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  1. aarongrow says

    I find it interesting that none of the pictures show veiled women. I guess sharia and other conservative beliefs don’t hold too much sway in this Muslim nation. That alone encourages me.

  2. jamessweet says

    I had to chuckle at the headline at BBC News today, that the Turkey PM says, “This is not a Turkish Spring.” I know what he means, but I just imagine him finishing it with, “It’s still winter here. We like our government wintry here in Turkey. The thaw will never come!” heh…

  3. Ben P says

    “authoritarian neoliberalism of Erdogan’s proto-Islamist government.”

    This phrase (from the source link) makes my eye twitch, but to the extent those words have any fixed meaning, it is somewhat accurate. Erdogan’s government is eocnomically conservative and friendly to islamists.

    I find it interesting that none of the pictures show veiled women. I guess sharia and other conservative beliefs don’t hold too much sway in this Muslim nation. That alone encourages me.

    Turkey is vastly different from its neighbors in the middle east 30 seconds of turkish history.

    From the 13th century to the 20th century the Ottomans ruled turkey. They were an explicitly islamic state, a caliphate, although at its height the Ottomans were friendly to knowledge and learning when the Europeans were…not.

    The ottoman empire sided with Germany in World War I and was basically dismembered. It hung on in turkey, but there was a revolution in 1922 that disposed of the last remanants of the Ottmans. The revolution was led by Mustafa Kemal “Ataturk.” The state established by Ataturk was explicitly secular, it even protected minority religions, and embraced representative government. It was also heavy on Turkish Nationalism, seeking to establish Turkey as a modern state like the european states.

    Since 1950 and moreso in the last 20 years, Islamic groups have gained more and more power in turkey. If you read certain pieces about the protests, you’ll see some stories about islamist groups joining in on the side of the police against secular protesters. But because of the strong secular tradition in Turkey, there are huge groups of young and middle aged people that are basically secular in outlook.

  4. David Marjanović says

    I find it interesting that none of the pictures show veiled women.

    Wearing a veil in public is illegal since Atatürk, who violently Westernized the country in the 1920s and 30s.

  5. says

    Pictures of police in armor beating people and shooting them with tear gas and water-cannon pisses me off no matter what. When a state resorts to violence against the people, it has lost legitimacy.

  6. says

    I wish them the best also but it isn’t entirely clear what this is all about. Turkey has an entirely legitimate democratically elected government, Erdogan has made some religiously conservative noises but hasn’t really done anything specifically to challenge secularism, he’s recently come to an agreement with the Kurds and is granting more rights to ethnic minorities. The specific demands of these demonstrations seem kind of trivial, actually. There doesn’t seem to be any specific cause or demands that it’s clear I can endorse. They don’t have to vote for Erdogan in the next election if they don’t want to.

  7. David Marjanović says

    Erdogan’s government is eocnomically conservative

    Well, no; the American conservatives are extremely liberal on the economy.

    “Ataturk.”

    No quotation marks necessary. The guy introduced surnames – and made Atatürk his own, making his enormous ego official.

    Since 1950 and moreso in the last 20 years, Islamic groups have gained more and more power in turkey.

    Indeed, there were several military coups in the late 20th century against elected governments that were deemed not secular enough by the military.

  8. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    @6

    If only you could look up what started it,

  9. says

    @ 8: I don’t have to look it up. It was a plan to redevelop a park. I’m sure the park is nice but that’s kind of a weird basis for a national uprising.

  10. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    yes Iit was the park and not the response to it or anything else

    Not LIKE WE HAVE A POST EXPLAINING IT right on the blog

  11. says

    What the hell are you talking about and who the hell are you? Yes, the police response to the demonstrations was excessive and that further pissed people off. So we have demonstrations protesting the police response to demonstrations over a minor issue. I hope the police will now show more restraint, and the park will remain. Then what?

    As I said, this doesn’t seem to be about very much in particular. The police response to Occupy demonstrations in the U.S. was also excessive, and that made people mad, but at least that movement was about something substantive in the first place.

  12. anteprepro says

    The specific demands of these demonstrations seem kind of trivial, actually. There doesn’t seem to be any specific cause or demands that it’s clear I can endorse.

    Is it just me, or could this complaint be levelled against almost every protest, or even rebellion? At first glance, the parallels to criticism of OWS came to mind. Then I remembered that the American Revolution basically occurred due to fucking tea. They are all such little complaints. Unless you acknowledge the general principles that they use the “little complaints” to illustrate.

    And the police brutality….oh the police brutality. It’s seems to be such a fucking constant. Like the Stanford Prison Experiment is recreated every time someone raises their voice in proximity to a handwritten sign.

  13. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    @patronizing asshole

    There is a post here explaining that it’s about consolodation of power, erosion of public good for private industry and creepy theocratical influence. learn to shut up and listen

  14. laurioravainen says

    Considering that at least hundreds of people have been injured and a number nearing the thousands has been arrested, it’s unlikely that someone participating in these protests is raising a fuss over a trivial concern. In the case of any issue that people are risking their lives over (there have apparently been deaths), I’ve come to consider that it’s not very appropriate to imply that the riot has no basis.

  15. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    There’s not much use linking, since the article isn’t in English, but I read that restaurants and hotels around the Taksim square have been accepting the protesters and shielding the wounded. Private clinics are helping the wounded for free. Allegedly, there is even a number of cops who got fired after refusing to act against the protesters.

    They don’t have to vote for Erdogan in the next election if they don’t want to.

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

  16. Steve LaBonne says

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

    Indeed. The conflation of periodic “free and fair” elections with actual democracy, promoted around the world with particular vigor by the US, is not a mistake, or not merely a mistake. It’s highly useful to ruling elites who are mentally far enough beyond the caveman level to understand that simple repression is a very limited strategy.

  17. dingashenry says

    @cervantes. The park issue seems to be the final straw. Since Erdogan was elected, he has slowly eroded many of the secular principles of the Turkish Constitution, including ramming through amendments to allow the dirtying of the separation of mosque and state. He emasculated the military’s generals by accusing them all of planning a coup. The generals are duty bound by the constitution to overthrow the government if a PM attempts to remove secularism. Erdogan has consolidated power much in the manner of Putin, preparing for his own term-limited switcheroo to “President of Turkey” with a trusted hand as his puppet PM.

    But to the point about the “Park”–Taksim Square is the equivalent of the National Mall in the US. Erdogan is planning to tear down the “Ataturk Cultural Center”–built to bring western culture to Turkey– and replace it with a state-sponsored mosque (and mall). Imagine a US president tearing down the Kennedy Center to install a state-owned cathedral and you get pretty close to the rub that the secular Kemalist party has with the ruling theocracy-friendly AKP. In the photo above, the Turks are climbing all over the monument to Ataturk–the secular founder of the modern Turkish State. This isn’t “Tahrir Square” all over again. Every free-thinker should be in support of these protestors, who as the days will show, are protesting for minority rights in a democracy, and the preservation of the separation of mosque and state.

  18. unclefrogy says

    have not there been many “uprisings” of the people in mass protests around the world in the last 40 or so years that kind of resemble this new one? We have seen many since the start of “the Arab Spring”. I guess first one I really saw that was different was the “People Power” that started against Marcos in the Philippians back in the last century.
    There is some part of me that feels sad for the “spoiled Privileged Ass holes” who think they can do what ever they want and everyone should do what they say that we call “strong men” when a significant proportion of the population of there country does not agree with the “dear leader” and the threat of violence fails to convince them to comply with his wishes (it is it seems always a “HE”).
    That it takes these kinds of actions is sad
    and it matters not what little thing lit the fuse
    it is about democracy!
    Power To The People!

    uncle frogy

  19. David Marjanović says

    He emasculated [!] the military’s generals by accusing them all of planning a coup.

    Which, I’m sure, they were. As you said, that’s what the generals do in Turkey when the government strays too far from Kemalism. :-|

    Erdo[ğ]an is planning to tear down the “Atat[ü]rk Cultural Center”–[...]– and replace it with a state-sponsored mosque (and mall).

    *blink*

    What, seriously?

    Is he completely out of his mind? *mad giggling*

    My cousin went to kindergarten in İstanbul for a while. The kids are fucking brought up with Atatürk worship. It’s Atatürk said this wise thing, Atatürk said that wise thing, and the other one probably too.

    What in the fuck did he expect? *still giggling*

    Imagine a US president tearing down the Kennedy Center to install a state-owned cathedral and you get pretty close to the rub

    lolno.

    This is like an American president setting the flag on fire, pissing it out, and shouting “suck on it, Jesus” all live on Faux Noise.

  20. David Marjanović says

    German news feature about how the Turkish media say nary a peep about the protests (which the soccer fans have joined, soccer being a big thing over there, with strong rivalry between three teams). Apparently, somebody phoned CNN Türk and asked: “Yesterday you showed a great documentary on penguins. Unfortunately I missed it, because I was on the road(s). Are you going to wait for the next revolution before you broadcast it again, or will you broadcast it again soon?”

    A founding member of Erdoğan’s party is currently in London and says he’s reading in the Guardian what’s happening in Turkey and watching it on the BBC, but the Turkish TV stations say nothing. “How can that be?”

    The author is Turkish or or Turkish descent.

  21. says

    This is like an American president setting the flag on fire, pissing it out, and shouting “suck on it, Jesus” all live on Faux Noise.

    Don’t say that too loudly or next thing you know Glenn Beck’s gonna be claiming that’s EXACTLY Obama’s plan.

  22. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    IT ALL began with a grove of sycamores. For months a tight band of environmentalists had been protesting against a government-backed project to chop the trees down in order to make room for a mall and residential complex in Istanbul’s Taksim Square. Last week they organised a peaceful sit in, camping, singing and dancing by the threatened trees.

    On May 31st, in a predawn raid, riot police moved in. They set fire to the demonstrators’ tents and doused them with pressurised water and tear gas. Images depicting police brutality spread like wildfire across social media. Within hours thousands of outraged citizens began streaming towards Taksim Square. Backed by armoured personnel carriers and water cannons, police retaliated with even more brutish force. Tidal waves of pepper spray sent protestors reeling and gasping for air. Hundreds of demonstrators were arrested, and scores of others injured, in the clashes that ensued. Copycat demonstrations erupted in Ankara, the Turkish capital, and elsewhere across the country. Turkey’s “Tree Revolution” had begun.

    In fact the mass protests that are sweeping the country are not just about the trees, nor do they constitute a revolution. They are the expression of the long-stifled resentment felt by nearly half of the electorate who did not vote for the ruling Justice and Development (AK) party in the June 2011 parliamentary elections. These swept Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minster, to power for a third consecutive term.

    The wave of unrest was completely unexpected. The protestors cut across ideological, religious and class lines. Many are strikingly young. But there are plenty of older Turks, many of them secular-minded, some overtly pious. There are gays, Armenians, anarchists and atheists. There are also members of Turkey’s Alevi Muslim minority. What joins them is the common sentiment that an increasingly autocratic Mr Erdogan is determined to impose his worldview. The secularists point to a raft of restrictions on booze; liberals to the number of journalists in jail (there are more journalists in prison than in any other country in the world). Thousands of activists of varying stripes (mainly Kurds), convicted under Turkey’s vaguely worded anti-terror laws, are also behind bars. Then there are those incensed by mega urban-development projects, including a third bridge over the Bosphorus, which will entail felling thousands of trees. Scenting the public mood, retailers announced that they had pulled out of the planned arcade in Taksim Square. “This is not about secularists versus Islamists—it’s about pluralism versus authoritarianism,” commented a foreign diplomat.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/charlemagne/2013/06/turkish-politics

    I know the E’s not popular round these parts, but ….

  23. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @cm

    Popular or not, that article is a very good summary of the causes behind the protests, but it’s also balanced and objective; so thanks for posting it. I have a much better idea of what’s going on now.

  24. David Marjanović says

    The president of Turkey, Abdullah Gül, has called for moderation from all sides, naming “the Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu, Interior Minister Muammer Güler and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan”. Fun fact: Gül and Erdoğan belong to the same party. So far.

  25. Steve LaBonne says

    Gül was the Turkish Dmitri Medvedev when AKP first came to power while Erdogan was still banned from office. Wonder if he thinks it’s his turn now that the boss is screwing up?