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

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs