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

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora