News / Europe

Protests in Turkey Peaceful, But Tensions Remain

VOA in Istanbul: Outcome Uncertain as Protests Continuei
X
June 21, 2013 1:09 AM
Three weeks after violent clashes between protestors and the Turkish government, calm has been restored. But peaceful protests continue and many people wonder how the confrontation will end. VOA's Scott Bobb reports from Istanbul.
Outcome Uncertain as Turkey Protests Continue
Scott Bobb
Three weeks after violent clashes between protestors and the Turkish government, calm has been restored. But peaceful protests continue and many people wonder how the confrontation will end.

Taksim Squarel, the scene of violent protests, has returned to normal, although Turkish police now occupy nearby Gezi Park, whose proposed demolition sparked the clashes. And they keep a close watch on the square where protesters maintain a silent standing vigil.

The confrontation began as an environmental protest. But it broadened after police used what people felt was excessive force against the activists. Opposition parties, revolutionary movements and fringe groups quickly joined in.

Security guard Sati Ay says he was appalled by the police violence and what he says were inflammatory remarks by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“I think he [Erdogan] should leave, and a new government should be formed that listens and supports the people. He should stop calling protesters looters and stop turning people against each other,” he said.

Sevilay, a teacher who gives only her first name, says the government's authoritarian response fueled the protests.

“I think it's wrong to judge things from a political perspective. We are not under any political party's flag here. We all have some problems and want to be heard. We want equality, justice and law,” Sevilay said.

Erdogan remains popular in places like this working-class neighborhood in Old Istanbul called Eyup. Retiree Ahmet Arda says the crackdown was necessary because the protests had become violent.

“I think what the government did was right. I am 50 years old. I have never seen such horrible things that those protestors did,” Arda said.

Many people like Erdogan's Islamist credentials. Even more back him because of the economic prosperity during his 11 year-rule. Restaurant worker Mehmet Bosal, says Erdogan was democratically elected.

“This has nothing to do with democracy.  The people chose Erdogan and his government.  It was the people's decision," Bosal said.

Bogazici Universtiy Professor Karay Caliskan says the country is divided.

“The supporters of Erdogan are doubtful of his leadership potential. The supporters of the opposition parties are there, but they don't know whether they are going to grow. Now there's an accordion of undecided, around 20 percent, and they are going to decide what's going to happen,” Caliskan said.

At Taksim Square Nunay Toper and her friend, Oguzcan Bozkurt, say they will maintain their vigil.

“I think the protests will continue. As long as nothing changes, we will be here,” Toper said.

As a result, many people believe the protest will only end with the elections due in the next year.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
June 22, 2013 10:07 AM
Maybe the people have been looking for ways to speak out until Erdogan himself provided one for them. More than just that Erdogan wants to pull down a tree and plant another, the people must have been wanting to protests his high handedness in fundamentalist islamist leaning. The protest is more to prevent Erdogan reverting to the Ottoman empire system of extremist islamisation; they want to prevent the Egyptian, Iranian and Saudi Arabian type of authoritarianism. Which the Opposition in Syria tended toward, but became erroneous. These people in Turkey are truly showing the lead in the Middle East and Asia. They say NEVER to further forceful conversion of people to religions they would not touch with a five metre pole given freedom of choice. They reject what is happening in the region where only Israel can stand with their head high in the comity of nations as the only true democracy with all the democratic liberties in it. They say NO to slavery and second-rate citizenship in their country. The earlier Erdogan understood and grant this demand, the sooner Turkey becomes a peaceful country again. Otherwise, the lesson of Syria, Libya and Egypt are still fresh in memory - even if he succeeds in the interim to quell this current rebellion.
In Response

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
June 24, 2013 3:33 AM
Thank you for your suggestive comment. So protesters are claiming that Turkish politics should be carried out without exccessive affection of a particular religion.They do not want authoritaliaism but want democracy. Am I right? Thank you.

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
June 21, 2013 4:03 AM
I wonder what was the claim of demonstrators in this protest and what is the claim of silent standing vigil. It is reported that many different groups took part in this protest, so claims would be multi-factorial depending on the groups.

A lady in this report said that she wants equality. I think equality is not the same as something fair. There would be no country where all nations are equal. I suppose she would love to get fairness. What is unfairness or unjustness for demonstrators in current Turkey? Turkish economy looks good. Religious conflict seems unlikely because of majority of Islam. Restricted speech? Conflict relating to Kurd?  

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs