Turkey's ongoing corruption scandal has rocked the ruling party. Instead of reacting to the problem by expelling the corrupt officials, it has lashed out at all critics, no matter how small and peaceful.
The Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office has demanded up to 14 years in jail for three demonstrators who protested a controversial road project crossing the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) campus by planting trees on a site that had been clear-cut.The area was clear-cut last October by workers who entered the site during the night on a public holiday without the university's permission to knock the trees down.
It's not just planting trees that will get you thrown into jail. 'Insulting' Prime Minister Erdogan has been a popular way to get thrown in jail for years, especially on the internet.
Turkey's government appears to have gotten more and more authoritarian in its responses to criticism. A few days ago, the Turkish government passed a bill to lock down people's internet access in direct response to embarassing videos.
Turkey's parliament has approved internet controls enabling web pages to be blocked within hours in what the opposition decried as part of a government bid to stifle a corruption scandal with methods more suited to "times of coups".Even before this law, Turkey was ranked 2nd in the world behind China with the most internet censorship.
Social media and video sharing sites have been awash with alleged recordings of ministers including Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and business allies presented as proof of wrongdoing.
The crackdown on internet access has brought out a new round of protests.
Chanting ‘Hands off my internet” protesters took to the streets of Istanbul to show their anger over new laws restricting access to web pages in Turkey. The new rules could block sites within hours without a court order.Protests and corruption aren't the only problems facing Turkey's government.
Riot police were out in force and used water cannon and tear gas on protesters who responded by throwing fireworks as they headed towards Taksim Square, the site of mass anti-government protests last summer.
Turkey is at the center of a growing emerging market crisis. Turkey's currency in under attack from speculators.