrators massed on streets surrounding Istanbul’s central Taksim Square, long a venue for political unrest, while protests erupted in the capital Ankara and the Aegean coastal city of Izmir.

Broken glass and rocks were strewn across a main shopping street near Taksim. Primary school children ran crying from the clouds of tear gas while tourists caught by surprise scurried to get back to luxury hotels lining the square.

The unrest reflects growing disquiet at the authoritarianism of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Riot police clashed with tens of thousands of May Day protesters in Istanbul this month. There have also been protests against the government’s stance on the conflict in neighboring Syria, a tightening of restrictions on alcohol sales and warnings against public displays of affection.

‘We do not have a government, we have Tayyip Erdogan … Even AK Party supporters are saying they have lost their mind, they are not listening to us,’ said Koray Caliskan, a political scientist at Bosphorus University who attended the protest.

‘This is the beginning of a summer of discontent.’

The protest at Taksim’s Gezi Park started late on Monday after trees were torn up under a government redevelopment plan but has widened into a broader demonstration against Erdogan’s administration. Friday’s violence erupted after a dawn police raid on demonstrators who had been camped out for days.

‘This isn’t just about trees anymore, it’s about all of the pressure we’re under from this government. We’re fed up, we don’t like the direction the country is headed in,’ said 18-year-old student Mert Burge, who came to support the protesters after reading on Twitter about the police use of tear gas.

‘We will stay here tonight and sleep on the street if we have to,’ he said.” Read more.

  1. AtHisFeet
    06/01/2013 at 3:20 PM

    The difference this time is that the Islamists already have their “guy” in place with Erdogan. Can’t get any worse than him, IMO. Syria is going to look like a walk in the park compared with what Erdogan will unleash if this gets really serious.


  2. AtHisFeet
    06/03/2013 at 1:18 PM

    P.S. Anyone else find it interesting that this kicked up less than three weeks after Erdogan’s meeting with Obama?


  3. ICA
    06/03/2013 at 2:44 PM

    Obama seems to have that effect it seems. My guess is that Erdogan will dig in and refuse to concede little, if anything, to the “infidel” secularists. He isn’t going to go anywhere any time soon, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the demonstrations continue he decides to pull a page out of the Clinton handbook, delivering a few military strikes against a neighboring enemy somewhere.


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