News / Europe

Turkey Protests Symptomatic of Deeper Problems

Turkey Protests Symptomatic of Deeper Problemsi
X
June 12, 2013 7:26 PM
Turkey’s protests have expanded from a largely youthful movement focused on a local development issue in Istanbul to involve demonstrations across the country by a wide cross-section of the population. In addition, the message has broadened. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Al Pessin
Turkey’s protests have expanded from a largely youthful movement focused on a local development issue in Istanbul to involve demonstrations across the country by a wide cross-section of the population. In addition, the message has broadened.

Fires burned in central Istanbul as police moved to clear Taksim Square, the focal point of the protests. The move further angered the activists, who have vowed not to back down. And they seem to be gaining support in the country’s mainstream, including a protest march by lawyers.

Turkey’s Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dismissed the protesters as “naïve” and “emotional,” and suggested they are influenced by “foreign elements.”

Some see deep divisions

But Turkey expert Dimitar Bachev of the European Council on Foreign Relations disagrees.

“It is a symptom of a crisis. This is an important turning point because a substantive segment of the electorate has shown a yellow card to the prime minister. Many people in the ruling party have drawn the right lessons. But judging by the heavy-handed, angry reaction of the prime minister, positive developments won’t be easy,” said Bachev.

For many Turks, this is about what they call ‘creeping Islamization’ of their once staunchly secular society. It also is about what some see as a government that after 10 years in power, however, is just not listening to anyone who opposes it.

Turkey expert Gül Berna Özcan of Royal Holloway University of London, visits the country frequently.

“Each time I traveled to Turkey, I saw the society more divided, more angry, more dismayed by the government. But also they felt helpless. Some people could even speculate some months ago when I was in Turkey that this could end up with a civil war because people are so polarized,” said Özcan.

Demanding rights, inclusion

In spite of the widespread protests, Turkey is nowhere near that. Analysts say the government has a lot to do to repair its image, though, even among some of its own supporters. More broadly, analyst Özcan sees something positive amid the all the unrest.

“Long term, this a very healthy development, showing that people want to actually have their rights and they are ready to defend it,” said Özcan.

What’s needed, many analysts say, is for the ruling party to recognize that and move to be more inclusive, rather than just sending in the security forces.

You May Like

Video Anti-Muslim Sponsor of Texas Cartoon Contest Draws Ire

Pamela Geller's supporters say she speaks truth about sensitive topic, while critics say she preaches 'that Islam is inherently evil' More

East Meets West in Exhibition Showing Chinese Influence on Fashion

Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition juxtaposes influence of art, imagery and culture, from Imperial China to the present day, on Western fashion and design More

South Africa Begins New Love Affair With Vinyl Records

Enthusiasts say the 'rebirth' of vinyl is resulting in a rebirth of music in South Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
June 13, 2013 7:46 AM
The protests are a tip of the iceberg. Only about 10% of the dissidents are on the streets to air their view and showcase the larger repression in the land. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has little difference from the autocrats in the region. He is very little removed from the Iranian supreme leader whose word must be obeyed. Unfortunately the peoples of the region have invested much hope in him, perhaps the new Iranian leadership will take a cue from him, but his latest approach to handling this crisis is a betrayal of that hope. Its further implication is the deeper intimidation of the majority of Iranians going to the polls this week to elect a new leadership, who would have been helped out of their cocoons and timid state occasioned by fear of lack of a saving neighbor.

This creates a relapse to the effect that over 90% of the opposition voters will be voting with fear and so their vote will not reflect the change they want to see. Therefore Erdogan should be made to understand this implication and rise to the yearnings of his people and not give them away in the pattern of Mr. Morsi of Egypt who has turned 350 degrees against his promises of freedom and equality. The people of Turkey should be made to understand their equality and not some as second rate citizens, as Erdogan's present posture tends toward. Or should we see it as one of those things for leaders in this region to be anti people always once they ascend the power, to respect those in the leaders' own religion only?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailandi
X
May 05, 2015 5:50 PM
Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailand

Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Russia's 'Victory Day' Glory Over Nazis Overshadowed by Ukraine

ussia is preparing to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, known since the Soviet era as “The Great Patriotic War,” with a massive parade on May 9th of military hardware and millions of medals handed out to veterans or their relatives. But critics say the Soviet-style display of power and nationalism overshadows tragic scars during and after the war that still influence politics and foreign policy, especially in the current Ukraine crisis.
Video

Video WWII Anniversary Brings Old Friends and New Worries

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II has special significance, with Russia becoming more assertive in Ukraine and sending its military planes to the edges of western countries’ airspace. Changes in the geostrategic balance and the transatlantic relationship are felt across the continent, not least in German towns that have hosted U.S. military bases since the defeat of Nazi Germany. VOA’s Al Pessin visited Schweinfurt, Germany, where a large base closed last year.
Video

Video Abraham Lincoln Funeral Re-created for 150th Civil War Anniversary

Over the last four years, commemorative events to mark the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War have brought thousands of visitors to battlefields and historic landmarks across the country. As VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, the final event in the Civil War's sesquicentennial honors the final journey home of the slain American President, Abraham Lincoln.
Video

Video Campaign Raises Money to 'Uncuff' Journalists

Beginning Sunday – World Press Freedom Day – the Committee to Protect Journalists, a private U.S. group, is launching a campaign to bring attention to their plight and encourage efforts to free them. Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Volunteers Pull Together to Aid Baltimore Riot Victims

Calm has returned to Baltimore, Maryland, after authorities lifted an overnight curfew imposed almost a week ago to stem the rioting that followed the funeral of Freddie Gray - the 25-year-old black man who died of spinal injuries suffered while in police custody. Six police officers, three of them African-American, have been charged in connection with his death. Baltimore is now trying to get back to normal, in part with the help of volunteers who responded to calls to help those in the city'
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Obama Praises Work of 3 Immigrant Journalists

President Barack Obama met with three immigrant journalists at the White House Friday to praise them for their work ahead of World Press Freedom Day, May 3. In attendance: Dieu Cay (his pen name) a blogger from Vietnam recently released from prison; Lily Mengesha from Ethiopia who was harassed and detained for exposing the marrying off of young girls as child brides, and Fatima Tlisova, an ethnic Circassian from the North Caucasus region of Russia, who works for VOA's Russian Service.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.

Poll: Baltimore Police Charged

Poll archive

VOA Blogs