Turkey has been on my mind for awhile. The use of terror to indoctrinate severe learning disabled children into believing in Allah last April. Last December I highlighted the tension between Islamism and the republican secular ideals that modern Turkey was founded on.
I did not imagine that the protest regarding the redevelopment of Taksim Gezi Park would lead to this:
The creeping slide from secular republic towards an autocratic Islamist state was one that flew low under the radar for most western media outlets before the six nights of protests. What is happening is not an Arab spring – and we are not just talking about geography. Turkish leader Erdogan has won three elections.
Yet the idea of elected dictatorship is well understood. It is when a government makes use of legislative dominance and control over law and order to push through reforms which go against universal rights and norms of citizens. Such as kissing at train stations, national airline stewardesses wearing lipstick, the selling of alcohol and the use of twitter – by no means an extensive list but a flavour of what Islamists worry about. The issues are well summarised on the following placard:
If you cannot tell when an elected government is using clerical fascism for inspiration, then you have not been looking hard enough. It is there for us to see, and the Turkish people have by the overt force on peaceful environment protestors taken to the streets to express their overall grievances.
At it’s height so far about two to three thousand people in over 90 cities were arrested. The police response has been heavily criticised as the two photos above serve to demonstrate.
In an excellent post which I encourage you all to read, Rob Marchant sums up my feelings on what the protestors are doing:
In short: although they should take great care to stop their protests degenerating into violence, looting or even revolution, the Turkish demonstrators should not stop.
And that is because they are saying something important about democracy: it needs protecting and it has, even in the quite imperfect form it exists in in Turkey, served them pretty well. Their continued presence is an overdue slap-down for Erdogan; a message to both him and future leaders that in a democracy the people, and not the politicians, are the masters. Above all, that religion needs to be free and tolerant, not a behavioural tyrant imposing itself on the masses.
The young Turks seem to have suddenly realised that they largely already have what their counterparts in North Africa were protesting for. The last thing they need is for it to gradually slip away without a fight.
Secular solidarity for my fellow comrades of free thought in Turkey.
Follow on blog 28 June: Erdogan and the Global Twitter Conspiracy
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog