News / Middle East

Renewed Anti-Government Unrest Persists in Turkey

Demonstrators shout slogans during an anti-government protest in Istanbul's Kadikoy district Sept. 15, 2013.
Demonstrators shout slogans during an anti-government protest in Istanbul's Kadikoy district Sept. 15, 2013.
Dorian Jones
Istanbul is again witnessing anti-government protests. The unrest erupted last week following the death of demonstrator Ahmet Atakan in the provincial city of Hatay near the Syrian border.

The circumstances of the 22-year-old's death are in dispute. Police say he fell from a building but demonstrators say he was struck by a pepper gas canister.

Thousands of people gathered at different points across Istanbul to protest.

The largely peaceful protests were broken up by riot police using water cannons and pepper gas. Demonstrators retaliated by building barricades and setting fires in the streets to dissipate the effects of the gas. Security forces and the government have declared unlawful protests will be met with a firm response. However, the crackdown has led to further protests against police tactics.
 
Turkey clash - video clip

Turkey Clashes video clipi
X
September 16, 2013 12:43 PM
Turkey Clashes video clip

"These protests would never have got as big as they did if the police did not use the harsh techniques, with all the water cannons and pepper gas," said Yasemin Congar, a writer on Turkish affairs.
 
Thousands gathered Sunday in Istanbul’s Kadikoy district, the center of the Asian side of the city, to protest police tactics. The district is a stronghold of opponents of the ruling AK Party and has been the epicenter of the latest protests.
 
Sunday’s demonstration ended in violence, with police using water cannon, gas and rubber bullets. Local media report several people were injured.

The latest unrest follows the early summer nationwide anti-government protests across the country, against what demonstrators say is Prime Minster Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian style of governance. While the current protests are not on the scale of earlier protests, Erdogan is promising a firm response, claiming his government is a victim of a conspiracy.

"Those people who know that they cannot win at the ballot box set their hopes on the streets," Erdogan said. "We won’t allow democracy to be interrupted. Our youth will defend democracy and won’t allow a new September 12."
 
September 12 is the anniversary date of the 1980 military coup in Turkey, when the army intervened after years of political violence. But journalist Congar says rather than a conspiracy, the prime minister is facing an increasingly politicized section of Turkish society that feels alienated by the government.
 
"The people, especially in Istanbul, but also around the country, have seen that, yes they can go out and shout they will be heard and they will be heard around the world," Congar said. "And I think that’s a sense of empowerment and I don’t think they are going sit back and shut up when something challenges them."

But with the prime minister seeing the protestors as a threat to democracy rather than as people exercising their democratic rights, observers warn the current cycle of protests and crackdown by the security forces are likely to continue. Such a scenario could well be played out in an environment of electoral politics, with Turkey set to hold important local and presidential polls next year.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Gen. K. H. from: Turkey
September 16, 2013 8:22 AM
Turkey has become a cruel repressive islamic regime. Why world does nothing??? why?? Muslim Brotherhood are taking over our country please see - they are killing us here. Turkey is a disaster about to implode
In Response

by: turk from: canada
September 16, 2013 10:34 AM
Brother, demonstration is the basic human right. But if everyone go to street, and waste of government resources (police, money of the Country), how can a country develop. Stop all unnecessary B$%#, and focus on for the development of Turkey.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs