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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid