Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 01, 2013

Erdogan Clashes With "His Own People"

It started on Monday as a small protest of a few dozen people against the removal of trees at one of the last public parks in the central Istanbul district Taksim. Using tear gas and pepper spray police removed the people and uprooted some trees.

The park is planned to be removed for a replica of Ottoman Artillery Barracks which would be turned into (another) shopping mall. The mayor of Istanbul, a member of Erdogan's AKP, is the owner of a retail chain as is likely to profit from the mall. Erdogan's son-in-law holds the contract for the renewal of the area. It is one of the AKP's mega projects in Istanbul which get implemented without asking for the consent of the people who are likely to get harmed by them.

Beaten back by the police the small Monday demonstration multiplied. The park was occupied with tents and a festive atmosphere only to be again brutally removed by the police. Protests again multiplied. Yesterday several thousand clashed with the police in Istanbul and smaller demonstration took place in other Turkish cities. Some 100 got injured. The people taking part are mostly, but not solely, secular liberals who dislike Erdogan's economic neoliberal, socially arch-conservatve and autocratic way to govern. Politicians from opposition parties jumped onto the bandwagon.

Turkish media hardly covered the protests. CNN Turk broadcasted a cooking show while CNN International reported of clashes in Istanbul. Some 70 journalists in Turkey are imprisoned for "supporting terrorism" and other vague "crimes". Media companies have been threatened by the government. They largely do not dare to report opposition views.

In a speech today Erdogan admitted that the police reaction was too harsh but did not respond to the demands of the protester. He claimed that "those on streets are linked with terror, have dark ties". His deputy suggested that foreign powers are involved.

The protests will continue. How long will depend on the police. If it continues to use too much force they could escalate again. Should somehow weapons become involved the protests could turn into outright riots. While Erdogan has a solid majority behind him many people dislike his way to govern. A large majority rejects his support for the insurgency in Syria.

Erdogan will likely prevail and will build another useless mall. But his powers will be diminish. In 2011 Erdogan said "Mubarak must listen to his people". He had the same advice for the Syrian president Assad. Not listening to "his own" "peaceful protesters" will further expose his hypocrisy. His personal project of changing the constitution to a presidential one to then be elected as a powerful president is now in serious danger.

Posted by b on June 1, 2013 at 10:56 UTC | Permalink

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turkish police commit real atrocities FUKUS remain silent

http://intellihub.com/2013/06/02/turkish-police-run-over-crowds-of-protesters-with-large-tanks-warning-graphic-video/

they screamed at alleged atrocities in syria 2011: real ones in turkey they ignore as well as the media blackout

Posted by: brian | Jun 3 2013 10:31 utc | 101

one million syrians in 2012 in Damascus reallied FOR Assad afigures demonised by the MSM

meanwhile the MSM ignores s million turks rallying against Erdogan

As around 1 million Turkish citizens continue to secure Istanbul’s main square in protest against government control, the Turkish media has completely blacked out the event and continues to play cooking shows and animal documentaries instead.
http://intellihub.com/2013/06/03/photos-turkey-media-shows-cooking-pet-shows-as-1-million-protest/

Posted by: brian | Jun 3 2013 10:35 utc | 102

turkey revolution images

http://imgur.com/a/wOrZR#0

Posted by: brian | Jun 3 2013 11:23 utc | 103

Lizzie Phelan ‏@LizziePhelan 49m
On top of Taksim :) pic.twitter.com/aw9mLdcPlj

Posted by: brian | Jun 3 2013 12:32 utc | 104

The question is what those who calling for "calm" and pretending that they are concerned, namely: the U.S, "The Greatest Purveyor of Violence in the World Today", are going to do? http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/us-ambassador-ricciardones-message-on-protests-in-turkey-repeated-for-second-time-in-two-days-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=48088&NewsCatID=338.

More non "non-lethal" aid: https://twitter.com/mehmetkaragzglu/status/341176778620014594/photo/1, or advisors. Or, more shabiha:https://twitter.com/berilbulat/status/340993845703634945/photo/1

Or, low flying F-16s to instill fear into people.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jun 3 2013 12:52 utc | 105

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2013/04/207905.htm#TURKEY2

Patrick Ventrell
Acting Deputy Spokesperson
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC

April 23, 2013


QUESTION: I have two Turkey-related questions.

MR. VENTRELL: Okay.

QUESTION: One is that last week, pianist – Turkish pianist Fazil Say was convicted over a tweet, and actually this was – made reference into Human Rights Report that was released by Secretary of State Kerry last Friday. My specific question is --

MR. VENTRELL: Is this the pianist, Fazil?

QUESTION: Yes.

MR. VENTRELL: Okay, yeah.

QUESTION: My specific question is that this was asked to U.S. Ambassador in Ankara Ricciardone, and Ambassador’s quote is: “Pianist hit the wrong key.” And he has not clarified his position and this was widely understood as Ambassador was making joke of this freedom of expression sentence in Turkey. Do you – what’s your position? Are you supporting your Ambassador in --

MR. VENTRELL: Well, I haven’t seen the context of the Ambassador or the Embassy’s reaction, but let me be clear. We’ve been 100 percent clear about our concerns about freedom of expression in Turkey. We’re concerned by any attempt to punish individuals for practicing their right to free speech, which of course is an internationally recognized right. So we do not believe such laws are consistent with core human rights practices. And while we do condemn hateful speech, we deplore speech that deliberately denigrates people of any religion. At the same time, we’re strong supporters of the right of freedom of expression. So we believe that Turkey’s long-term stability, security, and prosperity is best guaranteed by upholding the fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly, and association. They’re crucial to the health of any democracy.


?????

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jun 3 2013 13:20 utc | 106

Thanks brian. I'm afraid the Turkish people are on their own. No help is coming from the West.

Posted by: ben | Jun 3 2013 13:27 utc | 107

" I'm afraid the Turkish people are on their own. No help is coming from the West."
No help but all the tear gas they can breathe.
Actually, the Turkish people need no "help" from the "west." Just leave them alone: do NOT send Special Forces, do NOT send drones, do NOT send crocodile tears.

Posted by: bevin | Jun 3 2013 13:36 utc | 108

@108 Can we send Kerry or McCain?

Posted by: dh | Jun 3 2013 13:47 utc | 109

bevin @ 108: Yes, sad, but true.

Posted by: ben | Jun 3 2013 14:20 utc | 110

109) Dana Rohrabacher would be nice ...

He knows about democracy.

The congressman repeatedly thanked Seagal, who took credit for arranging the congressmen’s meeting at the FSB, and said it helped avoid the experience of past foreign trips when all of the meetings had been arranged by the U.S. Embassy.

“You know what we got? We got the State Department controlling all the information that we heard,” Rohrabacher said. “You think that’s good for democracy? No way!”

Posted by: somebody | Jun 3 2013 14:46 utc | 111

Just imagine if Syrian security forces were shown using the same quantity of tear gas that Turkish police are using. We'd already be hearing reports that it was mixed with sarin; chemical weapons used against the Syrian people. Emergency meetings at the UN convened..

Nevertheless, I'm not about to start jumping on the opposition bandwagon. The iphone brigades of Tahrir square, the greens in Iran, the Edward Darks of Syria...

What was it that b said on another thread? "snobby idealistic fools".

Same fools.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Jun 3 2013 14:52 utc | 112

It's like that scene from Goodfellas, "when you need 'em the most, they let you down".
Erdogan is going to learn that very quickly the powers that be can and just might drop him like a bad habit if these protests get to big.
It's so funny, he is accusing the protesters of being all the things Gaddafi accused the protesters in Libya of being. Now Erdogan for your incredible betrayals will now suffer from a lil bit a payback. I'm loving it, I hope he goes down. It's on like Donkey Kong.

Posted by: Fernando | Jun 3 2013 15:27 utc | 113

112) No, or you go with fascism. Resistance is legitimate, though not all means of resistance. There were bullets used - and more - in Syria - not just tear gas and stones. I am not so sure who provoked whom into what and for what reason, there are too many secret services involved for protesters to have a chance. Also the Syrian police presumably was not trained in crowd control, so all they had was real guns. Tear gas and stones would have been preferable.

Turkish police seem to have arrived at occasional plastic bullets now and as they are not using the gas as it is supposed to but fire it into people's faces quite a few people will be maimed for life and maybe some will be killed. Protesters are throwing stones at most. If someone decides to fire a gun things will quickly go downhill from there but not many will remain on the streets.

It is quite ironic actually how Erdogan follows Assad's or Mubarak's or ... fill in the dictator or authoritarian politician of your choice ... script: extremists, fringe, terrorists, foreign, small minority ....

Hint: this is how it can be done.


Posted by: somebody | Jun 3 2013 15:41 utc | 114

@somebody #114 "No, or you go with fascism. Resistance is legitimate, though not all means of resistance. There were bullets used - and more - in Syria - not just tear gas and stones. I am not so sure who provoked whom into what and for what reason, there are too many secret services involved for protesters to have a chance. Also the Syrian police presumably was not trained in crowd control, so all they had was real guns. Tear gas and stones would have been preferable."

You believe too much West propaganda, show me ANY evidence Syria used live bullets against peaceful protesters - because it didnt happened. Also Syria DID use tear gas and water cannons in one or two cases, but usually they left tiny demonstrations alone. No army, no bullets, just few hundred people posing for Western/arabs media's, thats it. Demonstrations barely grew to several thousands, and only one reached 10-20,000.

Only when terrorists started mass-killing policemen and burning governments building, real clashes started. Assad was way too soft as well, but then again he is civilized doctor, and not psycho as Erdogan or arab monarchs.

Posted by: Harry | Jun 3 2013 16:01 utc | 115

115) Harry I did not say that - I said bullets were used, and a lot of secret services were involved. I doubt anybody is able to decide who started what, and who killed whom, though obviously many people have been dying.

This here is like the situation looked at the start, it went downhill from there.

Amnesty International said it had documented the names of 580 people killed since the uprising began in mid-March. Ms. Shaaban said nearly 100 soldiers and members of security forces were also killed by armed militants, whom she accused of manipulating “the legitimate demands of the people.” While administration officials in the United States and even some activists have acknowledged that some protesters have resorted to arms, they call them a minority.

Ms. Shaaban said, “We think these people are a combination of fundamentalists, extremists, smugglers, people who are ex-convicts and are being used to make trouble.”

She added later, “You can’t be very nice to people who are leading an armed rebellion, in a sense,” while acknowledging they were not the only factor in the tumult. In a sign that the government remained uncertain over the nature of the uprising, she declined to specify who was behind them, saying only that officials were still investigating.

Administration officials have said that Ms. Shaaban and Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa have seemed more receptive to calls for reform, though their influence appears to pale before more aggressive voices in the ruling elite, particularly Mr. Assad’s brother Maher, who heads the elite Republican Guard and Fourth Division.

Ms. Shaaban said she had been asked to open talks with dissidents. Last week, she said, she met with Michel Kilo, Aref Dalila, Salim Kheirbek and Louay Hussein, all veteran activists, and held out the prospect of a freer press, political parties and an electoral law.

She called it the start of a national dialogue, although some in the opposition have branded it an insincere effort to simply co-opt as many of them as possible. “In the next week or so, we will broaden it,” Ms. Shaaban said.

“We want to use what happened to Syria as an opportunity,” she added. “We see it as an opportunity to try to move forward on many levels, especially the political level.”

President Assad has long frustrated allies and even foes by promising reforms, then seeming unable or unwilling to carry them out. Despite Ms. Shaaban’s promises, one administration official contended that the government was still fighting for its survival. Even if it wins the upper hand, the official suggested, any change would prove limited.

“Assad is not capable of implementing these reforms,” the official said. “He’s not capable. He knows that if he did, it would be the end of him. He would fall.”

But in contrast to Libya, where the United States insists that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi step down, American officials have simply repeated calls for Mr. Assad to meet popular demands, and Ms. Shaaban’s outreach seemed aimed at addressing some calls for change. But even if the government fails to placate the opposition, she suggested that international condemnation had so far been muted.

She described the statements from President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as “not too bad” and said that the sanctions themselves — imposed by the United States last month and the European Union this week — were manageable.

“This is a weapon used against us many times,” she said. “Once security is back, everything can be arranged. We’re not going to live in this crisis forever.”

Posted by: somebody | Jun 3 2013 16:58 utc | 116

115) I said bullets were used - I did not say by whom and why. Everybody including the Syrian government acknowledged that there are legitimate demands.

From the memory hole - in 2011 the New York Times still spoke to the Syrian regime and the situation was described like this:

Amnesty International said it had documented the names of 580 people killed since the uprising began in mid-March. Ms. Shaaban said nearly 100 soldiers and members of security forces were also killed by armed militants, whom she accused of manipulating “the legitimate demands of the people.” While administration officials in the United States and even some activists have acknowledged that some protesters have resorted to arms, they call them a minority.

Ms. Shaaban said, “We think these people are a combination of fundamentalists, extremists, smugglers, people who are ex-convicts and are being used to make trouble.”

She added later, “You can’t be very nice to people who are leading an armed rebellion, in a sense,” while acknowledging they were not the only factor in the tumult. In a sign that the government remained uncertain over the nature of the uprising, she declined to specify who was behind them, saying only that officials were still investigating.

Administration officials have said that Ms. Shaaban and Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa have seemed more receptive to calls for reform, though their influence appears to pale before more aggressive voices in the ruling elite, particularly Mr. Assad’s brother Maher, who heads the elite Republican Guard and Fourth Division.

Ms. Shaaban said she had been asked to open talks with dissidents. Last week, she said, she met with Michel Kilo, Aref Dalila, Salim Kheirbek and Louay Hussein, all veteran activists, and held out the prospect of a freer press, political parties and an electoral law.

She called it the start of a national dialogue, although some in the opposition have branded it an insincere effort to simply co-opt as many of them as possible. “In the next week or so, we will broaden it,” Ms. Shaaban said.

“We want to use what happened to Syria as an opportunity,” she added. “We see it as an opportunity to try to move forward on many levels, especially the political level.”

President Assad has long frustrated allies and even foes by promising reforms, then seeming unable or unwilling to carry them out. Despite Ms. Shaaban’s promises, one administration official contended that the government was still fighting for its survival. Even if it wins the upper hand, the official suggested, any change would prove limited.

“Assad is not capable of implementing these reforms,” the official said. “He’s not capable. He knows that if he did, it would be the end of him. He would fall.”

But in contrast to Libya, where the United States insists that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi step down, American officials have simply repeated calls for Mr. Assad to meet popular demands, and Ms. Shaaban’s outreach seemed aimed at addressing some calls for change. But even if the government fails to placate the opposition, she suggested that international condemnation had so far been muted.

It went down from there.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 3 2013 18:41 utc | 117

@somebody #116 "I doubt anybody is able to decide who started what, and who killed whom, though obviously many people have been dying."

Its quite easy - look who benefits. Assad saw no threat from tiny demonstrations, so why would army or police shoot at peaceful protesters? They didnt. Or else hundreds of West/arabs journalists and all participants or bystanders would have caught it on video/photo cameras, nobody did.

Now we know for a fact West was preparing an attack on Syria since 2001, even before US attacked Iraq. West/arabs were funding, arming and preparing "uprising" since at least 2007. They would absolutely benefit from armed conflict, mass-killing police and security forces, and when those fight back - to present it in the media and UN as "brutal crackdown of peaceful protesters by evil Assad".

#117 "Everybody including the Syrian government acknowledged that there are legitimate demands."

Occupy Wall Street or recent Turkey demonstrations had legitimate demands, did US/UK/Turkey listened? No. And those demonstrations were actually massive. In Syria just one demonstration reached 10-20,000, the rest were 10-100x smaller and purely staged for media. Those werent popular demands, nor it was an uprising. Foreign sponsored special op to violently force regime change through proxy, nothing more, nothing less.

Ironically, unlike ignored West or Turkey's people's legitimate demands, in Syria Assad listened and reasonable demands were implemented. Its funny how "democracy stalwart" West absolutely rejected of peaceful, democratic and UN supervised Syria's president elections. Even funnier, how absolute Qatar/Saudis monarchies were pretending to fight for Syrians democracy rights..

Posted by: Harry | Jun 3 2013 20:24 utc | 118

Thanks brian. I'm afraid the Turkish people are on their own. No help is coming from the West.

Posted by: ben | Jun 3, 2013 9:27:19 AM | 107


the 'west' being the US and its servants has no intention of aiding the turkish people

Posted by: brian | Jun 3 2013 22:04 utc | 119

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