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After night fell, his security forces put these words into force. They used bulldozers to clear out Gezi Park, which had become a symbol of the resistance in recent days. They chased protesters and beat them down with clubs, and they shot tear gas into cafes and hotels as the people fled. Doctors who treated the wounded were arrested.

Popp, Maximilian and Mirjam Schmitt.  “‘Hateful’ Speech in Istanbul: Erdogan Throws Fuel on Flames.  Spiegel Online, June 17, 2013.

President Erdogan may mount pro-government demonstrations, but he has a way to go with regard to quelling anti-government unrest, and to judge both by the article in Spiegal Online and the balanced footage above, he’s inclined to do it with the heavy hand of a dictator.

The orchestration of his own AKP pro-government demonstration, which included busing fans to the location, while at the same time suppressing Taksim Square activity by clearing the streets with force and closing routes into the city reflects well the autocrat’s want to control without a lot of back and forth in the conference room or negotiating table.

Add:

  • Deflection of responsibility for his state’s spontaneous demonstrations to foreign influence (of some kind) and the international press;
  • Detention of lawyers sympathetic with demonstrators and the alleged arrests of doctors — that detail seems to be in the news today — attending those injured by government forces.

If preventing attention to the injured is a part of the governing ethic “over there”, that too speaks of the barbarian within and a reigning mentality not much different than that which has made a mess of Damascus.  The process doesn’t change: the greater and more extensive the repression, the more amplified the resentments and, when those surface, the response.

Describing Erdogan’s government as “despotic,” two main union blocs say they plan to march to Istanbul’s Taksim Square, which has been at the heart of more than two weeks of protests. It is the second time unions have called a strike to support the protest movement.

Penhaul, Karl, Ian Lee, Gul Tuysuz.  “Turkish unions call strike after weekend of street clashes.”  CNN, June 17, 2013.

Al Jazeera reports, “Labour groups representing doctors, engineers and dentists are also said to have joined the strike on Monday. The striking groups represent about 800,000 workers” (“Turkey threatens to deploy army to end unrest.”  June 17, 2013).

Reuters reports today 441 persons detained in Istanbul on Sunday, 56 in Ankara, and 5,000 injured and four dead over the span of the unrest.

Additional Reference

Burch, Jonathan and Daren Butler.  “Striking workers face off with police in Turkish capital.”  Reuters, June 17, 2013.

Letsch, Constanze and Ian Traynor.  “Turkey unrest: violent clashes in Istanbul as Erdoğan holds rally.”  The Guardian, June 16, 2013:

Erdogan inveighed against the international media, blaming the BBC and CNN for distorting the drama of the past three weeks in what he repeatedly alleged was an international plot to divide and diminish Turkey.

“You will make your voice heard so anyone conspiring against Turkey will shiver,” he told the crowd. “Turkey is not a country that international media can play games on.”

Waldman, Simon A. and Emre Caliskan.  “Erdogan’s aim: Suffocate the right to protest in Turkey.”  Haaretz, June 5, 2013.

CNN.  “Demonstrations in Turkey.”  Retrospective slideshow.  June 16, 2013.

Michaels, Sean.  “Turkish police confiscate piano used to serenade Taksim Square protesters.”  The Guardian, June 17, 2013.

Peterson, Scott.  “Erdogan’s supporters rally, dismissing Turkish protests as a ‘big game’ (+video).”  The Christian Science Monitor, June 16, 2013:

Using language that belittled the protesters as disrespectful and irrelevant, Erdogan appeared to point the finger of blame at everyone except himself and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), citing instead the party’s economic triumphs and democratic reforms.

While the title includes the term “video”, when I viewed the piece at about 9:17 a.m. EDT, there was none.

Reuters.  “Hundreds of thousands rally in Turkey for Erdogan.”  June 16 2013.

Sky News.  “Turkey: Erdogan Supporters Rally in Istanbul.”  June 17, 2013.

The Guardian.  “Taksim square: riot police evict protesters in Istanbul – video.”  June 16, 2013.

Reflection

Political cartooning has gotten an update in recent years (or days, considering the pace of media technology development and its broad distribution.  I thought this piece catchy (yes, I am chatyping like the old man I’ve become here) and while it doesn’t reflect my thoughts, which are so much more sober, the presentation would seem part of the zeitgeist of a dawning political era.

Referral

Al Jazeera’s running a “live blog” — sure glad it’s not a dead one — on Turkey’s unrest: http://blogs.aljazeera.com/liveblog/topic/turkey-protests-20176