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 VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs