Turkish Politics:

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1 DeMarquis2nd Jun 2013 04:51:54 PM from Hell, USA , Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
This thread is dedicated to posting news, information, questions, and informed opinions regarding the recent riots and protests in Turkey.

As this article summarizes: "...What began as a small sit-in to protest against the government's plan to demolish a park in Taksim Square has swelled to the biggest protest movement against Turkey's prime minister since Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected more than 10 years ago."

And according to this article the government appears not to be willing to back down or compromise.

The reasons may be more complex than appears on the surface. According to this article": "...What started as a small campaign against a local project in Istanbul has rapidly spiralled into an outpouring of national anger over how the Islamist-rooted government treats its citizens, which threatens to tarnish Turkey's reputation as a model for the Muslim region."

In any case, these events appear to have little connection to the Arab Spring.

Please post your links, comments and questions below.
I do not compromise—I synthesize.
2 Ringsea2nd Jun 2013 08:17:11 PM from Fly-Over Country,USA , Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
He Who Got Gud
I've sort of been waiting for this. Everyone flaunts the greatness of the Turkish model for all Muslim countries to follow.

They ignore the oppression, of course. And the genocide denial. And the suppression of the Kurds. And censership and silencing of political rivals for "insulting Turkishness." They even have a Culture Police

Freedom House calls them only partly free. Here is a list of reasons to protest:


I don't want or think this'll become violent, but I hope it changes some stuff. Turkey has to create a good system for the Muslim world, because Iran has a system it'd like to share otherwise...
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3 Barkey2nd Jun 2013 08:26:41 PM from Bunker 051 , Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
I have an aunt and uncle who live in Turkey, they just flew back to the states to go on a vacation while this sort of blows over, but my aunt was posting on facebook talking about it.

I didn't see any protestors with weapons, but I sure saw a lot of pictures of cops pepper spraying people when they shouldn't, though there is always the possibility of additional context to such situations beyond the picture.
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
Curiously, Iran seems to support the riots, despite the fact that the protestors are mainly secularists who despise them.

edited 2nd Jun '13 9:46:11 PM by amateur55

5 Rationalinsanity2nd Jun 2013 09:50:00 PM from Halifax, Canada , Relationship Status: It's complicated
They probably like the general instability within one of their primary regional rivals.
Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects.
6 FFShinra2nd Jun 2013 10:32:51 PM from Ivalice, apparently , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Beware the Crazy Man.
Considering they're both on opposite sides of the Syrian Civil War right now, I'd say thats right.
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7 TheHandle2nd Jun 2013 10:47:03 PM from Stockholm , Relationship Status: YOU'RE TEARING ME APART LISA
United Earth
[up][up][up]Are they attempting to invoke Your Approval Fills Me with Shame?
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A friend of mine who's in the Peace Corps, stationed in Morocco recently said that if the Turkish protesters want to gain legitimacy, they need to stop tweeting/blogging about the fact that Agent Orange is being used on protesters.

Do you guys think this is a legitimate complaint, or just Separated by a Common Language?
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[up] Given that there is tear gas being used, it could either be deliberate exaggeration or a case of things being scrambled in translation. Don't know enough details to even make a guess at which it is.
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10 Deadbeatloser223rd Jun 2013 01:44:00 AM from Disappeared by Space Magic , Relationship Status: Hoping Senpai notices me
You do have to wonder why they're claiming that a defoliant is being used rather than a more conventional riot control agent.
"Yup. That tasted purple."
11 Rationalinsanity3rd Jun 2013 03:05:53 AM from Halifax, Canada , Relationship Status: It's complicated
Yeah... I don't believe Agent Orange has that many immediate effects on humans anyway. It fucks you (and your future children) royally down the road but its useless as crowd control.
Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects.
12 Achaemenid3rd Jun 2013 04:38:41 AM from Ruschestraße 103, Haus 1 , Relationship Status: Giving love a bad name
Agent Orange, despite the name, is clear. It got its name because it was shipped in barrels with an orange stripe. So the fact that the suspect chemicals are actually orange would seem to cast doubt on this claim.
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13 Rationalinsanity3rd Jun 2013 06:54:08 AM from Halifax, Canada , Relationship Status: It's complicated

And now Erdogan is pulling Godwin's Law, accusing the protestors of "walking arm in arm with terrorists". He's a stubborn one and he isn't doing anything to mollify the situation.
Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects.
14 demarquis3rd Jun 2013 10:10:22 AM from Hell, USA , Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
Paul Mutter, writing for The Arabist, provides some in-depth analysis:

"...The language of the protests, specifically, those with Internet access, has been that of the global Occupy movement, which according to the Turkish social media researcher Zeynep Tufekci marks a departure from past protests. She notes that protests in this vein are uncommon in Turkey, where most such marches are usually organized by unions and parties...

...Though in the vein of Occupy and Freedom Square, this coordinated but decentralized “Occupy” movement in Istanbul began as a protest against municipal redevelopment and has now turned into a larger one against the AKP - specifically, PM Erdogan and Mayor Topbas, who sees himself as a visionary urban planner...

...Redeveloping Gezi Park is like asking New Yorkers and Londoners to let their respective rezone Central Park and Hyde Park for commercial use, as one protest sign read. The 2012 Turkish documentary “Ekümenopolis: City Without Limits” assesses how Istanbul and the communities around have been reshaped as a metropolis with a burgeoning service economy, increasingly inadequate public services, and the “shopping mall mania.”"

Speaking as De Marquis, I am getting the sense that this protest may be more about the privatization of public spaces and services than about anything else, which, if true, seems to imply that Turkey has reached a point in it's political development that such issues have risen to the forefront. If it really does have more in common with the Occupy Movement that it does with the Arab Spring, that makes it seem that this protest isn't about oppression so much as social equity and justice.

Or anyway that may be how it all started. Now it's about heavy-handed police tactics and the regime's unwillingness to compromise.

"...the protests are now more about the conduct of the state itself, despite the fact that unlike Mubarak or Ben Ali, Erdogan was democratically elected and his party is representative of many devout, middle class voters. The park’s questionable redevelopment is now less as a symbol of AKP brusqueness, it has been superseded by photos of men and women beaten down by water cannons and riot officers..."

Much like the Occupy Movement in the United States. I guess I am somewhat surprised by the Western flavor of these protests, and the fact that they are happening in Turkey.
I do not compromise—I synthesize.
Yeah... I'm a bit surprised, but I could definitely see why the situations in Turkey is a powder keg waiting to happen. It did make progress, especially economically in recent years, but it does seem to have this problem with political and press freedoms although there's been some improvements on the former (for instance, it didn't rely as much on the military as it had in the past and it seems to be trying to be part of the European community at large), and human rights still leaves room for improvement. The surprise comes from a slight perception that the country is standing relatively firm while straddling two historically-volatile regions, what with Greek turmoil, Russian discontent and the after-effects of the Arab Spring. All I can say is... ouch! So much for any use of the AKP as a model, and what it's doing right now isn't doing any favors and may be bound to set off that keg. I hope that societal disintegration doesn't happen; after all, it's still a bit of a young democracy (well, it's traditionally long been that, but it's long been overseen by the military).

edited 3rd Jun '13 12:53:50 PM by EarlOfSandvich

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16 DeMarquis3rd Jun 2013 06:44:55 PM from Hell, USA , Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
The feeling I get is that these riots will begin to dissipate at some point, leaving Turkeys democratic institutions, for better or for worse, more or less intact.
I do not compromise—I synthesize.
The riot control agent which had previously been falsely identified as Agent Orange is most likely CR gas.
18 CaptainKatsura4th Jun 2013 05:56:02 AM from    Poland   
Tomorrow I'll ask our Turkish guest at university meeting about the riots.
My President is Funny Valentine.
I guess I am somewhat surprised by the Western flavor of these protests, and the fact that they are happening in Turkey.
Considering that the founder of modern Turkey, Atatürk, was already trying to westernize the nation, I'm not really that surprised by that. Of course the country has its fair share of conservatives (someone had to vote Erdogan into office after all) but great part of the population identify themselves more to European states to the west, rather than Arabian ones to the east. At least in some aspects and Turkey is fairly free and democratic at least in comparison to many Arabian states, especially before the Arab Spring.
20 CaptainKatsura4th Jun 2013 07:29:40 AM from    Poland   
If you have any ideas on questions I could ask my university's guest, please write down here (or by PM, whichever you prefer). I'll make notes and put answers here.

The discussion's topic is "Anti-americanism since 9/11", but due to recent developments in Turkey he will talk about the events too.
My President is Funny Valentine.
I can answer any questions you guys might have as well.
22 demarquis4th Jun 2013 08:24:08 AM from Hell, USA , Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
Who is the guest? Where is he from?

While I am curious to know more, lets not derail the thread.

edited 4th Jun '13 8:24:56 AM by demarquis

I do not compromise—I synthesize.
23 Quag154th Jun 2013 08:31:21 AM from Portugal , Relationship Status: Chocolate!
Portugal according to Hetalia
[up][up] amateur 55, from which part of Turkey are you from and how bad are things there at the moment?
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24 CaptainKatsura4th Jun 2013 08:46:56 AM from    Poland   
[up][up]He is Ph.D (American Studies or related, deducing from the topic) from one of Turkish universities. Not a famous person.

edited 4th Jun '13 8:47:25 AM by CaptainKatsura

My President is Funny Valentine.
25 demarquis4th Jun 2013 08:57:55 AM from Hell, USA , Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
@Captain: That's cool. I would be interested to know if the protesters seem to have a single coherent goal in mind. Do most of them want Erdogan to resign?

This is an update from CNN. From the article: "...The editorial board of the Washington Post said Erdogan "is offering unfortunate proof that it is possible to be both elected and authoritarian.""

Much like some of us here...

edited 4th Jun '13 8:59:31 AM by demarquis

I do not compromise—I synthesize.

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