June 20, 2013
Turkey: The Protest's Fall-Out
The situation and protests in Turkey have calmed down for now. While Erdogan managed to stay on, the damages to him and his future plans are done. The protesters have won on their initial issue. Gezi park is likely to stay as a park. Even new trees
get planted there now. The mayor of Istanbul promised
to consult with the public before any major new project is considered:
“I have expressed to my colleagues that we should be an example municipality in sharing projects with the public,” Topbaş said.
He also said that seven municipal employees who were involved in a police raid on Gezi Park in the first days of the protests had been suspended. They are accused of burning the tents of a small group of protesters on May 30, before the street action spread to many provinces across the country.
Erdogan's central government has yet to see such light and continues with its authoritarian and repressive ways. Some 94 people, mostly from leftist organizations, were imprisoned
and later released for allegedly instigating the protests. These were just the "usual suspects". The police ordered
new riot control gas cartridges after some 130,000(!) were used during 20 days of protests. The powers of the police are now to be expanded
. A new law to "regulate" social media is being introduced
which will likely take away any online anonymity. Several media organizations have been fined for broadcasting pictures from the protests and riots and one non-AKP TV station has been ordered off
the air over quite flimsy "license issues". The Gülen paper Today Zaman was threatened
by the government and AKP officials after it published
a poll that showed a harsh drop in support for Erdogan:
The poll also seemed to suggest that the public's support for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has come down some 11 percent in June 2013 compared to the same month a year ago, while the popularity of Erdoğan took a blow with a 7 percent drop in his popularity in just a month. Most people see Erdoğan's tone as harsh and confrontational. The government's Syrian policy remains unpopular as well.
Additional damage due to Erdogan was done in the foreign policy field and the economy.
The EU delays a decision for the opening of the next negotiation chapters with Turkey. That has not immediately to do with the protest but with general public opinion in certain European countries that do not want an authoritarian Turkey to become a dominating force in the Union. The Erdogan government threatened to cut off all relations with the EU should the opening of the new chapter not pass. The EU is unlikely to like being threatened. Until recently Erdogan and his sidekick Davutoğlu had counted their steps towards EU membership as major successes.
Not directly caused by the protests but exacerbated by them is the recent downturn of Turkey's economy:
The lira depreciated for a fourth day, weakening as much as 1.5 percent to a record 1.9315 before the central bank held two currency auctions to support it. The lira was at 1.9192 a dollar at 2:34 p.m. in Istanbul, taking its drop this month to 2.3 percent. The yield on two-year benchmark bonds surged 71 basis points to 7.52 percent, the highest since October, while the 10-year yield advanced 67 basis points to 8.06 percent.
The benchmark Borsa Istanbul National 100 (XU100) equity index slumped 4.5 percent to 75,252.11 points, the biggest decliner today among 94 gauges tracked by Bloomberg. Volume climbed to 22 percent above the 30-day average for that time of the day, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
The measure has decreased more than 12 percent since May 31, when an environmentalist sit-in against the redevelopment of a public park in Turkey’s biggest city snowballed into nationwide protests against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.
Throughout the last years Turkey's economic boom depended on foreign investment, hot money that can leave overnight, and an increase in consumer debt. With the Lira falling, credit tightening and interests increasing the Erdogan boom will become a bust.
Erdogan will of cause blame the "interest lobby" which he also blamed for instigating the protests. The "interest lobby" is a dog whistle sound for his arch supporters who hear it as meaning "the Jews". For them Erdogan's economic policies, which depended on unsustainable current account deficits, are not yet to blame. That may well change though should the drop in growth directly hurt their income.
Erdogan's plans to change the constitution and to then become an all-mighty president are in taters. A majority of Turks is now against these plans and the continuing fall-out from the recent affairs will solidify that opinion. Due to extreme weaknesses in the organized opposition Erdogan would today likely still win in elections. But the trends are now against him and his political future looks quite bleak.
Posted by b on June 20, 2013 at 10:48 AM | Permalink
Erdogan seems to have hit a wall all around - I wonder why
Meanwhile BDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş told reporters on Wednesday that the settlement process is not stuck and it has come to a phase when the government should open democratic and peaceful political channels. He argued that the attitude of the government hints that the ruling body is driving the settlement process towards deadlock. “If the government does not fulfill its duties and meet the expectations of the public opinion, there will be trouble,” he added.
I mean, he is a policitian, he is supposed to know what he is doing ...
Posted by: somebody | Jun 20, 2013 10:56:06 AM | 1
@ 2. It's not going to love the next one.
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 20, 2013 12:28:16 PM | 3
@somebody - Erdogan is recently making friends with the MHP, a nationalist (fascist) party with a bloody (grey wolves) history. It is anti-Kurd. Trying to make peace with the Kurds while collaborating with the MHP is nearly impossible. How Erdogan thinks he can do that is beyond me.
Posted by: b | Jun 20, 2013 12:34:47 PM | 4
If Turkish membership negotiations in the EU stall I think it will be the final push causing Turkey to "look East" for support. Right now Turkey likes to portray itself as the "bridge" between the Middle East and Europe. If it does not get into the corridors of power in Europe it will probably settle for restoring its Ottoman power in the Middle East. It is certainly a country at a crossroads. It's rule over the middle east is gone but it hasn't been accepted into the EU either.
Also I doubt the protests in Turkey are anywhere close to over.
Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jun 20, 2013 12:46:09 PM | 5
4) Gray Wolves have been taking part in the Gezi protest. Basically it is everybody against Erdogan. He already has managed to unite Istanbul football clubs, he now seems able to unite MHP and PKK - well almost:
MHP sounds nearly reasonable
Bahçeli Says PM Provoked Gezi Park Chaos
The chairman of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahçeli, said on Tuesday that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government had provoked recent turmoil linked to Istanbul's Gezi Park.
'North Kurdistan' conference is betrayal of Turkey
According to Bahçeli, separatists upped their rhetoric with threatening statements while the whole of Turkey was focused on Gezi Park.
"Last weekend in Diyarbakir a scandal took place under the name of the 'North Kurdistan Unity and Solution Conference'. The PKK and separatists have already divided Turkey in their minds and shaped the boundaries of East, West, North and South Kurdistan," Bahçeli said, adding that Erdogan should be watching the PKK, the Imrali murderer and those gathered in Diyarbakir -- instead of labeling innocent citizens terrorists.
Using the words "North Kurdistan" to refer to land inside Turkey in the name of the conference was a betrayal, he said. He went on to call for the ruling AK Party to clarify its role in that betrayal.
Bahçeli also said the MHP banners that appeared at an AK Party rally in Ankara on Saturday were a clear political trick, as none of his comrades would have participated in the rally.
Posted by: somebody | Jun 20, 2013 1:46:49 PM | 6
Rudaw is a paper produced in Erbil, the Barzani (Iraqi Kurd) capital - RB
Gulen Movement Could Endanger PKK Peace Process (extract)
Wladimir van Wilgenburg, Rudaw, Jun 18 2013
PKK leaders for their part seem as suspicious of the Gulen movement as Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). PKK’s military commander, Murat Karayilan, has accused the Gulen movement of sabotaging secret peace talks with Turkish intelligence between 2009 and 2011, by leaking details of the talks to the Turkish media. This move by Gulen was believed to be an attempt against the chief of the National Intelligence Organization (MIT), Hakan Fidan, who was handpicked by Erdogan to lead the talks. Moreover, Cemil Bayik, a senior PKK leader, said that the Gulen movement had tried to publicly name Turkish officials who had held talks with the PKK. Bayik also marked the Gulen movement as the driving force behind the arrest of thousands of Kurdish civil activists and journalists in 2009 for alleged membership in the PKK. In response to the PKK statements, including one by the group’s jailed leader, Abdullah Ocalan, accusing Turkish intelligence officials of becoming the targets of a “colossal movement,” Turkish journalist Abdullah Bozkurt wrote: "They are launching a smear campaign and using tactics to discredit Gulen." Istanbul-based analyst Gareth Jenkins said: "The tension between the Gulenists and the PKK is nothing new. It is a fight for influence among the Turkish population. Although disputes have intensified over the last 18 months or so, they have grown out of a three-way battle for hearts and minds between the Gulenists, the PKK and Hizbullah in southeast Turkey which has been going on for years. I think the PKK is still bitter over an attempt by the Gulen movement to start talks with them while staging the mass arrest of Kurds behind the scene."
Then there was this, which I think is just MB posturing - Erdogan, Morsi and Hamas are all theoretically MB loyalists and the Emir of Qatar meets them from time to time and gives them money - RB
Erdogan welcomes Hamas leaders (extract)
Herb Keinon, JPost, Jun 19 2013
Even as the EU canceled a parliamentary visit to Ankara scheduled for Wednesday, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon criticized Turkey for its handling of the recent protests, embattled PM Erdogan on Tuesday welcomed Hamas leaders Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh for meetings in the Turkish capital. It was not immediately clear if the arrival of the Hamas leaders was in lieu of a visit Erdogan has said he intended to make to Gaza. Erdogan announced he would visit Gaza in April. The planned visit was then pushed off until after Erdogan’s mid-May visit to Washington. No new date has yet been announced, although Erdogan has said he intends to go through with the visit despite US objections. Zaman said Mashaal and Haniyeh were scheduled to meet Erdogan late Tuesday.
By the way, a number of people have drawn attention to the 'color revolution' style of Taksim Square, especially the 'standing man' protest. But there's no sign of the usual western NGOs that stage color revolutions, is there? - RB
Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jun 20, 2013 2:12:57 PM | 8
8) Well if you want conspiracy theory, the actions of the Turkish police are clearly not normal. They started the protests - Gezi Park protest was of no importance before the police moved in,
in broad daylight with Reuters photographers present using teargas in a non standard unprofessional way.
Police act in the morning hours when they do not intend to cause trouble - compare Occupy Wallstreet
Posted by: somebody | Jun 20, 2013 3:55:48 PM | 11
"For the latest news academic excerpts, commentary, book reviews and interviews on the Gulen Movement and Fethullah Gulen, you may refer to Hizmet Movement Blog: http://hizmetmovement.blogspot.com"
To get even more educated in the above, Should we also consider the following blog?
Posted by: Rd. | Jun 20, 2013 4:14:00 PM | 13
@9. CNN comments on the story were filled with details of "Arab men in fishing boats off of Long Island".
I'm very surprised the film is getting as much attention as it is. It will be very interesting to watch if it goes any further.
Posted by: guest77 | Jun 20, 2013 8:30:12 PM | 16
'We learn the father is a conservative-leaning Episcopalian from Texas, the mother a liberal Jew from New York' . . .no surprise he is a voice for Obama waging war on syria
Do you do the parents of blacks and spics too?
Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 20, 2013 9:27:01 PM | 17
Not related other than protests, but OWS (Org) in the US are back 4th July, not sure if it will have the same effect or numbers:
In a few weeks, on July 4th we call on all individuals to blockade, disrupt and disobey the architecture of repression in their own cities. We act against the surveillance state not because it has overstepped an imaginary line, we rebel against it for the simple fact that it is designed to intimidate, imprison and demoralize us. We act against it because we know that politicians, corporations and the ruling class will never listen or change. We know that it is up to us to be disobedient, that direct action is the only road to freedom.
Posted by: kev | Jun 20, 2013 11:31:17 PM | 18
Rd @ 9.
The "official" story of TWA 800 is a real stinker.
Boeing denied the story's fictional (FBI) foundations, pointing out that after the nose falls of a plane it's not a plane any more and becomes incapable of performing anything resembling controlled flight.
Ironically, the biggest hole in the FBI's video cartoon explanation (that the plane's tail dropped causing it to climb (trailing flames, like a rocket) is one of its own making. Having asserted that the fuel tank exploded, the FBI then failed to explain where the fuel for the extended, imaginary, 'climb' came from...
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 21, 2013 12:14:43 AM | 19
no just zionist jews in high office...eg the neocons..you seem illinformed
Posted by: brian | Jun 21, 2013 3:44:38 AM | 21
@20, Thank you Brian.
Posted by: hans | Jun 21, 2013 5:52:15 AM | 22
they are the ones who control US middle east policy; their main enemy is the security establishment, which must still be a zionist free zone
Posted by: brian | Jun 21, 2013 6:13:16 AM | 23
And despite all that is going on in Turkey, or perhaps because of all that is going on in Turkey...the war plans move forward.
The reports that came out early in the protests regarding the Turkish military handing out gas masks to protestors were very telling
It has been the police cracking down on the protestors, not the military, had the military come out.. I would have been more concerned about Erdogan's position
But they didn't. Still might. I guess one never knows
Any thought to a civil war scenario breaking out in Turkey?
An annexation of some parts for a Kurdish State
Israel would certainly be inclined to that outcome
Israel and some Kurds have quite bond
And what of Egypt? Morsi was always going to be firmly in NATO's pocket... The military controls that country, same as Turkey
The leaders stays in power or not on the grace of the military
And both militaries are beholden elsewhere
So much to consider
Posted by: Penny | Jun 21, 2013 6:53:53 AM | 24
@19 "The "official" story of TWA 800 is a real stinker."
It also does not explain why 'apparently' the navy ships were running away (30 knots) from the site, despite a distress call?
It does not explain metal pieces found in the fabric of some of the seats.
also, some of the wholes made from an explosion within the plane (consistent with fuel tank explosion). However, there also wholes made from an outside explosion.
and the missing data from navy ship radar that were excluded due to national security. among others.
Posted by: Rd. | Jun 21, 2013 10:07:45 AM | 25
@Rd. - this thread has nothing to do with TWA 800. Stop this stuff.
Posted by: b | Jun 21, 2013 1:23:27 PM | 26
Several thousand supporters of Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi gathered in Cairo’s Nasr City, V’s His opponents, who claim to have gathered 13 million signatures demanding Morsi’s resignation. June 30th should be interesting to say the least…
The UN stating 3.5 million refugees, with 1 million were ‘likely’ (OK, planned) to seek asylum in Turkey by the end of this year –The Point is? Not an issue, as more Turks can move to Germany, it already has 2 million. France can take in, they love that, a very open culture, and all will be embraced, the US can only take ‘selected’ refugees, ideally PhD’s, vetted and having been prior US agents, possibly into double digits and it is the main instigator –
No, just a limbo and madness. Funny how a US problem becomes everyone’s problem and they do nada to amend, just shove on other plates.
Ultimatum the UN should give if it’s War the US wants (Poker)the give 3.5 million visas and then you can bomb the shit out of Syria, and I am sure it would severely back track, and I am sure the US general public will scream ‘WTF’, the same with all in the famous 5…
Posted by: kev | Jun 21, 2013 8:21:05 PM | 27