Sunday, June 2, 2013

What's Behind The Turkish Uprising?
The People Vs The Prime Minister

Anti-government protests spread to more than 90 Turkish cities yesterday. The uprising that began at Instanbul's Gezi Park is now entering its fourth day. Arrests had reached nearly 1,000 nationwide, according to the government. The Turkish doctors association says there have been 1,000 injuries in Istanbul and 700 in Ankara.

Turks are saying that the way Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government attacked peaceful protests that were intended to prevent the government from converting the last green space in central Istanbul into a shopping mall, with water cannons and tear gas projectiles that injured many people and killed at least one, unleashed grievances among a much wider segment of the population that have been building up over Erdogan's ten years in power.

Among them are:

- The Islamist Erdogan government's crackdown on free expression, including the widespread arrest of journalists and opposition politicians critical of the government and including the banning of public displays of affection between men and women such as holding hands or kissing and banning the public consumption of alcohol.

- Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian style.

- His enactment of Neoliberal economic "reforms".

- His refusal to allow unions to march on May Day.

- The government's increasingly poor treatment of minorities.

- A series of public projects, even before the Gezi Park project, in which the government has turned historic old buildings or historic areas into commercial zones.

- Ramming through an unpopular third bridge across the Bhophorus River in the face of widespread public opposition.

 - Erdogan's policy vis a vis the Syrian conflict. Turkey is being increasingly drawn into the conflict, as Turkey is a central avenue for the supply of arms to the CIA-led Syrian opposition, and houses a large number of Syrian refugees that have fled to Turkish border towns. The CIA-led militia fighting the Syrian government also use these border areas, and because of this, towns near the Syrian border have been bombed and shelled by Syrian military and militias.

Erdogan remains defiant about his plans to develop Gezi Park and now adds that he might build a mosque there. He has been on a mosque building spree. He dismisses the protesters variously as a "fringe" element or as being started by opposition political parties.



Gleaned from reports by Al-Jazeera, which is doing much better reporting on this than any American or European media, including this live blog, from Roarmag.org which is publishing things coming from a variety of sources inside Turkey, including WhatIsHappeningInIstanbul.com, the Twitter account #Turkey, Occupy Gezi, which is publishing an amazing amount of pictures from Istanbul and also other towns, and Occupy Turkey on Facebook. Turkish media blacked out the protests for the first three days and word of them was spread through "social media."


More Pictures From The Turkish Uprising, from Istanbul, Ankara and other cities, courtesy of Occupy Gezi





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CNN Turkey, CNN US


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