Skip to main content

As I was writing a diary to post today I was watching on TV as major protests were beginning in Istanbul again.

Thousands were approaching Taksim Square and there is news that (and TV reports showing) many thousands more on the way.

There were thousands of police waiting at the entrances to Taksim Square.

But, suddenly the police have stopped firing tear gas and pulled back, allowing the protesters into the square.

The protesters have taken over the square.

The police behind the protesters suddenly begin firing a large number of tear gas cannisters but those in command ordered them to stop.

Right now it's quiet. More protesters are arriving but there are thousands of police off to the sides.

Huge amounts of tear gas is being shot at the protesters again.

And now they have stopped again.

Now many more protesters are entering the square.

Update: It's not clear what is happening. The police pulled back and let the protesters occupy the square but the police have continued to provoke the protesters - sometimes shooting tear gas, often driving their tank-like vehicles through the protesters, sometimes using pressurized water cannons.

Huge numbers of protesters now occupy Taksim Square.

Update: It seems that the President of Turkey has stepped in. Reportedly he has communicated to the government, diplomatically, that this shouldn't be happening.

Soldiers had to be called in today to shore up security around the Prime Minister's office in Ankara.

- * - * - * - * -

This is the text I was writing.


The people of Turkey, as do the people in many other countries, like a strong leadership.

They like to leave the running of their villages, towns, cities and country in the hands of a leader and go on with their lives. And usually limit their involvement to voting once every four or five years.

And if that leader does an OK job and has a populist swagger that's OK, and he or she just might stay in office for quite some time.

But there is a point where a strong leader can turn into an arrogant leader.

People like to hear 'We're doing this for you.'

And they'll often turn a blind eye to 'We're doing this for you (and putting our own people in place to run it).'

'After all don't most politicians do that? The next one to come will replace them with his or her people anyway.' can often be heard.

And they'll put up with, for a time, 'We're doing this for you (and putting our own people in place to run it, and we'll fiddle with it so that we or our clique will make a whole lot of money off of it).'

'Well, ... at least he or she is doing it for us.' will be grumbled.

But when it gets to 'We're doing this for you (and putting our own people in place to run it, and we'll fiddle with it so that we or our clique will make a whole lot of money off of it, WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT).' - that's when the worm turns.

And that is what is happening now.

Will the Turkish government be able to turn things around and shed itself of the 'whether you like it our not' image it is saddled with?

I don't know.

Will the government continue with its current stance and behavior causing protests to grow so large that it is forced to call elections?


Am I worried that this might grow deadly?

Yes, very much so. Events yesterday were right on the edge of that precipice.

But at the same time I have seen indications that some in the police are not happy with being ordered to do what they are doing.

Originally posted to InAntalya on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 06:15 AM PDT.

Also republished by Barriers and Bridges and Adalah — A Just Middle East.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site