Τρίτη, 22 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Turkey: A House Divided

by Robert Ellis

The EU Commission's progress report deals with a polarized society and a government that takes repressive measures against citizens who assert their democratic rights.
There is no doubt that the Gezi Park demonstrations in May and June, which spread to most of Turkey, represent a seismic change in Turkish society and have opened up fault lines which earlier may not have been apparent. What began as a demonstration against the "development" of a small park in the center of Istanbul ended as a widespread protest against the AKP government -- and particularly Prime Minister Erdoğan's authoritarian rule.
The European Commission in its latest progress report on Turkey has recognized this change when it writes of "the emergence of vibrant, active citizenry;" and according to Turkey's President Abdullah Gül, who in the report is praised for his conciliatory role, this development is "a new manifestation of our democratic maturity." The Turkish government, however, has chosen to see these demonstrations as a challenge to its authority and has reacted accordingly.

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