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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs