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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor 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.
Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisisi
X
March 06, 2015 12:28 AM
There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Winter Weather Strikes Eastern US...Again!

A new wintry blast has hit more than 20 states in the U.S. Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region, adding more snow to the piles from previous storms. Tired of shoveling snow, breaking the ice and dealing with accidents, flight delays and property damage, most Americans hope this is the last bout of cold for the season. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Myanmar's Traditional Fashion Choices Endure

The sartorial choices of Myanmar’s men and women quickly catch the eye of any visitor to the tropical Southeast Asian country. But at a time when Myanmar’s political and economic opening is bringing affordable western fashions to the masses, will the country’s unique fashion trends endure? VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Yangon explores that question.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More