From the start, the Turkish government’s plans to develop Gezi Park near Istanbul’s central Taksim Square raised a number of concerns.

Like all Prime Minister Erdogan’s recent gentrification projects, development plans for Gezi Park were meant to enrich companies tied to the ruling AKP party, and to maintain Turkey’s GDP growth by stimulating consumption fueled by a credit card, rather than, real income boom.

On May 28, 2013, a small group of people gathered to protest the development project and demolition of Gezi Park. By May 31, the demonstration had significantly escalated and grown in size, thanks in large part to a heavy-handed police response.

Using its usual methods of violent repression, beat-downs, and pepper spray filled water cannons, the Turkish police proved unsuccessful in quickly dispersing the crowd. Instead, its actions attracted more youth to the Taksim Square area, and increased support for the demonstrations.

Turkish mass media – which has increasingly been under AKP control since the party’s rise to power in 2002 – remained silent about unfolding events. By contrast, on social media sites, like Twitter, #OccupyGezi quickly became a trending topic around the world.

Themes like Turkish Spring‘ and ‘Taksim = Tahrir’ were manifest in the many analyses and expressions of solidarity with the Turkish protesters.

These comments, however well intentioned, reflect a poor understanding of Turkey’s political economy under the AKP government, as well as the main driving force behind the Gezi Park protests.

These realities make recent developments in Turkey fundamentally different from protests that broke out in Egypt and Tunisia in 2011.

One simply needs to look at the youth attending the protests and, more importantly, at the youth who are absent from these demonstrations to realize that unlike the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings this is not a mass popular movement supported by broad segments of society.

Mass labor protests, like those that preceded and directly influenced the April 6th movement in Egypt, are largely absent from Gezi Park. Disenfranchised, jobless youth from the slums have generally stayed away from the demonstrations so far. Pious girls with headscarves who want more liberties are also absent.

As long as these girls in headscarves, mechanics, poor vendors, construction workers, and jobless Anatolian youth are not protesting in Taksim Square, a comparison with Egypt’s Tahrir Square is misplaced.

Upper Class Revolt

The youth demonstrating in Gezi Park and in solidarity protests in secular bastions across Turkey hail from several groups opposing Erdogan. Nevertheless, young people from the country’s mainly upper-class, secular ‘white Turk’ social strata are the key driving force.

In this sense, these demonstrations represent one of the last convulsions of the old ‘secular’ elites, who have been waging, and losing, a bitter battle against the rising Anatolian nouveau-riche that make up Erdogan’s AKP.

The fact that protesters did not remove representatives from the main opposition party, CHP, who were present at yesterday’s Gezi Park demonstration is telling

CHP is just as neoliberal and autocratic as AKP and has a similarly dismal governing record when it comes to human rights. In contrast to the Erdogan government, however, CHP represents Turkey’s old ‘secular’ elite. In fact, the party had approved and ratified the Gezi Park development plans, a fact that went without mention by people who welcomed its attempt to piggy back on the protests.

occupy-gezi-protests-june-1

OccupyGezi protests (Source: http://occupygezipics.tumblr.com)

So what are the Gezi Park protests about? They are in essence a cultural backlash against the AKP government’s increasingly authoritarian and polarizing style of politics.

After the 2011 elections, when the AKP won a third consecutive landslide victory, Erdogan saw an opportunity to fully consolidate his power. The ‘moderate’ or accommodating stance he adopted during the first years of his government disappeared. From the military to the judiciary, Erdogan successfully moved to jail or remove ‘secular’ forces from positions of institutional power.

The Prime Minister has also continued Turkey’s long tradition of muzzling dissent. As was the case in the 1990s, the Erdogan government has actively prosecuted journalists and intellectuals, jailing students and children.

New forms of oppression have come to the fore under Erdogan’s watch. These include efforts to curb internet freedom, which target a variety of speech including political dissent, as well as websites discussing the scientific concept of evolution. Whereas previously, Turkey’s secular ruling regimes targeted religious dissent, the AKP government has primarily focused its repression on secular critics.

For Turkey’s Kurdish population little has changed under Erdogan, beyond superficial gains on issues of self-determination and human rights. As one friend at the Human Rights Association (IHD), an independent grassroots NGO working on human rights abuses in Turkey, once told me, “The AKP is the CHP with turbans.”

Religious conservatism and accompanying social pressures to conform to Islamist morality have been steadily fueled by Erdogan’s populist speeches and policies. In recent months lip-stick ban controversies, anti-lewdness campaigns, alcohol restrictions, and the demolition of cultural bastions of the old elites have added to secular anger.

Turkey’s privileged youth were primed by an already-existing social consciousness to take these grievances to the streets. In Turkey, any self-respecting member of the young elite has gone through a phase of commitment to Trotskyism, Anarchism or Environmentalism. With a conservative, religiously oriented party like the AKP in power, these youth were highly motivated to act on their discontent. Blatant disregard for the environment in all of Erdogan’s megalomaniac building plans only added more fuel to this youthful, secular fire.

In Gezi Park, this fire finally burst out onto the streets.

“At least Erdogan gives us some crumbs”

Erdogan’s vision of Turkey is one full of citizens who piously pray in the country’s ubiquitous mosques and then go shopping at one of its equally ubiquitous malls, which are frantically being built in urban areas.

As long as the imports, credit card, and debt-driven Turkish economic bubble remains intact, the government will continue to pursue these and other neoliberal policies to the great praise of western think-thanks, private equity firms, and politicians who all repeat the fallacy of the ‘Turkish [success] model’.

Notwithstanding these neoliberal economic policies, Erdogan is still extremely popular among Turkey’s poor and working people in both urban and rural areas.

Most western observers have missed this crucial fact and are, therefore, quick to enthusiastically compare the Gezi Park protests with the ‘Arab Spring’.

One has only to speak with blue-collar workers in Turkey to understand popular attitudes toward the government.

Whenever I am in Istanbul, I engage in political small talk with people from various walks of life, including waiters, construction workers, and young men working on the ferries crossing the Bosporus. I also frequently visit my family members, who are from a poor Anatolian background.

In my conversations with these people, I have heard nothing but firm support for Erdogan. When asked about Turkey’s unemployment rate or the Prime Minister’s nepotism, most of these individuals do not hesitate to say, “I know that Erdogan is also ‘siphoning the cash’ (hortumluyorlar). But good for him (helal olsun). At least he is leaving us some crumbs. The previous bastards never gave us everything.”

Memories of many decades of economic and political oppression by secular elites are still fresh for many Turks. Because of the AKP, these people now have access to things like privatized health care, credit card use, and unprecedented infrastructure development.

Most of these benefits are indeed ‘crumbs’ – for example youth unemployment and household debts are rising at alarming rates –  and financed by an ultimately untenable growth in speculative consumption. It is, however, more than the Turkish masses have ever been given by their government since the neoliberal turn began in 1980, and Erdogan is well aware of this.

It is true that he did not expect ‘Occupy Gezi Park’ to attract so many people and become a rallying cry against his government. He also did not expect the protesters to be as brave and adamant as they have been in the face of extremely brutal police repression. But Erdogan knows that the protesters do not pose a real threat to his power, which is buttressed by the masses that have remained at home and firmly believe his message of a better future for all Turks.

Like any power-hungry autocrat would do, Erdogan defiantly lashed out against the peaceful protesters in a live TV address on June 1. His message, in short, was that he would not budge on the demolition of Gezi Park.

Instead, he spoke of “illegal organizations provoking naive protesters” and said “if they can gather 100,000 we can call a million people onto the streets.” Predictably, he also referred to the failures of previous secular regimes, “Have you forgotten how you didn’t have clean water in Istanbul? How garbage was left on the streets?”

This rhetoric of “Don’t forget how bad everything was when they were in power” has a kernel of truth to it and resonates strongly among his supporters.

For many Turks, anger against an arrogant, urban, ‘secular’ oligarchy – or moncheris as Erdogan likes to call them – that never considered the people of Anatolia to be real human beings is very much alive.

Conclusion: No Turkish Spring

Erdogan is no Mubarak. The AKP is a populist party that was voted into power in free and fair elections, and has been successful in appeasing and expanding its base.

The Gezi Park protests do not herald a ‘Turkish Spring,’ at least not yet. Instead, the protests and Erdogan’s violent defiance are likely to further divide an already extremely polarized country.

A mass popular uprising in Turkey will only occur when the bubble economy bursts, which is bound to happen sooner or later. Perhaps, then, the ‘Turkish Spring’ will be upon us.

 

  • http://Enteryourwebsite... V

    Your article has very good and valid points, however the crowd is not just upper class secular elites – its middle and some lower class too. It is a true public riot. From Old men with youngsters to Old women banging on their pots and pans, policemen disagreeing with the violence, even past AKP supporters who are starting to see AKP,s real face.
    Secondly, AKP has cheating the electronic voting system by causing power cuts and stealing and dumping ballots in distant fields.

  • http://Enteryourwebsite... Sotiris

    Mubarak enjoyed and still enjoys popular backing.

    And Istanbul still doesn’t have drinkable water.

  • Pingback: A Look at the Istanbul Protests – OccupyGezi (direngeziparki) | Inside the Mind of Michael Kovich

  • http://Enteryourwebsite... Ayfer Karakaya

    I think this is an incredibly simplistic analysis based on an unproblematized notion of “secular elites.” It presumes that piousness is the normal state of being for people in Muslim countries, and that you must be a member of the “old elite” (whatever that means) if you are secular. My family background is anything but elite, I have many relatives who are blue color workers, many of them vote for CHP and some for BDP. I am sure several of them were out in the streets for the last two days protesting Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarianism. So where do they fit in this analysis? This kind of a binary opposition between the “secular elites” and the “pious masses” may possibly work for a county like Pakistan, but even there it is too much of a generalization. If you ask me, this is Orientalism recast.

  • Pingback: The Turkish Inverse Spring | Levantoday.com

  • Pingback: Saying of the day: 6/2/13 | Politis

  • http://Enteryourwebsite... Hank

    Mr. Ozdil’s article is very insightful and well written.

    While we agree that this particular “movement” does not – yet – represent a political reckoning a la Tunisia and Egypt, there are key factors that have been overlooked and are worth factoring.

    The description of an absence of Anatolian working class conservatives in this current theme is not quite so. Nor is there quite the sharp cleavage in society as many like to portray.

    Excepting fanatics, extremists, and those beholden to a party in power, religious Turks generally share the core values of secular democracy in Turkey.
    Religious Turks are not generally aiming for a homogeneously pious culture.
    Indeed, within Turkish families, and within neighborhoods one finds an easy respectful interaction of lifestyles ranging from conservative to liberal.
    Most religious Turks would not want to impose a strict conservative agenda upon their liberal families and friends. The party, cronies, and ignorant beneficiaries are driving change against political rivals – many who are also fanatic.

    Another ascpect is that a perceived silence from many religious Turks is caused by their percieved dependancy upon the “party in power”. People who work in government, or benefit from government contracts, wheter full fledged members or under the eyes of ideologues know that their actions and statements have impacts upon their livlihoods. SIlence on the part of many is more an indication of the pressure they experience to tote the line.

    It is telling that we are not seeking a chorus of counter-argument from apolitical religious citizens against this protest.

    What we are seeing is cooperation among secularists, Kurds, and Alevis, which seems to represent issues that transcend the political agendas that these groups have.

  • http://roarmag.org Jerome Roos

    Good article overall, very important to make some critical notes on the constituency of the protests and the eagerness to jump on overly simplistic comparisons. That said, I am not sure if the nature of the argument itself is very valid:

    “Mass labor protests, like those that preceded and directly influenced the April 6th movement in Egypt, are largely absent from Gezi Park. Disenfranchised, jobless youth from the slums have generally stayed away from the demonstrations so far. Pious girls with headscarves who want more liberties are also absent.”

    First of all, I am not sure to what extent this statement is correct. It seems to me that there is actually quite a big grassroots labor mobilization going on in Turkey at the moment: just witness the violent clashes during May Day this year. Either way, regardless of whether these protests were preceded by any serious labor mobilization, even if this were just an uprising of the white urban elite (which I doubt), the author is wrong to pose that therefore any comparisons with Tahrir are misplaced.

    Remember that the jobless youth from the slums and the pious girls weren’t present during the first #25J protests in Cairo either. That day there were some 15,000 people on the streets as part of a protest during “national police day”, to protest state brutality and try to kick-start something similar as had happened in Tunisia. They were not the destitute (and largely religious) masses that the author of this piece seems to refer to: whether we like it or not, they were largely the upper-middle-class urbanites with socialist, anarchist and liberal convictions who subsequently managed to mobilize epic amounts of slum dwellers through genuine grassroots organizing.

    In fact, I remember very clearly the press reports from the first day of the Egyptian uprising, slanting anyone who made the Tunisia-Tahrir comparison, arguing that Egypt could never undergo the same type of revolutionary event because “the political economy there is radically different”. I remember exactly those reports stating that “Mubarak is not Ben Ali” and that “Mubarak remains extremely popular” among large segments of Egypt’s poor population. All these statements are true. The revolution was in fact driven by a few million people (on a population of 80 million) at most. The point is that revolutions are not ballot boxes. They can be successful even if a majority of the population remains under the ideological spell of the ruling elite: as long as they trigger a fundamental crisis *within* the ruling elite by splitting its coalitional base apart.

    Anyway, none of this is to say that the Turkish protests will lead to a “revolution” or a “Turkish Spring” (whatever that means). They may just end up being a ‘flash in the pan’, as happened to Occupy Wall Street — and while I don’t know nearly enough about Turkey, I’d say that it would indeed be difficult to build the kind of broad-based revolutionary coalition that animated Tahrir in those heady days in January-February 2011. As outsiders, I think we should be humble and listen to the Egyptian and Turkish people themselves. In fact, while the nature of government power was very different at the time of the revolt against the secular Mubarak, Egypt’s social cleavages do not appear to be ALL that different from those in Turkey: a large secular urban middle-class whose — like the urban poor — have been severely affected by neoliberal reforms, and a large rural/urban alliance of religious forces who prefer the establishment of an Islamist form of government, scaring the secular urban middle-classes. As one Dutch journalist put it in a comparison between Turkey and Egypt, in which she cited plenty of Egyptian revolutionaries who applauded the Turks for “repeating” their revolution, in Egypt the public sentiment is that it’s “either god or the revolution”.

    Source (in Dutch): http://www.volkskrant.nl/vk/nl/3184/opinie/article/detail/3451106/2013/06/01/Egyptenaren-klappen-voor-Taksim-kijk-een-revolutie-net-als-bij-ons.dhtml

    So, rather than claiming one outcome or another before this thing has even run its course, we should keep open the possibility that the claims of these secular, urban, and highly-educated middle class youths who are taking the protests forward may eventually resonate with other segments of Turkish society, most importantly the social groups (including the more religious ones) that have been structurally marginalized as a result of the state’s authoritarian neoliberal development over the past 10-12 years (ever since the 2001 IMF bailout, basically). All I’m saying is that it’s a possibility — far from an inevitability.

    One obvious element that needs to be discussed in any comparison between Egypt and Turkey is the question of the army. Whose side are they on? In both Egypt and Turkey, the army controls an enormous segment of the domestic industrial base (up to 40 percent of GDP according to some counts). In both countries, the army is historically aligned with the secular and internationally-integrated upper class. In both countries, the army has in recent decades seen the defence of the secular state as its principal objective, although in both Turkey and post-revolutionary Egypt it has been forced more and more into an uncomfortable alliance with religious forces in order to preserve its hegemonic position.

    The bottomline is this: as long as Erdogan has the army he will have his power — and he will have the army as long as he can convince its leadership that their economic investments are safe. Mubarak and Ben Ali both lost power because they lost the army, and they lost the army because a broad-based popular uprising *including the workers* risked pushing the army’s industries and the country itself into serious financial trouble. In that respect the author is right to state that, as long as the working-class do not join these protests, these events are unlikely to have any serious impact on Erdogan’s power base as such (apart from the obvious ideological damage they will do by exposing the state’s abuse of authority and its inherently violent nature).

    That said, the conclusion that workers are wholly absent from the emerging “revolutionary” coalition seems premature. In fact, it seems that the most important developments still lie ahead of us: a metal workers’ strike had alraedy been called for June — if it manages to mobilize all workers (100,000+) this could paralyze Turkey’s single most important export industry, severely crippling the economy. Also, the Federation of Public Employees’ Unions has already declared a sector-wide strike for June 5. These strikes were originally declared independently of the popular protests, but may combine with them in an enormously explosive way — the outcomes of which cannot yet be foreseen. As Sungur Savran puts it, “The present moment witnesses a people’s revolt in the face of the arrogance and repressive practice of the government. Should this be combined with an insurgent working-class movement, Turkey would become open to all kinds of revolutionary change.”

    Source: http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/831.php

    So I think this article provides important critical side-notes that we have to take into account, but I also believe its conclusions are too polemical, too simplistic, and too premature. For now, the most we can do as radicals outside of Turkey is to report on the ongoing events and the police brutality, and to continuously express our solidarity with those who are risking their lives on the ground to bring about a more democratic state of affairs. What happens next is in the hands of the Turkish people themselves.

  • http://Enteryourwebsite... Zihni Ozdil

    Thank you all for your valuable comments. I’ll try to address them in one post.

    I most have trouble with the ‘Orientalism recast’ snub by Ayfer. I never claimed that all protesters were elites nor that all AKP supporters are pious. My analysis are based on the political economy of Turkey today. Roughly half the population, of which most (not all) are from both the urban and rural lower and middle class (bar a significant part of Kurds).

    When we look at the core driving force of the protests its mainly relatively privileged youth (including university students from a lower class background) which are fed up with Erdogans authoritarian and conservative policies.

    A large part of anti-erdogan Kurds are not joining the protesting. Diyarbakir is largely calm. In fact most of Turkey is calm.

    Also, the Turkish labor movement, which gained some momentum during the TEKEL protests, when workers who mostly had voted AKP ‘woke up’ after privatization of TEKEL, a few years back.

    In my view we can only compare Taksim with Tahrir if broad segments of society were on the streets. In Egypt, Mubarak was loathed by most (again, not all) Egyptians, from the poor pious headscarf-girl to the elite intellectual . This is simply not the case yet in Turkey. I think it will eventually and explain why and how in my piece.

    The fact is that the overwhelming majority of Erdogan’s electorate still supports him firmly and is not on the streets protesting him. And I explain why.

    PS I apparently have to stress again and again that a fair analysis of who is protesting and why this is not a ‘spring’ or a mass, broad popular uprising is in no way a dismissal of the people who do protest. I mention several times their courage, how the government brutally tries to suppress them as well as the governments disregard for basic human rights in general. Which I have been writing about for several years.

  • Pingback: Minaret of Freedom Weblog » News and Analysis (6/2/13)

  • http://Enteryourwebsite... A Tenguz

    Zihni, nice report and a few additions.

    Elite is a broad term. it sounds like AKP represents the good guys whereas “the elite” are the repressers. I have been in Taksim for two days and I can tell you the tattooed, pirced peopled are not Turkey’s elite or their children. People are fed up as you say from any of the major parties, many of whom have been voted out, but also AKP failed to fulfill the hopes for a new era of rule of law and governance in Turkey. They have changed the bureacrats with their own people and embezzel funds. I think the prime minister in one of the richest public officals world wide according to some estimates. I dont have the source handy but it can quickly be researched.

    The 80% young people on the street are fed up of parties, exclusive economic development in expense to the environment, the cursing by a prime minister, a twisted electoral system that gives the AKP with 25% popular vote 60% of the parliament, a country that for 80 years not managed to get basic human rights established, due court processes, freedom of expression without fear of safety to ones life or imprisoment, humuliation by the EU for its backwardness, the right to live ones life like one wants, live their religion the way they want, a country without clashes between ethnicities and religions, but rather a country that wants peace, prosperity and its rightful potential realized as a country of Europe and Asia with beautiful landscapes and beautiful people, not another Islamic republic that is autocratically managed by some people who think they are closer to God or even play God, just like this prime minister is playing.

    Please let us continue the conversation.
    It is overdue, it is important, it is necessary for the future of Turkey and a crucially watch role model for the Islamic world and even beyond.

    Kind regards,

    A.Tenguz

  • Pingback: Istanbul: Becoming People | bioartblog's Blog

  • Pingback: Achtergronden bij een mogelijke Turkse Lente | Doorbraak.eu

  • Pingback: Occupy Gezi – this is nuts – here are some resources | Crinkled Comics

  • http://Enteryourwebsite... John

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    “These comments, however well intentioned, reflect a poor understanding of Turkey’s political economy under the AKP government, as well as the main driving force behind the Gezi Park protests”.

    I really don’t understand the author’s fixation on political economy, something they don’t even go into in detail.

    Still, some of the info in here might help those less familiar with Turkey’s tumultuous political past and highlight a few of the polarizing issues that contextualize these developments. I, again, have to take umbrage with the implicit message that secularism and Islam are somehow bound for conflict and the incredibly Orientalist image of Muslims presented here.

    “The secular state – far from holding to a stylized and invariable strategy of clashes with Islamic political activism – has historically negotiated, sought compromises, and even shifted its position to incorporate Islamic vocabulary into the official discourse ”

    -Ümit Cizre

    No labour protests? Interesting observation, and I’d like to find out how accurate that is because:

    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/72-people-detained-in-may-day-celebrations-istanbul-governor.aspx?pageID=238&nID=46062&NewsCatID=341

    Eight to ten thousand people marched in Istanbul on May first, international workers’ day, when public transport was shut down and demonstrations were banned. They were met with riot police and, for many, a visit to the hospital.

    Speaking of developments I wish we could stop talking about a construction project that was proposed and approved last year. The observation that “this is no longer about some trees” is an entirely unimaginative one and shows how few people are aware of recent indicators that something exactly like this was going to happen. This is something the author did make an effort to put across in the article and I applaud them for that.

  • Pingback: The Istanbul protests – II | Arun with a View

  • Pingback: Who Are the Turkish Protesters? | Via Meadia

  • http://Enteryourwebsite... Humeyra

    It is a good article and I totally agree on what you say about the ‘poor anatolian class’, previous secular elites didn’t care AT ALL about the poor, farmers in rural areas, etc. My family is also from a poor Anatolian background and their situation has improved massively. However, it is because of Erdogan’s accomplishments, that he is getting cocky.. Het thinks he can’t be wrong. But the alternatives are much worse. He knows that, so he’s not going to change his style or overly-proud behaviour. I also think there is possibly a powerstruggle going on between him and Abdullah Gül.

  • http://www.zihniozdil.info Zihni Ozdil

    Thank you all for your comments. A brief reply to some of them:

    When I write that ‘labor was largely absent from Gezi Park’ I mean precisely that. Not that there is no labor protest at all in Turkey. See my first reply above where I give the TEKEL example.

    Today, KESK announced a ‘watning strike’, which in my view is good news. Any broadet appeal the Gezi Park gets among working and lower classes is again.

    The question is, however, whether the ‘Anatolian’ masses in Turkey’s cities and towns, who support Erdogan, will join. I may be wrong but I do not think so at this stage, for the reasoms I give in my piece.

    Moreover, it is crucial what Turkey’s anti-AKP Lirdish masses will do. So far, all reports drom Diyarbakir – the hotbed of Kurdish activism and protets for human rights – is calm. The general attitude is: ‘this is not pur struggle’.

    This may change and lets hope so. But again, based on objective conditions it is mu estimation thay a Turkish Spring (as in a mass populat uprising) is not at hand.

    Meanwhile it is of course important to support and share the struggle of the courageous protest of the youth who are on the streets now. This is also a great opportunity to penetrate the neoliberal mantra that has been plaguing global public opinion that this givernment is somehow a step forward in terms of himan rights or economy.

  • Pingback: Basta! » Турецкая весна?

  • Pingback: Why the Gezi Park Protests Do Not Herald a Turkish Spring (Yet) | Genelce

  • http://Enteryourwebsite... Murat Kosar

    Mr Ozdil has made his points clearly, and I join its majority. These events, however, cannot be evaluated independent of what had happened in Turkey. If you select a typical “activist” (I hardly call a person as – activist – pulling off stones on the road and blockading roads, or tearing down public and private property), and ask what is good in Turkey, they will say nothing. However, no one can deny what Turkey has achieved in recent years. I’d like to emphasize a couple more points

    First, I have seen these guys and girls, back in 80s: Turkish Communist Party (TKP), Revolutionist Youth (Dev-Genc), etc. Evidences with Ergenekon proved that they had been established by deep-state to take over the government in Sept 1980. The same game is being played now. But, it is too late. Now, the suppressed traditional Turk by “white elite” is now more educated and wants to take major role in governance.

    Second: Who is profiting from this? I watched two news yesterday Kanal D and S Haber. First gave as if revolution is happening in Kizilay Ankara. Second one, my opinion, gave more truth. You cannot make a revolution with 500 bandits attacking anyone anything. Kanal D is owned by one of the richest “white elite” and backed by TUSIAD, the Turkish riches club, and big holdings like Koc. It is not a matter of money, as they got much richer with AKP governance. It is about losing power; just look in how many of their events PM and ministers go. This elite, once they could remove a government with newspaper ads, is not listened anymore. They think, anything is good, as long as Erdogan gone. Once he is gone, they will continue their usual business, grabbing public wealth as before.

    Third, there are externals. Iran and Syria has stimulated their connections in the country, trying to show Erdogan lost the power and influence. They aim to create a sectarian conflict.

    Last, there should be a lesson to the government. The matter is not knowing and doing the best, but winning the hearts. If they had put a beautiful picture of what Taksim would like after the construction and what they are doing; they might have been prevented. Having said, would this stop these bandits? No. but at least it would distance the innocent people, who showed up with good intentions.

  • Pingback: Турецкая весна? | Forum Mundial de Alternativas

  • http://Enteryourwebsite... Birkan Bilici

    This discussion is well representing how this movement is poorly and simplistically analysed by the Turkish Intellectuals such as the author of this article. I would like to thank Jerome Roos and John for pointing to the obvious intention to simplify and generalize the causes of recent events and reduce its significance because, as the author suggests, it was “lack of broad support from wide segments of the society” that took place in Taksim and spread all around Turkey most recently.

    Turkish intellectuals are apparently far from understanding this movement because they are trying to use old fashion patterns such as “class based analysis” or that as such any people based movement should be between the poor and the wealthy.

    There were women with scarves in Ankara protest helping those who were affected by tear gas. For the first time in Turkey’s history, people from all segments responded to a totalitarian way of intervention in the urban spaces without any static definition of the group. Some scholars are trying to label this movement as something between “elite” and the “moderately Islamic” government, based on their learned patterns, and on their historical experience. Yet this movement is none like they have seen before or that they have learned from their mainstream academic background. Therefore, they are unable to realize and “label” the movement as it is. Thus they are most eager to jump into conclusions as the one that the author of this article put forward… This movement has the characteristic of the so called “springs” that have started in the Middle East in the sense that it is against an increasingly authoritarian style of government and against the efforts of reducing pluralist democracy to an election ballot. In that regard,it could be called “Turkish” or “Turkey’s Spring” in all senses, while leaving a question mark of what happens next depending on the government’s attitude.

  • Pingback: #OccupyGezi or Taksim Square? | Footnotes on the Present

  • Pingback: Turkish Style Democracy | International Political Forum

  • Pingback: TURKEY: A Firsthand Look Into the Protests | @NYPNDaily

  • Pingback: Turkije: tussenstand vergelijkenderwijs | Ravotr