Gezi Park Resistance Article Series – No. 2

Turkey’s Liberal Awakening: The Battle beyond Gezi Park
and the Lifting of the Veil of Ignorance

The recent unrest in Turkey goes beyond just protesting to save Gezi Park from becoming a mall; it has become a prompt-critical event that has set off a chain reaction throughout Turkish society. People for the first time since Prime Minister Erdoğan came to power in 2002 are demanding change and further civic input into the decision-making process in public policy.  For those who are close observers of Turkish politics, the current protests and government reaction should not come as a surprise.  What has been unexpected, however, is how quickly Turkey has crossed the proverbial Rubicon and is now faced with a decision at the highest echelons of power as to whether Turkey will remain an illiberal democracy or finally make the transition to becoming a more open and liberal democracy. What currently is at stake in Turkey is nothing short of the future of liberal values in a state that has become increasingly authoritarian .  Nothing underscores this point more than the gathering of people from different ideologies in Taksim Square and across almost every major city.  From Communists to Conservatives, from Gay and Lesbians to religious groups and even supporters of Prime Minister Erdoğan, people are seemingly united against the government’s  increasing control of lifestyle choices and the disproportionate response carried out by government forces against protestors.

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One thought on “Turkey’s Liberal Awakening: The Battle beyond Gezi Park and the Lifting of the Veil of Ignorance

  1. Ilhan

    Liberalizm demand in Turkey covers many more things than conservatist – secular gap. This analysis looks with only one eye. The statement that, the protest has nothing to do with separatist Kurds or Syria is misleading. The protesters wanted to show thier disagreement of the ruling of the country in a peaceful way without naming any politics, but making it clear through environmental losses that are incurred for creating rant and the lofty earnings. The youth is unemployed at 25%. The public is fed up with the load put on Turkey because of Syria, the arms support to Syrian opposition without consent of the Parlaiament, 1,5 billion Dollars that went to Syrian refugees and the PKK action over these regions. The monopoly media is being used for separatist Kurds, but not for real Kurdish people. The imprisoned chiefs of the army with hearings being postponed for more than five years, are things that are looked upon with suspect, which you chose to omit in your writing while touching on imprisoned journalists. And the EU, having given reports on the so called democratization of Turkey, never mensions the business monopoly over media and needs also criticism. Ilhan

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